Well, OK, there's many different kinds of stupid, but this is one of my favorites. rickrolldb.com in amassing a database of Rickrolls, web pages which trick the user into viewing 80's pop icon Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up. Ostensibly this is so that web users pissed at being taken for a dance can add the database to their browser's ad blocker. Since YouTube Rickrolled it's entire user base on April 1st 2008 it has gone irrepairably mainstream and is officially an old meme - unfunny outside its legitimate use in harassing Scientology.
But this database intrgues me. It's a realtime dataset showing the growth and manifestation of a meme, empirical data against which theories of meme behavior can be falsified or corroborated. There are other such datasets which can be created, one can track the reproduction of files on p2p networks (actually, I did study this, a story for another day) or the spread of threatening chain messages in YouTube comments. This is different though, the YouTube data is messed up by anti-spam systems that arbitrarily check and confine the meme's spread, and file sharing is a little simplistic. rickrolldb on the other hand is a real-time map showing the spread and use of a learned behavior in a human population. A limited demonstration that stupidity is contagious :-)
One fabulously arb pair of sentences, from the Wikipedia article on Dandys:
By the time Pitt taxed hair powder in 1795 to help pay for the war against France, Brummell had already abandoned wearing a wig, and had his hair cut in the Roman fashion, "à la Brutus". Moreover, he led the transition from breeches to snugly tailored dark "pantaloons," which directly lead to contemporary trousers, the sartorial mainstay of men's clothes in the Western world for the past two centuries.
From now on this will be my recourse when asked to explain anything I don't understand.[read on...]
Google News has a feed (2317 current stories) documenting the ongoing relationship between mankind and the sciuridae, and the profound effect squirrels have on all aspects of being. Ecologists warn that if squirrels were to die off then all life as we know it would be gone in 10 years. Even bacteria could not survive.
I was surprised to learn:
Squirrels are reluctant users of oral contraceptives, which are administered to reduce the number of greys. Greys are thought to have been introduced to Ireland in 1911 when a bunch were brought over as a wedding present. Personally, I don't know which is weirder, giving someone a bunch of live squirrels as a wedding present (cattle, yes, goats, fine, 200 head of squirrel, very irregular dowry) or spending your weekend in a cornfield for the purpose of shooting the little fluffies.
"How was your weekend Bob?"
"Great, here I brought you something. Don't eat them all at once, you'll get worms."
[Opens Box] "Uh... thanks."
Squirrel hunting is reputedly a popular and emotionally satisfying sport that can lead rednecks to shoot one another, though the North-West Arkansas News laments that many young'uns nowadays would rather play with them thar newfangled computer machines. They go on to reminisce about a childhood which "revolved around filling a game sack with a limit of squirrels" and how at bedtime "sleep was hard to find as visions of blazing guns and running squirrels clouded our restless thoughts". [no, really]
Louisiana has 300,000 squirrel hunters, and the season starts October 5th. Why hunt squirrels? Because they taste better fresh than the canned squirrels you can get at the supermarket. I'm a vegetarian, but if I ever see a can of squirrel meat I'll buy it just to keep around.
So yes, everyone should subscribe to this feed (it's important), though there is overall a disappointing lack of squirrely wrath.
And you heard it first on CNN. This just in: CNN uses Markov chain to generate headlines. Celebrity bacon orphan shock! Ruminant is pants fire. And now back to our main story: Person's Noun Emotive!. Poor CNN, I remember using it for news, but in recent years it's just entertainment, opinion and rhetoric masquerading as news (ie, the domain of blogs), with a tiny bit of actual news mixed in, like the drop of real orange juice in 'Real Orange Juice(tm)'. Oh well. Nice to know GW is all huggy-kissy today.
North Korea has a website, and it's pretty, er.... nifty. You can buy Kim Il Sung's classic eBook "10-POINT PROGRAMME OF THE GREAT UNITY OF THE WHOLE NATION FOR THE REUNIFICATION OF THE COUNTRY". You can learn about the glorious North Korean Government:
The Chondoist Chongu Party
The Chondoist Chongu Party is a democratic party formed by Chondoist peasants on February 8, Juche 35(1946).
It was formed with the objectives to oppose imperialist aggression and subjugation, join in the work to secure national independence and build a rich and strong democratic country with the partiotic idea of “defending the country and providing welfare for the people” and the independent spirit of “driving out westerners and the Japanese”. [link][Patriotic Japanese Translation Link!]
Yep, sounds patriotic to me :-) The site also features several important art works in the medium of 'Illegal North Korea Cellphone Wallpaper!'. Feast your eyes on this:
Surprise! Notice how the chicken doing the surprising humps and then holds on. Real chickens don't do it that way round, which is the artist's way of letting us know that this narrative is in fact an allegory, meant to be interpreted carefully and with an open mind. As the gripping storyline unfolds, the unnamed artist bares his soul, in a poignant, subtle retelling of the history of North Korean peasant workers. The white chicken represents the proletariat, and the brown one also represents the proletariat. The sunset shows the great deeds of the present being immortalised in history, and the ground is an eternal, sublime symbol for Barbera Streisand Dolly Parton. Ahh, such complex poetry masterfully rendered in simple images of life. The title of this work? 'Love'.
Truly, North Korea must be the greatest nation on earth to have moulded such genius. I see the US Government's website doesn't have any chickens "surprising" one another (whyever not? shame on you USA!) Anyhoo, check it out yourselves:
This is just too good. The assorted fruit and mixed nuts of the American religious right are unhappy with Wikipedia for its bias towards a reasonable middle ground and tendency to favor evidence supported consensus over truthiness. And so was created Conservapedia, an online encyclopedia dedicated to advancing lunatic opinion in an environment unencumbered by scientific knowledge or inconvenient reality.
As John Swift points out 'Conservapedia is based on good conservative Christian values while Wikipedia, as you can tell from its name, is based on Wiccan.' Would love to see Jimbo Wales face when he reads that one.
As far as I know this is the first time there has been an online creationist encyclopeadia which you can edit. From the entry on Kangroos:
'Like all modern animals, modern kangaroos originated in the Middle East and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined whether kangaroos form a holobaramin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic.
After the Flood, kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land - as Australia was still for a time connected to the Middle East before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart - or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters.'
Since word of this broke on the blogoshpere it seems everyone and their creepy uncle have been contributing to articles. In the comments over at scienceblogs.com Steevl writes:
I'm having tremendous fun. I edited the article on Atheism to point out that it leads to pedophilia and bestiality. I checked back an hour later expecting my edit to be gone, but no: they didn't remove it, they added citations.
Round of applause for that man. Good-natured vandalism aside, here's a quote from the Google cache of an older and apparently serious article:
“Jesus said, ‘Look, I will guide her to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you males. For every female who makes herself male will enter the kingdom of Heaven.’” (Gospel of Thomas 114) “Jesus is not suggesting a sex-change operation, but is using 'male' and 'female' metaphorically to refer to the higher and lower aspects of human nature. Mary is thus to undergo a spiritual transformation from her earthly, material, passionate nature (which the evangelist equates with the female) to a heavenly, spiritual, intellectual nature (which the evangelist equates with the male).” [link]
It had never occurred to me to consider whether Jesus would want his girlfriend to have a sex change operation so that she could be elevated from her sub-human female status, guess I never assumed Jesus thought about women that way. But apparently the fundies have pondered it at length and arrived at an important theological message for the world.
Life is so much fun.
Update: Jon Swift said...
Regrattably, it appears that some mean-spirited liberals have been committing mischief at Conservapedia and administrators have been forced to shut down new registrations for the time being. It may take them a while to sort out legitimate entries, such as the article about the Pacific Northwest Arboreal Octopus, from hoaxes perpetrated by liberals. All of the citations in my piece, however, link to versions by trusted conservative authors. You can also be certain that any version by Aschlafly, that is, the founder Andrew Schlafly, are genuinely conservative and of the highest quality. [read on...]
SINK, A GAME by Ala Hera, E.L., N.S.; RAYVILLE APPLE PANTHERS
SINK is played by Discordians and people of much ilk. PURPOSE: To sink object or an object or a thing... in water or mud or anything you; can sink something in.
RULES: Sinking is allowed in any manner. To date, ten pound chunks of mud were used to sink a tobacco can. It is preferable to have a pit of water or a hole to drop things in. But rivers - bays - gulfs - I dare say even oceans can be used.
TURNS are taken thusly: who soever gets the junk up and in the air first.
DUTY: It shall be the duty of all persons playing 'SINK' to help find more objects to sink, once one object is sunk.
UPON SINKING: The sinked shall yell 'I sank it!' or something equally as thoughtful.
NAMING OF OBJECTS is sometimes desirable. The object is named by the finder of such object and whoever sinks it can say for instance, 'I sunk Columbus, Ohio!'
'Let's face it,' he said. 'As iconic emblems of kitsch, there are two pillars of cheesy, campiness in the American pantheon. One is the velvet Elvis. The other is the pink flamingo.' - Robert Thompson
After shipping a whopping quarter billion (with a freaking B!) of the things Union Products of Leominster MA have finally discontinued the product.
The American Lawn Flamingo now faces abrupt population decline and eventual extinction. Oh well.
Social creatures, Lawn Flamingoes are unique among birds in having developed a hive structure simmilar to bees. Worker Flamingoes - usually seen in pairs - gather earthworms and larve in their hollow legs to feed the colony. Groups of workers may be guarded by the larger Warrior Flamingoes, which also protect the nest (or 'trailer') where the Queen carries out the mysterious process of reproduction. During the peak months of July and August a fully grown Queen can lay up to fifty jars of marmalade each day. Workers may be found tens of miles from their home trailer and how they traverse and navigate these distances is still uncertain.
Few scientists have bothered to study the American Lawn Flamingo, but some facts are known. They are naturally hardy, and can be found throughout the US with the densest popuations in the suburbs of Florida, Georgia, Texas and other states where 'y'all' is the correct second-person pronoun. Healthy flocks have also been observed around Hispanic immigrant populations, leading to the Yankee joke:
Edgar-Sue: How do you know a family of Flamingoes has moved into your neighbourhood?
Earl: They have little plastic Mexicans on their front lawn.
Originally introduced to North America in 1957, colonies quicky sprung up across the continent and can be observed to this day; seemingly unaffected by variations in climate, altitude or the existence of predators such as the common Garden Gnome.
In what is sure to be long remebered as one of the most significant collections of knowledge concerning the human condition, I've gathered together some pictures:
These fine pope hats may be purchased from the following clerical hat dealers: eBay.comFantasyCostumes.comHalloweenExpo.netParadiseCostumes.com and many other, er, reputable establishments. Note to teachers: these make *fantastic* dunce hats, make the kid sit on a highchair facing the class and have him hold one finger up in the air. 'Billy, stop screwing around, do you want to be the Pope?'
I saw this guy this afternoon and was immediately overcome with the most profound sense of fellow feeling. It was as if I looked into his soul and saw a mirror of my own. Of course, I don't eat bacon, being a vegetarian and all. And I don't have a drug-zombie girlfriend with big teeth. But you get the idea.
One can imagine the internet as a great muddy sea that we surf with our keyboards, skimming it in erratic arcs and bursts, leaving yellow foamy wakes that spread out in a big V behind us, disturbing the lumps and bits. Floating rubbish and plastic bottecaps bob over the wake and it tips up an ancient condom wrapper suspended just below the surface, bouyed by tiny bubbles on it's foil underside, the logo still barely visible.
As I was surfing today a small white object caught my eye. I cut the power and slid the keyboard to a halt, the wake taking me over as I did and pushing the board the last meter to the white square. It was a page of scripture, sodden and stained, but holding together. It's from the Book of Joe, and made me smile:
1. In the beginning was the Invisible, and the Invisible was with the Unicorn, and the Invisible was the Unicorn.
2. The same was in the beginning with the Unicorn.
3. All things were blessed by Her; and without Her was not any thing blessed that was not blessed.
4. In Her was a life; and the hedonistic life was the Pinkness of women and men.¹
5. And the Pinkness shineth in the dark evil atheist conspiracy; and the darkness comprehended it not.
6. There was a man sent from the Unicorn, whose name was George.
7. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Pinkness, that all women and men through Her
8. He was that Pinkness, but was sent to bear witness of that Pinkness.
9. That was the true Pinkness, which lighteth every woman and man that cometh into the world.
What follows is the most lamentable comedie of Carlos (pictured in the poster below, top right) and his magic frog juice. From an early age Carlos was widely renowned in Barcelona as big dumb galoot. Truly, the boy was dumber than buttered toast, but possessed great physical strength of which he was very proud. By age ten his favorite game was to run up behind small, elderly people and scoop them into the air, shaking them around with joyful cries of ’’Look Mama! Look at Carlos!’’
The many difficulties Carlos faced growing up were only made worse in adolescence when his obsession with bodybuilding led to heavy steroid use. The side effects included roid rage, asthma, and that dreaded Spanish sexual malaise: impotencia. Carlos became violent and depressed. Due to his dim wit he was mostly unaware of his medical problems, but he'd noticed that Carlos Jr no longer wanted to come out and play, which he had attributed to his growing paranoid fear of cats in his bedroom ceiling.
Then, just before his 21st birthday, Carlos met the man who would turn his life around. A wandering Chinese immigrant advised Carlos that all his ills could be cured if he would prepare and consume Extracto de Rana, the juice of frogs. Though it began as a private joke between two asian hobos along the lines of ’’Lets make the crazy Spanish eat stuff’’, our hero soon realised great improvements in his life. His asthma cleared up, he finally graduated seventh grade and found a stable job in the clergy. His sucesses culminated one humid Thursday afternoon when he finally brought the beautiful young Maria del Pescados del Oro to his apartment.
As he laid her down on his gubby single bed he realized with crushing certainty that Carlos Jr wasn’t with the program. Impotencia! Desperate not to lose the moment, Carlos leapt from the bed and banged a blue plastic box of frogs down on his dresser next to the blender.
Maria’s blissful gaze turned to surprise and then shock as he began skinning the frogs, each in one fluid, practised movement and throwing them in the blender. ’’C.. Carlos...’’ she murmured. But Carlos wasn’t listening. He’d never been with a woman before and knew how urgently he must get his magic fix before the moment passed.
’’brerBRBRBRRRBRBRBRRBRBRBRR!!!’’ The blender rattled to life, a deafening, frightening sound in the quiet room. One long burst, and the blades had hardly stopped spinning as Carlos lifted it to his face, greedily gulping down the mashed frogs, with bits spilling round the corners of his mouth and splashing on the floor at his feet. He lifted the blender right over his head to let the last gulp fall into his mouth, the rim leaving a muddy crescent on his forehead.
As he placed it back down on the dresser he felt a rushing, tingling in his loins and knew the cure had worked. His panic turned to triumph and he turned around to face Maria, thrusting with his hips and fists in celebration, ’’vroom-vroom’’ motorcycle noises bursting enthusiastically from his frog-flecked grin.
Maria was backed into a corner of the bed, a sheet clutched tightly across her breasts, her eyes wide with terror, focused on a mangled frog’s leg clinging with tiny dead claws to Carlos’ thrusting member, swinging with the movement of his body. This was not the strong young shepherd she had met at the Iglesia de la Espátula. Still making his ’’vroom vroom’’ noises, Carlos advanced towards the bed. Maria hesitated one moment more, then screamed and ran naked from the room, out the apartment by the front door. She kept running until finally caught and subdued by police.
News of the event spread far and wide throughout Spain, first as a comic headline then as unverified reports as the gullible and desperate tried this remedy for themselves. A following grew and sought Carlos out, helping him to finance his very first sala del milkshake de la rana, or frog milkshake parlour, and soon it was a chain with locations as far away as Madrid and Sevilla, where you can try extracto de rana out for yourself.
What you have just read is a true story, which I made up. Visit the Red Spot to watch the process of frog juice making. It’s horrible but you... can't... look... away. Until you see the dude drinking it, that is.
This priceless photo is from the Idiotarod 2006, New York's annual running of the idiots which I hope to take part in someday. It's like the Iditarod raced with shopping carts instead of dog sleds and teams of homeless people volunteers for huskies. More details from precisionaccidents.com:
Best in Show: Team COBRA (Carts of Brooklyn Racing Association)
1st Place: Double Down Red Squad
2nd Place: Running With Scissors
3rd Place: Hawaii 5 - 0
Best Sabotage: Scout Troop 666
Last Place: The Burned Out Burners
Special Judges Awards:
Best Bribe: Barrel O' Monkekyz
Purple Heart Award: Bar Back Mountain.
Most Disgusting: Mayo Clinic/Chum Buckets
Best Weaponry: Five Horses of the Apocolypse [sic]
Best Shopping Cart Liberation Story: Team Jack Ass
Alderney's main currency is the Guernsey Pound, which unlike british sterling has a one pound note, known sometimes as a green drinking voucher, which explains these coupons for the Alderney Week beer tent:
President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a blog, where he writes about not liking Jews and Americans, and it's gone offline. Glad I'm not his techie right now, might learn him a thing or two about using the infidel software of Microsoft.