A friend, her hubby, and three young kids are dressing up as characters from the Wizard of Oz. (Shout out to Sherry!) As a tribute to her fun family idea and anyone else out there who is trick-or-treating or dressing up as a unit, here are my favorite Top 10 Family Halloween Costumes, discovered on LDS Living.
Hon, has your family ever coordinated costumes? I’d love to hear from you!
In my last post, Tarantula Territory, I lamented that I didn’t see any tarantulas on a hike but, guess what I did see? A Plains Lubber Grasshopper! The approximately five-inch insect caught my attention–how could it not?–and I had to get a closer look. I looked at her and she at me. We bonded.
I can’t believe I got such a clear photo of her awesome exoskeleton, which protects her against predators and prevents dehydration. (Come to think of it, that could be a great pick-up line. “Excuse me, but you have an awesome exoskeleton.”) Plains Lubbers are native to southern and central USA and Northern Mexico.
Top Ten Cool Facts About Plains Lubber Grasshoppers
A Plains Lubber can’t fly because its wings are too small.
A lubber has a pod that holds approximately 20-35 eggs. After incubating in the ground during the colder months, or for as long as two years, the eggs hatch in May or June.
It uses two pairs of eyes (simple and compound) to see.
It uses its bluish-brown antennae to feel and smell.
The tympanum, or round membrane located on either side of its body near its legs allows it to “hear” or detect sound waves.
To breathe, it has spiracles, or tiny holes located all along the abdomen.
A lubber is capable of jumping from several inches to several feet using its oversized hind legs.
A young lubber will molt its exoskeleton five times at roughly 15-day intervals before reaching adulthood.
Bright coloring and patterning on a lubber’s shell warns predators that it’s unpalatable to downright poisonous. A lubber ingests substances in the plants it eats that, although harmless to humans and the lubber itself, are toxic to many predators. These chemicals may kill smaller creatures such as birds or leave larger animals quite ill after ingesting a lubber.
To protect against predators, a lubber can secrete a noxious foam while making a loud hissing sound. It can also regurgitate a dark brown liquid (commonly called tobacco spit) as a defense.
Hon, which category are you in? Cool or ewww?
For all of the ewww’s, consider the photos below as visual palette cleansers.
Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars.
For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, but in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees and declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. The change went into effect in 1971.
Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday.
Welcome to Top Ten April Fool’s Day Pranks, Part 2.
I’d love to hear if you have a favorite.
I must add a retraction to yesterday’s post.
Correction: Hubby pranks our kids. Example: Our youngest daughter scheduled an interview with the owner of a restaurant for a school project. Hubby told her a pipe burst at the restaurant and it would be closed for the month. “Oh no!” said our daughter. “April Fool’s!”said Hubby.
6) Subway Car Surfaces, 2001
Residents of Copenhagen who visited the square in front of the town hall were greeted by a strange sight. One of the subway cars from the city’s new subway, which was under construction, appeared to have burst up through the pavement. The subway car actually was a retired vehicle from the Stockholm subway. It had been cut at an angle and loose bricks were placed around it, to give the illusion that it had crashed up from below.
The stunt was sponsored by Gevalia Coffee, whose advertisements had an ongoing theme of vehicles popping up in strange locations, with the tagline “Be ready for unexpected guests.”
7) $99 Flights to Mars, 2009
Internet-based travel site Expedia.com announced it was offering flights to Mars for only $99, which it calculated to be a savings of $3 trillion for travelers. “In this economy, you can’t afford NOT to go!” it declared.
8) Kids Fly Free, 2004
Visitors to the website of discount airline RyanAir were greeted by the news that as a special April Fool’s Day offer kids would be allowed to ride free. A few seconds later the announcement added the second part of the offer: “For as long as they can hold on.”
9)King’s College Choir Uses Helium, 2014
The renowned King’s College Choir is not known for farce. This made it noteworthy when they released a video announcing that complex regulations had made it impractical to continue featuring young boys in the choir, and that they had been forced to find other ways to replicate the high pitch of the boys’ preadolescent voices. Because the older choral scholars had vetoed the “surgical solution,” the choir leaders had finally adopted a suggestion made by a colleague in the Chemistry Department — use helium. The video, demonstrating the use of helium during a performance, generated over 2 million views on YouTube.
10)Eau de Chlôrine, a perfume that makes you smell like a swimming pool, 2017
USA Swimming just put out this ad: Eau de Chlôrine is an exhilarating race of the senses that never lets up. It starts off strong, fast and soggy. A cannonball that bursts with a lasting and immense feeling of amusement. Buoyed by the passions of a life spent floating through love, happiness and chlorinated water. Eau de Chlôrine is a powerful, heady scent that leaves an impression — both in and out of the pool.
The tag line: With spring upon us, now is the time to swim in our scent.
Hon, pulling pranks on April Fool’s Day may not be a tradition in my house, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good one. After scouring lists of news reports, advertisements, and videos, I came up with a list of my favorite…
Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks
1) The Tasmanian Mock Walrus, 1984
In 1984, The Orlando Sentinel ran a story about a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (or TMW for short) that it said made a perfect pet. The creature was only four inches long, resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and had the temperament of a hamster. What made it such an ideal pet was that it never had to be bathed, used a litter box, and ate cockroaches. In fact, a single TMW could entirely rid a house of its cockroach problem.
Reportedly, some TMWs had been smuggled in from Tasmania, and there were efforts being made to breed them, but the local pest-control industry, sensing that the TMW posed a threat to its business, was pressuring the government not to allow them in the country. An accompanying photo showed protestors picketing outside the offices of the Orlando city government to call attention to the plight of the TMW. Dozens of people called the paper trying to find out where they could obtain their own TMW.
Skeptics noted that the photo of a TMW accompanying the article showed a creature that looked suspiciously like a mole rat.
2) UFO Lands Near London, 1989
On March 31, 1989, thousands of motorists driving on the highway outside London looked up in the air to see a glowing flying saucer descending on their city. Many of them pulled to the side of the road to watch the bizarre craft float through the air. The saucer finally landed in a field on the outskirts of London where local residents immediately called the police to warn them of an alien invasion. Soon the police arrived on the scene, and one brave officer approached the craft with his truncheon extended before him. When a door in the craft popped open, and a small, silver-suited figure emerged, the policeman ran in the opposite direction.
The saucer turned out to be a hot-air balloon that had been specially built to look like a UFO by Richard Branson, the 36-year-old chairman of Virgin Records. The stunt combined his passion for ballooning with his love of pranks. His plan was to land the craft in London’s Hyde Park on April 1. Unfortunately, the wind blew him off course, and he was forced to land a day early in the wrong location.
3) The Taco Liberty Bell
On April 1, 1996, a full page ad appeared in six major American newspapers (The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and USA Today) announcing that the fast food chain Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell. The full text of the ad read:
Taco Bell Buys The Liberty Bell
In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country’s most historic treasures. It will now be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country’s debt.
Taco Bell’s announcement generated an enormous response. Thousands of worried citizens called both Taco Bell’s headquarters and the National Park Service in Philadelphia to find out if the Bell had really been sold. Elaine Sevy, a Park Service spokeswoman, was quoted as saying, “We were shocked. We had no idea this was happening. We have just been getting hammered with phone calls from the public.”
The Philadelphia branch of the National Park Service arranged a midmorning news conference to assure the public that the Bell had not been sold. “The Liberty Bell is safe. It’s not for sale,” a spokeswoman announced.
In fact, the Bell could not have been sold by the federal government, as the ad implied, because the federal government did not own the Bell. It was the property of the City of Philadelphia.
At noon on April 1st, Taco Bell issued a second press release in which they confessed to the hoax, describing it as “The Best Joke of the Day.” The company also announced that it would donate $50,000 for the upkeep of the Liberty Bell.
Even the White House got in on the joke that same day when press secretary Mike McCurry told reporters that, as part of its ongoing privatization efforts “We’ll be doing a series of these. Ford Motor Co. is joining today in an effort to refurbish the Lincoln Memorial. It will be the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”
4)Flying Penguins, 2008
The BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet.
Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.” A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.
5) Amazon, 2017
Amazon has created an Alexa-themed joke, with a new “Petlexa” integration, that purports to make your Echo capable of understanding queries from your pets. It mostly just consists of this video, since Amazon (understandably) didn’t build a functional version of this.
Part 2 of the “Top Ten April Fool’s Pranks” will be posted tomorrow. Which one was your favorite so far?
I went to California for the weekend. Hubby and I were guests at our dear friends’ son’s wedding. It was outdoors. It was beautiful. I danced my dessert off.
Before this trip, I had only been to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The wedding was in San Luis Obispo, which is about halfway between LA and SF. We drove up the coast to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Hon, I’m already (California) dreaming of a trip back to the West Coast.
Here are the Top Ten Coolest Things I saw In California this weekend.
1. I’m combining these two photos to make up #1. Driving on the edge of mountains–cliffs, really–is a bit harrowing, but pretty cool. Hubby rented a convertible (picture me in an Audrey Hepburn-style scarf) so guess what I did? Turned around and took pics of the views behind us!
2. Everywhere we drove, cattle were grazing. Cows with calves and steer with horns were wandering over hills, sitting in the shade, and chewing their cud. Moo!
3. These Aoudads, a kind of Barbary sheep, were hanging out on the road to the Hearst Castle. Apparently, William Hearst had a large menagerie back in the day. At one point, he owned 250,000 acres of land and brought all kinds of animals to his ranch.
4. Many marble statues adorn the Hearst Castle. I really liked this one.
5. The countryside is dotted with wineries. Vineyards carpet the hills and Mediterranean architecture adds European flavor. Salute!
6. Hon, you know how I love texture and color? This garden has both. I love the contrast between the colors and the grey rocks. I have no idea what these plants are called, so if you do, would you please let me know and I’ll add the info?
7. This indoor pool is enchanting. Maybe it was the millions of tiny blue mosaics or the lighting or the smaller pool room, but standing at water’s edge I felt a romance or drama or mystery coming on.
8. I can’t believe I got this photo. Have you ever tried to photograph a hummingbird? Enough said!
9. What could be cooler than watching young, male Elephant Seals swim, snooze, spar, snort and scratch? I guess they get itchy, too!