October 2003 Archives

O Banana, How Slippery Art Thou?

Banana peels are ridiculously famous for causing people to slip and fall. We've been exposed to this notion our entire lives, but I have never actually slipped on one. I have yet to even come close to slipping on one. I don't even know anybody who has slipped on one.

I started wondering just how slippery are banana peels? Do they even warrant this notorious reputation?

I decided to do a little experiment to measure the relative slipperiness of banana peels in comparison to other fruit peels and items.

You may feel that I am not suited to conduct such a science experiment, given that I'm only a writer. If so, I would like to point out that not only did I marry a physics teacher, but I have also had SEX with her.

Following her suggestions, we decided to use a spring scale to measure the force of friction created by a banana peel on a given surface (my dining room table). My sneaker was used to provide a uniform source of weight on the items we were measuring, and my son's toy truck was used to provide a constant source of motion to pull them. Coincidentally, my son was used to provide a constant source of tears until he could have his truck back.


Banana Peel (Inside): I decided to start with the banana peel, white inside-part face down. The force of friction was 1.96 Newtons. This is the benchmark. I scientifically arrived at this number by very carefully calculating how to get my wife to do it.

Shoe: The force of friction created by the sneaker alone -- no banana peel at all, was 4.51 Newtons! We are off to an interesting start. The inside of a banana peel is definitely more slippery than not stepping on one at all. In fact, it is 43% more slippery.

Banana Peel (outside): I then flipped the banana peel over and tested the friction created by the yellow outside of the peel. The friction registered at 5.00 N! That's not only much LESS slippery than the inside of the peel, it's actually 11% MORE stable than the sole of my sneaker.

At first I thought that was pretty cool, but then I realized if I were actually to step on it yellow side down, I'd still be stepping directly ON the slippery inside of the peel and land on my ass. But if I could only make a shoe with banana peel soles, (yellow-side down) -- I'd never fall again! They don't even have a word yet for that level of irony.

Bagel: I next tested a sesame bagel. Shockingly it was MORE slippery than the so-called "slippery banana peel." It measured only .834 N of friction which is a whopping 57% MORE slippery. I was beginning to wonder if the Banana Peel just happened to have a good P.R. person.

While you should still keep an eye out for banana peels, you should definitely keep an even bigger eye out for sesame bagels. (Especially if you are jogging, walking, or on Atkins.)

Lemon: A lemon peel was just slightly more slippery than a banana peel by 5%, coming in with a force of friction of 1.86 N.

Meat: According to my measurments, a slice of roast beef is also 5% MORE likely to make you slip than a banana peel. It is, however, 80% more likely to end up packed in your colon. (The same can be said of Richard Simmons.)

Diaper: Finally I tested a Huggies for Newborns. It was the by far the most slippery of the items with a .589 N force of friction. This diaper was clean. For those of you curious about how slippery a dirty diaper is, I formally invite you to test that on your own dining room table, and let me know.

Sadly (and gladly), I had no more Pickled Pork Rinds left to test.

I think we have learned that while a banana peel is somewhat slippery, it's not really that much more slippery than anything else that is somewhat slippery.

Why this thing is famous at all is a mystery to me -- not banana peels -- Ashlee Simpson. Seriously, I don't get it. Maybe my next experiment will be to figure that out.

Until then, I do hope you enjoyed The Sneeze's first foray into the exciting world of half-assed science. If you prefer fun science that uses its whole ass, I strongly suggest you check out the brilliance going on at the Cockeyed.com Science Club.

Toilet Humor, Literally...

the evil auto-flusher.  damn you, technology!  damn you to hell!I just had an authentic episode of physical comedy in the restroom at work. Me v. Auto-flusher.

I placed one of those tissue-paper toilet seat covers down, and as I turned around to drop my pants the auto-flusher fired off and sucked my toilet seat cover right down the drain.

No big deal. I put another one down, and this time tried to move very slowly so I wouldn't set off the flusher again. As I carefully maneuvered into position, I began to lower my pants, only this time my pants actually pushed the 2nd toilet seat cover into the water. Then the auto-flusher went off again. Christ. When did I turn into Mr. Bean?

Luckily, third time was the charm.

The evil auto-flusher may have won a few early battles, but I believe I ended the war quickly by setting off my own personal "dirty bomb," if you catch my drift.

Project Green Paint: Phase 2


brainThe Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot painting has moved into its 2nd phase! I have received the initial sketch from Eric, and it is outstanding. Click on it for a better view of the outstandingness.

We were talking about what type of arena this fight might be taking place in, and Eric came up with populating the audience with more toy robots. Brilliant!

For the next phase I'll be taking reference photos of the actual toy based on this sketch for Eric to paint from. Luckily, I happened to give my friend Dan a vintage mint Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots set last year.

I'll post those reference pix soon. (And don't worry, we'll make sure the knocked out robot's head will be popped.)

If you have no idea what this is about, click here for the original story.

Barbie As Rapunzel As Bizarre


This is a box of "Barbie as Rapunzel Fruit Snacks." It is a promotional tie-in with the movie "Barbie as Rapunzel." It has also been making me crazy for days.

Barbie as Rapunzel. What does that mean? I wander around my house muttering it to myself. "Barbie as Rapunzel... Barbie as Rapunzel..."

I guess what's bothering me is that Barbie is not an actress. Barbie is a doll. And in this case she's not even a doll, she's just a drawing of a doll.

And what about the actress Kelly Sheridan who provided the voice? She's not doing the voice of Rapunzel. Remember, she's doing the voice of Barbie as Rapunzel. (But not really, for it is Barbie who is Rapunzel.)

That all being said, what we really have here is a box of fruit snacks. Barbie as Rapunzel Fruit Snacks. Bear with me while I try to sort through the representational layers taking place...

Artificially colored corn syrup AS fruit AS a snack AS a hairbrush... AS SEEN IN a movie with Kelly Sheridan AS a doll AS a drawing AS a fairy tale AS a movie. There, that makes total sense.

I came up with a few more cross-marketing plans the "Barbie as Rapunzel Fruit Snack" people can have. (Free of charge, as always.)

"My Pretty Pony as Seabiscuit" Choclatey Manure Puddin' Cups

"Monchichi as King Kong" Banana-Shaped Extreme String Cheese

"Furby as Ghandi" Super Sour Gummy Squeeze Yogurt "Passive Resistance" Squares

By the way, "Barbie in the Nutcracker Suite" is now also out on video. I guess they're hoping I'll say, "Oh look! Barbie in the Nutcracker Suite! We have got to see that. She was so good as Rapunzel!"



When you're a parent, there is so much your kids need to learn to become polite, well-adjusted adults. It can be overwhelming at times, but remember, all it takes is a little patience and love.

Or, you can use good ol' fashioned FEAR with the German children's book of terror known as: "Der Struwwelpeter". The lessons offered in this classic by Heinrich Hoffman have been causing little German kids to shit their knickers for the past 150 years. And now you too, may shit your own.

So put on your best leiderhosen, kick back, and enjoy the first of several tales of violent childhood horror to come. (Translated from the original German thanks to Pags' and Pete's mom, Trudy! Bear in mind, this whole story rhymes in German.)

Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher
"The Story of Little Suck-A-Thumb".

Konrad, speaks Mrs. Mamma,
"I go out and you stay here.
Be nice and well behaved.
Until I come back home again
And especially, Konrad, listen!
Don't suck on your thumb anymore;
Otherwise the tailor with his scissors
Comes very quickly along,
And cuts off your thumbs
Just as easily as paper."

Just as soon as mother left-
Wupp, the thumb is in the mouth.

Snap! The door opens,
And at lightning speed
Jumps the tailor into the room
to the thumb-sucking boy.

Wow, now it goes snip, snip
With the scissors the thumbs come off,
With the big sharp scissors!
"Oh boy" Konrad hollers loud.
Just as mother comes home,
Konrad looks very sad.
Without thumbs he is standing there,
Both of them are gone forever.

I love a story that can be both cute and educational, while still maintaining just enough bloody disfigurement. To see the rhyme as written in its original German, click here. (I've seen English translations that they have forced to rhyme, but that just seems wrong to me.)

Box of Sucking of the Future

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This is the new Roomba: Vacuum of the future!

It is an advanced combination of robotics and vacuum technology.

It will "automatically clean your floors while you enjoy life."

Why does the cheesy package design look like something I would have gotten for Christmas in 1975?

Buy your Roomba here.

Project Green Paint


Great news! I had an idea for a painting, genius robot artist Eric Joyner has agreed to paint it, and now you can watch the whole thing happen right here at The Sneeze!

THE IDEA: I thought it would be cool to see a boxing arena depicting a real life battle between the toy classic Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots. The Red Robot standing victorious over the Blue Robot, who is sprawled out on the mat with his head popped.

The best part about this is I'll be posting every step of the painting as it comes into being. You can follow along from Eric's initial sketch, to my research photos, to work-in-progress shots of the painting itself.

This is going to be really fun. Come back soon, and watch this robot baby come to life! And in the meantime, go pick yourself up some prints from the rest of his fine tin robot collection.

The Art of the Apology

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A sincere, well-worded apology can heal many a wound -- including a forgotten birthday.

Last week my friend Jessica forgot mine. She felt terrible when she remembered and called to set things right.

Here is the darling apology she left on my voicemail. I consider it the ideal belated birthday present.

An Elegant Apology mp3
(Note: Jessica's language can be a tad "salty.")

Now here's the shocker guys: this classy little lady is single! I know it's hard to believe such a delicate flower has not been snapped up yet, but here's your chance. Not only does she kiss her mother with that mouth, but play your cards right and one day she may kiss yours. With her blessing to do this, you can email Jessica here. I'm not kidding.

Win her heart. I dare you! JESSICA dares you!

Steve, Don't Eat It! Vol. 2

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Pickled Pork Rinds

While perusing the "Good Lord, NOOOO!" aisle of the supermarket, I came across the atrocity known as Dolores Brand Pickled Pork Rinds. These are not the crunchy pork rinds you'll often see over by the chips. These are their grosser, soggier, potentially botulism-ier cousins.

The label says "Ready to Eat." They left off "By Dumb-Asses."

There is also a red starburst proudly proclaiming "Nuevo Envase de Vidrio Reusable". Not knowing much Spanish, I could only assume that meant "Oh Crap -- A Jar of Skin!"

I was wrong. It means: "New Reusable Glass Container" which I think is their subtle way of saying you can also use the jar to puke in.

Okay. I'm going to go consume. If I don't make it back to finish this review, tell my wife I love her. And not to eat the pork rinds.

****** ******

I'm back. First off, I would like to say to Dolores, I am sorry. I don't know what it is I did to you, but you have gotten me back and we're even.

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I opened the jar, and heard no reassuring vacuum seal. I must admit that made me nervous, but what are the odds of a dusty jar of warm pig skin going bad, right?

Lifting the lid revealed a weird sour smell, something akin to mild vinegar and stale meat. I almost want to say it was like a freshly douched pork chop. But I won't. Why? Because I'm a fucking gentleman.

As I attempted to fish out a "good one," I couldn't help notice the alarming skin texture. For all those times I wondered what it would be like to gnaw on my grandmother's thigh, I was about to find out.

Taking a bite, I quickly realized the swatch of fat wasn't chewy at all. In fact, it was eerily soft, not unlike my own swatches of fat. This was a blessing because less chewing meant less actual contact with my mouth. I think it's fair to say it was everything you'd expect from a sliver of briney fat. It was also the only time in my life my brain formed the sentence: "I have a mouth full of cellulite."

While I cannot endorse the eating of Pickled Pork Rinds, I do endorse playing with it like a puzzle. I did have some fun trying to put the pig back together, but eventually that got boring as I lost the will to live.

I have a feeling Dolores and I are not done. As long as she continues to market such treats as Pickled Pork Lips and the bewildering Chili Brick, I have no doubt she and I will do battle again.

The "S.S. Daddy, Why Are They Dying?"


Awhile back I had no choice but to raise this site to a Code Orange Toy Alert when I found -- Sea Monkeys On Mars. (You can find that entry here.)

My friend Mark saw that post, and then discovered on Amazon just how the little guys got there. In the Sea Monkeys Space Shuttle!

They are enterprising little fuckers, aren't they? I didn't realize SMASA (The Sea Monkey Aeronautics and Space Adminstration) had still been getting funding.

Mark also discovered a book called "The Ultimate Guide to Sea Monkeys," and wisely pointed out, "By the time you're done reading it, they've been dead for two days."

On behalf of Mark, I'd like to take the liberty of offering that slogan to the people currently marketing that book. (No charge, as usual.)


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This page is an archive of entries from October 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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