The Riddel of Gender and Juice Boxes

of juice and gender.

Recently, I noticed a popular brand of juice had changed it’s labels. The abstract surfers I knew and loved had been replaced with photos of  famous athletes – though I preferred the look of their old labels the flavor of the juice remained unchanged and I no longer felt guilt over disposing of containers I considered beautiful.

However, I was not prepared for how this change of packaging would affect the children to whom this product was mainly marketed.

The reason I had all this individually wrapped juice laying around was that I planned to give it away to Trick-or-treaters as per Halloween tradition.

The first child arrived and I was met with a stare that made me believe she really was the medusa. Sure, juice wasn’t exactly candy but I figured the kids would get thirsty trekking all over the neighborhood. I noticed she was pointing to the biceped wrestler on the package with a look of confusion on her face, but I didn’t quite get it yet. “I want a girl one” she said. “This one’s for boys.”

Oh come on, I thought, it’s juice, but she insisted. I could have stood my ground but it was the parent’s job to deal with that sort of behavior, my job was to give her what she wanted so that I could get to the zombies waiting patiently in the yard.

I searched the box of juice packets and sure enough there was one that featured a slim gymnast with a pony tail and perfect teeth. I noted, with no small amount of puzzlement, that it was the same flavor as the wrestler box. “Here ya go.” I said, assuming she was just an odd kid.

Little did I know that the fact there were far fewer “girl ones” then “boy ones” was going to be an issue. Fortunately boys often insisted on “boy ones” so I never accidentally wasted a “girl one” on a boy. Now if the children mistakenly thought the flavor of the juice was linked to the personality featured on the box I might have gotten girls wanting boys or vice versa.

But no – girls always wanted girls and boys always wanted boys. I wondered if the kids in line heard my first argument and assumed this was how things were done. I also wondered if this was a game they were determined to play with me.

The night ended with three boxes of juice packets still unopened. I put them in the fridge and forgot this riddle of juice box gender until I shared some with a group of children whose dog had wandered into the yard. They were visiting at one of the neighbors and wouldn’t have been present for Halloween but lo and behold – they also wanted their juice personalized.

Had Capri Sun juice unwittingly created a new tradition among children? Were the boys afraid their friends would tease them if – heavens no – they were seen consuming a beverage from a container that pictured a girl? A container that would be thrown away in the two seconds it takes to drain a packet of Capri Sun? Did the girls think that drinking out of packets with pictures of men on them would spontaneously  turn them into big, smelly, wrestlers, complete with uniform?

Or was it that they thought drinking what the gymnast endorsed would make them pretty, or drinking what the wrestler endorsed would make them strong like most of us who subconsciously respond to ads? Oh but there are more then two sides to a juice packet. The box is only temporary it’s what’s inside that counts. The packet is meant to be thrown away but the contents come in many flavors and go on to have zany adventures like causing you to run rampant thorough the house destroying everything in your way.

Mad Science with Mother Nature.

With a new year just beginning and prophecies of doom in the air, geneticists have decided –

“What the heck, let’s make some monsters. After all, it’s twenty twelve and the people will be disappointed if nothing crazy happens. Sure, the world could end, but if it doesn’t, we’ll have a literal Jackass to keep you up at night.”

It’s simply what happens when you compine donkey DNA with jackrabbit DNA. If you prefer you may call it a haronkey. (Hare+Donkey)

Unfortunately that wily lass, Mother Nature has beat us to it, having been turning out Haronkeys for ages.

Meet the Patagonian Mara or Cavie.

Elusive in the wild and monogamous – (They mate for life.) this eleven pound critter is a taxonomist confuser. It is all rodent – the world’s fourth largest, and grows up in herds tended by only a few adults.

If danger threatens on their watch they stuff the kids down a hole and run. Which seems like a good idea until someone calls child protective services. Mara’s raised in captivity are said be social with humans, and are occasionally kept as pets. Which would explain all the stories of small children having to be fished out of wells.


Too cute for ya?



Meet the Gastropede – (Gastropod + Centipede) Centislug or more officially, the velvet worm.

This one is truly mind blowing. It lives in tropical regions in the southern hemisphere and looks like a cross between two of the earth’s more disgusting creepy crawlies. However it still manages to be ever-so-slightly cute.

It’s behavior is something us mammals will find familiar – females bear live young who then stick around in tight-knit and isolated family groups.

Clans fight fiercely to defend the rotting logs they live in from murderous outsiders, and when prey is spotted all participate in the hunt – lassoing dinner with spectacular slime cannons mounted on their heads.

Size does matter. Females are the biggest and the alpha eats first. She reminds her underlings of who is boss by climbing on top of them. Kids often ride the adults but no one cares. After all, they are just kids. When two meet they seem to compare their respective sizes before choosing a course of action. This is all made possible by one of the most complex brains a small invertebrate can be blessed with.

Lets us try something a little more insane.

Why? Because we CAN!

Crossing an elephant and a baboon spider yields something that is horrifying but still disappointingly small. It may not be able to devour whole villages but most will agree it is plenty big enough.

The – arachniderm. (Arachnid + Pachyderm) is another invention nature has beaten us to.

Rather then joining two very distant relatives in unholy matrimony, she has merely taken the common hermit crab, and super-sized it.

The Coconut crab is native to the Philippines, and as the name implies it enjoys eating coconuts, climbing trees and cutting down fruit with it’s powerful claws.

Little is known of the life and habits of this otherworldly, and by some accounts tasty, arthropod, but rumor has it they sneak into peoples houses at night and – steal their pots and pans.

Weather these giant hermits are merely in search of a portable home in a world that lacks giant seashells, or simply protecting themselves by hampering our ability to cook them is uncertain. Either way, Lovecraft needs to tell these arcane horrors that they are doing it wrong.

Not crazy enough?

Why not combine the world cutest endangered poster child with a germ. After all, panda’s are endangered, germs are here to stay weather we like them or not. If one must acquire a deadly disease wouldn’t it be a comfort to know that the critters crawling about in your veins look adorable under a microscope? Guess what, such a critter already exists. Gee, thanks nature.

Look! It’s waving at you!

Fortunately the Ameba Panda – affectionately named, Amanda, feeds solely on moss and algae and is in no way harmful to humans. This is especially fortunate because it lives on every single inch of the earth’s surface – and apparently – can’t be killed.

Meet the water bear, moss piglet or specifically – the Tardigrade. Capable of withstanding 1,000 times the radiation needed to kill just about everything else, and able to survive in the vacuum of outer space. One wonders if that isn’t where it came from.

Welcome to Earth, little guy.

 Images and info courtasy of who else? -Wikipedia. Thanks for the free stuff. Someone send them money because I’m broke.

Where The Really Cool Ghosts Hang Out.


Grave yards are dead! They are a dime a dozen and everyone already knows they are haunted, by sheep! Unless you want the other spirits to think you are mainstream, heed these examples of some truly un-real estate!

Chippewa Lake Park

Out of Order.
Nothing makes us jump for joy like a day at the amusement park or scream bloody murder like a night on Chippewa Lake.

Chippewa Lake Park In Ohio began in 1878. It failed to keep up with the changing times and closed in 1978. It was left as it was for thirty years, the antique wooden coasters marinating in Ivy and weeds till it achieved the status of a premium haunting destination.

A spate of mysterious fires and the loss of a historic ballroom, apparently to arson, mean there are still some truly epic parties going on behind locked gates.

An attempt to capture the shenanigans on film, failed miserably. The Film, “Closed For The Season” is largely blamed for misconceptions about the park’s inherent lameness. These misconceptions have caused many upstanding ghouls to promptly vacate the premises, leading to a second abandonment and consequent re-infestation of humans.

Recent plans to reinvent the site, have caused much of the older structures to be cleared away but the fun need not stop with the loss of old Chippewa.  A new entertainment complex “Chippewa Landing” is on the way and there is much to be done if it is ever to be as prestigious as its forbearer. Newer more hospitable environs mean more fleshies to fool with, but unlike the thrill seekers that once hopped the fence in the glory days, these will not scare themselves.

The Maunsell Forts

Exhibit B – is in the merry British Isles. I know your thinking, “Another day, another castle.” but let us put convention out to sea. One shall find that where the Thames and Mercy open out, there are vacant bastions fit to put the kings of old to shame.

Now the more social among you may scoff at the remote location, with its access to skittish yokels and shivering campers limited, but time, these days, is money and if you don’t value it no one else will. Maybe it is time you made the parapsychologists work for your attention!

Because you are worth it!

Built on platforms sunk deep into sand bars, they stood as lines of defense during the second world war. In the fifties they went up for grabs, and soon became infested with Bohemians, including some important pioneers of pirate radio. One fort in particular has been declared its own country.


Anyone interested in haunting “The Principality of Sealand” will have to apply for citizenship.

Hearing that some of these long-legged sentinels are still inhabited, may disappoint, as in this age of paranormal investigators one’s privacy is paramount. Yet ask yourself, what good is a bleeding wall without a human to enjoy it? And this far from land – who can hear them scream?

Sanzhi Pods


Take me to your Contractor!


Calm down, get ready. In the Sanzhi district, New Taipei City, Taiwan, there stood a rotting, retro resort run by a dragon.

The beast was a statue used to decorate the entryway but the passage needed to be wider so the hollow stone monster was cut to pieces. One wonders what was inside . . .

Hell hath no fury!

Construction started in 1978, and suddenly stopped in 1980. Urban legends whisper of fatal car accidents, deaths during construction, suicides, and ancient burial grounds. Party poopers have blamed failed partnerships, faulty workmanship and investment losses, but there was no denying the eerie charm of these otherworldly apartments, left half-finished on a wind-swept beach.

An over-grown water park filled the vast courtyard with many deep and muddy swimming pools perfect for lurking in, high rockeries from which to leap upon your victims and bits of rubble to throw around should one be of the poltergeist persuasion. Photo shoots for fashion magazines were held frequently so there was no shortage of busty starlets to menace on misty mornings. Ominous graffiti helped set the mood . . .

A pox on your grandchildren!

Sadly, these wonders have been demolished, for it seems the humans intend to give it another go. A new resort is scheduled to replace it some time in the future, yet as before, the fun need not stop. I’ve heard the dragon is already taking reservations.

Interested humans may check out this site for some of the rarest and most thorough documentation of the Sanzhi UFO houses I’ve so far encountered.

Other pictures courtesy of Wikipedia. (Articles on – Maunsell forts – Principality of Sealand – Chippewa Lake Park.)