Category Archives: silliness

the pullet surprise

I certainly won’t ever win the Pulitzer Prize, but I think I have a winner with this photo I took a few years ago.

Have you ever come across the term eggcorn? It’s a kind of misheard phrase, much like a mondegreen but not necessarily from a misheard poem or song lyric. A while back, I saw a comment thread on Facebook where a friend of a friend mentioned someone mishearing the Pulitzer Prize as the Pullet Surprise. Naturally, this photo came to mind. And then it makes me want to see if I can find photographic illustrations of some other such misheard phrases. Do you have any favorite misheard phrases?

the chicken suspects fowl play

The happy hen, proudly displaying her award-winning feathers at the country fair.

But wait. What does that say?

What, what, WHAT?


happiness is not a potato

No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. (Charlotte Bronte, Villette)

Happiness is not a potato.

Close to 2 years ago, I was preparing to roast some vegetables for dinner. I washed a potato, and started to cut out some of the eyes that looked like they would be a bit tough, when, to my surprise, I had the impression that the potato was looking back at me. Yes, we all know that potatoes have eyes, but they don’t usually have mournful eyes. Further, I realized that the “eye” I was cutting into with the point of my knife was actually more like the potato’s nostril. Filled with remorse, I stopped to take some photos of my sad, sad potato. (And then I continued to cut it up and put it in a roasting pan.)
Some days later, I came across the quote above, by Charlotte Bronte. Indeed, happiness is not a potato, and I had the photographic proof.

If anything, as far as I can tell, sadness is a potato.

Sad potato is sad.¹

While perhaps not with the same frequency as my sharing of leaves, this is far from the first time I’ve shared vegetables with faces. In fact, 3 years ago, a butternut squash and I declared November 21st to be International Day of the Odd Vegetable.² Together, the squash and I reminisced about an eggplant we once knew.

How about you? Have you come across any produce with personality?


¹ That’s what I was imagining I’d call a post about this potato.
² Alternately, The Day of Peculiar Produce.

Happy International Pants Day!

Today is the day when millions of people around the world come together in the spirit of pants. In thousands of cities around the world, people celebrated by wearing pants big and small. Whether lounging at home in pajama pants, stretching theyr legs in yoga pants, or striding out into the world of work wearing more professional pants, pants-wearers world wide wore their pants proudly. “It really warms my heart to see so many people wearing pants,” a woman said tearfully on a New York street corner. Indeed, wearing pants has been warming the hearts (not to mention the legs) of millions of people every day. “My grandpa always said he was proud to wear the pants in our family. I know he’d be just as proud to see all his great grandchildren wearing pants as well,” said a father of several rambunctious pants-clad girls at a pants rally in Kansas City. As Mark Twain once said, or maybe it was the Dalai Lama, “Wearing clothes with legs divided, will ever keep our hearts united!”

It may not surprise you that none of the above paragraph was true. At least to the best of my knowledge. What I know to be true is that today is a special day for me and my pants. Today marks the 9th anniversary of this blog. I hope that you, too, wore pants today to celebrate with me.

take your tiger to work day

As part of my Mother’s Day present, Theo gave me temporary custody of his much-loved new tiger, Tigs. First it was going to be just for the day, but then he decided I should get to have Tigs for a week. Later that week, I had a lab meeting in Boston, and I decided that I would appreciate the company of a tiger for my day.

First, Tigs helped me to feed the parking meter. Because it really bites to get a parking ticket. (And tigers know all about bites.)

Next, we walked down to the building where I had my meeting.

We made sure to stop to admire the spring flowers along the way.


After a bit, we headed back out to pick up some provisions. Again, we admired the scenery along the way.

For lunch, we opted for Thai food.

Then, we shared some coffee.

Back at the meeting, Tigs offered some editing advice on an abstract.

Then he did some light reading to keep himself amused while the humans discussed research.

When it was time to go, Tigs couldn’t resist a slide down the banister on our way out.

And then we buckled back in for the long drive home.

Overall, Tigs made a delightful workday companion. And from the happy expression on his face, I’m quite sure he enjoyed his big day in the big city.

tiger’s eye views

A view of a tiger’s eye (and other eye, and nose and whiskers) at the zoo.

A toy tiger’s eye.

A piece of tiger’s eye.

I don’t know about you, but I totally have Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” running through my head now. And if you don’t have it going through your head having read that, I can only assume that you don’t know the song. Or that you are somehow not susceptible to catching earworms.

car safety for pumpkins