In a few short hours, AmateurScientist.org will be a whole new place. If you've subscribed to this feed in a reader, you're going to have to switch to the following URL if you want to keep up:
That's right. The new AmateurScientist.org will be hosted on Tumblr, the blogging platform of choice for elitist hipsters, artful pornographers, and OCD-level minimalists. Since we fall under all those categories, it seemed like the place to be.
It's been a good long road on this here Blogger-hosted site, so we're not simply making it disappear. You'll still be able to find all the previous posts here.
But we hope you'll enjoy the new site and its associated feed. In addition to looking like a futuristic magazine from the magazine future, it will also be home to much more regular comedy content than ever before. Plus, it will be the central hub for the ever-expanding universe of Amateur Scientist Industries.
Onward and upward!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
In a few short hours, AmateurScientist.org will be a whole new place. If you've subscribed to this feed in a reader, you're going to have to switch to the following URL if you want to keep up:
Saturday, November 6, 2010
What's so special about the McRib? Who's trying to whack Randy Quaid? Why does Colorado hate extraterrestrials? Who hurt George W. Bush's fragile feelings? Why are pagans ruining our museums? Why does Sylvester Stallone know about our president? Are toxic oil dispersants making us sick? Who is Mr. Bojangles? The answers to all these questions and absolutely no more on this week's show.
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010
You may not know this, but our own Richard Peacock is an indie video game developer. In fact, his Alien Pyramid Challenge is one of the best titles available through Xbox Live Indie Games. The gaming blog A Rant with Good Grammar just posted an interview with Richard about game development, programmer working conditions, and his thoughts on design. READ IT!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
MINUS: Under suspicious circumstances, the great director Paul Thomas Anderson has indefinitely postponed his plans to make The Master, a film loosely based on the life of L. Ron Hubbard, in which master thespian Philip Seymour Hoffman would have played the titular nutball.
PLUS: Mad Men actress Elizabeth Moss has filed for divorce from her husband of eleven months, Saturday Night Live's Fed Armisen. Possibly baseless rumor mongering has it that Moss' devotion to Scientology may have played a role in the divorce. In any case, she's on the market, fellas.
TOTAL: A wash, though it's probably more likely that I would have watched and enjoyed The Master than that I will marry Elizabeth Moss as part of my larger scheme to get closer to a Hamm sandwich with Don Draper and Christina Hendricks.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
For several years, many U.S. states had laws against sodomy, the illicit use of human genitals for anything other than creating a child who will one day Google the word "blowjob". But in 2003, the Supreme Court struck down Texas' anti-sodomy law, thereby rendering similar laws in all other states moot.
But despite all that, the official platform adopted by the Republican Party of Montana in June still includes a stance in favor of outlawing "homosexual acts". Granted, homosexual acts are a grave danger to the Montana economy. It's a state full of wide open spaces just begging to be turned into hot man-on-man orgy grounds. Plus, with such a low population, it's rare for members of the opposite sex to even meet, let alone procreate.
But not all Montana Republicans are in favor of the platform. At least one state legislator says that it has no place in the modern GOP and that anyone wanting to arrest gays should join another political party. Plus, there's no legal means for the state to re-outlaw buttsex, mouthfucking, and mutual masturbation after the state supreme court struck down its sodomy laws in 1997.
However, it's good to know some Montana Republicans are still thinking long and hard about sodomy. It's all over their minds like semen on an upper lip.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Christine O'Donnell, the newly minted Republican senatorial candidate from the great tax haven of Delaware is forging ahead with her plans to become this news cycle's Sarah Palin. She's a political outsider, she's pissed off about the D.C. status quo, and she's willing to say any crazy thing it takes to rile up the rabid right-wingers. It's a brave stance to take, especially since with each passing day, it's looking more and more likely that O'Donnell accidentally lobotomized herself sometime in the early '90s.
Weirdly, it's not so much what O'Donnell's saying now that makes her seem like a glue sniffer. It's the seemingly bottomless well of ridiculous quotes from all of her TV appearances in the last fifteen years. First, she took to MTV to decry masturbation. Then she was on Politically Incorrect discussing her dabbling with witchcraft. On C-SPAN, she lamented the taxpayer money spent on trying to help self-destructive AIDS patients. And now, we've learned that during a 2007 appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, O'Donnell warned the nation of a monstrous horror lurking in our laboratories.
"American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully-functioning human brains," she said, sniffing suspiciously.
Here's the thing: This is bullshit. It never happened, and it's a little mind boggling how someone could possibly think it did.
However, the inverse may, in fact, be true. While no human-brained mice are intelligently dropping their turds in the box of Christmas ornaments we keep in our attics, there is evidence that some fully-functioning humans may demonstrate mouse-like behavior:
Members of the Texas State Board of Education are pushing a resolution that would warn textbook publishers against downplaying Christianity while glorifying Islam in history books adopted by state schools. According to the resolution's conservative backers, several history books are known to devote more space to discussing Islam than Christianity, to teach about Christian massacres of Muslims during the crusades while ignoring Muslim massacres of Christians, and to devote several chapters to the fact that Mohamed's camera shyness is far sexier than Jesus' downright slutty need to pose for every Renaissance painter who ever lived.
Critics say that these board members are placing politics above education. Also, that the textbooks they cite as offensively pro-Islam aren't even used in Texas classrooms. But proponents have responded by claiming "Middle-Easterners" are buying into textbook publishing companies in order to push their terrorist agenda. As evidence, they refuse to provide any evidence.
This is pretty much par for the course when it comes to the Texas school board. These are the same people who tried to insert creationist textbooks into the state's biology classrooms, and several board members are the types of people who wear lots of denim dresses decorated with wooden buttons they bought at an arts and crafts show in a church parking lot.
I'm a little bored by this news, to tell you the truth. Not so much because it's more of the same, but because I'm fairly certain that the entire Texas State Board of Education is composed of characters played via split-screen technology by a very much alive Andy Kaufman.
Friday, September 17, 2010
LiveScience.com recently reported on a conference held in Cambridge earlier this month to discuss the role popular teen fiction like the Twilight series might have in shaping young brains.
Actually, the conference covered several areas of research relating to neuroscience and the arts in young people, but LiveScience.com knows what any good web outlet knows: Twilight equals page views.
Twilight The only real scientific Twilight takeaway from this conference Twilight is that teenagers have mushier brains than real humans Twilight, and are therefore more susceptible to influence Twilight from books, movies, peers, Twilight, and their own personal experiences. Twilight.
This isn't new, Twilight but it's interesting to study whether Twilight the subtextual values included in teen entertainment Twilight might take advantage of a young person's underdeveloped brain Twilight to make a bigger impact Twilight than they otherwise might.
Twilight, for example, Twilight may have certain anti-feminist, conservative Twilight messages that could be Twilight unwittingly embraced by its target Twilight audience. Which is a scary thought, Twilight since no one wants an entire Twilight generation of girls yearning to be stalked Twilight by a semi-pedophilic Twilight vampire Twilight. Well, except for Twilight semi-pedophilic vampires, I Twilight suppose.
Twilight Twilight Twilight.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Cryptomundo has published a very intriguing email from a person known only as "silvereagle" who claims to know of a Bigfoot research project conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Labs in the '60s. According to silvereagle, the labs had several Bigfeet in captivity and were able to determine that the creatures are intelligent extradimensional beings with the power to turn invisible and walk through walls. Unfortunately, one was also a bit of a sexist prankster.
"Apparently, it liked to sneak up on the secretaries from behind, when they came in for coffee. So there were a few dropped coffee pots and burnt toes. [The secretaries] drove [a Bigfoot] out of the building by opening up a pathway by propping doors open and presumably banging on pots and pans. Apparently, one scientist was retired early because it was believed that the bigfoot hypnotised him to go insane."
There's much more at Cryptomundo. The takeaway? Our secretaries are never safe from invisible Bigfeet.
The local Oklahoma chapter of the Coalition of Reason recently raised $5,250 to erect this dumb billboard about atheism. This is in response to the numerous dumb billboards about Christianity that believers have been erecting for years.
In other news, people are too busy texting to notice when they drive past a dumb billboard.
In a recent article for Forbes, conservative intellectual and shell-less amphibian Dinesh D'Souza hypothesized that Barack Obama's worldview was predominantly shaped by the social and political opinions of his father, who was reportedly a Kenyan communist devil worshipper with a soft spot for Adolf Hitler. Now, former Republican U.S. representative, probable 2012 presidential candidate, and victim of congenital tinyface disease Newt Gingrich has picked up that idea and run with it.
Speaking to The National Review, Gingrich said that Obama may be completely inscrutable to the average American, as his politics and values could be "Kenyan" and "anti-colonial".
Now, the fact is that Obama is no more a Kenyan than Gingrich is a member of whatever reptilian race to which his ancestors belonged. But the liberal blowhards who've gone on the attack over this comment might be taking things a step too far. Gingrich is 100% correct that Obama is an anti-colonial.
Think about it. In these past two years of the Obama presidency, has the man himself done a single thing to support our struggling American colonies across the globe? This used to be the empire upon which the sun never set! And now we are but a pale, impotent shadow of our former selves.
What about those brave pioneers we sent to the furthest reaches of Namibia, Mongolia, Prussia, and those other places? They're toiling in obscurity, doomed to stockpile winter food and tame the rabid savages with the Word of the Lord. Nowhere in Obama's budget is there an allocation for new Bibles or hogsmead for these poor souls. Why, if we continue to ignore them, they'll be blameless for taking up arms in pursuit of their own emancipation.
I for one hope Gingrich's words are heeded. If he doesn't rip the presidency from Obama's grasp, the least we can do is hold him up as a great American prophet and carve his tiny, tiny face into the side of some mountain or other.
Lloyd Kaufman isn't just the mad genius behind Troma Films and a great friend of Amateur Scientist Industries. He's also one of the founding fathers of the independent cinema movement. As I said during his appearance on our Dragon*Con 2010 show, everyone who makes things without the help of giant corporations owes Lloyd a debt of gratitude.
And as a champion of the little guy, Lloyd has written an open letter on net neutrality, which you can read here. Please do. It's an important issue that's worth your time.
WARNING: Very few tits or gory deaths at that link. Unfortunately.
Researchers have developed a new type of artificial skin for future robots: one which grants them a rudimentary sense of touch. Sensors in the skin respond to changes in thickness due to pressure. It's capable to detect pressures as gentle as the feeling of typing on a keyboard or holding a small object such as a pencil or an EMP grenade.
Just kidding. There's probably no need to carry EMP grenades around these touchbots. Just like there's probably no need to keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. It's just there for peace of mind.
If we're to enslave robots for delicate tasks like polishing our fine crystal or lifting our privates to get at those hard-to-scrub areas, it's important that they be sensitive enough to not accidentally crush objects with their unholy strength. It's also important that they learn how to be tickled, as robot laughter is the best medicine for electrical burns.
Researchers say before touchbots are ready for the Sears catalog, this artificial skin may be used to grant skinless humans a new lease on touch. Pretty soon, we'll all be able to feel medical droids poking needles at the fingers of our new robot hands before we retire to our bunks for a little advanced testing.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
It’s no wonder so many Koreans are addicted to video games. Not long ago, a Korean couple killed their baby after neglecting it in favor of playing some crappy MMO. And so many people play StarCraft that it’s a valid career path for troubled youths.
This probably has something to do with the fact that South Korea is surrounded by a bunch of terrible neighbors. It can be stressful knowing that the people you hear stomping on your roof are actually the malnourished, lobotomized army of a tiny madman sitting on a nuclear arsenal. For a few years, I was convinced the guy living across the hall from me was a Mafioso, and the only thing that took my mind off stray bullet nightmares was a slavish devotion to Minesweeper. Also, lots of mushrooms.
But it seems some Korean psychiatrists have successfully treated StarCraft addiction in particular with the antidepressant Buproprion. The study participants each played StarCraft an average of four hours per day. Some of them have missed months of school due to their addiction, and others have even been divorced because of their disgusting clicking habit.
This is good news for Korean gamers in search of medical help for their uncontrollable urges. But even though I hate to sound like a prude, there’s really only one 100% effective cure for StarCraft or MMO addiction: taste in video games.
You know, I always found it obnoxious when smarty pantses and Korean exchange students would smugly solve a Rubik’s Cube in front of me when the only way I could do it was with a claw hammer and a tube of superglue. But this jerk takes the puzzle cube braggart taco:
Some of us lose all bodily control when forced into a potentially romantic situation. But for at least one person, this isn’t just a symptom of a massive Planet of the Apes memorabilia collection. It’s actually a medical condition.
Matt Frerking, a neurologist, becomes paralyzed when his thoughts turn to love or when he witnesses a little too much public heavy petting. It’s a combination of narcolepsy and cataplexy, or a weakening of the muscles. He can barely touch his wife. Anniversary celebrations shut him down. In short, he’s a catch.
Frerking says he can’t even watch trailers for romantic movies, so he usually occupies his mind during the 45 minutes of previews before a film by concentrating on scientific research. With his extremely attractive new lab assistant Bethany… Aaaand, he’s out.
Kidding aside, this sounds like a horrific condition, and my heart goes out to the man.
Kidding not aside, his best friends call him Casanovocain.
Billy Ray Cyrus’ star waned in the latter half of the 20th century when America learned to heal its achy breaky heart, reject the Dixie mullet, and finally seek treatment for its syphilitic pop culture delirium. It’s the same set of circumstances that led to the fall of slap bracelets and Perfect Strangers spinoffs. But unlike Urkel, Billy Ray has risen again.
Turns out the Cyrus seed was potent enough to create a plasticky homunculus with the kind of freshly-scrubbed teen charm and premature smoker’s voice that appeals to the Disney pretween demo. Billy Ray ironed his mullet, adjusted the douchiness of his outfits, and hitched a ride back to the top on his daughter Miley’s hair extensions. And it looks like he’s milking his second chance for all its worth by following in the footsteps of his heroes Leonard Nimoy, Jonathan Frakes, and Arthur C. Clarke. That’s right. Billy Ray Cyrus is going to host a show about the paranormal.
Called UFO: Unbelievably Freakin’ Obvious, the show will follow Cyrus and his doomed son Trace crisscross the globe in search of aliens, ghosts, monsters, and cheese fries. Yes, this will be on SyFy. Yes, it will be better than Farscape.
In related news:
Friday, August 27, 2010
TONIGHT! The Conspiracy Skeptic himself and our own pitiless podcaster Karl Mamer will be answering your questions LIVE(!) on Skeptically Speaking. Tune in to CJSR 88.5 FM in Alberta or listen live online at 8pm EST to hear Karl sweat under the intense questioning of one-woman good cop/bad cop Desiree Schell. Or call in with your own interrogations and/or heavy breathings. This is your mission! You know what you have to do!
Monday, August 23, 2010
Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned a magazine ad for a protective talisman, claiming the makers of the talisman can’t back up their claims. It’s a simple, coin-shaped pendant engraved with Hebrew glyphs, but manufacturers The Circle of Raphael say in their ad that it will bring wearers “angelic blessings”, grant them protection from seven angelic guardians, increase their luck in games of chance, open the doors of opportunity and good fortune, and grant them luck in their love lives. The ASA says that a few testimonials aren’t enough to prove The Circle of Raphael’s claims, so they have to retool their message to make it a little less specific. Well, never one to take the government at their word, I ordered one of the pendants myself. I could choose from silver or gold at $45 and $186 respectively. I went with gold, since I’m classy. I can’t say I’ve noticed any angels following me around, but I’ve been told angels are invisible, so that’s not really evidence of anything. I did, however, climb over my deli’s lunch counter and extend my hand toward their slicing machine, but a helpful employee pulled the plug before I could be mangled. I’d count that as protection from harm. And during my D&D game the other night, I rolled a natural 20 one time. Will I also become lucky in love? Only time will tell, but I’m optimistic. No woman could resist me in this douchey shirt I’ve unbuttoned just low enough to show off my magic pendant. More details here.
A German blogger has claimed he received a notice from the State Office of Criminal Investigation for linking to a picture of a painting of Jesus that may or may not depict the savior’s rock-hard dong. According to the blogger, he may be charged with criminal profanity. It’s a worrisome situation for a few reasons. One: Outlawing profanity is absurd. Two: It’s not like this guy was the only one linking to the picture. It made international news, since the painting was originally hanging in a church and had to be altered by the artist after people complained Christ’s abdominal section looked an awful lot like an erect cock and a pair of massive, succulent balls. This blogger didn’t create the painting, and even reputable news outlets showed it on their sites. And three: Even if this painting were an explicit depiction of the Holy Junk, how is that profane? Despite what those gnostic hippies would have us believe, the whole point behind Christ’s existence was his fleshy, human form. He was God as man, so God could sacrifice his flesh as man. And there’s no such thing as a fleshy man without a fully-formed package. (Minus the odd genetic freak, self-mutilator, or Ryan Seacrest.) If anything, Christ’s phallus would be a poignant reminder of all he gave up to save us from our sins. He washed us all in his blood, and some of that blood naturally flowed into his erect penis from time to time. Probably whenever Mary Magdalene indulged him in an after-dinner dance. More details here.
The story goes that three years ago, a 20-year-old motorcyclist was killed after being struck by a speeding driver on Lemon Tree Passage Rd. north of Newcastle in the U.K. Now, that young man’s ghost is cursed to seek its revenge upon those who would kill another with their reckless driving. But this ghost is apparently kind of an idiot, since his plan has backfired in the worst way. Local police have issued a warning to drivers after learning that many curious ghost-taunters are purposefully speeding down Lemon Tree Passage Rd. to conjure the motorcycle ghost and post video of his eerie glow on YouTube. Even scarier, these amateur ghost hunters run the risk of creating a never-ending loop of revenge spirits. When one of them inevitably slams into a tree, he’ll be forced to take out his ghostly wrath on anyone dumb enough to barrel down a darkened highway while pointing a Flip camera over his shoulder. If this second ghost succeeds, he’ll have created another ghost bent on seeking revenge against vengeance ghosts. And so on. Plus, it’s not like the original motorcycle ghost is putting on much of a show. The YouTube videos posted so far only show a little white light visible out the back windshield. Not scary at all. I guess rampant homophobia prevents modern motorcycle ghosts from donning studded leather and whipping chains around. More details here.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
A group of Ontario parents is demanding their local school district shut off all its wireless networks and go back to running cables to every classroom, citing a mountain of anecdotal evidence that the invisible signals are making their kids sick. It’s a cut and dry case, really. When these kids are at school, they suffer from headaches, dizziness, racing hearts, nausea, memory loss, concentration problems, rashes, restlessness, night sweats, and insomnia. On the weekends, all these issues go away. “I’m not saying it’s because of the Wi-Fi, because we don’t know yet,” said one concerned parent. “But I’ve pretty much eliminated every other possible source.” In other words, he’s saying it’s the Wi-Fi. Which makes perfect sense, because there’s no other opportunity for these children to be exposed to the kind of dangerous radio waves emitted by wireless network transmitters. Other than carrying cell phones, of course. Or walking around outside. Or going inside. Anyway, the point is this: there’s no other reason why children would feel worse in school than at home playing their video games and their Twitters. More details here.
Most everyone remembers Victor Hugo’s classic horror novel “The Hunch Back of Notre Dame”, the story of a deaf, disfigured bell-ringer in Paris’ most famous cathedral who stalks, rapes, and murders a fiendish gypsy girl named Esmeralda. If not the novel, then you might remember the animated Disney adaptation, in which Quasimodo commits his heinous deeds with the help of several singing animals. Either way, it’s a terrible tale, and the only thing in which our children may find some nightly respite is the promise that these nightmarish characters were simply the fictional illusions of Hugo’s syphilitic mind. Well, bad news, light sleepers. It looks like Quasimodo may have been based on an actual person. Newly discovered memoirs written by a British sculptor hired to work at Notre Dame during the time Hugo would have been writing his novel make numerous references to a stone carver called “Le Bossu”, French for “hunchback”. No word yet on how many gypsy girls this monster raped and murdered, but the diaries do suggest that the man was a bit of an antisocial type. This may be because he was constantly reminded of his irreversible disfigurement via cruel nicknames, but it’s also possible he was simply a lunatic. Anyway, the moral of the story is this: shun the abnormal. More details here.
Studies have shown that dark chocolate is better than placebo at reducing blood pressure, but new findings suggest some people just can’t stand the stuff. Patients given tomato extract pills were more likely to complete their assigned course of treatment than those assigned dark chocolate. The main complaint about the chocolate treatment was its disgusting taste, which some study participants described as “unpalatable”. This flies in the face of research I’ve conducted while standing in line at Bed Bath and Beyond. The impulse buy shelves are lined with row upon row of candy bars, candy dollops, and candy dildos bragging of their luxuriously high cocoa content. Like everything in Bed Bath and Beyond, this stuff wouldn’t be there if people didn’t want it. Case in point: the pyramid of chicken-shaped back scratchers clogging the path to kitchen wares. So why are so many people buying dark chocolate if they find it so disgusting? The only reasonable answer is that humans are irrational creatures whose whims and tastes can’t be predicted or controlled. This also explains the popularity of UGG boots. More details here.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
BuzzFeed has posted a gallery of the fifteen gayest pictures of the pope. This is not one of them.
The Livingston, Louisiana school board is making no secret of the fact that they would like creationism to be taught in their schools. At a recent board meeting, members discussed whether the Science Education Act passed by the state legislature last year could be used to shoehorn in some religious teachings. It absolutely can, of course, since that was the entire point of the bill. It allows Louisiana teachers to fully inform their students of all aspects of the creationism vs. evolution debate by telling them that evolution is wrong and Darwinists will rot in hell. It’s called “teaching the controversy”, and it’s the only thing that will save this country from oblivion. The odd part of this story is how blatant the school board members have been in their arguments, since most creationist educators try to couch their beliefs in vaguely sciencey terms like “intelligent design” in order to not look like Constitution-trampling zealots. Not these folks, though. Board member David Tate said, “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can't we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?" He makes a good point. Which is why it’s such a shame that literally seconds after making this statement, Tate and the rest of Louisiana’s residents were covered in a tsunami of BP oil, then their bodies were ripped to shreds by hurricane-force winds as punishment from God for their rampant sodomy. More details here.
Santa himself emailed me to explain he isn’t trying to sue the Vatican or the pope directly. Instead, he’s looking into ways law enforcement might better protect children from priests’ wandering extremities. Santa’s laid out a few ideas in his press release on the matter, which you can read here. It seems AOL News misreported some of this story, which is probably less surprising than the fact that there’s still an AOL News.
Santa also took offense at my questioning his goal of combating the commercialization of Christmas by donning the name and visage of a North Pole slave driver and manufacturing tycoon. He points out that the Santa figure is based on the historical St. Nicholas, who was definitely no secular, capitalist mascot. This is true. However, I’m reluctant to cede my point, since St. Nicholas is depicted throughout European folklore as carrying a giant sack meant to store naughty children he’s kidnapped. This seems to run counter to Santa Claus’ admirable work as an advocate for children everywhere. But perhaps this is just splitting hairs.
Santa Claus, an ordained bishop of the tiny Apostles’ Anglican Church, says the Vatican hasn’t done enough to curb the raping of children by clergy, and he’s willing to take the pope to court if things don’t change. But while most of us are decidedly anti-child rape, it’s difficult to take this threat seriously. For one thing, it’s difficult to see how Santa Claus could sue the Roman Catholic Church, since he isn’t a child and has never been raped by a priest. Also, he’s a man from Lake Tahoe who legally changed his name to “Santa Claus” because he has a long white beard. If every man with a long white beard changed his name to “Santa Claus”, then every December, our malls would be overrun by hobos. Well, more hobos. Oddly, Santa Claus says his mission in life is to combat the commercialization of Christmas, which should be focused on celebrating the birth of Christ over rampant consumerism. But he’s chosen to do this by invoking a character known to run a North Pole sweatshop where indentured elves are forced to manufacture goods year-round. Mixed messages. More details here.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been all over the news lately in his capacity as the shadowy mastermind behind a massive document dump about the war in Afghanistan. Also, for his beloved role in the “Warlock” films. But while the U.S. government props up a human-sized box with a stick they’ve tied to a string and tries to figure out what they can put underneath to lure Assange into their trap (judging by his public appearances, not shampoo), many others have praised him for shining a light on a dire situation the regular media is either too disinterested or too incompetent to cover. Personally, I come out on the pro-Assange side, since more information is generally better than less information. Also, I love those “Warlock” movies. But there’s one group Assange hasn’t impressed: 9/11 truthers. Indeed, the truther websites are abuzz with condemnations of Assange for what they feel is proof that he’s just another corporate shill. Namely, they find it suspicious that in all his research, dumping, and leaking, there’s no evidence at all that the U.S. government caused 9/11. Which has the Warlock annoyed. “Any time people with power plan in secret, they are conducting a conspiracy. So there are conspiracies everywhere,” Assange said. “There are also crazed conspiracy theories. It's important not to confuse these two. Generally, when there's enough facts about a conspiracy we simply call this news. I'm constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.” And you know what happens when he gets annoyed? Deadly magicks. More details here.
While Arizona destroys its economy by scaring all brown people into taking their wallets out of state, Australia is taking an opposite yet no less foolish path. Bowing to pressure from so-called “Klingon scholars” from the U.S., the Jenolan Caves tourist attraction near Sydney will soon offer an audio tour in the fictional Klingon language. Let me be clear about this: I have nothing against actual Klingons. I don’t know any personally, but I’m sure they’re lovely creatures. If a little culturally homogeneous in a racially disturbing way. But Australia is asking for trouble by opening their borders to Klingon language enthusiasts who are themselves un-Klingon. I have some personal experience with these types, and the hygiene issues alone should put all of Australia’s airports on high alerts. SARS is nothing compared to the respiratory illnesses one can catch walking behind someone’s homemade battle armor. Plus, if all our Klingon impersonators flock to these caves, the world economy could collapse due to a sudden shortage of IT managers and electrical engineers. More details here.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
There’s some tension between Muslims and Christians in the great state of Tennessee. Specifically, the Christians would prefer the Muslims left. But because of liberal propaganda like the Bill of Rights, U.S. citizens are free to practice whatever religion they choose. But Ron Ramsey (current Tennessee lieutenant governor, gubernatorial candidate, and
gay porn star [ed. - different Ron Ramsey]) may have found a workaround. At a campaign event, Ramsey responded to one voter’s paranoid railings about a Muslim “invasion” by saying he’s not sure whether Islam qualifies for constitutional protection, since it may not be a religion. “You can even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, a way of life, or a cult,” he said. Good point. Religion is protected in this country, but no one has the right to be any kind of nationality they want. And they certainly don’t have a right to just go living “a way of life” all willy-nilly. At issue here is the proposed expansion of an Islamic community center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which some residents fear will become a terrorist training ground. That may or may not be true, but it’s almost certain that the center would be a main attraction for Murfreesboro youth, whose current free time is split between huffing model airplane glue and driving trucks into telephone poles. More details here.
BP CEO and part-time Michael Sheen impersonator Tony Hayward has finally been given the axe after generally handling one of the largest ecological disasters in human history like a 7-year-old reluctant to clean his room. Unfortunately, this axe is made of at least $1.6 million in severance pay, along with $17 million in accrued pension benefits. Plus, Hayward will still hold a position with BP as non-executive director of its Russian oil operations. In other words, this isn’t really an axe at all. More like a soft pat on the bottom. Still, it’s good to see that BP has replaced Hayward with an American, Robert Dudley. Perhaps future criminal hearings will go better without that smug British accent making everything the CEO says sound like evidence of criminal negligence. More details here.
Two elderly French nuns, Sister Marie-Daniel, 86, and Sister Saint-Denis, 82, are on the run after escaping their Riviera nunnery. The nuns were apparently upset that the Vatican planned to forcibly move them to a retirement community. Rather then allowing themselves to be left to rot in some old folks’ home, they decided to take their chances in the wild. It’s important for the people of France to know a thing or two about nun safety in case these ladies aren’t immediately trapped and returned to their owners. First of all, nuns are more scared of you than you are of them. If you find one has slipped through the doggy door in your kitchen, it’s best not to freak out. She’ll likely flee on sight, and you’ll only be out a couple of Pringles or so. But while they’re mostly docile, you should never corner one. Some nuns have filed their nails down to razor-sharp claws, and they’ll attack if threatened. Best to calmly back out of the room while maintaining eye contact. If possible, try and trap her behind a locked door and call your local authorities for pickup. Whatever you do, don’t feed them. At heart, nuns are wild creatures who make terrible pets. More details here.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
President Obama has nominated Jack Lew to run the White House Office of Management and Budget after departing director Peter Orszag. But it seems some are concerned Lew may not be the best fit for the job, since he refuses to work on the Sabbath. After sundown on Fridays, Lew sits at home and observes the strict orthodox Jewish tradition of doing absolutely nothing for twenty-four hours. Once, when Lew worked for Bill Clinton’s White House, he refused to answer a Saturday phone call from the president, as he believed himself prohibited from using electronic devices. His rabbi has since convinced him using the phone is okay in case of emergencies. But it’s worth noting that having a government official take a day to just cool his heels and do nothing might be a net positive for the country. Perhaps if our congress took a day each week to just sit and contemplate the tragedies of their existences, we might find ourselves with a more introspective, self-aware legislature. On the downside, though, a day of rest would probably wreak havoc on D.C.’s rentboy industry. More details here.
A relic of the cross where Christ was crucified has been stolen from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. A janitor discovered the crime, which someone committed by sneaking into the church’s Blessed Sacrament Chapel and simply prying open the lid of the glass box where the cross piece was kept. Pretty lax security for such a powerful relic. According to legend, this cross piece was laid upon the body of an ailing old lady, curing the living shit out of her. I don’t have to tell you how dangerous it is to have such healing magics in the hands of criminals. Police started their search for the relic by doing an eBay search for “one true cross”, which turned up a few unpromising leads. It seems lots of people claim to have a piece of the cross. So many, in fact, that there are enough pieces of the “one true cross” to build many, many crosses. Still, the Boston Archdiocese says it doesn’t matter whether this relic is genuine or not; it’s an important focal point for contemplation of Christ’s suffering and a valuable object of prayer. With crimes like this, however, it’s rare that the stolen item is ever recovered. In which case, the church will just have to change its name to the Cathedral of the Empty Box. More details here.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
India has about 114,000 traffic fatalities a year. This is mostly because many Indian drivers are never taught how to drive a car, roads collapse into each other like an M.C. Escher drawing, and Indian teens have only just caught up to 1950s California dragster culture. (Only one of these is a lie.) But one mystic says traffic accidents are mostly caused by negative energy, and he plans to reduce them by installing pyramids near crash-prone intersections. Local police in Nagpur are allowing this expert in Vasnu (basically Indian Feng Shui) to place ten copper-bottom pyramids in these areas to see if they really do emit positivity rays. It’s a nearly risk-free situation, since the pyramids aren’t costing the government anything, and they’ll also continue to try and curb road deaths through more traditional means. The only real danger here is that cars might crash into the pyramids themselves, which will obviously be filled with deadly, perpetually sharp razor blades. More details here.
Anderson Cooper, CNN’s second handsomest personality behind Soledad O’Brien, has stirred the ire of the Church of Scientology after running a week-long expose on the cult’s history of treating its lower-tier members to regular beatings. Several former Scientologists have come forward in recent years to tell the world of their regular punch sessions with church officials, particularly at the fists of leader David Miscavige. The cult’s take? All lies. Oh, and Anderson Cooper is a jerk who wears fancy clothes. In a cover story for Scientologist magazine “Freedom”, Cooper is accused of having a journalistic double standard when it comes to his Scientology investigations. "...when an earthquake reduces Haiti to rubble, there he is, on site in designer jeans or cargo pants, to verify for himself that the villages were indeed reduced to rubble...Anderson Cooper has got to see it with his own two eyes while furrowing his brow to show how much he cares. But this time, Cooper refused to look.” In other words, Cooper’s very thorough in covering international humanitarian disasters, so he should be equally as thorough in covering the international humanitarian disaster that is the Church of Scientology? Seems like a strange message to send, but there it is. Strangely, the church complains that Cooper wouldn’t talk to their higher-ups for his reports, but they also insist that the only CNN host qualified to interview Miscavige is Larry King. This is the same Larry King, you recall, who lobs so many softballs he might as well be a lesbian physical education major. BOOM! More details here.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
All sorts of strange things have turned up in Google Street View photos. People engaged in domestic disputes. Mary Poppins. Detroit. But now we have our first genuine image of an abominable hell-beast. The above photo, taken in Yorkshire, which is somewhere in Middle Earth, clearly depicts a three-legged, two-headed monstrosity that should be stabbed with pitchforks and burned immediately by local villagers. But in a weasly attempt to avoid a lawsuit, Google claims this isn’t a monster at all but simply a photographic error created by splicing together two images of the same man. After hours spent Googling the situation, I’ve concluded that this is a lie. The monster hunt continues. More details here.
A Florida woman says her son has been mentally damaged by manga he checked out of his local library. Well, he didn’t check it out so much as slip it under his shirt and walk off with it, but what’s the difference, really? Socialism is socialism. It’s unclear exactly which manga series so decimated this boy’s brain, but library officials say it was no worse than any other serialized Japanese graphic fiction. So, I’m assuming it had something to do with giant robots, androgynous heroes, and/or pantie-sniffing grandpas. Still, Margaret Barbaree wants this filth removed from public consumption. “My son lost his mind when he found this,” she told her local city council. “Now he’s in a home for extensive therapy.” On behalf of her newly-formed busybody group Protect Our Children, Barbaree gathered signatures on a petition calling for the removal of this ungodly manga. Only, many of the signatories say she only told them it was a petition about cleaning the library of pornography. Same diff. More details here.
Monday, July 12, 2010
For years, the mating habits of deep-sea squid have been a mystery. With all their naughty bits encased in their hood-like mantles, how do males get their sperm where it needs to go? Turns out, the answer is simple. They have a tremendously elongated dong. Scientists recently discovered a squid specimen with a fully erect penis nearly as long as its entire body, including tentacles. It’s the white tube at the bottom of the above picture. They still don’t know exactly where the squid shoots its packets of sperm, but it’s certain the penis is long enough to squirm its way up even the toughest to reach mantles. (Coincidentally, this is also how Tom Jones inseminates squid.) Dr. Alexander Arkhipkin of the Falkland Islands Government Fisheries Department describes the moment of discovery to the BBC: “The mature male squid was caught during a deep-water research cruise on the Patagonian slope. We took the animal from the catch, and it was moribund with arms and tentacles still moving, and chromatophores on the skin contracting and expanding. When the mantle of the squid was opened for maturity assessment, we witnessed an unusual event. The penis of the squid, which had extended only slightly over the mantle margin, suddenly started to erect, and elongated quickly to 67cm total length, almost the same length as the whole animal.” You’d be forgiven for mistaking this quote for a passage from Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”, but remember: Captain Nemo would have eaten the penis. More details here.
UPDATE: A little late to this, but the news is good. America is once again safe for
hot really, really hot disgusting porn.
This week, pornographer John Stagliano is due to stand trial on federal obscenity charges. Yes, obscenity is still illegal in the United States, despite the fact that no court could tell you what it even is. Traditionally, obscenity has been defined as anything that happens to make a jury of randomly-selected people uncomfortable. But one need only look at the box office returns of “Grown Ups” to prove the general public often has questionable taste. Plus, there’s the whole thing about how criminalizing tastelessness is like spraying boiled diarrhea all over the First Amendment. (Warning: That simile is obscene.) Still, pesky things like a respect for free speech didn’t stop a team of federal agents from ordering Stagliano’s “Milk Nymphos”, “Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice”, and a trailer for videos starring Belladonna, one of the
hottest most obscene porn stars around. If convicted, Stagliano faces up to 32 years in jail and a $7 million fine. For selling pornography to consenting adults. As an assault on freedom, this trial is more obscene than any lactation fetish video, and far less arousing. Even worse, it could have a chilling effect on the porn industry that would seriously cripple my ability to enjoy adult entertainment. Keep an eye on this, America. More details here.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
50-year-old Keith Rasmussen of Racine, Wisconsin was recently arrested for crashing his SUV into a strip club. Allegedly, Rasmussen was asked to leave the club after vomiting in the VIP room. He reportedly stumbled to his car in the parking lot, put it in reverse, and backed into the front of the club before driving away at a high rate of speed. But when the police finally caught up with Rasmussen, he said he never driven any such SUV. When asked how he got from the club to his current location several blocks away, he claimed that he’d received transportation assistance from Martians. This may or may not be true, but it’s worth noting that Martian society is notoriously conservative. One might even call them prudish. It’s no stretch of the imagination to believe they might offer a free taxi service away from strip clubs as some kind of moral cleansing initiative. Which is really a shame, considering Martians also have some of the most beautiful genitalia in the entire solar system. Second only to the Neptunians’ famed sparkledongs. More details here.
Oh, Bobby Jindal. My exorcism-loving, hacktastic, insufferably creepy governor is at it again. Just a few weeks ago, he signed into law a bill that requires any woman seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound. Apparently, women shouldn’t have the right to terminate a pregnancy (even in cases of rape or incest) without paying a doctor to insert a wand into her vagina first. But don’t let that make you think Jindal is some kind of freedom hater. Because he also signed into law a bill that allows people with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns into church. Defenders of the new law say that churches can be dangerous places besieged by muggers, gangsters, and rapists. And I, for one, am all for this kind of deadly self-protection. Here’s hoping a good Samaritan will find it in his hard to shoot these rapist off their church-going targets before they can impregnate someone and force her to get an ultrasound before having an abortion. More details here.
85 years ago, the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee put the teaching of evolution before the courts. Obviously, evolution and its implications of a godless universe aren’t a big deal for anyone these days, but at the time, it was a controversial issue. As such, the “Baltimore Sun” sent its genius reporter and satirist H.L. Mencken to cover the trial via regular dispatches. To commemorate the event, “Amateur Scientist Podcast” friend Kevin I. Slaughter is releasing audio adaptations of Mencken’s reports through a new podcast. It’s a great idea executed beautifully. Check it out.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Former “90210” star and lifetime nepotism receptacle Tori Spelling (the one on the left) claims that during a session with celebrity psychic John Edward, she was contacted by the late Farrah Fawcett. “I can't believe she came through to me -- the most nonconfrontational person in the world,” Spelling said. “What am I supposed to do with this information?” Who can really understand the motivations of dead people who only communicate in charades via a mush-mouthed douchebag like John Edward? It’s possible Fawcett’s ghost mistook Spelling for someone else. Or she’s just a horrifying, undead prankster. Or Spelling’s just making the whole thing up to promote her new book “TerriTORI”. (Get it? It’s about the time a mad scientist tried to create a plastic, cat-faced abomination by fusing Tori Spelling and Teri Hatcher.) Apparently, Spelling’s been doing all sorts of weird stuff on her book tour, including making up a nightmare scenario where all her former cast mates hate her. Which is, like, totally something Donna would do. What a drama queen! More details here.
Scientists from the University of Michigan claim to have observed chimps in Tanzania killing each other to gain territory. In other words, they believe apes are capable of waging war on one another. This is patently absurd, as apes are well known to abhor violence toward one another. And when one ape violated this law, the consequences are harsh:
The Republican Party of Texas just published its new policy strategy and official platform for the next two years, and it’s awfully pre-occupied with hot man-on-man action. Specifically, they want anyone issuing a gay marriage license to be brought up on felony charges. And they definitely don’t want homosexuality referred to as an alternative lifestyle in public schools. Plus, they took this opportunity to reiterate the fact that God hates fags. This may seem needlessly harsh coming from a state where the men where skinny Wranglers and belt jewelry, but you must understand that Texas was nearly decimated under the rule of known homosexual George W. Bush. Texans also lost the Alamo to the Mexican army due to Davy Crockett’s preoccupation with what he called “booty roopin’”. But it’s not like gay sex is the only sex Texas Republicans hate. They can’t stand any sex. So their official platform also calls for banning any “sexually-oriented business”. Which, of course, would include such smut dens as strip clubs, novelty shops, adult book stores, and gynecology clinics. That’s right, girls. If God had wanted you spreading it for strange doctors, He wouldn’t have invented cervical cancer. More details here.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Some horrible company is marketing a new brand of snacks called Gamer Grub. These are sealed pouches full of bite-sized morsels meant to be tipped back and swallowed by people too busy playing video games to eat human food with two hands and/or utensils. Which seems unnecessary, since there are already several different types of bite-sized, bag-based snacks out there. But what sets Gamer Grub apart is its claim to provide its victims with vitamins and neurotransmitters that can boost video game performance. The excellent gaming site Kotaku has a review here. No, the photo is not of a handful of off-brand kibbles.
There’s a bill before the U.S. Senate that would grant the president emergency powers to shut down the internet. Which at first glance seems like another example of our congresspeople having little to no idea what technology is or how it works. The idea that the president could run some kind of giant off switch directly to the Oval Office seems pretty ludicrous even before you ponder whether he or she should have such power at all. But before you poo-poo the feasibility of this bill, you might want to read “Star Trek: The Return” by William Shatner and his army of unpaid Malaysian ghostwriters. In it, Captain Kirk returns from the grave and saves the universe from a Borg invasion by going to their home planet and flipping a giant off switch that shuts down their entire race. So, not so silly after all, is it? And while we’re on the subject, there should really be some wording in there about banning William Shatner from using this power should he ever become president. It’s one thing to worry that he might use it, but it’s another to know that he already has. More details here.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Japanese scientists have conclusively proven that monkeys enjoy watching television. So, think about that the next time you criticize me for keeping my monkey locked up in a 2’x2’ steel box for days at a time with only a portable DVD player and a box set of “The Wire”. Researchers used near-infrared spectroscopy to determine that when monkeys watched circus animals perform acrobatics on TV, their brains’ pleasure centers lit up in roughly the same way a human baby’s does when it sees its mother smile. Just one more thing we have in common with monkeys. Of course, we won’t know the full effect television can have on a monkey’s brain until we show them the dinner scene from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. But that’s what grant money is for. More details here.
The drug flibanserin is supposed to be the Viagra for pre-menopausal women with a low sex drive, but FDA trials have shown it doesn’t work much better than placebo. This may be bad news for women who’d love a way to bolster their libidos, but it’s great news for America’s unfrozen ‘80s standup comics. If somehow women could reverse the perception that they’re generally far less interested in sex than men, these comics would lose another of their dwindling material wells, which include the relatively low quality of airplane food, the natural dancing talents of black people, and musings on the biological origins of the McNugget. Still, it’s a good thing my lady doesn’t need a pill to get in the mood. All I have to do is a little bit of laundry once in a while! Am I right, guys? But seriously, what part of the chicken does a McNugget come from? More details here.
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