Got NRG?

If those sedentary New Year’s Eves sitting on your couch with a plate of nachos just aren’t cutting it anymore… If you just feel the need to show off those new athletic skills you’ve honed watching all the Jenny Craig commercials… If you’re feeling the need to bond with Al Gore… then hop in your Prius and drive to Times Square.

Once there, courtesy of Duracell, you can hop on a Power Rover and help power the famous ball. These are basically big stationary bikes located around the area. They will store up the collective pedal power pumped into them through out the evening and light up the big ball for its classic drop to hearken the new year.

I sure hope there’s backup power, otherwise I fear we’ll only get the collective effort of a handful of drunk revelers, resulting in a barely glowing orb, flickering in and out of life as it descends. Come to think of it, that may be an accurate, albeit majorly depressing, harbinger of the year to come.

The Realities of the One

Christmas Day’s near miss terror attack on a Northwest Airlines flight headed to Detroit was arguably thwarted mostly by good luck. The would-be suicide bomber’s detonator failed. The quick thinking passengers then acted to subdue the man before he had a chance to fix the faulty bomb.

The news cycle is now in full-on scare mode. Everyone is calling for investigations on how the man could have been allowed on the plane. Looking into the man’s history, someone should have known he was dangerous. TSA is introducing new security regulations mostly intended to make us feel safer when we fly. And Republicans are positioning this as a failure of Obama’s national security policy.

Very little is being said about the realities of preventing a random single attacker. This guy, even in retrospect, was relatively low risk. Looked at another way, there are hundreds of thousands of people around the planet that are of a similar risk level as this guy was. And those are just the people we are aware of. The number probably climbs into the millions if we could truly analyze everyone’s behavior. There’s no practical way to track and monitor all of these people.

But even so, shouldn’t he have been prevented from getting on the plane? At what cost? There are no magic detectors for passengers headed onto planes. Short of requiring that we all fly naked with no luggage or carry-ons and remain in our seats throughout the flight, there will always be some risk that someone will slip through. And even if we managed to make the planes safe, trying to provide similar security measures to every gathering of a few hundred people would be prohibitive. We just squeeze the balloon. Make the planes safe, and the terrorists will move to shopping malls, movies theaters, trains, or some other venue.

The simple reality is that while reasonable precautions are certainly in order, and we should all be vigilant against emerging threats, none of us is ever guaranteed to be 100% safe. Sometimes we get through the day simply because we weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. We didn’t die in a traffic accident, we didn’t fall in the tub, we weren’t on the flight with the mechanical failure, and we weren’t walking on the sidewalk near where the car-bomb went off.

I’m elated that guy’s bomb failed. But I’m unwilling to let the fact that he tried drive me into a sense of fear about flying or other terrorist attacks. Every time we succumb to that fear, the terrorists actually win, whether they killed anyone or not. We can’t allow their effort alone to be a success.

Happy Life Day

It seems that back in 1978, hot on the heels of the so-called Summer of Star Wars, CBS aired a holiday special of the movie. It was only aired the one time. This poor unfortunate classic wanna-be. While its parent movie was destined to be a timeless classic, this special, despite aspirations to join the ranks of The Grinch, Frosty, and Rudolph, wound up in the scrap pile like so much holiday wrapping paper. It’s hard to imagine how this missed. After all, if adding Bea Arthur and Art Carney, with a special musical appearance by Jefferson Starship, to the cast doesn’t make Mark, Carrie, and Harrison more Christmassy, then I guess nothing does.

For your viewing pleasure, the special has been boiled down to its five minute essence, which I’m sure you’ll agree is more than enough. Enjoy…

Urgent Snuggie Update

Now that you can even get a Snuggie in a full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme, I can’t imagine why you’d need to shop further for mobile domestic warmth products. Don’t those nice young men look toasty? And nothing says I’m the coolest dude on campus like TMNT gear.

But just in case you’re still feeling a chill in the room, those wacky Japanese can hook you up. You’ll be the envy of the household in this mummy bag with feet. (I’d recommend a nice pair of wool socks though.)

Your honey will certainly understand that tonight is not the night when they find you wrapped in this sexy nylon bodysuit. Ohh baby… I wonder if this comes in a TMNT theme?

Light a Fire Somewhere Special

There is an alternative medicine technique known as ear candling that claims to do everything from remove ear wax to stabilize your emotions, purify your blood, or even align your chakras. (Important because I’m sure you know how painful having your chakras out of whack can be.)

The process involves sticking a special hollow candle in your ear and lighting the sucker up. The idea is that the flame draws on the ear canal and creates a mild vacuum. If it did, I suppose I can see how you could rationalize why that might dislodge ear wax, but I suspect it would require a much larger ear drum damaging vacuum to actually remove any wax buildup. No matter, since the physics is flawed anyway. An open tube with warm air at one end would create a draft through the tube as the hot air rose, assuming there was an air supply in your head somewhere. But nobody’s that blonde, so you won’t really get a vacuum.

I have no idea why this should purify your blood. However, it does make a modicum of sense that it would stabilize your emotions. After all, you’d need to achieve an unnatural level of calm before allowing a friend to shove a flaming stick in your ear.

And if this seems like a good idea, and your friend is a really good sport, you might also try the Butt Candle. This is an actual product, intended to relieve constipation and intestinal blockage. It works pretty much like the ear candle except you use a different orifice. And there are a few additional precautions. For example, should you have excessive hair “down there,” the instructions recommend you use a plant mister to pre-dampen the area and thus avoid any “follicular ignition.”

It strikes me there may be other issues as well. For example, your ear isn’t prone to emitting flammable gasses. Having partaken in a few locker room fart lightings over the years, the prospect of open flames in that region, especially while constipated, are met with a touch of trepidation.

And it recommends you use this product while lying on your back and holding your knees toward your chest. While this is certainly a dignified position for anyone to be in with a flaming stick up their butt, I don’t know if they’ve fully considered the male anatomy here. When guys are in that position, stuff that you’d rather not set on fire should be hanging near the open flame. Sing it with me… “Chet’s nuts roasting on an open fire…

I can only assume the plan is that by the time you get into this position, have the hair burned off your butt, your junk roasted medium well, and your friend gets the pictures up on the Internet, constipation is the least of your worries.