App That Claims to Cure My Fear of Spiders Is a House of Spidery Lies

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LIES. LIES. LIES.

GateHouse — I fear only two things in this hard cold world: Heights and spiders. That’s it. Well, I’m also sort of afraid of whales. Because they’re monstrous, and they live in the hard cold sea. I know everyone’s all like “But they’re harmless filter feeders who live on krill and plankton and sing songs to each other and occasionally save the Starship Enterprise,” yeah well that’s what the liberal media wants you to believe. What if they’re actually eating dolphins and cows and old pirates? You just don’t know about whales, is what I’m saying. (I’m also afraid of opening tubes of cinnamon rolls, because you never know when that POP is coming. Oh, and clowns, God, how did I forget about clowns? And the Incredible Hulk. And hot air balloons. Riding on a hot air balloon, are you kidding me, it’s like climbing into a basket containing your own death and then sending it 5,000 feet into the air. I’d rather swim around in a clown car full of whales.)

Anyway, apparently I’m not alone in these fears — well, at least one of them — because there is a new app designed to help people squash their arachnophobias.

The app is called Phobia Free and before you ask, no, of course I haven’t downloaded it. This is for two reasons:

  1. It’s like four bucks, and I don’t know how much you think newspapers pay these days, but I assure you it’s less than four bucks and
  2. That would indicate I want to cure this fear of spiders. I don’t. I’m comfortable with it. It and I have made it 38 happy years, we see no need to go “improving ourselves” now.

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That Store-Bought Smoothie Could Have 1,446 Calories (GQ)

smoothie-gq-fitness-blender-strawberry-workout-gymGQ — Prior to writing this piece about smoothies, I knew precisely two facts about smoothies: 1) The Merrillville, Indiana shopping mall that I frequented on more lively nights in 1992 contained a terrific Orange Julius, and 2) In 2014, smoothies are expensive. Very expensive. For the price of two large smoothies at one of my many local purveyors, I could purchase a Vespa.

I did not understand why this has become the case, or why these days Big Smoothie is, if not running the world, at least giving it the squeeze. You can’t swing a decorative celery stalk without hitting an ad for a $400 juicer or a severe-sounding cleanse of some kind, and my lonely Orange Julius by Camelot Music has become an entire universe of smoothie restaurants, juice bars, organic drink-houses, and Gwyneth Paltrows.

So I set out to explore this squishy world, reporting back to you, the GQ reader, with everything you need to know about the suddenly ubiquitous and disconcertingly Wall-E-like practice of consuming your calories through a straw.

Read the full story at GQ.

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The 38 Steps to Enduring a Massive Water Leak in Your House

Noah

I looked exactly like this.

 

1. Pipe bursts, flooding living room, kitchen and rest of downstairs with a half-inch of water

2. Realize house is largely underwater

3. Hurriedly shuffle wife and children outside, lock door, panic panickedly, wish you’d selected a different god, one who’s less of a jerk

4. Sweep sheets of water out of open doors of house with pitifully inadequate squeegee

5. Call House Unwettening People

6. Watch helplessly as House Unwettening People move everything in your house out of the way to make room for 300 high-speed fans

7. Wonder how much this is going to cost

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The Perpetually Tired Man’s Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep (GQ)

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GQ — We all know we’re living in a world that is deeply unrested—please join us in rolling your eyes at the phrase “eight hours a night”—but the statistics are overwhelming. One in four Americans suffers from a sleep disorder, says M. Safwan Badr, M.D., president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, adding that sleeplessness is linked to a higher risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and general dying. “The return on investment of good sleep is incalculable,” he says.

Even if you’re stuck with less sleep than you’d like, there are shortcuts to boost quality if not quantity. And no, bourbon before bed isn’t what we mean.

The full story at GQ.com.

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How Are Rotisserie Chickens Not The Only Things People Eat?

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NickMom

9. They’re already done.

8. Seriously, they’re done. You take them home, and dinner is done.

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Read the full list over at NickMom.
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Fourth Grade is the Year We All Turn Into F-R-E-A-K-S

Basically what I looked like in fourth grade, except my shirts were more colorful

Basically what I looked like in fourth grade, except my shirts were more colorful

Island Packet — Fourth grade is the worst. Don’t get me wrong. It’s the best. My son is in fourth grade now; his school is great, and his teacher wonderful. But it’s also the year an invisible switch flips, when new neurons in kids’ brains connected to previously undiscovered power sources, where you, as a parent, begin to realize, sigh, now I have to start shaping decisions and perspectives. This is obviously a lot harder than teaching baseball and Scrabble, which I am also not good at.

I’m biased, probably. A lot of things happened to me in fourth grade. We moved to a new town, a tiny cluster of houses, gas stations and precisely one stoplight in a sleepy and farmy corner of Indiana. At the time, this represented abandoning everyone I ever knew in favor of — and this is my real memory — a house that had mice on a road with no name. I got glasses that year, but when I say glasses, I don’t mean “the things you’re wearing to read this newspaper,” I mean “optometric dinner plates that Harry Caray would have rejected as too subtle, even in his current state.” I had my first encounters with bullies, school discipline and crushes. The combination of these things drop-kicked me into some new level of life, some invisible maturity bracket I mark, pretty arbitrarily, in fourth grade.

It’s also the year — at least in this house — that the construction of the rules of life begins, the year my oldest son is beginning to discern what is right and what is wrong and, most importantly, that stories can be malleable and dependent on point of view.

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‘I Tell People We’re Like the United Nations': How Ben Jaffe Preserves Preservation Hall

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South Magazine — There aren’t many music rooms in the land more safeguarded, undiluted and pleasingly frozen in time than Preservation Hall in New Orleans, a low-lit and spookily evocative venue that’s about the size of your living room and way more sparsely decorated.

Since 1961, the room has hosted one primary tenant: the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose members have both lit up St. Peter Street and served as traveling evangelists of the New Orleans music for 50 years. But though the band has been guarding and perpetuating the sound of its birthplace for more than a half a century, last year they did something they’d never done before: drop an album of original material. That record, “That’s It!’, composed by the band and produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, earned the group fresh ears, got it playing with the Roots on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and properly kicked off the next 50 years of its history.

“That’s It!” was partly the brainchild of bassist/sousaphonist Ben Jaffe, who, as the hall’s creative director as well as the son of founders Allan and Sandy Jaffe, is charged with guarding and expanding the foundations laid by everyone from Jelly Roll Morton to King Oliver to Louis Armstrong. He talked to South about how to get that done.

Does your daughter have any notion what her dad does for a living?
Well she doesn’t know we make money doing it (laughs). But she understands that music is going on. She comes to the Hall to see us, and she wants to be around the music. She loves it; kids are such little blank hard drives.

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The ‘Super’ in ‘Super Lice’ is a Positive, Right?

 

There is no way in hell I'm Googling "super lice," so please enjoy this picture of a sleepy koala.

There is no way in hell I’m Googling “super lice,” so please enjoy this picture of a sleepy koala.

GateHouse — WARNING: Today’s column will include repeated uses of the phrase “SUPER LICE.” If you are like me — which you are not, unless you’re currently hopscotching around the room squealing “ew ew ew ew” and flailing your hands around like a Motown backup dancer from 1963 — you will receive this news with the kind of horror they get in bad old monster movies when the aliens attack, or whenever Mitch McConnell walks into a room. Pretty much whenever they put the word “super” before the name of an insect, you know you’re in for a long afternoon.

I’ll just come right out and say this: My kids had lice last year. Both kids. Two kids, two heads, 5,000 lice. We understood it with the older one, what with the way he runs into other things with his head a lot (true story), but we’re still not sure what happened with the baby, who’s usually too busy eating donuts to really interact with other children. The good news was we knew where the lice came from, we knew who passed them on, and my children are under strict orders to never again report to that bus stop.

(I am actually psychosomatically itching right now writing this column. I have a lot of problems. You’d be surprised how many of them are insect-based.)

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Fine, Then YOU Try Explaining That “Empire Strikes Back” Kiss to a 10-Year-Old

images-1Island Packet — What did you guys do this weekend? Did you sleep in, relax, maybe lounge about on the porch? Did you get some sun, go golfing, head out for a leisurely bike ride? Me? Oh thanks for asking, I had to explain to a fourth-grader why a sister passionately kissing her brother is weird.

Anyone within a certain age (30-50), gender (dudes) and personality type (not rugby players) knows that sentence means one thing: “The Empire Strikes Back,” which the little man and I watched this weekend. We did this for two reasons: First, he’s 10, and it is a crucial plateau in the emotional education of a 10-year-old to watch “The Empire Strikes Back” — all the pediatricians say so. (Sure, not any I could find around here, but I’m sure that underneath their responses of “What are you talking about?” and “Are you being serious right now? and “Mr. Vrabel, this is the third time we’ve had to tell you, please stop calling our office,” they were secretly agreeing with me.)

Read more here.

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Keith Richards Wrote a Kids’ Book — Why Can’t These Guys?

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NickMom — Keith Richards teamed up with his daughter to write a children’s book called “Gus & Me.” That’s right, KEITH RICHARDS is now more appropriate for your children than Hannah Montana. Here are other kids’ books we’d like to see from our valuable rock stars.

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