Creative commentary plus crafty composition

Archive for the ‘Humour’ Category

Lucky Charms

Some of us will recall a TV commercial for a heavily sugared breakfast cereal named Lucky Charms, declared to be ‘indescribably delicious’.  Well, their consumption, no doubt, has been beneficial over time to the dentists whose clients have overindulged in such candied cereals when younger.

The more general concept of lucky charms, also known as talismans, has been widespread for ages.  I can remember as a youth having a yellow rabbit’s foot.  For many years they were quite a popular, inexpensive trinket to carry around.   (If they were real, perhaps the afflicted rabbits lived in abodes for damaged fauna, along with frogs in wheelchairs.)

In an article on the subject in the April edition of Toastmaster magazine, talismans are divided into two foundation types: rituals and objects.

Illustrating the first of these, there’s the story of one member of a Toastmasters club in India, who gazes into her own reflection in a mirror for confidence in speaking; she “calls her deep gaze routine her talisman – a ritual to empowerment”.  For many others, relaxation and breathing exercises done intently can also serve the purpose.

Object types stem from the concept of being “items believed to protect against evil forces”; they can also focus on the purpose of being lucky charms.

In Eurasian countries, the Evil Eye Amulet not only looks to ward off harmful effects of exposure to an Evil Eye, but also to bring happiness.  In Native American lore, there are dreamcatchers.  Individuals, of course, can and do produce their own material versions of talismans.  A Distinguished Toastmaster in the U.S. created a personal logo involving the heart, which she believes inspires confidence and connecting; she has turned this into a side business of logo-adorned jewelry (which she wears herself at important events) and t-shirts.

While it would seem almost anything could become a talisman, it is uncertain how auspicious some charms or rituals may be…

  • Painting red spots around one’s eyes does not ensure immunity if arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour
  • Squeezing soft toilet tissue for relaxation is unlikely to be encouraged in a public wash room
  • When preparing an effective amulet, if crystals aren’t available, one can try energy-efficient LED bulbs
  • Ice cubes with subliminal messages may cause drinkers to float some unintended proposals
  • A lucky hat is worn most successfully by someone who brims with confidence
  • Carrying a favourite medallion will be less effective when dealing with a magnetic personality
  • Wearing a lucky tie is more impressive when combined with wearing socks
  • A chain holding extracted wisdom teeth can help provide inspiration to compose biting satire

Remember, a lucky break isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be!

Weather Forecasting Axioms

Weather forecasting is relatively easy in some parts of the world because changes are so limited or slow to form: deserts for example, where wind changes are the greatest variable.  In other places, forecasting takes advantage of regularity: tropical rain forests for example, where predicting rain is like predicting daylight.

In the northern hemisphere we live in areas where weather patterns are highly variable, affected by both large-scale movements, such as El Nino, and frequently moving patterns, such as Colorado lows or chinooks.  These are enhanced by system air flows which collide, shifting wind patterns, as well as local geographic factors such as the predominance of high or low terrain.

Highly inconstant conditions like precipitation and temperatures are catalysts for shaky weather forecasts.

Despite the technical improvements of satellite imagery and computer models, the accuracy of predicting oncoming weather, often even for the next 24 hours, remains surprisingly elusive.  This is demonstrated frequently by differing forecasts for the same area from differing weather bureaus.

It seems the all-purpose declaration calling for sun, with cloudy periods, and a chance of rain (or snow, or hail, etc.) is often as valid as a much more detailed, scientific projection.

Using anecdotal evidence, one wonders if there are some weather-related axioms we can rely on.  Perhaps these…

  • One of the advantages of nighttime is that it hides bad weather events better
  • The use of percentage probabilities lets a forecaster deflect measurements into lottery odds
  • Simulation models are no more dependable per se because of 3D
  • Radio and TV stations will not concurrently publicize identical forecasts
  • Enjoying a treat such as popcorn may have to serve as the silver lining behind the dark cloud
  • One person’s significant weather difficulty is someone else’s excuse to procrastinate
  • Unless it’s computer generated, the voice relaying weather updates will editorialize even bad news in a cheery manner
  • No matter how much forecasts prove accurate, there is always room to complain about timing
  • If a baseball player can be in the hall of fame with a batting average of .300, then forecasters can be afforded some wiggle room for blame
  • The ‘stretch goal’ of weather forecasting is to be as accurate as predicting weather in the past



What about other special days which coincide?

This weekend we see the unusual calendar coincidence of Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day falling on the same day.

Thus, whether one is religious or a trickster, there will likely be synergistic opportunity for some celebration and/or mischief.  One can get away with being both good and bad (within reason) on the same day.

Just about every day of the year has more than one internationally recognized event occurring, but many of these are lower profile, or much less widespread in observance.  What if some of these happenings in the rest of April developed their own synergies?

  • April 2nd Love your Produce Manager & Ferret day = it is likely easier for many to love a pet before being able to love a store manager; bring a ferret to the produce department, and see what happens
  • April 3rd Find a Rainbow & Chocolate Mousse = for some, chocolate can be like gold at the end of the rainbow, except it’s lighter and edible, but not as collectible
  • April 5th Deep Dish Pizza & Tell a Lie Day = those who consume too much of the former may have indigestible excuses to take advantage of the latter
  • April 7th No Housework & Beer = need we say more…
  • April 11th Barbershop Quartet & Bookmobile = a bookmobile is not necessarily a magnet for crowds; the sound of a barbershop quartet coming may be enough to drive some people inside to look at books
  • April 16th Save the Elephant & Wear Your Pajamas to Work = one good deed for nature may be enough to earn a mulligan at the office
  • April 17th Blah Blah Blah & Cheeseball = if one’s mouth is frequently open, spouting nothing of substance, might as well fill it with delectable morsels
  • April 19th Bicycle & Garlic = one can ride a bike to the store to get garlic, bike home to eat the garlic, then bike back to the store to get breathe mints and air freshener
  • April 21st Tea & Chocolate Covered Cashews = most people will go for at least one of these, so put them out together and let those with differing tastes mingle
  • April 22nd Jelly Bean & Earth = for a truly challenging contest, hold a bean counting contest based on covering a portion of the globe
  • April 26th Pretzel & Richter Scale = if the latter reports a seismic event, having some of the former could help ensure that one’s salt intake doesn’t suffer during recovery
  • April 28th Go Birding & Blueberry Pie = bird-watching can be a time-consuming activity, so might as well consume something delicious
  • April 30th Honesty & Oatmeal Cookie = if honesty being its own reward is not sufficient, cookies can be an inexpensive back-up plan

No wonder so much of life’s minutia can snowball with the right mix.

A Wider Range of Employee Benefits

To what extent might we see the landscape expand in what are deemed to be ‘employee benefits’, in relation to being potentially taxable?

Take the case of the electric automobile. (more…)

Top 10 Contemporary Signs of St. Patrick’s Day

Remember when holidays pretty much were celebrated on the actual day?

Now, no doubt in part for commercial purposes, promotion has largely turned them into multi-day, if not multi-week, events. (more…)

Life Lessons from the Winter Olympics

We’ve just had the latest round of the Olympic Winter Games play out in Korea in the latter part of February.

Some nations, particularly the three highest medal count countries – namely, Norway, Germany, and Canada – found relative success after their long journeys to southeast Asia. Other countries didn’t have their usually expected triumphs (U.S.A.), and one wasn’t even able to compete under its national flag (Russia) – so, bigger is not always better. (more…)

Travel Tips

Open any travel related periodical or insert, and chances are that, in addition to glowing enticements to visit sites far or near, there will be some degree of tips from supposed experts. Sometimes the expertise is limited to lessons learned by the author about specific destinations; sometimes it’s more general ‘rules of thumb’ (not the green kind).

Case in point: the spring edition of CAA (Canadian Automobile Association) Magazine devotes several pages to recommending travel locations for 2018, with brief comments from CAA travel specialists. Some remarks are more insightful than others. (more…)