Facepalm Newsoids XVIII

Eek-eek!

Cheese rolling extreme sport. “Cheese rolling”, apparently a sport in British communities like Gloucestershire, England, was held there around 2 June. The sport, if I get this correctly, consists of rolling a large disk (7 kg) of cheese down a steep hill, with a small group of competitors chasing downhill after it. Oh sure, there were broken ankles, broken legs, concussions and seizures, and six people had to be ushered out by ambulance, but boy it was fun! The winner was Matt Crolla, who said in his victory speech, “I’m glad I’m pretty conscious and I’ve not got many serious injuries.” There was a ladies’ competition also, and the winner of that was a native of Vancouver Island in BC named Delaney Irving, who said: “I remember running, then bumping my head, and then I woke up in the tent.” She continued: “The race was good, now that I remember it.” People from around the world visit England to view the annual Cheese Roll.

Protecting our sacred children. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, reported in 1 June, a parent petitioned to have The Holy Bible removed from school libraries in her district (Davis District, just north of Salt Lake City), citing explicit sex and violence in its passages: “Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide”, all are in The Bible, which now falls under the new definition of pornography written into the lawbooks in Utah. While high schools in Davis can still have the book in their libraries, they have been removed from all elementary and middle schools in the district. The Book of Mormon is also under review. The Torah and the Qu’ran, on those same school shelves, have not yet been challenged.

Too good to be true. A couple of days ago (7 June), it was reported that Sweden had declared sex to be a sport. A Reuter’s fact check has now found that the application from “The Swedish Sex Federation” to declare sex a sport had been denied by the Swedish Sports Confederation (Swedish initials are RF). Anna Setzman, a spokesperson for the RF, said that the rumor appears to have spread to smear Swedish sport, and Sweden. Snopes has traced the spread of the story as being heaviest in Nigeria and India.

Tech sector woes. With hiring the lowest since 2016, and over 160,000 layoffs so far in 2023, the most since the tech bubble of 2001 (unless you count 2020 during Covid), the tech sector has been taking a beating. In addition, more companies are relying on chatbot technology to do some of the work that programmers would have done. All this is according to a report by consulting firm Challenger, Gray, and Christmas from May 2023. The largest job cuts cited are from Retailers, Financial firms, and the Media industry with an online presence.

Views: 193

Facepalm Newsoids XVII

I want to go back to Kansas! (Clicking on the image will take you to Sticker Mania, where you can buy this image as a sticker).

Florida’s finest. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has so far spent $13.5m to recruit police officers from other states, targeting those who  had been frustrated by various vaccine manndates in the past. While touting the recruiting of America’s “best and finest”, many of them have had past arrests for crimes such as kidnapping and murder. Most of them, however, were disciplined for more mundane things like uttering racial slurs, unlawful use of pepper spray, driving their cars into crowds of protestors, you know, DeSantis’s kind of people. (22 May)

Weird. Just effing weird. Click if you want.

The state of Sex. According to a recent survey by condom manufacturer Trojan, about 1 in 8 men under 35 bring a condom to a funeral, usually in their wallet. (26 May)

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The graduating class of ’23. In Marlin, Texas, about 200 highway miles (320 km) northwest of Houston, the graduating class of Marlin High School has a grand total of 5 students eligible for diplomas out of 33 possible students. It appears that attendance records and grades are to blame. (25 May)

There is a little time left before the robots take over. A man named Roberto Mata sued the airline Avianca over an injury to his knee from a serving cart. His lawyers (there was more than one?) submitted a 10-page brief to judge Kevin Castel. The judge reviewed it, and could not find a single case cited by the brief in all of his fact-checking. It turned out, it was written using ChatGPT, which invented the entire brief, whole-cloth. (27 May)

World record not yet broken. On the 21st of May, Kyle, Texas had the largest gathering of people with the same first name, namely Kyle. Both men and women showed up with that name, there was loud music, carnival attractions, “Kyle Fair” hats and “Kyle Fair” T-shirts sold, but with 2,325 Kyles in one place, the attendance was still 835 Kyles short of a world record.

Views: 141

Facepalm Newsoids XVI

Newsoids that scare the kids. Picture from: https://bit.ly/cutekidfacepalm

The encroaching immigrants. New York State representative Mike Lawler went to Fox News, armed with anecdotes from veteran’s groups that they were kicked out of a residence they were in, and replaced by migrants”. Lawler had his hair on fire. He said he would announce a bill that would prohibit the displacement of veterans in response to the migrant crisis. The problem was, not only was the story a sham, it was also revealed that a group of civilian homeless men in New York City were paid to lie about their veteran status to reporters, in exchange for a bribe of $200 plus some toiletries. (20 May) No veterans were ever found displaced.

Three reasons to watch late night talk shows. Russia has banned entry to 500 Americans, including Barack Obama, in response to US-led sanctions. There were also a number of other American politicians, along with US public figures and media celebrities perceived to be “Russiaphobic”. Among them were late night talk show hosts Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Seth Meyers. (19 May) Joe Scarborough and Rachel Maddow also made the list.

And how is that cure for cancer coming along? On May 16, A group of physicists submitted their findings into the journal Physics of Fluids, which investigated the processing, production, ideal storage conditions, ideal moisture content, ideal starch content, and ideal pH, of gummi bear candies.

Views: 119

Facepalm Newsoids XV

Community Facepalm

Clear the path! It’s gonna blow! On May 2, Chicago police spotted a “suspicious package” lying on the road on the 200 block of Chicago’s South State Street. The road and sidewalk were ordered shut down to both traffic and pedestrians. In addition, the Red Line section of underground subway was also sealed off. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed to be a can of Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli scotchtaped to a set of skateboard wheels. A local FOX news affiliate also found that it belonged to a student at Chicago’s DePaul University, who intended it to be a prototype for a class project. The police later found the student, questioned him, and ticketed him for the incident, though it is not clear to anyone what law he violated.

The Death Hit Parade. Dropping down the charts of the leading causes of death in United States, is Covid-19, falling behind heart disease, cancer, and overdoses, motor vehicle fatalities and shootings, according to ABC News. ABC News cites the CDC, but I was unable to find the data at the CDC when I did my fact-checking.

The future is here. After help-line workers at the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) voted to unionize, CEO Elizabeth Thompson made a surprise announcement, that all help-line worker jobs would be eliminated and replaced by a chatbot. NEDA is headquartered in White Plains, New York, but have mostly an online presence. All newly-unionized employees will be jobless as of June 1. (4 May)

Breaking the Internet. Senator for the Minnesota state legislature Calvin Barr participated in a vote over a Zoom call, shirtless with a Schoolhouse Rock cartoon in the background. It has now inspired memes including a cockatiel drinking green “unsee juice” from a cocktail glass through a straw. (1 May)

The fix is in. On May 11, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that exempts any records related to his travel from public disclosure. By contrast, by Florida’s sweeping Government-In-The-Sunshine Law, all other government proceedings must be made public, including arrests of the mentally ill. The new bill is so expansive as to include any trips arranged by DeSantis’s office even when he isn’t involved. The law applies retroactively and will apply to the entire time he served as governor. It appears timed to keep damaging information about DeSantis’s travel from getting out as he is expected to announce his campaign for president.

The law applies to you and not to me. Congressman George Santos voted in support of a bill on 11 May called “Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act”, providing incentives to states who lost money due to unemployment insurance fraud during the COVID lockdowns. The irony is that Santos is facing charges for precisely the same kind of fraud. During the lockdown, as he was earning a $120,000 salary as the regional director of an investment firm, he applied for and received unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

Views: 151

Facepalm newsoids XIII

Bruh.

Computers with a bit of damned cheek. ChatGPT-4 was administered a final exam in Quantum Information Science (a senior undergrad course for honors students), for which University of Texas at Austin professor Scott Aaronson gave it to his TA, who assessed it and gave it a B (actually a C+, since it scored 69/100 for a class average of 74.4). ChatGPT then responded by writing an email complaining to dean Eric Meyer, asking him for a better grade. In its five paragraphs, ChatGPT highlighted its “strong grasp of the material” and its ability to “ask insightful questions” during lessons. The dean has since sent back the test to Aaronson for reconsideration. (13 April)

Taking one for the team. In Texas, a woman only known by her first name, Miranda, was asked by DoorDash to complete her husband’s food delivery after he got into a car accident and ended up in the Emergency ward of a local hospital during that delivery run. (15 April)

White House breach. On the side of the White House facing Lafayette Square, where the security fences are 13 feet high, someone had broken through the barricade. It was a toddler, not more than three years old. He was snatched up by the secret service and quickly reunited with his parents. (18 April)

The findings of the scientific community. Recent scientific findings show that showing pornography to their human test subjects made the idea of sex with a robot to be more appealing than usual.  Researchers at Concordia University in Montreal studied 321 university students by showing them a sexually explicit video, then got them to complete a two-part online survey which they claim measured their subjects’ “ability to have sex, love, and engage in an intimate relationship with a robot versus a human. While both men and women scored high on this survey, men scored higher, showing a greater willingness to have sex with a robot. But I just want to know: how is that cure for cancer coming along? (JSR, Nov 2022)

The Police Blotter. This was a week of shootings of children and teens in America: A black teen who had come to the house of an elderly Fox News fanatic by mistake was shot; a Texan shot two cheerleaders who opened his car door thinking it was their own; a North Carolina resident shot a six year-old and her parents because a basketball rolled on to his yard; and an upstate New Yorker shot a woman because she accidentally backed into his driveway.

Views: 181

Facepalm Newsoids XII

Local hero: Michael Foster, who found the DQ spoon lying in a middle school baseball field. Photo is a still from an ABC News video.

And reparations are soft served. Last week’s mystery of the stolen DQ spoon in Phoenix, Arizona, was found a mere 2 kilometers from the heist, a few days ago by 52 year-old Micheal Foster, who was out playing Pokemon Go at 7 in the morning for some reason.  He called the local police, who then strapped the giant spoon on to the top of their police cruiser, to be delivered to the rightful owners. Regular readers of my column would have also asked, will Foster get his free summer-long treat of Dairy Queen Blizzards? Foster said he wasn’t really interested. Police are still investigating the crime, and now say that two young males and one female were involved, according to the video footage now in their possession.

Only in the United States: Telling youngsters to plan their death. A newly-hired 63 year-old high school Psychology teacher Jeffrey Keene in Orlando, Florida was fired during his probationary period because he gave his class of 35 kids an assignment to the effect of: in the event there is a mass shooting in the school, what would you like to have written on your obiturary? School board officials interviewed several of his students , then decided his assignment was inappropriate, and then decided to terminate Keene’s contract, which can be done immediately to probationary teachers in most school districts. Keene doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. In Florida public schools, new hires become probationary teachers, which are not members of the teacher’s union and whose employment can be terminated for any reason.

A dispute involving a red herring. On April 5, a customer at a fish market in Detroit, Michigan became angry after the clerk had closed its checkout till at 7PM for Ramadan, and so he picked up a frozen 4-pound herring and hit the clerk over the head with it. The victim was transported to hospital, and the assailant, one Jobul Hussein, was charged with aggrivated assault and posted on a $5000 bond.

Art comes to life. At a live stage performance on 5 April of The Yuppies Invade My House at Dinnertime at the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken New Jersey, based on a book co-written by Joe Barry in 1987, the real Joe Barry (now 80 years old) stormed onstage yelling “This is all lies!”, knocking over a set piece before being escorted out of the theatre by police. No arrests were made. The play resumed after he left. According to eyewitnesses, Barry was said to have began heckling around the time the performers got to the part explaining that during the 1970s and 80s in Hoboken, fires were often deliberately set in order to remove the tenants and open the properties for gentrification and redevelopment. Barry was heavily involved in the sale and construction of these luxury dwellings, and was among the biggest investors. Barry had been found guilty in 2004 and had already spent a year in federal prison, for, among other things, offering local politicians $114,900 in bribes.

Man arrested for scaring chickens to death. OK, so Geartape.com reports that on April 9, there are these two Chinese men living in Hengyang county of Hunan Province, only known by their surnames, Gu and Zhong. Zhong cuts down trees in Gu’s property, Gu gets upset, and in the middle of the night, he goes into Zhong’s chicken coop with a flashlight causing chickens to panic and crowd into a corner of the coop, causing 500 to die the first night, then on another night (after being charged), another 640 to die in the same way. Gu was caught in the act both times. Gu now owes Zhong $2015, or 13,840 Yuan for the 1,140 dead chickens.

The school of whatever goes. Donda Academy, a K-12 private school near Los Angeles, owed by Rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is defending itself from a lawsuit where there were several strange rules to conform to Ye’s personal quirks. The most serious problems, however, involve strangers being allowed to take kids home without parent/guardian verification; children’s medicines being strewn about the school and found in places such as custodial closets or on top of microwave ovens; unmanaged and pervasive bullying and other behavour issues; selling kids only sushi for lunch and then forcing them to eat on the floor since the school has no chairs or tables. Prior to the lawsuit, the two plaintiffs, both teachers at the school, were served termination letters in the school parking lot last month with no explanation.

Views: 384

Facepalm Newsoids XI

Even this statue can’t believe you did that.

Just call me Mo: Mo Dollars. Al Jazeera reports that money connected with gold smuggling were laundered in banks in South Africa. The bank employees did so accepting bribes from an accomplice of Zimbabwean tobacco magnate Simon Rudland, known to law enforcement as “Mo Dollars”, whose real name appears to be Mohammad Khan, who runs an asset management firm in South Africa and is connected to several false companies.

The Pee Pee Tapes. All I have to say is: Lauren Bobert, soft on crime accusations, pee pee. Watch video from: UK Guardian.

Cultured meat, only in the sense that it was cultured from a Petri dish. Food scientists have now come up with a way to inject DNA from an extinct woolly mammoth into a stem cell of a sheep, then growing the cells in vitro to give the world the latest in Frankenfood: Mammoth Meaballs. Meat grown in a laboratory has been legal in the United States since last year, but have not had yet passed the legal hurdles to make it to supermarket shelves. The Mammoth Meatball presented to an audience in The Amsterdam Science Museum by Australian “inventor” Tim Noakesmith on March 29 appears to be around 6 inches in diameter. More than 100 companies around the world are currently working on cultured meat products.

Spoon theft, and the getaway vehicle. Two thieves in Arizona were caught on surveillance video stealing a 15-foot red spoon which adorned the side of a Dairy Queen in Phoenix, according to the Associated Press. The two were seen making their getaway on a small motorbike.  The police are investigating. No suspects have been identified. A reward of one Blizzard treat from every flavour of the summer menu is being offered for anyone returning the giant spoon to the restaurant. Said franchise co-owner Raman Kalra: “I appeal to the person: This spoon is too big to eat anything. We want you to bring it back. We will not ask any questions.”

Views: 327

Facepalm News-oids IV

  1. Hippo bites Kid. Near a lake in Katwe Kabatoro, Uganda a 2 year-old boy had half of his body swallowed alive by a hippopotamus. A bystander named Chrispas Bagonza began throwing rocks at the hungry hippo, causing the boy to be regurgitated. The boy had minor injuries and was treated in a nearby clinic and given rabies medication before being released back to his parents. While herbivorous, hippos can be aggressive and known to kill over 500 people per year in Africa. (16 Dec)
  2. Almost worked. A driver on an HOV lane on Arizona’s Interstate 10 was pulled over and fined because the inflatable Grinch sitting in his passenger seat did not count as a real passenger. (17 Dec)
  3. Foreign prisons. Sam Bankman-Fried, after being arrested for wire fraud and other crimes, had, up to a couple of days ago, been held in a prison in the Bahamas. The Fox Hill prison, where Bankman-Fried had been remanded, had been described by the US State Department as lacking mattresses and toilet facilities, as well as being infested with rats, maggots and other insects. After paying a $250 million dollar bond, he flew back to his parent’s home to await trial on American Airlines (Business class), and had to surrender his passport after landing as he awaits a federal trial over the future of the failed cryptocurrency firm FTX. (14 Dec)(23 Dec)

Views: 103

Facepalm News-oids III

This installment has one or two “news-oids” that involve themes of violence and death. These are hidden below under spoiler tags. Click if you wish to read anyway.

I have no words.
  1. More things to worry about.
    Involves sex

    There is a condition known as “Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome” (POIS), where you can become allergic to your own orgasms. Most doctors are unfamiliar with the condition so it rarely gets diagnosed. A 27 year-old man living in California showed up in hosital after developing an allergy to his own orgasms. Since age 19, following ejaculation, he would develop flu-like symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes, hives on his forearms, coughing and sneezing. (12 Oct)

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  2. Only in Florida.
    Involves violence

    As drivers William Hale of Georgia and Frank Allison of Callahan, Florida were both driving erratically from Jacksonville, both began to exchange gunfire as they were driving. Both had their daughters as passengers with them at the time, and both daughters were struck by gunfire from each other’s guns. One of the girls suffered a collapsed lung. (13 Oct)

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  3. If your avatar dies, you die.
    involves death

    30 year-old Palmer Luckey invented a virtual reality headset which allows you to participate in a virtual reality game, where if you die in the game, it is programmed to kill the user of the headset also. Luckey himself has not tried on his own headset, and it is currently not for sale.  (7 Nov)

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  4. Dog Bites Man. A blind man named Kyle Maxwell is suing City of Memphis when a police dog bit him without warning. (10 Oct)
  5. Man Bites Dog. In Germany, a man joined in an “extremely aggressive” dispute with 2 others, and while placed on charges of resisting arrest, the man bit a police dog. The canine showed no injuries. (14 Oct)

Views: 203

Facepalm News-oids

Jesus forgives you, but still …
  1. Dog Shoots Man. This time, in Turkey, another dog stepped on another shotgun lying on the ground, killing its master, Ozgur Gevrekoglu, while hunting out in the wilderness. (28 Nov).
  2. Man bites man. In Missouri, 51 year-old golfer Mark Curtis Wells got into a dispute with a fellow golfer and in a struggle, bit off his nose. When police arrived, the victim was found, but both Wells and the victim’s nose were not found. Wells fled in a black Tesla, and later turned himself in. Wells faces up to 7 years in prison  on charges of mayhem. (30 Nov)
  3. Annoying sounds. A hospitalized 72 year-old woman in Germany turned off her 79 year-old roommate’s ventilator because she found the sound it made “annoying”. She is now up on charges of attempted manslaughter (after it happened twice), and the other patient has been moved to intensive care. (2 Dec)
  4. Don’t f**k with the salsa. 22 year-old Texas gas station clerk Breanna Miranda is behind bars after opening fire on a customer who broke a jar of salsa. She is up on charges of aggrivated assault with a deadly weapon and a $20,000 bond. The customer was unhurt. (22 Nov)
  5. Bike rider victim for bike rider victims. Portland Oregon cyclist Mark Linehan was cycling on his way to a memorial for bike traffic victims, and was hit by a van who ran a red light. Linehan came out with minor injuries but his bike was totalled. The identity of the driver is not made clear in the article, but the event was caught on camera. (21 Nov)
  6. Court proceedings adjourned due to moaning. In Sheffield, England, a court hearing involving prison-related drug smuggling was held over a video link to one of the lawyers, who was watching porn during the proceedings. Had the lawyer cut the sound, no one would have suspected. But instead, “porn sounds” could be heard throughout the courtroom from the video feed to the lawyer’s computer. The judge will now require all lawyers to attend their court cases in person. (22 Nov)

Views: 144

Worst Conspiracy Theories

Some of these (actually most of these) are from Alex Jones, some of these I made up. You be the judge. I originally wrote or looked up this stuff over a decade ago for Uncyclopedia. A part of it is reprinted here under Creative Commons.

  1. The reduction of patriotism you see nowadays is a government plot. And so is the reduction of matriotism.
  2. Global warming is a government plot. And they also control your thermostat.
  3. Wal-Mart is a government plot.
  4. Vaccines are a government plot.
  5. Government plots are part of a larger government plot.
  6. Illegal immigrants plotted to get free tuition from the government. … As well as discounts on Twinkies. And they also get to go to the front of the lineup in hospital emergency rooms.
  7. The country is run by Nazis, Communists, the rich, illegal aliens, the Illuminati … who all agree on exactly the same way of running the world and all agree on the same way of screwing with your mind.
  8. The UN is part of a conspiracy to sell thousands of children into snuff films.
  9. Vincente Fox can morph into a devil.
  10. 91% of Americans are Nazis. 
  11. The money going into toll roads are collected by members of Skull and Bones.
  12. The UN goes around the world, sterilizing women at random. Including every woman over the age of 68 (yes, menopause is a government plot).
  13. Gays are actively recruiting in our schools. Recruiting for what, you ask? Recruiting for membership into the International Youth for Drainpipe Engineers, that’s what! And maybe a little game of pin-the-tail-on-the-Meat-Hound afterward.
  14. The secret rulers of the world can live forever. The Scientologico-Illuminato-Skull-and-Boneso-Bohemian-Grovio industrial complex contain every member in it that has ever lived, still living. They took Sauron’s rings to give them eternal life, and they will soon cross species boundaries and become Elvish. Then, Melkor will genetically modify them to become Orcs.
  15. Feminism is a government plot. And Emma Goldman danced at the revolution.
  16. They sacrificed babies at Bohemian Grove.
  17. The Quakers were owned by the Mafia.
  18. Microsoft is owned by the Mafia.
  19. The Aztecs would take hallucinogenic drugs and cut their own penises off. This is why you are here and the Aztecs are not.
  20. Environmentalists have been behind every economic slowdown over the past 40 years.
  21. The Scientologico-Illuminato-Skull-and-Boneso-Bohemian-Grovio industrial complex have been planning a secret world government. With the Freemasons as their bureaucrats.
  22. The Quakers! They’re in it with the Aliens! They’re building landing strips for Gay Martians!
  23. Gluten was brought to us by an alien conspiracy.
  24. Shakespeare’s plays were written by a committee consisting of Freemasons and Quakers.
  25. The Shroud of Turin was painted by Michelangelo.
  26. Jesus and His Ho, Mary Magdalene, were married. Tied da knot, made it legal, got hitched! This was the only way Jesus could get income tax deductions.
  27. They use Area 51 for testing lethal chemicals on prisoners.
  28. Project Blue Book is proof of alien existence. And the reason the government has been hiding news of alien visits is because they are aliens themselves and are slowly taking over control of government. Just check out those reptilian appendages on some of those First Ladies.
  29. Clinton’s cabinet was a Jewish conspiracy.
  30. ISIS is a Jewish conspiracy.
  31. Non-belief in UFOs is part of an oil-ist bias against the truth. 
  32. The Massachusetts Port Authority has been taken over by the Chinese Communist Army. Actually, that would explain a lot of things …
  33. The Gulf of Tonkin Incident happened.
  34. Your missing rings and jewelery have turned up in the Federal Reserve.
  35. The last honourable war was the Civil War. Anyone who died in any war after that was a chump.
  36. The fact that not all conspiracies made this list is the result of a plot. See? The Illuminati have conspired with wiki writers to form the Illiterati.
  37. Columbine was a government plot. As is the right to bear arms.
  38. Starbucks is part of the Illuminati.
  39. Wal-Mart is a front for the Department of Defense.
  40. The Trilateral Commission worships Moloch.
  41. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a known Nazi.
  42. 2.3 trillion dollars disappeared from the U. S. Federal Reserve in 2001. And it was all spent on Twinkies to feed the members of the Illegal Immigrant Conspiracy.
  43. There are people plotting to take over the world, perceptible to only dumb white guys. That’s because dumb white guys have mottled, brown teeth from not drinking the fluoridated water.
  44. SWAT teams are led by a cabal of Muslims led by Ayatollah Obama.
  45. The Illuminati planned to poison us when they wrote the Codex Alimentarius. They distribute microwave ovens to homes around the country to take all the nutrients out of your food.

Views: 126

The indices of Harper’s Magazine

I have been a fan of Harper’s Magazine since the 1980s. In particular, I loved the Readings section, as well as the factoids list (with citations) known as Harper’s Index, near the front of each issue. Here are 100 factoids I’ve researched from over the years, dates not important, but they have been taken from issues since 2000. I have favoured factoids that are not dated, but that was difficult as many good ones with dates crept in. The URL for Harper’s magazine is http://harpers.org, and is available on some newsstands, but not as many these days as in days previous.

  • Cost to produce Safeguard, the only U.S. ground-based long-range missile shield ever deployed: $23,500,000,000
  • Number of days in the 1970s that the system was operational before it was abandoned as inadequate: 135
  • Pounds of fuel required to maintain this year’s 11,500 Olympic torches: 2,029
  • Ratio of the amount of energy generated by 1 gallon of ethanol to the amount of energy required to produce it : 1:0.9
  • Number of times Colin Powell said, “I don’t recall” or, “I can’t recall” during his 1987 Iran-Contra testimony: 56
  • Percentage of global economic activity accounted for by the world’s 200 largest corporations: 27.5
  • Percentage of the world’s population that these corporations employ: 0.8
  • Minimum number of mentally retarded Americans who have been executed by the justice system since 1976 : 35
  • Estimated chance that a U.S. prisoner is mentally retarded: 1 in 14
  • Days after Time named George W. Bush 2000’s man of the year that Russians named Vladimir Lenin man of the century: 4
  • Places by which Russia’s ranking in the U.N.’s Human Development Index of living standards has fallen since 1990 : 31
  • Rank of the United States and Britain among nations whose residents are most likely to be obese: 1,2
  • Rank of Hungary: 3
  • Ratio of the number of pardons George W. Bush has issued turkeys to those he has issued human beings: 2:1
  • Ratio of the average life span of a commercially bred turkey to that of a wild one: 1:7
  • Year in which Disney’s Mickey Mouse copyright will expire if the Supreme Court reverses a 1998 extension this winter (2002): 2003
  • Minutes that a Massachusetts surgeon left a patient with an open incision while he went to deposit a check: 35
  • Percentage change since 1990 (to 2003) in the number of U.S. schoolchildren labeled “disabled” : +37
  • Chances that a U.S. adult does not want to live to be 120 under any circumstances: 2 in 3
  • Chance that an American adult believes that “politics and government are too complicated to understand” : 1 in 3
  • Chance that an American who was home-schooled feels this way: 1 in 25
  • Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida (in 2004): 240
  • Percentage of the 13,129 varieties of dirt in the United States that are endangered: 4
  • Years in prison to which two ex-Pentagon officials were sentenced last year for taking bribes of money and prostitutes: 24
  • Number of years a North Carolina man has been in prison for stealing a television: 33
  • Rank, on the Turkish bestseller list in March (2005), of a thriller depicting a U.S. invasion of Turkey: 1
  • Rank of Mein Kampf: 2
  • Average percentage by which the power of the male heart declines between the ages of 18 and 75 : 20
  • Average percentage by which the female heart does: 0
  • Amount a Chinese online gamer made last year (in 2004) by selling a virtual sword he had borrowed from a friend: $850
  • Months later that the friend retaliated by stabbing him to death with a real knife: 6
  • Number of beetles that right-wing entomologists have named after Bush Administration officials: 3
  • Number of times that Mary, Jesus’ mother, is referenced by name in the Bible and the Koran, respectively: 19,34
  • Number of “Wal-ocaust” T-shirts sold by a Georgia man before Wal-Mart ordered him to cease and desist: 1
  • Ratio, in the United States, of the number of Wal-Mart employees to the number of high school teachers: 1:1
  • Portion of states where the projected climate in 2100 will not be able to sustain their official tree or flower: 3/5
  • Number of words spoken by Clarence Thomas during Supreme Court oral arguments since February 2006 (until Aug 2007): 132
  • Number by Samuel Alito, the Justice who spoke the second-fewest words: 14,404
  • Percentage of single U.S. women in their twenties who are “very” or “extremely” willing to marry for money: 61
  • Percentage of women in their thirties who are : 74
  • Percentage change since 1985 (to 2009) in the number of U.S. newspapers with reporters covering Congress : –72
  • Percentage of six- to nine-year-old American girls (in 2009) who wear lipstick or lip gloss : 46
  • Number of poppyseed bagels that could be made with Afghanistan’s annual poppy harvest : 357,000,000
  • Percentage of British elementary-school students who think Isaac Newton discovered fire : 60
  • Number of U.S. states that have more pigs than people : 3
  • Minimum number of birds that die from crashing into New York City windows each year : 100,000
  • Number of Bentleys purchased in Russia in 2000 and in 2010, respectively : 0, 113
  • Estimated portion of registered voters in Zimbabwe who are dead : 1/4
  • Average minutes more exercise per week that a heavy drinker gets than a non-drinker : 21
  • Portion of the total U.S. corn crop that goes to make ethanol : 2/5
  • Projected worldwide surplus of low-skill workers by 2020 : 93,000,000
  • Projected worldwide deficit of high- and medium-skill workers by that time : 85,000,000
  • Rank of China among global beer producers by volume : 1
  • Rank of the United States : 2
  • Percentage change since 1988 (to 2012) in U.S. teen-pregnancy rates : –36
  • In abstinence rates among white teens : +31
  • Among black teens : +56
  • Portion of Americans who don’t walk for at least ten continuous minutes at any point in an average week : 2/5
  • Percentage of American cats that are overweight : 58
  • Percentage of men in dual-income marriages who said they struggled with work-family conflict in 1977 : 35
  • Who say they do today (2013): 60.
  • Average annual cost of detaining an inmate at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay : $900,000
  • At a supermax prison in the United States : $65,000
  • Portion of all online advertising that is never seen by a human being : 1/2
  • Percentage of U.S. children in 1960 who lived in households headed by heterosexuals in their first marriage : 73
  • Who do today (2015) : 46
  • Estimated minimum gallons of water used annually to produce Coca-Cola products : 8,000,000,000,000
  • Ratio of money spent by Britons on prostitution to that spent on hairdressing : 1:1
  • Years in prison to which a New Mexico man was sentenced last year (in 2015) for shooting children with a semen-filled squirt gun : 18
  • Estimated number of people who will be driven into extreme poverty by 2030 because of climate change : 100,000,000
  • Percentage of the world’s civilian-owned firearms that are owned by Americans : 48
  • Number of Americans aged 60 and older who have outstanding student loans : 2,800,000
  • Portion of those borrowers who have taken on debt to pay for a child or grandchild’s education : 3/4
  • Percentage of children’s toys available in Sweden that contain banned chemicals : 15
  • Of sex toys available in Sweden : 2
  • Average number of people who die in avalanches in the United States each year : 27
  • Number of FBI confidential informants (in 2017) who worked for Best Buy’s Geek Squad between 2008 and 2012 : 8
  • Rank of Nebraska among states with the least liked state flags : 1
  • Number of days in January that the flag at the state capitol flew upside down before anyone noticed : 7
  • Number of US states in which fluorescent pink is a legal color for hunting apparel : 6
  • Chance an American has taken an “active shooter” preparedness class : 1 in 10
  • Percentage of US “active shooters” from 2000 to 2016 who were killed by police : 21
  • Who were killed by armed civilians : 1
  • Number of universities in which half of all the US tenured and tenure-track history professors are trained : 8
  • Number of the twenty largest German companies that are headquartered in the former East Germany : 0
  • Rank of Germany in consumption of nonalcoholic beer : 2
  • Of Iran : 1
  • Portion of Hawaii’s drinking water that comes from underground wells : 9/10
  • Gallons of raw sewage that leak into the ground from Hawaii cesspools each day : 53,000,000
  • Percentage change since 2009 in reports of human waste on San Francisco streets (in 2018): +391
  • Chance that a given day is a public holiday in Cambodia : 1 in 13
  • Rank of Disneyland among the happiest places on earth, according to Disneyland : 1
  • Percentage of Disneyland employees who worry about being evicted from their homes : 56
  • Number of dead people Americans have elected to Congress : 6
  • Factor by which a millennial is more likely than a baby boomer to claim they have a food allergy : 2
  • Number of states that allow roadkill to be salvaged for food : 31
  • Rank of Arabic among France’s most spoken languages : 2
  • Factor by which graduate students are more likely to experience depression or anxiety than the general population : 6
  • Percentage of Americans aged 18 to 34 who say they’d like to live forever : 24
  • Of Americans over 55 : 13

Views: 188

More political articles on the Silent Majority

I believe the third time anyone writes an article on the same creepy topic, it is time either to cease and desist, or to make this into an ongoing series, embracing the concept whole.

Twice before, I have written with a straight face about how the dead participate in all parts of the electoral process, being both the voters, and those being voted on. And I have written more than once, that dead people have often won elections against their living opponents. While all this sounds both creepy and hilarious, these stories are utterly true. And before you think this is a liberal or conservative conspiracy, I also reiterate, that the dead benefit both sides of American politics. Since there are more dead people than living, we call them the real Silent Majority in this blog. We ought to root for them, since many of these are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes, and don’t bother anyone.

After paying $1.50 for this issue of The Sun yesterday, I find that the cover story is an opinion piece.

Just yesterday in The Toronto Sun, the front page — yes, the front page, in the biggest screaming headlines you have ever seen in your life, decried the Liberal practice of leaving dead people on the voter rolls. So, now the silent majority have invaded the Canadian Liberal party, according to The Sun. While I understand that the Sun takes every opportunity to attack the Liberals, and have never met a politician to the right of Atilla the Hun they didn’t like, I have to say, the dead are not a voting block. I am certain that the list contains conservatives and liberals in fairly equal numbers. Regardless, no one can control the voting preferences of the Silent Majority, since you can’t speak to them, and they can’t speak to you. Even if you could speak to them, the Silent Majority will just vote as they damn well please. Or, do anything else they damn well please. You may have your perceptions and illusions about the Silent Majority, but we can both agree that you can’t tell them who to vote for. They just won’t listen, and you can’t change that.

You can call me a leading authority on the voting behavior of the Silent Majority. I have been observing them for quite a while now. And a good many years from now, I too will some day go to the Majority. To be honest, it’s pretty boring watching them, because I never see them move. I guess that’s part of their mystique.

Views: 117

Google Autocomplete Follies

Humans are a curious species. We like to ask the questions about why things exist/happen/not happen, and so on.

When I built my search engine questions, I began with the word “WHY”, then gradually built on that, one word at a time. Now, I pass on the list of questions to you.

If the list of Google autocomplete suggestions which is to follow is taken to be the true distillation of human thought, we seem to be very preoccupied with aches and pains, bodily functions, and weather events, and not a whole lot outside of that.

WHY

⦁ him
⦁ is the sky blue
⦁ don’t we
⦁ him cast (sic)
⦁ do whales beach
⦁ am i so tired
⦁ are you running
⦁ do cats purr
⦁ am I always tired
⦁ do we yawn

WHY DOES

⦁ my cat lick me
⦁ my dog lick me
⦁ it hurt when i pee
⦁ salt melt ice
⦁ ice float
⦁ my stomach hurt
⦁ my head hurt
⦁ my jaw hurt

WHY DOES IT

⦁ snow
⦁ snow in Canada
⦁ rain
⦁ always rain on me
⦁ hurt to swallow
⦁ hurt to poop
⦁ hurt to have sex
⦁ hurt to breathe
⦁ hurt when I cough

WHY DOES IT SEEM

⦁ like everyone is rich
⦁ impossible to lose weight
⦁ impossible to get a girlfriend
⦁ hard to breathe
⦁ hard to swallow

WHY DOES IT NEVER

⦁ work out with guys
⦁ snow in London/Manchester/Swansea/England/Florida
⦁ snow on Christmas
⦁ snow
⦁ rain in California
⦁ get dark in Alaska

WHY DOES IT ALWAYS SEEM

⦁ to be (Phil Collins lyric)
⦁ to rain at night
⦁ to rain on the weekend
⦁ to rain on Good Friday
⦁ to be my fault

Views: 135

A list of state slogans

From the responses to Chris Cillizza’s request on Twitter (@CillizzaCNN) that people submit their own state motto. Fair use, since none of these were authored by Chris Cillizza, but submitted by the general public.

Alabama: first in football, but last in everything else.
Alaska: Worst deal in history. Give it back to Russia!
Arizona: Sunny, With Sucky Senators.
Arkansas: Come dig for diamonds and leave with Cotton.
California: the land of fruits and nuts
Colorado: So fricken high they voted for Hillary
Connecticut: Just a restroom between Boston and New York.
Delaware: Have you seen Delaware? It’s more like a Dela-won’t.
Florida: underwater shark bait
Georgia: Without Atlanta, It Would Be Another Alabama
Hawaii – when you only want to be “sort of” American
Idaho: “Where did you think Vodka came from?”
Illinois – Land of the only President I rank above me.
Indiana: Where Indiana Jones comes from
Iowa: Gateway to Nebraska
Kansas: “Great band! I am delivering on my promise to bring the U.S., the whole world actually, to the ‘Point of no return.'”
Kentucky: New Jersey Charm with Mississippi Sophistication
Louisiana: We’re Alabama with Better Food
Maine: Basically Canada — except Paul LePage
Maryland: The Wire was real, you know
Massachusetts: Vegans and Massholes
Michigan – The rusted-out gauntlet of the Great Lakes.
Minnesota: Always getting out over our skis.
Mississippi: more ‘I’s than teeth
Missouri: First in meth houses.
Montana: The cool stuff died 65 million years ago.
Nebraska: First in Friendship, Second in Cat and Dog Obesity
Nevada Home of High Rollers and Low Lifers
New Hampshire: A drug-infested den (Trump)
New Jersey: ‘I don’t own it, they’re just paying to use my name’
New Mexico: the only Mexico paying for my wall
New York: “At least we’re not New Jersey.”
North Carolina: Gateway to Virginia and its many great Trump properties!
North Dakota: For when you are bored of South Dakota.
Ohio…we put the O in opiates.
Oklahoma: 1st in earthquakes and tornadoes, 49th in everything else.
Oregon: The home of the witch trials.
Pennsylvania: They said I had no chance.
Rhode Island: Small state, small hands.
South Carolina, the rusty buckle of the Bible Belt.
South Dakota: Gateway to North Dakota
Tennessee. Above Kentucky in everthing but the map
Texas: Thank God for Mississippi.
Utah-needs casinos
Vermont: communists and cows.
Virginia: Make-Believe Southern State
Washington: Too much cyber.
West Virginia – Come for my Cousin, Stay for the Coal
Wisconsin – The Curdled Milk State!
Wyoming – Not sure where it is, but I think I won there.

Views: 75

So you want to be a witchcraft-practising wrestler?

You are a follower of witchcraft, and you want to become a wrestler for WWF or something (what decent witch wouldn’t want that?), then you need to have a moniker. An alias that captures all that you are. Here, from the website “Behind the Name“, are some name suggestions to help out witches and warlocks who want to also join the wrestling profession (a mixture of names construed to be masculine and feminine):

  • Batfire Catgoo
  • Spiderpop Ice Threat
  • Money Kick Macho Professor
  • Atomic Grip Dreadspaz
  • Stone Cold Sheik Toadstare
  • Rhino Kick Beetleweed
  • Beetletooth Vixen
  • Boiltongue Demonhex
  • Danger Dragon
  • Roid Muscles Iron Queen
  • Star Hit Swamphex
  • Wartcast Ice Masher
  • Dragon Roid Princess

Views: 92

[Media Monday] Collision of cultures

Another in a series of highly-circulated videos. Somewhere off the coast of Ireland in the North Atlantic, a large, fully-armed ship tries to avoid a collision with something on its radar which it thinks is another ship. They make radio contact, and find this smart-alecky Irish dude on the other end. American bravado versus Irish snarkiness. Who wins? This is an ad for the Swedish company Silva Navigation Systems.

Views: 118

Crappy Album Covers — Sidebar: CACs brought to life

A while back, I poked fun at a an album cover by Sterling Blythe, called Sterling Blythe Sings (CAC #47).

Mark Portillo, keeper of the blog called Drop Me Off In Harlem, started a concept where simple animation to familiar, and not-so-familiar album covers could bring out many salient features, or poke fun of drawbacks, of the album cover.

In the original cover, Blythe sat on what appeared to be a tree branch. But since the branch didn’t seem to be connected to anything, it looked like he was floating. Now, thanks to the magic of animated GIFs and a bit of retouching, he really is floating.

Appearing in early April will be this 1969 album cover from King Crimson, entitled “In The Court of the Crimson King”.

Well, not exactly this cover. This is another one of Mike Portillo’s handiworks, exaggerating the already-exaggerated madness of the cover through the magic of animation.

 

Views: 234

Crappy Album Covers #227 — Songs about being s**t out of luck

Porter Wayne Wagoner (1927-2007) seems to be well-known for his hard luck songs, like the one that makes the title to this LP. “The Cold, Hard Facts Of Life” is exactly about what is depicted on the photo. Hubby comes home earlier than expected, and finds his wife fooling around with another guy. Nowadays, it would be more like “Guy and gal get married, they honeymoon, then Guy finds the gal is a guy.” Introducing the new cold hard facts.

Wagoner ushered in the career of Dolly Parton and hosted the Grand Ole Opry for many years. He has reportedly had over 80 hit singles on the country charts.

More down-and-outer music can be expected from Latino Joe Bravo in the name of Skid Row Joe. Porter Wagoner actually wrote a song about Skid Row Joe, and in this LP we find Joe doing a cover version.

Now you can hear both songs and become depressed in two different languages:

 

Views: 185

Crappy Album Covers #226 — The Demon Alcohol

Gertrude Behanna bears witness of the healing power of God to her admirers at an AA meeting. The recorded speech made some time after 1970 is reportedly quite memorable and witty. Reportedly, she is a a very human personality that emerged from “a miasma of glamour, sex, liquor, and irresponsibility.” It’s always the good things in life that f**k you up, isn’t it?
I would come out and say how ugly the above buy tramadol for dogs cover is, if it wasn’t for the existence of this cover. “Amazing Grace” by “The Celebration Road Show”. It looks like it was put together by the guy sitting next to the trashcan in that blue photograph. Or it could just as easily been put together by the toddler in the color insert. If only he were old enough to spell.

Views: 162