caption contest, bird stealing ice cream

It’s the hot part of summer, when ice cream is so refreshing — even more than normal.  (I can eat ice cream any time of year, but it really hits the spot during these hotter-than-crazy-mad-hot days.)  And so this week’s caption contest features a man with an ice cream cone — well, what’s left of it after a bird has stolen most of it.  And some woman is laughing about it.

It’s up to you to write something funny to go along with this picture.  Remember it can be from anyone’s perspective, or just general commentary.  Or you can make up a backstory, or write what will happen next.  It really doesn’t matter, as long as it’s funny.

(To see our other caption contests, click on the “Say What?” category in the sidebar.)

viewer mail, issue #16

It’s long past time for another issue of viewer mail.  As usual, I take some of the actual search terms that led people to this blog, and I provide the information they were looking for.  Well, there’s no guarantee it’s the actual info they wanted, but hopefully it’ll be funny.  🙂  I may not know everything (just 98%, give or take 3%), but I know humor.  But enough about my extensive reserves of knowledge!  Let’s get to the search terms.

* “laughing is important” — I completely agree!  And science agrees also.  Some studies suggest that laughing heartily every day can add 7 years to your life.  So obviously laughing is important!  That’s why I write on this blog — to help people laugh, which promotes good physical and mental health.  So subscribe to the blog, for your health’s sake!   🙂  And tell your friends about it!

Barack Obama tossing a football in his office* will people realize obama is a joke — I’ve wondered this myself, thinking perhaps all of President Barack Obama’s strange doings were part of some huge April Fools joke.  But that day has come and gone, and there was no announcement.  I’m afraid this is reality, that Obama will be the U.S. President through 2012.   He’s who the people wanted.   (I won’t say he won fair and square, because of ACORN type groups, but McCain sure helped him out with a poorly planned campaign.)  Let’s just hope Obama doesn’t make too many changes to America.  People want some change, such as removing corruption and increasing transparency and fixing the economy, and so far Obama has not given us that type of change (despite his campaign promises).

* arguing teddy bears — Normally teddy bears are passive, peaceful creatures, choosing to bring comfort to little children everywhere, so if yours are arguing, then there’s some problems.   Usually all you have to do to keep them happy is hug them.  If all else fails, you could let them fight it out.   I realize that sounds violent, but teddy bears don’t have claws, and they are plushy, so no harm will come to them.  Perhaps letting them release their aggression is the solution you are looking for.  Then again, arguing and fighting is no in their nature, so perhaps you are exposing them to too much of that stuff… maybe you should look in the mirror for your solution… 😮

obese-man* all you can eat belly — Well, if it isn’t obvious, here’s a picture.  But know that this is only after repeated use.  Enjoying all-you-can-eat buffets no more than once per week should be okay, but going there every day or two will lead to being fat.  There’s been a lot of research on this, which should be obvious.

* ice cream nachos — One might assume that combining two of mankind’s greatest food inventions would be a sure thing, but in this case it might not be.  I haven’t tried it, nor do I plan to.   Here’s what I recommend: eat your nachos, drink lots of sweet tea, and THEN eat your ice cream (topped with Oreos and/or Hershey’s Syrup).  Stay with that plan, and you can’t hardly go wrong.  (Well, don’t do this every day, for reasons illustrated by the previous topic.)

* build your own particle accelerator — This would be interesting, if you had the tools to conduct the research these are typically used for.  Hopefully you are searching for educational purposes only — this should not be used as a weapon.  Some scientists are concerned that high-powered particle accelerators could theoretically create black holes, which could obviously be dangerous, since they are the deadliest force in the universe.  Which, of course, means they are not a toy.

* can a man wear black bel and brown shoes — What kind of question is that?  Of course, a man can wear a black belt with brown shoes.  Men aren’t required to follow fashion trends nor to follow those imaginary rules concerning what matches and what doesn’t.  Besides, black matches everything.   🙂  Women pay more mind to these rules, and from what I’ve heard, they tend to judge each other very critically over those non-written fashion rules.  But with men it’s a different story.  In most cases, a guy’s friends won’t even notice what he’s wearing.  Besides, men need to reassert themselves and wear what they like and what is comfortable.

That’s all, folks!   Stay tuned for the next exciting episode, same blog time, same blog channel.

what is locust bean gum?

Do you ever look at the ingredients of the pre-prepared foods you eat?   Occasionally I do.  And thus begins our story.

My wife recently acquired a coupon for a free package of Starbucks’ caramel macchiato ice cream.  It’s a mix of vanilla and coffee ice cream, with swirls of caramel.  I don’t care much for coffee, but she liked it.   We happened to look at the ingredients on the back of the label, and noticed that the last ingredient was “locust bean gum”.  I don’t know what that is, but the name of it doesn’t sound appealing.

Normally the lower-tier ingredients have scientific names, such that the average consumer has no idea what it stands for (and is too lazy to bother looking it up).   But with a name like locust bean gum, that just opens the door to a lot of questions.  Let’s start with, “What does that mean?”  Is it locusts ground up into beans, or do the locusts eat the beans and then “extract” the gum (a la a certain coffee), or is it locust-flavored beans?  I have no idea, apart from rampant speculation.

So it’s time for some research*.  I found that it’s a galactomannan consisting of a B-D-mannopyranose backbone with 6 branchpoints linked to a-D-galactose.  A detailed explanation of what that means is WAY beyond the scope of this article.  However, a quick summary in English is that it retards ice crystal growth by forming a structured gel at a solid/liquid interface.  I suppose it has to do with the texture and viscosity of the ice cream.  But that still doesn’t answer where it comes from.

But I’m not sure I want to know…  Sometimes it’s good to not ask too many questions.  Just enjoy your ice cream…  🙂

* My research consisted of a single search and looking at one link on the first page of results.

the special days of July, pt 3

Now we will once again continue our look at the special days / holidays / observances / celebrations of July.

  • 14 Pandemonium Day — Should we really schedule a day of sheer bedlam and utter chaos?  Don’t we have enough things going wrong naturally?  Or, was this holiday thought up for us to create pandemonium on this day?  Hmm…
  • 15 Cow Appreciation Day — One website said to “Go out and give a cow a hug”.  I’ll have to pass on that one.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate cows.  There’s not much better than a good cheeseburger or steak.  I’m very thankful for those foods.  But I don’t see the need for me to go hug a cow.
  • 17 Peach Ice Cream Day — Peach?  There’s a lot of ice cream flavors I’d prefer to celebrate before peach.
  • 17 Yellow Pig Day — What?  Are there yellow pigs?  I glanced online, and found that this day is also dedicated to the number 17.  Huh?  Is this Sesame Street?  Is this day for mathematicians?  If so, wouldn’t they prefer a better number?
  • 18 National Caviar Day — I know a guy who used to give caviar to his cat.  (This was the free version of caviar.)
  • 19 National Raspberry Cake Day — I don’t think I’ve ever had a raspberry cake, but I’d try it, especially with some ice cream on the side.
  • 19 Stick Your Tongue Out Day — Do this after you’ve had some raspberry cake.  🙂
  • 20 Moon Day — I’m not sure why the moon needs a holiday.  I know, this day is to celebrate when Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969, and that was a big step for mankind or somethin’.  But what value does the moon provide to us?  Besides, the moon is broken.  I’ve written a number of articles about the moon (which you can search for by clicking here).
  • 20 National Ice Cream Day — Can you imagine a world without ice cream?  I sure don’t want to try!  So today, don’t take ice cream (or milkshakes) for granted.  Eat all you want, and be thankful for it.
  • 20 Ugly Truck Day — This truck is the winner…
  • 20 Chess Day — CHECKMATE!  I win, you lose!  Oh, what’s that?  You didn’t even know we were playing?  That’s how fast I am.  Don’t feel too ashamed… it happens to everyone I play.
  • 20 Ice Cream Soda Day — Why is this so close to National Ice Cream Day?  This year (2008), they fall on the same day (because Ice Cream Day is the third Sunday of the month).  This is a great day, and it should not get lost by being so close to a day when you’re already eating lots of ice cream.
  • 21 National Junk Food Day — Lunch this day will consist of Cheetos, with a dessert of Hostess Ding Dongs.  Mmm…
  • 21 Monkey Day — If you’re an aspiring evil genius but can’t yet afford the dues for the minions’ union, you can use trained monkeys for a while.  That’s what I hear, anyway…
  • 22 Hammock Day — This would be a good day to take a nap in a hammock.  That is, during work hours.
  • 23 National Hot Dog Day — It’s already National Hot Dog Month, so why is it also a day?  Are we supposed to eat even more on this day?  That might not be a bad thing, but this holiday seems kinda redundant.
  • 23 Vanilla Ice Cream Day — It’s also National Ice Cream Month.  But this day focuses on vanilla.  If the vanilla flavor is too, um, vanilla for you, try adding crumbled-up Oreos and some Hershey’s chocolate.  I’ve personally researched this combination, and it gets my approval.
  • 23 Ice Cream Cone Day — This should be self-explanatory.
  • 23 Mosquito Day — This day, however, should not exist.  Are we supposed to celebrate mosquitoes?  As far as I’m concerned, they’re evil.
  • 24 Cousins Day — I have to buy enough presents at Christmas, so we don’t need more holidays like this.  Although, if you have cousins, then you’re a cousin.  Just don’t tell them about this holiday, because it’s definitely obscure, and go out and buy yourself something.
  • 25 Culinarians Day — This is a special day for anyone who cooks.  If you don’t like to cook or just don’t want to on this day, you can go out to eat at a restaurant and be thankful for the cooks there.  🙂
  • 26 All or Nothing Day — Some might apply this day to gambling, but I don’t endorse gambling, so let’s apply it to food.  On this day, you either eat all you can eat or you eat nothing.  And since our body needs food anyway, you should visit all-you-can-eat restaurants and enjoy yourself.
  • 26 Aunt and Uncle Day — Why?!?  Nothing against these family relatives, but this doesn’t need to be a holiday.  Was this created by Hallmark?  Is this another attempt at a “greeting card holiday”?  No, thanks!
  • 27 Parent’s Day — This is on the fourth Sunday in July.  Again, this is a useless holiday.  I’m thankful and appreciative of my parents, but they already have days devoted to them: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  No mas, por favor.
  • 27 Take Your Pants for a Walk Day — Who comes up with this silliness?  I mean, you already walk with pants on all the time.  To make the day more unique, why don’t they change this day to “take a walk without your pants” day?
  • 27 Bugs Bunny’s Birthday — This isn’t a holiday, per se, but it’s worth mentioning because he’s an legend in the world of cartoons.  Bugs Bunny first debuted in cartoons in 1940.  They just don’t make cartoons like that anymore…  (BTW, also this month was Marvin the Martian’s birthday, on July 24, 1948.)
  • 28 National Milk Chocolate Day — This is a great idea for a holiday!  Eat all the milk chocolate (or chocolate milk) you want.  Remember that diets don’t apply on holidays.
  • 28 Hamburger Day — I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.   🙂  The hamburger, or cheeseburger, is so important to American culture that it should be celebrated each week, I think.
  • 29 National Lasagna Day — Garfield would like this, huh?  I like it, too.
  • 30 National Cheesecake Day — You know what to do — eat cheesecake this day.  That’s the obvious part.  What you might not have thought of yet is that you should arrange to have a cheesecake sent to Buffet o’ Blog headquarters.  (Don’t worry if it’s not the actual date — we’ll appreciate it whenever it is.)  I’ll even post your name on the blog, for all to see your generosity.  🙂
  • 30 Father-in-Law Day — What?!?  Isn’t this already covered by Father’s Day?  Another redundant holiday.
  • 31 Mutt’s Day — Apparently this day is to recognize the dogs that aren’t a pure breed.  Have you ever wondered if you’re a mutt?  I haven’t.  By the way, I mean, not that you’re a dog, but just not a pure breed of a subspecies.  But if you are a mutt, don’t feel bad, because most people are fine with mutts.   I wouldn’t pay hundreds of dollars for some dog just because he came with “papers”.  Free puppies are better than paying lots of money for one.

Well, we finally finished the special days of July.  I hope you found some you could celebrate.   Click here to search for the other entries for July.