Monday, September 12, 2011

Apple #547: Cotton Balls

I've lately taken to polishing my toenails. When I want to change the polish color, I rely heavily on our good friend, the cotton ball. A fairly genius little invention.

Cotton balls are so soft and fluffy and nice.
(Photo from Just for Life)

  • Cotton balls are uniquely good at absorbing liquids. They're used in medicine to treat wounds as well as in cosmetics for applying make-up and other liquids.
  • Some cotton balls are not actually made of 100% cotton but are made of synthetic fibers in part or entirely. Those cotton ball pretenders won't absorb whatever liquid you want to put on it nearly as well as 100% cotton. Other types of fibers will also tear and break apart much more quickly.
  • One bale of cotton can make 680,000 cotton balls.
  • You can use cotton balls as miniature air fresheners. Just plain cotton balls in the refrigerator has the same smell-absorbing effect as baking soda. And if you have small spots of mildew in your bathroom, soak a cotton ball or two in bleach, wedge the cotton ball against the mildew spot, and let it sit there for a few hours. When you come back, the mildew will be gone.
  • If you're having trouble starting a fire, soak a cotton ball in melted Vaseline (or any petroleum jelly). The petroleum jelly acts like an accelerant and the cotton ball acts like a super-packed wick. The fire will last a pretty long time, people say.

That looks like someone dropped their marshmallow into the fire, but no, that's a cotton ball soaked in Vaseline, used to start the fire.
(Photo from Off Grid Survival)

  • Despite all their fluffiness and niceness, there is a phobia of cotton balls. It's not very common, but some people do have it. They cannot bear to touch cotton balls. Something about the texture of them, or the sound when they're being ripped apart, gives people the shivers to such an extent, they won't go near them.
  • This phobia is known as Sidonglobophobia or Bambakophobia. It sounds like I'm making this up, especially after that one entry I did about the fear of being watched by a duck (which is a made-up phobia). But this one is for real. Apparently Michael Jackson is one of the few people who had it.
  • Here's more cotton ball weirdness: there is a diet that involves eating cotton balls. It's an insane diet because it can cause major digestive problems, to say the least. But people have done it. The idea is to eat cotton balls before your meal so that the fiber in the cotton makes you feel full and you eat less. Some people soak the cotton balls in something like orange juice to make them palatable at least. But this only makes me sigh. There are no shortcuts, people. Not even via cotton balls.
  • Yes, it's true, Marlon Brando put cotton balls in his cheeks when he played the Godfather.

Cotton balls played a crucial role in this scene.
(Photo from Celebrity Picnic)

  • Peter Sellers spoofed this to great effect in Revenge of the Pink Panther. As a master of disguises, you kneauw, he disguised himself as a rotund exaggerated version of the Godfather, complete with cotton balls in his cheeks. Except he started choking on them in front of the bad guys. When one of them clapped him on the back, the cotton balls flew out of his mouth.
  • Artist Zimoun created an art installation featuring 138 cotton balls. He put each one on in its own cardboard box, attached each to a motorized stick, and rolled them back and forth over the cardboard, and recorded the sound. It's surprisingly loud.
  • You can make tons of crafty things yourself out of cotton balls. Here is a sheep made out of cotton balls and a toilet paper tube.

Instructions for making this cotton ball sheep and all sorts of other cotton ball crafts at Artists Helping Children.

Here's another picture of cotton balls because I just couldn't resist. They're so round and soft and friendly. I definitely do not have Sidonglobophobia.
(Photo from Daily Glow)

Cotton Catchment Communities, Cotton Fun Facts
Cotton Incorporated, Personal Products: What Are They Made Of?
Fear and, Phobia and Fear of Cotton Balls
Phobia Fear Release, Comments for Fear of Touching Cotton Balls
Clean Your Home, Cotton Balls Cleaning Secrets, Vaseline and Cotton Fire Ball starter
Neatorama, 10 Craziest Diets in History
Everyday Health, Outrageous Diet Fads
Flixster, Marlon Brando Best Movies and Characters


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  2. It's a free theme, available through Blogger. Scroll all the way down to the very bottom and you'll see the answer.


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