Sunday, September 27, 2009

Alabama Wants Your Vote(rs)

Ladies and Gentlemen, my wife and I went to Atlanta for Dragon*Con for our honeymoon recently and had a lot of fun. But all was not fun and games and alcohol and steam punk and scantily clad women in Princess Leia costumes. You see, my wife and I live in Mississippi, which means if we want to make any kind of decent time, we had to drive through Alabama to reach Georgia. Now, here's a fun fact about Alabama. Statistically speaking, person-for-person they are some of the most insane drivers in the states.* I was cut off countless times, flipped off, yelled at, and otherwise harassed for having the gall to only do 85 in a 65. Often times by people in large vehicles who seem to have forgotten the tail of their vehicle comes so painfully close to the front of my car when they do so. At one point, I even had a car tailgate me so close I couldn't see their headlights. Again, all while doing almost 90 miles per hour. "Alabamans are insane." I thought.

Soon however, I realized that this aggression was more than simple road rage. You see, while driving, my wife and I got stuck in traffic jams FIVE times in as many hours for no good reason. Traffic would inexplicably come to a crawl between two small towns twenty miles apart. There were no roadblocks. There were no accidents. Not once did I ever see anything that even remotely resembled a reasonable (or unreasonable for that matter) explanation for why people violently trying to pass me at speeds in excess of 100 mph would suddenly decide to do ten miles per hour for the next five miles. People. Just. Stopped. Moving. The trip back was no exception. Many times for no good reason, traffic stopped in the middle of nowhere. It wasn't until then that it all began to make sense. It's all about political power.

Electoral votes are determined are determined every year with the census. With this year being 2009, the census is surely underway. Not satisfied with their respectable 9 electoral votes, Alabama has realized that in order to claim a population large enough to warrant an increase in electoral votes, the state has to have new residents who have spent a certain amount of time living within its borders. As such, Alabama has fiendishly trained its drivers to slow down dramatically on its highways so that people from out of state will be stranded in Alabama for weeks, even months at a time. Thus, when the census takers arrive, the State suddenly has a much larger population, and thus, more electoral votes. No wonder people were driving like madmen, I realized. Who knows how long they've been trying to escape the Great State of Alabama?

Perhaps this explains why Mississippi's evil twin state has an inverted number of votes. Alabama and Mississippi are practically mirror images of each other. Mississippi has 6 votes, Alabama 9. Again, same shape, just flipped over. If they get that tenth vote, Mississippi will be reduced to only 01 electoral votes. Oh yes, Alabama is Mississippi's evil twin alright. We know this because the evil twin in movies is always more powerful, hence more votes. Plus, they're stealing the voters we do have away. On top of that, I'm 95% certain Alabama has a goatee, proof once more that they are the evil one.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Friends. As you drive across this wide nation of ours, please heed my warning before Alabama poaches your voice. Drive around. It will be quicker, and in the end, better for the country.

You have been informed.
*All statistics based solely on personal observation.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Germans Re-Animate the Dead!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I realize I've been gone a long time. Teaching sixth graders is the most stressful thing I've ever done. I have panic attacks in the morning at the thought of going in to work sometimes. But that's neither here nor there. I've returned from a prolonged, work-induced absence to share some completely unstartling news. The Germans have been raising the dead. In this case, it's Michael Jackson. The article states that the video was an "experiment." Yeah, we all know what kind of experiments you Germans do when it comes to the dead. The whole thing was allegedly about "how easily rumors spread on the internet." I think the rumor they're going for is that he never really died, that the death was all a hoax (which would make the video not a hoax, as opposed to the video being a hoax and his death real). But neither of those are the REAL hoax. The REAL hoax is that the Germans raised him from the dead, but in order to prevent an ordeal like they had last time (see previous link) with all of the killing and hubris of man, only PRETENDED that he never died by smuggling the re-animated Jackson into L.A. and forcing their creation to slip "discretely" out of a coroner's van. The hoax is that we're meant to believe that he never died, as opposed to the truth. He's back, thanks once again to German science run amok.

Oh Germany, will you never cease trying to overstep man's place in the cosmos via mastery over life and death?

I doubt it.

You have been informed.

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Zombies Can Dance

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think it's safe to say that when the zombie plague does come, we're all sufficiently doomed. Some of you may remember in the past when we were warned that zombies, particularly of the Nazi variety, were coming. This is, of course, bad news, but it's nothing we haven't seen coming for ages. However, a warning from a brave group of anonymous, vigilant citizens in Texas has put new light on just how serious the plague will be.

That's right. Zombie strippers are coming. Admittedly, this is not our first warning. There have been several movies about zombie strippers in the past (like this one) , at least enough for my sister-in-law to throw a zombie stripper themed party. Even so, someone realized we weren't taking the threat seriously enough and brought the awareness of the coming dangers to our real, everyday lives.

I realize some of you may be wondering what's so terribly bad about zombie strippers? Aren't strippers supposed to be sexy and fun? Aren't Nazi zombies worse? Sure, they seem terrible. They strike quickly when no one expects it and make large gains quickly, but then they defeat themselves by micromanaging, losing momentum, becoming stagnant, freezing to death in Russia. Nazi zombies would, at worst, plague the world for five years. Stripper zombies, on the other hand, would be relentless. Have you ever been to a strip club? Strippers are creepy in real life. Make that stripper a zombie, and you're in for seven new kinds of terror. To make matters worse, a stripper will never back down if they think there's a chance they can get another dollar out of you. I think it's safe to say that with zombie strippers, it's not dollars their after. Further, unlike the Nazis, who had a life span of five years--fifteen if you count the time when they were more political and less militant, strippers have been around for ages and no amount of anti-eroticism legislation has been able to contain it. One can never truly be rid of zombie strippers. On top of that, the diseases will be unimaginable. Normal zombies will naturally carry the plague, but who knows what other diseases stripper zombies will have. Plus, the music. Can you fathom staying sane in a world where one constantly hears the deafening blare of "Candy Girl" or "Hot for Teacher" on repeat one for all eternity?

There is one final aspect to zombie strippers that I find most terrifying of all. So terrifying, in fact, that I felt it deserved its own paragraph. Zombie strippers dance. "Way to state the obvious, Mr. Truth," I can hear you saying. But let's think about this. Dancing requires coordination, dexterity, agility, and other nouns that essentially boil down to one horrifying fact: zombie strippers can move, and move quickly. They can climb poles. Upside down. In high heels. Can you climb a pole? I can't. Well, I can, but slowly. And not upside down. And not in high heels (not that I've tried or anything). This in itself should send shivers down your spine. There seems to be nowhere to hide from them. Further, dancing implies rhythm and choreography. Choreography means timing and precision. Expect military-style strikes dependent on expert timing and synchronized multiple front assaults from these undulating undead.

Of course, dancing implies one more thing. A drive toward self-actualization. These zombies are out to become fully realized creatures of the night. They've pretty much got that bottom rung of Maslow's hierarchy taken care of. Breathing is no longer necessary, and everyone knows strippers never sleep. They've got eating taken care of. As strippers, they're all about the sex. They're dancing, so that's covered. And as strippers, they've already moved on to the next step toward total personal awareness: employment. It's only a matter of time before these flesh-eating beasts become fully cognizant.

So, just to rehash, to keep you up-to-date on this looming threat to mankind, I'm going to review what we've learned about the dangers of zombie strippers.
  • They will be nearly impossible to erradicate completely, even over the centuries.
  • They will strike fear into the hearts of all.
  • They will be relentless and will not stop until they've devoured everything.
  • They will be carriers for innumerable diseases, not just the zombie plague.
  • They will be loud and annoying.
  • They will be coordinated.
  • They will be able to climb, run, and dodge in even the worst conditions.
  • They will strike with coordinated military precision.
  • They will be self-aware.
I hope that you heed this warning and ready yourselves for the apocalypse to come. Forewarned is forearmed. You have been informed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Molemen Housing Market And 10 Things You Should Know

Ladies and Gentlemen, the wedding ceremony is over, the move is for the most part complete and I can settle back into a routine. You know... before the school year starts next week. It'll be a very short routine, I guess. Still, I had to share this important bit of news from Canada. I was checking CNN's website and I saw this video.

There was no audio, so I knew they were trying to hide something from me. All I saw were large, house-sized holes in the middle of a Toronto high way. Officials are calling them "sinkholes," but really I believe they are signs that the mole men housing market--and thus economy--are on the rebound. Clearly, there's such a demand for housing in the subterranean world that contractors no longer have the manpower or resources to completely fill the need. So what do they do? They cut corners. They steal resources from us surface dwellers. A couple thousand square feet of prime Toronto asphalt should make a great foundation for a home, yes? A little excavation and it's all theirs.

But never fear. They aren't stealing entire houses, which means you should have no fear of them stealing your home. They aren't really into Tudor styles or California stuccos anyway. All they want is the foundation. No harm, no foul.

You may be wondering how I can possibly say "no harm" when there are gaping holes in Canadian highways. Simple. This sort of behavior is good for us in several ways.
  • It creates construction work jobs.
  • It means the mole people are leading more domestic lifestyles right now. More babies and college funds and less doom and gloom.
  • A vibrant mole people economy prevents inflation in ours. After all, when they do well, they invest in technologies that let them hold cities for ransom, which in turn takes money out of an economy flooded with stimulus and bailouts. We get the perks of extra money jolted into the economy without the drawbacks of it staying there.
  • With the mole people housing market on the rise, now is a fantastic time to improve your portfolio by investing in subterranean real estate.
That being said, I thought I'd share a list of ten facts to keep in mind during this Mole Man Housing Boom.

10 Unknown Facts about the Mole Man Housing Market
  1. When things are bad, the market isn't bottoming out, it's hitting surface. In Mole People economies, up/top is bad, down/bottom is good.
  2. Don't invest in lumber. Wood rots underground. They like to build with stone and clay.
  3. Mole people live communally. Don't even think your plan for studio apartments will work.
  4. Contrary to popular belief, mole people don't like earthtones. They get them enough as it is. Think blues, pinks, and purples.
  5. Don't bother with walk-in closets. They all wear the same uniform. They don't need a lot of space for their wardrobes.
  6. If someone tries to sell you Carlsbad Caverns, don't buy it. It's just like someone up here trying to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge.
  7. If someone tries to sell you Mammoth Caverns, don't buy it. Bad neighborhood. You'll only lose money on your investment.
  8. The standard for their currency is Atari game cartridges. There was a brief period of massive inflation in 1988 when molemen miners and prospectors in Texas discovered a huge cache of E.T. and Pacman cartridges.
  9. It's dark down there, but don't being a flashlight to read those mortgage papers. They'll take the bright light as an assault, which leads to showtrials in kangaroo courts and public executions. Instead, ask to take the papers home to look over for a night. It's much safer.
  10. If you meet the Mole Princess, she will invariably fall in love with you and betray her tyrant father. If you cannot avoid meeting her, make sure your deals are closed first. All out war between surface dwellers and mole people tends to gum up the works of business transactions (though if you win, you might just get that property for free).
Hopefully with this knowledge, some of you will be able to pull yourselves out of this economic crisis we're in and make a bright shiney future for yourself. I've given you the tools to be the next subterranean real estate tycoon. What you do with it is your choice.

You have been informed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Robots Don't Know It's Not Bacon

Ladies and Gentlemen, a robot designed to identify meats and cheeses and wines have identified human flesh as bacon. I don't believe I need to explain how serious it is that our long-foretold enemies have declared our flesh to be tastiest of the breakfast meats...

You have been informed/warned.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

See what happens when you step away for a week or two?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I apologize for my extended absence, but the wedding is finally over. I finally have a little time to post. Before I move. Next week. Sigh...

But oh dear heavens what has happened in my absence? I step away from researching for a couple of weeks and suddenly it's nothing but news news news. I haven't had time to research, but I can posit a few theories behind each event.

The most common news element? Celebrity deaths.

Since my last post, we've lost David Carradine, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Billy Mays.
My guess: VH1 is filming the next season of the Surreal Life in the afterlife.

There was a military coup in Honduras. Former president forbidden to return. Former president vows to return some time around Saturday.
My guess: President forgot to help with the dishes. The Military felt unappreciated, because the President didn't even say thank you after the Military did all of the dishes. They argue. The President brought up something that the Military did early in their relationship when they were having a break that he swore long ago he'd forgiven her for and he'd never bring up again. The Military started crying, called him an insensitive jerk, slapped him, and told him to leave the apartment and never come back. The President has been sleeping on his buddy's couch, vowing to go back "after the Military has had a little time to cool off." The Military has been on the phone with its mother, and has filed a restraining order against the President.

A place crashes, and only one woman survives.
My Guess: Really? We've all seen Unbreakable. I think we all know what her story is.

I hate to cut this short, but I have to go sign a lease now for an apartment about 150 miles away from here. Then the packing starts.

You have been informed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about Bill Nye

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am terribly late. Again. It's a recurring theme around here as I draw closer and closer to the wedding. So much to do. And the guest list is so political. "I want to invite him, but if I do, I have to invite her as well, and I'm not such a big fan of her." You know how it goes. To make it even more difficult for me to get this list out, I chose Bill Nye. I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with Bill Nye, the Science Guy, but he's pretty freakin' awesome. "Surely," I thought to myself, "This is a man who deserves a Ten Unknown Facts list."

"I agree wholeheartedly," I replied, "and don't call me Shirley."

"Stop making cliche references to Airplane!" I chided.

"I'm sorry. I suppose I'd better get back to that list."

"Yes, I suppose I should."

And then I began work on the list. And I uncovered ten facts. Then ten more. Then a dozen more. There were so many things this man could do I had a difficult time narrowing the list down to just ten. It was a monumental task, and I did what most Americans would do when faced with a monumental task. I avoided it. Then I decided to do something else. So instead of doing a list of ten amazing things the nigh omnipotent Bill Nye can do, I decided instead to list ten things he couldn't do, and that, my friends, produced a much shorter list. I therefore present to you...

10 Things Bill Nye Can't Do:
  1. Bill Nye can't understand prime numbers, but can understand composite numbers with only prime factors. For instance, when doing a show for VH1, for his benefit, they referred to the network as VH(9-8).
  2. Bill Nye can't make grilled cheese sandwiches. He can make grilled sandwiches. He can make cheese sandwiches. But he can't make grilled cheese sandwiches.
  3. Bill Nye is unable to hate anything. As such, his DVR is full of shows most of us wouldn't even consider watching.
  4. Bill Nye can't talk to the dead, but he can exchange e-mails with them.
  5. Bill Nye can't divulge the meaning of life, but he knows it just the same.
  6. Bill Nye can't seem to beat level seven of the original NES Super Mario Brothers without losing a life.
  7. Bill Nye can't die by conventional means. In other words, he is immune to the top 15 causes of death, but should cancer ever drop off that list, he can die from it.
  8. Bill Nye can't watch Office Space without laughing.
  9. Bill Nye can't negate Don King's lightning powers.
  10. Bill Nye can't believe it's not butter.
I don't know about you, but I feel very relieved to know that there are some things even Bill Nye can't do. It gives us a little reassurance when we fail at things.

You hvae been informed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Better PR for the Righteous

Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems the more important you are, the worse your PR agent is. Paris Hilton can't catch a cold without being all over the papers and CNN and everything else under the sun. Obscene coverage. She contributes nothing to society. Obama makes appearances on numerous TV shows and is constantly giving speeches. It doesn't get the airplay Paris gets, but he still gets a lot of press and gets booked a lot of appearances. He leads one nation. Leader of the U.N.? You probably don't even know his name. I didn't I just googled it. It's Ban Ki-moon. Shows up in the news maybe once a month, and never on any TV shows. At least he still has a presence on the web and in the papers.

But what about the creator of our universe and His important friends? They never get mentioned in the news anymore. No interviews on the internet. The only bookings they seem to get are appearances on grilled cheese sandwiches, jar lids, cabinet doors, and dental x-rays. They never even get any speaking apperaances. Just a "smile for the masses" gig. It's sad, really. Once upon a time, you could book Jesus for a personal appearance with speeches and everything, even after he was dead. Now that's what I call a good publicist.

Perhaps it's simply a matter of time. Two thousand years ago, four thousand years ago, God was everywhere. He could be seen at dinners, at sacrifices, heard on mountains. These days, not so much. Perhaps when He lost His fire and brimstone during the New Testament days, He also lost His will to fire people who let Him down. How many times did He personally literally fire entire cities that displeased Him? I don't know. I haven't counted. But I'm sure it's more than two. How many times has He done so since? Probably less than two. Maybe He has simply lost the youthful determination to smite those who didn't get the job done His way, plauge at 4:30, hot latte, one sugar at exactly 4:45. Perhaps now he's the friendly boss who loves His employees too much to let them go just because they aren't very good at their jobs. He doesn't seem to even be giving many write-ups or councelling notices anymore.

Or perhaps He's calmed with age, rather than lost the heart to make people have it His way. Many celebrities are all over the news and the tabloids when they're young. Paparazzi are always getting shots of them at the club and on the streets. They make public appearances for anything. They get any gigs they want. They throw tantrums at poor production assitants when the coffee isn't hot enough or their cars waxed enough. Then, once they really acclimate to the fame, they step out of the spotlight. They realize that the fame is there. They don't have to be in the tabloids every week or people will forget about them. They can step back and enjoy what they have without being showy about it.

Perhaps it was the same with God. Once upon a time when the world was new, He was rolling in the success of His latest hit, Earth, and He felt the need to let everyone know that He made it. It was His project, and He was a big star. "I don't like the way these Philistines are acting up. Could someone please remove them from the set? thank you." Then He had a kid and realized that He needed to settle down. Stop flexing his stardom just because He could. He stepped out of the limelight. He didn't need the press anymore. He knew His fame was secured. He knew He would always have that loyal devoted group of fans, and He didn't need to take every gig offered to stay in the public eye.

Even so. If You're listening up there, can I make a suggestion? I know you don't really need the press much anymore, and you really like your agent and you don't want to fire her, but can't you at least make her sit through a weekend PR training seminar or something? Surely she can get you better gigs than a dog's anus. Have a little self-respect.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about Zachary Quinto and Justin Long

Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the birthday of both Zachary Quinto, whom you may recognize as Sylar from the TV show Heroes and twenty-something Spock from the new Star Trek movie (not to be confused with Young Spock- Jacob Kogan, or Old Spock/Spock Prime-Leonard Nemoy), and Justin Long, who does great movies like Zack and Miri (Make a Porno), Dodgeball, GalaxyQuest, and Idiocracy when he's not selling his soul to the devil by selling Macs. I really like both of these guys (even if one does try to sell me a smug sense of superiority for a pretty, but overpriced computer that won't play any decent games), and I couldn't decide which to share ten facts about this week. Then I figured since they both share the same birthday, let's share a list of ten facts they have in common.

10 Unknown Facts about Zachary Quinto and Justin Long
  1. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long can both drive a standard and automatic transmission as well as the Semi-Automatic transmission, which only sometimes requires you to manually shift gears. The trick is anticipating when the transmission has decided when it wants you to do it instead.
  2. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long have each eaten enough brownies in one sitting to kill a small elephant.
  3. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long crocheted chain mail shirts out of steel cable.
  4. Zachary Quinto and Justin Longhave escape plans from their homes drawn up in case of fire, burglars, and zombies.
  5. Zachary Quinto and Justin Longhave mystical self-refilling ink cartridges for their printers, the lucky schmucks.
  6. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long can shoot flaming tulips from their hands at will.
  7. Zachary Quinto and Justin Longboth know why the caged bird sings.
  8. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long live on 36 hour daily cycles, making scheduling around their twelve hour sleep sessions difficult.
  9. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long can gain total daily nutritional requirements from chocolate cake.
  10. Zachary Quinto and Justin Long were invited to attend Hogwarts when they were 11, but turned down the offer in hopes of making it big in Hollywood. How lucky for them they didn't turn down wizarding school for nothing.
They really do have some amazing similarities, don't they? What are the odds? I guess we'll never know. Unless one of you has a doctorate in statistics and probability, in which case, what are the odds? I'm sure we'd really like to know.

You have been informed

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obama: A Man We Can Trust

Ladies and Gentlemen, this just a brief injection of truth before I have to go run errands today, but I figure it needed to be shared. There are a lot of concerns these days what with the economy and North Korea wanting to play the Let's Swap Nukes game. But in this time of stress and turmoil, we can at least rest assured with one thing. We can trust Obama to do anything he says he'll do. Obama has made a number of campaign promises. Such promises include ending unwarranted wiretaps, fully funding the Veteran's Administration, and securing nuclear weapons materials in four years, none of which have had any progress made on them yet. Rest assured, however, that he will get to it because he's a man who keeps his promises.
  • Fact: During the election, he promised his kids a dog if he got elected. His children now have a dog.
  • Fact: During the campaign, he promised his wife if he got elected, he would take her to a Broadway show. He took his wife to Joe Turner's Come and Gone.
The truth of the matter is, of all promises, these are the ones people least expect to be fulfilled. After all, how many husbands have said, "Yeah, honey. If I get this promotion, I'm buying you the fanciest dress and taking you to the nicest restaurant" only to blow it off and say, "this new promotion wears me out. I'm too tired to take you out dancing." How many dads have promised their kids dogs and never provided. You see, these are promises that we expect to be broken. Once in a lifetime promises like "I'll close Guantanemo" we expect to be said sincerely because it's so very memorable. We expect promises like that to be kept. The fact that Obama made good on two of the top ten most commonly broken promises* means we can certainly expect him to make good on everything else. Why else would the news have felt it important to share the keeping of these revolutionary promises if they didn't directly impact the nation?

You have been informed.

*10 Most Frequently Broken Promises (in no particular order):
  1. Taking out the trash
  2. Doing the dishes
  3. Getting the kids a dog
  4. Taking loved one out for a nice evening.
  5. Quitting a bad habit
  6. Wedding vows
  7. Anything someone says they'll do tomorrow
  8. Not reading something you are told is private
  9. Rub feet/Shoulders
  10. Lowering taxes

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

10 Unknown Facts About Ibn Battuta

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can see you scratching your heads right now wondering who in the world Ibn Battuta could possibly be. Born in 1304, Abu Abdallah Ibn Battuta was an Islamic legal scholar specializing in Sunni law, but is most famous for getting around, and by that I mean travelling through Africa and parts of Asia, not making babies. He wrote tales of his travels, which were popular in his time and are considered mostly accurate historical sources on Africa prior to heavy European influence in the form of traders, slavers, and settlers. His stories were full of the fantastical, with hints of swashbuckling of sorts. After all, if you know your readers will probably never be able to travel to the great city of Timbuktu, you're free to say just about whatever you want about what you did there and who you met. Boy, did he claim to meet a lot of rulers. And white women. But that's another story.

And just for a bit of trivia before we kick this list off, in Arabic cultures as in European cultures, at least in the 1300s, it was common for a person's name to include a reference to one's direct lineage. Much the way Johnson meant "John's son," ibn meant "son of." Thus, when history refers to Abu Abdallah Ibn Battuta, remember that historians are basically saying, "And then Battuta's kid when to Africa." Battuta must be so proud.

10 Unknown Facts About Abu Abdallah Ibn Battuta:
  1. When Ibn Battuta dropped names--and he did... a lot--he always made sure to pick them up and dust them off before using them again.
  2. It is rumored that Ibn Battuta was the inspiration for Henry Winkler's character Barry Zuckerkorn on Arrested Development, which may explain why Ibn Battuta was known more for traveling than lawyering.
  3. Ibn Battuta owned the first Model T Ford, almostl six hundred years before Henry Ford built his automobile factory. This Model T allowed Ibn Battuta to travel the 29 years and 75,000 miles of his journeys quickly and in style.
  4. After countless ships he travelled with (but no ships that he travelled on) sank during his travels, Ibn Battuta realized that he was the most bouyant thing in the universe.
  5. Ibn Battuta met so many rulers that even those he really did meet doubted his tales that they'd met.
  6. Ibn Battuta lived in New York before it was just regular York, and long before that uppity (newer) New York in the Americas stole its thunder. He says the coffee shops were better then, and it was easier to find a good apartment on the East side for cheap.
  7. Scholars say that for every three powerful families Ibn Battuta claimed to have married into, there were two more imaginary families he meant to say he'd married into but never got around to telling his stenographer.
  8. When travelling across the Sahara, Ibn Battuta often grew frustrated at how tired he was of the camels having to stop for water every couple of weeks, once commenting, "Why can't they suck it up and wait for water until they I do?"
  9. Ibn Battuta fought the law, and the law lost.
  10. Ibn Battuta claimed to have the memory of an elephant, which he said bored him to no end. "Really, how many memories of walking the the savannah eating grass must I have?" he once wrote. "I would rather have had a lion's memory or perhaps a monkey's."
Amazing what one person could do in a life time so long ago. I have a hard enough time getting to work, and he travelled the world. Here's to you, Battuta's kid!

You have been informed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dastardly Accountability

Ladies and Gentlemen, there's been a big push in recent years for accountability and transparency. People want some accountability in our government after the past administration or two, some system in which leaders take responsibility for their actions, and the people want to be informed (transparency). We're tired of being left in the dark. Even in classrooms, there is a push for accountability and transparency. With the No Child Left Behind Act, teachers are being held accountable for the results of student achievement on statistically unrealistic levels. Likewise, parents want to know exactly what is happening in the classroom so they know how to word the lawsuit when Little Sally fails a spelling test. We expect accountability and transparency in those who govern us, but you know who has always given us both, through thick and thin, for time immemorial?


How many James Bond movies find the bad guy telling her Majesty's favorite spy every single element of his plan. "First I'm going to shoot the moon with this laser I made from parts I purchased at Home Depot. You can find my schematics at Then when the moon is destroyed, tides will run wild, which in turn will bring me vast fortunes as I have invested in both elevated housing technology and the boat building industry. Then I'm going to get a submarine to go underwater to retrieve all of the gold from Fort Knox while my laser sharks hunt you down, Mr. Bond, and then... you will die!"

We simply don't see that kind of honesty or openness in our leaders today. It's always "We have a plan. Things are in motion. I will not know about all of these things so I can deny knowing about them later. Any questions? Sorry, I have a thing. I don't have time to answer that one."

Likewise, Villains are the first to claim credit for their actions. When they have a plot, they take over the airwaves and make sure every person in the world knows. They hack your iPod so you get their diabolical proclamation mid "Tara's Party Mix Playlist." They put it in papers. They use psychic suggestion to put that thought, that credit into your mind. And when they fail, they admit it, but like responsible individuals promise never to give up and vow to try again.

Perhaps in the future, we should consider electing Doctor No to office. I mean, come on. He's a villain, so he's going to be upfront with you. He'll tell you what he's up to every step of the way so you can stop him if you deem it important, and he'll take full responsibility for his actions. Plus, he's a doctor, so clearly he's concerned with health care and education.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

10 Unknown Facts About Dick Clark

Ladies and Gentlemen, I've been listening to a lot of music lately, and when I think of music in general, I think of Dick Clark, not because he really makes any music, at least not personally, but because he's been something of a spokesperson for it since American Bandstand and his New Year's Rockin' Eve Party. He was born as Richard Wagstaff Clark in 1929 (yes, he's coming up on his 80th birthday), but became famous as Dick Clark of American Bandstand fame, a program on which bands would play, teens would dance, and back at home, girls would swoon during any Elvis appearance. Despite the stroke, he's still managed to keep something of a baby face. This youthful appearance even earned him the nickname "America's Oldest Living Teenager." Clearly this youthful appearance is actually because he's from a mystic race that ages slowly. In fact, rumor has it that the change from Richard Clark to Dick Clark is just one in a long series of name changes that he adopts every century or so, to keep his true nigh-ageless nature a secret. I'm giving that tidbit to you for free and not including it as a fact because, honestly, that's just conjecture. No, Clark comes to mind for being so influential in music, though his influence goes far deeper than hosting music programs. At times, he inspires it. The list of 10 Unknown Facts today shows just how inspirational Dick Clark has been to music by discussing 10 songs in which he goes uncredited.

10 Unknown Facts About Dick Clark:
  1. Dick Clark put the bop in the bop shoo bop shoo bop.
  2. Dick Clark keeps moving John Linnell's chair.
  3. Dick Clark let the dogs out.
  4. Dick Clark wrote the Book of Love.
  5. It's Dick Clark
  6. Dick Clark controls the British crown, Oscar night, and several other things.
  7. Dick Clark holds tomorrow.
  8. Dick Clark sold the world.
  9. Dick Clark taught Sloan to live like that.
  10. Dick Clark is gonna drive you home tonight.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I felt it captured the scope pretty well. Next time you hear a song where someone wants to know who did something, rest assured, it's probably Dick Clark.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about George Carlin

Ladies and Gentlemen, George Carlin would have been 72 had he not accepted that gig in Paradise last year, thinking it would be the town in California. We all know that Carlin was a comedian, but early in his life, he was also a radar technician in the Air Force and a disc jockey. Today, to celebrate his life and what he did for free speech (something very near to our heart here at The Truth of the World), we present to you ten things about George Carlin you didn't know.

10 Unknown Facts about George Carlin:
  1. George Carlin could sqeeze seven shots out of a six-shooter.
  2. Though most famous for his "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television," George Carlin was always a little disappointed that his "Seventy Thousand Words You Can Say on Television," also known as "George Carlin Reads the Dictionary," never caught on the same way.
  3. George Carlin's sense of smell was 1,000 times stronger than most humans.
  4. George Carlin's job of Radar Technician consisted of not only maintaining RADAR systems, but also maintaining Gary Burghoff.
  5. George Carlin's bite had a 95% mortality rate.
  6. George Carlin could sleep for three years straight, leading some to believe he isn't really dead.
  7. George Carlin's book title Napalm and Silly Putty was meant to be a recipe for a substance that would turn iron into gold, but a publishing oversight left off the third ingredient.
  8. According to George Carlin, the hardest thing about being a disc jockey is getting it to race other discs. Climbing on the disc's back is the easiest part.
  9. George Carlin made a bet on the world series in the mid 1950s. The loser had to keep a beard for the rest of their lives. Carlin actually won the bet, but kept a beard anyway, just to rub in the fact that he could shave his any time he wanted.
  10. George Carlin secretly filled in during a Beatles concert when George Harrison was sick with a cold. They figured no one would notice if you switched on George for another. They were right.
You have been informed.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New and Nostalgia

Ladies and Gentlemen, we all know CNN strives to bring us the newest of news, but the problem is that few people trust the media anymore. Perhaps its the biases or, as I've pointed out so many times in the past, that they miss the real story (Come on, CNN. No mention of the giant bug people at all when you covered the shoe thrower...). In an effort to curb this distrust, CNN has hired someone to make the network feel friendly and believable again. They've hired your college roommate.

In a segment I like to call "Jarrett Surfs Youtube," Jarrett Bellini shares popular videos from the internet. In an unbuttoned, untucked shirt and slacker goatee. I feel at home when I watch this segment. It takes me back to my college days when I would be trying to do some homework, something important and serious, and my disheveled roommate would barge in and say, "Dude, you gotta check out this video I just found on youtube." Then he would spend two minutes painfully explaining what makes the thirty second clip he's about to show you funny, which kills all the funny. Afterward, he beats humor's corpse by telling you what you just saw and again, why he thinks it's funny. And before you can blink, he's spending another five minutes prefacing another kinda lame thirty second clip.

Oh CNN, thank you for bringing me back to those golden days of yore. The nostalgic twinge I feel every time Jarrett comes barging into my news broadcast saying, "Dude, you gotta check this out! It's a video of a homeless guy peeing himself" will keep me coming back to your station time and again. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to go put on a flannel and go play hackey sack while bemoaning everything that's wrong with the world. Maybe afterward, I'll curl up with a nice blanket, use this massive amount of fluff as a pillow, and dream about begging for extensions on a paper I had all semester to do.

You have been informed.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Writer's Block Will Be the Death of Me

Ladies and Gentlemen, I haven't had any decent ideas for anything to turn my investigative eye on in a while, so I haven't been writing here. I've gotten stumped on my novel even though I know pretty much exactly what I want to say. I'm often unable to come up with adventures for my Friday night gaming group until the very last minute. Even today, while at work, I had an idea for a post here and then poof, gone she went. I can't hold onto an idea to save my life. Because this blog and my future career depend on imparting ideas, I can only assume that means something wants me dead. Some precognitive spirit can see my future and knows that any day now I'll walk down some dark alley and a mugger is going to pull a gun and say, "Give me all your ideas," and I, being unable to provide any, will be shot.

You see, there's an old saying. "If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime." Yeah, he eats, but it'll be a short lifetime from mercury poisoning. I mean, man can't live on fish alone. Maybe it should be "If you teach a man to fish, farm, and probably hunt as well on top of any marketable trade skill you can teach him such as carpentry or gun repair, he eats for a lifetime." But I digress.

The point is, in this economy, it's not enough to get money for today. Everyone wants financial security. A standard Watch-N-Wallet Mugging feeds a man for a day, possibly a week if the watch is a Rolex. But a mugger who steals ideas is investing in his future. A stolen storyline can be turned into a novel, to reap a comfortable residual income over several months or years. Likewise, a stolen innovation can lead to patents that can theoretically ensure even one's children eat for life. A stolen lyric makes its way into a song whose royalties will pay for a Rolls Royce. The intelligent mugger these days will not ask for cash, but rather for stock tips. The creative criminal will not demand an individual's shoes, but rather his clever screenplay pitch.

Thus it will be with me when I walk down that unforeseen dark alley and a man with a gun demands a clever idea for a TV show or blog post, and I will die because of my writer's block.

Note to self: Find out who's out to kill you by keeping you from developing any ideas.

As for the rest of you, keep a notebook of random thoughts in your pocket. It could save your life. Especially if you're prone to traveling down menacing streets at night.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about John Lithgow and Kevin Bacon

Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems the closer we get to the Summer, the busier I'm going to be. Work picks up around that time. Meanwhile, wedding planning is in full force and I've got to pick up extra shifts to save for the honeymoon in between training sessions I'll have to do for my new teaching job, all while preparing to move at the end of July. Plus, I have to find time to spend with Miss Truth (soon to be Mrs. Truth) so that she'll still have me come the end of June. It's been hectic hectic hectic and I'm way behind once again. So here are two sets of ten facts to make up at least for missed Ten Facts Tuesdays. I'll try to do better, but I make no promises.

John Lithgow is one of those beloved Hollywood stars that everyone likes but couldn't you his name. You may remember him as the older guy on Third Rock from the Sun, the crazy bad guy on The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension, the dad from Harry and the Hendersons, or the voice of Lord Farquaad from Shrek. But there’s much more to this versatile actor that you did not know (other than his name).

10 Unknown Facts about John Lithgow:
  1. John Lithgow is one of only two native North American marsupial. The other is the opossum.
  2. John Lithgow has fifty razor-sharp teeth, the most found in any land mammal.
  3. John Lithgow will eat almost any food he comes across including small mammals such as ground-nesting birds, hares, and even baby antelope. He will also eat roots, tubers, and even crustaceans or other marine life near the shore.
  4. John Lithgow spends an estimated two-thirds of his life in the water.
  5. John Lithgow marks his territorial boundaries by whistling.
  6. John Lithgow closes his nostrils and absorbs oxygen through his skin while underwater.
  7. John Lithgow can learn to imitate human vocalizations very well.
  8. John Lithgow can hold his food in one foot and break off pieces to eat with his other foot.
  9. Researchers learn about John Lithgow's eating habits by studying his castings, or pellets of indigestible material such as bones and fur that has been regurgitated.
  10. John Lithgow is so powerful that a single kick at a predator, such as a lion, could be fatal.

As we all know, everyone can be connected to Kevin Bacon in six steps, but here are a few things you may not have known.

10 Unknown Facts about Kevin Bacon:
  1. Kevin Bacon is one of the few members of his biological family that cannot fly.
  2. Kevin Bacon travels across snow and ice by sliding on his belly.
  3. Kevin Bacon can hold his breath for twenty minutes and dive up to 900 feet deep!
  4. Kevin Bacon cannot swim in warm water.
  5. Kevin Bacon has been known to be up to four feet tall!
  6. Kevin Bacon's diet consists primarily of fish, squid, and shrimp that he catches in his mouth.
  7. When Kevin Bacon is ready to mate, he stands with his back arched and arms stretched out, making loud calls and strutting about to attract females.
  8. Kevin Bacon's primary predator is the leopard seal, which prefers him for dinner over any other creature.
  9. Kevin Bacon has soft downy feathers when he first hatches from his egg.
  10. Kevin Bacon has a specialized tongue that is rarely seen. This spiky spiny tongue prevents food from slipping out of his mouth.
You have been informed.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ghostly Insomnia

Ladies and Gentlemen, last night I was sleeping soundly, but thirst got the better of me and I woke to wet my parched mouth. The room was noticably warmer than when I went to sleep. No wonder I was thirsty. I rolled over to drink from the cup I had sitting on the night stand. As I did so, I saw a shadowy human shaped figure dart away--emphasis on the shadow part. I woke several times that night, always thirsty, always hot. I only saw ghostly movement once more. The other times I kept my eyes shut. I didn't want to deal with it. Clearly, this ghost is almost certainly Oliver Cromwell who no doubt shut off the air conditioner because he seems to hate all things technological.

Look, Mr. Cromwell, that kind of behavior is uncalled for. England is located roughly between 50 and 60 degrees latitude. Mississippi is sitting smack dab at thirty. I don't think you realize, oh ghost of -ocracies past, what a difference that makes temperature-wise. I've been to England this time of year. It can be kind of nice. But guess what, sunshine, our low temperature today is right where your high is. That's right. You're looking at a low 48/high 67. My place has 67 degrees for our low temperature for today. Mind you, this is presented in Fahrenheit because if you're going to go cutting off my A/C in the middle of the night, I'm not going to exert the effort needed to convert to Celcius for you. Plus, you kinda died before Celsius was established. Granted, you kinda died before Fahrenheit was established as well. How convenient that you should die before science established any reliable temperature gague beyond the Freezing-Cold-Cool-Luke Warm-Warm-Hot-Screw This I'm Going Swimming. Let me guess, all of this death before thermometers was done simply so you could pretend to be ingnorant when you turned off that vital cool air in the middle of the night and then in the morning, be like, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know what those numbers mean. I'm a ghost. Oooooo!"

I'm hip to your little games, Cromwell.

You have been informed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Subscriber Appreciation 2: Electric Boogaloo

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's that time again. Subscriber Appreciation time, in which we all get to know a little something about each other. Four is my favorite number, you see. Because I've had four new subscribers since the last time I did this, I think it's time to do it again. Four Unknown Facts about Four of you.

Four Unknown Facts about Trevor:
  1. Trevor is a master of bovine teleportation to the extent that a song was written about him.
  2. Trevor knows what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.
  3. Trevor's original Craigslist experiment failed to get IRB approval, and as such, he turned to his current project. I won't divulge what, but let's say they the Institutional Review Board has a problem with anything experiment that involves small animals, drywall, and and the unwilling participation of at least three Trail Blazers, regardless of how valuable the hypothesis could prove.
  4. Trevor had a dinner date set up with Tyra Banks until she realized he said he wanted to be America's next top remodeler.
Four Unknown Facts about John:
  1. John has a sixth sense that allows him to locate sweet videos on the internet the way Monterey Jack can detect cheese.
  2. John is a wordsmith in the truest sense of the word. He has an anvil upon which he places red-hot verbs and adjectives and then strikes them until they are something else. He does not do prepositions, though. Those are close class words, and thus, do not smelt as easily.
  3. John once made a phonecall from the TARDIS to his cellphone so the he could have that number handy in case he needed it. Then his phone fell in a pond.
  4. The Kingdom wasn't united until John convinced it to sit down at the table and talk out its differences.

Four Unknown Facts about Debbie:
  1. Debbie speaks Cat, but doesn't know it because cats, upon realizing someone can understand them, speak only kitty gibberish in that person's presence until said individual is convinced it was all a dream.
  2. Debbie does not use Pseudonyms in her blog. Her husband's name really is The Professor. Hence her married name Debbie Professor.
  3. Debbie and her husband are actually stranded time-travellers (from 1976, so it's not as exciting as coming from the future, but still), hence their enjoyment of the works of Jean M Auel and their frustrations with the show The Tudors.
  4. Debbie thinks it is ridiculous that even though pie with ice cream on top is called pie a la mode, no waitress yet has given her jelly when she orders toast a la Bama.

Four Unknown Facts about Excalibur Chicken:
  1. Excalibur Chicken was once plucked from a nest, thus proving that the plucker was destined to be king of nuggets at the fast food restaurant in which he worked.
  2. Excalibur Chicken once received transmissions from David Bowie's telescopic nipple antennae.
  3. Excalibur Chicken once met the Death of Rats.
  4. As is evident from the facts above, Excalibur Chicken does things once and once only.
You have been informed.
You have been informed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Somali Economy and You

Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems every time we turn on the news or open the paper, we find another report of yet another naval incursion by Somali pirates. We shun Somalia; we question their lawlessness. In actuality, however, we should encourage Somalia. After all, the nation has been devastated by internal struggles since it gained its independence in 1960 (along with many other African nations). It's been plagued by one ineffectual government after another. In fact, Somalia's GNP is less than the net worth of at least eighty individuals on the face of the earth, including Bill Gates. That's right. Bill Gates could buy Somalia if he felt so inclined, and still have enough money left over to buy all of its neighbors. In fact, research shows that a large percentage of Somalia's money comes from Somali ex-patriots wiring money to friends and family in the motherland.

What does this have to do with pirates? Thank you for asking, hypothetical reader. With a sizable portion of Somalia's GNP coming from outside of the nation, the country clearly lacks for reliable exports with which to locally sustain its own economy. Somalia does have some agrarian capabilities--bananas are one of their major, one of their only for that matter, exports. These farms, however, provide only 40% of the nation's income. That's forty percent of 5.7 billion dollars, or roughly 2.28 billion dollars from these crops. Somali needed to explore new potential exports. As a coastal country, the fishing industry was a possibility and were it not for the incursion of foreign ships, may very well have been a lucrative one at that. However, being outfished by foreign nations, Somalia had to turn its eyes to the only other logical potential aquatic export: pirates.

Historically, England, France, Spain, China, even the U.S. (or the colonies, to be more accurate) to a lesser degree all possessed markets for pirates. It seemed a wise investment. They could start a pirate industry and sell their pirates to these other countries. Unfortunately for Somalia, the global demand for pirates has dwindled in recent centuries. Upon trying to export their pirates to other countries, Somalia often found foreign nations actively refusing to import the pirates, driving them away at the borders of their waters with large gunboats. Somalia, being thus discouraged, set out to prove the quality of their pirates as both a commodity and an investment.

Currently, Somali pirates control between ten and twenty foreign vessels and several hundred sailors with an average ransom of two million dollars. They're attempting to show the safe return on an investment in Somali Piratestm. After all, these pirates have secured over one billion dollars resale value of merchandise (20% of Somalia's GNP), which can then be resold, adding to a nation's exports, or these ships can be ransomed for a net gain of upwards of fifty million dollars! It's a remarkable return for one's investment in piracy, considering the costs of conducting piracy operations are considerably lower. It's a safer investment than the stock market! Further, cultivating a national pirate industry not only creates jobs and alternative export possibilities, it also promotes economic growth in related industries, such as ship and weapons manufacture, and adds hostages to a nation's list of profitable exports. It's a huge growth industry!

The international community is putting a lot of pressure on Somalia for its pirate industry, but really, we should admire them. They're a country that's truly looking outside the box during these hard economic times for unexplored, reliable means of generating income. Demand may be down for their products and services, but at least they're trying. Further, with the popularity of pirates in film and television growing, it's only a matter of time before demand also rises, which will increase the price for a good pirate. We, as a nation, should invest now before the price per pirate becomes unreasonable. We should encourage this sort of creative problem solving by demanding our senators push to help a struggling third world nation out by purchasing Somali Piratestm of our own. France and England can join suit and we can shake it up like the old days. After all, when was the last time we had a really good naval battle? Fifty, sixty years ago? Too long.

Invest in pirates. They'll turn this economy around.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Science Outpaces Intelligence!

Ladies and Gentlemen, as we continue our effort to make up for lost time, I share with you this disturbing bit of news. For ages, man has feared that the pace at which science and technology grows exceeds the pace at which man's wisdom and intellect, man's ability to make ethical decisions grows. They thought we had reached the outpacing point when we developed the atomic bomb. We'd built a bomb that could level a city, but were we ready to wield that awesome power, to make the kinds of decisions needed to use those bombs responsibly? Instances like that really make us do a cost-benefit analysis on science and technology, but they pale in comparison to the gap between science and reason in this latest technological development. In the past, the question was "Are we morally ready for this innovation?"

Now the question is "Are we intelligent enough to invent this technology in the first place, let alone use it?"

The answer, in this case, is a resounding no. We have officially technologically outpaced ourselves.

I submit to you for your consideration the Big Dog robot.

We've built an advanced robot that looks and moves nothing like a dog and called it a Big Dog. We needn't ask if we're ready for such a robot. The answer is clearly no. These scientists evidently don't even know what dogs look like, and we let them build robots? If anything, it looks and sounds like a bug, and moves like a deer. If these scientists were intelligent and intellectually ready for an innovation like this, they would have named it the Big Bug Deer. But they called it the Big Dog.

And then they kicked it, so clearly they aren't ready for it. They weren't intelligent enough to name it properly, and then they kicked it, showing they clearly don't realize it's unethical to kick a dog, even if it is robotic. Not to sound like a Luddite or seem like I'm siding with Oliver Cromwell or anything, but I think it's time we put the kibosh on technological discovery until we can at least identify common animals and stop abusing robots. After all, robot abuse is always the first step toward robot enslavement/annihilation of humanity.

As further proof that robots are becoming increasingly self-aware, we have reference above to the robo-boogie and this video of robots dancing.

And we all know that according to my modified version of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, dancing is an essential step to self-actualization, the epitome of self-awareness.

Tread more cautiously, science. You're treading in dangerous waters that you aren't mentally ready for.

You have been informed.

10 Unknown Facts about Jeff Goldblum

Ladies and Gentlemen, catch-up continues. We've missed two Ten Facts Tuesdays, so here's your second Ten Facts list to make up for it.

This time, we'll focus our exploratory light on Jeff Goldblum. He acts a lot. He used to sell Macs. He is my almost sister-in-law's not so secret celebrity crush. We all know who he is. Here's a little you probably didn't know about him.

10 Unknown Facts about Jeff Goldblum:
  1. Jeff Goldblum actually has two stomachs so that even his digestive system can keep kosher.
  2. Jeff Goldblum is, according to classified government documents, America's first line of defense against extra-terrestrials.
  3. Jeff Goldblum is immune to the germs that cause the gum disease Gingivitis. Hence, he does not need Listerine.
  4. Jeff Goldblum has catlike balance, and as such, always lands on his feet unless you drop him many times upside down and then drop him right side up, at which point, habit and expectation will cause him to fall awkwardly just like the rest of us.
  5. Jeff Goldblum can make the tastiest pork chops you've ever had in your life. He won't, because he's orthodox Jewish, but he could if he wanted to.
  6. Jeff Goldblum likes Lucy a lot and respects her, and he would like it if they could still be friends, but he just doesn't love Lucy anymore.
  7. Jeff Goldblum trains every day for the zombie apocalypse.
  8. Jeff Goldblum is the modern day incarnation of Spring Heeled Jack.
  9. Jeff Goldblum isn't allergic to dogs, but he is allergic to the word dog, often leading to confusion on the subject.
  10. Jeff Goldblum has an XBox live achievement named after him called Jeff Goldblum, which so far, only he has earned. The requirements needed to earn are that the person must score 10,000 points for a single trick on Tony Hawk's Underground and be Jeff Goldblum.
You have been informed.

10 Unknown Facts about Dave Arneson

Ladies and Gentlemen, wow what a hiatus that I didn't mean to take. The day of my last post two weeks ago, I found out Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons died, and I wanted to do a tribute that wasn't just a ten unknown facts list. I couldn't think of anything, but I wanted that to be my next post. Time passed. I still couldn't think of anything. Then I got caught up in job interviews and wedding plans and work and writing (I've started a novel) and so many other things. So today, two weeks later, I say enough is enough. It's time I get this truth train back on track with something I didn't want to do but if I had, I'd have never derailed in the Andes in the first place...

So, to start my big game of catch-up...

10 Unknown Facts about Dave Arneson:
  1. Dave Arneson was once a member of Flight of the Conchords, but his fear of heights made the band's name hypothetically terrifying and he was forced to quit for anxiety reasons.
  2. Dave Arneson taught John Constantine everything he knows about doing magic and making tea.
  3. Dave Arneson could make eggless quiche.
  4. Dave Arneson was the first Settler of Catan.
  5. It is grammatically correct for DaVe aRNEsON to capitalize any letters in his name that he pleases.
  6. Dave Arneson once genetically crossed a bee and dog so when they played fetch, if the stick accidentally landed on the roof, the dog could get it. Plus, Dog Honey is super tastey. Plus, it was just super adorable.
  7. During the Cold War, Dave Arneson was on the side of Luke Warm.
  8. Dave Arneson was genetically incapable of being a jerk to anyone due to a mutation in his amygdala.
  9. Dave ARneson had an impressive chin bust collection, including busts of the chins of Jay Leno, Bruce Cambell, and Carl Sandberg--who didn't have an impressive chin himself but did write a poem about people with proud chins.
  10. Dave Arneson knew the secret ending to Lost, but took the secret to his grave (believe me, I tried to get it out of him).
It's not much. I wanted to do something more, but I couldn't think of anything, so here's a list for you, Dave. Thanks for helping to provide me with some of my favorite times growing up.

You have been informed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Captured Populations

Ladies and Gentlemen, you may remember Hurricane Katrina from several years ago. New Orleans was all over the news after that, and so much money and so many volunteers poured into the city to help rebuild. Believe it or not, New Orleans was not the only place affected. Every coastal county in Mississippi took heavy damage with extensive flooding and a 27 foot storm surge that moved upwards of twelve miles inland. Even now, almost four years later, driving along the beach, the devastation is blatantly obvious. Rebuilding is slow, and takes a lot of money. We only recently had the last of our destroyed bridges replaced. Still, many places have a lot of work left to do. One city, Bay St. Louis, has found a creative way to help rebuild.

The first thing one needs to understand in the rebuilding process is that it takes a lot of money, often tax money to rebuild and jumpstart a destroyed community. Unfortunately, a number of people who fled from Katrina didn't return. Their homes were gone. Their jobs were gone. There was little to pull them back to the coast. There was little to return to, for that matter. The price of homes skyrocketed because there were so few that came through unharmed, and those who had them didn't want to part with them. Of course, no returning constituents means a loss of tax dollars. Bay St. Louis found a unique solution to the problem.


I went to drop off a job application at a school there and found myself taking the scenic route through the entire town as one detour led me into another. There were no fewer than five major road construction projects and that's just what I saw. How does all of this boost populations? As I drove in, I was thwarted by half a dozen detours just getting to the school. I was frustrated, but not deterred. It was only when I attempted to leave that I saw the true evil genius behind their plan. My detour led me to another, which led me to another, which led be back to the beginning. You see, there is a single lane leading into the general vicinity of the school, but all roads leading out are detoured. I was stuck in a vicious, inescapable circle that ran me past dozens of quaint little homes for sale.

It's the perfect plan, really. Ensure that those who enter the city can never leave. Then, when their cars run out of gas, direct them to the lovely three bedroom two bath with a nice lawn their car died in front of. Maybe they'd like to tour it. Take out a loan. Settle down. Have some kids. Pay some taxes. Only then will they tell the new resident of the secret route out of town. By that point, however, it's too late. The poor victim is settled. They don't want to navigate a moving van down through those construction zones and they certainly don't want to sell a house in this market.

I wouldn't be fooled by them, oh no. We cheated. We used parking lots, alleys, and quick trips down one way streets to make our escape. I know what happens in picturesque towns you can't escape from. Housewives butcher people and serve them for dinner. Librarians sprout Cthulhu tentacles and keep their husbands locked in the basement in bondage gear. If not that, it's haunted by ghosts seeking revenge for some age old offence, and that sounds equally unpleasant. No thank you. I made my exit post haste, and informed my fiancee that if I did get that job, she'd have to move there, because they'd never let me escape the same way twice. I'd never find my way out again.

So consider yourself warned. Beware of small, quaint little towns that try to make you detour. It's a trap. It's always a trap. Turn around. Drive backwards down one way streets. Get out of your car and run if you must. But whatever you do, do not do not do not be tempted to buy a house when your car runs out of gas.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about Professional Writers

Ladies and Gentlemen, I just finished writing a short story whose concept I really love, but the prose doesn't really do it any justice. Such is the story of my life. Ever since I was a little kid, I've wanted to be a writer. I'm sure that isn't hard to believe considering how many Ten Facts Tuesdays I've done about writers (Wil Wheaton, Philip K. Dick, and Jim Butcher just to name a few). I almost did today's on Isaac Asimov, in part because of my secret desire that I can one day get something published in Analog. Don't get me wrong, his work is great, but I just finished writing something and I would like to see it published if I can ever get a solid draft out of it, so my mind is more on the magazine than the man right now. Regardless, I decided rather than share ten facts about another author this week, I would share ten facts about authors in general so that maybe you guys can get a glimmer of an idea why I want to be a writer, a professional writer, so very very much.

Ten Unknown Facts about Professional Writers
  1. Professional writers are allowed to eat their dessert first if they like.
  2. Professional writers can rewrite anything, even personal histories.
  3. Professional writers are sixteen times more likely to earn an Eagle Talon High Five than non writers. 
  4. Professional writers are all members of a super secret club like freemasonry only fun where they can go and hang out and watch TV and play games with other writers whenever they want. (When they're not under deadlines from their editors, that is)
  5. Professional writers all have magic plates that hold 36% more food at buffets, meaning they have to make fewer trips down the crowded food lines.
  6. Professional writers get DVRs that program themselves. Yup. It automatically knows they want to watch Lost.
  7. Professional writers have access to a super secret formula of Diet Doctor Pepper that tastes even more like regular Doctor Pepper.
  8. Professional writers' cars on average get an extra three miles to the gallon. 
  9. Professional writers get into all the cons they want for free.
  10. Professional writers can buy their eggs for seven cents apiece in Malta and sell them for five cents apiece and still make a profit.
Just so you know. Sure there are other benefits, like getting paid to share your ideas and your creations with the world, in knowing what you do makes other people happy. And yes, there are drawbacks. Deadlines. Pressure. Rewrites. The unpredictable nature of the work, the unreliability of the paychecks. Even so, it's always something I've wanted to do. Those ten perks> That's just icing on the cake.

You have been informed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Memories of Murder

Ladies and Gentlemen, I don't know about you, but I really enjoy the TV show Law and Order, especially the original before there were a dozen law and order shows. However, something always struck me as odd when I watched the show. How were these gas station attendants and department store clerks always able to remember this one specific person a month or so later? They see hundreds if not thousands of people a day. By the time the police get to them, they've seen 10,000 customers or more, and yet they always have some vivid, but trivial memory of that person.

"Oh yeah, I remember her. She came in here and bought two tv dinners three weeks ago. One meatloaf and one macaroni. She paid with a five. I gave her two dollars and seventy-six cents back. Yeah, I remember her."

I can't dismiss this as bad fiction writing because everyone knows the show is based on real cases and real events. This leads me to one of two conclusions:
  1. Working minimum wage cashier jobs helps develop memory recall in people.
  2. When someone is about to die, those around them, particularly cashiers because they don't have to use as much of their brains at work so they develop psychic powers (as was proven in the book/movie Matilda), can sense it and though they can't identify what it is about this person, they know they should remember them.
Now, both I and my fiancee have worked our share of minimum wage jobs and we are both really absent minded. This, I feel, rules out the first conclusion regarding improved memory recall. Therefore, the latter conclusion must be true. Thus, to help the police and help save lives, if you work a minimum wage job and remember a customer the next day, chances are they've been murdered or will be murdered and you should phone the police with what you know immediately.

You have been informed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cruel and Unusual Punishments

Ladies and Gentlemen, it's no secret that the U.S. is holding a number of detainees in the war on terror. Note, these are detainees, mind you, not prisoners. Prisoners are tried and convicted individuals who, according to various treaties and conventions, must be treated in certain ways. As detainees, however, we are not subject to rules against cruel and unusual punishments. I believe that the U.S. is doing a fantastic job in this instance of providing a punishment that suits the unspecified crimes. And what is this punishment, you may ask. What are we using to extract our national revenge> Irony.

These detainees, who fought so hard to destroy our American way of excess and privilege, are forced to endure the same cruel privilege and excess that they railed against. That's right. These terrorists and enemy combatants who feel at home in the rigors of third-world poverty are forced to endure not two, but three, three culturally appropriate square meals a day! Oh they shame they would suffer if those at home were to learn of this. And two of these meals are hot!  From what I understand they actually must suffer the indecision Americans feel every day when bombarded by an excess of choice. The poor men at each meal must choose between four meal options! Even after a lifetime of practice at navigating the culinary world of privilege have difficultly. It's cruel and wrong to force these individuals to make such unaccustomed decisions before they can eat! We don't force other prisoners to do 1,000 push-ups or beat a super computer in a game of chess before being served, so how do we morally justify making these men, men who've had no practice at choosing what to eat, decide before we give them food> Even more cruel is that these meals are in excess of 4,000 calories! We're forcing obesity, America's epidemic of excessive comfort and wealth, upon them.

They're required to endure the horrors of hot running water. Further, these detainees can't even take pride in finding their own means to keep their government supplied holy Koran off of the floor. We give them a sling to keep it from touching the ground and then paint arrows on the floor pointing the way to Mecca. I understand this is essentially a prison without all of the Geneva Convention restrictions, but really. Must we leave these detainees with no problems to surmount so that they can hold their heads high and call themselves men> They do not need to use the stars to determine directional orientation, so that they may use their wits to prove their devotion to Allah. Likewise, they do not need to improvise clever devices from their clothing to keep their sacred scripture sacredly off of the floor. 

They need not ever exert themselves. They do not need to think too hard or work to hard. They are being turned physically and mentally into sheep, with the government giving them all of the answers they will need, telling them where they should go and what they should do, depriving them of the need to think, to reason, to earn their place in the world, to question and problem solve. They are given access to legal council and are allowed to speak on their own defense. They do not need to do an honest day's work to provide their luxury, and thus can take no true pride in what they have. They are forced to eat themselves to death with fatty foods and oversized portions the way so many of us do every day. Their punishment is the most sick and twisted I have ever seen. These men who have fought so hard to bring down the American lifestyle are forced to endure the most ironic punishment man could devise. They are forced to live like Americans. 

Geneva needs to put a stop to this sick and twisted mind game. 

You have been informed.

The Truth Is...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I couldn't resist. I had a little April Fools fun with you yesterday. I'm sorry to betray your trust, but I figured you'd probably get the joke anyway. Clearly what I said about Oprah was a joke. She doesn't eat cereal and coffee for breakfast. She dines on the crushed souls of emasculated men.

But she really is building a rocket. Oh yes. She really is building a rocket.

You have been informed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tiny Brains, My Foot!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is going to be a quick one because, honestly, you'll enjoy looking at the evidence more than hearing me going on and on about it. So here's your truth:

Dinosaurs didn't die out. On top of that, their brains evolved. They are no longer the creatures of pure hunger, rage, and instinct. Rather, they are fond of standing around and having deep discussions of philosophical, literary, and scientific natures. You can see the proof here.

Also, I hear rumor that Oprah Winfrey, my living nemesis, was looking over schematics for rockets--rockets that we all know have to do with her plans for intergalactic domination--while having her morning breakfast of cereal and coffee.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

10 Unknown Facts About Al Gore

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm sorry I've been away so very very long. I've been caught in a dizzying flurry of activity, what with work, mountains of job applications, errands to EVERYWHERE, and planning for my June wedding. It's been a nightmare just trying to find sleep, let alone Truth. Still, I couldn't miss Ten Facts Tuesday.

This week, we'll be learning a bit more about one of America's favorite (to mock) former vice presidents, Al Gore (it's his birthday today). We've heard all about his accomplishments. His Nobel Peace Prize, his invention of the internet, his sleep-inducing lecture documentary about global warming that reminded us all of being college freshmen without the beer, awkward dating, and 2:00 a.m. Nerf wars. I'm tired. I was at work last night until the time I normally clock in for work in the morning. I'm skipping the rest of the intro and going straight to the facts. Sorry, Al.

10 Unknown Facts about Al Gore:
  1. Al Gore sounds like a robot because he is a robot. I know, this one is the fact most likely to be already known.
  2. Al Gore wanted to be a pirate growing up until he realized how completely ineffective and inept modern pirates are.
  3. Al Gore can only draw polygons with a prime number of sides.
  4. Al Gore's favorite hobby is swimming with the dolphins. Yes, he can swim. His metal frame is made of an exceptionally light--but durable--titanium alloy. And yes, he's water-proof.
  5. Every day for breakfast, Al Gore eats 3.14 pies. Yes, Al Gore can eat.
  6. Al Gore can pull quarters from behind anyone's ear. He laments that if he could only pull larger denominations of currency, he could pay off these mounting national debts and save the economy.
  7. Al Gore has friends exactly like the friends on Friends.
  8. Al Gore knows exactly how many Earths were involved in the so called "Crisis on Infinite Earths."
  9. Al Gore once hunted the Loch Ness Monster all the way across the Serenghetti, which is why sonar tests were not always able to detect the beast in the lake.
  10. Al Gore loved Will Eisner's The Building so much he built a large apartment building in the hopes that over the course of its history four people who felt unimportant in life would die there so that their ghosts could watch over it and ultimately find validation to their existences. This is clearly not the best idea he's ever had.
Yup. I'm totally going to sleep now.

You have been informed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about Harry Houdini

Ladies and Gentlemen, today (March 24) is the birthday of the world's most famous magician, Harry Houdini, real name Ehrich Weiss. In his early career, he did feats of escape and transposition with at the time equally famous brother, known as Hardeen (both based their stage names off of French magician Robert-Houdin). Though known for being a stage magician, Houdini's act primarily focused on escapology. His later career focused on debunking fraudulent spiritualists and mediums who claimed to be able to speak with the dead. He also wrote books on magic theory and the tricks of the medium trade. There is, in fact, quite a lot to learn about this amazing individual. Here are ten facts you didn't know. 

10 Unknown Facts about Harry Houdini:
  1. Harry Houdini could escape from anything, including awkward blind dates.
  2. Harry Houdini was Hungarian, and was thus, always hungry. Always.
  3. Harry Houdini could take a blow to the stomach from anything, including fists and cannon fire. 
  4. Harry Houdini could breathe fire. This was not magic. It was science.
  5. Harry Houdini knew the secrets of the ninja masters but did not use them in his act because he felt they'd make things too easy.
  6. Harry Houdini was the inspiration for Superman due to his ability to outrun speeding bullets and leap tall buildings in a single bound. He couldn't fly, though. That's just ridiculous.
  7. Harry Houdini could make Belgian waffles out of anything, provided he was in Belgium.
  8. Harry Houdini fought the law, and the law lost.
  9. Harry Houdini gained sustenance from applause the way most people gain it from food. Hence, his career in entertainment.
  10. Harry Houdini had a ten octave voice but did not go into a career in music because he couldn't sing on key.
Thrilling stuff, I know. He brought magic to the world and then debunked it, but you had to love him anyway. And now you know.

You have been informed.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rare hands are not much better than normal hands

Ladies and Gentlemen, surgery is getting ridiculous. In this tight economy, people are being picky even with their organ transplants. While perusing the news, I saw an article about a man receiving a rare hand transplant. Really> A rare hand transplant> The subheading states that this is the sixth such hand transplant in the nation. Come on, people. Money's tight. Don't flaunt your wealth with your rare hand transplants. Get common hand transplants. Ordinary hands, I'm sure, will work just as well as rare ones. The doctors even say that with all hand transplants, it takes some time before they get full use and early on, small amounts of movement are ordinary. That's right, buddy. You just spent all of that extra money on your rare hand and it isn't even acclimating to your body any faster than a common hand. And the worst of it is that this is the sixth such surgery in this country. Five other people have had that hand grafted to their bodies. A smart consumer would have checked with previous hand owners to see if the rare hand was really worth the extra money. In this economy, we simply cannot be too careful with our purchases. It's up to us to be wise consumers and cut the unnecessary extravagances from our purchases. Our budgets won't fix themselves after all.

You have been informed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The sleeps... he needs them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I need sleep. A lot. I mean. A Lot. I have not slept well recently. And last night I was up very late helping some friends of mine get to the bottom of a post-apocalyptic murder mystery. Then I had to go in to work an unscheduled six a.m. shift this morning that, to me, seemed unnecessary. We did nothing but work on a room that doesn't start for five days. That's right. Tables are down. Chairs are down. Linen is down. And it doesn't start for close to a week from now. Evidently, it is more important to get all work done well in advance so yo can get as much sleep as you can later. This validates the theory that some guy put forth a long time ago that states that you work x number of years in your life, so you should just work those years straight through so you can get all twenty-five years of sleep in one terrific dream-filled go. I guess my boss subscribes to that theory, and my place of employment is a meritocracy, so they say. Therefore, that theory must be true. I suppose I'd better get to that 24-7 work so I can take that twenty year nap on my sixtieth birthday. You might want to think about doing the same. It's probably what your boss expects of you anyway.

You have been informed.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

10 Unknown Facts about William Jennings Bryan

Ladies and Gentlemen, this week's 10 Unknown Facts is about my all-time favorite historical figure. Everyone loves an underdog. Everyone loves a man who gives his all and loses anyway. Today, on his birthday, we celebrate history's greatest loser, William Jennings Bryan. He was a U.S. Representative who ran for Senate and lost. Shortly thereafter, he ran for president on a platform of "Cross of Gold" and Free Silver (coinage of, not the idea of just giving silver away) and lost. He even championed creationism in the famous Scopes "Monkey" Trial (as semi-depicted in the film Inherit the Wind) and lost. In all honesty, he was a running joke in my U.S. history class. My teacher would say, "And guess who he was up against?" and we'd all reply semi-knowingly, "William Jennings Bryan!" and immediately knew who the victor would be in the debate, the trial, or the election. Here are several other things he's lost that you may not have known about.

10 Unknown Facts about William Jennings Bryan:
  1. William Jennings Bryan was abducted by aliens and lost time.
  2. William Jennings Bryan rode a wild bull through the streets of Brazil and managed to stay on, but he lost his lunch.
  3. For a while, William Jennings Bryan thought his wife was having an affair and he lost sleep, but as it turns out, she was just planning a surprise party.
  4. William Jennings Bryan was being chased by the cops after an Ocean's 11 style caper, and he lost the police in a dark alley.
  5. William Jennings Bryan went on a proto=Adkins diet and lost 25 pounds.
  6. William Jennings Bryan--or his ghost at least--is a huge fan of Lost.
  7. As a child, William Jennings Bryan was lost in space. His exploits have been reproduced as a show of the same name. His character was renamed William Robinson.
  8. William Jennings Bryan once told President Taft a joke about a bath tub, but the joke was lost on him.
  9. William Jennings Bryan once was supposed to be downtown for a very important meeting but he got caught up in a battle of wits with extraterrestrials for the fate of the planet and lost track of time.
  10. William Jennings Bryan spent a month trailing Big Foot through the Pacific Northwest. He followed the beast's trail for days and finally found him. He reached for his camera quickly, but lost sight of his prey in the trees and mist.
  11. (Bonus Fact!) William Jennings Bryan lost his temper in 1906 and leveled a city. History has attributed the destruction to earthquakes.
He was a remarkable man with a penchant for losing things. He will be missed.

You have been informed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Invisible Balls

Ladies and Gentlemen, I just saw this music video (posted below) and I must confess, I was astounded.

Not only is the song fun and catchy, but it features invisible basketballs! How amazing is that? Science has gotten to the point where we can safely and effectively augment invisibility technology onto an object whose purpose is to be thrown around and slammed repeatedly against the floor. That, my friends, is one sturdy cloaking device.

The question is why would we go to so much trouble to make invisible something that is both heavily abused and needs to be seen. Some would argue that it's simply experimentation in an effort to create a more sturdy invisibility field generator, presumably to survive the rigors of war. I doubt it thought. Clearly, the purpose behind the innovation was to make basketballs invisible, though it would make the sport ridiculously difficult. After all, could you imagine playing a sport with a ball you couldn't see?

I believe this difficulty is the very purpose sought. The invisible basketball was designed to hinder score inflation. Here in America, we're trying to put on a new face to the world. One that says, "Honestly, we really can do things your way. Honest!" The some of the most popular sports in the world are Soccer, Hockey (field and ice), Volleyball, Baseball, and Tennis. Let's look at the average scores, shall we?
  • Soccer teams average average one to two points per game depending on ability. This is the world's favorite sport.
  • Hockey teams average two to three points per game depending on ability.
  • Baseball teams average only five points per game.
  • Tennis players may seem to have high scores (forty for the winner), but really, that's just four successful hits.
  • Volleyball is played in three rounds. Rounds end at no more than 25 points. That's a lot of points in comparison to these other international sports.
  • Basketball teams average about 65 points per game.
Making the ball invisible would complicate the game. Imagine shooting an invisible ball. Try making a pass to another player when you can't see the ball. And don't even get me started on rebounds. Invisible basketballs reduce scores to numbers more in line with the rest of the sporting world.

You have been informed.