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The Litter Box: Duck Calls, Cake Customs, and Sneaky Seniors

Posted in Animals, Food and Drink, Litter Box, Various.


Sharknado by the Numbers

Sharknado has taken the nation by storm.   Halfway through last Thursday’s debut, social media chatter peaked at more than 5,000 Tweets a minute.  That’s a ratio of tweets-per-viewer that dwarfs the immensely-more-watched Game of Thrones 13 times over.  The percent increase in interest in sharknadoes is, quite literally, undefined.

Topsy Sharknado v2

So just how many sharks does the average sharknado contain?  “I can’t even count that high,” screenwriter Thunder Levin (yes, that’s his real name) told science site io9.

But statisticians typically take a few more math classes than screenwriters.  And they like to point out that, on average, less than 1 person in the U.S. dies per year from shark attacks (another 39 or so folks range from unharmed to mostly-maimed).  You’re more likely to be killed by a vending machine or falling big screen TV.

Pair the International Shark Attack File’s handy stats on shark attacks per state with annual tornadoes from the National Climactic Data Center, and you get a telling look at average shark attacks per tornado.  Last Thursday was clearly an outlier for California. And perhaps it’s Hawaiians who should be most afraid.

Shark Attacks per Tornado Map

Despite the low odds, Austin meteorologist (and neighbor) Bob Gifford isn’t taking any chances.  Continued…

Posted in Animals, Maps, Various.


The Great Slurpee Invasion

7-Eleven SignThe metal shipping containers arrived this spring at the two gas stations that bookend our neighborhood.  Off came the old Tigermarket and TETCO signs, replaced with spiffy new 7-Eleven logos.  Then a run-down station near our church got its own upgrade, and soon every errand that drug me to a different part of town uncovered a new trademark green, orange, and red sign.

So is 7-Eleven taking over the world?  Maybe…

Spokeswoman Margaret Chabris (no, she says, she doesn’t play bingo) reports that in just one year, the chain has doubled its presence to 83 stories in the Austin area. Now that’s a big gulp.

7-Eleven has been on buying spree, snapping up existing Tigermarkets, TETCOs, and Speedy Stops to be rebranded.  It’s also opening brand new locations, with 32 new stores added since 2007.  And it shows no signs of stopping, as it focuses on locations along the I-35 corridor, both north and south of Austin.

After all, Austin holds a special place in 7-Eleven’s heart.  Continued…

Posted in Food and Drink, Various.


B-I-N-G-O, and Margaret was her Name-O

Sure, Austinites may love their live music and their urban bats, but take a drive one night past Big Star Bingo, and you’re sure to find the place bustling.

The Bingo Bugle lists at least 8 bingo halls to choose from in Austin.  In the U.S., an estimated 1 to 1.5% of the population are meaningful and consistent bingo players.  (What makes a bingo player “meaningful” beats me, but for Austin that works out to about 9,000 to 13,000 bingo fans jockeying for a seat at the table.)  So just who are all of these folks?

Women allegedly account for 70% of bingo players, and rumor has it that women named Margaret win at bingo more often than those with any other name.  The trusty Baby Name Wizard tells us that Margaret peaked in popularity back in the days of the Model T.  Do the math, and you’ll see that factoid does little to help the stereotype of bingo parlors filled with white-haired ladies.

Margaret

But Margaret may need to watch her back… Continued…

Posted in Money, Various.


How About Some Opossum Stew?

It’s that time again…  After 17 years of munching on tree roots underground, cicadas have emerged to serenade the east coast.  Thanks to a handy iPhone app, my sister-in-law clocked hers in at 75 dB. (“You never know what you’ll find on your phone when you share with an engineer,” she says.)

But to Jenna Jadin and the University of Maryland Cicadamaniacs, all that buzzing is the sound of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Download their free Cicada-licious cookbook, and you too can enjoy Cicada Dumplings, El Chirper Tacos, and Cicada Rhubarb Pie.

It’s not just the “shrimp of the land” that has to worry about ending up on dinner plates.  So does the “king of the jungle”.  Diners made news in May by shelling out $35 apiece for lion tacos at Florida’s Taco Fusion (its Safari Menu also includes shark and kangaroo tacos, complete with cherry or mango salsa).

Is Florida too far for a taco?  Exotic Meat Market will ship ranch-raised ground lion directly to your doorstep for a cool $200 per pound.  And as long as you’re not in California, you can stock up on zebra too.

So what else is in the exotic foodie’s shopping cart?  The budding iguana market provides jobs for farmers (and BB marksmen) in El Salvador.  Python meat is “light and tender”, and peacocks ($300 a pop) can be slaughtered Halal for just $25 extra.

Squirrels are a mere $19.99 apiece (or you can shoot your own for free).  Sure, the ratio of meat to fur isn’t in your favor, but with ample side dishes, a squirrel per person should hit the spot.

Exotic Meat per Lb

And in case none of those are bizarre enough for you, then there’s always the bizarre food combo (14 pounds of duck tongue, cockscombs, thymus glands, on other unmentionables all on sale for just $99.99).  Makes the wild rice sounds pretty tame by comparison.

Posted in Animals, Food and Drink, Money, Various.


The Litter Box: Popes, Pedicabs, and the Daylight Saving Blues

Posted in Litter Box, Money, Various.


The Men of 2012

A little fun with Google Trends.  Sorry, Aggies….  Johnny Manziel didn’t even make a blip.

Men of 2012 Combined

Posted in Various.


Happy Cyber Monday!

If you’ve got a bookworm on your Christmas list, try out this year’s Calico Reading List.

Posted in Various.


The Search for the Surplus Orange Juice Pulp

31% of us prefer our orange juice pulp-free…  That outnumbers the 19% who like theirs extra-pulpy.  So have you ever wondered where all that extra orange juice pulp goes?

  • According to Lindsay at Tropicana, the company’s feed mills produce approximately 210,000 tons of cattle feed per year using orange juice pulp pellets.  Mmmooooo.
  • But it’s not just hungry cows that eat the leftovers.  Most likely you and I do too…food manufacturers are turning to a fiber derived from orange juice pulp to replace fat, improve texture, and increase profits for muffins, meatballs, ice cream, and more.
  • Now you can smear a little orange juice pulp on your face too.  Can’t find it in stores?  Request a free sample, grab a recipe, and rev your blender up to 10,000 rpm.  Martha Stewart would be proud.

Posted in Food and Drink, Various.


Seek and Ye Shall Find

It’s time to celebrate a second anniversary for TheCuriousCalico (and more than 11,000 pageviews)!

So assuming you’re not a loyal friend or unfortunate coworker stuck with my random musings (or my mom :-) )… then how exactly did you stumble upon TheCuriousCalico?  Google Analytics to the rescue:

Got other burning questions on your mind?  Leave them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best sleuthing…

Related:  1st Year Anniversary – The Calico Code

Posted in Various.