May 30, 2008

Random Friday: death by chocolate milk & sundry oddities

[By Merry]

It's Friday!
I've survived this week without defenestrating a single project manager!
Life is good.

In fact, it's too good to post any scientific studies. You don't want to read those on a Friday, do you?
Oh, you do?
Okay then, just one.

We must be pretty smart, eh Crabby?

Apparently you have to have a fairly sophisticated brain to grasp sarcasm. A group of Israeli researchers published a study in the journal Neuropsychology, which states that "People who have trouble understanding sarcasm also have trouble understanding social cues, empathic response and emotion recognition."

I can understand that grasping sarcasm would require an effort by several different parts of the brain. The language areas of the left hemisphere deal with the literal meaning, areas of the frontal lobes and the right hemisphere handle intentions and emotional content, while a part of the brain known as the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex integrates the two. Still, it's a pretty complicated system when you stop to think about it.

The Israeli researchers wrote, “Understanding sarcasm requires both the ability to understand the speaker’s belief about the listener’s belief and the ability to identify emotions.” Apparently to understand sarcasm you have to be able to perform "sophisticated social thinking."

I like the idea of being thought sophisticated.

Especially if I can be sophisticated without having to wear uncomfortable shoes and chase after somebody named Mr. Big.

Sure they're pretty... to look at...

Death by Starbucks

Ever wonder if you're drinking too much coffee? This website, Death by Caffeine, figures out how much espresso, or cherry coke, or chocolate milk it would take to do you in. (Death by Chocolate Milk? Even Agatha Christie never thought of that one.)

The solution to the high price of gas?

I think this idea of a retro-fitted electric bike is really cool. If a fully electric car is not in the foreseeable future, this might be a solution. I mean, for around a thousand dollars, you can get a vehicle that goes up to 35 miles per hour. That's enough for getting around on a lot of city streets.

From the 'I don't believe it's making a comeback' department: useless exercise equipment

Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go to the gym, it's back. The vibrator machine! One of those machines that has a vibrating belt that is supposed to 'jiggle' all your fat away. It could be yours for a mere $4,900. Get one today before they're all gone!

I swear, I can't believe someone is selling these again. Or that anyone is buying one. Somebody must. (Note: if you really feel the need to buy one of these, I have this swampland in Florida that you're just going to love.)

From the 'Weird and Wacky Humor' department

A T-Shirt you probably shouldn't wear at work (unless you're a plumber):
Crack Kills.

This is another T-Shirt that made me smile, though I'm worried that not everyone might remember the reference.

Warning: play this video and you will be hearing this song All Day!

And finally, thanks to Boing Boing, there is this video. It's a wacky Thai commercial that seemed really bizarre to me.


  1. Hey! I've got a vibrator machine!

    Oh. You mean one of those.......

    Nevermind. Forget I said anything.

    (You put the lime in the coconut...)

  2. and Im gonna have the LIME IN DA COCONUT ditty in my head all day.
    thanks for the earworm :)

    and as a big fan of the sarcasm I wanna give a big GO TRIBE MEMBER! cheer to the Israeli researchers.
    speakers belief? listeners belief?
    Now Im wondering if I "get" sarcasm at all?!

    happy friday.


  3. Ack... that t-shirt started the recording in my head. The video reinforced it. Make it stop!

  4. I am SO glad we can be sophisticated without having to cram our feet into those shoes!

    And when I was working out at the Old Folks Gym, those vibrating platforms were incredibly popular, getting near constant use. Every couple of minutes a new Old Person would climb up, hold on tight, and shake like hell. It was kinda like hanging out at the hardware store next to the paint-mixing machine.

    It would creep me out to have my insides all flying around like that, but for some of them it seemed to be a good compromise between exercise and no exercise.

  5. What a smart and refreshing blog. We will include you in the must reads of the week. We will be back.

  6. Mmmm, chocolate. Mmmmm, coffee.

    Now I'm off to a 3 hour long scientific meeting, and I'll be singing that song in my head the whole time! Thanks!

  7. That lime-in-the-coconut shirt is the bomb! Can you tell I'm old?

  8. My eyes skipped over from the paragraph above and all I read was that vibrators were back. Well, if that's all it takes...

    Not sure if putting the lime in the coconut will take the place of the song I already had in my head for today. Maybe they'll take turns.

  9. I got the lime in the coconut thing right off - you know, since we watch Lion King like 10 times a week here;)

    And that Thai commercial? Had me busting a gut!!! Seriously, that's my new fave video ever (which will last about 10 minutes in our YouTube world but hey it made my day!)

    Good news about the sarcasm. I'm going to have to practice that more;)

  10. Cheap substitute for vibrator machine: washer on spin cycle. When I was little, back in the 1950s, my great-aunt had one of them for a short while in her business school, alongside the mimeographs. I was too short to try it out--the belt would have been on the back of my head--and when we got home from vacation at my grandmother's I saw the washing machine spinning itself and said "Hmmm." Never tried to combine it with exercise, though.

    Death by caffeine. That's me.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  11. Mary Anne - YEEEEESSSSSS to the washer on spin cycle ;-)

    MY tee today has a big red jalapeno on it and reads "Everybody loves a spicy latina!"

  12. I could not be around folks who didn't understand sarcasm. They'd mistakenly think I like all sorts of things I really didn't. Then I'd have to say "Sheesh, you're really smart, aren't you?"

  13. It puts the lime in the coconut. IT PUTS THE LIME IN THE COCONUT!

    PS My grandma and grandpa had one of those old school vibrator machins - I remember "riding" it as a little girl, that big belt jiggling me all around while I laughed. when the grandkids weren't on it, it functioned as a clothes hanger. But I do remember thinking it was cool my grandma "exercised"!

  14. What do those vibrating machines actually do? I am confused.

  15. Oh... now I've got chocolate cravings!

  16. I thought the original vibrating belt machine (that kind of vibrator, Christine ;) was supposed to "jiggle the fat away." You put the belt around the body part you wanted to slim down.
    The new-fangled ones, it looks like you stand on a platform and it shakes so that your whole body has to clench muscles to stand upright. But how does that help if you've got a support to hold on to? It's not helping your balance in that case.
    Crabby, did you ever try that vibrator machine or was it too busy being used by old'uns?

  17. Hehehehe...I like this post today...

    I'm gonna try to get my kids (the ones I work with, not my own) to sing it all day and annoy their parents...Hahahahah!!! I'm EVIL...

    Sarcasm is my best friend...I credit it to landing the boyfriend and keeping him around and happy...

    Vibrators...Hehehe...dirty brain is winning out over the actual content...

  18. Merry--never tried the vibrating machine at the Old Folks Gym. Frankly, I chickened out. It just seems a little weird and unnatural--not a kind of motion the body was really built for. Didn't want to risk hurting my back, stressing my organs or killing off brain cells, since I have so few to spare.

    Note: none of these fears are based on research, just ignorant speculation on my part.

  19. I'm old enough to remember that song. I'll have to tell my friend to dig out her old vibrator machine, that it is back in style, or at least she can make some money on ebay ;)

    That Thai commercial was very weird.

  20. Help! Now I've got the Chipmunks' version running through my head... whimper...

  21. I like the word "defenestrating."
    I'm going to have to use that, whether in a sentence or in action, especially should someone choose to disrespect my "sophisticated social thinking."

  22. Thanks for these funnies, Crabby, even if it has taken me a while to catch up.

  23. Woops ... just realised I should be thanking Merry, not Crabby.

  24. Oh, G.B.T.A.F, no worries.

    Many people are convinced that Crabby and I are the same person, despite the fact that I deny this and so do I.

    (For that matter Crabby denies it too, or so I believe. I'm pretty sure the Lobster can tell us both apart, anyway.)

  25. ya put the lime in the cocoanut...

    a friend did a dance routine with her bridesmaids at her reception. So, naturally, I had to forward her the link (thanks!)

    I actually had a great-aunt in Texas who had one of those vibrabelt things in her home, back in the dark days of the 70s. What I had been told was that the jiggle and jostle was supposed to break down the fat cells so they can either reabsorb through the body or flushed out. Of course, I was maybe all of seven at the time and my mom was rolling her eyes into the back of her head behind my aunt when she was talking about it. So take that as you will *wry smile*

    I should also mention I have a teenager and a preteen. Sarcasm is our first language, english second :P

  26. Do brides usually do dance routines at weddings? I'm so far removed from the latest trends that I have to ask.
    Sigh... I'll never be completely 'with it,' but at least I can tag along a few steps behind...

  27. I LOVE the caffine site. Amazing - it would take about 160 cups of coffee to kill me. I'm close. Sadly. I have to link that. Too cool.

  28. If you want to know more about electric bikes, go to



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