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Hyperion September 28, 2003
the Hyperion Chronicles
“Nothing makes a waitress blush like telling her you’d strangle orphans just to see her smile”

#158 Potpourri, Volume XXI

Sometimes the Tag-Line writes itself. Our first item is sent to us by a Reader in Denver, Colorado. A Utah woman is suing the Campbell Soup Co. because she allegedly found a tooth in the chicken noodle soup she served her 13 month-old baby. According to her attorney she is suing because she is, “worried about blood-borne disease (the tooth could contain), and also for shock. Now she's afraid to eat soup.” The only thing I can add to that is what I’m sure everyone else is thinking: now there’s soup that eats like a meal!

One more story like this, and they officially join the “South”Our next story comes from the not-so-great state of Ohio. Seriously, what are these people smoking there? It seems like every other negative story Readers send me comes from Ohio (Maurice Clarett, the cause of the blackout, etc.). You might already be familiar with this, but I was blissfully unaware until recently about Robert and Teresa Milbrandt. The Milbrandts came up with a novel way to get money: tell everyone their six-year-old daughter had luekemia. Among other things, the Milbrandts shaved their daughter’s head, gave her sleeping pills, and even made her wear a mask; all to appear she was going through chemotherapy. To top it all off, they put her in death-counseling, a new trend they have for terminally ill children to prepare them to die.

It worked too, as the Milbrandts took in over $31,000 from caring community members. Until they were caught. Just speaking logistically, I’m not sure how they didn’t think they wouldn’t get caught. I mean, at some point they would have either had to take a doctor into the scheme, or kill the child. Luckily, the parents both received multi-year prison sentences, and the little girl—now eight—is in foster care. I feel for this little girl, but the even larger tragedy is now families in real need will get much shorter shrift from a suspicious public. Sigh.

Webster was a sissyMy mom and I like to stump each other with vocabulary, so we’re always on the lookout for exotic words when we read. I was thinking that the Hyperion Nation (some of you) might like to learn too, so each Potpourri, I’ll test you on a few words. Take a moment to see if you know these. I put in a couple of easy ones, so I expect everyone to get at least two and a half. The answers are below.

Chthonic (pronounced Thaw-nik)

Just for funI put the Operator on Speed-Dial.
HousekeepingJust a reminder: the contest to win a C.A.R. (that is, a Column About a Reader) is still on until November 1. Whoever brings me the most new Readers will get a column written about whatever he or she wants. I’ve talked to the woman who is currently in first place, and I REALLY don’t want to write on her topic, so please help me out. There is still time for you to win, and then I can write about whatever dumb, I mean wonderful topic you so desire.

We have that on Back OrderUnless you’re one of the few, the proud, the people I have incriminating pictures on, you probably haven’t belonged to the Hyperion Nation for all one hundred and fifty-eight columns (not counting the Special Collector’s Issue or Hyperion X). Many of you have asked me if there is a way to receive the old columns. Yes, once the website is up. But until then, if you just can’t get enough of me (if I had a dollar every time that has happened…), then there is always the catalogue. Several enterprising Readers have written to ask for it, but for those of you it never would have occurred to, I’m going to help you out. At the bottom (below the credits), is a catalogue of every Chronicle up to now. If you see some you missed, or just wish to read again, feel free to write and ask. (This would really help me out since I’ve had trouble finding work for the interns to do lately.)

Required LearningYes, I know everyone hates it, but in order to keep our tax-exempt status we have to teach you something at least once a week. Look on the bright side: this will make you look smarter and if you’re dating a smart woman, make her love you more. Today we get the Latin phrase Sine Qua Non. This literally translates to without which not, which I know doesn’t sound all that romantic, but read me out. The useful translation is: something that is absolutely essential and indispensable, that you cannot do without. Now can you see why a smart woman would love this? You call her your Sine Qua Non, and then explain to her what it means, and I guarantee she’ll swoon.

Advice o’ the Day“It’s God’s will for us to be happy. He wants us to breathe in the joy around us, not shoulder the suffering alone.”
-Tim Maculan

So quit being miserable, you punks.

Hair today, Gone tomorrowOur next item is pretty sweet. According to the National Cancer Institute (although somebody please explain to me why they are researching this), you can tell whether your baby will be right or left handed by the...wait for it…way their hair swirls. (I’m not kidding. Read the full story here.) The NCI researchers checked over 500 people in airports and shopping malls (where you can apparently get away with Follicle-stalking more easily, so remember that, if you’re so inclined) and discovered that if your hair swirls clockwise, you have a 95% chance of being right handed. (Or if you’re a baby, becoming right handed. Although I must say, if you’re a baby and reading this I don’t think discovering your dominant hand is going to be your biggest goal.) I’m not sure what the upshot is for Cancer or even science (although the scientists in the article were quite excited), but this does mean you have a cool thing to talk about at parties. Basically, anything you can do to get girls to let you feel their hair, and vice-versa, is a good thing.

Vocab Words RevealedIf you haven’t cheated, I now have the answers to those words earlier:

Gallimaufry: Hodgepodge

Avuncular: Friendly, like an uncle would be

Emetic: an agent that causes vomiting

Praxis: a skill; the customary way of doing things

Chthonic: Infernal, relating to the Underworld

DenouementFinally, I ran across this gem the other day. Apple Computers has started a huge database of music for people who subscribe to download onto MP3 Players. As a service to parents, Apple puts Red Warning Labels on some of the music that reads: “This might not be appropriate for young children or people with sensitive tastes.”

Makes sense, right? After all, parents need to be informed. However, it was discovered that, of all things, Handel’s Messiah has the warning label. As of press time Apple was unable to explain this, and I’m sure they will get it fixed soon. But in the meantime, the next time someone angers you but it would be socially inappropriate to respond vehemently (i.e., your boss, your grandma, the Pope), now you can just look them in the eye and say, “Hallelujah!”

That’s life in the Monkey Barn,

September 28, 2003

CreditsThanks to Tootsie for Editing help
Thanks to all the Readers who sent in items

Motto ExplanationI told this really hot waitress Saturday night she was so beautiful I would strangle orphans for her, and she blushed so bright red that I knew I had my next motto

In-text websites

@2003 the Hyperion Chronicles


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