29 July 2007

Alert the world

“Lisa Peterson, 46 years old, says the main reason she sports a robe in public is because "it alerts the world that I am in relaxation mode and that I am pampering myself because I believe I'm worth it." But the communications director for the American Kennel Club, who lives in Newtown, Conn., says it also makes her feel "a little bit naughty."”
- The Great Hotel Cover-Up, Wall Street Journal, 27 July 2007.

Miss Peterson (if it’s Mrs. condolences to your poor husband), there’s really no need to alert me you’ve gone into relaxation, or any other mode, and are pampering yourself (this is one of those rare occasions when I’m confident most of the world completely agrees with me). If anyone needs to be alerted it’s the cardboard-tube fighters, who could partially redeem themselves by giving you a solid drubbing.

The city abounds

Fantastic day, in the span of a few hours I observe a midget riding a scooter, a man with an artificial leg, and an albino.

Seeing one, two, four or more midgets is good luck. Three midgets together is bad luck. Three midgets encountered separately means something terrible is going to happen.

Seeing a person with an artificial leg is neither good nor bad luck. Seeing an artificial leg without a person attached to it portends the start of a period of increased improbability.

Seeing an albino means your packages will be arriving on time. Unless the albino is left handed, then your shipment will be delayed. Seeing an albino midget with an artificial leg would be so sad just thinking about it makes me laugh.

24 July 2007

Scheveningen again

Strange lights were observed hovering over the heavilly flooded town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. As one witness described it:
“The objects were there for about half an hour. It was very eerie because they didn't make any sound and they stayed still before moving slowly beyond the horizon. There were no stars in the sky, just them.”
Like most people, I was instantly reminded by the concurrence of inexplicable lights in the sky and a deluge of “The appearance of the Lights at Scheveningen and Flood,” an event so shrouded in mystery I've been unable to determine when exactly it took place.

23 July 2007

Swarm over, death


At a Seattle area park last Sunday a group of involuntary celibates convened to stage a cardboard tube fighting tournament:
"Two dozen fighters obeyed the tenets of cardboard-tube fighting Sunday, battling for the glory of becoming the champion.

They took to a concrete surface at Seattle's Gas Works Park, wielding their weapons: 3-foot-long cardboard tubes that look like the kind used for gift wrap.

Most fighters employed a two-handed grip; the more assured used one hand. Those who break their tubes do not advance to another round.”
Every day I find it harder and harder not to hate my own country.

One exceptionally pathetic contestant remarked:
"I knew I had to go," he said of the tournament.

"It sounded like something that was amazing and it was. This was the only thing we found to do that was entertaining all week."

Dispatches from Transnistria

Trans-Dniester has a new political party, Fair Pridnestrovie. Fair Pridnestrovie joins the Respublika party, the Renewal party, the Breakthrough party, the Pridnestrovie Communist Party (PKP), the Communist Party of Pridnestrovie (KPP-CPSU), the Patriotic Party of Pridnestrovie (PPP), the Liberal Democratic Party of Pridnestrovi, the People's Will party, and the Social Democratic Party, to bring the total number of ridiculous political parties in Pridnestrovie to ten.

Meanwhile in Chisianu, the President of Moldavia Vladimir Voronin has been running around claiming Jesus was a Communist, noting "Nowhere in the Old or New Testament you will find anything bad said about communists.”

Voronin’s remarks were scoffed at by local religious leaders. Spokesman for the Socialist Party of Moldova, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, the Democratic Party of Moldova, the Social Democratic Party of Moldova, the Christian-Democratic People's Party, and the Peasants' Christian Democratic Party of Moldova were unavailable for comment.

Also in Chisianu, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Anti-Pact Association is demanding an end to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (they would).

19 July 2007

Poll results

The results of the first ADC customer satisfaction survey which asked How can ADC be improved? are in.

18% want more frequent posting, meaning 82% of readers think I’m posting enough or too much.

18% want to see more travel posts. We all have dreams, I suppose.

No one wants more political posts, meaning 100% of readers agree with me democracy has failed, and discussing politics only serves to distract from time better spent stockpiling guns and ammunition.

Counting my own vote, one person wants to see more Whitby posts. Meaning no one, except me, cares the little town of Whitby was nearly smote by a tornado (that’s right, a tornado) and no one, other than myself, wants me to explain how the source of this freakish weather event is undoubtedly Whitbian diabolists trifling with storm demons the Chaldeans called shedu. Bastards.

27% want more Hegel posts. Hegel once wrote:
General gravitation must be recognised for itself as a profound thought, which constitutes an absolute basis for mechanics if it is conceived initially in the sphere of reflection, though it is so bound up with it through the quantitative determinations that it has attracted attention and credit, and its verification has been based solely on the experience analysed from the solar system down to the phenomenon of the capillary tubes. Certainly gravitation directly contradicts the law of inertia, for, by virtue of the former, matter strives to get out of itself to another. In the concept of gravity, as has been shown, there are included the two moments of being for itself and of that continuity that suspends being for itself These moments of the concept now experience the fate, as particular forces corresponding to the power of attraction and repulsion, of being conceived more precisely as the centripetal and the centrifugal forces, which are supposed, like gravity, to act on bodies, and independently of each other and contingently, to meet together in a third entity, the body. In this way whatever profundity was contained in the thought of general gravitation is destroyed again, and the concept and reason will be unable to penetrate into the theory of absolute motion, as long as the vaunted discoveries of forces prevail there.
What springs to normal minds after reading that passage is why? Why did Hegel write such things? Probably because he couldn’t help it, though it’s possible he had an extremely odd sense of humor. Let us speak no more of Hegel.

27% of ADC readers want more nudity, meaning nearly a third of you are unable to locate nudity on the internet without help. Good lord that’s sad. But I’m nothing if not helpful, so enjoy:


PAUL KLEE. Nude, Bending Backwards. 1909.

Optimism

Up till now, for two hundred years, people in England have imagined that every problem could be solved through Freedom, and could let opposites correct one another in the free interplay of argument. But what now? The great harm was begun in the last century, mainly through Rousseau, with his doctrine of the goodness of human nature. Out of this plebs and educated alike distilled the doctrine of the golden age that was to come quite infallibly, provided people were left alone. The result, as every child knows, was the complete disintegration of the idea of authority in the heads of mortals, whereupon of course, we periodically fall victims to sheer power. In the meanwhile, the idea of the natural goodness of man has turned, among the intelligent strata of Europe, into the idea of progress, i.e. undisturbed money-making and modern comforts, with philanthropy as a sop to conscience....

The only conceivable salvation would be for this insane optimism, great and small, to disappear from peoples’ brains. But then our present-day Christianity is not equal to the task it has gone in for and got mixed up with optimism for the last two hundred years. A change will and must come, but after God knows how much suffering.
- Jacob Burckhardt, letter to Von Preen. 2 July 1871. (The Letters of Jacob Burckhardt, translated by Alexander Dru, p. 147.)

See also: Stephen J. Tonsor, Jacob Burckhardt: Tradition and the Crisis of Western Culture (pdf). Modern Age, Winter 1997.

Far Eastern business news

Innovative Chinese fish farmers are growing gigantic fish able to induce food poisoning in seven times as many American consumers at half the cost.


Another sector where the Chinese are making gains is begging:
Police said on Monday that two beggars operating near MRT stations in Taipei City and Taipei County turned out to be professional beggars from China who had entered Taiwan on business visas...Liang Yiping (梁一平), 32, faked deafness and muteness when confronted by police at Yongan Market station, but his identity was later confirmed after officers found he had Chinese currency and more than NT$10,000...After running a background check, they established that he had entered the country with Guo Anquan (郭安銓), 53, on July 12. Guo was later picked up at Ximending station...Liang and Guo had been staying at a hotel near Ximending. Police said the men claimed they were collecting money to return home...They claimed that the NT$30,000 that police discovered in their bags and clothes had been collected over three days of begging.
That projects to about NT$800,000 a year, more than the median salary of Taiwanese computer programmers. Mendicants in America rarely approach returns like that, because unlike the rest of the economy they haven't adapted or improved customer service. I observe beggars on a daily basis losing transactions by being asleep, and driving clients away by glaring, smelling, even bellowing. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, few bother to feign handicaps, often because they don’t know how. Analysts agree the failure to reinvest profits in employee training has been a shortsighted strategy that has impaired the long term profit goals of the American beggary industry.

16 July 2007

Cno

A bipartisan group of senators (the worst kind) is proposing the government provide health insurance for those children who not entirely poor, but aren’t entirely middle class either. These posturing windbags think it so vitally important they are willing to tax just smokers to pay for it, by raising the already unconscionably high taxes on cigarettes by 61 cents per pack. Given how tubby American children are these days the logical solution would be to tax junk food. Such a tax would in itself bring health benefits by reducing the amount of fattening swill the little piggies ingest.

Fortunately our deranged president has promised to veto this monstrous piece of legislation (sometimes, as the old Irish saying goes, even the thickest Echidna-bird finds a hazelnut).

Dispatch from Ogygia

If it has a beak and lays eggs then by god it’s a bird.

12 July 2007

Dispatch from Mesopotamia

“We have not released giant badgers in Basra, and nor have we been collecting eggs and releasing serpents into the Shatt al-Arab river." - Major David Gell, British Army spokesman, 'British blamed for mysterious Beast of Basra'.

10 July 2007

Lycopenia

Remember all the excitement surrounding lycopenes, the tiny single celled organisms that live inside tomatoes (and whose excretions are the cause of the tomato’s redness) and were thought to protect against cancer? I sure don’t. It’s best to ignore these sorts of things, in large part because they never pan out (besides, I enjoy a cigarette now and then, so it’s pointless anyway). Now the FDA says lycopenes don’t protect against cancer, and that there is no evidence tomatoes reduce the risk of "colorectal, breast, cervical or endometrial cancer." Given how science tends to reverse itself, cancerphobes (i.e. those afraid of tobacco) should probably continue to rub tomatoes on their breasts, rectums, cervixes, and endometrials as a precaution.

Apply tomatoes to scalp

I’m suffering from some sort of branial condition. Today I was trying to remember the name of the 18th century philosopher who bred horses and prefigured Darwin in certain aspects, and after nearly half an hour of focused concentration the only name my brain could come up with was Wigsy Macbombo, immediately followed by my forgetting why I was trying to recall the chaps name in the first place. Another symptom is abuse (to put it mildly) of the parenthesis when punctuating.

08 July 2007

Previously discussed

A fascinating article in the New York Times of all places on the mapinguary (a creature previously discussed on ADC). Also mentioned is a cryptid I had never heard of known as the boto, a "type of dolphin that is said to be able to transform itself into human form, wearing a white hat to cover its air spout, and seducing and impregnating impressionable young virgins." Where a boto keeps his stylish headgear while he's in dolphin form remains unexplained. There have been no reports of boto operating outside the Amazon basin, but if you have a teenage daughter you might want to check under her boyfriend’s cap for a blowhole, just in case.

The greatly anticipated list of the New 7 Wonders of the world is out (a list previously discussed on ADC). Selected were the Roman Coliseum, the Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Mayan city of Chichen, the ruins of Petra, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, and the the Taj Mahal.

Not making the list were the Sydney opera house, the Acropolis, the Eiffel Tower, the Easter Island statues, Stonehenge, and, inexplicably, the astounding four-storey, 1000 stall public restroom in Chonguing China:
“We are spreading toilet culture. People can listen to gentle music and watch TV,” said Lu Xiaoqing, an official with the Yangrenjie, or “Foreigners Street”, tourist area where the bathroom is located. “After they use the bathroom they will be very, very happy.”

Footage aired on CCTV showed people milling about the sprawling facility and washing their hands at trough sinks. For open-aired relief, there is a cluster of stalls without a roof.

Some urinals are uniquely shaped, including ones inside open crocodile mouths and several that are topped by the bust of a woman resembling common renderings of the Virgin Mary.
Lastly, gray whales are slimming down (something not previously discussed on ADC):

A female gray whale labored up the coast, the bony ridge of a shoulder blade protruding from what should be the smooth, plump roundness of healthy blubber.

"That female looks a little skinny," said federal biologist Wayne Perryman, peering through his binoculars. "You can see her scapula sticking out. Yeah, she's a skinny girl."
Take note, fatties - if these sea gluttons can lose weight, so can you.

01 July 2007

The Secret History of Whitby

When I began the incredibly popular series of reports now known as The Whitby Sequence I had no idea where my investigations would lead. That sinister forces permeated the dying town of Whitby and were influencing events there was something I sensed early on, though I badly and dangerously underestimated the magnitude of the forces at work.

Why Whitby I could not explain, until by accident (or by dark design?) a strange chapter in Whitbian history was revealed to me...
“IN THE LATE nineteen seventies there was something of an occult convergence upon the English coastal town of Whitby. The reason for the movement of so many occultists, ex-hippies and pothead pixies, could probably be identified only by a thorough examination of the occult current of the time, along with a good analysis of the spirit of the nation. The result, however, was not only that there was a sizeable occult population in the area, but that many other occultists were in the habit of visiting the place.”

“[D]uring the summer of 1979, at a house in Cliff Street, along with a few local pubs no doubt, there occurred what has since become known as The Whitby Conclave. This three story house overlooking the harbour, which is said to be the house in which Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, was the abode of one Graham Fenn-Edwards, a ritual magician and sculptor, who had moved to Whitby the year before. As is the tradition with the likes of occult communities, visiting magi descend upon any suitable lounge floor to crash for a few days, while escaping from the rigours of a world largely unsympathetic to their various models of reality.”

“Several experimental rituals were performed, both in a temple at Cliff Street and at Boggle Hole, an outdoor setting nearby. The rituals performed used dance and physical exhaustion as a method of achieving the desired altered states of consciousness. What resulted was a magic with more feel and less thought. It was generally decided that any technique for raising power was to be considered fair game. This was experimental magic with no rules and no boundaries. It was realised that with such an unstructured approach there was a likelihood that there could be a high casualty rate, at least in the form of unexpected or imprecise results.”