Are Fish Pedicures Dangerous to Your Health?

Back when fish pedicures were a growing fad in the United States, my feet took a dunk at a New Hampshire nail salon. I chronicled the experience for the Boston Herald business section and for a New Hampshire Magazine humor column.

Here’s the New Hampshire Magazine cartoon by the talented Brad Fitzpatrick that ran with my column:

For the uneducated, fish pedicures are when schools of flesh-eating fish (a species called “Garra rufa“) put licensed nail salon workers on the unemployment line. The fish feast on your dead skin – leaving your feet refreshed – and don’t require a tip.

Shortly after my articles, fish pedicures were banned in the United States, though CNN reports that this service was quite popular in England for some time.

Now, the JAMA Dermatology medical journal published a July 3, 2018 case study of a young woman suffering from onychomadesis, a complete halt in nail growth.  Although author Dr. Shari Lipner states the exact cause of her nail loss is unknown, she concludes “it is likely that direct trauma caused by fish biting multiple nail units causes a cessation in nail plate production.”

The CNN headline will certainly put a scare into any future customers.

Those are my toenails in the fish tank picture at the top of this blog – and those toenails are still growing like weeds years later.

Are fish pedicures dangerous to your health? I’m not a doctor, but I can unequivocally state the practice wasn’t harmful to me.

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An Ominous Sign The Red Sox Can’t Keep All Their Young Stars

Storm clouds gather around Fenway Park. Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts shines through like a ray of hope.

I snapped this pic from the bleachers during the early innings of the Red Sox-Tigers game on June 5, 2018. It looks like a foreshadowing scene in a low-budget apocalypse movie!

In the immortal words of President Trump, this storm turned out to be “meek and mild.” Just a light rain for two innings. But this shot remains one of my favorite baseball pics – and one of my favorite nature pics!

My baseball-crazed friend Chuck sent me this suggested photo caption: “Red Sox Locking Up Young Stars Looking Bleak.”

That’s what the baseball agents are thinking, too.

 

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Pathetic: How NOT to Remember Pearl Harbor

This offer for a free commemorative “75th anniversary” Pearl Harbor coin was in my Sunday Boston Globe today, mixed in with the toothpaste and laundry detergent coupons.  On first glance, I can think of only one person who’d want to collect this coin: Emperor Hirohito.

A few immediate thoughts:

* What American would want to display “dramatic artwork of Japanese dive bombers attacking U.S. ships,” which gives the screaming “PEARL HARBOR ATTACKED!” a gloating context?

* Does one display this next to their “TWIN TOWERS ATTACKED!” commemorative dinner plate?

* 2018 is actually the 77th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, which indicates that this company has a warehouse filled with unsold commemorative coins.

* Trivializing one of the worst days in American history even further, the free Pearl Harbor offer runs above the “Owl Always Love You” figurine by artist Kayomi Harai, best known for painting “nature’s cutest creatures… made even cuter with their big, expressive eyes!”

Whooooo can’t resist buying both?!?

 

 

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Maybe Hanley Ramirez had a better season last year than we thought…

More fake news in packs of 2018 Topps baseball cards?

On the heels of finding out that Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez might not really be BFFs, I found this other Topps Heritage card crediting Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez for finishing fourth in the American League batting title last year.

Although I love Hanley, I remember his season being rather streaky and lackluster. So I looked up his 2017 stats: He hit .242.

Turns out that it was Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (.318) – the Ramirez with less interesting hair – who finished fourth in the AL batting race. The Ramirezes look absolutely nothing alike.

I hope Topps corrects the error and gives Jose his due. Even more so, I hope Hanley hits .318 this year!

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Are These Yankees “Pinstriped Pals” or Just “Awesome Acquaintances?”

Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez: BFFs 4-eva!

I love when baseball cards feature multiple players together and celebrate or fabricate what they have in common – i.e. putting Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays (1962) on a card and calling them the “Managers’ Dream” or grouping Jim Rice, Kirby Puckett and Jose Canseco (1987) as “The A.L. Pitcher’s Nightmare.”

So I was amused to see this 2018 Topps Heritage pairing of young Yankees stars Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, who are being billed as “PINSTRIPED PALS.”

Really? I’m not sure who looks more disinterested in friendship: Judge or Sanchez.

And although the back of the card notes that the pair set a Major League record for most homers by teammates under age 26, there is no mention of this alleged friendship. Just baseball stats and talk of future potential (not for a relationship).

I did some in-depth research (Googling “Are Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez friends?“) and the results are inconclusive.

However, there is strong evidence that Aaron Judge recently formed “an instant friendship” with Giancarlo Stanton.

So what’s the deal, Topps? If these guys really are “Pinstriped Pals,” why not include an anecdote or fun fact to back up your headline? And if they’re not really friends, what would’ve been the harm in labeling them “Awesome Acquaintances?”

Using alliteration for the sake of alliteration is inexcusable.

 

 

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Savvy Writing Like This Could Save Baseball Cards From Extinction

Candidly, I never heard of Jett Bandy before opening this pack of Topps Heritage Baseball Cards (with the cool 1968 retro design), but I am now a fan. Based solely on the Brewers catcher’s connection to the Tom Cruise movie, “Cocktail.” Here’s a closer look so you don’t have to squint:

Where was this kind of trivia on baseball cards when I was a kid? I do remember being enthralled by the journalism in annual Red Sox yearbooks, which usually documented every player’s favorite movie and TV show. This stuff matters just as much as the stolen bases and RBIs (for that matter, why do so many baseball cards ignore stolen bases and saves in the career statistics?).

Anyhow, hats off to the Topps writer responsible for this card!

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5 New Hampshire Mascots We’d Love to See!

New Hampshire Magazine illustration by Marc Sutherland (October 2017)

Isn’t an “Old Man of the Mountain” character breakfast long overdue?
In the October issue of New Hampshire Magazine, I suggest some irresistible branding opportunities for local schools, government agencies and institutions sadly lacking their own mascots.
 
My free marketing advice includes proposed costumed characters for Franconia Notch State Park, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy (Manchester Campus), Currier Museum of Art, the Seabrook nuclear power plant and the NH Department of Transportation.
 
You can read the full article here.

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