Ask General Kang: How should I pick an eyebrow shape?

Ask General KangGenerally speaking, there is an eyebrow shape that works with every type of face. If you are an über-chimp with a large cranial ridge, for example, then a properly shaped eyebrow can make or break your face. (I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. Everyone knows that über-chimps have especially thick carapace-like skulls, and a prominent cranial ridge makes that their faces virtually unbreakable.)

You’ll probably want to go with a sharp edged brow that accentuates your beautiful and sexy bone head.

If you are some kind lesser monkey, and don’t have delightfully heavy skull topography, you’ll need to do something to attract those other simple simians. I suggest a nice arched eyebrow, preferably drawn in with some kind of thick and sticky black wax. (This will work even if you’re one of those freakish white apes we’ve been hearing about all season.)

Keep a close eye that no stray hairs ruin the lovely effect you’re going for with your eyebrows. I would recommend obsessive tweaking and pulling of hairs (it’s best if you can rip the follicle root right out at the same time, but sometimes a simple trim will have to do.) Tweezers are effective, as is fire. Avoid wax at all costs! It will rip out all your facial hair, not just the long greasy eyebrow hairs you are trying to shape.

If you have recently evolved and don’t have the manual dexterity to apply fire or steel, I recommend visiting an accredited beautician. (All of them on my home planet of Neecknaw used state-of-the art plasma torches for their brow work.)

What if I’m a human?
Oh, then you’re so hideous I can hardly see the point. Still, there might be some principles in there to try:

  • work with your face shape
  • apply lots of thick waxy black paint
  • and don’t forget the plasma torching!

Next time: What should I do if I’m trapped in a hyperbolic chamber with a trumpet player?

Alltop thinks you have lovely eyelashes. Originally published October, 2010.

Ask General Kang: What musical instrument should I learn?

Ask General KangI think it depends a bit on where your talents lie.

For example, can you carry a tune? Then maybe a kazoo. Or even a harmonica if you’ve got some talent. If you have less musical aptitude, perhaps you should learn to play a tambourine or bodhran — that’s a kind of large tambourine without the little jingles around the edge — no, never mind, if I have to explain what it is, you probably won’t be able to play it and there are already enough of those. Beware, you’ll still need a sense of rhythm to play any percussion instrument.

Unless you’re playing a Tragdorian Mega-Drum, which are pretty automated, though you still need some kind of primate to activate the boom-boom switch on it. I once kitted out an entire troop of ultra-chimps with Tragdorian Mega-Drums instead of plasma weapons, and was pleasantly surprised to see them take their objective (a major city on the Planet Bluehairia) in record time. Of course the poor bastards were wiped out in our assault on Metalhead XII (they have a very high tolerance for Mega-Drum percussion there.)

What about bagpipes?

Are you insane? You want to be able to play with other people don’t you?

Next time: If it’s okay to have love in a time of cholera, what if do we do in a time of bird flu

pirate therapy

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This piece appears in my new collection Pirate Therapy & Other Cures; you can win a copy in a Goodreads giveaway that ends May 15.

Add me as a friend while you’re there!

Alltop loves the ol’ triangle! Originally published September, 2006.

Why we can speak and chimps can’t

Chimp does HamletA new study in Nature reveals a mutation in a common gene that may help explain why humans developed the ability to speak, while chimps did not. The article also mentions physical differences similar to those mentioned in Marvellous Hairy, as Nick morphs from full human to part monkey:

Frances Vargha-Khadem, head of developmental cognitive neuroscience at the University College London, who wasn’t part of the research, said the study “is very much in line with what we had always suspected.”

Ms. Vargha-Khadem has studied people with other inherited mutations in the gene and their speech and language problems. People with a certain mutation have subtle physical differences in the lower part of the jaw, the tongue and roof of the mouth, and she suspects chimps do, too.

That physical part is important because “you can’t produce the dance unless you have the feet to do the dance,” she said.

Read the full story at the Globe and Mail. Photo by King Chimp.