Things to Do

No, honey, these chips aren't for dipping.
No, honey, these chips aren't for dipping.
There’s lots of ways you can have fun in this great land of ours. For example, you can wake up and show your family how you were brutally murdered recently. You just don’t get that kind of fun in any old amusement park. Oh, the fun you’ll have fielding phone calls, trying not to have your apartment rented while you’re still living in it and all sorts of stuff.

Or, hey, you could wipe out your life savings and build a doomsday shelter, complete with pretty curtains. And, because you’re a good Christian you’ll set it up so that no one but you can use it. After all, wasn’t Christ who said “God helps those help themselves”? What? It wasn’t? Oh, it was Benjamin Franklin. Well same thing. Now get the hell off my property.

Maybe you’re one of those thrill seekers who won’t fly in a plane unless it has a live bat flitting through the aisle. What I love about this story is that the staff at Delta couldn’t find the bat when the plane landed. That means there are planes out there with holes in them big enough for wildlife to come and go as it pleases. Believe it or not, I’m not reassured.

Of course, those are all things are solo adventures. So what do you do when you want to grab the rug rats, strap them to the roof of the Volvo and do something in public? Not to worry. We here at Nude Hippo are all about family. I even bring extra bungee cords to our family events just in case.

Oh, wait …. never mind.

Chris Rodell at MSNBC says that you take the little bundles of joy and let them spit live crickets.

Yes, you read that right.

Men are marrying dogs in Wisconsin! They’re racing in, not to, outhouses in Iowa! And there won’t be enough flapjacks to sop up the mess if the Space Shuttle made of butter at the Ohio State Fair ever gets exposed to direct sunlight.

It’s state and county fair season all across the fruited plain and that means a corny-copia of wacky events, competitions and homespun fun sure to appeal to anyone that’s ever dreamed of trying their luck at cow plop bingo.

It may be difficult to envision Old Testament farmers enjoying any of that revelry, but Marla Calico, director of education for the International Association of Fairs & Expositions in Springfield, Mo., says the concept of agricultural fairs dates back to biblical times.

“Fairs today are what they were then: annual fun gatherings to share ideas and celebrate,” she says.

Enjoyed in some form nearly around the world, there’s still something about state fairs that always seems uniquely all-American.

Maybe it’s because of events and exhibitions like the following:

Butter Space Shuttle, Ohio State Fair, through Aug. 7 − Butter sculpture is to Ohio what museums are to Manhattan: It’s high art, only with way more calories. In a tribute to America’s space shuttle program, butter sculptors working for the American Dairy Association took 475 hours and used 1,550 pounds of butter (about 6,200 sticks) to create a refrigerated tribute to space exploration. And, yes, sculptors said they “had a blast.”

Outhouse Racing, Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11-21 − It used to be getting to the outhouse in good time was its own reward. Not at the Iowa State Fair, where racing the outhouse across a finish line is the goal. With a $300 first prize at stake, four-man crews (must include one woman) need to exert a kind of teamwork you see with potty-training parents of toilet-shy toddlers.

Noxious Weed Bingo, Western Idaho State Fair, Aug. 19-28 − How could they make this contest sound any more unappealing? Play it with dried stink bug chips. But it’s not as exotic or unpleasant as it sounds. The bingo is played on cards with pictures of the noxious weeds − invasive species of plants deemed harmful to native species. Is it fun and educational. Bingo.

Cricket Spittin’, Indiana State Fair, Aug. 5-21 − Think watermelon seed spittin’ contest but with mouthfuls of freeze-dried crickets. “Some of these guys can lean back and really let it go,” says fair spokesman Andy Klotz. “Believe it or not, some of these guys can spit a cricket 50 to 60 feet.” Sound difficult to swallow? Just think how far they’d spit it if you didn’t tell them it was a cricket until after it was in their mouth.

Husband Calling, Illinois State Fair, Aug. 12-21 − Women for years have tried to find ways short of fire to elevate couch potato husbands from their recliners. Inspired by popular pig calling loved throughout the South, the Illinois State Fair is one of many where spouses try to lure wayward hubbies home with promises of cold beer, barbecue and a wife ready to go whole hog on the lovin’.

Doggie Weddings, Wisconsin State Fair, Aug. 4-14 − Yes, men are marrying dogs in Wisconsin! Actually, the dogs are marrying each other and a man is officiating − and not just any man. It’s the King! “Elvis presides over the Vegas-style ceremonies and sings to the happy couples,” says state fair spokeswoman Kristin Chuckel. “We have special dog tags and the pups get doggie bone bouquets.”

Why do I have this perverse desire to mix and match these? Noxious Weed Spitting? Butter Sculpture Husbands? The possibilities are endless.

And, yes, I thought of all the dirty ones, but the producers have these new tasers and ….. well …. let’s just say I’m a touch jumpy.

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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