Guns Don’t Shoot People. Ovens Shoot People.

And now, a few important safety tips:

Yes, I did just discover the Pulp-O-Mizer. Why do you ask?
Yes, I did just discover the Pulp-O-Mizer. Why do you ask?

1. Before you turn on your oven, make sure there are no bullets inside. A woman in Tampa was injured this week when she neglected to take this simple precaution. She said she was preheating her friend’s oven in order to make waffles, unaware that her friend used his oven to store  ammunition.

Personally, I find this story hard to believe. Who makes waffles in the oven? Modern waffle irons are electric appliances that provide their own heat; old-fashioned waffle irons use heat from the top of the stove. There’s no such thing as a baked waffle.

2. To be extra-safe, store your ammunition somewhere other than the oven. I’m going to go even further and recommend that you keep all your explosives out of the oven.

3. If you find a bunch of dead mice in a tree, you can eat up to 8 of them every 4-6 hours, but don’t eat more than 32 in a 24-hour period. Don’t eat any dead mice if you’re pregnant, have liver problems, or drink more than three alcoholic beverages per day. You can serve dead mice to your children, but only in smaller portions. Do not, under any circumstances, feed dead mice of unknown origin to your cat.

4. Remember to periodically check your water supply for decomposing human remains, especially if you’ve noticed that your water has “a funny taste”. Corpse water can sometimes be perfectly safe to drink; however, the presence of a dead body in your water tank may be an indication that you have a murderer running around.

5. If you do find a murderer on your property, don’t let him store anything in your oven.

How to Survive a Solar Eclipse

Here are a few last-minute tips for anyone planning to view today’s eclipse:

1. Don’t stare directly at the Sun. Staring is rude. The Sun has been around for billions of years, and without it, none of us would be here. Show a little respect.

2. Don’t look at the Sun through sunglasses. The Sun receives no compensation from the sunglass industry for the use of its name. The Sun believes this is unfair. The Sun filed a lawsuit. The Sun lost. The Sun is still bitter. A pair of sunglasses pointed at the Sun is like a slap in the Sun’s face.

3. Don’t look at the Sun through those 3-d glasses you got when you saw Avatar a couple years ago. 3-d glasses make two-dimensional images appear three-dimensional. The Sun is already three-dimensional. Who knows how many dimensions it would appear to be if you looked at it through 3-d glasses? I’m guessing four, four and a half, or nine. That’s too many for your tiny human brain to process. It would explode, the way computers always did on the original Star Trek TV series whenever anyone asked them to solve simple logic puzzles.

4. Consider using binoculars to project an image of the Sun onto the ground. But don’t look through the binoculars at the Sun. Also, don’t look through the binoculars into your neighbors’ windows; if your neighbors are anything like mine, this makes them inexplicably testy.

5. Consider using a pin and a large cardboard box to make a pinhole projector. But – and I cannot stress the importance of this enough – remember to use the pin to poke a hole in the box, not in your eye.

6. Consider using your fingers as a pinhole projector. Hold your hands so that your fingers overlap at right angles and the spaces between them form pinholes. But resist the temptation to make shadow figures with your fingers. You’ll get distracted and miss the whole eclipse.

I hope this helps make today’s eclipse a safe and enjoyable experience. If you have any favorite eclipse-viewing tips of your own, please leave them in the comments.

Ten Warning Signs That You May Be Experiencing a Wind Storm

There's some damage to this fence. It's subtle, but if you look closely, you can just barely make it out.

1. When walking outside, you spend much more than the usual amount of effort staying on course, remaining upright, and not flying away.

2. Your car rocks from side to side, especially when parked or stopped at a light, and the motion feels all wrong for an earthquake.

3. In a festive move, your city has kicked up their fall decorations a notch by arranging a tasteful display of giant tree limbs in the middle of most of your local roads.

4. All the trees in your neighborhood are moving in ways you’ve never seen before, as if they’re taking part in some sort of frenzied tree dance.

5. You vaguely remember having electricity. And not living in a Starbucks.

6. The tree in your front yard has fewer branches than you remember.

7. The fence in your back yard is somewhat less continuous than you remember.

8. Your roof has fewer shingles than you remember.

9. The people who live in the house three houses down from yours appear to have made the unusual landscaping choice of scattering shingles across their lawn. You applaud their good taste in choosing lawn shingles identical to your roof shingles.

10. The next morning, you fail to wake up in Oz.

Update: the electricity came back on early Friday morning.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Here are some simple tips that should help keep it safe and fun for everyone.

1. When planning your children’s trick-or-treating route, stick to residential neighborhoods. Try to avoid deserted industrial areas, construction sites, and toxic waste dumps.

novelty contact lenses2. Novelty contact lenses can add a new dimension to a Halloween costume.  Please get yours from a licensed eye care professional; resist the temptation to create your own using an empty plastic water bottle, a razor blade, and a set of colored markers.
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