The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'amusing'
French slang word of the day: "Yaourt":
['Yaourt' ("Yoghurt")] is the word used to describe the practice of singing along to tracks in English, usually with an unconvincing American accent, when you have absolutely no idea of the words. Yoghurt doesn't have to be English, it only has to sound English. Singing along to ‘I Want To Break Free’ in Yoghurt would sound something like this: ‘I wo' do' bek fee.’ Sit on the Métro and you'll hear plenty of amateur French R'n'B singers doing ‘Papa gode a ban noo bang’ in perfect Yoghurt. There are even current French expressions derived from Yoghurt. My favourite is ‘C'est la waneugaine’ — a bizarre distortion of the English, once again — meaning it's crazy or outlandish.(from Lucy Wadham, The Secret Life of France, p84)
Random Album Generator generates album covers by randomly mashing up found images and text. It occasionally hits on some serendipitous combinations:
The perils of automated spellchecking have been illustrated in spectacular fashion in a leaflet promoting cycling published by Kirklees Council (or Kirtles Council, as the leaflet would have it):
Kirklees Council had 7,000 leaflets printed but they repeatedly spell Kirklees as Kirtles, Cleckheaton became Czechisation, Birstall ended up as Bistable and Kirkburton as Kirkpatrick.
The mangled spelling also affected the names of local bike shops, with Spen Velo becoming Supen Vole.
Even more bizarrely, an email address for British Waterways was given as: enquiries.manic-depressive@brutalisation's.co.uk
Security ninja Bruce Schneier was recently recognised by an airport screener who presumably reads his blog:
TSA Officer: A beloved name from the blogosphere.
Me: And I always thought that I slipped through these lines anonymously.
TSA Officer: Don't worry. No one will notice. This isn't the sort of job that rewards competence, you know.
Sleep Talkin' Man: a log of the bizarre, surreal and often obscenity-filled utterances of a man afflicted with the condition of sleep talking, as transcribed (and sometimes recorded and posted online) by his wife:
"Don't move a muscle. Bushbabies are everywhere... everywhere... Shoot the fucking big-eyed wanky shite fucks! Kick 'em. Stamp them. Poke 'em in their big eyes! Take that for scaring the crap out of me."
"My badger's gonna unleash hell on your ass. Badgertastic!"
"It's a good thing your breath smells of shit. It colors your words beautifully. Gives it an edge."
"Tea bags, see? Better be careful with the tea bags. They're delicate creatures. Handle them with care."
(via Boing Boing)
Last year, I saw two shows by a brilliant Irish stand-up comedian, David O'Doherty. Today, I find out that he has a Twitter feed. Of course, it's no substitute for a live comedy show, but does feature some amusing and/or surreal lines like:
the best way to impress girls is to brag about things from 1992. Try this: "I have a Swatch." (You'll need a Swatch for this to work)and:
bobby chrome's friend saw Brokeback Mountain in India and they'd cut all the gay stuff out, leaving a 45 minute film about sheep farmingShould you, dear reader, get a chance to see O'Doherty's live show, I strongly recommend doing so. It's some of the funniest stand-up I have seen in my life.
British supermarket chain Sainsbury's has unilaterally renamed the fish known as pollack to "colin", in an attempt to rid it of connotations of poor quality and/or avoid potential offense to Britain's Polish community. In a further attempt to sell more of the fish, Sainsbury's hired the designer Wayne Hemingway (of fashion label Red Or Dead) to come up with Jackson Pollock-inspired packaging for the newly rebranded fish.
This is not the first time Britain's supermarkets have renamed products to avoid (actual or imagined) embarrassment; in 2001, Tesco considered renaming spotted dick to "spotted Richard".
Cat wanders onto set of German weather forecast; the meteorologist, Joerg Kachelmann, scoops it up and resumes giving the forecast without a pause.
Recently, Swansea council in Wales needed to erect a road sign warning advising lorry drivers to avoid a residential area. Being in Wales, the sign would have needed to be bilingual, so the council emailed a translation service to get a Welsh translation of the text, and upon receiving the reply, promptly printed it on a sign and put it up. Only after the sign had gone up did people point out that the text was an out-of-office auto-reply:
All official road signs in Wales are bilingual, so the local authority e-mailed its in-house translation service for the Welsh version of: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only".
Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated".Which leaves a few questions unanswered: are there really so few Welsh speakers in Swansea that the council couldn't find one on staff to run the sign past? And surely a translation service would have made their out-of-office messages bilingual.
A group of scientists did an experiment in exactly how useful a chocolate teapot would be. The answer is: not very, but more than you'd think.
After only about half a minute the lid started to melt, but otherwise the teapot survived its experience in one piece if not entirely unscathed. The tea was slightly unusual and sweet, but not unpleasant.
And now, for light relief, here's a cow with its head stuck in a washing machine:
(via Boing Boing Gadgets)
A serendipitous visual juxtaposition from the front page of WIRED today:
Those fake sensational news headlines spammers are using to trick people into visiting dodgy websites are getting more and more ridiculous:
Bush is Gay. Obama Converts To Judiasm.A disproportionate number of them have the word "gay" in them. I guess that's meant to be a hot-button issue for the sorts of people they're looking for.
Bush and Putin Agree To Restart Cold War During G8 Summit.
Barack Obama Wins Ku Klux Klan Endorsement. Both Obama And Mccain Claim They Will Deport Elton John.
The internet was invented in 1950s in China.
Gregorian Monks Commit Mass Suicide In Italian Church.
Madonnas Former Home Destroyed By Jesus. Blair: Im Not Gay, Thats Just My Accent.
In the 1990s, Two Russian-born, US-based conceptual artists calling themselves Komar and Melamid created what they intend to be the world's most unlikeable song. The 22-minute opus is assembled from a palette of elements determined (through a poll) to be the least desirable aspects of songs, and includes things like an operatic soprano rapping about cowboys over a tuba-backed bassline and bagpipe breaks, a children's choir singing inane holiday ditties and advertising Wal-Mart, and someone shouts political slogans over elevator music. It is, in its own way, awesome:
The most unwanted music is over 25 minutes long, veers wildly between loud and quiet sections, between fast and slow tempos, and features timbres of extremely high and low pitch, with each dichotomy presented in abrupt transition. The most unwanted orchestra was determined to be large, and features the accordion and bagpipe (which tie at 13% as the most unwanted instrument), banjo, flute, tuba, harp, organ, synthesizer (the only instrument that appears in both the most wanted and most unwanted ensembles). An operatic soprano raps and sings atonal music, advertising jingles, political slogans, and "elevator" music, and a children's choir sings jingles and holiday songs. The most unwanted subjects for lyrics are cowboys and holidays, and the most unwanted listening circumstances are involuntary exposure to commercials and elevator music. Therefore, it can be shown that if there is no covariance—someone who dislikes bagpipes is as likely to hate elevator music as someone who despises the organ, for example—fewer than 200 individuals of the world's total population would enjoy this piece.Komar and Melamid also produced what their research pointed to as America's most wanted song; it's somewhat less interesting, being a schmaltzy assemblage of Kenny G-esque sax, FM electric piano, R&B female vocals and husky male vocals, not to mention the obligatory guitar solo and not one but two truck driver's gear changes. It is, quite literally, a statistical average of early-1990s commercial radio music; if you're morbidly curious, there's a MP3 here. They also did a survey of what the American public liked to see most in paintings, and produced the resulting work of art, an autumnal landscape with wild animals, a family enjoying the outdoors—and, standing in the middle of it, George Washington.
From the artists' own website:
In an age where opinion polls and market research invade almost every aspect of our "democratic/consumer" society (with the notable exception of art), Komar and Melamid's project poses relevant questions that an art-interested public, and society in general often fail to ask: What would art look like if it were to please the greatest number of people? Or conversely: What kind of culture is produced by a society that lives and governs itself by opinion polls?
(via Boing Boing)
Seen in a Times piece on amusing signs around the world, this sign is in Pune, India:
They do seem to have an appreciation of the full breadth of the English language in Pune.
McDonald's: The Videogame. A simulation of running a fast-food corporation that's like Sim City, had it been written by anti-globalisation activists. Bulldoze rainforests and villages, brainwash children and corrupt officials or go bankrupt. Play it before the lawyers kill it.
(via Boing Boing)
The BBC News site has some user-contributed photographs of odd signs:
(via BBC News)
Worth1000 has posted the results of an amusing photoshopping contest: things sliced and revealed to be made of unlikely materials:
(via Boing Boing)
The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has revoked an elderly woman's custom license plates because they had become obscene. Pat Niple had had the number plates reading "NWTF" (standing for "Northwood Tree Farm", a business she had owned) for more than a decade, and had had no problems with them—until this year, when they fell foul of technologically-mediated language change:
"Apparently, the young people use it on the computer," she said.
Niple went to a BMV office to get some answers. A clerk had to whisper what the acronym means to some people.
"Now what the -- and the last word begins with an f," Niple said. "I said, 'You got to be kidding me.'"
And the coolest politician's name of the day belongs to Willis D. Knuckles, Liberia's new Presidential Affairs Minister.
Wal-Mart, the US retail behemoth that manages to be both socially atomising and socially conservative, is now attempting to launch its own teen networking site, sort of like MySpace, only with its own unique values. Hilarity ensues:
The opening page shows video of four teens -- a bubbly fashionista, a Texas football player, a quirky skateboarder and an aspiring R&B singer from New York -- who are clearly actors reading a script, although the videos are positioned to appear authentic. Within, there are pages such as "Beth's Backyard Club," where you find a picture of her in a strapless prom dress above the approved quote: "I'll school my way by looking hot in my Wal-Mart clothes to school to catch a cute boy's eye. ..."
No doubt leery of all the problems with MySpace.com, Wal-Mart's site disqualifies any video with "materials that are profane, disruptive, unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, vulgar, obscene, hateful, or racially or ethnically-motivated, or otherwise objectionable." That's why "pending approval" notes dominate pages already created and content is limited to a headline, a fashion quiz and a favorite song. Wal-Mart also plans to e-mail the parents of every registered teen, giving them the discretion to pull a submission.
Attention LiveJournal/MySpace kids: not getting enough attention? You can always try faking your death online, and watching the gushing tributes flow in:
A list of the 50 worst video game names of all time. All of these are names of actual games. This includes the likes of Princess Tomato in Salad Kingdom (NES, 1990), Tongue of the Fatman (PC, 1989), Sticky Balls (Gizmondo, 2005), Nuts & Milk (NES, 1984) and the inexplicably titled Irritating Stick (PlayStation, 1999).
Philosophers have solved one of the great conundra, the question of which came first: the chicken or the egg. The answer: the egg came first, even if you implicitly exclude non-chicken eggs:
Genetic material does not change during an animal's life. Therefore, the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must first have existed as an embryo inside an egg.
Professor John Brookfield, a specialist in evolutionary genetics at the University of Nottingham, who was put to work on the dilemma, said that the pecking order was perfectly clear: the living organism inside the eggshell would have the same DNA as the chicken that it would become.Of course, the conclusion is not entirely indisputable, especially in the non-reality-based community:
Creationists, for example, will argue that if God created Adam and Eve, he probably had a spare five minutes to knock up a chicken as well.
MC Dicko could be the next Icy Hot Stuntaz. He's an 8-year-old gangsta rapper from Chester (that's in the north of England), who busts rhymes (in a very loose sense of the word) about how "bitches and ho's" have been fucking him over (which, I imagine, is wigga-speak for "girls have cooties" or something), between recounting the occasional ghetto gunfight (which may have happened in his imagination, or be a true story from the X-Box ghetto) and thugged-up versions of primary-school arguments. Sample lyric: "Shoot the fuckin' wannabe wiggas bitch".
Listen to the first two songs. Then, when you've picked yourself up from the floor and stopped laughing, listen to the third track, "Biscuits Skit", a rap about eating biscuits, and behold a world of improvement (for one, he actually bothers to rhyme rather than just rant angrily about fantasy battles, and does a very competent job). I imagine that when he drops the derivative gangstaisms and develops his own voice, he could go a long way.
Harry Potter and the New Love Interest Who Happens to Have the Same Name as the 15-Year-Old Girl Writing this Fanfic
Harry Potter and the Uncomfortable Oversexualization of Minors
Harry Potter and the Camping Weekend With Ron That Will Never Be Spoken Of Again
Harry Potter and the Prisoner Detainees of Azerbaijan
(via Boing Boing)
An impressively scholarly classical Latin translation of Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby, complete with literal English translations and copious notes:
Ad ultimum flecto microphonem velut vandal
(I bend the microphone to the furthest point like a Germanic tribesman)
Scaen(am) illumin(o) et inept(um) incero quasi candelam (I brighten the stage and cover an inept man in wax as if [he were] a candle)
It seems that someone somewhere decided that "Revoltec" would be a good name for a brand of computer peripherals:
And then there's a brand of fizzy drink with a rather Jarryesque name:
Excerpts from stories rejected by Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, showing a broad range of deficiencies, from wildly implausible characterisations to incoherent word-salads of technobabble, bizarre adjectives and half-digested clichés:
Freddy was in the habit of staring at Beverly's legs as they peaked from her Susie Wong slit dresses. She had a dozen of them.
"Stand slow!" a voice rang out with hollow ubiquity.
The universe is a vast region of deep mystery steeped in antiquity.
Onion oil! I couldn't imagine anyting worse than a daily bath in onion oil.
"Corporeal, we've got to do our best to keep this from the public."
"I know sir, but its already too late."
What do you mean, the general inquired?
"While you were gone I let a curious private in on the secret."
"We've got to stop him."
By now he's long gone. Sorry sir."
Man falls out of his wheelchair; his cat dials the emergency services, possibly saving his life.
Rosheisen got the cat three years ago to help lower his blood pressure. He tried to train him to call 911, unsure if the training ever stuck.Mind you, it sounds slightly less impressive when one reads that the phone in question had a button for speed-dialling 911. And there I had an image of a cat fastidiously punching in three digits with its paws.
(via bOING bOING)
The Liberal Democrats have volunteered to be the butt of humourless-environmentalist jokes by issuing a Christmas statement saying that Santa Claus should deliver his presents by bus because reindeer are too polluting.
According to the Lib Dems, nine reindeer would emit methane with a global-warming impact equivalent to 40,667 tonnes of carbon dioxide as they covered the 122 million miles needed to deliver to every house in the world.
This makes his sleigh ride almost as environmentally unfriendly as an aircraft, which would produce 41,480 tonnes of CO2 on the Christmas Eve trip.Of course, the question arises of whether a bus covering those distances at the speed required to deliver all the presents would be any less polluting. Unless they mean that Mr. Claus uses existing bus services and other public transport to do his deliveries, in which case they would most probably take many years to complete, and leave many non-urban children completely without presents.
The other day, I was in this fancy Italian/French restaurant (where I had Escargot, but that's another story) and so they had fancy English under the usual Chinese names. They're pretty accurate, until I read about desserts. Under the Chinese for cheesecake, was the English word, "Wikipedia".
On tonight's BBC News, the music in the background at the Tory leadership election sounded an awful lot like the Velvet Underground's "Heroin".
The Washington Post answers a number of "What If?" questions:
What if Freud had been a woman?
Sex would not be considered the primary force that drives human behavior. Instead, it would be Fear of Having a Large Behind. All men would be haunted by a condition known as "penis shame." The mind would not be divided into the Id, the Ego and the Superego but the Shoe-Desire Region, the Weeping Center, and the If-You-Don't-Know-What-You-Did-Wrong-I'm-Not-Going-to-Tell-You Lobe. Also, sometimes a dried apricot is just a dried apricot.
What if wishes were horses?
Then beggars would ride. But so would everyone else. We would each have, like, 7,000 horses. They would completely paralyze civilization, consuming all vegetable matter in a week or less. Continents would rise several feet, just from accumulated poo. And anytime anyone wished for no more horses, another horse would appear. The world would end in a terrifying, thundering apocalypse of horses, is what would happen.
What if, as originally predicted, heavier-than-air flight had actually been impossible?
Rocket-propelled blimps. Travel would take a little longer, but the 9/11 plot would have failed, comically.
An image that has been floating around recently:
A lengthy compedium of essentialist explanations of various languages:
English is essentially bad Dutch with outrageously pronounced French and Latin vocabulary. --Eugene Holman
Australian English is essentially Cockney without the refinement. -- Öjevind Lâng
Swedish, Norwegian and Danish are actually the same language. It's just that the Norwegians can't spell it, and the Danes can't pronounce it. --Chlewey
Yiddish is essentially the Ebonics of German. --submanifold
Dutch is essentially English spoken whilst stoned, which pretty much explains all the double vowels --Keith Gaughan
French is essentially a language that elides everything that doesn't get out of the way fast enough, and nasalises everything else. --Peter Bleackley
Brazilian is essentially a conlang created by people who wanted to have sex all the time, but still be able to talk about everyday things. --alleszermalmer
Romanian is essentially a Romance language trying really hard to blend in with the Slavic languages around it. --Jesse S. Bangs
Romanian is essentially French pronounced as written. --Christian Thalmann
German and Polish are essentially the same, only there are too many "ß"s in Leftoderian writing, and too many "z"s in Rightoderian. --Andreas Johansson
Breton is essentially Welsh with all the consonants changed to "z". --Thomas Leigh
Welsh is essentially the only language that can have four consecutive L's. --Danny Weir
Star Trek is essentially a religion for secular humanists, and Klingon is its Latin. --Jeffrey Henning
(via bOING bOING)
(The other) 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics Of All Time. Pure comedy gold; may not be worksafe, though:
And the original 10 are here.
+ Does the character have a name you really, really like? [1 point]
+ Is it Raven? [3 points]
+ Is it a variation of Raven? [1 point]
+ Does the character have an unusual eye color, or otherwise exceptional eyes? [3 points]
+ And are these eyes a color that does not occur in nature? [1 point]
+ Does the character have eyes that somehow reflect hidden depths or experience or sorrow? [4 points]
+ Is the character ever described as "thin enough to be anorexic," where this is intended as a compliment? [1 point]
+ Does the character keep a notebook of poetry? [1 point]
+ Is the poetry "good enough to be published"? [3 points]
+ Does a love interest find this poetry book and begin to understand the character? [5 points]
+ Does the poetry contain any of the following words: crimson, soul, darkness, love, vampire, glass, moonlight, serpent, rose, dance, winter, flame, cold, goddess, blood, angel, star, forever? [1 point per word]
+ Does the character use Japanese words in conversation, although she/he does not live in Japan? [2 points]
+ Do you take any negative feedback about the character as a personal affront? [4 points]
A look at English subtitles on a Chinese pirate version of Revenge of the Sith. Curiously enough, the subtitles seem to have been translated from the Chinese translation by someone with All-Your-Base-level English-language proficiency, who somehow didn't think of checking them against the spoken dialogue. Which is how we end up with "Revenge of the Sith" becoming "Backstroke of the West", a fighter pilot saying "He is in my behind", characters using the word "fuck" randomly, and, best of all, "Jedi Council" translating as "Presbyterian Church".
Impaled Northern Moonforest is an Acoustic Black Metal act, and has songs for downloading, with titles like "Lustfully Worshipping The Inverted Moongoat While Skiing Down The Inverted Necromountain Of Necrodeathmortum" and "Entranced By The Northern Impaled Necrowizard's Blasphemous Incantation Amidst The Agonizing Abomination Of THe Lusting Necrocorpse". They sound exactly as you imagine them to.
An image recently found online:
(Posted on the unpopart LiveJournal community, which appears to be a den of Satanists, Nazi-fetishists, serial-killer fans, misanthropes and aesthetic extremists connected with the likes of Adam Parfrey, Boyd Rice and Jim Goad.)
I wonder whether the resemblance between Michael Jackson and Ronald McDonald is pure coincidence or intentional. Ronald McDonald predates Michael Jackson's adult career by more than a decade. Could McDonalds have finetuned their mascot's appearance to be more Jacksonlike during the 1980s (when Jackson was hot property, and was moving lots of units for Pepsi)? (The alternative theory would be that Jackson (consciously or otherwise) modelled his public image on the World-Famous Magical Clown, perhaps to better appeal to children.) Also, could McDonalds' recently announced makeover of their mascot also be an attempt to shed similarities to Michael Jackson (which could be more of a liability than an asset these days)?
The Australian indie-pop marketplace now has more competition, with a new mail-order outfit and record label in Fortitude Valley opening. Taking the time-honoured indie-pop strategy of having a literary name (see also: Library Records, Chapter Music, and numerous bands), Book Club Records has their own releases and overseas imports (including Tender Trap, Amelia "Talulah Gosh/Heavenly" Fletcher's latest project), with postage being free in Australia. They also have a page of MP3s free for the download, which includes Barcelona's "I Have The Password To Your Shell Account". (via Rocknerd)
It's interesting to look at their links page. Among the usual indie labels and stores, there is an Other section, which features 4ZZZ, LiveJournal, and, um, Manchester United. The last addition seems puzzling, looking at the site from the UK; no-one here would associate football with the indie-pop subculture, and Man.U, one of the biggest and highest in profile of clubs, doubly so. Mind you, it appears the be the usual indiekid-Anglophilia phenomenon, where any and all affectations of British everyday versimilitude are more indie than the local variety. This has been commented on in the past, in observations of American indie fans who are into everything one can slap a union flag on, from Blur to Oasis to Fatboy Slim to Mogwai; not to mention appropriations of British slang, sometimes with unintentionally comical results (I mean, "Shag Frenzy" sounds more like a tabloid headline about suburban swingers' parties than a name for an indie night). With that in mind, I wonder how long until indie kids in America and Australia start imitating the chav phenomenon to get that imported-from-Britain boost to their indie cred.
One for the rivetheads: a surprisingly accurate VNV Nation lyric generator. Except for the references to "spookies" and "role players", perhaps.
I turned my hands up to the sky
standing on the battlefield
I have never felt so cold
and the hail brings a new day
If that's not enough, there's also the Obscure Industrial Index, for more machine-generated goth-techno action.
1. Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as the wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with such round shoulders.
2. There is no escaping karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?
I've met quite a few Jewish Buddhists; apparently the phenomenon is so common these days that they even have a name for it. (via MeFi)
Conrad Heiney, who worked in a Los Angeles newspaper during the 1980s, recounts stories from the personals department:
At first a couple of the women in the production department put in their own personals. This is how we discovered that the same guys send the same letter and the same picture to any woman who advertises at any time, ever. After a few weeks of this we had a "Wall of Shame" in the production room with ten in a row of the same 8x10 glossies and lovelorn notes. The pictures were real "keepers". I remember one gentleman in a cowboy hat and Speedos in front of his trailer, and another with a Tom Selleck moustache and a combover leaning on a Mercedes. That kind of thing.
And this was born the Great Personals Competition. Anyone who wanted could enter, and write their own fake ad. Whomever received the most responses in the first week won.
I don't remember most of the ads. I do remember the top two. #2 was courtesy our classifieds guy's girlfriend:Buxom blonde twins, 19, seek man for threesome. Pillow fights, tickling, and whatever else follows. Age, looks not important.
What is it about sexual desperation that makes for such a rich motherlode of comedy gold?
A long thread of stories about creepy people met in role-playing games; these range from those with a slight problem with reality (i.e., those who believe they really are elves or vampires or powerful sorcerers or that the Necronomicon is real; which is not too unlike religious fundamentalists, but I digress) to psychos who insisted on bringing weapons with them at all times, people who turned out to be child molesters or similar, people who insisted on taking games in peculiar directions, the disturbed, those whose lack of social skills included not knowing that certain bodily functions were inappropriate in company, and various of Cat Piss Man's brothers and sisters. (via MeFi)
Meanwhile, Target in Australia are now selling collectible Goth figurines, which, for some reason, are in the anime section. (Which is odd in itself; last time I was in a Target, they didn't have an anime section, let alone one with collectible figurines. Perhaps it's in the "grunge mall" Coles-Myer were planning to build in Melbourne or something?) Does this mean that the Goth subculture now has an anime series about it?
A defense attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, met his match with the jury pool from hell: (via jwz)
Right after jury selection began last week, one man got up and left, announcing, "I'm on morphine and I'm higher than a kite."
When the prosecutor asked if anyone had been convicted of a crime, a prospective juror said that he had been arrested and taken to a mental hospital after he almost shot his nephew. He said he was provoked because his nephew just would not come out from under the bed.
Another would-be juror said he had had alcohol problems and was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. "I should have known something was up," he said. "She had all her teeth."
Another prospect volunteered he probably should not be on the jury: "In my neighborhood, everyone knows that if you get Mr. Ballin (as your lawyer), you're probably guilty." He was not chosen.(Alternate title: "strategies for evading jury duty")
A militant Islamist group's website recently published a report saying that the CIA has opened a facility for training agents to impersonate muezzins and infiltrate mosques:
The CIA opened its first muezzin school at a deserted army airstrip in Virginia in 1989, with the school being specially equipped with six minarets from which its agents could practise, the report said. It added that the CIA was now capable of producing up to 100 qualified muezzins each year.
Unbeknownst to them, the original story was a piece of satire, published by British satirical website The Rockall Times in 2001. Apparently the members of Hizb ut-Tahrir, who republished the story almost unchanged, either did not notice the satirical content on the rest of the site or wrote it off as authentic reportage of the corruption and decadence of British society.
For your amusement, this charming photo-essay titled "Why Women Live Longer Than Men", and giving eight scenes which, had it not been for luck, could have been Darwin Award material. (via darwin, of course)
The Creative Prodikeys presents: how to play rock'n'roll (3.3Mb WMV file; via jwz)
"Snodland" sounds more like a video game (of the colourful platform/puzzle variety) than a place in the south of England, though, apparently, that's what it is.
Spam subject line of the day: "Chat with cunts on the internet!".
I don't know whether they're selling a porn site or advertising careers in tech support.
Staplerfahrer Klaus, a German factory safety video that seems to have been inspired by Peter Jackson's early works, or possibly a comic splatter-horror film masquerading as a factory safety film. Includes forklifts, chainsaws and the sort of daggy/groovy incidental music that they seem to make only in Germany. If your browser doesn't play Windows Media inline, you can grab the WMV file here.
Ugly Zoo: a collection of about 100 Photoshopped hybrids of animals (and the occasional human), from real-life gryphons and dog-faced birds to the sorts of "cat girls" very few furries would imagine themselves as. (via wtf_inc on LJ)
The deleterius Memorable Posts list is a veritable trove of all that is inane, retarded and simply wrong in the world of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan fiction; and is very entertaining to read, in much the way that the Darwin Awards are.
The various teen-angst subcultures are well-represented, with Tathiel the multiply-pierced Mordorian Elf/Vampyre, who seduces Elrond whilst having a fling with Grima Wormtongue (who, in this story, is terminally shy, sweetly awkward virgin, and really a nice guy deep down), Christa, the irritatingly bitchy teenage goth with bad attitude, whose Aura of Smooth prevents her from being decapitated by the Tolkien characters she abuses, Candie, the bad-ass Avril Lavigne-quoting skate-punk member of the fellowship, and this Harry Potter-universe ad for US mall-goth clothing chain Hot Topic:
In the begging of the summer she went to a muggle mall in London. While she was there she found a store called "Hot Topic". She went in and fell in love with the clothes. She had been what you would call a prep all her life but now she had found out what punk was.
(Hot Topic in London? And to think that had they done some research, they could have had her just go up Camden High Street. Oh, and replace "prep" with "townie" or something.)
Meanwhile, key characters from Middle Earth offer group hugs for alienated self-cutters; meanwhile, Bilbo is warped into contemporary America, only to be adopted by the teenaged Mary Sue, who calls him "Elijah"; and Melissa and Joy smash up Middle Earth - with a car. And then there's this all-powerful Mary Sue, who's loved by all sides, wiser than Gandalf, and gets to slap Galadriel around; oh, and she has a horse named Kyouryoku, who came from a village of "Ramen elves", I kid you not. Then there's this horribly convoluted Harry Potter/LOTR/Sandman crossover. And who could go past this piece of wish fulfillment by a 38-year-old "bardess", who has herself going to Middle Earth, charming everybody to her will and having hot sex with Haldir, with them becoming ancestors of Socrates, Confucius and Tolkien.
It's a sobering thought that, as you read this, in candle-lit suburban bedrooms all over North America, pizza-faced teenaged girls in size-XXL Hot Topic fishnet tops are pouring her fantasies about Legolas ("OMG he's so hott!!!1!") and angst about their lousy non-pony-buying parents into their PCs, thus endlessly replenishing this cornucopia of pure shite for future visitors.
I haven't had a chance to look through the Potter ones in great detail, except that there are a lot of über-k3wl American exchange students/teachers who introduce those stuffy Brits to things like punk and goth that they haven't heard of over there yet. For all I know, someone could have written a Harry Potter story in which all the characters are furries, like, Snape is a snow leopard or something.
Two tidbits in the news: smugglers in Algeria are using donkeys fitted with tape recorders for smuggling goods to Morocco; the tape recorders instruct the unaccompanied donkeys to keep walking. Meanwhile, in a gaffe reminiscent of the Mitsubishi Pajero, British curry giant Sharwoods have discovered, much to their dismay, that the name of their new "deliciously rich" curry sauces, looks like the Punjabi word for "arse". The word is "bundh", which can be transliterated and pronounced in two ways, with comically divergent meanings.
Things overheard on the London Underground, including the surreal ("I rather look forward to the Ragnarok"), the absurdly poetic ("I woke up to find a dead bird in the gutter", " I am very nearly cured of happiness", "The little gingerbread fellow has raisins for eyes."), the droll ("No. I'm not pro-war. I just can't muster up the moral outrage and smugness to oppose it."), bloodlust ("All I ask is fifteen minutes with Britney and a hacksaw","I am a bit disappointed. I expected more carpet-bombing"), aggression ("Hey! Pussy Boy! You act so scared! We are gonna do you bad.", "Don't worry... Robert Fisk will get what's coming to him"), the chatter of London's culture industry ("Let's kit the boyband out in brown leather jackets"), miscellaneous observations (" Every charity shop in London has a copy of 'Jaws' by Peter Benchley.") to too much information ("Gordon, have you ever considered that I might not be gay?", "There is a touch of vomit still on your lapels."). It's a bit like reading the liner notes for a Radiohead album, or something. (via Found)
When the European Union recently sent a probe to Mars, they had to deal with a number of issues, such as which language to have the count-down in:
During the research period they realised that the rocket would actually be too heavy to get off the ground unless they got rid of that manual printed in all 37 European dialects. But in the end this week's launch was an enormous example of European cooperation and every country agreed on one thing: that it was their own scientists who had made the greatest contribution to this success. What's more, this milestone shows that Europe now rivals the US when it comes to space exploration.
But not everybody's enthusiastic about the exciting possibilities of space exploration:
This ought to be a mission to inspire our imaginations, but there are plenty of us on the left who are instinctively cynical about any sort of technological breakthrough. And this because underneath it all, there is a vague suspicion that all science is somehow vaguely rightwing. That everything from double physics on Thursday afternoons to man landing on the moon is the sort of nerdy boy's stuff that ought to be automatically sneered at by any self-respecting old leftie. Never mind that science has brought us the cure to countless diseases and clean water and warm homes and laserjet printers that work almost 50% of the time. The bottom line is that the kids who wanted chemistry sets for Christmas were not the ones wearing Rock Against Racism badges or going on the CND marches; indeed they could probably only see nuclear explosions as a fascinating cosmic phenomenon. So for generations on the British left there has been a lazy hostility to any major scientific achievement, whether it was cloning a sheep or keeping Margaret Thatcher's hair fixed in place.
The winners of the nerve.com Bad Erotica Contest, a sort of specialised version of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, only devoted to bad erotic prose, of the sort more suited to inspiring laughter (and possibly celibacy) than lust.
His wiry hands grasped desperately at her continental breasts, his breath coming hoarse and urgent, like a sailor onboard ship first spotting a sea-cow. "Oh, Marija!" he panted.
Indie Rock Pete, a (story-driven) web comic poking fun at indie scenester pretentiousness. (It seems a little sparse on indie/hipster iconography though; no button badges, ironic hot-rodder shirts, black-framed glasses or Converse sneakers or such.) (via Largehearted Boy)
Despot or Sexpot? Or, can you tell the porn stars from the dictators just by their mustaches? It's harder than it looks. (via Reenhead)
Via Lukelog, a gallery of amusing Photoshopped images of gadgets you're not likely to find in the shops. Though I can see a niche market for the nightlights on page 4. And here's a gallery of recalled food products; it's about 80% tastelessness and 20% inspiration.
Beware the badly-translated Asian Two Towers bootleg DVD captions; some are oddly streetwise, like "Bring your pussy face to my ass" and "You gonna pick it up or what?"; and some, like Eomer saying "too long i wanted my sister" are just disturbing. (via MeFi)
Could this be the best 404 ever?
Welcome to Zork. This version created 11-MAR-91 (PHP mod 25-OCT-2001) There are 4 users playing Zork. You are in an open field west of a big white house with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here. >
(via Peter, who really should update his blog more often)
Amusing site of the day: We Made Out in a Tree and This Old Guy Sat and Watched Us, a compedium of odd found words from many places. (via Charlie's Diary)
Plunderphonic artefact of the week: Public Enemy vs. Dexy's Midnight Runners (~350k MP3). (via bOING bOING)
Semiopathy is a condition which causes its victims to over-empathise with objects:
Kathy Haskard, meanwhile, tells us of the wave of sympathy that washed over her when she saw a sign on a country road in Tasmania saying: "Warning, depressed bridge ahead". Roger Lampert, on the other hand, was perhaps suffering more from semiophobia when, at an early age, he was deeply distressed by the sight of the local "family butcher".
Meanwhile, Sandy Henderson tells us that at Dunblane, near where he lives, is a sign that reads "Hummingbird House Training Centre". Henderson says he hadn't realised that hummingbirds needed house training, but it was very thoughtful of someone to set up a centre to provide it.
Do you have any similar examples to recount? If so, post them in the Comments.
Retro-futurism: Some predictions for the year 2000, written in 1950.
Any marked departure from what Joe Dobson and his fellow citizens wear and eat and how they amuse themselves will arouse comment. If old Mrs. Underwood, who lives around the corner from the Dobsons and who was born in 1920 insists on sleeping under an old-fashioned comforter instead of an aerogel blanket of glass puffed with air so that it is as light as thistledown she must expect people to talk about her "queerness." It is astonishing how easily the great majority of us fall into step with our neighbors. And after all, is the standardization of life to be deplored if we can have a house like Joe Dobson's, a standardized helicopter, luxurious standardized household appointments, and food that was out of the reach of any Roman emperor?
Cute: In an attempt to help cult indie band Guided By Voices break into larger markets, some journalists tested their music with a focus group from one of the largest music-buying demographics: 10 and 11-year-olds:
Zoe C.: "They look dirty in all the pictures."
Zoe S.: "They need more style: rings, earrings, and colorful clothes."
Tony: "Colorful clothes, baggy pants maybe, and matching outfits."
Cody: "They need a name that catches your attention. How about the Shining Stars? Now that's catchy!"
Lena: "The songs are mysterious, but definitely too weird."
Cody: "I could make this up just as good by making up three words."
A collection of amusing epitaphs and witty obituaries: (via A&L)
Or "Joe" Carstairs, the woman who owned and ruled an island in the British West Indies, which she dotted with signs such as: "I eat brown rice in preference to white. Therefore, if brown rice is good enough for me and my household, it is good enough or even too good for the people." Viscount Barrington, whose method of timing a boiled egg "was to recite a fixed number of the quatrains of Omar Khayyam."
More information on a classic of psychoceramic literature, Pedro Carolino's English As She Is Spoke:
For embarking one's self:
Don't you fear the privateers!
I jest of them; my vessel is armed in man of war, I have a vigilant and courageous equipage, and the ammunitions don't want me its.
Never have you not done wreck?
That is arrived me twice.
Some orgeat, some sirup, some paltry wine
Some black pudding, some sugar-plum, some wigs, a chitterling sausages, a dainty-dishes, vegetables boiled to a pap