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March 31, 2008

The Sudden Death of Funky Town

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"I remain unconvinced by these results"
- John Taylor, a retired expert in Near Eastern archaeology at the British Museum(and not that guy from Duran Duran)

I'd be a little more inclined to believe the following story had it not appeared in The Daily Mail alongside a piece about Posh Beckham's mum's 60th birthday party (I guess my invitation got lost in the mail) and another stellar piece of journalism about an child protege (as opposed to a geriatric protege?) who became a hooker, but it would appear - again, according to the Daily Mail - that a pair of researchers have translated a clay tablet which describes the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by an asteroid.

On the other hand, it looks like The Times also picked up the story. But, then again, so did Fox Noise

March 28, 2008

This Just In: Teenage Males Are Aggressive

neanderfonzie.jpgPhilly is currently semi-abuzz about the death of a man on a subway platform a few hundred yards from city hall, apparently shortly after a confrontation with a group of teenage boys.

Don't get me wrong; I feel terribly for the man who was killed, but why is it that whenever someone is mauled by a tiger, we say "Well, duh. That's what tigers do", but whenever an incident like the one above takes place no one ever says "Well, duh. 500,000 years of human breeding favoring the most aggressive males: this was bound to happen."

Actually, the amazing thing is that it doesn't happen every day, given the fact that we're all the offspring of the male members of the tribe who managed to kill off as many other males and fuck as many women as possible. OK, I guess it does happen every day, if you look at the violence around the world as a byproduct of our ancestors having to produce several generations who could bring down a bison with their bare hands.

And if you don't think that aggression is innate, just ask some local knucklehead what should be done with the kids who are charged with killing that guy on the subway.

As for me, I'm not proud of my aggressive nature, but I do acknowledge it. Say something bad about Richard Dawkins or Ralph Nader and the next words you'll be saying will be through broken teeth.

March 27, 2008

For Those about to Rock, We Pollute You

I drop a little common sense and historical Rock knowledge over at the City Paper site, while other scientist engage in more fruitful efforts:


March 26, 2008

What the Fuck, Chico-man?

hib.jpgA few months back, I came across a story about Philly's Police Commissioner being pissed off about a breath mint made by Hershey called Ice Breakers. Like most of things I read, the story just lodged itself somewhere in my brain. And I'm sure as hell am glad that it did, because today I got my first look at Hershey's Ice Breakers and they are every bit the bad marketing decision I had hoped they'd be! Seriously, you have to actually see them to believe them – and even then you'll be left shaking your head and muttering "How many goddamn meetings did they have about these little packets of white powder during which not a single person raised their hand to point out that the parents' groups that banned candy cigarettes were going to go bitchcakes when they got a look at Ice Breakers?"

March 25, 2008

Man, That's Tiny

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Today is your Lucky Day! That is if, like me, you woke up this morning wondering which Roman Emperor had the shortest reign. If you didn't wake up wake up this morning wondering which Roman Emperor had the shortest reign, then I guess you're once again shit-outta-luck.

Anicius Olybrius has the dubious distinction of having ruled the Roman Empire for the shortest amount of time for about six months in 472 CE. Oddly, he wasn't assassinated nor was he death even remotely interesting: he died of natural causes. Coincidently, the man who put Olybrius on the throne, a Barbarian general named Ricimer, died vomiting blood.

March 24, 2008

I Heard It on the X

Here's a little follow up (about Jack and Diane) to yesterday's post:

Hitchen's goes medieval on Obama's ass, while Dawkins gets his Atlantian DNA adjusted...


March 23, 2008

Isn't It Sinister to Swallow a Minister?

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So, last week, Barack Obama's minister said something crazy. That's right; a man whose job description involves standing before a crowd of people who would otherwise be sleeping late on Sunday and talking about an invisible being who lives in the sky, said something completely bitchcakes. Meanwhile, John Hagee continues to remain an anchor of sanity on the troubled sea of spirituality.

In other news...

PZ's Big Adventure:

March 13, 2008

Aid or Invade XXXVII

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Could there possibly be three more beautiful words in the English language than "Aid or Invade"?

Now with a bonus "Hate post"

March 09, 2008

Deconstructing Comedy

happyshit1.jpgA few weeks ago I happened to catch The History of the Joke With Lewis Black (which seems to have originally been titled "The Greatest Joke Ever Told With Lewis Black" - which makes more sense as the show contained very little history). About halfway through the show I began to think about the relationship between comedy and Steven Pinker's theories on the nature of obscenities.

Long-story-short: I've come to the conclusion that in order for a joke to be truly funny, it should contain as many of Pinker's "categories of obscenity" as possible. Here's what I'm talking about:

A Black, Baptist minister is walking through the park when he spots a woman pushing a baby-carriage. He walks up to the woman and says, "M'am, may I have a look your little bundle of joy?" and sticks his head inside the carriage only to recoil in horror and shout, Sweet Jeeeeeesus, that is one fugly baby!" Steadying himself, the minister looks at the women and says, “I'm sorry, lady. But that is the homeliest infant I have ever seen, and I have baptized some pretty hideous babies. What does the baby's father have to say about the way it looks?"

Angered by the ministers remarks, the woman fires back; “There is no father! I'm a Lesbian, and my baby was conceived through artificial insemination." The mister stands silent, stroking his chin and thinking for a minute, and then says, “Now I finally understand what the Good Book really means when it says ‘Spare the rod; spoil the child.'"

That's a good joke because it contains a reference to a deity, outsider groups (Blacks and Lesbians!), and sex. The only way that it could've possibly been funnier would have been if a hobo would've wandered over and shit in the carriage: because shit and hobos are hilarious.

dixiecup.jpgYour take-away from all of that should be that any joke can be improved by applying any of Pinker's categories: even the most unfunny jokes of all time – the jokes that appeared on Dixie Riddle Cups.

Not Funny:

Gaylord: Hey dad, how do you catch a squirrel?

Dad: I don't know, son. How do you catch a squirrel?

Gaylord: Climb up a tree, and act like a nut!

Dad: Haha. That's hilarious.


Funny:

Gaylord: Hey dad, how do you catch a squirrel?

Dad: Shut up; and keep sucking.

Funnier:

Gaylord: Hey dad, how do you catch a squirrel?

Dad: Why?

Gaylord: Why what?

Dad: Why would you want to catch a squirrel? You're not gonna try to fuck it, are you?

Gaylord: No dad; it's a riddle.

Dad: Jesus Spoolge-Rag Christ! The only riddle around her is which hobo your mother was banging took a shit in our garage.

I rest my case.

March 01, 2008

BARbarian Craption Time

This month’s issue of Biblical Archaeological Review is, if not yet on the newsstands, on my desk. Not only does this issue contain a wonderful the article (which you can read, in its entirety, on-line)A Temple Built for Two: Did Yahweh Share a Throne with His Consort Asherah?, but also the latest painful installment in the tragic Wagnerian saga that is the BAR C(r)aption Contest.

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PS. Is it just me, or doest the guy with the stick look kind of like Mike Huckabee?