Magick Sandwich

Henry David Thoreau, Beloved Bullsh*t Artist

national simplicity dayToday is the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth on July 12, 1817. The fondness and nostalgia his name evokes are undeniable. National Simplicity Day was created many years ago to commemorate his birthday each year.

But romantic notions of Thoreau’s retreat into nature don’t stand up to scrutiny. While his conclusions may be valid, his description of the circumstances which led to them is demonstrably false.

The James Frey of his time, Thoreau passed off fiction as memoir. Unlike Frey, he was never called to account by the 17th-century equivalent of Oprah.

Henry David Thoreau, author, ersatz ascetic, armchair philosopher and navel-gazing misanthrope, was a consummate bullshit artist.  Here’s what led us to this unpopular opinion.

Thoreau famously went to live in a cabin in the woods, the better to ponder life without the inconvenience of other people and the irritations of everyday, well, life.

In Walden: or, A Life in the Woods, he wrote, “I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beechtree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines.”

Thoreau certainly could turn a phrase; many of them clog the arteries of inspirational sites and satisfy the sweet tooth of quote-mongers who reverently offer them up on posters, mousepads and coffee mugs.

He neglected to mention that the area was bustling with people year-round. A commuter train passed nearby. He hosted parties. He lived a twenty-minute walk from his parent’s house and made the trip several times a week to enjoy his mother’s cooking.

The man who advised his readers to eat only one meal a day to avoid indulging base appetites was visited by his mother and sisters at least once a week to bring him food, tidy up the cabin and clean his laundry.

Exhortations to simplify one’s life can be helpful, but they often mask disdain and smug superiority. Thoreau reminds us of the intrepid explorer in a documentary, ostensibly forging a path trodden moments before by the cameraman walking backward in front of him.

Have a happy National Simplicity Day but if you can’t keep it simple, don’t worry: you’re in good company.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

World Play-Doh Day

Happy World Play-Doh Day!

Magick Sandwich Play-Doh DaySeptember 16 is World Play-Doh Day. After writing about it on Worldwide Weird Holidays, I found that some of the prose was a bit inappropriate for that site–in other words, perfect for Magick Sandwich. Call it WWWH After Dark, if you will. (I’m pretty sure you won’t.)

Fun Facts about Play-Doh: The compound was created in 1933 to clean coal soot off wallpaper. The inventor ripped off the formula homemakers and servants had used for decades.

By 1956, homes didn’t use coal anymore. No soot, no need for the cleaner. The company was tanking when the sister-in-law of an employee suggested repurposing it as a toy and came up with the name. Of course, she received no credit or payment.

The employee convinced Bob Keeshan, a.k.a. Captain Kangaroo, to feature it on his show once a week in exchange for a percentage of the sales. Similar to payola schemes run by radio disc jockeys, this was truly a case of “pay to play” or “pay to play-doh,” if you’re feeling punny.

Bonus Fun Fact: A tell-all book by longtime stage manager Daniel B. Morgan alleges that Keeshan liked to expose himself before the show, sticking a pencil under his little captain and waving it at Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum, who played Mr. Green Jeans. Per Morgan:

“Then the Captain would come through the door, greet everyone, and hang the keys on the key hook. On with the show! So now, at the end of the program (which probably included credits), Bob was backstage reading the final voice-over…(and) during Bob’s final read, Lumpy pulled out his penis and began to pee on Bob’s leg.”

Captain Kangaroo liked to pull out his dick before greeting his fan base of millions of small children. Doesn’t everybody? (I need to Purell my childhood memories. Can someone find out if that’s possible?)

*****

Do you long for the simple charms of shaping and smushing, but can’t figure out how to integrate Play-Doh into your daily work routine without attracting undue attention? How awkward would a trip to Human Resources be? Even the most exhaustive employee handbook has no listing for “Play-Doh, abuse of.” There are no talking points, no rehab to recommend.

On second thought, there could be a highly-specialized treatment center somewhere in, say, Malibu. Right now, someone is getting equine therapy to break the cycle of Play-Doh addiction. In case you’re unfamiliar with the modality, the Equine Psychotherapy website explains: “It is the discipline of using horses as a means to provide metaphoric experiences in order to promote emotional growth.” It sounds a lot like getting a horse to babysit so the human can go grab a cocktail. (Horse-sit: say it three times fast.)

Now you can avoid the humiliation of being narced on by coworkers—and the deceptively pleasant-sounding shame spiral which follows—while enjoying the essence of Play-Doh every moment of every day, with no risk of sanctions. Demeter Fragrance Library, the maker of such classic scents as Lobster and Funeral Home, offers PlayDoh cologne. In honor of World Play-Doh Day, the splash and spray are 25% off through September 19, 2016.

Don’t be surprised if the scent inspires an admirer to pull on your pigtails. (Apparently, little boys used to do that to little girls they liked, but we can’t find anyone who’s seen or done it.) Guys, it’s unisex, so if you spritz it on, don’t be surprised if someone pulls on your man-bun.

On the subject of male grooming, why is practiced, casual vanity so often inversely proportional to a man’s personal hygiene habits? I’m thinking of a 1980s TV star who claims to have no interest in fashion but festoons himself every day with at least ten necklaces and as many rings as his fingers can hold. (We have no problem with male adornment, just hypocrisy.) Coincidentally, he looks like he hasn’t taken a shower since the 1980s. Surely there’s a circus nearby where the elephants can wait a moment so he can be hosed down.

Back to the hairdo: A man-bun says, “I write poetry, I love to cuddle, I’m sensitive and attentive and I smell like a week-old, bloated goat carcass.” Happy World Play-Doh Day, everybody!

Copyright Magick Sandwich

Awkward Moments Day

Happy Awkward Moments Day

Awkward Moments Day

is for Awkward

This post originally appeared on our sister site, Worldwide Weird Holidays. It seems like a good fit for Magick Sandwich readers, too. We hope you’ll enjoy it! (Feel free to share your own awkward moments in the Comments Section!)

adjective US /ˈɔk·wərd/ 1. difficult to use, do, or deal with: The computer came in a big box that was awkward to carry. 2. causing inconvenience, anxiety, or embarrassment: It was an awkward situation, because the restaurant was too expensive for us but we didn’t want to just get up and walk out. 3. Someone who feels awkward feels embarrassed or nervous: We were the first to arrive at the party and felt a little awkward. 4. lacking grace or skill when moving: He’s too awkward – he’ll never be a good dancer. (Definition from Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary)

hear pronunciation Warning: If you decide to listen to this audio clip at the office, be warned that it is automatically followed by the pronunciation of the word “pedophile.” That will not be easy to explain to Human Resources.

In honor of Awkward Moments Day, we’d like to offer a few examples of instances when you would gladly teleport onto the face of the sun to get away from the situation in which you find yourself.

You meet your boyfriend’s parents and, in the middle of dinner, realize you have a need to defecate that will not be denied. You excuse yourself to use their bathroom. When you finish, the toilet won’t flush. Panic-stricken, you flush again. The toilet overflows.

You keep telling your parents about a favorite show you’re sure they’ll love. When they visit, you queue it up on Netflix. Unfortunately, you forgot about the nudity and “sexposition”–when boring plot points are discussed while two or more people enjoy each other’s earthly wares. You might call it Game of Thrones Syndrome when you’re ready to laugh about it a decade from now. But most likely, never.

You’re on your way out when a neighbor gets on the elevator with you. You say hi and then stare at the door as if it’s so interesting it should be hanging in an art gallery. You purposely lag behind when getting off on the first floor, but she holds the front door open so you have to break into a half-jog to catch up. You say “thanks,” she says, “you’re welcome,” and turns away. You realize you’re going in the same direction.

After everyone else leaves and the boss is gone, you blast rap music through the office’s stereo system. The doorbell rings and you buzz the person in, figuring it’s a late delivery. But it’s a prospective client who’s stopped by to pick up information just as a song kicks in with, “Hey, m*f*, hey, m*f*, yo!” You scramble to turn it off, then pretend nothing happened, desperate that he do the same. After a minute that feels like an hour, he turns around and leaves.

Your debit card is rejected after the cashier has rung up a huge load of groceries. You start to sweat as you ask her to try again, stammering about how it must be a mistake, that you checked your balance just hours before. You try to ignore her facial expression as she puts your bags aside so you can run to the store’s ATM. Once there, you realize it’s not a mistake, and you can either go back, remove items and split payment between cash and the card…or run away and never shop there again.

You’re wheeling a cart stuffed with dirty clothes to the laundromat. As you cross the street, you see a cute guy walking toward you. You think he might be looking at you; you’re not interested but, still, it’s nice to be noticed. The cart abruptly halts as the wheels catch on the edge of the curb, and you walk into it, bashing your shins and falling over it as it tips over, spilling your underwear out onto the ground as the guy passes by. He never breaks stride.

Have a happy Awkward Moments Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Global Handwashing Day bacteria graphic

October 15 is Global Handwashing Day

The following piece was originally published on Worldwide Weird Holidays. It seemed like a good fit for the Sandwich as well. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
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October 15 is Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day logo graphic

We know, we know: eww! When it comes to that ill-advised hot dog wolfed at a highway rest stop, we are all Mulder: we want to believe. That counter’s clean, the food freshly prepared by people who treat every day as handwashing day. So this must be one of those silly made-up holidays. Right? Why are we still talking about this?

Global Handwashing Day was founded in 2008 by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing to raise awareness of how proper hygiene can prevent disease transmitted by hand.  Here’s a tweet promoting the holiday and graphic embedded in it.

Why #GlobalHandwashingDay? B/C 1 trillion germs can live in 1 gram of poop (abt weight of a paper clip)! http://bit.ly/1JUaOrDGlobal Handwashing Day bacteria graphic

Wait a second. The numbers don’t match in the tweet and its graphic. Although I think we can all agree that either number is unsettling, we feel it’s our duty to get to the bottom of this. Who knew that researching this would end up in such a dark place?

Okay, now that we’ve got our juvenile punning (mostly) out of the way, let’s learn a little bit about the strangers in our poop. According to a study cited by the Centers for Disease Control, a gram of feces can contain a total of 1 trillion germs. So the tweet is right. Reporting of the number of viruses and bacteria, however, varies wildly. You might want to take our word for it. The Google search alone will make you want to douse yourself in hand sanitizer (which, by the way, isn’t as effective as you might think.)

Now that you’ve got a face full of feces facts, here’s a dollop more. A German site called my.microbes aims to be the first social network to connect members with similar microbial profiles to “share experiences, remedies, health and diet tips.” Watch out, Match.com!

If you’ve got your mind on your manure and your manure on your mind, track your output with the PoopLog app. According to the developer, he updated it to include the ability to attach photos because “it is the most requested feature from my users.” PoopLog allows you to track your bowel movements using the Bristol Stool Scale.

The Bristol Scale was devised in England and is very, well, descriptive. Click here to view it but maybe not when you’re eating sausage. We’re not showing it here because we don’t want to support poop porn. We will show you this enthusiastic review of PoopLog, though:

Pooplog Review graphic

Leland, we wish you the best in your turd analysis. Perhaps Places I’ve Pooped would be a valuable app for you, too. Just a quick word of advice: turn off the flash when you take a shelfie™* in a public place, which we fervently hope is a restroom. The uninformed might frown on you taking a photo of what came from your posterior for posterity.

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go wash our hands. We may never stop.

*sh– + selfie: don’t make us spell this out

Copyright Notice

Valentine's Day snail facial magick sandwich

Crazy Beauty Treatments for Valentine’s Day

Welcome to Magick Sandwich, your source for all things Valentine! Since I’ve already listed 9 Ways to Prevent Your Own Valentine’s Day Massacre and taught you to Pimp Your Vajajay for Valentine’s Day!, it’s time to get serious about skincare for your special day. We’ve got some interesting products to get through so let me start with a question, ladies. Remember what your high school boyfriend always told you? Turns out he was right. It really is good for your skin.

Sperm Cell Plush ToyGet your game face on at Graceful Services where, for only $125, you’ll be massaged with Spermine, a powerful antioxidant found in human sperm. The spa takes corporate accounts and does house calls. (Is that legal?) If you’re feeling a bit sheepish, you can purchase a tube of the stuff online. This company, which is really, truly named Bioforskning, asserts that Spermine is “the only antioxidant which is capable of penetrating the horny layer of the skin.” Adolescent chuckles all around.

If you’re feeling flush, hop across the pond to London’s Hari’s Salon for a bull sperm hair treatment. Yes, it’s the real thing but don’t fret: they keep it refrigerated so it’s nice and fresh. Trowel that on, slap a load of Spermine on your face, then lie back and pretend you’re an extra on the set of a porno flick. Tell this tale to your date and he will be snoring peacefully with a stain on his crotch by the time dessert arrives. You’re welcome.

snail facial magick sandwich

 If you fancy your secretions a bit less personal, book an EscarGlow™ snail slime facial at the NYC office of plastic surgeon and amateur punster Matthew Schulman. Or order earthworm excrement-enhanced Wrinkle Butter or Heaven Golden Bee Venom Mask (60ml for only $619.72) from the comfort of your own home. But please refer to these things as secretions, droppings and castings. The marketing folks have worked so hard, it would be a shame to waste their diligently researched synonyms.

All this reclining under excreta may have you worried about toxins but never fear. We’ve broken it down for you. Animal poop: good. Your poop: bad. Now you’ll need to fly back to London’s EF Medispa for its Californian Colonic, perhaps inspired by the warm California sun or just filled with bits of real Californians. One should never assume.

After the normal colonic—did I just write that?—blows “unnecessary waste and toxins” through a length of tubing, wheatgrass is “directly infused into the colon.” Again, hats off to the marketing department but the line must be drawn somewhere. There is no way to make the word tubing sound pleasant. Besides, colon hydrotherapy sounds suspiciously like what Sybil‘s mother did.

gwyneth paltrow cupping

Did it suck her brain out too?

If having a juice box squeezed up your butt is not your idea of fun, go the full Gwyneth with cupping, a treatment that harkens back to the days of bile and leeches. (Leeches are still around. Demi Moore likes them, which explains her attraction to Ashton Kutcher.)

Suction cups are placed all over your back and the vacuum created pulls the toxins out, frees your chi and gets your circulation going. I could do the same thing by slapping your face and taking your wallet. But maybe the hickeys you get all over your back will make you feel young. (Again, this explains a lot about Demi Moore.)

Procuring all this dewy softness can make one rather cranky. So if your date shows up stinking of Febreze with a bottle of Snooki perfume in one hand and a box of post-Hef Holly Madison candy necklaces in the other—I think I got a cold sore just writing that—slam the door and clear your schedule for some quality time with the Crave Duet Lux, described by its inventor as the iPod of vibrators.

This bad boy comes complete with a USB port that’s chargeable by computer so there are no pesky cords or batteries to slow you down. And it sports a super classy gold-plated base and 16 big swinging gigabytes of memory so you can keep your treasured memories close to your, well, you know. Best of all, whatever you choose to store–photos of autumn leaves or the complete works of Ryan Gosling—Duet Lux will remember everything you tell it. And isn’t that all you really want in a guy?

More innovation:
Lonely on Valentine’s Day? There’s an App for That

Copyright Magick Sandwich

 

OhMiBod Vibrator iPhone App

Lonely on Valentine’s Day? There’s an App for That

OhMiBod Vibrator iPhone AppIt’s Valentine’s Day again, when lonely souls search for a good time. Now they need look no further than their iPhones with the OhMiBod app, available on iTunes. This breakthrough for the hands-free onanist allows one to operate one’s vibrator remotely.

Designed for touch screen control,  the app also works with the iPad and iPod touch. A tap on the screen accesses five preloaded settings, including “Ooh I like!” and the mysterious “Fire Alarm.” For a more personalized experience, OhMiBod can direct the massager to pulsate with the beat of one’s favorite songs, perhaps causing bass-heavy rock bands to edge out, say, Moby, on one’s playlist.OhMiBod Vibrator iPhone App Touch Me

Of course, this remote can be used by couples as well. What boyfriend wouldn’t want to take a break from playing Angry Birds to pleasure his woman while watching porn and indulging in low tech masturbation in another room?

Steve Jobs would be so proud.

More to love:
Pimp Your Vajajay for Valentine’s Day!
9 Ways to Prevent Your Own Valentine’s Day Massacre

Copyright Magick Sandwich

 

pigeons on pilgrim hill

Merde Alors! National Pigeon Day 2011

Gee, has it been a whole year since the New York Bird Club celebrated National Pigeon Day in Central Park? Where does the time go? And why is this holiday, now in its fourth year, still unrecognized by the U.S. government?

June 13, 2011 is the 92nd anniversary of the death of World War I hero Cher Ami. Bird lovers gather to commemorate his bravery and call attention to the plight of pigeons everywhere. That is, except for last year, when it conflicted with the Puerto Rican Day parade. The city showed blatant anti-avianism when granting permits. Thankfully, the date falls on a Monday this year. I’m sure, in any case, that Cher wouldn’t mind.

Ami, a carrier pigeon who valiantly flew on after being shot and suffering a partially severed limb, delivered vital military intelligence to the U.S Army in France in October of 1918. He returned to the U.S. before succumbing to his injuries several months later. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre, a medal I’m sure its human recipients were honored to share with a bird. Ami has the singular distinction of also being stuffed and mounted. He forever stands at attention in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

stuffed pigeon cher ami

I like this pigeon. He acted heroically, unless you require self-awareness to make the decision to go above and beyond the call of duty. Filling a war hero’s body with sawdust must be a high point in the annals of taxidermy but it seems a little callous. This almost overcomes my desire to write about the silliness of creating a holiday to promote pigeon awareness. Almost.

If we accept this precedent, where will it end? Perhaps there should be an official day to make people aware of the dangers of dryer lint catching fire or allowing your kids to eat too much grout. By the way, how much grout is too much? I think just enough to push the marbles and metal shavings through. Thoughts?

Anna Dove, née Augusta Kugelmas, founder of National Pigeon Day, in an interview with the New York Times, likened her efforts on behalf of pigeons to the struggle of Martin Luther King for civil rights. At times, her protests have been less than peaceful. In 2003, she threw birdseed in the face of a Parks Department employee who tried to enforce sanitation restrictions against throwing feed on the ground.

Joanna Tierno, moderator of a pigeon Internet group, compared the birds to Holocaust victims when City Council member James Oddo proposed using a birth control medication called Ovo Control P to reduce the amount of pigeon excrement corroding the infrastructure of the Staten Island Ferry.

Innolytics, the medication’s manufacturer, was a 2010 recipient of The Humane Society of the United States Corporate Progress Award, which recognizes companies that have made demonstrable progress in reducing animal suffering and advancing animal welfare. The ASPCA and PETA also support humane alternatives to lethal bird control. In fact, PETA and the Pigeon Control Advisory Service (PiCAS), a British non-profit organization, actively discourage pigeon feeding.

pigeons up close interview

In Andrew Blechman’s book Pigeons, The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled BirdGuy Merchant, PiCAS founder, states, “A small number of persistent and deliberate feeders are wholly responsible for the pigeon problem throughout the world. They are the pigeon problem. Pigeons overbreed when people overfeed.” Although compulsive feeders see themselves as charitable, Guy thinks them selfish. It’s not enough to simply feed the pigeons, he says. All that does is burden everyone else with cleaning up the resulting mess.

PETA, on its website, has this to say on the subject.

There are people who buy heavy bags of bird seed and walk around New York City, London, and other cities dropping huge piles of it on to public sidewalks and in parks. Naturally, pigeons flock there to eat, and then breed. These people think they are helping, but in reality, they are doing more harm than good….

Have you ever considered asking your local park or city to put up signs discouraging the feeding of pigeons? Have you supported or opposed a local ordinance that would establish mandatory guidelines for feral cat colony management? Can we-who care about and advocate for animals-stop letting irrational impulses dictate our actions toward them?

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Evidence I tried to say it better myself:
June 13 is National Pigeon Day: Ask Your Boss for the Day Off
National Pigeon Day. Again. I’m Not Kidding.
National Pigeon Day 2010: Part One
National Pigeon Day 2010: Part Two

Copyright Magick Sandwich