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Odd Pueblo: Snappy or crappy?

This fun Odd Pueblo feature asks the audience to rate a trend, topic or sighting of something around town: is it snappy or crappy?

The last snappy or crappy, fake and real bilingual signs, caused quite a stir.

The latest snappy or crappy promises to be much more appetizing: playing with food.

No one can resist happy bread/submitted photo
No one can resist happy bread/submitted photo

The very happy bread photo was submitted by reader Tami.

“It’s my quirky thing I do for my kids when I make them a sandwich,” she wrote in an e-mail.

Mustard smiley faces on bread are wholly snappy, adding a fun touch to what may normally be a mundane sandwich, especially if the sandwich is packed something boring like iceberg lettuce.

Other snappy ways to play with food include drawing on the disposable rinds of oranges and grapefruit, arranging waffles and sausage into an imitation Dali and creating apple head old people dolls out of rotten and dried-out apples.

Other folks, however, go into overkill when playing with food – like using a military issue combat K-Bar knife to cut a sandwich. While this weapon is specifically designed for marines, a person who shall remain anonymous used it to slice bread and pickles.

Need any pickles sliced?/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Need any pickles sliced?/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Even though using a colossal knife to slice a sandwich may be akin to using a chain saw to carve a turkey, it’s still snappy because the food is still edible.

Folks who play with food and end up wasting the food are engaging in crappiness.

What’s your take on playing with food? Please respond:
a. Snappy as long as the food is still edible.
b. Crappy. How dare someone mess with my meal.
c. I remember how mom used to draw syrup faces on my pancakes – snappy!
d. Where can I buy one of those knives?

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Thanks, Tami, for the fun bread pic. You’re other Snappy or crappy submission will be up soon.

Got a Snappy or crappy spotting around town? E-mail photo and comments to rynski@tucsoncitizen.com

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Pregnant robots give birth at UMC

Two robots of pregnant women, who give birth to robot infants, recently checked in to University Medical Center.

While it would make even bigger headlines if the two robots were part of an alien invasion, they are instead teaching tools purchased with a $40,000 grant.

UA medical student Garrett Pacheco delivers robot Noelle's robot Baby Hal/submitted photo
UA medical student Garrett Pacheco delivers robot Noelle's robot Baby Hal/submitted photo

The mom robots are named “Noelle” and they give birth to “Baby Hal.” Unfortunately, it seems the two blond robots are identical, which will hopefully not lead to any baby mix-ups, but they can be programmed to do different things.

Here’s more from the UMC news release:

Noelle can be programmed to simulate a long or short labor. A motor pushes a lifelike plastic baby out of the birth canal and even expels an ersatz placenta. She can simulate a variety of childbirth complications, from a breech delivery to hemorrhage to the baby being born with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck.

Noelle’s pulse and respiration rises and falls, she urinates and bleeds, and students can practice inserting an IV, intubating her airway, resuscitating her though CPR or delivering her baby with forceps or a vacuum.

Noelle even talks. “It’s really hurting now!” and “The baby is coming!” are among dozens of her pre-programmed vocalizations. Rynnote: It doesn’t say if she screams, swears or bites through metal objects in pain.

The lifelike newborn robot can be programmed to change colors from a healthy pink to the dusky blue of oxygen deficiency, and to simulate seizures, allowing doctors and nurses to practice their resuscitation skills.

The automaton recently made her debut to a group of third-year students from the UA College of Medicine in UMC’s Labor and Delivery Unit

Wow. Kind of creepy but very snappy.

Keeping this robot concept in mind, we should get extra Baby Hals to pass out to pregnant mothers so they learn to not shake, slap or forget about infants in their cribs for 18-hour stretches.

We should also add some robot dogs, cats, hamsters and birds so folks can learn how to properly take care of pets.

And where’s that Rosie Robot who is supposed to come clean my house?

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What do you think?

Is this an awesome concept or a waste of money?

Would a robot help you learn things you need to know?

Will robots really take over the world, as we’ve all been promised?

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Sit down, shut up and meditate

The world would be a better place if we all took time to meditate.

We have a chance to try it in a group setting Tuesday afternoon (today!) with a global meditation right here in Tucson. This particular hour-long session will be held all over the world, with Tucson’s version at Tucson Yoga.

Before meditation/Ryn Gargulinski
Before meditation/Ryn Gargulinski

What: Global group meditation
When: Doors open 3 p.m. Tuesday (today), 60 minute meditation starts 3:19 p.m.
Where: Tucson Yoga, 12th Street and South Fourth Avenue, northwest corner
Why: Because it makes the world a better place
Yes, it’s free
Click here for more on the global event

Taking as few as 10 minutes – OK, make it five – to sit quietly every day can make a huge difference. I began the practice of mediation about 10 years ago and have been transformed from a perpetually discombobulated, negative person into an occasionally discombobulated, positive person.

You, too, can do it in three easy steps: Sit down, shut up and breathe.

I’ve also started some days without meditation and got disastrous results. These included but were not limited to: missing an airplane, having to repack dozens of boxes that were thrown together haphazardly instead of systematically, falling off a cliff. Well, I didn’t fall off a cliff, but I could have had I not been grounded by meditation.

Folks don’t meditate for many reasons, but one is the myth that they don’t have the time. Starting the day in a calm, soothing way will actually help the brain function more productively, ultimately saving you time throughout the day.

After meditation/Ryn Gargulinski
After meditation/Ryn Gargulinski

Things are less scattered and tragic. You focus on positive energy rather than worry about the sink overflowing while defrosting raw chicken. You can block out long bus rides, boring board meetings and even a movie you hate when you meditate.

Other meditation myths:

Meditation is for sissies. Folks who take time out to soothe their soul are going to be stronger than the average man – or woman.

I can’t meditate because I don’t want to chant. Then don’t. No rule says you have to chant. Meditation has no “rules” about anything.

Meditation is for Buddhists. No religious beliefs are involved at all in meditation. You can meditate as an atheist. Or a Satanist. Or following Wicca. Or with no religious convictions whatsoever. There is a huge difference between spirituality and religion. Spirituality puts you in touch with the universe. Religion, well, let’s not get into that.

I can’t meditate because I can’t sit in the lotus position. No matter. You can sit on the floor with your legs crossed, on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. You can even lie down and meditate. Heck, you can even engage in walking mediation with or without your dogs.

Meditation also gives you the ultimate excuse to use incense. If you’re lucky enough, you may have room to set aside a whole room for a mediation chamber where you can chill out and decompress in secret, blocking out the chaos of the world that infringes upon what really matters.

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What do you think?

Have you engaged in meditation?

How do you go about it?

What were the results?

Do you think the practice is creepy?

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Crossdressing at church tougher than crossdressing at Sears

A big, burly guy was recently spotted browsing Sears’ women’s lingerie department at Park Place Mall. The guy, however, wasn’t browsing bras for his girlfriend. He was seeking something for himself.

My secret Park Place spy said the dude had a “manly face, Adam’s apple the size of an apple and a really bad wig.”

Not the Sears guy, but a participant in London's July 4 gay parade/AP Photo
Not the Sears guy, but a participant in London's July 4 gay parade/AP Photo

So what. It’s still beautiful. The beauty, of course, is that Americans can dress how the heck they want anywhere they want.

Amost.

Crossdressing at church is another story. I recently researched the subject for one of my freelance assignments and found some actually consider it a sin.

Those against it use an Old Testament verse, Deuteronomy 22:5, to condemn the practice:

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

As noted on the site RachelMiller.info. “These people use a literal interpretation of that single verse to automatically brand all male (but not female) cross-dressers as sinners in desperate need of repentance.

London's July 4 gay parade/AP Photo
London's July 4 gay parade/AP Photo

“Women routinely wear ‘male’ clothing to church and no one calls them an abomination. Curiously, the Biblical prohibition is first levied towards women and then secondarily towards men. Rather an odd sequence unless the true meaning of the verse has more application to women than to men. It should also be noted that Jesus and His disciples wore what amounts to floor length dresses.”

CrossdresserHeaven.com, which contains comprehensive crossdressing information of all sorts, says some Biblical verses are not always applicable to modern society.

“(Some) verses vilify seafood, allow slavery and command against a good haircut,” says site author Vanessa, who has been crossdressing for 25 years, about Lev 1:9, Lev 15:19-24, Lev 25:44, Lev 11:10 and Lev 19:27.

My research also taught me the first key to crossdressing at church is to find a congregation where it’s accepted. You don’t need mass to come to a halt so everyone can stop and stare.

The second is to be sensible. Just as women should not show up to church in hot pants and plunging necklines, neither should a guy. Especially if the latter exposes a hairy chest – or lingerie from Sears.

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What do you think?

Have you ever seen a crossdresser at church? Was it a sensible outfit?

Have you ever crossdressed in church?

Do you have any crossdressing tips for the masses, pun intended?

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Ryn: Best vacations often spent at home

Unless someone hands me a plane ticket to Paris tomorrow, my time off this year is going to be spent indulging in a staycation.

This trendy term pops up every time the country’s economy nosedives and folks don’t have the cash to travel. It can be a very healthy, happy and harmonious thing.

Angry plane traveler at La Guardia/Photo Ryn Gargulinski
Angry plane traveler at La Guardia/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

Avoiding travel means avoiding high gas prices, car leg cramps and roadside diners where the food is so greasy it seeps through to the placemat – even through a ceramic plate.

We get a reprieve from airport delays, showing off our bad pedicures for the metal detectors, and the high cost and even higher calories of airplane food. We’ll also miss out on the inevitable respiratory infection that always seems to hit after airplane travel, regardless of how many Airborne tablets we chew.

And we won’t have to cry ourselves to sleep at night in some foreign country because we so miss our dogs.

We’re off to a good start already.

To fully enjoy the staycation, of course, we have to fully understand what it is. A writer named Tightwad Tod at ConsumerReports.org defines the term for us as “a vacation in which the vacationer stays at home, or near home, while creating the environment of a traditional vacation.”

True reading/Ryn Gargulinski
True reading/Ryn Gargulinski

Sounds easy enough. That means we should leave the bed unmade for maid service, call someone for coffee and eggs and buy a bunch of crappy trinkets we’ll never do anything useful with but like too much to give away.

To complete the vacation environment, we should also strew sand on the floor, hang our damp and dirty clothes on the shower rod for days and lie around reading true crime all afternoon.

This all sounds like my typical week, anyway.

To avoid that trap, we need to break out of the normal routine, warns Tightwad Tod, so the staycation is markedly different than our daily lives.

The toughest move may be to unplug. Since I never answer the door and rarely answer the phone, I’ve got that part down pat.

Too much Internet?/Ryn Gargulinski
Too much Internet?/Ryn Gargulinski

But the suck of the Internet is a hard one to defy.

The longest I’ve gone without Internet was three days at my brother’s in San Diego last summer. I ended up missing a freelance revision deadline I received at the last minute and re-entered daily life with an inbox full of some 482 e-mails. But while the computer was down, it felt like a ball and chain had been lifted, even if I couldn’t check my daily Old Farmer’s Almanac weather and fun facts.

Instead we can find joy, and a break from our regular routine, by trying some funky stuff around town we neither seem to have the time nor wherewithal to enjoy.

Kid on javelina at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum/Ryn Gargulinski
Kid on javelina at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum/Ryn Gargulinski

Like a ride on the Fourth Avenue trolley to nowhere or, if we beg nicely enough, perhaps behind-the-scene tours of the zoo, the county morgue or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

We can find out, once and for all, where the rest of that long, winding trail goes after it leaves our usual path. You know the trail, it’s the one you see daily but never have the time to take. Take time to explore, uncover and indulge. Just bring lots of water.

And bring a sense of adventure. Even treks you regularly enjoy, like a thrift shop spree or a dog park romp, can be enhanced during a staycation. Make a day of it. Pack sandwiches. Linger longer. After all, with your computer shut down, you suddenly have 20 unspent hours during the day.

The other staycation option is to say to heck with the world altogether and spend our time going absolutely nowhere but the bubble bath.

It may still not compare to Paris, but I’ll bet it’ll be more soothing, even, than all the gargoyles of Notre Dame.

Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who plans to bubble bath, yoga, create art, take walks and devour true crime during her upcoming week off – hey! that sounds exhausting. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.Party934.com. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail rynski@tucsoncitizen.com.

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Have you ever indulged in a staycation?

Did you love it?

What is the most memorable vacation or staycation you ever had?

What was the most miserable?


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