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Stranger Things than the Phoenix Suns, Vol. 3

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Phoenix Suns v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The annual All-Star break is a great chance to unwind, and with the Phoenix Suns sitting at 18-41, it’s not just the players who need some time to regroup.

The BSotS writers also need a chance to decompress and write about something — anything — other than another loss. Thankfully, the world is a wondrous place, positively overflowing with things to write about.

But alas, very few of those wonders relate directly to the Phoenix Suns. So what is a humble Suns’ blogger to do? Why stretch the bounds of credibility and professionalism by somehow tying stories of alien encounters and stolen toilets to the Suns, of course. Granted, it is a fine line, and I run the risk of a public flogging should I fall on the mal side of said line. But I am reasonably sure I hid the flog from Dave sufficiently to beat a hasty retreat should the need arise.

With that said, I give to you the third installment of the Peabody- and Pulitzer-ready series: Stranger Things than the Phoenix Suns.

The itsy bitsy flaming spider

Spiders are everywhere. It is estimated that there are 131 spiders on average per square meter worldwide, and a study released last year suggests that spiders, if so inclined, could devour every single human on the planet within a year.

While many seem content to just ignore the threat these eight-legged assassins pose, not everyone is ready to waive the white flag and line up for the spider buffet.

On Jan. 7, a man in Redding, California came across a large wolf spider in the bedroom of an apartment he shared with two others. Instead of shrieking in terror, however, he did what any hero would — whipped out a torch lighter and tried to burn the offending arachnid. Dramatization below:

The lighter did catch the spider on fire, but as the old axiom goes: Hell hath no fury like a flaming spider on the run!

The spider, newly ablaze, scurried onto a mattress and set it on fire. As the residents scrambled to extinguish that fire, the conflagration quickly spread to the drapes and a nearby collection of flags. Attempts to contain the fire with a garden hose failed, and the fire department was called out. When all was said and done, the spider had inflicted $11,000 worth of damage and rendered the apartment uninhabitable.

Now, some might argue that the sole of a sturdy shoe would have been a far more effective way of de-spidering the bedroom all things considered, but hindsight is 20/20. Besides, for all we know the resident could have been forced to react so drastically by the actions of the spider. Maybe it even tweeted out “I dont wanna be here”.

Water good enough to chew

There was a time way back in yesteryear when water was just water. People would turn on the tap, water would pour out, and the parched masses would slake their collective thirst.

Glad that’s over.

Nowadays, people are more discerning about how they hydrate. From mineral water and Vitamin Water to coconut and cactus water, specialty waters are omnipresent because, quite simply, plain water sucks. Ponce de Leon understood. You think he was willing to waste his time searching for any old water? Nah, he wanted the good stuff, you know, with the midi-chlorians or whatever swimming around in it that would allow him to live forever. Doesn’t get much more specialty than that.

But all these water innovations have just been the precursor to this: raw water.

For those who have yet to hear about this newest health sensation, imagine drinking a bottle of Arrowhead and thinking to yourself This is good, but I wish it had more leaf bits. Now you’re getting the idea.

Raw water is water that hasn’t gone through the treatment processes that tap or drinking water has, such as filtration or sterilization. It is collected straight from nature. Basically, it’s the perfect drink for anyone who has seen one of those ChildFund International commercials late at night and felt just a twinge of jealousy towards the children depicted.

The problem with processed water, according to raw water enthusiasts, is that the treatment process removes beneficial minerals and organisms, leaving the water essentially dead. Mukhande Singh (née Christopher Sanborn), the man behind Live Spring Water and guy seen here getting very familiar with that water, says water should have an expiration date — usually of one month. And don’t get him started on the dangers of tap water. “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” Singh said. “Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”

I’d accept the challenge and call you a conspiracy theorist, Mukhande, but there’s vital work still to be done extolling the virtues of raw water.

Unfortunately, most people do not have the ability to trek into the woods to scoop up living water with a pail and must settle for guzzling corpse water, as I am slowly coming around to calling non-living water variants. Fortunately, he and others will sell you this miracle water, with Live Spring Water offering deliveries within the Los Angeles and Bay areas starting at $64 for four 2.5-gallon jugs. But before you balk at the thought of paying $6.40 a gallon, remember that their site explicitly says “Water is free — Our service is refrigerated delivery.” Whew. For a second there, I was close to being outraged.

But if you do not dwell within Live Spring Water’s delivery area and do not have access to natural springs, you still have options for getting your recommended daily allotment of Giardia. For starters, you can collect rain water. And whether it comes off the roof, giving it that shingle-y taste, or you scoop it out of the gutter before the five-second rule kicks in, you’ve just secured yourself a refreshing glass of raw water — completely unfiltered and surprisingly gritty.

Or what about bird baths? A little trichomoniasis never hurt anybody. Or sweat? Doesn’t get much rawer than water straight from your own (or someone else’s) body.

By now it should be obvious why the Suns have been losing this season — inadequate hydration methods. Whether it’s Gatorade or just plain water being handed out along the bench, the players aren’t receiving the benefits of living, breathing water. (Does it breathe? I’m still unclear.) So if the team has any hope of rattling off a 23-game win streak to close the season, it needs to make the switch immediately to raw water. After all, Gatorade may have electrolytes, but raw water has literally everything else.

Swan Lake: The Revival

Life is hard. Stress builds up and takes its toll on even the strongest willed individuals. At times like these, it’s only natural to want to slip away to your own personal Neverland — or Thugz Mansion — and just get away from it all, you know? Just be at peace. Feed the swans.

For those of you who believe that just took a hard left turn, you’re not wrong.

On Dec. 15, a Florida man commandeered a swan boat at Lake Eola and paddled out to a fountain. He had ingested a large amount of Molly before setting out on his maritime voyage and sought to be with the swans on the lake because, apparently, “they don’t judge him.” Unfortunately for this particular Florida man, reality clapped back pretty hard when his boat drifted away after he failed to tie it up, leaving him shouting for help from the fountain until police arrived.

Setting aside the man’s grievous error in judgment, as swans are some of the most arrogant, pompous, snooty, and downright mean animals in existence, one can almost sympathize with his plight. I mean, who among us hasn’t contemplated escaping the demands of modern life by downing a fistful of Molly like Smarties and paddling away in a swan boat? We all have that dream. But this man…he lived it.

It wouldn’t be surprising if this was the real reason Brandon Knight was down in Florida when he blew out his knee this past summer — swan escapism.

Speculative real estate

Nestled on nearly 10 acres of pristine-ish land in Buckeye, Arizona is Stardust Ranch, a beautifully appointed, uhh, house-style house with all the walls and ceilings one comes to expect from a home. The ranch boasts approximately 1 percent tree cover and 90-plus percent dirt cover and comes with both road and sky access.

But here I am burying the lede. Stardust Ranch comes with portals to alien worlds.

According to John Edmonds, the homeowner and part-time alien slayer, the aliens that have been a near-constant presence on his ranch for 20 years have become increasingly violent, necessitating his decision to sell. “They actually levitated [my wife] out of the bed in the master chamber and carried her into the parking lot and tried to draw her up into the craft,” Edmonds said of one of his more recent encounters with the aliens.

The inhabitants of Stardust Ranch, which was started by Edmonds as a horse rescue called Hopeful Hooves, have had their fair share of close encounters over the years. In a report online, Edmonds describes confrontations happening on a daily basis at times that have left him and his wife with bleeding wounds and bruises to the lower stomach, upper shoulder, and inner thigh. Furthermore, Edmonds attributes his type 2 diabetes and his wife’s thyroid condition to the Grays — his term for the alien visitors. It is no wonder then that Edmonds has gotten aggressive with the interstellar visitors as the years have gone by, claiming to have felled some 18 aliens by his own hand. Or rather, via samurai sword.

Edmonds’ extensive experience dealing with these aliens has provided him with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of alien behavior. The following is an excerpt from one of his postings:

“If they feel safe, then they come completely into this dimension…. This is the perfect opportunity to physically grab one and then hold on as hard as possible because they will try to ‘bug out’ again immediately. I have seen this time and again even after mortally wounding one with a Samurai sword. Pierced by the sword with six inches of cold steel perforating the body cavity and seemingly lifeless, the Gray alien still managed to disappear before I could withdraw the weapon and chop off the head. My intention in removing the head was to see if this would prevent it from disappearing. It is my hypothesis the head controls the ability to control the dimensional transference between one place and another. I had hoped to interrupt the process by diminishing the body integrity.”

That’s just useful information no matter who you are.

Stardust Ranch went up for sale with an asking price of $5 million but has since been marked down to $3,999,999 — a steal when you consider the deal includes all the aliens you could ever want to stab with a samurai sword.

So if Elfrid Payton is looking for a place to live….

They’ll call him Flipper

Water therapy has been used for years to help people train and recover from injuries, and considering the litany of injuries facing the Suns presently, now would be a perfect time to employ every water therapy strategy in existence. Thankfully, that includes mermaiding.

For those who haven’t been able to concoct a mental image of what this might entail (eh?), mermaiding involves people putting on mermaid tails and swimming in them, you know, like mermaids. It’s not rocket science.

According to noripples.com.au, mermaiding is a “delightful, liberating and exhilarating activity.” But it’s not just fun and games. Mermaiding’s benefits include “stronger core muscles, higher endurance, higher flexibility in shoulders, spine and hips, less back pain, better self-esteem, and a happier soul because you are able to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a while and simply enjoy a new activity!”

And practitioners of mermaiding, occasionally referred to as water ballerinas, are as serious about their tails as a ComiCon attendee is about the accuracy of his Boba Fett costume. These tails — especially custom fins — can go for several thousand dollars, with sequined and silicone tails fetching the most, although some settle for making their own as a DIY cosplay project. These tails can weigh upwards of 80 pounds, which requires some getting used to while swimming.

As for the actual mermaiding, it’s a combination of free diving, dance, and a primal fear of drowning. These water ballerinas must learn to hold their breath for minutes at a time while moving effortlessly underwater — unless they happen to be the mermaids who just sit on rocks at resorts all day. Those ones don’t have to do anything special.

So, could the adoption of mermaiding help the Suns get beyond their injuries by introducing a new workout regimen for the players? Maybe. Never hurts to try. Would it be the best thing ever to see every Sun in the pool, performing water ballet in their custom mermaid tails? Now that’s a question worth finding an answer to.

(Not so) careless whisper

It isn’t just physical wellness the Suns need to be mindful of this season. With the team sitting in the NBA’s basement, technical fouls aplenty, and at least one player reportedly struggling with issues that aren’t between the lines but rather between the ears, there needs to be a focus on reducing the internal stress the players feel as well.

So, do the Suns need to hire a team therapist? Eh, that might help, but I doubt it would be as effective as listening to someone tapping things with their fingernails. Enter ASMR therapy.

ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response for the uninitiated, is characterized as a pleasant tingling sensation usually felt in the scalp but possibly elsewhere that is spurred by exposing oneself to external auditory or visual stimuli. These stimuli can be anything from gentle whispering to crinkling plastic to chewing to the tapping of fingernails. Basically, anything is fair game so long as the experience is sufficiently calm and intimate. (And that means intimate as in close, not the other way, gutter-dwellers.) Receiving personal attention has also proven to be a strong ASMR trigger. (For the love of God, get out of the gutter!)

Those who experience this sensation describe it as something akin to mild euphoria — the tingling tells you it’s working — and this resulting feeling can help alleviate insomnia, anxiety, and even depression, according to the most credible of the unsubstantiated claims.

This ASMR phenomenon can even be experienced indirectly by watching ASMR therapists, or ASMRtists as they enjoy calling themselves, perform these actions on video. This has led to a cottage industry of ASMR videos popping up on YouTube. Take a look:

As you can see, ASMR therapy combines the relaxation of straining to hear someone who whispers with the pleasure of listening to a person with overactive salivary glands speak too closely to a sensitive microphone. Show of hands: Who’s tingling?

Now, ASMR therapy might not have any “medical” basis, but doesn’t it feel like something’s happening when she gets so close to the camera that it goes out of focus? I know I felt uncomfortably soothed. And isn’t that what’s most important?

There are a lot of frayed nerves in and around Planet Orange this season, and as crazy as it sounds, the remedy might just be playing a video on the JumboTron during games of a smiling woman caressing a microphone with a makeup brush or rapping her Lee Press On Nails against a zucchini.

And, yes, I’m aware of how crazy that sounds. It’s been quite the season.

Congratulations! It’s a…cat

So, back in January a couple adopted a cat. Nothing strange about doing so. One imagines they got the essentials, like a litter box and cat food and laser pointers and stuff of that nature. What one doesn’t imagine is that couple inviting their photographer friend over to capture a staged birth photo shoot depicting said couple “giving birth” to their new kitten, covering the entire event from “labor pains” to “I can see the head!” to “Wow, it really cleaned up nice.” But yes, that happened.

I don’t even have a Suns joke for this. I mean, it’s a birth photo shoot of two people…and a cat! Who even thinks of something like that? It’s like, “Sure, we could let Mittens have some time to acclimate himself to his new surroundings, or light bulb, how about we prop him between my legs and I can pretend I just pushed Mittens out of my uterus?”

Some people have too much free time on their hands.

Lazy like a fox

There are days when you would do just about anything to stay in bed all day. If just about anything for you includes paying a total stranger to go about your day while wearing a motorcycle helmet with an iPad glued to the front that has your face on the screen, then you might just be a ChameleonMask customer.

ChameleonMask, dubbed a human Uber by creator Jun Rekimoto, basically lets the user Skype the world while someone with an even more pathetic life actually does the work of walking around to places. It’s a concept similar to that of robots that have allowed users to attend meetings and conduct surgeries among other activities remotely for years. Only now, people won’t be weirded out by talking to a robot with a human face on a screen. Better mousetrap achieved.

There are a number of interesting applications for this new melding of tech and easily exploitable human labor, the least interesting of which I am about to suggest now. For those who bought season tickets for the Suns but can’t quite muster the motivation to put on pants and attend the games anymore, just hire a more-than-likely homeless person to wear your face and go in your stead. You will no longer be burdened by the guilt of having wasted the tickets, and the surrogate will get to sock away $30 or so in his bindle for his effort.

And to think this idea’s been hiding in plain sight for years.

Major Tom…has a flamethrower

We love Elon Musk around these parts because Elon Musk may very well be an insane person. Now, having come up 119 credits shy of being one credit shy of my psychology degree, I am ill-equipped to proffer an official diagnosis, but take his recent body of work for instance.

On Jan. 27, Musk’s side hustle, The Boring Company, began pre-selling promotional flamethrowers for $500 a pop. He sold all 20,000 units in five days. And while this may not be a flamethrower in the truest sense of the word — the flame was kept under 10 feet to skirt regulations — it’s still a gun that shoots flame. (Keep it away from that spider guy from earlier.)

When he met resistance in the form of certain customs agencies refusing to allow shipment of an item called a flamethrower, Musk re-branded his device, considering calling it a “Temperature Enhancement Device” before settling on the beautifully simple “Not a Flamethrower.”

It's the E=MC2 of middle fingers.

Ever concerned about safety, however, Musk went on Twitter back in January to warn potential buyers that “Obviously, a flamethrower is a super terrible idea. Definitely don’t buy one” before following up with “Unless you like fun.” Musk has also benevolently included a complimentary fire extinguisher with each (not a) flamethrower shipped.

But with all his mini flammenwerfers now sold, Musk had to find something to fill his days. He was probably about to head back to his office to fill out some paperwork when he thought of something just as productive — launching his car into space.

SpaceX debuted its Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6, the most powerful booster since NASA’s Saturn V, which was used in the Apollo program. But what to use as a worthy payload for this test flight? Musk decided to perch one of his own Tesla Roadsters — a midnight cherry red Roadster to be precise — atop the rocket. Of course, every car needs a driver, and in this case it’s a spacesuit-clad mannequin dubbed Starman. Every car also needs a ridiculous item on the dash, and this car has a toy Tesla Roadster glued to the dash with a mini Starman in the driver’s seat.

Musk’s car was shown via live feed from outer space for several hours before the feed went dark. The car is presently more than two million miles away from Earth, destined to befuddle future extraterrestrial visitors to our solar system.

Okay, I was hedging at first, but these are very much the actions of a mad scientist. I mean, who does this guy think he is, Johann Conrad Dippel?

Look, Elon. I know you like doing things that are new, innovative, and dare I say, crazy. But if you really want to get people’s attention, how about doing something really unbelievable — like buying the Suns and helping them win an NBA championship.

And Flamethrower Night would be lit.

What’s in the box?!!!

The holiday season usually involves its fair share of chocolate consumption, but apparently it also occasionally involves larvae consumption as well.

Back in December, a family purchased a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls from a Walmart in Omaha. When they went to eat them, though, they found the chocolates infested with Indian Meal Moth caterpillars. Naturally, this development did not make their holiday more holly or more jolly.

This isn’t the first time larvae have been found in Ferrero Rocher products, either. Back in August, another woman and her roommate found maggots in their box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

The company released a statement in response to the December incident that said in part: “Rare occurrences of infestation have occurred in Ferrero Rocher, similar to other chocolate and food products whose packaging makes them more vulnerable to infestation. Pests can penetrate nearly any type of confectionery packaging on the market today, except glass or metal.” The statement went on to blame improper storage and not the production process itself.

That’s the spirit, Ferrero Rocher. Make sure everyone knows that instances of discovering maggots in your chocolate is a rare occurrence. Sure, every once in a while some Indian Meal Moth caterpillars might find their way into your dessert, but no one seems interested in talking about all those times you didn’t eat bugs, are they?

The Suns should consider adopting this strategy and remind fans of all the times the team wasn’t in the NBA’s cellar.

Dethroned

There are bad days and then there are bad days. Maybe you got yelled at by your boss. Maybe someone was in your usual parking space. Maybe your Baby Ruth got stuck in the vending machine. But when you got home, was your toilet still there? Then you’re not Charlie Villanueva.

Back in December, the former NBA player returned home only to find he’d been burglarized. The thieves had taken several items from his home; those items included his commode.

And you thought sitting through 40-point losses was tough. Charlie doesn’t even have a place to sit.