Category Archives: shopping

trying on clothes that, you know, fit, I should say right off that this is a chick thing. Specifically, the people who will relate are women who are probably at least 35 and/or have had children. Guys, you won’t get it because you’re used to thinking, “Hey, I need some new shorts”; running to Target (or wherever); holding up shorts until you find ones that appear to be big enough — maybe or maybe not trying them on; and then buying them, with no worries about the size.

That’s not a Middle America, woman-of-a-certain-age reality. My reality is that I weigh a lot more than I did in college, but my mental image of myself is still that earlier size. I’m either two or three sizes bigger (depending on the clothing item) than before I bore two children, but the new numbers are so horrifying to a female accustomed to our mass media version of model-thin perfection that I haven’t been able to bear to go to a store and try on clothes that would actually fit well. Instead, over the last year or so, the couple of times I’ve tried on clothes I’ve gone home angry and depressed because I haven’t been able to wear the sizes I thought I should fit into.

In less than two weeks we leave for spring break in Florida, and the fact is that I have very few warm-weather clothes left in my drawers or closet that I can wear. So, I had to go shopping, and I had to find wearable items. But when my daughter and I headed to Target this evening, I went with a new attitude: I pulled clothes off the racks that were the sizes I thought would fit, rather than the sizes I thought should fit. I made myself ignore the numbers and the expanses of fabric, and instead focus on style and comfort.

And lo and behold, I found a stack of new spring and summer clothes that make me happy. They’re comfortable. They’re flattering. And they’re bigger than I used to wear — but that’s OK.

icky beyond all belief

I heard about this on the BBC world news on NPR this morning, and sure enough, it appears to be the real thing. Sometimes there isn’t much to say besides “Ewwwwwww!” condoms that have been reprocessed into rubber bands and hair ties have been sold in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, raising concerns about public health.

In addition to being sold at local bazaars, the recycled condoms have been found at local beauty salons in the prosperous Pearl River Delta city, according to Guangzhou-based New Express Daily.

“These cheap and colorful rubber bands and hair ties sell well in the city, threatening the health of local people and tourists,” the paper said.

Local doctors have warned that using these rubber bands could lead to the spread of AIDS, genital warts and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“There are a lot of bacteria and viruses on the rubber bands and hair ties made from used condoms,” a dermatologist at the Guangzhou Hospital of Armed Police, who asked to be identified by his surname Dong, said.

“People could be infected with AIDS, warts or other diseases if they hold the rubber bands or strings in their mouths while weaving their hair into plaits or buns,” Dong was quoted as saying by the paper.

Chen Wenlan, a resident of Dongguan, said she was disgusted when she discovered that the rubber bands a local beauty salon had given her last week were made of recycled condoms.

Chen, a local white-collar worker, is a frequent customer of local beauty salons.

“Many of my friends have not yet heard the news. And it is really terrible,” Chen said.

A bag of 10 recycled hair ties costs only 25 fen at local markets, which is much less than the normal rate for such products, the paper said.

Many sellers have refused to reveal where they got their products and whether they had been made from recycled condoms, saying it was commercial secret.

But insiders said some of the rubber bands and hair ties could have been made from imported overseas rubbish. Local entertainment venues were also said to have contributed condoms.

The recycled goods have also been found in bazaars in Guangzhou’s Baiyun and Panyu districts, according to New Express Daily.

An official from the Guangzhou administration of industry and commerce said it was against the law to make or sell goods made from used condoms.

The administration will punish those who have broken the rules.

(China Daily November 13, 2007)

the perfect package (for the man who likes to show his off) the immortal words of Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.” Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Penis Pokey, now available at Wishing Fish (an extremely cool online store).

From the description on the site:

Penis Pokey is an illustrated board book with a large die-cut hole in its center. Every spread features a dazzling full-color illustration with one thing missing — a banana, perhaps, or a fire hose, or a sea serpent. Male readers can complete the illustrations using the talents God has given them.

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all I want for Christmas is a toad-shaped purse do about 85% of my Christmas shopping online; this time of year, the UPS guy is wearing a path to the door. A few years ago, I discovered a company called Archie McPhee. They have a store in Seattle that I’d dearly love to visit some day, a way cool paper catalog, and a web site that will make you feel as though you’ve been sucked into a Dadaist version of the 1960s. Thanks to the magic pixies at Archie McPhee, I’ve given highly successful, way-beyond-the ordinary gifts for Christmas, birthdays, and graduations.

I’ve enjoyed my share of the Mystery Boxes I’ve ordered my family for the last couple of Christmases—after all, you can never have enough Parasite Pals or Jumbo Soft Latex Toads. But there are some other McPhee marvels I feel I can’t live without. Herewith, in case Santa is reading this, are the Things I Want Desperately for Christmas from Archie McPhee. Continue reading