Friday, April 30, 2010

The Most Awesome Thing Ever

A website has been created to determine the most awesome things ever.

The website's maker explains: "The Most Awesomest Thing Ever is scouring the universe for the Most Awesomest Thing. Ever. By endlessly pitting two things against each other, we’ve created a stage set for destruction. You will battle, winners will emerge. Only the strongest shall reach the hallowed halls of the Most Awesomest."

The way it works is, the site presents you with two things, and you vote for whichever of them you feel is more Awesome. The thing you voted for wins, a voice reminds you whether you picked Thing One or Thing 2, and the thing you didn't vote for explodes.

And then it repeats. And repeats.

Pretty awesome.

As of this moment, the Awesomest Thing Ever is the internet. Pretty disappointing, actually.

Here are the latest standings, with the Won-Loss records of each Thing:
1 Internet 10286 - 1687
2 Life 10293 - 1741
3 Oxygen 10144 - 1856
4 Music 9997 - 1952
5 A Nap 10085 - 2032
6 Physical intimacy 9928 - 2116
7 Technology 9935 - 2140
8 Lasers 10028 - 2197
9 Lightsaber (Real) 9917 - 2228
10 Lightning

The Inadequatest Things Evfer, as of right now:
1126 Kevin Federline 1270 - 10579
1125 Sanjaya Malakar 1550 - 10483
1124 Mitt Romney 1613 - 10120
1123 Glitter 1817 - 10251
1122 Robert Pattinson 1816 - 9984
1121 Glenn Beck 1915 - 10058
1120 7th Heaven 56 - 238
1119 The Hills 1920 - 9836
1118 Lance Bass 1935 - 9872
1117 DMV 582 - 2543

HArd to believe that there are actually 6 things worse than Glenn Beck, but the internet doesn't lie. That's why it's the Most Awesomest Thing Ever.

Python/Trek combo = Nerdvana

For decades, nerds and geeks have dreamed of a way to combine both Monty Python's Flying Circus and Star Trek. Well, at long last, the day has come:

Since it's a youtube video, it also involves computers. If only there was some way to also involve comic books, video games and Dungeons and Dragons, it would be the world's first Total Nerd Amalgamation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daytrotter: great site for free live music hosts recording sessions of indie rock bands who pass through or nearby Rock Island Illinois, and puts them on the web for free download (or for a few dollars for highest quality audio.) Accompanying every live session is an illustration of the artist and passionate liner notes about the artist.

Just a few of some the acts who've been Daytrottered: Kris Kristofferson, Fleet Foxes, Freelance Whales, Richard Buckner, The Walkmen, Andrew Bird, Stepehn Malkmus and the Jicks, and about a gajillion others.

Here's the full list of all the performers whose sessions are available for download.

Monday, April 26, 2010

It's playoff time in hockey

It's hockey playoff time, that means if you have to yank out your own tooth from your bloodied mouth, you do it without complaint and get back out there on the ice:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Axe Cop video

The amazing Axe Cop now exists in video form! Here is the video version of Ask Axe Cop, where the great hero solves your problems with his heroic advice.

"I'm going to need about 30 TV sets... I eat only cake, Birthday cake, with a candle of me on top. Because it is my favorite food."

We were promised jetpacks!

The blog compiles "past visions of the future." Meaning articles, drawings and predictions of the past about what the future would be like.

One of the most common predictions of the past is that by the year 2000, we'd all be flying around on jetpacks. Unless I've missed something, most of us are not.

Way to get our hopes all up for nothing, past predictors! At least there is the Scottish indie rock band We Were Promised Jetpacks to help us cope with these failed dreams.

For those of you who never dreamed of jetpacks, there are also other Scottish indie rock bands, such as Frightened Rabbit and Snow Patrol.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mayhaps I could axe you the same queery?

Sports site the Dugout has become known for its hilarious fake transcripts of baseball players chatting.

This one features hard-throwing pitcher Kyle Farnsworth's bizarre spelling and slang as he "chats" with his manager Trey Hillman and hefty Yankee Joba Chamberlain. It's pretty insane and nonsensical, which is why it seems like the way actual players would chat.

Farnsworth and all-caps shouter Jim Thome are probably two of the most popular Dugout chatters.

The Dugout has been doing the fake chats for a while now, and its creators have expanded into music as well as baseball. This site catalogs all the baseball chats from over the years. A 2007 archive is here.

Helping the senile by pranking them? has a report, first publicized on Radio Lab, about a German retirement home that came up with a creative way of helping residents with dementia, who try to leave to go "home" to places they used to live, often believing that loved ones are anxiously waiting for them to arrive.

"When they catch the escapee in time, the patient is often extremely upset and an altercation ensues. If they don’t catch them in time, the patient often hops onto public transportation and is eventually discovered by police. The first outcome is, of course, traumatizing for everyone involved and the second outcome is very dangerous for the patient. Most nursing homes fix this problem by confining patients who’ve began to wander off to a locked ward and resigning themselves to physically or chemically restraining a desperate and emotionally-wrought patient."

The solution that is best for everyone and causes the least problems? Create a fake bus stop outside the building.

From the site: "The fake bus stop does two wonderful things:

(1) The first thing a potential escapee does when they decide to “go home” is find a bus stop. So, patients who take off usually get no further than the first bus stop that they see. ”Where did Mrs. Schmidt go?” “Oh, she’s at the bus stop.” In practice, it worked tremendously. This meant that many disoriented patients no longer needed to be kept in locked wards.

(2) The bus stop diffuses the sense of panic. If a delusional patient decided that she needed to go home immediately because her children were all alone and waiting for her, the attendant didn’t need to restrain her or talk her out of it, she simply said, “Oh, well… there’s the bus stop.” The patient would go sit and wait. Knowing that she was on her way home, she would relax and, given her diminished cognition, she would eventually forget why she was there. A little while later the attendant could go out and ask her if she wanted to come in for tea. And she would say, “Ok.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Chinese knock-off podructs has a funny series of photos that show how China has a whole industry that produces fake versions of famous international brand name products.

Not surprising, but I like the way they alter the logo by switching around a letter or two in the brand's name, changing Converse sneakers to Cnovesre sneakers. It's surely easier to fool people with these if they aren't used to western characters.

Some of the funniest ones are the fake superheroes. What kid wouldn't want their very own Spader-man play set?

Don't forget the cyborg lawman Robert Cop 3, or mentally challenged superhero Specialman.

Octopus steals video camera

An octopus steals a diver's video camera, and runs the camera for a while, does a pretty nice job too-- nice closeups.

Then the diver steals it back, while the octopus grabs the blowgun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The wealthiest fictional characters in the world

Every couple of years, Forbes magazine comes out with a list of the wealthiest fictional characters in the world.

This year, middle class pikers such as Gordon Gekko and Uncle Sam have fallen off the list, and Montgomery Burns has dropped down to number 12. So who is the wealthiest fictional character? Apparently some dorky vampire. If he's so rich, why isn't he swimming in piles of gold coins in his money bin, huh?

Taxes! Boooooo!

It's tax season and everyone is mad at the government and the 47% of householders who are freeloaders. The New York Times had a very informative article on taxes and who pays them.

Not surprisingly, the very wealthiest in America have had their tax rates reduced by more than any other group over the past 30 years, while their incomes have skyrocketed. Meanwhile, the middle class and the poor have had basically stagnant incomes in that time period, meaning they are paying more in taxes than ever before.

Another timely article: The Onion's Tax Preparation Tips.

Evil Clown for hire, specializes in scaring children

Finally, it's here! What every parent has been waiting for: a self-described evil clown, who you can pay to stalk and terrorize your child!

No more trading cheap booze to homeless guys to do that for you, now you can hire a professional evil clown and get the job done right.

The evil clown "stalks young victims for a week, sending chilling texts, making prank phone calls and setting traps in letterboxes. He posts notes warning children they are being watched, telling them they will be attacked."

And then smashes a pie into the kid's little face.

It's wise to target children with this service, as they are less likely to sue for damages. And they will be scarred for decades, never able to get the terrifying experience out of their heads, which will surely lead to a good word-of-mouth reputation and increased business.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Answer Me This

One of the best podcasts out there is Answer Me This, a British radio show where funny hosts answer silly questions humorously. The hosts, comedienne and Guardian writer Helen Zaltzman and Olly Mann, are assisted by the echoey-voiced Martin the Soundman, who also produces the program's ridiculously catchy jingles. Such as the podcast theme, "Helen and Olly, Answer me This!"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lying to children about athletes has a cool slide show that compares children's book accounts of famous ballplayers to their adult biographies, and illustrates the lies that we tell children.

An example:
The children's Pete Rose: "He played with a kind of energy and enthusiasm that made his statistics seem pale. … "Running is the most natural thing in the world for me," explained Rose. "I guess I was born with all this nervous energy." —Pete Rose, by Bob Rubin, Pages 16-17

The Adults' Pete Rose:

"You wonder where he got all the energy," says Jim O'Toole, Rose's teammate on the Reds until 1966. "Well, it wasn't pure energy all the time. It was (amphetamines), which is about the only thing guys took back then." … When Rose broke into major-league baseball, the use of amphetamines, or "greenies" as players called them, was an aboveboard practice. … Some clubhouses had a big jar for anyone to simply reach into and take what he wanted. … There is evidence Rose continued his amphetamine use right through the end of his playing career." —Hustle: The Myth, Life, and Lies of Pete Rose, by Michael Sokolove, Pages 78-80

American icon Joe DiMaggio:

The Children's Joe DiMaggio: "Like many ballplayers, Joe enlisted to fight for his country in 1942." —Joe DiMaggio: Young Sports Hero, by Herb Dunn, Page 151

The Adults' Joe DiMaggio: "He hadn't signed up for the armed forces [during the 1942 season], and the public patience was running out. … There were two All-Star contests that year, and DiMaggio was booed at both. … [His wife] Dorothy wanted him in the Army—she'd made that clear enough; otherwise it would be divorce. … [W]hen he concluded that he'd have to enlist … he started to cry." —Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life, by Richard Ben Cramer, Pages 202-203, 206

This kind of harmless mythologizing often leads either to fully grown adults who mistakenly think athletes are role models for children, or to children who learn the truth and become cynical and believe that everyone is a fraud and a liar.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Foolingest day of the year

The Museum of Hoaxes lists the Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time. There are some brilliant ones in there, pulled off by such unlikely pranksters as the BBC, NPR, and Discover Magazine.

One of the BBC's best was the flying penguins.

Nothing from Fox News, but then again they've always been one giant prank all along anyway.

While visiting the Museum of Hoaxes website, you should try their Gullibility Test. If you answer all ten questions correctly, they will send you a million dollars!

Posnanski vs. The Iron Sheik vs. Duncan

Joe Posnanski is the best sportswriter in America, and his blog is terrific. Recently, he wrote a fine article in Sports Illustrated about Tim Duncan, my favorite player.

And then the worst sportswriter in America, Dan "CHB" Shaughnessy, the Iron Sheik of sportswriting, wrote a typically dumb response to Posnanski's article (which will not be linked to here, as I do not help CHB get web hits. If you really want to read his crap writing, google it yourself.)

Like the Iron Sheik, Shaughnessy is a sports clown who does his best to rile people up by obnoxiously taunting fans and saying "controversial" things that he doesn't believe to get attention for himself. "Iran Number 1! The Red Sox are evil! Everyone look at me! Your anger only fuels my career!"

And then Posnanski replied on his blog.

So we had my personal perfect storm of sports journalism: my most hated sportswriter and my favorite sportswriter having a debate over my favorite NBA player.

And of course my favorite sportswriter makes way more sense, and comes off as a way better person and writer, and makes the case for my favorite player without sinking to the CHB level of taunts, insults or ridicule.


In putting this post together, I noticed that there is actually a blog that tracks all of CHB's garbage. If you must read anything by Shaughnessy, at least get it through that site, and avoid giving web hits to the Iron Sheik.