Making It All Better

Couldn’t we all use a bit of healing these days?

Children stop crying when their mommy kisses a boo boo. I think that many of us never grow out of that need for solace. We might learn to disguise it better as we grow and become increasingly independent, but we all love to be comforted to some degree. That’s why hugs exist.

With the advent of YouTube, we’ve been able to take our comfort seeking to an extreme. I’ve written before about my obsession with Dr. Pimple Popper, and my brief flirtation with Mukbang, but now I have a new fascination: The Hoof GP.

Graeme Parker is a cattle hoof trimmer who started making videos in 2019 in order to “promote hoof care standards throughout the world.” I’m sure he assumed that all his viewers would be farmers who were looking to hone their hoof trimming skills, but at the time of this writing his videos have garnered more than 541 million views. Why?

I can’t speak for everyone, of course, but originally, his YouTube channel drew me in because he has a lovely Scottish accent and his videos often give you a glimpse of the beautiful countryside in Scotland. The slower, rural pace of his life appeals to me, too. It didn’t take me long to realize that he’s also a really, genuinely decent and kind man who loves his job and his family, and that’s also nice to see. But the thing that keeps me coming back, much to my surprise, is the hoof trimming itself.

Many of his videos show him working on a severely damaged hoof. Those poor cows will come limping in, looking miserable, and he’ll work on them, often amidst a shower of pus, blood, and cow poop, and those cows usually leave feeling much, much better. Some cows have such big hoof problems that he has to revisit them again and again over the course of months, but that’s cool, too, because then you get to see the progress.

Healing is happening before your very eyes. Couldn’t we all use a bit of healing these days? And the great unspoken is that if he is unable to resolve the cow’s issue, it will most likely be off to the knackery with her. So he’s saving lives as well. These cows will live to moo another day. You might say that it’s moosmerizing. (Sorry. Had to.)

I know, you’re thinking that this is just another one of my weird obsessions, but I have come up with a plausible theory as to why I’m hooked on the Hoof GP. What it boils down to is that Mr. Parker is the video equivalent of a lullaby. He makes it all better. The accent is just the cherry on top of the sundae.

At this moment in time, I really, really need to be able to focus on someone who loves making it all better. In the midst of a pandemic, and unprecedented American political turmoil, and mass shootings, and a really scary flirtation with WWIII, and the wholesale dismantling of women’s rights, it’s nice to tune in and lose myself in a world where the goal is to relieve pain and improve lives. That must be a really satisfying way to earn a living (although I often wonder if his wrists give him as much trouble as mine do.)

Mr. Parker is presented with a problem, and he does his best to solve it. He’s not an obstructionist. He’s not a conspiracy theorist (or if he is, he hasn’t mentioned it.) He’s not spewing hate or lies, or being scandalous or greedy or cruel. He’s just doing a job that he loves, and improving the quality of life for other creatures on this increasingly crazy planet of ours. How refreshing. I’ll often view a few of his videos just before bedtime, so I can drift off to sleep with the impression that all’s right with the world.

If you’re curious, but not sure you could handle the gross elements, then I recommend that you start by watching his video about a cow with three toes. No blood. No pus. I promise. You can work your way up to that stuff or not. But at least watch that one and delight in the pure, compassionate, problem-solving, rural Scottish routine of it all.

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It takes my mind off the fall of civilization.

I’m on the ragged edge. Between this accursed pandemic, the thick blanket of smoke that’s blotting out the sun, the loss of our beloved RBG, unnecessary drama at work, and discovering that someone I love more than life went to a large, multi-day party and posted pictures of himself marinating in the maskless, close-knit crowd, when he knows I know firsthand how precious and fragile life is, and how it should never be squandered, I’m at the end of my rope. I mean, just look at me funny right now. I dare you.

Fortunately, there is a way to turn off my brain without the use of electric shock. It’s called mukbang. It’s a Korean word that loosely translates as “eating show”. And that’s about the size of it. You can find it all over Youtube. You just sit there and watch people eating way too much exotic food, often while talking to the camera.

Yeah, I know. Maybe this is evidence that I’ve lost it already. I have to admit that I find mukbang oddly comforting. Maybe it’s the crunch, crunch, crunch sound. Maybe it’s because when I’m really angry, I tend to eat, and these people do the eating for me. Maybe it’s just that I get to watch people just doing their weird thing at a time when the world seems so utterly out of control. I don’t know.

My favorite mukbang channel is Stephanie Soo. She sits there and eats and talks about true crime, which is another interest of mine. Check it out and tell me what you think.

My second favorite channel is Food Monster. This one shows footage of a girl working really, really (supposedly) hard in the Korean countryside, and then coming home and (supposedly) eating about 6000 times more than a normal person can eat. It’s kind of funny.

Yes, there is a reason to criticize mukbang. It promotes extremely unhealthy eating habits, food waste, and in some extreme cases, animal abuse. I don’t condone or encourage any of this. And yet I can’t seem to look away. (I’d never watch the animal abuse ones, though. Never. Give me a little credit.)

I know, this is nutty. But it takes my mind off the fall of civilization. And hey, I once wrote about my obsession with pimple popping videos. Surely this is a step up. Right?

Tell me I’m right. Please.

Stephanie Soo

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Future Shorts

Time to settle in for a nice binge watch.

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a delightful video called Dog Years. It’s less than 4 minutes long, and I highly recommend it. It also has a second part which is even better than the first one. Even if you don’t like dogs, you’ll be charmed by these little videos. They dramatize what is quite likely the typical pet’s thought process.

I noticed that these videos were put out by an organization called Future Shorts, and I decided to further investigate. It seems that they’ve been around since 2004, and they’re a platform for short videos. They often host Future Shorts nights all over the world, where people can watch a collection of them. They call it a pop up festival, and it sounds like great fun.

Uh oh. Their Youtube channel alone is going to keep me busy for days. They have everything from documentaries to animation to romance, and every one I’ve seen so far is very well done.

I’m already in my jammies. Now all I need is the popcorn, and I can settle in for a nice binge watch. If you don’t hear from me for a while, send pizza.


Hey! Look what I wrote!

I Miss Afterschool Specials

You just never knew who was going to show up in your living room.

When I was growing up, about once every 5 or 6 weeks during the school year, late on a weekday afternoon (hence the name), ABC would air an Afterschool Special. Oh, how I looked forward to those shows! They really were special. They made me feel like someone was actually thinking about me and wanting to tell me what I needed to know.

They could be about just about anything. Divorce, girls in sports, bullying, blended families, stuttering, alcoholism, reproduction, death, foster parents, weight, secrets, popularity, puberty, friendship, teen pregnancy, drugs, STDs, child abuse, suicide… you name it.

And in retrospect, an amazing cast of stars popped up in these little stories. Actors included Will Smith, Adam Sandler, William H. Macy, Wil Wheaton, Michael Jackson, Marisa Tomei, Michael York, Beau Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patty Duke, Rob Lowe, Kristy McNichol, and Jodie Foster. You just never knew who was going to show up in your living room. It was really kind of exciting.

Nowadays an ABC Afterschool Special wouldn’t work. Kids don’t watch live, network TV anymore. They aren’t bound by viewing schedules. They probably don’t even have to consult the TV Guide. They watch what they want, when they want.

It kind of makes me happy that I grew up when I did. I’d have hated to miss out on all those age-appropriate life lessons, courtesy of ABC.

Oooh, but I just discovered a bunch of them are on Youtube now! I may have to take a walk down memory lane!

Afterschool Special

A Shout Out from Billy Sue

I’d be afraid to be her neighbor, but there’s something about her…

(At the time I first wrote this post, I wasn’t aware that Billy Sue was a fictional character. Now, everyone knows that. But you know what? I still love Billy Sue, and I don’t regret at all having paid for the video below. I paid to be entertained. She entertained me. She earned it. It’s all good.)

In this internet age, it seems like we all can get more than our usual 15 minutes of fame. I mean, you’re reading this blog, right? And what makes me so special?

In that same vein, about a year ago I stumbled upon the YouTube channel of Jessie 31. She would video the antics of her crazy neighbor, Billy Sue. Billy Sue is a hillbilly with a hot temper and no filter whatsoever. I’d be afraid to live next door to her, if I’m honest. She shouts a lot. And throws things.

And you can tell if you watch these videos that they’re not staged in any way. Billy Sue is sincere in her fury and outrage. In that way, she kind of reminds me of my favorite cartoon character, Marvin Martian. He taught me as a child that it’s okay to be angry sometimes. And that made me love him.

And there’s something about Billy Sue, and the way Jessie manages to get along with her, that just makes me kind of love them both. They make me laugh. They make me happy. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like beer. Either you like it or you don’t.

Well, recently Jessie came up with an idea to let Billy Sue make a little money off their YouTube fame. They registered on, and now, for a small fee (which is apparently rising quickly), you can get a shout out from Billy Sue.

I couldn’t resist. So here’s the video Billy Sue made just for me. She even talks about this blog and wishes me luck. I can’t stop smiling every time I watch it. Worth it at twice the price. And I guess she’s figuring that out, because it now costs more than twice what I paid. Well, good for her, I say!

Billy Sue, don’t ever change, girl.



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A Capella Science

For all the creative nerds out there…

I love that delicious point where art and science intersect. I don’t encounter it nearly enough for my liking, so when I do, I savor it. It seems as though most minds go in one direction or the other. It’s a rare one that appreciates both. That why such minds, and their creations, are priceless. Leonardo da Vinci, with his art and inventions, springs to mind.

So imagine my delight when a friend (waving at Mor) turned me on to the A Capella Science guy on Youtube. Tim Blais just got his master’s degree in physics, and he also happens to have the voice of an angel, and from what I can tell, is a consummate videographer as well. Such creativity, such profound intelligence. All in one delightful package.

Among his many creations is a song about string theory to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody, a song about the saurian origin of birds to the tune of More Than Words, and a song about CRISPR to the tune of Mr. Sandman.

What I love most about Tim Blais is that I’m sure he’s getting people interested in science topics that they wouldn’t have previously explored. He’s making science cool. No. I take that back. Science was already cool. He’s just making a lot more of us realize it.

I think I can speak for all the creative nerds out there when I say, “Thanks, Tim!”

Tim Blais

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Randy Rainbow: What Would We Do Without Him?

If you are on Facebook, and are even the slightest bit liberal, chances are you’ve seen videos by Randy Rainbow. He’s like the Weird Al Yankovic of our time. Not only does he sing much better than Al, but his messages are practically vital for one’s sanity in the Trump era. He shines a light on the insanity, and makes you laugh about it. He makes you feel a little less alone in our present-day Twilight Zone. Bless him!

So, when I discovered that he was touring, and that he’d be in Seattle, of course I had to go! And it was, as expected, hysterical, and delightful, and a much-needed political palate cleanser.

He performed many of his most popular parodies, including:

You Can’t Stop His Tweets!

Desperate Cheeto

Covfefe: The Broadway Medley

The Room Where It Happened

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Korea? (While wearing a nun’s habit.)

Yes! We Have No Steve Bannon! (While wearing a banana outfit.)

This is a comedian and performer who came at just the right time, to just the right place. If you get to see him live, I highly recommend it. At the very least, subscribe to his Youtube channel or his Facebook page and prepare to laugh!

Here are some blurry pictures I took of him in his many costumes at the concert. They’d no doubt horrify him, but hey, who said I was a photographer?  Enjoy!

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Credit Where Credit Is Due

If you were told that someone had a talent that only a handful of people on the entire planet had, wouldn’t you be impressed? Wouldn’t you be even more impressed if you knew that person was also a free speech advocate, had been in a few films, organizes for street performers, is a storyteller and has a radio show?

Meet Abby the Spoon Lady. This woman is talented beyond measure. She’s also intelligent, well-traveled, and dedicated. That should be all anyone needs to know about her.

But that’s not how the world works. If you check out her Youtube channel or Facebook page, both of which show you dozens of amazing performances, you’ll be enchanted. Unless you start reading the comments. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll be infuriated. While many people recognize her talent, trolls abound. They criticize her looks. They criticize her clothes. They criticize her lack of teeth.

It seems to me that if Abby were a man, she wouldn’t get this type of feedback. But being a woman in the music world, you’re supposed to be glamorous and perfect in every way, or you can’t be taken seriously. I don’t find Willie Nelson particularly attractive, but you don’t hear people discussing that to the point where his talent gets forgotten, do you?

Give Abby a break. I think she’s beautiful. I think her talent is also beautiful. I think the world is a much more beautiful place because she’s in it. I hope I get to see her perform live someday. And if I do, I hope the trolls stay home.


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Snap, Crackle, Pop

I just love crunchy food. My latest thing is Trader Joe’s Giant Peruvian Inca Corn. It’s salty, it’s filling, and you can almost convince yourself that it’s a serving of vegetables. But it’s the crunch that does it for me. I feel like Godzilla destroying a metropolis when I eat it. It’s very satisfying.

I’ve also long been a fan of bubble wrap. A friend once gave me a whole roll of it for Christmas. I could pop that stuff all day long. There’s something to be said for sound effects that accompany harmless destruction. I’m convinced it lowers my blood pressure.

For those of you who are as far out on the lunatic fringe as I am, I’ve recently come across hundreds of videos on Youtube made by “Dr. Pimple Popper”. Dr. Sandra Lee is a dermatologist in California, and she’s been making videos of her various procedures for years now. If you have a weak stomach, this Youtube channel is not for you, but I have to confess it mesmerizes me. I can and have watched these videos for hours.

It is amazing, the weird things our bodies can produce. Cysts the size of goose eggs that Dr. Lee sometimes is able to remove intact, or sometimes has to burst first. Dialated Pores of Winer are fascinating. The stuff seems to come out for days. Sometimes the contents are hard as a rock, sometimes not.

And you get to know some of the patients, albeit anonymously. Dr. Lee really has changed some people’s lives. What a great job to have!

I am not the only person obsessed with these videos. Some of them have more than 8 million views. People say they find them relaxing. They say it helps them sleep. I get that. It’s like Dr. Lee is definitively solving a big, distressing, painful problem, and for a moment, all’s right with the world.

I used to have a boyfriend who didn’t mind me popping his pimples. I liked doing it. Not only because sometimes it looked like invasion of the body snatchers or something, but also because I felt like I was helping him feel and look better. Then I had a boyfriend who absolutely refused to let me touch his pimples, and it would drive me insane.

Is this something I should add to my internet dating profile? What do you think? They say there’s someone for everyone…

inca corn

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True Facts about Ze Frank

Every now and then I can’t sleep, and rather than toss and turn and get frustrated as the clock ticks past 4 a.m., I log on to Youtube and watch videos by Ze Frank. Not that they put me to sleep, mind you. Far from it. They make me laugh hysterically and forget whatever I had been mind-grinding about in the first place. If I’m going to lose sleep, I may as well do it with a smile on my face.

If you spend any time on Facebook, you probably have encountered the work of Mr. Frank without even realizing it. He’s the president of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which produces hilarious viral videos.

The first Ze Frank video I ever saw was Sad Dog Diary. How can you not love a dog that says “Dear Diary, it’s not so much that I miss my testicles. I know it’s a rite of passage in our pack, and I’m sure that my dearest human has had his removed as well, but when that one bulldog comes to the dog park and parades his testicles around, I can’t help but notice how Ginger looks at them. I love Ginger. To be fair, I will admit he has a fine smelling butt hole.”

From there I moved on to his True Facts series. True facts about the Octopus. True Facts about the Armadillo, and so on. These are not only a laugh riot, but they actually teach you some really fascinating things about nature. I’ll never look at a duck again without remembering that the males have a long, corkscrew-shaped penis, for example, or that the cuttlefish is color blind despite the fact that it can change colors for camouflage, or that the mantis has five eyes. Ze, if you read this, I hope you’ll make True Facts about the Coelacanth some day. I think it would be epic.

He also has a website that I’ve only briefly explored, and can tell it will result in hours of smiles. In addition, he’s given some of the most entertaining TED talks I’ve ever seen. This is a man with talent and humor and a great deal of heart. And dimples. I’m a sucker for dimples.

And if you’re ever feeling sad, just listen to his song, Chillout, which he created with the help of total strangers from all over the world. I dare you not to feel comforted.

If I’m introducing you to Ze Frank for the first time, then I’ve given you quite a gift. Remember that, next time my birthday rolls around. You forgot it this time. I was crushed.

ze Frank
Ze Frank. [Image credit]