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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


It was a dark and stormy night. A small group of family and friends were gathered at a pretty seaside home by way of an anniversary celebration.

Things were going along as these things are supposed to go along -- music blares, food gets passed around and both conversation and wine flows.

By all accounts, the evening was going swimmingly, and one of the husbands present decided it might be a good move to wash some dishes. So he dutifully went around the house, picked up strays here and there, and popped them all into the dishwasher.

One good squirt of liquid soap, a flick of the on switch and he was back in party mode. 

NOTE: Here's your lesson for today.Today's dishwashing detergent is not your grandmother's handmade lye soap. Today's dishwashing detergent is not today's dishwashing liquid. The latter's containers are definitely shrinking even as the potency of these concotions grows -- so much so that your average dishwashing liquid is used to remove oil spill sludge from assorted things, even cute little ducks like in the TV commercials. In contrast, dishwashing detergent comes either in powder or packet form and is formulated to remove grime with a minimum of suds. The amount of surfactants and sudsing agents are what differentiates the various formulas, and of course, the amount of bubbles each will produce.

Moments later on the way to the ladies' room "somebody" walked by the kitchen counters and nearly slipped and fell backwards on what was a fairly large amount of soap suds on the floor right in front of the dishwasher. 

Guffawing and hollering a warning to all present, "somebody" went to get her camera. This was too good to pass up.

The BLOB was growing, pronto, undulating slowly over the colorful cotton rug in front of the sink and making its way down towards the side door of the house, intent on a getaway.  Soon, the motley gathered around the beast, at first pointing but doing nothing about it. About five minutes passed before one of the wives picked up a cotton towel and went about trying to clean up the soapy mess.

"I just used a little soap!" said the guilty husband, after everyone catcalled and laughed some more even as Mrs. Clean was somehow managing to get rid of a bit of the suds.

"I just used a little!" Yeah, right.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


There's a certain "cool factor" about how a team of multi-national scientists have managed to cook up a batch of wooly mammoth blood from DNA culled from a carcass unearthed in Siberia.

This is the stuff of which legend is made -- not to mention really bad movies starring Jeff Goldblum. 

However, once we all stop shaking our heads and mouthing "wow," when is it time to think about the value of this endeavor?

I'm the first one to support researchers -- after all, scientific study has lead to untold improvements for the human race. Starting with fire, for instance.

Given all the money, time and energy that this endeavor must have cost -- how did someone first decide to go mucking around into the life of an animal that is now extinct, and with possibly good reason? Very recently, folks at Penn State sequenced a mammoth's genome from some stray hair -- and postulated that if somebody gave them say ten million dollars or so they conceivably could clone one.

As mind boggling as it might be to stare at one of these creatures in the flesh, I can't help but think that in this economic day and age spending even one dollar on such a project is a gross waste of resources, no matter what the cool factor.

But then again let's not forget the public's willingness to pay big bucks to see something like that, a la Jurassic Park, so it should come as no surprise if we learn in the near future that somebody already is working on recreating the critter. 

And no, it won't look like Manfred the Mammoth on the Ice Age films. It will be huge, possibly ill tempered, nasty smelling and a sad and solitary creature indeed.

Amen, and pass the mustard.