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Showing posts from 2008

Brief reviews of movies I haven’t seen 2008

I saw no new movies this year. These are reviews of some of them.

Frost/Nixon

Blatant rip-off of my proposed movie, Merv/Gerald, a dramatic recreation of President Ford’s history-making appearance on the Merv Griffin show.

Milk

I’m lactose intolerant.

Australia

A cowboy (played by Hugh Jackman), a beauty (played by Nicole Kidman), and Chaka from Land of the Lost (played by Chaka, from Land of The Lost) battle the Japanese in this “alternate history” of New Zealand.

The Spirit

More headache inducing comic-bookery from the makers of the headache inducing Sin City and 300. If you are one of those who think these movies are “visually dazzling” you might be mentally retarded.

Pineapple Express

The presence of my favorite actor Black Robert Downey Jr. was outweighed by the presence of my least favorite actor, the detestable Ben Stiller.

Rambo IV

Using a time machine, the military sends an elderly, chemically inflated Rambo back to the jungles of the Vietnam War for a few more rounds of gook killi…

Where have you gone, Matha Mwamba? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you

Expensive, grandiose, unachievable - in essence Obama and his Obamanuts are proposing a Zambian Space Program for America.

Of course Edward Mukaka Nkoloso was never allowed to spend any money, and he was joking…

Psychometeorology

"The Doldrums reasserting themselves...The competitors about to enter the Doldrums or currently tackling them will be experiencing Doldrums..."

I see the Zambia of the future as a space-age Zambia

Thousands of plumed warriors with spears and blunderbusses hunted elephants, hippos and buffaloes in the bush to provide a fitting repast for the independence day feasting. Along Northern Rhodesia's Congo border, Bemba tribesmen blasted homemade, muzzle-loading guns into the night. In Lusaka, the capital, representatives from more than 60 nations gathered to watch the lighting of a 6-ft. freedom flame marking the rechristening of Northern Rhodesia as Zambia and its proclamation as an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.So it was in the last days of the month of October in the year 1964 in Zambia. But as millions celebrated independence, not everyone was happy:
During the independence festivities only one noted Zambian failed to share in all the harmony. He is Edward Mukuka Nkoloso, a grade-school science teacher and the director of Zambia's National Academy of Science, Space Research and Philosophy, who claimed the goings-on interfered with his space program to…

Ignore it at your peril

A wooly man-ape some liken to a Bigfoot has escaped from Whitby and now roams Epping Forest, frightening and sodomizing strollers and campers, in some instances consensually. Asked about the Bigfootesque beast dull-witted park keeper Ian Greer explained, “Sometimes we get deer but there are no bears around here.”

Now do you understand why I warn about Whitby?

We must prepare the revolution against plebeianism

The narrower the sphere of action proper to an idea, the more disturbing will its influence be if the idea is forcibly applied to the totality of life. Fancy a frenzied vegetarian insistent upon surveying the whole world from the viewpoint of his culinary dogmas: in art, he would censure all paintings but vegetal landscapes; as for the national economy, he would be strongly agrarian; in religion, he would bow to no gods but the archaic harvest-deities; for clothing, he would tolerate only hemp, flax, or matweed; and as a philosopher, he might insist on the teaching of a transcendent botany. Yet no less absurd is the man who, like many today, stands before us proclaiming, “Above all else, I am a democrat!” - Jose Ortega y Gasset, "Morbid Democracy".

News from 1902

My ongoing research into the Unidentified Flying Haystack phenomenon has uncovered an episode of identified flying haystacks that took place 106 years ago:
FLYING HAYSTACKS. Extraordinary Aerial Activity of Fodder in England.

An extraordinary phenomenon was witnessed at Chester one Sunday afternoon. About 2:15 o'clock a large quantity of hay passed over the city at an altitude of about 300 feet, and traveling with great rapidity. Portions of the hay fell in various parts of the town. It is thin and short, and probably has been grown on the Welsh hills, from which direction it came. The phenomenon must have been caused by a powerful whirlwind…

The alarming tendency toward aerial flights which stolid British haystocks are developing has spread to Devonshire. In this particular case, it is true, it was only half a haystack which got entangled in a miniature whirlwind...[Cont.]

Over and done

Weak drinks and manic smiles at a local party celebrating the greatest event in human history. A congressman takes the stage to announce President Obongo will “implement a green energy revolution” on his first day in office, but he doesn’t say how. Maybe the secret of Barry’s “lost” Columbia years is he was inventing cold fusion in his apartment?

A party apparatchik follows. He says the election means, “All of us have to give up our cynicism,” and I think I might punch him in the face. I’ve been meticulously cultivating my cynicism for years. It’s like an exquisite bonsai tree, and I’m not throwing it away now, when it’s needed most.

Now stop. Barry time! Everyone turns to the flat screens and no one says a word while BO speechifies - except for your correspondent, who desperately needs another drink. “Can we get a proper pour this time?” One sip reveals that no, no we can’t.

Adios F. Caballero

A disturbing story from Mexico alerts me to a major donkey safety flaw:
A Mexican woman says she fought a 226kg lion with a machete near the resort city of Acapulco and scared him away.

Celsa Aleman said she and her seven-year-old niece were riding a donkey along a road when the lion went after the animal's legs.

The 35-year-old woman said she found the courage to fight the lion because she thought it would attack her niece.

She said she hit the animal with a machete until the beast ran away.If donkeys attract lion attacks, even in  Mexico where wild lions are nearly extinct, then there really is no place safe to ride them. I regret urging everyone to buy one.

No laughing matter

In May of 1981 children across America were reporting clowns who would try to force or lure them into vans. Though the encounters were frightening, the clowns never successfully kidnapped a single child. Soon the reports stopped, and the sinister clowns were never heard from again...until now.

Transitory meteors

Democracy has one brilliant moment, but it is a moment and it must pay dearly for it. The great days of Athens might, I agree, inspire desires in the subject of a monarchy, languishing in such and such a period under an inept or wicked king. Nevertheless, we would be greatly mistaken if we claimed to establish the superiority of democracy over monarchy by comparing moment for moment, because, in this way of judging, we neglect among other things the consideration of duration, which is a necessary element of these sorts of calculation.

In general, all democratic governments are only transitory meteors, whose brilliance excludes duration.... -  Joseph de Maistre, Study on Sovereignty.

Банкерите което може се доверите

“The Bulgarian banks do not have a single penny or dollar invested in risky financial instruments, like the ones, which caused the financial crisis in USA,” the Governor of BNB Ivan Isrkov said, Trud Daily reported. Iskrov together with the Head of the Association of Banks in Bulgaria – Violina Marinova, explained that the banks in Bulgaria are not investment banks, but are commercial banks. According to Iskrov, that was why the banking systems in the region are stable, but he said that a slowing down of the growth rates of the economies was possible. - "The Bulgarian banks do not have risky financial instruments", FOCUS Information Agency.

Where is the economy headed?

I predict the United States economy is poised to become more donkey-based (similar to how the economies of Namibia and Pakistan are now). I’m so confident of this I put some of my own coin into the donkey sector today with the purchase of a sturdy one I've named Francis Caballero.

Why donkeys, you ask? For many reasons. Donkeys are versatile, working well in urban and rural settings. They haul, carry, and can be ridden. They are easier to feed than a horse and are more durable. Donkeys are simple to manage - a small wooden club or perhaps a short piece of metal pipe is all you need. Greens take note: donkey waste is biodegradable, and as an added bonus it can be flung at the people who got us into this mess.

UPDATE: I just remembered I have a violent hatred of donkeys. Run, Caballero!

Roger’s Lacuna

Roger Kimball frequently writes about multiculturalism and the creeping Islamicization of the West. In a recent piece about the refusal of Turkish Mussulmen in Germany to assimilate he laments:
I am writing this in London, city that every time I come is a little less English. Women wearing burqas used to be an exotic anomaly, sightings of which were confined to a few certifiably Muslim neighborhoods. Nowadays, you’ll see them on Kensington High Street, St. James’s, and the Strand.Yet despite recognizing the consequences of immigration, Kimball not only won’t come out against immigration, he never mentions immigration. It's bizarre. I wonder if this single-word anomia Roger suffers from might have been caused by wearing overly constrictive bow ties?

Where else would they be going?

The Scarborough Evening News reports:
MORE strange lights have been reported over the Scarborough and Robin Hoood's Bay…

The latest sighting was above Asquith Avenue in Scarborough and follows several reports of strange orange-coloured lights above Scarborough Castle a few weeks ago.

Tracey Bromage, of Seamer Road, was walking home at about 10pm when she saw the strange and silent lights. She said: "We saw randomly pulsing lights. They were yellowish. We just felt surprised because we thought it was lightning but there was no sound at all.

"They were about roof height or the height of a lamppost. They weren't traveling, just stationary. The nearest comparison we could make was the Northern Lights but in yellow."

She added she did not have a clue what the lights were but they hovered above the houses…

The second witness, a man in his 20s, said he saw the same lights from Scalby. "They were going towards Whitby. I looked through binoculars at the lights, they…

Lizards of Laos

An Australian man who spent eleven days lost in the jungles of Laos remains hospitalized in serious condition. At one point during his ordeal the man, Hayden Adcock, was chased and attacked by giant, flesh eating lizards:
He said to my nephew…he was looking between some trees and there was a cliff face, and big lizards came out of the rockface of the cliff and they chased him and he ran into the forest and cut himself. He was then saying he'd fell into the river and the lizards chased him into the river and attacked him...Scientists find Adcock’s account intriguing. “As far as we know, there are no lizards of any kind in Laos, let alone giant flesh eating lizards,” said herpetologist Alexander Abonutichus. “We may have to rewrite the textbooks. It certainly deserves further investigation.”

Also needing investigation is how Adcock became lost in the first place, there is suspicion he was set up:
Mr. Adcock partly blames his ordeal on advice he was given by locals, informing him he …

Kraft im Recht

For me the word “freedom” has not the value of a starting-point, but rather that of an actual point of arrival. The word “order” denotes the starting-point. Only on the concept of order can that of freedom rest. Without the foundation of order, the call for freedom is nothing more than the striving of some party after an envisaged end. In its actual use, the call inevitably expresses itself as tyranny. Whilst I have at all times and in all situations ever been a man of order, my striving was addressed to true and not deceptive freedom. In my eyes, tyranny of any kind has only the value of absolute nonsense. As a means to an end, I mark it as the most vapid that time and circumstance is able to place at the disposal of rulers. - Prince Klemens von Metternich, “My Political Testament”.

Queries

In The Discoverie of Witchcraft, Reginald Scott writes:
Our mothers' maids have so terrified us with bull-beggars, spirits, witches, urchins, elves, hags, fairies, satyrs, pans, faunes, sylens, tritons, centaurs, dwarfs, giants, nymphes, Incubus, Robin good fellow, the spoom, the man in the oke, the fire-drake, the puckle, Tom Thombe, Tom tumbler boneless, and such other bugs.Who was “the spoom”?

What ever happened to the Giants of Cashmere?

Why don’t weblogs go left to right, like this?

Page 36 of the June 15, 1850 edition of Notes and Queries describes the traditional cure for nosebleeds used by the rural folk of South Northamptonshire:
For stopping or preventing bleeding at the nose, a toad is killed by transfixing it with some sharp pointed instrument, after which it is enclosed in a little bag and suspended round the neck.That seems such an overly complicated, time consuming procedure for a simple bloody nose. Were nose bleeds among the rural folk of South Northamptonshire in 1850…

Cuckoo in cuckoo clock land

Newly enacted animal rights laws in Switzerland make it illegal to flush live goldfish down the toilet, and from now on an unwanted or terminally ill fish “must be first knocked out and then killed before its body can be disposed of.”

While the laws say how a fish shouldn't be killed, they don't say how a fish should be killed, leaving thousands of Swiss fish fanciers confused and unsure about legally handling their pets end of life issues. In my opinion the ‘cleanest’ and most efficient method is to dispatch the fish with a bullet to the back of its head. Fortunately, a Swiss company manufactures a firearm ideally suited for the task.

Hell comes to Mahavilachchiya

India has given the world a lot, and that’s even if you don’t count all the diarhoea. Now India has given me the fantastic idea of building an elephant preserve in New Orleans. During good weather the elephants would be a tourist attraction, during a hurricane they would serve as a last resort means of escape. As a bonus you could occasionally let them out to stomp on the local thug population.

The Indonesian woman who grows metal wires out of her body has gone missing. Police think she’s been stolen by methheads.

Protestors in Pakistan are demanding an investigation after five Balochistan women were buried alive because three of the women married members of the wrong tribe. The Paki government doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

In Sri Lanka a woman had a six-inch long worm removed from her eyeball. Doctors there say the eyeball is becoming an increasingly popular place for worms to live, but they don’t know why.

Also in Sri Lanka, what can only be described as a gang of e…

Olympics Notes

Why does Usain Bolt act like a ding-dong?

Because he hangs out withthe Ding Dong:

“Dancing is one of Bolt's passions and he often spends time learning new moves from one of Jamaica's most popular street dancers, Ding Dong.”

World's best mom

In Mozambique an 18 year old woman gave birth to three cups. Mozambique is a poor country with a surplus of babies and a dearth of quality dinnerware, so maybe things are finally changing for the better.

The Mozambican association of traditional healers says there is “nothing strange about the story,” and who are you to argue with them?

A dark, vaporous something

Re-architecture entire cities

Fire. The printing press. The Maxim Gun. Double entry bookkeeping. The light bulb. The cigarette. Some inventions do more than change the way we live our daily lives, they change history. This is one of those inventions, and nothing will ever be the same again.

The Beast of Bolga

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Exciting news from Ghana (when was the last time you heard that?) where a human-pig hybrid has been created:
“The people of Bolga, the Upper East regional capital are struggling to come to terms with circumstances that resulted in the delivery of a piglet which has the face of human.

The owner of the pig, John Akologu who lives at Sawaba, a suburb of Bolga, was shocked when he woke up on Friday morning to see his pregnant pig litter the strange ‘kind’…

There are widespread speculations someone in the neighbourhood or close to the the mother pig has been 'seeing' it.”     Beast of Bolga, a.k.a. the Ghanaian Abomination.
Looking closely at the above image of the Ghanaian Abomination I’m struck by the resemblance between it, the Montauk Monster, and California Senator Henry Waxman, who declined to comment on this story.

RELATED: Other ADC posts on hybrids.

Slightly more unhappiest

Flooding has forced the evacuation of Moldova’s leisure zone. Moldova’s dehumanizing low wage industrial work zone and its Kafkaesque bureaucratic paper shuffling zone are on high ground, and should not be affected by the rising waters.

Aphorisms found in an 18th Century fencing manual

“In offending to be defended, and in defending to be in an immediate Condition to offend.”

“There is the Foreseen, and the Unforeseen; the Foreseen is the Effect of the Understanding and of the Will, and the Unforeseen is the Effect of the Discernment of the Eye, and of Custom.”

“To be in Possession of what you know, you must be in Possession of yourself.”

“To know what you risque, you must know what you are worth.”

“Endeavour both to discover the Enemy's Design, and to conceal your own.”

“The Beauty of an Assault appears in the Execution of the Design.”

“Be always cautious, Time lost cannot be regained.” - from The Art of Fencing; or the Use of the Small-sword, by Monsieur L'Abbat, Master of the Art of Fencing at the Academy of Toulouse. Translated by Andrew Mahon, Professor of the small sword, Dublin.

Know your Diogeneses

Diogenes of Sinope (b. 404 BC). Also known as Diogenes the Dog, or Cynic. Philosopher, jester, public nuisance. Student of Antisthenes. Sometimes slept in an empty wine vat. Coined the term cosmopolitan, announcing “I am a citizen of the world.”

Diogenes Laërtius (3rd Cent. AD). Biographer of Greek philosophers. Author of Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers.

Diogenes of Apollonia (c. 460 BC). Natural philosopher. Observed drunks act stupid and wine is wet; concluded moisture inhibits the mind. Observed plants are stupid; pointed out plants are full of moisture. Observed infants are angry and stupid. Did you know the typical baby goes through 8 to 12 diapers a day?

La Grange

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He be an honest angler

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Every 5th of July my grandfather and I put on our finest suits and go fishing in the pond in the woods in back of his house.

I don’t know why we do this; it has been the tradition between grandfathers and grandsons in our family for as long as anyone can remember.

The pond is odd. No one knows how it was formed. It has a diameter of 8 feet and is, as far as those who have examined it can tell, precisely circular in circumference. An attempt to determine its depth with a drop line was abandoned at 400 feet. The sides of the pond are like dark green glass. Local Indians and wildlife avoid it.

This year I didn’t catch anything, but Grandfather sure reeled in a big one:

Billanthropy

Billionerd Bill Gates is leaving Microsoft to become a global busybody. His first victims will be the Chinese, who he plans to annoy with two new initiatives: the Gates Foundation’s “In China You No Smokee-Ciggie” anti-tobacco campaign, and the “In China You No Pokee-Rumpee” anti-sodomy campaign.

Both campaigns are absurd. Think of the millions of Chinamen who toil in factories putting lead in children’s toys. Other than the delight that comes with poisoning American children and the satisfaction of the occasional cigarette, what pleasures do they have? As for the other initiative, even Mao couldn’t stop the Chinese from analizing each other. So why bother?

I get the sense Gates has no imagination, and believes every spare minute should be devoted to installing or rebooting Windows Vista, because that’s what he likes to do.

The cost of both campaigns will be over $100 million. Peanuts to Gates, yet his bloated foundation can’t spare a cent for the poor Chinese girl with legs wrapped in …

Bungle in the jungle

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Remember that ‘lost’ tribe in Brazil? Javno News Croatia is reporting: “Discovery of New Tribe in Brazil Was a Lie!” It turns out the tribe was first discovered in 1910.

According to ABC News:...the Brazilian official who took the photos, José Carlos dos Reis Meirelles, admitted that he has been studying the group for more than two decades and that the "chance" meeting was no accident.Also from Javno News: "Chinese Woman With Elephant Legs To Be Operated." I think that story is a hoax, too. Those legs don’t look like elephant legs, they look like normal legs wrapped in dumpling dough, which is one of the oldest tricks in the book.

Monday morning traffic report

The Stewart Street bridge Dayton, Ohio is closed. Please use alternate routes.

In Illinois, various streets in uptown Normal are affected by a hotel construction project. Traffic in downtown Normal is normal.

Leyland, UK commuters can expect delays. A tree is blocking both sides of Worden Lane. Take Vicarsfields or Langdale Road instead. The falling tree “came down from an area where caravans, owned by Billy Smart's Circus crew...are parked.” The police say there is no evidence the filthy circus folk caused the tree to fall, but concede “everyone knows” circus folk are “bad luck.”

At the mercy of modernization

OhmyNews reports tourism is eroding the tribal culture of Zimbabwe’s Tonga people1. One of the customs in danger of extincition is the traditional rite of passage ceremony for girls: Powerful and heavily built men are usually assigned to get a hold of any girl in the village that has reached puberty and is almost ripe for marriage before tying her hands and legs with ropes.

The Tonga tribesmen then pin down the now bound girl and immediately start striking her front teeth out. Usually they remove three at the top and three at the bottom.

Even when blood oozes from the gaps where the teeth had been, and the girl cries out in pain, she receives no help, as both men and women in the area enjoy it. At times a girl's head will swell from the knocking.

This is a rite the Tonga people have jealously guarded. They vow that their traditions cannot be dismantled in spite of the so-called modernization and rapid tourism growth that is encroaching their homeland.

"We will try hard to continu…

Sneakerfeet of mystery

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No one knows where they are coming from, or why, but right feet shod in sneakers have been washing ashore on beaches near Vancouver, Canada. For those unable to imagine what a right foot in a sneaker that has washed ashore on a Canadian beach looks like, the Irish Herald provided the following helpful image of a sneaker with no foot in it that obviously hasn’t washed ashore but definitely is on a beach, though probably not a Canadian one:


That picture really brings the horror home, doesn't it?

Big metal bird in sky

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Someone should force America’s mollycoddled poor to take a long, hard, look at these pictures:

Those fun loving knuckleheads trying to pick a fight with the airplane that's photgraphing them are completely self sufficient, and they do it without modern conveniences, like government cheese or pants. Despite never having been given free educations, they appear to have produced a monumental breakthrough in the field of cryptozoology by befriending some sort of half-human she-ape (girlilloid?) belonging to a species undreamt of by Western naturalists.*



*That may be a Maricoxi.

Dispatches from here and abroad

From Wetwang comes word of a brick attack in Wetwang. Anyone with information please contact the police at 0845 6060222.

With the fallout from her remarks about the RFK assassination still lingering, Sen. Clinton may have triggered a new controversy when she announced another reason she would not drop out of the presidential race was the remote but very real possibility of Obama suffering a brick attack in Wetwang. “We all remember that brick attack in Wetwang. I don't understand it. But like you, I remember it.”

Locally, a sad-faced man in a bar was overheard lamenting modern romance: “I had no idea she would leave. It came out of nowhere, like a brick attack in Wetwang.”

A Long Island businessman admitted giving Isreali Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “$150000, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes,” but denied ever giving Olmert a brick attack in Wetwang.

The Barack Obama campaign said the candidate misspoke when relating the story of a great-uncle who rescued Jews from a brick attack i…

The owl flies at twilight

An owl in North Carolina killed a woman then framed her husband for the murder. The man now sits in jail, while the owl is free to flap about in the woods. Think of this the next time you hear some jackass gurgling about how wonderful nature is.

On holiday

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Book notes

The newspaper alerts me to the publication of a literary masterpiece, a novel called The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. Here the narrator of this momentous new book, Enzo, waxes philosophical:“I am ready to become a man now, though I realize I will lose all that I have been. All of my memories, all of my experiences. I would like to take them with me into my next life—there is so much I have gone through with the Swift family—but I have little say in the matter. What can I do but force myself to remember? Try to imprint what I know on my soul, a thing that has no surface, no sides, no pages, no form of any kind. Carry it so deeply in the pockets of my existence that when I open my eyes and look down at my new hands with their thumbs that are able to close tightly around their fingers, I will already know. I will already see.

The door opens, and I hear him with his familiar cry, "Yo, Zo!" Usually, I can't help but put aside my pain and hoist myself to my feet, …

Various parts

For the third Mother’s Day in a row Major League Baseball players used pink bats in order to raise awareness of breast cancer. Over a year ago I sent Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig a number of emails suggesting on Father’s Day baseball play games using pink baseballs, in order to raise awareness of testicular cancer. He still hasn’t replied.

Meanwhile in Senegal it’s time for the annual ear harvest.

Whitby!

The accursed town of Whitby has been busy upgrading its infrastructure. To retain the element of surprise most of the improvements are still secret, but it's now known the East Pier has been modified to deliver painful, potentially lethal electric shocks. So far only a dog has been zapped, but Whitby’s civic leaders are confident warmer weather will bring plenty of children and tourists out of doors and down to the pier to be electrocuted.

What kind of talent is required to please this mighty public?

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Let us try to remember how fancy works in children; with what selective partiality it reads, leaving often the bulk of the book unrealised, but fixing on the rest and living it; and what a passionate impotence it shows - what power of adoption, what weakness to create. It seems to be not much otherwise with uneducated readers. They long, not to enter into the lives of others, but to behold themselves in changed situations, ardently but impotently preconceived. The imagination (save the mark!) of the popular author here comes to the rescue, supplies some body of circumstance to these phantom aspirations, and conducts the readers where they will. Where they will: that's the point; elsewhere they will not follow. When I was a child, if I came on a book in which the characters wore armour, it fell from my hand; I had no criterion of merit, simply that one decisive taste, that my fancy refused to linger in the middle ages. And the mind of the uneducated reader is mailed with similar r…

The return of Mande Burung

Huge ape-like beasts of a type unknown to science are terrorizing the Hindu Kush. Locals call these “illusive,” Bigfootish creatures Mande Burung:The colour of the hair is reported to be black or blackish brown. It has some kind of foul odour/smell emanating from the body. It has a footprint/pug mark size from 13 inches to 15 inches in length. It may be around 7’5" to 9’ tall. It may weigh around 300 kgs. It is noted to be herbivorous creature, who eats banana, tubes, tree roots, fruits, berries, barks of some trees, sawe trees and is also reported to eat crabs. It walks on two legs (biped). (As reported in 2002 sighting). It sleeps in the nest built on the open ground (as reported in 2002 sighting). It is shy and is basically harmless (as reported in 2005 sighting). It is a creature with phenomenal strength.A perverted female Mande Burung once forced a man to suckle its teats. The milk, he says (whenever anyone will listen, I imagine), tasted “sour with a mixture of bitterness”.

The myth of subliminal persuasion

If you’re in the human resources department of the Parallax Corporation you probably already know this:Psychologists Kirsten Ruys and Diedrick Stapel of the Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research at Tillburg University in The Netherlands have uncovered the first empirical evidence to suggest humans do not need to be aware of the event that caused their mood or feelings in order to be affected by it. The scientists hypothesized that, since humans have evolved to respond quickly and unconsciously to stimuli, they should be able to react to an emotional event without full awareness: “You are likely to live longer if you immediately stop moving at the sight of a growling grizzly bear and do not need full awareness for such a response to be instigated,” explained Ruys and Stapel.

The researchers measured people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior to determine whether specific emotions were induced without awareness of their causes…Participants were separated into three groups and…

Flotsam and jetsam

In New Zealand a yellow-bellied sea snake washed ashore near Dargaville. Authorities say the snake is nothing to be concerned about, but the image of the black and bright yellow snake, twisted and dead on the wet sand near Dargavile, continues to haunt me.

For the second day in a row an Air Force drone washed ashore on the beach in Alabama. Authorities insisted the drones “contain no explosives” (who ever said they did?), and are “not a threat.”

Hundreds of dead fish washed ashore at Chemong Lake in Canda. Authorities say this is “normal”, and that “there's no cause for concern.” It’s widely believed the dead fish contain no explosives.

It’s not often someone regrets not finding hundreds of dead fish, but that’s probably what a Texas couple was feeling after discovering a partially decomposed human leg while strolling on a South Padre Island beach. The leg washed ashore wearing a sneaker. Authorities say they have no explanation for the leg. They also don’t say we shouldn’t be al…

Comets or unusual prodigies?

Mystery lights roam the skies above Phoenix and Florida. Are they visitors from space, or portents of disaster? Or both? A boy named Brandon Puckett saw the blazing orbs, and describes what it was like:

"I looked up and it was like these two fiery balls like flying across the sky, sort of in formation. They were like flying toward each other."

(In honor of Earth Day this entry is 100% biodegradable.)

Start the mewling and puking without me

Leading obstetrician Michel Odent explains why a man should never be present at the birth of his child:For many years, I have not been able to speak openly about my views that the presence of a father in a delivery room is not only unnecessary, but also hinders labour.

To utter such a thing over the past two decades would have been regarded as heresy, and flies in the face of popular convention.

But having been involved in childbirth for 50 years, and having been in charge of 15,000 births, I have reached the stage where I feel it is time to state what I - and many midwives and fellow obstetricians - privately consider the obvious.
That there is little good to come for either sex from having a man at the birth of a child.

For her, his presence is a hindrance, and a significant factor in why labours are longer, more painful and more likely to result in intervention than ever.

As for the effect on a man - well, was I surprised to hear a friend of mine state that watching his wife giving …

Progress being made

Libraries are innovating to attract the crucial youth demographic:Looking for new ways to attract young people, more than three quarters of the nation's public libraries support gaming, including card games and online activities, according to a study coming out this week....most librarians believe that gaming fits an overall strategy to increase teen involvement, noting a nationwide trend of libraries forming teen advisory boards, devoting more space to teen centers and allowing teens to help with the design...Libraries have worked hard in the past decade to change their hushed image, and gaming is now a common event. In early March, about 30 teenagers attended a game night at the public library in Burlington, Iowa, playing "Guitar Hero" and "Wii Sports" among others. About 100 teens compete monthly at "Guitar Hero" at the Rochester Hills Public Library in Michigan.Libraries have considerable room for growth in this area. While progress has been made,…

April happenings

Every April thousands arrive at the ancient Narsingh temple in Joshimath, India, to watch a priest possessed by the goddess Bhagwati eat pounds of butter (ghee), sugar (gur), uncooked rice, and an uncooked goat (tartare). Then he does a crazy dance (you would too). What happens after the dance I prefer not to think about. If that weren't enough, all the food is locally grown and organic.

A report from academia

The lamentations of a pseud:“When I was getting my B.A. in English, of my eight closest friends, five were either English or Comparative Literature majors; all had taken part in an intensive humanities program freshman year that included housing all the participants together. By senior year, there was absolutely no distinction between our academic work and the rest of our time...we were writing our own manifestos, poems, and really long emails; we were drinking cheap vodka (or sometimes some new thing purchased with fledgling credit cards, like cinnamon schnapps)...”

“I’d throw a party, my friend would sit cross-legged on the floor, soliloquizing about track 13 on Exile on Main Street and then disappearing home to write a story called “Rocket Queen.” A series of intensely heated arguments about Heidegger, conducted mostly at around three in the morning, led me to an independent study on Being and Time and my first real introduction to Continental philosophy and ‘theory.’”

“In the four y…

Millionaire crime fighter

From the Sunday, August 11, 1907, edition of The New York Times:
RICHEST POLICEMAN RESTORED TO FORCE; Inspector Hunt of Chicago, Worth $1,000,000, Welcomed by Citizens. ANTAGONIZED UNION LABOR Stopped Succession of Battles with the Police at the Stockyards in the Strike of 1904.

CHICAGO, Aug. 10. -- Inspector Nicholas Hunt, reputed millionaire, and the richest policeman in the world, was reinstated on the police force by Chief Shippy last night and placed in charge of his old headquarters in Hyde Park.

The Inspector was met at his old station by hundreds of friends. His return was the occasion for an impromptu love feast, in which prominent citizens of Hyde Park and the police under his command took part.For some reason inflation calculators don’t go back further than 1913, but $1,000,000 in 1907 would be more than $21,000,000 today. According to the Biographical History Of The American Irish In Chicago:
Among the notable murder cases with which Inspector Hunt has been connected may be …

Scarborough donkey news

Because of new animal cruelty rules the fat children of Scarborough can no longer ride donkeys:Anyone over eight stone will not be allowed to ride a donkey on the beach – which means that obese children may need to be turned away.

The rules have been written by The Donkey Sanctuary and the British Equine Vets’ Association to protect the hard-working animals.

Melanie Fisher, who operates donkeys on Scarborough’s South Bay beach, said: “We have always stuck to our own limit of around six stone anyway, so the new guideline won’t affect us. I think eight stone is still too much when you consider the weight of the saddle too.”

Mrs Fisher said she has had to turn away overweight children in the past but has never faced an angry reaction from parents.

She said: “People are generally fine about it. We just say the child is too big to ride a donkey and ask if they would like to help us lead it along the beach instead.

“It’s all about what’s best for the donkey at the end of the day.”Are you listeni…

Secondhand crashing

Prohibiting smoking in public places does not save lives (no one has ever died from secondhand smoke), all smoking bans do is make smokers miserable. Or at least that’s what I thought, but it turns out smoking bans kill:According to a new study released, smoking bans have been linked to an increase in drunk driving accidents. It appears that since people cannot smoke in many restaurants and bars, they are now turning to drinking, and it is getting dangerous.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Washington and looked at data from 2000 to 2005.

They found that instead of going to a bar for a drink and a smoke, people are now more likely to go farther away to someone’s home where they can do both without any trouble.

The longer drives put them at an increased risk of accident.

The researchers found that in communities where smoking bans are in effect, there is a 12% increase in the number of drunk driving accidents.Don’t expect anti-smoking fanatics to relent merely …

This week in international crime

India

When I heard guru Baba Ramdev had received a threatening letter I leapt to my feat and exclaimed, “This looks like the malign handiwork work of the nefarious Iqbal!” punctuating my outburst by gesturing with my pipe. Sure enough, today Zee News India is reporting: “Uttar Pradesh security forces on Thursday arrested a middle aged man, Iqbal, in connection with a threatening letter written to the popular yoga exponent Baba Ramdev.”

New Zealand

Arthur Ross Cradock, the orchard worker who told police being raped by a wombat had left him speaking in an Australian accent, was found guilty of having a sense of humor and sentenced to 75 hours of community service.

United Kingdom

Angry Chinese smashed the windows of the Natural Bed Company in Sheffield because of the store’s support of Tibet. Fearing retaliation by Tibetans the pro-China Sheffield Futon Shop has added extra security.

Monday Diary

I again attempt to view the exhibit of Roman art from the Louvre at the museum, but, as before, when I approach the museum I feel overwhelmed and turn back. It’s as if I cannot withstand the presence of so many relics from that dead empire, and so shy away. No matter how much I intend on entering, this always happens right as I’m on the verge of the museum.

UPDATE: I learn from a friend who works there the museum is closed on Mondays.

UPDATE: I called the museum and asked if they had any paintings depicting Jesus in the hat he surely must have worn. After some delay they said no, but they did say the museum has a café where I might enjoy having lunch.

Surf and turf

Scientists at Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research have been attempting to cross minke whales with cows; so far without success (my guess is the cows drown when the whales try to mount them). They hope to produce a hybrid animal with the beefy goodness of a cow, the blubbery delightfulness of a 10,000 pound whale, and the ability to spout milk out of its blowhole.

Unsurprisingly, this creative research project is being ridiculed by the moribund and humorless scientific establishment:The head of Australia's scientific delegation to the IWC, Dr Nick Gales, said the research not only lacked credibility - it was downright strange.

"(The research involves) really bizarre and very strange experiments...It's totally esoteric, very strange research," he said from London. Gales claim to fame is his two year study of the turds and vomit of sea lions, so his jealousy of scientists doing something truly groundbreaking is understandable.

It’s not the food item that causes crime, it’s the man who wields it

The tables were turned on a man discovered stealing meat from the freezer of an Italian eatery in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The startled thief menaced the restaurant’s owner with a “five-pound log of frozen Italian meat”, but the restaurateur retaliated, bashing the meat burglar in the face with a big ham. The thief fled and remains at large. It’s unknown if the suspect was drunk or a Polack, but at this time neither possibility can be ruled out.

None of which has anything to do with the gigantic plantain banana shaped UFO Chilean air force general Hernan Gabrieli Rojas saw in the skies over northern Chile in 1978. The huge and idiotic looking craft was last seen flying in the direction of Easter Island, and has never been seen since.

More terrible crime news

Mundo Hispano Bilingual reports a drunken Polack was forcibly caressing a woman about the head and ears with a sausage when it inexplicably burst into flame. This startled the miscreant and he fled on a bicycle.A police spokesman said: "Witnesses said the Polack was definitely using a sausage. Earlier reports a Parmo was involved were mistaken. We do not know how it happened..."The victim said she was frightened at what the Polack might do next, while admitting she was also somewhat aroused. As a precautionary measure she was taken to a hospital to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Only 11?

From the Scarborough Evening News comes the appalling story of a drunken man who rubbed a kebab on some poor lady’s face:“He [Stephen Black] started shouting obscenities and said ‘If you want it [the kebab] you can have it’, before pushing it into her face and rubbing it in.”

[The victim] said she was frightened at what Black might do next and had to be taken to hospital after developing breathing difficulties.

Police arrived and arrested Black, who had been out all day and admitted drinking 11 pints of bitter before the incident...This crime is the one of the many unpleasant consequences of mass immigration and multiculturalism. Certainly in the England of the past there were occasions when a woman had a steak and kidney pie shoved in her face, or perhaps was pelted with an order of fish and chips, but never would you have seen a woman bludgeoned with a kebab.

Shewed a sign

Last week a Polack riding a bicycle had his pants spontaneously burst into flame:Mieczyslaw Jasinski, 55, was on his way home from work in Koroszczyn, Poland, at the time.

A police spokesman said: "Witnesses said he was like a flaming human torch. We do not know how it happened..."And to think there are those who continue to deny the existence of God.

Brief reviews of Academy Award® nominated films I haven’t seen

Atonement

A comedy about a boy (Keira Knightly) who disguises himself as a girl to infiltrate the stately manor of Lord Snardbollocks and steal the Snardbollocks' family jewels. Hilarity ensues when assorted homosexualists (Englishmen) living at the manor find they’ve ‘inexplicably’ fallen in love with ‘her’.

Juno

I saw the preview to Juno in a theater. Afterwards I got up, went out to the lobby, and started punching people in the face. On principle.

There Will Be Blood

An elegy to our vanished way of life: men dig a hole in the ground, oil spouts out, everyone cheers then goes bowling. Existence had solidity and meaning; work was tangible and rewarding. Today it’s sit in cube, tap-tapitty-tap on keyboard, get yelled at by a lady-boss, then home to play Nintendo Wii or, worse, watch a movie like "Juno". What worms.

Michael Clayton

Dull bio-pic about a Tampa Bay wide receiver who caught 22 passes for 301 yards last season.

10,000 B.C.

A stunning recreation of the world as she was…

Dispatch from Bulgaria

Reporter Blaga Bangieva sends sad news from Bulgaria:Tobacco smoking in tourist sites to be forbid completely with a law from the start of 2009 are suggesting from Association of Bulgaria tour operators and tour agencies.

In many European countries the ban already exists and this hasn't reflected to the incomes of hoteliers and restaurant owners.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) enters from July 1 only electronic tickets, which will embarrass the activity of tour agencies, because still many air carriers don't offer this kind of services.”

Optimistic won’t effect tourism.Alas, I know from experience Blaga's optimism is misplaced. Is there anyplace in the world that still welcomes smokers? Yes, India, it turns out. The people there smoke like fiends:There are 120 million smokers in India, half of them younger than 30, the study found. India has a larger population of smokers than any other country in the world except China.Not only does India have a solid ba…

De mortuis ranae nil nisi bonum

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The fossil of a giant, prehistoric frog that looked like a “slightly squashed beach-ball” was discovered in Madagascar, and researchers immediately began slandering its reputation, naming it Beezelbufo ('frog from hell’), and calling it “bad”, “mean”, and a “devil”. Yet there’s zero evidence one way or the other regarding the ancient amphibian’s manners or philanthropic pursuits. Whatever happened to scientific ethics?



The Beezelbufo, which weighed over 10lbs and dined on baby dinosaurs, is thought to have gone extinct more than 65 million years ago, though some scientists believe it may have evolved into an anatomically similar toad living today known as the Jpod. This photo captured a Jpod moments before stuffing a human baby into its maw.

Announcements

After careful consideration, I must formally announce the end of my tenure as Overseas Artistic Advisor to the Swaziland Reed Dance. Changing circumstances precludes my spending any more time and energy on ebony-hued bouncing-teenage titties; I must instead focus on fighting the crime against civilization called the 'War on Tobacco’.

Also, after learning from the chairman of the West Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Clerics’ Council that Valentine’s Day is a Zionist plot, I’ve decided to formally announce I will not be participating in this year’s Valentine’s Day. According to Chairman Buya Mas’oed Abidin:
"Kegemaran tersebut perlu segera dihentikan, karena hal itu tidak cocok dengan budaya kita," kata Buya Mas'oed Abidin, di Padang, Selasa. Hari kasih sayang, digelar kapitalis dan satu konspirasi yahudi itu bakal diperingati remaja dunia pada 14 Pebruari 2008, dan kebiasaan tersebut juga bakal diperingati generasi muda di tanah air, seperti tahun-tahun lalu.

["…

We care a lot

“Morality is not a science or knowledge that can stand on thought alone; morality is a practice. This explains why the heart of the inauthentic moralist beats only for distant and unattainable causes (in space and time): this gives him an excuse for not taking moral action and remaining all talk. It is very difficult to preach morality to one’s neighbor without applying it to oneself: by his very presence the other bears witness to the imposture and casts reproach in the face of the Pharisee. When the other is far removed, however, there is no reproachful look. The Pharisee therefore has every interest in reserving his moral discourse for the distant other, while he writes his neighbor off as a loss, on the argument that he is free to do what he wishes.” – Chantal Delsol, The Unlearned Lessons of the Twentieth Century.

Elsewhere

Larison’s blog has absorbed the American Conservative.

Breathing in the dust of dried cow shits prevents lung cancer.

Did the Sandsend Blob attack a Chatsworth, California woman in 1971?

Let them be

After overturning their parents’ taste in music, like all good little revolutionaries the children of the 60’s proceeded to oppress every subsequent generation with their taste in music. Now they’ve gone one step further and are inflicting the soundtrack of their perpetual adolescence on extraterrestrials:For the first time ever, NASA beamed a song -- The Beatles' "Across the Universe" -- directly into deep space at 7 p.m. EST on Feb. 4.

The transmission over NASA's Deep Space Network commemorated the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA's founding and the group's beginnings...

The transmission was aimed at the North Star, Polaris, which is located 431 light years away from Earth. The song will travel across the universe at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.I am relieved NASA didn’t send out that insufferable "Imagine" song. Hearing that tune could easily provoke aliens into coming here …

Dispatch from Mexico

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Peasants discovered an enormous ear of corn in a field outside of Mexico City last Thursday. Theologians think the colossal cob harbingers the return of Chicomecoatl, the Aztec goddess of maize. Once a year the Aztecs would select a lucky girl to symbolically represent Chicomecoatl in a sacred ritual:"Every September a young girl...was sacrificed. The priests decapitated the girl, collected her blood and poured it over a figurine of the goddess. The corpse was then flayed and the skin was worn by a priest."Aztecs called this “being given the usual.” Chicomecoatl was married to a fellow named Tezcatlipoca who had a snake for a foot, which seems strange now, but that was the style back then.

Insomnia notes

An attempt to enjoy some TV fare goes awry when a mildly entertaining show about Bigfoots on the ‘science’ channel is interrupted by a commercial featuring pitchman Billy Mays1, and nothing can be done because some fool has left the remote out of reach. As I endure Mays bellowing, I’m struck by the similarity of his oratorical style and that of Adolf Hitler. There were men who could have assassinated Hitler before he rose to power, but didn’t, because no one took him seriously until it was too late.2 Let’s hope this time history doesn’t repeat itself.

1Spokesman for OxiClean, Zorbeez, Mighty Putty, Handy Switch remote light switches, Sandsend Blob Repellant, Easy Off Bam!, Turbo Tiger vacuum cleaner, Iguana Diapers, Hercules Hook wall hangers, Samurai Shark knife sharpener, Lint-B-Gone lint brush, Vagin-O-Mite! personal freshener, Ding King automotive dent remover, El Melto frozen burrito de-icer, Steam Buddy wrinkle remover/creaser, and many more products modern man can't live wit…

Came here and said give me something now

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Thousands of clowns descended on the Dallas World Trade Center last Friday, to set the world record for “largest kazoo performance”.

Afterwards many of the clowns could be seen weeping. “There are no more worlds to conquer,” explained one, who identified himself as Bungles McDingo. Then he dried his eyes, tooted a horn, and rode away on a unicycle.