Remote-controlled rats, husbands could mark beginning of Brave New World (and yes, I’m scared)

image As I’ve mentioned before, because of our home’s proximity to the local wharf, from time to time we have a problem with rodents. Now, when I say “rodents,” I mean rats, and when I say “problem,” I mean finding mysterious entries scrawled on our grocery list that read:

Git mor cheeez.

However, I know that we aren’t alone in this, and that our neighbors undoubtedly have the same rodent problem. I know this because 1) They are our neighbors, and therefore live as close to the wharf as we do, and 2) Because we routinely lob assorted cheese curds into their yards before going to bed.

[Note to neighbors: We are NOT trying to entice the rats from our house into yours; we’re simply trying to entice you to eat more cheese.]

That said, some recent discoveries could change the way we go about solving our rat problem. According to a recent article in the journal Nature, researchers at the State University of New York have created the world’s first living remote-controlled rat. By implanting tiny electrodes in rats’ brains, scientists can command the rats to turn left or right, climb trees, navigate mazes, and, in some cases, stage dramatic light saber duels while dressed as tiny Star Wars characters. Continue reading

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If at first you don’t succeed, I’ll meet you in Customer Service

image It was 10 years ago this week I found myself standing in line with approximately 800 other husbands (conservative estimate) who, like me, had been sent to return the Christmas gift they had gotten their wives.

I should probably point out that I’m not still waiting in that line and have since re-married. I don’t think that is a coincidence.

However, I can distinctly remember the experience for a number of reasons. First, because it’s rare to see so many men standing in line for something that isn’t leading to a sporting event, urinal or more beer.

Not necessarily in that order.

Secondly, I remember it because the loudspeaker, which was positioned directly over my head, played the same Christmas song 16 times. This was over the course of an hour, by the end of which I was making up lyrics I can’t print here. Continue reading

A man’s guide to romantic cuisine—Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

cavemen-food-nutrition copy Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself. We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire. According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.

Painting seven: Attempting to capture the attention of an attractive cavewoman, Glork uses the flaps of his animal skin to fan the aroma of dinner in her direction. In the process, he inadvertently exposes himself, leading to the creation of what archeologists believe is the very first “Kiss the Chef” apron. Continue reading

Be careful when picking a topic — especially if it’s your nose

Building a connection with readers has its drawbacks.

Building a connection with readers has its drawbacks.

From time to time, a column strikes a collective nerve with readers. These readers then respond — in many cases — by calling me collect. After my column “Study reveals male pattern baldness doesn’t include ears”, it’s obvious that excessive ear and nose hair has been on a lot of people’s chests.

And by that I mean in terms of subject matter, not actual hairs falling from men’s ears and noses during the course of conversation, eating or… whatever.

It seems I have become the “go-to” guy when it comes to ear and nose hair confessions. The subject is generally brought up by wives, such as while standing in line at A&W and ordering a chili cheese dog for their husbands. One minute they’re talking about the origin of the Coney dog, the next I’m being told what it’s like trying to carry on a conversation with a spouse who doesn’t seem to notice he has hardened Cheez Whiz in his nostril hair. Continue reading

Men, help your wives avoid jail by returning that stupid gift you got them before it’s too late

The wives of men who trusted their gift-giving instincts.

The wives of men who trusted their gift-giving instincts.

Many years ago, I bought my ex-wife an Epilady shaver for Christmas. Because it was a sleek, modern, electrical device costing more than $50, there was no reason to suspect it would feel like someone had just ripped the hair out of her legs using Super Glue and a roll of duct tape. While I’m sure I’d gotten her gifts she didn’t really like, she’d accepted them. But in this case, as she chased me through the house completely naked and swiping at my scalp with her new Epilady, two things came to mind:

1) She really hates this gift,

and

2) I shouldn’t have gotten her the cordless model.

Now, before I get an angry letter from Park Products, Inc., I should clarify that this was a long time ago, and I’m sure the latest model is a vast improvement over the one she hurled through our bathroom window. Continue reading