Tag Archives: funny

Meet the Blobfish

Poor Mr. Blobfish.  He has the unfortunate claim to being the ugliest animal on the planet, at least according to The Ugly Animal Preservation Society.  Today I’m grateful for both his awesomely ugly face (not a bad giggle for a Monday!), and for being born a human!

 

Blobfish wins ugliest animal vote

By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC News

The grumpy-looking, gelatinous blobfish has won a public vote to become the official mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society.

This gives the fish the unofficial title of world’s ugliest animal.

The society began as a science-themed comedy night and devised its mascot campaign to draw attention to “aesthetically challenged” threatened species.

The winner was announced at the British Science Festival in Newcastle.

The blobfish tops a list that includes the huge-nosed proboscis monkey, the similarly afflicted pig-nosed turtle, an amphibian affectionately known as a “scrotum frog” and pubic lice.

Biologist and TV presenter Simon Watt, president of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, said he hoped the campaign would draw attention to the threats facing these weird and wonderful creatures.

“Our traditional approach to conservation is egotistical,” he told BBC News.

“We only protect the animals that we relate to because they’re cute, like pandas.

“If extinction threats are as bad as they seem, then focusing just on very charismatic megafauna is completely missing the point.

“I have nothing against pandas,” he added, “but they have their supporters. These species need help.”

‘What died today?’

Mr Watt said he hoped the vote would also bring a lighter side to conservation.

“It’s the most depressing type of science to be involved with,” he said. “It’s basically working out: What died today?”

For this campaign, Mr Watt worked with comedians, each of whom created a campaign message on YouTube for their chosen creature. The society asked the public to vote for their favourite.

The blobfish eventually won by almost 10,000 votes.

The bizarre creature lives off the coast of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania, at depths of between 600 and 1,200m, where atmospheric pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level.

Its gelatinous body is just slightly more dense than water, and it spends its life “bobbing around” in the depths.

It feeds on crabs and lobsters and so suffers a significant threat from fishing trawlers. Although it is inedible itself, it gets caught up in the nets.

Other animals on the shortlist face similar threats to their habitats and Mr Watt hopes that this campaign will highlight the fact that conservation should focus on the protection of habitats rather than specific species.

proboscis_monkeyThe remaining animals in the top five were:

  • The kakapo: The world’s only flightless parrot. This heavy bird evolved in an island “bubble”, with no natural predators. But its New Zealand home now has many mammals, including humans, that have decimated the population of the famously curious kakapo. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, there were just 126 of the birds remaining in the wild in early 2012.
  • The axolotl: This is the salamander that never grows up. The amphibian spends its entire life underwater, unlike other salamanders, which develop the ability to breathe out of the water when they mature. The axolotl’s perpetual state of larval development means that it is able to regrow lost limbs. It also means the creatures are of huge interest to scientists; the salamanders are studied for their apparent natural resistance to ageing and cancer. They live only in a small cluster of lakes in Mexico that are now becoming dangerously polluted.
  • The Titicaca ‘scrotum’ water frog: This amphibian lives only in Lake Titicaca in the Andes. It has evolved a reduced lung capacity, so its many skin folds help it to breathe. According to some researchers’ accounts, the frogs do “press-ups” at the bottom of the lake to create disturbances in the water that increase oxygen flow.
  • The proboscis monkey: As well as a very oversized nose, this primate also has a rotund appearance, which is a by-product of its diet of unripe fruit. Only the males have such large noses and, although they might look odd to us, it is thought that they make the primates more attractive to potential mates.

Carly Waterman from the Zoological Society of London’s Edge species programme, which aims to highlight and conserve evolutionary “one of a kind” species, praised the campaign, saying it was important to raise awareness of less “traditionally charismatic animals”.

“A large proportion of the world’s biodiversity is being overlooked,” Dr Waterman told BBC News. “So flying the flag for these species is a really positive thing.”

The campaign was run in conjunction with the National Science and Engineering Competition.

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Tunes on a NY Wavelength

New York’s one of those cities with a music history so profound, a life’s study of the subject would barely touch the edges.  So uber props to all those artists out there, trying to make it.  Some more modern creators I’ve been enjoying are Onehotrix Point Never, TV on the Radio, Animal Collective and the Dirty Projectors.

But to bring things a little closer to home, a few friends have put out albums/eps (somewhat) recently and I wanted to share them with the community following TWJ.  Feel free to leave any feedback for the artists, and let me know if you’d like more contact info for bookings etc. 🙂

 

Melodious poptasticness from Stranger Islands (the lead singer is also a teacher at the private language school where I instruct ESL)

 

Baby Copperhead’s latest melange of musical exploration ….

 

 

And a funny hipster critique of the one song that’s playing in every store, in every cab, on every speaker in the bloody city (and I also can’t help but like it!) …

Brilliant!

Just came across this through a yoga friend on Facebook.  I’m officially wow-ed!

In other news, who knew tickling a penguin could be so sweet?

The combination of funny men in this one video alone is enough for a whole library of funny flicks.  More please!

Sweet video made by an old friend . . .

Make Yourself a Shoe

The ever-lovable Pema Chodron gives us all a little slice of sanity for dealing with annoyances out of our control:

A little background on the lady herself from her website The Pema Chodron Foundation:

Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren.

While in her mid-thirties, Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa came to England at that time, and Pema received her ordination from him.

Pema first met her root teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full monastic ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.

Pema served as the director of Karma Dzong, in Boulder, until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche asked her to work towards the establishment of a monastery for western monks and nuns.

Pema currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.

Pema is interested in helping establish the monastic tradition in the West, as well in continuing her work with Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. She has written several books: “The Wisdom of No Escape”, “Start Where You Are”, “When Things Fall Apart”, “The Places that Scare You”, “No Time to Lose” and “Practicing Peace in Times of War”, and most recently, “Smile at Fear”. All are available from Shambhala Publications.

Lust! Anger! Pride!

Warning: the following contents are full of vulgarities, curses, and unabashed abandon of all sense of humility.

At 6:30pm on Monday, February 28th, I found myself in a face to face stare down with a kondoura-clad degenerate, moments from bopping him square in the face.

My new habit after coming home from work is to go straight to the gym and get busy with a hardcore cardio-weights double whammy.  There’s a smiley bundle of joy working at our gym, Amen (can I get a hallelujia!?) who happens to be certified as a personal trainer on an international level.  Amen’s advice on running has actually turned me from a hater to a junky-to-be.  I left the gym a sweaty mess, pumped with endorphins, bundled in long yoga pants, a loose fitting hoodie and scarf.

The outfit is important for reasons you’ll soon discover!

On the way back to my hotel-home restaurant, I took a shortcut through the bar where noticed a friend sitting alone.  She’d recently lost both her father and her favorite student – both within a month of each other.  Kings of Leon singing morosely through the bar speakers, I made my way over to greet her.

I didn’t even notice our repulsive specimen sitting at a table before the bar, drinking alone.  Overweight, dull-eyed and desperate, he grabbed me by the arm with such force, I almost stumbled backward.

“Excuse, me,” I said with cautious civility, “Don’t touch me.  That’s very rude.”

Who knows who this guy could be.  I’m not a regular at the bar, and judging by his traditional Muslim outfit, he could have been a local or Saudi of some contrived importance.  No need to confront a rock, anyway, an argument at this point would be useless.

I made my way to my friend’s table and sat with her for five minutes, ignoring the Arabic clamor in the background.  Whether he was speaking to me or not, I paid no mind, I was only passing through.

As we got deeper into conversation I realized it’d be best to stay with my friend and lend a kind ear.  She’d really had a difficult time of things lately and needed someone to listen.  Selfishly, I missed her company, and loved the opportunity to shower her in hugs and reassuring words.

While we chatted, I could tell our ogre of an acquaintance was trying to convince the bartender to get us a few drinks.  Kushan, bartender hottie that he is, explained that we weren’t interested.

As if to prove otherwise, oozing with a blurred confidence only spirits can discharge, the dullard comes over to my side and rubs my upper arm, mumbling some incoherent nonsense, spewing bad breath and bullshit all over the joint.

My entire demeanor changed, and Kushan got on the phone immediately.

I turned around slowly with scary-mom pursed lips, flared nostrils and en evil eye only Hawaiians can perfect to such intensity.

“Just what do you think you’re doing? I asked you not to touch me.  I don’t want a drink.  Go back to your table, you’re being very rude now.  Go away.”

Turning my attention back to my friend, I actually surprised myself with my stern but tempered tone.  As angry as I was, it was controlled – and totally free of any wavering fear.  My communication was clear, as was my body language.  At least, it seemed clear to us sober folk!

Lo and behold, ten minutes later, the boorish fuck stumbled back over to us, this time smack dab between our intimate conversation space.   Here we go.  He literally started throwing money on our table, begging to buy us a whiskey, of all things.

“Look, mister, we don’t want a drink, we don’t want to talk.  We want you to leave us alone.  Good bye.  Halas!”

I thought perhaps all he needed was a touch of Arabic to sober him up.  Halas – finished!  As he turned around to “leave,” in one last pathetic attempt to get some piece of our action, he grabbed me just under the breast, around my ribcage –

And which point I quickly turned around and pushed that fat ass with all the might I had.

“You fucking touch me once more, just once more, and I will punch you in your face!”

Still, I hadn’t lost control, I wasn’t screaming – it was as though things were moving in slow motion.  The work-out chemicals in my brain were still firing and as far as flight or fight went there was really only one option, despite the hundred and fifty pound handicap – FIGHT.

I studied his face and concluded for all the extra blubber, my fists would be fine after a few punches.  Thinking of a counterattack, I wondered if he was so fat under his white muu-muu that maybe his thigh and tummy fat would have totally covered his crotchal region, giving him an irregular advantage in our sparring session.  I noted my allies in the venue, the three older European gentlemen sitting at the bar, the size of Kushan and his athletic build. I considered how happy I’d be to take one hit from this loser just to have the opportunity to teach him a lesson with my fists.

With deep even breath I awaited his next move.  I dared him to touch me with my eyes.  Fists clenched.  Mouth akin to Billy Idol.  Come on, you feeble-ass punk, give me one reason.

Seeing as he was too much of a coward to either touch me or sit down, I pulled the Allah card.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?  We are in the UAE, buddy.  You think it’s OK to touch a woman here?  You think it’s OK to grope a woman ANYWHERE?  What would Allah think about your being here?  Drunk! Groping women!  Sit the fuck down and get out of my face.”

He started to back off.

Once he sat down, I could feel a tear in the back of my eye.  My throat closed a bit, and I knew if I kept talking, my voice would be unsteady.  I took a deep breath, sat down, and turned my attention to Kushan.

“He needs to go.”

I wasn’t about to get hysterical over some unsocialized animal, but I knew if he stayed he’d only get more drunk and more unreasonable.  I’d seen worse drunks before, but he was a proactive mother fucker!

In my entire adult life, I had never – ever – been groped like that before.  Especially not after telling someone not to.  Three times, no less!

So all the managers in the house come in, and after far too long, he concedes to leave.  No punches were pulled, no dragging out the door.  It was all rather civilized, and for that I’m relieved.

Truth be told, I was actually proud of myself.  I stood my ground with a cold temperance and said what was on my mind.  I have no delusions I’ll have made any difference in this guy’s approach to women – he’s probably grown up thinking all women at bars are hookers (even if they are wearing baggy hoodies and a scarf).  But when the shit hit the fan, I didn’t crack under pressure – no matter how intimidating he was.

Surprisingly, though physically tired, I was mentally stoked all the following day.  And it made me wonder, am I a bad person for feeling pride about that encounter?  On the one hand, I conquered a real and present danger with a frightening calm.  This is the positive side.

On the other hand, should I really be so happy about wanting to ‘teach that asshole a lesson?’

Well, I don’t know.  As a rule, I make a conscious effort to act, speak and even think with pure non-violence.  But this was a special case and I’m glad it happened the way it did.  Let’s just hope the groper stays home from now on!

Baking Brulee

Ah, the Brulee.  More than just a delicious treat, it also rhymes with Goulet.

Could a dessert get any better?

What is so remarkable about this dessert is its pure simplicity.  There are only but 4 ingredients listed in this BBC recipe for my sweet, sumptuous Brulee.  And yet, the effect is infinitely divine.

Visions of Brulee and other gustatory temptations . . .

A recipe for your eating pleasure . . .

Ingredients

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
  2. Pour the cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream.
  3. Chop the empty pod into small pieces, and add them to the cream.
  4. Bring the cream to boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a large heatproof bowl until pale and fluffy.
  6. Bring the cream back to boiling point. Pour it over the egg mixture, whisking continuously until thickened – this indicates that the eggs have begun to cook slightly.
  7. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug, and then use this to fill six ramekins to about two-thirds full.
  8. Place the ramekins into a large roasting tray and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up their outsides. (This is called a bain-marie.)
  9. Place the bain-marie onto the centre shelf of the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the custards are just set but still a bit wobbly in the middle.
  10. Remove the ramekins from the water and set aside to cool to room temperature. Chill until needed.
  11. When ready to serve, sprinkle one level teaspoon of caster sugar evenly over the surface of each crème brûlée, then caramelise with a chefs’ blow-torch.
    Caramelising sugar with a blow torch
  12. Set aside to cool for a couple of minutes, then serve.

 

Want some more Goulet?  Yeah.  I thought you might . . .