Grab Your Wand and Follow Me!

We all know that Cinderella and the Prince lived happily ever after, but there’s so much more to the story. You probably run into the Wicked Stepsisters every once in a while when you have to get your driver’s license renewed – they work at your local DMV. It was a little harder to track down what became of the Wicked Stepmother, but I’ve learned that she’ll be featured in the upcoming reality series “The Real Retirees of Boca Raton,” where we’ll see her in action, complaining about golf carts speeding through the streets of the Sunset Hills retirement community, the temperature in the community pool, the noisy grandkids visiting her neighbors, and a host of other riveting issues. 

What about the Fairy Godmother? In my opinion, she was the pivotal character and got very little credit for what she did. *Poof * a beautiful dress. * Poof * glass slippers, though why she chose glass, I’ll never understand. Must’ve been really uncomfortable on the dance floor, though perhaps the idea was that Cinderella would remember to leave by midnight because her feet would be killing her. *Poof* pumpkin becomes a carriage. *Poof* mice become horses. While it’s true that her magic was only temporary, it changed the course of Cinderella’s life for ever after. 

In the aftermath of all that happily ever after, Fairy Godmother was inundated with wishes from around the world and she’s been working her wand off to grant as many as she can. The workload has gotten so tremendous that for the first time, Fairy Godmother is recruiting new fairy godmother trainees. I understand that if her efforts are successful, she’ll get to drive around granting wishes from an all-expense-paid sparkly silver Cadillac.

Okay, so this is where you come in. Grab your wand and follow me over to www.OneSimpleWish.org. It’s a magical place where anyone can be a Fairy Godmother (or Godfather, as the case may be) and grant a wish to a child in foster care, a child aging out of the foster care system, or a family in need. These are not extravagant wishes for true love, a trip around the world, or a Beverly Hills mansion. Theses are wishes for things like a haircut, karate lessons, a laptop for college, tickets to a movie, sheets and towels, a storage box to hold personal items. For as little as one dollar, you can do what Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother did – grant a simple wish that may change the course of a child’s life for ever after. 

Your wand is at the repair shop? Don’t worry, wishes can be granted with credit cards too. If you’re unable to grant a wish right now, please help spread the word about One Simple Wish by posting a link wherever you hang out online. If you do grant a wish, please let us know so that we can enter you into a drawing for a stunning one-of-a-kind pointy fairy godmother hat. 

Finally, if you’re moved to do even more for kids in foster care, please read my post 699,999 and consider volunteering as an advocate for a child in foster care.

Scientists Get to the Bottom of Mutant Mutton Gene

While googling my company name, Big Sheep Communications, I stumbled upon a precious gem of scientific discovery. This information is from the prestigious Duke University Medical Center, so you know it is absolutely credible. 

A Duke University study, funded by the USDA and the National Institutes of Health, has uncovered “an elusive, mutated gene named for the Greek goddess, Aphrodite Kallipygos, that causes certain sheep to have unusually big and muscular bottoms.” They’ve named the gene “‘callipyge,’ meaning ‘beautiful buttocks’ in Greek, because the sheep have large, muscular bottoms with very little fat.” 

Of course, I began to wonder how the posteriorly endowed sheep came to the attention of researchers. Then I began to wonder how those researchers kept a straight face as they applied to the USDA and the NIH for funding. No doubt your first reaction may be, “What the #@$% do I care about bleepin’ sheep butts?” or “Pork (or mutton, as the case may be) is alive and well in Washington,” or even “OMG, I’ve run out of unemployment benefits and the government is spending tax money on this!” 

Before you rush to judgment, take a deep breath and let the whole concept seep in. Upon reflection, I’m sure you’ll conclude that this amazing discovery is worthy of our attention, exorbitant funding, and much much more research. Let’s read further. “These sheep are, in effect, pumping iron without lifting weights. They are converting food into muscle in their hind regions, instead of converting food into fat.” 

If  the great scientific minds of our time could harness the power of the Beautiful Buttocks gene, our squishy sedentary butts could be transformed into big muscley bottoms that would operate like super-powered calorie burning machines. We’d be lean and fit as we park our boulderized backsides on the couch, remote in one hand, nachos in the other. It would radically change life as we know it – think of the fashion industry, the diet and fitness industry, the narrow little seats on airplanes – they would all be transformed! 

You think I’m making this up, don’t you? http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/5831

Wal-Mart; The Musical

I have been know to giggle to myself while writing my blog posts, but I routinely laugh out loud when I read Ramblings, written by my new blogging buddy and fellow Freshly Pressed celebrity, Peg.  She’s so hysterically funny that it wouldn’t be right to keep her to myself, so I’ve invited her over to The Big Sheep Blog for coffee and to share some of her unique insights with everyone. In return, she’s invited me to her blog for a play date. Please come with me – it’s at www.pegoleg.wordpress.com and I promise you’ll have fun!

Most Americans have been to Wal-Mart.  But you haven’t truly experienced it until you see Wal-Mart; The Musical.   I attended a performance just a few days ago.  

The entire play takes place in a Super Wal-Mart.  It is Sunday afternoon during the busy, holiday shopping season.   

Here’s the story in a nutshell.  Our heroine, a young ingénue who looked almost exactly like me, visits the Land of Wal-Mart.  She is on a quest.  She must find a magic wand that will reanimate the Christmas tree lights when half of each strand has gone out (kind of like a Christmas light defibrillator).  Then she must get checked out and back to her car before a magic spell turns her into a mean, bitchy old crone. 

During the prelude we were treated to Mariah Carey’s spiritual take on “Santa’s Got A Booty Call (So You Better Be Naughty!)”. 

The children’s choir almost stole the show with their rousing hit, “I Want THAT!”   The lyric was not complicated – only “I Want THAT”, over and over – but the performance elevated the words to art.  The volume of their childish cries built and built to a mighty crescendo.  The number ended with the whole choir falling to the floor and kicking its collective heels.  Unforgettable. 

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place when one of the female leads, imaginatively costumed in black stretch pants and a shirt cut low enough to reveal a pair of angels tattooed on the upper slopes of her…charms, softly crooned a simple ballad to the children gathered around her cart: “I TOLD You 20 Times”. 

“I TOLD you 20 times you gotta be 8 years old before Santa will bring you Grand Theft Auto.  I’m going to have Rodney (that guy whose staying with us and kinda like your daddy) WHUP YOUR A** if you ask me ONE more time!”  

I wasn’t the only one who left the show singing THAT moving tune. 

The Greeter’s Gospel Choir’s a cappella rendition of “Go Tell It On The Mountain (The Holidays Are Here)” had everyone clapping along.   The reworked lyrics explained in an uplifting, catchy way why saying Merry Christmas at the door would be the same as forcing shoppers to submit to full-immersion baptism in order to get in the store.  Really thought provoking.  

But the showstopper was the big production number finale. 

I took a couple of dance classes as a kid, so I’m familiar with steps like the flap-ball-change.  But I’ve never seen the moves the Wal-Mart Shoppers Dance Troupe perfected for this extravaganza, a routine they call the Oblivious Shuffle.  

Each shopper/dancer leaned on his or her cart and pushed it slowly, oh so slowly, back and forth across the stage.  Their shuffling gate kept one shoe (or house slipper, as the case may be) on the floor at all times.  They made a “shush, shush” sound that underscored the “squeak, squeak” of their unoiled cart wheels.  The occasional crash of colliding carts played like cymbals in the composition. 

About half of the dancers had cell phones pressed to their ears.  One at a time, each would burst into song with lyrics like “…so that witch he married said they couldn’t take the kids Christmas Eve and I told her if you think I’m going to pick them up on HIS weekend, you can just tell their dad…” Their solos were incomprehensible, one-sided conversations when taken by themselves.  Together, they wove a timeless Christmas story. 

The dancers went through their movements with vacant, glassy stares that gave the illusion that they were totally unaware of everyone else around them.  

Think of Night of the Living Dead as a ballet. 

Meanwhile, the young ingénue wove her cart skillfully in and out of the shuffling throng, trying to reach the always-receding registers.  The checkers cried “price check on 10, change needed on 5, register frozen on 8“ in a surprisingly harmonious medley. 

I don’t want to give away the ending in case you decide to see it.  Suffice it to say our heroine bore a marked resemblance to the apple-wielding hag in Snow White as she hobbled to her SUV when the curtain fell.

Brownies vs. Donkeys

I recently learned that bake sales and car washes are no longer the preferred ways for school kids to raise money, nor is selling wrapping paper, pizza coupon books or chocolate bars. Instead, when some local middle school students needed to raise money for a field trip, they organized a game of  Donkey Basketball. Yes, Donkey Basketball. This is not a typo. 

As I understand it, the donkeys themselves were not playing basketball, rather the humans played basketball while riding donkeys around the court in the middle school gym. The players were adults from the community – school administrators, police officers, a newspaper reporter, and other donkey basketball enthusiasts. Several lucky students had the honor of acting as official courtside pooper scoopers. 

The details were somewhat sketchy, but the fund raiser was deemed a success. The kids raised a couple of thousand dollars, though there has been no report on the amount of poop scooped. Several players were thrown from their donkeys during the game, but there were no serious injuries and the donkeys were unscathed. Even better, the donkeys are now in negotiations for an endorsement deal with Nike, and have challenged the Harlem Globetrotters to an exhibition game. Not bad for a bunch of asses. (Go ahead, groan, I deserve it.)

I ♥ Vampires

Common sense would tell you that if you’re dating a vampire, it’s a good idea to invest in scarves and turtlenecks. If you’re unclear on this point, I recommend you read or watch Dracula, Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire, or something from the more contemporary Twilight series. 

If, however, you are dating a mere mortal, I suggest you invest in scarves and turtlenecks anyway because according to a recent article on msnbc.com, a New Zealand woman recently had a stroke and was partially paralyzed as a result of a powerful hickey inflicted on her neck by an unnamed suitor. Let’s call him Nick Hickey. Doctors report that the enthusiastic “love bite” was located near a major artery, which developed a clot that traveled to the woman’s heart and caused the stroke. Thankfully, the woman has since been treated and has fully recovered.  No word on the state of her relationship with Nick.

You know that here at The Big Sheep Blog, we’re very safety conscious so I wanted to suggest some possible ways to curb the potential spread of hickey-strokes. We could launch a public awareness campaign — public service announcements, YouTube videos, billboards – all explaining the dangers of poorly placed high suction hickeys. We could design some sort of hickey prophylactic device or a line of decorative neck protectors. Pharmaceutical companies could begin outrageously expensive taxpayer-funded research into hickey-stroke preventative vaccines and medications.

A little good old fashioned ingenuity could grow this into a whole new industry. Anyone got some cash to get us started?

Danger at the Mall

By now you’ve probably seen the video of the Pennsylvania woman who learned the hard way about the dangers of walking while texting. As she walked through the mall where she worked one day last week, she was engrossed in texting a friend. She walked directly to a fountain, where she toppled over the knee-high edge and fell in. She instantly got up, climbed out, and went on her way, soaking wet. 

Alert mall security guards caught the whole thing on video and posted it on YouTube, no doubt to educate the rest of us about the dangers of texting while walking. The video does not identify the woman and is taken from a distance so that she is unidentifiable, except to those who know her well, like her nephew, who called to alert her to the video. (In case you missed it, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGpVpsaItpU )

Like any good American who suffers embarrassment when the consequences of her stupidity are caught on tape in a public place and posted for all the world to see, the woman retained a lawyer and appeared on Good Morning America to discuss her embarrassment. I’m sure the lawyer will zealously represent his client and sue the mall, the security guards, the company that designed the fountain, the company that installed the fountain, the cell phone company, and the friend who the woman was texting.

We should thank this brave woman for pushing through her embarrassment to come forward and warn us of just how dangerous the mall can be. No doubt new regulations will be implemented at malls everywhere as soon as possible:

  • Shoppers will be issued a set of water wings upon entering the mall. Sure, that will make it hard to try on clothes, but safety is the number one priority here.
  • A 6 foot safety fence will be erected around all mall fountains.
  • A certified fountain life guard must be on duty during the mall’s operating hours.
  • Merchants must provide shopping bags that can serve as flotation devices in the unlikely event that a texting shopper makes a crash landing into the fountain, despite all the other precautions.

Let’s be safe out there, my fellow shoppers, and if you must text and walk, at least use a waterproof cell phone.

Snow Days, the Dark Side

Last week I wrote about the two North Carolina sisters who had created a foolproof ritual for causing snow days. I was in awe of their powers and suggested we enlist the sisters to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. 

Since then, it has come to my attention that the use of these powers has a dark side. Consider the unintended consequences of the sisters’ apparent overuse of their snow day ritual:

  • Tens of thousands of incredulous children and their horrified teachers must now make up missed days of school by attending school on SATURDAYS.
  • Municipalities have spent millions on snow and ice removal.
  • Thousands of drivers unwittingly entered into a game of bumper cars on the highway and must now deal with car repairs, insurance adjusters (shudder), and a lack of transportation.
  • Intrepid shoppers braved the snow to trudge to their local grocery stores, only to find the shelves in the bread aisle empty, save for one slightly squashed loaf of Wonder Bread.

  • Businesses everywhere were forced to close for days on end, costing business owners substantial income. 

One of those businesses, my friends, is a carpet mill in Georgia. That carpet mill was supposed to be making the carpet I ordered weeks ago for my newly renovated basement. But the great state of Georgia, lacking the resources to deal with a snowpocalyptic event (to borrow a lame phrase from the media), was shut down and my carpet was not produced. Thus, my carpet has yet to arrive and I remain carpetless, forced to live yet another week with the stuff that belongs in the basement stacked all over the rest of my house. I’m in clutter hell and I’m cranky about it. 

Yes, Snow Sisters, now it’s personal.  I know you didn’t intend these awful results and I’m going to give you a chance to atone. I expect you at my house bright and early Monday morning, knee pads strapped on, ready to lay carpet.

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors

Ah, remember the days before pharmaceutical companies saturated the airwaves with commercials for prescription drugs, when commercials featured more benign products, like Buster Brown shoes, Froot Loops, and unfiltered camel cigarettes?  

The never-ending drug commercials are disturbing on so many levels. First, I find it hard to believe that our collective health is so bad that we need a pill for every part of our body. Second, we’re clearly sending a message to our children that no matter what the problem, there’s a pill to fix it. Finally, in the event someone might actually benefit from a prescription drug, the list of possible side effects may lead a logical person to conclude that the risks outweigh the benefits. 

Let me summarize my understanding of possible side effects so you can make an informed decision (oh, and don’t forget to ask your doctor, your pharmacist, your mother-in-law, and your astrologer too).

  • This drug may cause parts of your body to swell up, fall off, or break out in a rash.
  • You may do things in your sleep that you do not remember upon awakening and you may find yourself sleeping with a glowing green butterfly.
  • This drug may cause irrational thoughts and behaviors.
  • This drug may make you more susceptible to the bubonic plague, monkey pox, and a variety of other rare deadly diseases.
  • Rarely, there have been reports of webbed feet, spontaneous combustion, and severe irreversible twitching.
  • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, walk and chew gum, or apply your make-up until you know how this drug affects you.
  • This drug may not be suitable for women who are pregnant, nursing, may become pregnant, or who are female.
  • If you can no longer see, hear, smell, or speak, call your doctor right away.
  • If you are unconscious, dying, or already dead, stop taking the drug and call your doctor right away.

 Now, I know this is scary stuff, but we should all be reassured by the expertise, research, and massive amounts of marketing that back up each and every drug. And, if you take multiple prescription drugs that may or may not help you and may or may not harm you, at the very least your purchase of those drugs is helping to support the economy.  So, thanks for that and I wish you the best of health.

For Sale: Weird, Creepy, Smelly Home

Having survived multiple corporate relocations, I have looked at hundreds of houses and consider myself an expert house hunter. Common sense (or failing that, HGTV) should tell you that when you’re trying to sell your house, it should be clean, clutter free and in reasonably good repair. When prospective buyers are coming, by all means flush the toilets and refrain from cooking anything too pungent. 

Regrettably, some home sellers are devoid of common sense, do not watch HGTV, and are therefore oblivious to conditions which are making prospective buyers flee from their homes in terror. Here are some of the most memorable houses that fall into that category.

It’s a fact of life –  lots of houses have funky smells. The worst smelling house I’ve been in was home to a lifelong cigar smoker. It stunk so badly that my daughter waited outside in the freezing rain while the rest of us held our breath and did a quick walk-through. The second-worst smelling house was home to many cats, several of which were lounging on the stairway with no intention of moving as we tried to navigate our way upstairs. This home also had well-trafficked litter boxes in the kitchen, master bathroom, and several other locations. Ick. Honorable mention in the stink category goes to a vacant house that reeked of large wet dogs. 

If you have an unusual hobby, your house may fall into the creepy category. One example is a home that had a whole room devoted to the owner’s porcelain doll collection. Trust me, nobody is going to have a warm cozy feeling when they walk into a room to find hundreds of glass eyes staring at them. Even creepier, however, was the historic home that showcased the owner’s taxidermy hobby. It had a grand staircase with a large landing inhabited by no fewer than 20 dead stuffed creatures. Again, not so warm and inviting.

The weirdest award goes to a home that had an old phone booth in the foyer. Perhaps Clark Kent might be interested in that one, but I had to pass on it. A final word of caution: if you happen to be letting your grandson live in the house while it’s on the market, be sure to remind him not to leave his marijuana out on the table when prospective buyers are coming. It’s just not polite.

Colossal Incompetence: A Case Study

There are plenty of things in this world that I am incapable of doing well, like synchronized swimming, computer repair, chemistry and dog grooming. Wisely, I chose not to pursue any of these endeavors as a career. Not so, according to my local newspaper, for a young man I’ll call Rob Err, in order to protect his embarrassed mother from further humiliation. 

It seems Rob’s chosen profession was burglary. Recently, he selected a house to break into. He parked his car in front of the house. Convenient, yes. Smart, not so much. He tried to jimmy open a door by using the sophisticated burglary tools he had brought with him, namely, his driver’s license. When that failed, he broke a window.  A neighbor heard glass breaking and came out and took a picture of Rob’s car and its license plate. Highly trained detectives confirmed Rob’s identity by the driver’s license he had thoughtfully left stuck in the door frame. Rob made the front page of the paper.

What would make Rob pursue a career that he so clearly sucks at doing? There are a few possibilities:

  1. Rob intentionally sabotaged himself as a cry for help, believing he would get first rate mental health services for free at the county jail;
  2. Rob is delusional and assumed he was just too smart to get caught;
  3. Rob was shooting for his 15 minutes of fame, the small town edition (in which case he has arguably succeeded); or
  4. Rob is really really really stupid. 

Whatever the reason, I hope Rob uses his time in jail to better himself and choose a new profession. As for Rob’s mother, I hope she makes a quick recovery from the embarrassment of her son’s colossal failure as she unpacks her things and settles into her new home in a town far far away.