27 April 2008

Sporks: Bastardization or useful utensil?

In the interest of full disclosure, I do not like sporks.  I think they're pointless.  I was reminded recently of a clever poem one of my high school classmates had written about the dual nature of the spork.  From there I decided to investigate sporks and determine the origin of such useless yet oddly prevalent implements.

For clarification, we are discussing here the sporks that contain a shallow spoon like bowl and short fork like tines.  And not the utensil that contains a fork on one end and a spoon on the other.

A search on Amazon will lead to a variety of different sorts of sporks: wooden, plastic, and metallic.  People must actually pay money for inefficient utensils.  Crazy, I know.

Who invented it?
Sporks have been in use since the late 1800's.  Wikipedia suggests that there is some confusion on origination; there are have been patents in the past, but indeterminate records at current.  Sporks are Godlike proposes two theories: Divine intervention and evolution.

Alternative uses for the spork.
Give the sporks extreme inability to serve its intended purpose Spork.org has compiled this list of alternative uses:

   1. Pull out all but the edge prongs, rip off the handle, and stick it in your mouth. Instant Dracula!
   2. Invert the spork (turn it into a foon) and load stuff into the depression and fire!
   3. Foon your spork and lay it on the table with the arch up, then press on the high arc and release. Flying Foons!
   4. Foon your spork and then spork your foon in rapid succession, the resulting crack sound is known as a `spack'. This is hours of fun.
   5. Foon your spork and turn the prongs up, you have just created a sporfoontapult, perfect for launchings (see above).
   6. Alternately bend the prongs inward and outward and stand the spork on end. This is a leaning tower of spork. You can then launch foons over it.
   7. Get a bunch of friends together and make a plenty foons. Then start launching them at each other, the objective is to collide foons in mid-air. Note: The more foons in the air the better, try to launch 5-10 at a time for a challenge.
   8. Plant them in your lawn to scare away burglers
   9. Stick them in your backpack to scare away friends
  10. Instead of roses, give your girlfriend sporks in new and interesting ways
  11. Plus much much more...

Can a confirmed Spork hater change her ways?
While contemplating the conundrum that is the spork, it occurred to me that I might well have given the spork short shrift.  To that end I was determined to acquire a 30 day supply of sporks and use them to consume my meals over the next thirty days.

Sporks Are Godlike provides a list of the sporks native habitats. I visited a nearby Taco Bell to pilfer a supply of sporks.  They didn't have any!  They only had forks!

Over the coarse of the weekend I visited, a Dollar Tree, an Acme grocery, a Trader Joe's, and a Whole Foods.  No Sporks.  Could it be that all of these companies are in agreement on the uselessness of the spork, and have removed them from circulation?

I'll keep my eyes open.  If I manage to find some sporks I'll let you know how the 30 day trial goes.

Web resources

Sporks are God like

Literary resources
None. Not for a lack of trying though.  If you know of any books/pamphlets/etc that chronicle sporks and/or other utensils, please forward me the pertinent details.

19 April 2008

Fireflies in Love

I was falling asleep last night and I noticed fireflies were flickering outside my window. It was kind of comforting. They were quite plentiful in the warmer seasons of North Carolina and I haven’t really noticed any fireflies since moving to Florida.

My job had me in my car early this morning.  The early morning sky was still quite dark. Dawn was hours away. On the way to the Silver Bullet (my car) I noticed the fireflies were still flashing. I was amused at they're amorous nature. Funny bugs, seeking mates all through the night.  And then I noticed that it wasn’t fireflies.

It was the sky. The sky was filled with soundless lightening.  Spectacular.

Never before had the sky done something to make my jaw drop.

I had trouble focusing on the drive into work.  The display was more remarkable than fireworks. And soundless; awesome. I was more than a little late for work.

How could I have missed out on observing this phenomenon, previously? Admittedly I'd never lived anywhere previously where I woke so early in the morning. It often rains daily in Florida, which doubtlessly increases the chances of witnessing such a sight.

As it turns out, when lightning is more that 10 miles away the sound waves will dissipate and not reach the observer.  Also if weather conditions permit, the sound of thunder can be funneled upward instead of earthward.

What I saw was an intercloud or intracloud lightning. 'When lightning occurs inside a distant cloud at night, the whole towering storm is illuminated in an eerie and spectacular way.' (Gibilisco).

Internet Resources

Weather Bug 
Weather Underground 
Stormy Weather Blog
Bhakti Roberto's Descriptive Essay

Haven't been able to find a good clip/picture of this phenomenon.  When I do I'll post it here.

Library Resources

Buckley, B., Hopkings, E. J., & Whitaker, R., 2004, Weather: A Visual Guide, Firefly Books Ltd., Buffalo, New York.

Cox, J. D., 2000, Weather for Dummies, IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., New York, NY, 212 p.

Gibilisco, S., 2006, Meteorology Demystified, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., New York, NY, 123 p.

Smith, J., 2001, The Facts on File Dictionary of Weather and Climate, Market House Books Ltd., New York, NY, 107 p.