Monday, December 31, 2012


Well...I made it! This is the 366th day in a row I've posted something on my blog. Initially, I never thought I'd make it past March, but here I am. If you've taken this journey with me, or at least parts of it, thank you very much! This was one of the most ambitious New Year's Resolutions I've ever made, and by far the most successful I've ever been with one. I've learned a lot about myself along the way. I've learned that there's still a creative spark inside me; I just have to nudge it every now and then to get it going. I've learned a lot about dedication (forcing yourself to write *something* every day is much harder than it seems) and overcoming difficult circumstances (when you're in the middle of nowhere in the mountains with no Internet service and you have a blog post written ahead of time, but have no conceivable way to actually post it). Will I make this same commitment next year? No, I won't. That answer comes from me and my wife. She knows as well as I do how much time I've committed to posting something every day, and that this year it was (for the most part) doable. But with a brand-new person to take care of arriving any day now, I won't have the time or energy to be able to pull this off again. Will I still blog? Of course, I will. Often? Probably. By this point, it's become a habit. But it won't be everyday, and it may not even be more than once a week. We'll see how it goes. With all that being said, here are some interesting year-in-review "numbers" for The Plural Of Hyena blog for the year of 2012 (with links to the original posts):

(And why I think they've been viewed so much)

Creepy Mustaches  (2,434)
(I'm guessing this is a popular searched phrase, and I'm
just reaping the benefits of people clicking on images)

(I guess people are very interested in folks with
heterochromia...nice round number, by the way) 

(Apparently, the high page view count is due to the picture
I included of a 40-oz. "beverage" ~ more on this later) 

(Creepy clowns are in vogue, I guess)

Epic Beards  (1,729)
(Like "Creepy Mustaches," I think a lot of people are searching
for images with this phrase...and finding my blog instead) 

(Tall people are fascinating? I dunno...)

Fifty Shades Of Lamps  (1,559)
(Duh! FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. Did I intentionally rip off the
title of a pop culture phenomenon to get more page views? Yup.)

(I included a lot of cool flamingo pics, which 
people must be Googling for a lot these days)

(David Hasselhoff hugging puppies ~ more on this later)

Anteaters!  (1,002)
(Lolcatz are OUT ~ Captioning Anteater Pictures is IN!)

(Either people are really into Woody Allen, or they
really love TOY STORY ~ I'm guessing the latter) 

(People are really curious to see what the guy
who plays Chewbacca actually looks like)

(Because in this day and age, we NEED reasons)

(I guess people are fascinated by fake names...)

WHERE DO MOST OF MY PAGE VIEWS ORIGINATE FROM?  (U.S.) (17,771)  (United Kingdom) (2,747)  (Canada) (1,676)  (1,584)  (Australia) (746)  (429)  (India) (335)  (Germany) (322)  (Philippines) (212)


(I have to exclude the many zebra-related keywords, 
since my big zebra post was last year, not this year)

"Brahim Takioullah"  (2nd tallest man in the world) (176 searches)

"David Hasselhoff Puppies"  (144 searches)

"Woody"  (131 searches)

"Flamingos"  (109 searches)

"Telly Savalas"  (quotes by famous bald people) (104 searches)


United States  (27,697)

United Kingdom  (3,509)

Canada  (2,068)

Australia  (1,014)

Russia (894)

Germany  (798)

India  (366)

France  (352)

Philippines  (265)

Brazil  (200)

P.S.  Thanks again for being loyal readers! Stick with me in 2013! I have plenty more ideas -- both good ones and weird ones -- to share with you in the coming year!  ~  JH

Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Favorite Posts And My Weirdest Posts Of The Year

As regular readers of this blog can attest, you never know what you'll find me posting from one day to the next. My imagination is all over the place, the things I find fascinating are extremely varied, and sometimes I can be just flat-out random. In reflecting over the past 364 days of posts, I have compiled a list of my favorite posts of the year as well as my weirdest ones. For each post in the list, I have included a link to the original post, in case you missed it the first time or just feel like rereading. The lists are in no particular order, though they're probably more or less chronological (just worked out that way from the manner in which I searched through all of them). If you are a regular reader, thank you for spending a few minutes each day to read my thoughts and fascinations here. If you're just getting started, the following items are a smattering of what you can expect from this blog. Don't say I didn't warn you!


Baby Pictures  (for obvious reasons!)


Saturday, December 29, 2012

10 Things I Haven't Blogged About This Year (...Until Now)

So here I am, 3 days away from the end of 2012, and I still haven't missed a single day posting something. In reflecting on the the multiplicity of things I've blogged about over the course of this year, I am reminded once again that I am the author of what is quite possibly the most unfocused blog ever! Any subject is apt to be covered at any time, with or without reason. I will write about practically anything! Which got me thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know)...what haven't I written about so far this year? So I started thinking of as many random things and people as I could that I didn't think I'd covered here. In some cases, I found that at some point -- if even in passing -- I had mentioned them, and so those had to be excluded. What follows is a list of 10 things (or people) that I haven't mentioned at all this entire year...until now. Enjoy?

1)  The Empire State Building:  It's one of the most famous buildings in the entire world. It is, in fact, the 3rd tallest skyscraper in the United States and the 22nd tallest in the world. The building has figured prominently in film classics such as King Kong and Love Affair (which was later remade as An Affair To Remember and Sleepless In Seattle), among many others. And I haven't mentioned it not one time...until now.

2)  Twinkies:  These famous snack cakes have made all kinds of news this year, due to the fact that their manufacturer, Hostess Brands, is going bankrupt, putting the future of Twinkies in jeopardy. But have I even mentioned Twinkies in passing before today? No, not at all. Sad!

3)  Alan Rickman:  He's a highly regarded character actor, and one of the all-time greats. Rickman has starred in some of my favorite modern-day movies, including Sense And Sensibility, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, and the Harry Potter film series. And I haven't posted a single thing about him...until now. I haven't even quoted him, and he's an eminently quotable guy. Take this Rickman quote, for example: "If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust." Or this one: "I think there's some connection between absolute discipline and absolute freedom." Boy, did I drop the ball on this one, or what?

4)  Doilies:  Whether crocheted or knitted, circular or oval, square or rectangular, these classic ornamental mats are indeed a sight to behold. And I have gone 364 days without even hinting at talking about doilies. What's wrong with me?

5)  Spandex:  This one is inexcusable! I write about clothes for a living (my real job). Hardly a day goes by that I don't write about some article of clothing which is made -- at least in part -- from spandex (or its alter-ego, "elastane"). And yet, I've gone almost an entire year without mentioning it here on my blog. What was I thinking?

6)  Motor Oil:  I know I'm no auto enthusiast, not by any stretch of the imagination. But is there really any good reason for me to go all year without at least acknowledging the existence of motor oil? Seriously!

7)  Icicles:  We haven't had much winter weather to speak of where I live so far this year (and that isn't likely to change in the next two days), so maybe -- just maybe -- I have an excuse for neglecting to mention icicles. But let's face it: I nearly dropped the ball here, and I will try not to do so again in the future.

8)  Dolly Parton:  A wildly successful singer, songwriter, actress, and author, Dolly Parton is a living legend. Parton has composed over 3,000 songs in her distinguished career (mostly country music), including classics like "I Will Always Love You" (Whitney made it timeless, but Dolly wrote it!), "Jolene," "9 To 5", and many, many more. She's played memorable parts in numerous movies, including the modern classic Steel Magnolias. And I almost forgot to mention her at all this year. I didn't even quote here once -- and she's highly quotable! Why, I could've done a whole post on her aphorisms alone. Take these five, for example:
*  "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
*  "If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one."
*  "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails."
*  "You'll never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try."
*  "Storms make trees take deeper roots."

9)  Octopuses (or Octopi, or Octopodes):  These weird and wonderful cephalopods are said to be "the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible of all invertebrates." They are also potentially the most comforting animal known to man -- after all, they have 8 arms with which to hold you. Not to mention that some people (myself excluded) think they make a tasty dinner. And I almost passed over them entirely this whole year! What in the world?

10)  Capers:  The edible flower buds and berries of the caper bush, both commonly referred to as capers, are often used for seasoning in fancy-pants restaurant foods. The berries are often pickled and sometimes served as a side dish or garnish on their own. I have tried capers and found them to be quite salty, but also quite delicious. So why, then, would I go nearly an entire year and not mention a food which I find to be quite salty, but also quite delicious? Your guess is as good as mine. But at least I'm mentioning them now.

Friday, December 28, 2012

And The Waiting Game Begins...

I just realized that it's been almost a month since I last wrote anything about our actual lives. I've been posting plenty of so-called "entertaining" stuff, but nothing personal. So I guess it's about time.

In case you didn't know already, we're expecting our first child. Soon. Like, anytime soon. We're eight days out from the actual due date and nothing seems to be happening on its own so far. So, at our OB/GYN appointment yesterday morning, the doctor we spoke with told us that we needed to go ahead and schedule an induction. Since our due date is on a Saturday (January 5th) and they don't do scheduled inductions on the weekends, they've got us down for Monday, January 7th.

We didn't receive a whole lot of details from the doctor about how all this will go down, but this is basically what we could gather: We'll go in that Monday night and they'll get things started, but not like all the way started (i.e. with drugs). That will happen the next morning (Tuesday). Then hopefully labor will begin, but it could take hours. Many hours. Like till Wednesday morning or later. That's not going to be fun for anyone involved, especially my wife.

Would we rather have labor occur naturally? Absolutely. As we tell the kid in utero every day, we've got everything ready for him – he can come anytime he feels like it. We've got his room all fixed up, the car seat is set up in the van, and all that other important stuff that they tell you to do to prepare is done. But apparently, he doesn't feel like arriving yet. (Stubborn kid!)

I say we're ready, but is anyone really ready – is anyone really prepared for their first child? Probably not. We think we're ready, and soon enough we'll find out whether we are or not. But once he gets here, I'm certain we'll have a lot more questions than answers about how to raise a brand-new person. Fortunately, we'll have plenty of family and friends around to help us out, to answer our questions, or maybe just to hug us when we feel like we're messing up already.

For now we wait...hoping that Kiddo will decide to make his earthly debut prior to or by his due date, but unable to do anything about it if he doesn't. Now that we know when things will be set in motion, the countdown is on. Ten days to go.

We've waited seven years, so what's ten days more, I suppose? But it still seems like forever. We're just so excited to meet that guy! Ready or not.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Songs By Bands With Animal Names, Vol. 4

This is the fourth entry in a (surprisingly long) mini-series of posts featuring songs by bands with animals in their names. If you haven't viewed the first three posts, you can read them here, here, and here. In the first post, I covered canines, felines, and hooved animals. In the second one, it was primates, bears, and rodents. The third post included aquatic animals (fish also) and birds. This time, the subject is reptiles and insects. As before, the songs will cover a wide variety of musical styles, both old and new. You may not like them all, but I'm sure you'll enjoy a few of them. You might even be familiar with several of them. Here we go...


1)  Whitesnake  ~  "Here I Go Again"

2)  The Turtles  ~  "Happy Together"

3)  Neil Young & The Stray Gators  ~  "Heart Of Gold"

4)  Tortoise  ~  "It's All Around"

5)  The Iguanas  ~  "Fortune Teller"

6)  The Gecko  ~  "Failure Is Not An Option"

7)  Alligator Indian  ~  "Telepathic Boys"


1)  Alien Ant Farm  ~  "These Days"

2)  Adam And The Ants  ~  "Antmusic"

3)  Iron Butterfly  ~  "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"  (Fair warning: This is a 17-minute-long song. You'll get the idea after the first two or three minutes, but you'll miss all the cool guitar solos...)

4)  The Bird And The Bee  ~  "My Love"

5)  Papa Roach  ~  "Broken Home"

6)  Buddy Holly & The Crickets  ~  "Oh, Boy!"

7)  Scorpions  ~  "Rock You Like A Hurricane"

8)  Flyleaf  ~  "Beautiful Bride"

9)  The Beatles  ~  "Something"

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Conversation In Song Titles Using Songs By The Rolling Stones

OK, so I'll admit it: This one's not as good as my Beatles conversation of a week or so ago. But I did the best I could. I don't even like The Rolling Stones all that much, but they -- like The Beatles -- had plenty of songs to choose from, so I went with it. The scenario this time is that of a Psychiatrist and his Patient having a session. Hopefully, it makes a little bit of sense and may elicit a chuckle or two. Or not. Either way, here it is....

PATIENT:  Something Happened To Me Yesterday.

DOCTOR:  Tell Me.

PATIENT:  Stupid Girl!

DOCTOR:  Too Tough! No Use In Crying!

PATIENT:  Out Of Tears.

DOCTOR:  You Can't Always Get What You Want.

PATIENT:  Pretty Beat Up.

DOCTOR:  Mercy, Mercy! Worried About You.

PATIENT:  I Got The Blues. Honest, I Do.

DOCTOR:  Sad, Sad, Sad?

PATIENT:  Mixed Emotions.

DOCTOR:  Tell Me.

PATIENT:  Complicated. It's Not Easy.

DOCTOR:  I Am Waiting.

PATIENT:  I'm Moving On. I'm Free!

DOCTOR:  Good Times! Congratulations!

PATIENT:  What To Do?

DOCTOR:  Shake Your Hips?

PATIENT:  Come On!

DOCTOR:  It Won't Take Long...

PATIENT:  Get Off Of My Cloud!

DOCTOR:  What A Shame...

PATIENT:  If You Really Want To Be My Friend...Doncha Bother Me. Had It With You!

DOCTOR:  Do You Think I Really Care? Please Go Home. Out Of Time. Don't Be A Stranger.

PATIENT:  You Win Again. On With The Show...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Words I Wish I Wrote: Christmas Quotes


1)  "Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."  ~  Calvin Coolidge, U.S. President

2)  "When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?"  ~  G.K. Chesterton, writer

3)  "There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child."  ~  Erma Bombeck, humorist

4)  "Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'."  ~  Bing Crosby, actor/singer

5)  "At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year."  ~  Thomas Tusser, poet

6)  "Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love."  ~  Lucinda Franks, writer

7)  "That's the true spirit of Christmas; people being helped by people other than me."  ~  Jerry Seinfeld, comedian

8)  "To perceive Christmas through its wrappings becomes more difficult with every year."  ~  E.B. White, writer

9)  "Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store."  ~  Dr. Seuss, writer

  "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."  ~  Roy L. Smith, clergyman

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Couture: A Collection Of Ugly Christmas Sweaters

It's Christmas Eve, and I'm working today. (Against my better judgment.) So, I'm keeping it simple. I'm sure you'll understand. Enjoy this delightfully tacky collection of hideously ugly Christmas sweaters, gathered from various places on the Internet, and apparently all real. (Sadly!)  Merry Christmas Eve!