Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kung Fu

Every boy, and some girls, in my fourth grade class bragged about being a black belt in Karate. Then one day, a boy walked onto the playground and claimed to have a black belt in Kung Fu! Suddenly he was the big kid on school grounds, everybody wanted him for their basketball team at recess, as though Kung Fu translated to better lay ups. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe it does. The only problem is, that Kung Fu kid plateaued at 5 feet 2 inches in high school. I, on the other hand grew to a healthy 6 feet 3 inches, but never took Kung Fu so that is why I suck at basketball, I can finally sleep well knowing that.

Listening to Kyle's bicycle mutilation story reinforces the fact that kids really could benefit from learning the discipline underscored in Kung Fu. It seems that self preservation is a trained skill that kids often choose to learn the hard way. Kids never think ahead about how much it costs to get 17 stitches, or do I want to use these arms again some day. They just look at an old rusty slides with jagged holes like cheese graters as a challenge. They think,"I will be the coolest kid on the playground if I survive this!" Then they jump down, hoping their baby wranglers will take the worst of the grating.
Don't worry. This slide isn't real, it's just an analogy.

Our guest, Christian Everhard, told us that Kung Fu is all about self mastery and controlling your chi. He then defined chi as breath. This is not good for me because my wife tells me that I have the worst smelling breath out of all 7 billion humans and most dogs. Obviously the smell of your chi is not that important, but if I can smell alcohol on your chi, I might feel more confident in fighting you, or beating you at basketball.

I want to get into the clip we left out this week. Do you remember a little tv show in the 70's called the Toa of Kung Fu? This clip teaches us about reaching deep inside of ourselves to overcome our evil desires within. The young grasshopper looked deep within his soul and saw dark and fearful shadows in motion, which is a beautiful way of saying "I think I have gas." If you look at his face at the beginning of the clip, that is what you will see, clear signs of painful indigestion.

This brings up an excellent point. A major part of martial arts is self control. Can you imagine what would have happened if the boy did not have the self control to hold in his chi? His master, with his hyper active sense of smell, would have died immediately. Clearly the boy needs a good detoxing tea.
By the way, this kid grows up to be Steve Nash I think.

Thanks for reading everybody! Go to professorblastoff.com for more extras and aaronburrellcomedy.com for more on what I'm up to.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My favorite kind of tests are taste tests. If you ever get bored and hungry, go to your local  food court and request a sample from each restaurant within, then finish it off by going to the chocolates kiosk and sampling some dessert. My wife had a gift certificate to a local chocolate shack and I learned a cool trick by accident. I pointed to a chocolate and told the man behind the counter, "I'd like to try that one." I thought he would just put it in the bag and add it to the order, but he just handed it to me instead! I asked to try 4 more chocolates before I started feeling guilty, or maybe I was just crashing from my sugar high. Or perhaps I was just drunk on chocolate like this adorable toddler...wait they put whiskey in their chocolate!? They can't be serving that to little kids! This hilarious baby is being exploited by this ad to imply that they are serving chocolates filled with devil spit to children! Please do not serve whiskey to children or you will go straight to hell and be forced to give sponge baths to the gods of swamp rock.

Our guest, Kathleen Kaller, talked about how marketing affects the way we prefer our food. People use the executive centers of their brains when selecting a beverage. Does this mean that advertising changes the way we taste our products or simply how we choose them? I would hope that I am smart enough to not be manipulated into liking horrible fast food. Maybe I allow myself to be tricked when I am desperate. I often cave in to my laziness at midnight when my options are limited. There is no way I'm slicing my own cheese and tomato at that hour, so I talk myself into eating fast food. As I pull up to the drive through window I psych myself up with a familiar pep talk, "I'm going to eat great, and even look how late it is!" And then I suffer from another sugar crashing guilt trip after glugging my 64 oz soda. why did I get the extra large dew at midnight? Maybe if water had worked on it's marketing campain I wouldn't still be awake at 4:30 in the morning with a name brand bottle acetaminophen in my hand.

I want to share this clip that we didn't get to on the show. It talks about how the tongue sends signals to the brain depending on what respecters are triggered. The receptors include sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and edamame...just kidding. The last one is umami. Here is the clip.

I found it interesting when he said many odors linger 8 inches off the ground. This is hard to disprove, because who in there right mind is going to walk around on all fours all day sniffing the air? And why do dog's, with a heightened sense of smell, always stick their noses right up into other dog's whatchamacallits? Ooh, I think I just came up with a new idea for a commercial  for my favorite childhood candy bar!

Thanks everyone for checking out this weeks blog. Go check out professorblastoff.com for more PB stuff and check out my website AaronBurrellComedy.com

Listen to episode #43 Taste here!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Deer Nerd Journal, One of my favorite diseases is Munchhausen Syndrome, or as I call it, the faking it syndrome. Everyone catches a serious case of the Munchies around the time their favorite book becomes a movie. For me it started out as a minor case. My first grade year of school I bought my first fake vomit which tricked my mother only once. By junior high I had improved my technique by faking massive headaches due to my headbanging tic caused by my turrets syndrome. And by my 12 grade year I had developed a full blown case of senioritis which oddly enough was considered a good enough excuse in and of itself to get me out of class most of the time. Teachers would just tell me, "good luck making it through college, where you have to pay to be there." This concept floored me, I'd been faking sick for 13 years just to stay out of these learning establishments and now they expected me to pay to act sick? Well 153 credit hours later, school still makes me sick, but at least now I'm just an intern. I can feel the headaches start to subside, until I look at the balance due on my student loans. Those you have to fake dead to get out of, and I am far too lazy to pull that one off.

This week we talked a lot about mice. Alex Shadie said that they do not dress up his mice in hats and beards, but I may have found evidence towards the contrary.

There was another important question that was brought up during the podcast that was not answered fully. Do mice really not prefer cheese over any other food option?! Mice loving cheese was an assumption accompanied me throughout my entire life, and now my entire foundation may be shaken. An overwhelming majority of the Saturday morning cartoons I watched during the most formative years of my youth played on this simple fact. I must get to the bottom of this. I will be right back... no ... it can't be! After only one minute of research on the interwebs everything I have known and loved about mice is ruined. APPARENTLY according to this Mail Online article they hate cheese. It goes on to say that they have evolved without cheese, hence they do not seek it out. Well, everybody knows that mice stopped evolving naturally ever sense labs were invented. Which gives me a great idea. I'm going to evolve my own breed of cheese loving, cat killing, sombrero wearing mice!

Now on to the clip I wanted to share. It ties in with what David was talking about towards the beginning of the episode. Agent Smith essentially calls us humans an infectious disease because we spread out too much? Well, just watch.

I would like to point out that we are living on the surface of the planet Earth, and all the viruses that I know about float around inside our bodies. Also, humans made up this story. I don't think it's a very nice thing to say about ourselves and we should really apologies to ourselves for calling our race a virus. By the way when the Earth sneezes lava, are we supposed to say gesundheit? I do, because I'm not a germ I'm a man with a heart! There are hundreds of things that set us apart from viruses. Does a virus ever say please or thank you, or excuse itself after a meal? I think not. Does a virus cheer on it's grandchildren during baseball games? Maybe. To be honest I have no way of checking on that. For all I know they could be running bases around my small intestines, I do feel a lot of action going on down there at the moment.

If we do end up killing the planet though that would suck, especially since we haven't found a new one to infect yet. And finally, to try and tie this blog together, like a bulging suitcase that ties rather than zips, let me just say, Earth stop pretending to be sick, we all know you're faking this whole global warming thing to get attention. We have all done the thermometer in boiling water trick, and pretended to have fevers so hot that we could melt ice on our foreheads. It only works once, and then it becomes this boy who cried wolf scenario and we defiantly don't want that, besides we totally need you to come into work today. OK buddy? Thanks Earth.

Thanks everybody for reading, and thanks again to our guest this week, Alex Shadie from down under! For more clips you can check out professorblastoff.com and aaronburrellcomedy.com

listen to episode #42 Disease!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


My grandpa's favorite magic trick was the "got your nose" gag. I never understood why he thought my nose looked like his thumb. I just thought he was going senile and didn't want to make him feel crazy, so I played along. I feel like theme parks and haunted houses have taken the place of my grandpa's silly gag. Just as with my grandpa's trick, these places' have good intentions but sometimes come off a bit over the top. Things causing me the most wonderment are usually executed with subtlety and confidence, like chess matches or nature. As a kid, I almost wish I had never seen so many animals at the zoo, so I could have my mind blown more as an adult. I love nature because it is glorious but doesn't seem to call attention to itself, yet it overwhelms the senses.

Most magic tricks seem to use the art of miss direction. The best ones go a step beyond subtlety by guiding our attention and letting the magic take place in the background. Life is nature's ultimate miss direction. The daily grind always seems to have our focus, until we decide to pause and allow ourselves to see what has been developing in the background. A magical noose otter kid perhaps?

He made his noose disappear in an earlier trick.

For the most part it is fun to be tricked. Most of us laugh when it happens. But it is a little jarring at the same time. You think you have life pretty much figured out until some guy comes along and successfully picks your card. There has been a lot of research into the brain and how it tricks us by filling in gaps in motion. This is why if you start a throwing motion but hold the object in your hand, you can trick someone into thinking you threw it. I did this to my dog while playing fetch all the time, until she bit my hand once she caught on to my deception.

Knowing that our eye's can be deceived like that is an unsettling thought. Maybe in the future we will all walk around recording what we see so that we can play it back in slow motion when we get home, maybe then we can catch the subtle movements that our stupid brains missed.

Our guest, Derek Hughes, has done just that, although I still don't know how to play clips in slow motion on YouTube. He has recoded a magic trick that will blow your mind. It uses 3 ropes, probably taken from the above otter's missing noose.

Feel free to share any of your afterthoughts about this episode of Professor Blastoff. Or if there is anything that we left out that could go into a future episode leave a comment here or a tweet @airburple. Also check out our guest's website at derekhughes.net.

If you haven't yet listened to it, listen here to episode #41 Magic!