Babylonian Wife Market

Finding the right life partner can be a daunting task. Fortunately, resurrecting an ancient Babylonian custom is sure to solve all these woes.

According to Herodotus, the first step is to round up all the marriageable women.

Then the auction starts.

Eventually the bidding wanes.

Fortunately, there is a solution for this.

The process continues until all the women are paired.

Sexist? You bet. Degrading? Absolutely.

But practical. Very, very practical.

Selective Memory

When I was young, my older brother and I had an Atari. Nowadays I look back nostalgically at how fun it was to play those classic games.

My mother recalls it differently, however.

Then there was the time I visited a certain British landmark. Here's what I remember:

My friends' version:

But these examples pale compared to the great fire of '04. Everyone agrees that I was visiting my cousins and making krumkaker, those Norwegian waffle cookies of delight. After this the stories diverge.

How I remember it:

What my relatives insist occurred:

Selective memory for the win.

Baby Shower

It all started a few months ago when a particularly horrifying piece of mail arrived.

I’m not against babies per se, but they’re something that older people have to deal with. You know, real adults, not people my age. I’d never been to a baby shower, but I did have a mental image of what one would entail.

My coping mechanism was to promptly lose the invitation.

Eventually I gave a last-minute RSVP to the mother-to-be, and she emailed me the time and place I needed to show up. Armed with firm logistical details, I trooped over to the local baby store in order to find a gift. I soon realized that I was way out of my depth.

Fortunately, the employees were eager to assist me.

On the day of the shower, I waded through a horde of people I didn’t know and stared in shock. What caught me off guard was that the so-called “baby shower” had a dearth of actual babies.

The mother-to-be looked wonderful. So did the mountain of food in the kitchen, but in a very different way. After heaping my plate with goodies, I was more than content to discuss what the future child was to be called.

Eventually it was time for the presents.

(If you're not familiar with the reference above, you're missing out.)

While we watched the gift-opening extravaganza, I compared notes with my roommate.

Of course, there was more to the shower than food and presents. There was also a game where we identified the titles of nursery rhymes based on brief excerpts. I won by a landslide.

Prizes went to the first, second, and third place winners.

That’s when I decided that baby showers aren’t so bad after all.

Love Lessons from Literature: How to Snag a Mate

The first step when spouse-hunting is to find a suitable candidate. Do some research before plunging in. This will head off all sorts of potential problems.

Once you’ve selected your quarry, you have some options for how to proceed. One time-honored method is to revert to middle school and send a friend as a go-between. (Caution: this technique only has a 50% success rate.)

Another method is to ask for help from as many people as possible.

Then there’s the gender-bending method.

Of course, you have to remember to take care of any crazy exes first.

There you have it: literature will solve all your romance woes! Remember, if at first you don’t succeed...

Tree Survey!

This is by far the most entertaining piece of junk mail I have received recently. Click on the photos for enlarged, high-res versions.