Thursday, August 23, 2007

Helium Has Tanked

I saw that sign on the door of Party City* today.

a) How do you have a helium shortage?
b) Memo To All Military Personnel: There will be no tank rentals today, so you'll just have to practice with the Hummers and a couple machine guns.
c) Why don't they outsource the helium from the heads of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Ashlee Simpson?

When I rule the world...

NPR says the helium shortage is due to a couple plants overseas not operating. Here's something I'll betcha didn't know: a fifth of the global helium market provides coolant for MRI machines, and an almost equal percent is used in laser welding. Sounds serious.

Another large consumer is NASA which (and I quote): "requires a train-car-load of helium for each space-shuttle launch." We wouldn't want the astronauts going into space without the ability to entertain Houston with chipmunk voices.

Also on NPR's page: "Helium balloon fans -- of whatever age -- shouldn't worry about a shortage, however: The balloons suck up only 8 percent of the helium stock."

Party City must be getting their information from Fox News.

*Party City is a store that sells party paraphernalia like celebration banners, plates, plastic silverware, wrapping paper, and most importantly, balloons.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Santa in the Off Season

When you work in a building with 2000 other humans, you see some strange things in the cube farm. We have a large atrium flanked by mini-blind-draped windows. Most times the blinds are closed so people don't feel like they're working in the fishbowl that is reality. Tonight though, someone left one set open and as I walked down the stairs to the second floor, a large bit of yellow in an odd shape caught my eye. I almost tripped on the last step trying to determine if I was really seeing what my brain kept insisting was true. I closed in on the glass and before me stood Banana Claus.

Like the blonde in a horror film, I couldn't resist getting a closer look at (and a picture of) such a disturbing, yet fascinating, masterpiece of flea market fodder. Who would have such a thing in their office? How do they get anything done with this cheeky chimney diver right behind them? "He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake" takes on a very creepy tone when you're looking at the Head Elf in fruity drag.

His hands and face were made of rubbery material, and his body appeared to be mechanical. If we lived on a Hollywood movie set, I'm sure peering into his vacant stare would've triggered ominous holiday salutations right before he killed me in a gratuitous blood and gore scene.

From what I could tell, he was wearing the traditional maroon and white Santa suit under his Chiquita costume. Because, you know, if Santa Claus were the size of a Little Person and living in a cubicle, I'm sure he would choose to wear traditional professional attire of the North Pole, accented by a buttercup yellow stretchy foam produce ensemble.

W. T. F. ??