Bobby's Blog
18 April

Think It's Safe To Go Back In The Water? Think Again!

As if sharks aren't scary and deadly enough, we're now learning that modern sharks aren't the living fossils we once thought they were. Previous studies of the predator fish told us that sharks haven't and don't evolve over the epochs, but a new find -- a 325-million-year-old shark named Ozarcus mapesae -- is chewing up the old paradigm.

Philippe Janvier, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Museum National de l’Histoire Naturelle in Paris says “sharks and their allies may well be the anatomically most advanced jawed vertebrates, which evolved through a considerable reduction of their ability to produce bone.” Without heavy bones to carry around, modern day sharks are sleeker, faster and lighter, which makes them more effective predators than their predecessors.

I'm guessing most humans, like me, don't want to believe that the shark is still evolving features that make them more and more fearsome over time -- especially those of us who like swimming in the sea. But I'm guessing we'll be hearing more about the ocean's top predator and its evolutionary state, which won't keep me out of the water, but will certainly give me someThing to think about while I'm swimming through the shark's turf.

I'll see you next week,

Shark shaped carrying bagShark PillowShark Tee t-shirt

11 April

A Name Fit For A Queen

Last year 146 sets of parents named their baby girls Khaleesi after the "Game of Thrones" character, despite the fact that the moniker is the character's title, not her name. The character's name is actually Daenerys Targaryen of House Targaryen, but when she was sold into marriage to a Dothraki Khal, she became his queen, Khaleesi.

But that's not all. The Dothraki Khaleesi is also the rightful queen of the seven kingdoms of Westeros -- depending on who you talk to, of course. The right to the throne is hotly contested by Westerosi across all seven kingdoms. But the character who now calls herself Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons claims the Iron Throne as her birthright. She's a powerful woman and a force to be reckoned with, if the season four premier is any indication.

I guess it's kind of cool to name your daughter after a Mother of Dragons. Maybe she'll grow up to be as strong and beautiful as her namesake. But then again, I might have thought twice about naming my kid after any of the GoT players because if there's one thing GoT fans have learned, it's not to get too attached to a character -- as soon as you do, they will surely die.

I'll see you next week,

Dragon Figures Set Game of Thrones Tee T-shirtBlack Dragon Tee T-shirt

04 April

Baseball is Back!

Despite the the fact that most of the country is still suffering brutal cold weather, one Thing heralds the coming of summer like nothing else: baseball's opening day! Monday's first full day of regular season games marked the start of the official season with 26 teams competing in 13 games for nine full hours of baseball.

With the boys of summer back on the field, my daydreams turn to the ballpark. The hot dogs. Or better yet, corn dogs. The boiled peanuts. The crowds. The tailgate parties. The thrill of a home team victory. There's just nothing like going to a baseball game to make a lazy summer day even lazier. And if there's one Thing I like, it's finding ways to be lazy.

Baseball has changed a lot since I was a kid. EveryThing from official rules, to bats and helmets to player salaries are different now, but when I get to the ballpark, the sights, smells and sounds take me right back to childhood when three generations of my family would pile into my grandfather's old station wagon and head out for game day. The car is smaller now and so is our crew, but one Thing will never change: baseball means summer and summer means family days at the ball game.

I'll see you next week,

28 March

I, Spock

Leonard Nimoy celebrated his 83rd birthday on March 26th. Sadly, I wasn't invited to his party, so I decided to have a celebration of my own by bingeing on episodes of the Star Trek: The Original Series every night. As I watched episode after episode, I came to two conclusions: 1) "The Trouble with Tribbles" is my favorite episode of all time and 2) Mr. Spock was the most quotable Star Trek character ever - in any of the franchise's series. So in honor of Mr. Nimoy's birthday, I made a list of my favorite Spockisms:

  1. Vulcans never bluff.
  2. Emotions are alien to me. I'm a scientist.
  3. Illogical.
  4. Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans.
  5. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.
  6. Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
  7. Fascinating.

What are your favorite Spockisms? Can't think of any? Sit down with your DVDs or check out this very comprehensive list. And now I leave you with my very favorite Spockism of all: Live long and prosper.

I'll see you next week!

Tribbles Star TrekStar Trek Trading Cards

21 March

Jeff Jones Gives Things Some Props

Butler Bulletin editor Jeff Jones wrote a great article about Things this week. Specifically, all the Things we have that he himself can't possibly live without. I say the article is great not only because Jones is a good writer (he is), but because we share some specific (perhaps peculiar) tastes in Things we can't possibly live without.

One of the Things that tops his list is our Backward Clock, a Thing everyone should own if only to watch the mayhem it creates. He had to have the Desktop Drum Set (for "stress relief") and the Magic Shot Shooting Gallery, which is a Thing everyone seems to love for home and office. He mentions t-shirts I didn't even know we had and Things we used to sell like the million dollar bill along with some of our newest Things like Dungeons and Dragons Clue and the Punch Out Paper Chess Set, which he agrees is perfect for geeky road trips.

When he's not editing the Butler Bulletin, Jones "volunteers as the test subject for hand buzzers, stun guns and assorted electronic shock devices." To be written up in any newspaper makes us happy and proud, but to admired and recognized by a kindred spirit like Jeff Jones, well, that's a truly wonderful Thing.

Now, take a moment to think of some Things you can't possibly live without and I'll see you next week!

Cut out paper chess setproblem solver t-shirtdesktop drum set

14 March

Things for April Fool's

April Fool's Day might not be an officially recognized national holiday, but maybe it should be. After all, it has a long, long history stretching back to the Roman festival of Hilaria (March 25) and the Medieval Feast of Fools (December 28.) In my book, it's one of the top Things to celebrate all year and there's still plenty of time to stock up for the holiday.

And what's the best way to celebrate a fool's day? With practical jokes and pranks, of course! Two of my favorites are poop pranks. Attaching a Plastic Doo to a shoe makes it look like they've stepped in a pile. And the Sack of doo makes a great gag gift for your favorite fool.

If poop jokes aren't your style, try one of our classic pranks. Mix Belch Powder into a hot drink, stand back and wait for the burpy eruptions or try our Disappearing Ink prank and fool them into thinking you've ruined their favorite outfit. Finally, my personal favorite: the Bar Bug. It works every time!

Happy All Fool's Day! I'll see you next week,

07 March

Bacon Dongle?

Want to wake up every morning to the sound and smell of frying bacon? You don't have to hire a cook -- there's an app for that. Oscar Mayer's "Wake Up and Smell the Bacon" iPhone dongle will wake you to the sound of frying bacon. But if you want to get the sound and smell, you'll have to enter their contest.

But first, you might ask yourself (as I did) what the heck is a dongle? According to the Wiki, it's a "small piece of hardware that attaches to computer, TV, or other electronic device, and that when attached enables additional functions such as copy protection, audio, video, games, data, or other services."

To get one of Oscar Mayer's dongles, download the iPhone app and enter to win the bacon smell-producing device by April 4th. The company will then choose 4,700 lucky winners at random to receive the dongle and get the full bacon treatment every morning! Now...if they could just make an app for actually making the bacon!

Good luck! I'll see you next week,

Bacon Tee

28 February

Round Is A Shape

Every year, I try to get in shape and every year my shape gets a little rounder. It's not easy to just "get back in shape" like it was back in my twenties or thirties. I'm battling the forces of nature now. I'm up against unbeatable Things like aging. And gravity.

But still, I try. Not that I mind my round shape. I don't. Not really. But I know it's not healthy and I really do feel better when I shed a few pounds and get moving. Or the other way around.

This year I'm trying someThing different. Instead of trying to get myself up in the morning to get to a gym, working with a personal trainer who missed his calling as a drill sergeant or taking my life in my hands jogging in the wee hours of the morning, I've decided to try the home workout. With a few free weights and some well-designed calisthenics, I should be in shape by summer. Or at maybe I'll at least change my shape from round to oblong.

Time to get moving! I'll see you next week,

21 February

Weirdest Clown Ever

Do you follow News of the Weird? It's one of my favorite news sources. When I get tired of hearing all the awful Things going on around the globe, I click over to Chuck Shepherd's site for a little relief from the news of the world. Today, I found this tasty little gem.

Zovello is the Bonomo Magic Clown is part magician, part clown, part psychic and all the way weird. How those kids sat through his act is beyond me, even if they were plied with sugary taffy and given those weird fez hats to wear.

The strangest Thing about Zovello is how scary his make-up looks. I think he might well be the scariest clown I've ever seen on film -- and I'm a fan of the horror genre. While he's up there turning paper into eggs, fabric into birds and doing psychic tricks, I almost want to yell "run" at the kids in the studio audience -- just like any good horror flick makes you want to do. I think the Bonomo Turkish Taffy people would have been better off with one of our scary horror movie clowns than creepy old Zovello!

Watch out for evil clowns and I'll see you next week,

14 February

Zombie Things

Zombies are the Big Thing these days. They're big in social networking: the Zombies "society/culture website" on Facebook has nearly 2 million fans. They're big in the movies: Wiki "zombie movies" and you get a list of over 350 films -- and those are just the high-budget features! And they're even bigger on television. The mid-season premier of AMC's "The Walking Dead" ate its prime time competition for breakfast, pummeling NBC's coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics in the ratings.

Putting a weekly drama series up against the games could have been risky, but it seems viewers were more interested in the post-prison lives of Michonne, Carl and Rick than who would take home winter gold from Sochi. With nearly 16 million viewers tuned in, the show trounced everything else on television. Even CBS' Beatles Tribute couldn't beat the zombies at the ratings game!

It's easy to see why fans of the horror genre love the show, but even the gore-adverse put aside their squeamishness to watch the characters navigate this post-apocalyptic world where truth is subjective and a deadly evil lurks within every one of us. It's hard to say why we like zombies so much, but maybe it's easy to understand why we love "The Walking Dead." Dramatic, well-written and well-produced, the show draws viewers in with great storylines, weird plot twists and characters we can care about. It's just good television.

Watch your step. I'll see you next week,