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The Great Lakes...If they were on IMDB

The Great Lakes have always loomed Mt. Rushmore-like in my life. I grew up in Michigan and my dad is a sailor, so from a young age I knew to be ashamed if I couldn't rattle off the stats: "They-contain-1/5-of-the-world's-fresh-surface-water!" and "Lake-Superior-is-larger-than-South-Carolina!" or "Michigan-has-more-coastline-than-any-other-state-but-Alaska!"
And even though I might--on a good day and safely outside state lines--have passed for a marine savant, the world is lucky I never blossomed into a maritime professional. I don't so do well on boats. Instead, I shadowbox with agents, trying to convince them why the show I'm casting isn't another Surreal Life. And sometimes, while waiting for a good yes or two, my mind wanders and I start to extrapolate my daydreams into a parallel universe in which they turn into reality shows.

Hence! If I had to make a show out of the marriage between my formative years (tugboats, barges, straights, the Midwest) and my current waking, functional life (spreadsheets, offers out, IMDB pro), I'd want to do a Great Lakes stand-off show: One week, one peninsula, five great lakes. I'm not so solid on all the plot points (a zebra mussels challenge, a shoreline comb), but I wouldn't mind being stuck in the casting phase for a bit. That's the fun part. Here are my pitches so far:

  • Lake Huron: Mary Tyler Moore. Attractive to the resort community. Bird-loving (its shores boast the most fish-eating birds).
  • Lake Ontario: Gerard Depardieu. Remote. Peace-loving. Easily appropriated.
  • Lake Michigan: Lauren Bush. Popular. Clean. Connected (...to Huron, technically).
  • Lake Erie: Marie Osmond. Afflicted. Vulnerable. Most biologically productive.
  • Lake Superior: Dita Von Teese. Inscrutable, fathomless.

If there are mitten-lovers out there with other casting ideas, please do share.

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Don't Have Space For a Christmas Tree? Decorate a Pineapple Instead
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Christmas trees aren't for everyone. Some people can't fit a fir inside their cramped abodes, while others are turned off by the expense, or by the idea of bugs hitchhiking their way inside. Fake trees are always an option, but a new trend sweeping Instagram—pineapples as mini-Christmas "trees"—might convince you to forego the forest vibe for a more tropical aesthetic.

As Thrillist reports, the pineapple-as-Christmas-tree idea appears to have originated on Pinterest before it, uh, ripened into a social media sensation. Transforming a pineapple into a Halloween “pumpkin” requires carving and tea lights, but to make the fruit festive for Christmas all one needs are lights, ornaments, swaths of garland, and any other tiny tchotchkes that remind you of the holidays. The final result is a tabletop decoration that's equal parts Blue Hawaii and Miracle on 34th Street.

In need of some decorating inspiration? Check out a variety of “Christmas tree” pineapples below.

[h/t Thrillist]

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