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.