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Latest signs of the Apocalypse :

O.K., so I’m listening to the radio, some story on economics and financial trends and I hear the money guru on there talking about the latest thing in supermarkets is  cupholders in the supermarket carts, sometimes known as “buggies”.  And I’m thinking, “What?  We need cupholders to circulate around the grocery aisles?  Refreshment is called for on our cruise through the carrots/kale/onions and leaf lettuce, the  frozen dairy treats and the toilet tissue?  That was enough to confound any right-thinking shopper but the program dude went on the say that a grocery manager down in Texas somewhere called these little amenities “walking around” appliances for your shopping comfort.  Holy Schiamoley!  Getting your victuals for the week—more or less—is so debilitating that you have to be slurping down a Red Bull or Rock Star energy drink to endure it all?

Wait, wait…there’s more.  There are at least two different types—maybe more, for all I know—with two different patents—US   20110181007 (Danny Caruso and Scott Muir) and US 6749204 B2 (Brent Werner)…and they come in either plastic or aluminum (for the professional shopper or the family with many mouths to feed, like that TV show?); there are pictures.

Aaaannnnddd…the first place that I have seen these modern conveniences around here is at the Middlefield Giant Eagle.  What do their hardworking, farm-raised Amish employees and clientele think about these new-fangled, must-have gizmos?  A far cry from the “buggies” that they’re used to, I should say.  Look for this latest thing at the supermarket of your choice at your next outing to the deli counter or frozen foods department.  I won’t even speculate on what beverage you’ll have in your cupholder; it will probably depend on what kind of a day you’re having, right?

And in case you spot some super shopper in front of you in the check-out line with a couple of carts full of toilet tissue (Anybody remember the comedian Billy DeWolf?  He always used to pronounce it “tiss-soo”), you might want to reflect upon the possibility that the family is NOT suffering from some major intestinal malfunction, but planning for a  marriage ceremony.  That is, if you spotted the news item the other day about the 12th Annual Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest, sponsored by Cheap Chic Weddings and…couldn’t you guess?…Charmin.  Oh, and another sponsor is Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Contestants are allowed to use any sort of Charmin that they wish—-Charmin Basic, Charmin Ultra Strong, Charmin Ultra Soft—in any combination that they wish, as well as tape, glue and—for finishing touches, no doubt—needle and thread.  Entries are judged on creativity, neatness, workmanship, originality, beauty and use of toilet paper (Doesn’t that last one make you lift an eyebrow?).  One of the garments in last year’s contest was described as having “vintage” pink tissue in its construction—there were roses on it.  The winner, Donna Pope Vincler, used 22 rolls to produce a “tuxedo-inspired”, virtually backless little number with a white top hat instead of a headpiece with a veil( there was a small veil attached to the hat; no indication as to whether it was made of t.p. or not); she received $10,000.  Second place was by Mimoza Haska, who used 32 rolls($5,000) and third place creator, Carol Touchstone, used 74 rolls ($2500).

This year’s contest (Number 12) was won by Van Tran(one wag remarked that she was “on a roll”, having entered the competition twice before), number two was Judith Henry and Donna Vincler hung in there once again at third place.  Lest you think that this was strictly “Chick Chic”, let me point out that there were three guys in the running—Augusto, Luis and Roy—in the top ten.  At least one of the entries featured a bare midriff and they all were required to be so constructed as to be worn by a human being (!) who can actually walk in it, able to be put on and taken off, able to be shipped in standard FedEx containers to New York where the final judging took place at the Haven Rooftop in the Sanctuary Hotel, Manhattan, NYC., broadcast live on June 16.

Some of the entrants get a little far-out creative.  At least one mixed the toilet paper with diluted Elmer’s Glue to make a sort of papier-mache to work with; another put duct tape into this combination but caution must be used to avoid having the thing be too heavy and fall apart of its own accord.  Water is always a danger as well.  The number of jokes about a “flushing bride” is legion. Be careful with those toasts to the happy couple!  There’s no limit to the amount of paper used, as long as it’s wearable and offers “appropriate coverage”.  In 2007 somebody actually got married in one of the dresses—got a free trip to New York for the affair and everything—but it took place in a public restroom in Times Square.  Quelle locale! According to one reporter, the officiant  pronounced the couple man and wife then said, “You may now kiss the bride, but please don’t squeeze the Charmin dress.”

This year’s winner, Van Tran, estimated that she used   10 roll of t.p., spent $80 in tape, hot glue and glitter glue and worked about 100 hours—after three weeks of brainstorming the design, which she named—this is a hot one—“Winter Lust”, after having moved from California to New York and experiencing snow(a blizzard) for the first time.  The dress itself has a fishtail/mermaid sort of effect and an open-work cape with handmade “pearl” buttons created from glitter glue and Elmers.

Something tells me that we won’t be seeing a lot of this design at our local nuptials but you never know.  Check out the “rent-a-dress” options first.