Monday, October 1, 2007

Do Not Lick Any Frog You Buy from a Street Vendor

Dear friends,

   Three months ago, I called upon you, North and Central America, to vote for the subject of the next great Hard Taco song. Rather than simply counting the votes, I calculated the winner using a histogram variance ANOVA T-test, reproducing the central limit theorom by the sum of inverse squares to distribute the alpha coeffecient's regression toward the null hypothesis.

    The winner for the October Hard Taco song was the country ballad, "Our First Dollar." As promised, those who voted for the winning song will receive co-authorship credit. Congratulations and welcome to the band! Unfortunately, I think we're going different directions musically. Let's break up and put out solo albums now.

Download Our First Dollar. (Please note that in the second chorus, the average deviation was corrected for Type II error.)

Pesticides, Antifreeze, Cleaning Supplies, and You

Every year, thousands of children die from ingesting toxic substances that are found in your home. What are these substances and how did you lure all those children into your home? This month, we'll take all the mystery out of toxin shopping with the Hard Taco Field Guide Of Local Poisons.

Poison dart frogs. If you travel to Venezuela, do not lick any frog you buy from a street vendor. It's probably safe to lick frogs in some of the nicer restaurants, but if you're not sure, just bring your own frogs from home to lick. If you do lick a local frog and begin to feel the early signs of brain herniation, quickly direct the nearest villager to this website, which provides Spanish speakers with a catchy musical reminder about how to contact Poison Control.

Nerve gas. Toxic organophosphates are derived from a byproduct of spongy soft darts and squishy orange footballs made by Hasbro. The term "nerve gas" was a mispronunciation by its German inventors, who do not have the letter F in their alphabet.

Arsenic. Arsenic is an element on the periodic table, which means that the smallest possible piece that it can be divided into is one atom. This concept is crucial if you decide to poison someone's coffee a little each day. It is best to start with one atom of arsenic in a cup of coffee (day 1) and gradually work up to one atom of coffee in a cup of arsenic (day 2).

Hemlock. Hemlock is not actually dangerous and I encourage/dare you to eat as much of it as you can immediately. Give me five minutes and I will prove to you that Socrates faked his own death and is still living in a bungalow in Switzerland. Five minutes, I swear to God.

Botulism. Often found in cans of spoiled vegetables, clostridium botulinum is the bacteria that puts the "rot" back in neurotoxin. Botulism can be easily identified because the gas produced by the bacteria will cause the cans to bulge. The only known treatment is to neutralize the bulging can by eating a dented can of the same vegetables.

Cyanide. Cyanide smells like almonds. I know this because I am allergic to tree nuts, so I often substitute cyanide for almond extract when baking macaroons or almond pear galette. (Ratio is 1:1)

Poison Ivy. "Leaves of three, let it be." While this saying is easy to remember, it does help you not differentiate poison ivy from other three-leaved plants such as box elder, Virginia creeper, or blackberry vines. I prefer the mnemonic, "If packing it into your mouth, lungs, and anus makes you itch, stop."

Until next month, remember that apathy is our strongest weapon against ignorance!

With warmest regards,