Ferret buttocks.


image from

Oyster boat on the Quinnipiac River


Unicorns with secrets

I created this flip thing today to showcase Hodge the Unicorn, the first product released by Gift Wrap Labs.


Instagram picture, April 15, 2017 at 10:18AM

Here's a ferret.

via Instagram


What is the most embarrassing text message you have sent to the wrong person?

I wrote an answer to this question on Quora, and it's been seeing a lot of action. Check it out.


Media in the Mail: Shockheaded Peter

My friend Clare sent me a copy of her book 98 Reasons for Being, a historical novel set in a German asylum in 1852. The doctor who sees her is the historical Heinrich Hoffmann, psychiatrist and author of the children's book Der Struwwelpeter (Shockheaded Peter). Clare is a fantastic writer. Her book One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead is one of the most memorable I've ever read. (Here's my review.) I'm really looking forward to reading this one!


A new start

Feeling like I needed a change of focus and a change of venue, I've started a new blog over at It's a media consumption blog. There will be daily or close to daily posts with short descriptions of what I'm reading/watching/listening to/etc. I'm seven posts in already, and I've been enjoying it so far. With a fresh start somehow there comes a lighter air. The DEBlog isn't going anywhere, but it will probably continue to lie fallow for the most part. 

New on Instagram

On my desk. I'm using this guy to test my new autoblogging from Instagram IFTTT recipe. #blog
image from

Charmin Ultra: A Rumination

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 4.56.29 PM
More than 20 years ago I did some soul searching and realized I needed to find myself a better toilet paper. After some field tests I settled on a brand called White Cloud, which was produced by Proctor & Gamble. A very short time later, perhaps just a few months, P&G killed off its White Cloud brand, and the toilet paper I'd come to believe was the best available became Charmin Ultra. I watched over the course of maybe a year as the packaging on the White Cloud tissue morphed, its White Cloud branding becoming less noticeable as the Charmin Ultra name became more prominent. Finally the references to White Cloud just disappeared, the old name swallowed up like a ham sandwich within reach of a Charmin bear. This was back in 1993 or 1994.

P&G, so I read, allowed its White Cloud trademark to lapse, and starting in 1999, Wal-mart began marketing a White Cloud toilet paper, manufactured by Scott Paper (not to be confused with the short-lived Michael Scott Paper Company). I've never tried this new White Cloud, which has only its name in common with the old White Cloud. Reviews suggest it's worth a go, however.

But my point is that I've been a devotee of Charmin Ultra since I made that switch back in 1993. I don't recall purchasing another brand since. I buy the big packs of double rolls as cheap as I can find them at the grocery store. Double rolls, I say. I have NEVER had the nerve to buy the mega rolls because I was worried they wouldn't fit into my fixtures, and I'd have to buy one of those toilet paper extenders one hears about. Frankly it all just seemed too complicated.

Until now. I've made the plunge, people, and come out the other side, and I've learned a lot.

There are three sizes of Charmin toilet paper rolls: double (with 164 sheets per roll), mega (308 sheets [or 328! it seems to vary]), and mega plus (369). There is apparently no such thing as a single roll, although the existence of a double roll would suggest that there should be. I can't speak about the mega plus--I'm not sure I've ever SEEN a mega plus in real life--but I can tell you that the circumference of a mega roll is 2.5 inches more than the circumference of a double roll (16.25 vs. 13.75 inches). (Note that the double rolls are wound more loosely than the mega rolls.) So, the big question is, would a roll of toilet paper 2.5 inches larger than anything I've ever used fit in my bathroom fixtures?

I'm happy to say that the answer is YES. It is admittedly a tighter fit than before, but not so tight as to be a problem. Anything larger, however, would not fit: that means you, Charmin Ultra Mega Plus.

So does this mean that I'll now be switching to mega rolls? It looks like the answer is no. I've done some price comparisons and from what I've seen (though your results may vary), a 12-pack of mega rolls tends to sell for the same price as a 24-pack of double rolls. You might be fooled into thinking that this is a wash, but consider that there are 3936 sheets of toilet paper in 24 double rolls vs. 3696 sheets in 12 mega rolls: if you buy the mega roll, you're paying the same price for 240 fewer sheets.(The sheets are the same size in both.) [NOTE! I'm seeing some packages of Charmin Ultra Mega Rolls online with 308 sheets, and some with 328! Very confusing. If you find packages with 328 sheets per roll, then that's exactly twice the number of sheets as are in a double roll, and 12 mega rolls would equal 24 double rolls.]

In coming to a decision about roll sizes yourself you'll want to consider the following factors:

Price: Which size costs less per sheet or square foot in your area?

Storage Space: Do the rolls fit wherever you usually store them?

Bathroom Fixtures: Do the mega or mega plus rolls fit in your bathroom fixtures? If not, you may have to purchase the Charmin Extender. My research suggests that, at nearly $10 a pop, you're never going to save enough buying mega rolls to earn back that outlay.

Convenience: How irritated are you about the frequency with which you need to change your toilet paper rolls? Would ridding yourself of that irritation be worth the price of one or more toilet paper extenders?

All important questions.

While I can't tell you what size toilet paper you should purchase, I can wholeheartedly recommend Charmin Ultra. You work hard. You play hard. You deserve it.

Good luck with your decision, one and all, and Godspeed!

Instagram picture, October 18, 2015 at 02:53PM

Halloween shopping day. Pumpkins from @hindingers and costume shopping.

via Instagram


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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Reading Herodotus: A Guided Tour through the Wild Boars, Dancing Suitors, and Crazy Tyrants of The History. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

From a random review:

The Sunday