Monthly Archives: June 2009

Oh yeah, I’m gone

Pax Arcana

Don’t expect much in this space, as the sunny and composed Mrs. Pax Arcana and I are tending to our Western properties in California this week.

Not to worry — the capable Perry Ellis will attend to our gardens (Topsy Turvy Estates) and my Hungarian manservant is fully capable of caring and feeding Father Scott in my absence.

In the meantime, I may find some opportunities to post pictures from our journey. God speed for a good week at work, bitchez.


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Friday Random 10: Michael Jackson Edition

Pax Arcana

michael_jacksonAs is so often the case at times of great upheaval, the world now looks to me to make sense of the death of Michael Jackson.

Very well.

Michael Jackson was the capstone of a line of cultural touchstones who bridged the gap between “white” and “black” music. Like Elvis, Otis Redding, and Smokey Robinson before him, Michael Jackson had the uniqe gift of extreme cultural synthesis — fusing elements of many different musical styles into an art form that rose above description and categorization. For a 15 year period from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, Michael Jackson was the transcendent human of his age and likely the last megastar of the music world.

Also, he wanted to put his wiener in your children.

The songs:

Dig Your Grave — Modest Mouse
The Swell Season — Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Car Radio (Different) — Spoon
Suck My Kiss — Red Hot Chilipeppers
Chesley’s Little Wrists — Pavement
Boot on the Seat — The Donkeys
Golden Age — TV on the Radio
Do What You Gotta Do — Okkervil River
Saltwater — Beach House
Mango Pickle Down River — M.I.A.

Bonus video:

I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Too Stop Now) (Otis Redding cover) — Cat Power

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


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The wallabies are stoned


Pax Arcana

A few days ago we brought you the not-really latest on Australia’s adorable political scandal, and quoted a pundit wallaby on the matter. Several readers wrote in to complain that wallaby pundit’s language was more gibberish than the queen’s English.

“These blowies are cross as a frog in a sock, but all this earbashing is just furphy really,” he said. “Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna go chuck a sickie and go hit the turps. I’m dry as a nun’s nasty today.”

At first I dismissed the gibberish claims, on the grounds that most Australians sound like they’re speaking a language invented by drunken Japanese John Wayne impersonators.

But lately it has come to my attention that the wallaby population down under is struggling with a major drug problem, which may be the cause of wallaby pundit’s curious vernacular:

Tasmanian poppy growers have a bizarre explanation for crop circles found in their paddocks: drugged out wallabies. It has been found the marsupials are breaking into opium poppy fields and getting high after eating the poppy heads.

Tasmania’s Attorney-General Lara Giddings said the intoxicated wallabies then hopped around in circles, making the formations.

“The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles,” Ms Giddings told a Budget Estimates hearing.

Of course wallaby pundit isn’t going to take these accusations of drug abuse lying down. In an interview on the Qantas Vegemite News Hour,  he vigorously disputed the charges leveled against him and the rest of wallaby-kind:

“These knockers have me flat out ropeable! It’s London to a brick that my shonky ex-sheila and her stickybeak sister have gone troppo in some tall poppies and are full whacka — tits and all. Besides, even if I was full as a goog in a field somewhere, I doubt I’d be turning circles. Those Chinamen could hardly have built those railroads if they all had the wobbly boot on, right?”

Wacked out wallabies creating crop circles [Live News]

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Wednesday filler: George Brett has a story for you (it’s about dookie)

Pax Arcana

Baseball hall of famers are really just like us. They put their pants on one leg at a time, then they take them off in the nearest restroom at the Bellagio.

Via The Wright Stache

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This sandwich makes me think of penises

Pax Arcana

I consider myself a virile man of the American heartland. I stand astride large boulders and wipe the sweat from my brow with palms dirty from the long day’s labor. I squint my eyes in the noonday sun and hold doors for ladies. I eat ribs — bones and all.

Still, there’s something about this new Burger King ad that’s got me all twisted up inside. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly, but every time I see this advertisement, my mind drifts off and I start thinking about penises. Big ‘ol penises, to be exact.


Some might call it “subliminal advertising,” but I’ve never put much stock in fancy book learnin’ or armchair psychologizin’. To me a man should just say what he thinks and give you the straight truth. There’s right and wrong in this world, and there’s black and white. And there’s a lot of penises. And I’m hungry. For a penis.

Burger King Shuns Subtlety in Ads for ‘Super Seven Incher’ Sandwich [Gawker]

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The 12-step program for home ownership

Pax Arcana

The color-savvy and well-appointed Mrs. Pax Arcana and I are officially homeowners this morning, after closing on our new condo yesterday afternoon.

Our property
We’re like this, only better-looking and less denim-y

Now that we’re finally the stewards of our own domain, please allow me to sum up the first-time homebuyer’s experience in 12 steps. Consider it a free course for the uninitiated:

Step 1: Oooooooh, pretty!

Step 2: How much? OK how bout less? Ummmmmmmm, OK YES WE”LL TAKE IT!

Step 3: What’s that?

Step 4: Huh?

Step 5: When? Can I email it — I don’t have a fax machine.

Step 6: What does this mean?

Step 7: Where? How much is that?


Step 9: Didn’t I already sign that?


Step 11: Whatever. I’ll sign whatever you want.

Step 12: Drink Prosecco out of 10-ounce tumblers in your new kitchen. You can’t sit down, though, because there are no chairs.


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Australian political scandals are cute as koala bears

Pax Arcana

koalaYou can tell how important a country is by the type and size of scandal required to upset the sitting government.

Here in America, we just had a president who started a war by lying about what the enemy was doing and a vice president who drunkenly shot some dude in the muthafuckin’ face — and instead of throwing them both in Leavenworth we reelected them. Didn’t want to change horses in mid-stream, we told ourselves — even if the horse was walking with its head up its ass and shooting other horses in the face.

That’s what it’s like to live in the most powerful nation on earth. It takes a 10-mile stretch of highway just to slow us down, and another 20 before we can change direction.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is hanging by a thread because a car dealer who lent the Prime Minister a used SUV in 2007 also received money from a government program. Adorable!

In February, Mr Grant was one of several dealers seeking assistance from Ozcar, a government fund designed to help dealers needing credit to stock their showrooms.

Emails tabled at a Senate inquiry on Friday showed communications concerning Mr Grant’s request had been copied to Mr Swan’s ministerial advisers, as well as the Treasury secretary, Ken Henry. Two were sent to the Treasurer himself.

The Treasury official Godwin Grech, who is in charge of Ozcar, said Mr Grant was “not your average constituent”.

The Opposition claims this level of attention contravened Mr Swan’s statements to Parliament that Mr Grant received the same treatment as other dealers.

Reached for comment, wallaby pundit said the following:

“These blowies are cross as a frog in a sock, but all this earbashing is just furphy really. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m gonna go chuck a sickie and go hit the turps. I’m dry as a nun’s nasty today.”

Rudd swerves on car scandal [Sydney Morning Herald]


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You don’t need a brain to donate a kidney

Pax Arcana

Last year we pointed to a study that showed that motorcycle-related fatalities went up dramatically in Pennsylvania after the state repealed its helmet law.

At the time I thought that was a bad thing. Now I realize how wrong I was.


According to Freakonomics, repealing helmet laws is a good way to increase the availability of much-needed organs. Helmet law proponents argue that the costs of caring for helmetless morons are justification enough, but a paper by some Michigan State economists says nuh-uh:

This paper finds evidence that helmet laws also decrease the social benefits of helmetless riding by reducing the number of organ donors. Our central estimates show that organ donations due to motor vehicle accidents increase by 10 percent when states repeal helmet laws. Nearly all of this effect is concentrated among men, who account for over 90 percent of motorcyclist fatalities. Helmet law repeals are unrelated to changes in the number of organ donors due to reasons other than motor vehicle accidents, suggesting that the association between the laws and organ donations does not merely reflect differences in underlying trends between states with and without universal laws.

Fortunately for everyone, I have a solution. I think helmet laws should be mandatory but motorcyclists should be allowed to paint them to look like giant fruits. That way you would always know which motorcycle gang was coming down the street. “Oh look, there go the nectarines,” you’d say. “I saw a bunch of papayas a few miles back. Maybe they’re going to rumble.” Only instead of rumbles they’d be called smoothies. Also you should have to donate a kidney when you buy a motorcycle.

No Helmets for More Organs [Freakonomics]

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Friday Random 10: Agency Edition

Pax Arcana

ghostsDuring a baseball game my senior year in high school, I made peanut butter on the bench by crushing up a bunch of peanuts under the head of my bat. Later in the game I hit a home run off a particularly renowned pitcher. Every game for the rest of the season I made bat head peanut butter during the first inning — convinced that the activity was somehow the cause of my success.

Turns out I was just good at baseball. [*flexes remnants of once-proud bicep]

At least according to an article in Scientific American, which says that basically all religious or supernatural beliefs are the product of two things working in concert:

1. Our brains evolved to spot patterns. This helped early man both catch food and avoid becoming food, but now confuses us because we’re more likely to spot patterns that aren’t there than the reverse.

2. We have a special gift for assigning agency to these patterns. Because we are uniquely aware of our own feelings and doings — and the feelings and doings of others — we assume that all patterns are caused by an agent of sorts that is enacting the patterns on purpose.

So we make bat head peanut butter to satisfy the gods. Or Obama, depending on what you’re hoping for:

Agenticity carries us far beyond the spirit world. The Intelligent Designer is said to be an invisible agent who created life from the top down. Aliens are often portrayed as powerful beings coming down from on high to warn us of our impending self-destruction. Conspiracy theories predictably include hidden agents at work behind the scenes, puppet masters pulling political and economic strings as we dance to the tune of the Bilderbergers, the Roth­schilds, the Rockefellers or the Illuminati. Even the belief that government can impose top-down measures to rescue the economy is a form of agenticity, with President Barack Obama being touted as “the one” with almost messianic powers who will save us.

Does this mean praying to Oprah won’t make my — I mean this friend of mine’s — back less hairy?

The songs:

Finally Found a Home — Oh No! Oh My!
Blossom — Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
Maybe Not — Cat Power
Girl You Have No Faith in Medicine — The White Stripes
Answering Bell — Ryan Adams
Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours — Stevie Wonder
I Could Have Lied — The Red Hot Chilipeppers
The Ghost of You Lingers — Spoon
Sugar on my Tongue — Talking Heads
Single File — Elliott Smith

Bonus video:

Scenario — Tribe Called Quest (Live on Arsenio, 1992)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


  • So are you a homeowner now or what? And when’s the moving date so I can make plans for that weekend?

    Hot Tamale Baby, Buckwheat Zydeco
    Bitch, The Rolling Stones
    Where I End And You Begin (The Sky Is Falling In), Radiohead
    Moonglow, Django Reinhardt
    Troy, Sinéad O’Connor
    I Feel It All, Feist
    Fun World, Mission of Burma
    Mutherfuker, Beck
    Good Advices, R.E.M.
    Go it Alone, Beck

  • You know what I don’t understand? How is it that Teixeira always looks so constipated?

  • Mortgage commitment is supposed to come through today. Then I will start relaxing. Except that mortgage rates are jumping like a bitch right now. We had a chance to lock at 5.15% two weeks ago and our guy told us not to, because they would probably go down in June. D’OH!

    Assuming the bank makes a horrible mistake and gives us the loan, we should take possession on June 25. We’re in California the week after that, then we’ll probably move throughout the month of July. We may be douchebags and request the help of able-bodied men for one morning of heavy-lifting, or we may just hire movers.

  • 1. Mark Olson & Gary Louris – Kick The Wood
    2. Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun
    3. Rage Against the Machine – Roll Right
    4. Otis Webster – Boll Weevil Blues
    5. David Bowie – Life on Mars
    6. Paul McCartney – Bluebird
    7. Sparklehorse – Revenge (feat. Wayne Coyne)
    8. Band of Horses – Is There A Ghost
    9. Aretha Franklin – A Brand New Me
    10. Swan Silvertones – A Brighter Day Ahead

  • Or you could do what we did: Be douchebags and put out the call for able-bodied men.

  • Make that “Be douchebags and hire movers.” We did both.

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Filed under music

Chopped carrots give you cancer

Pax Arcana

carrotsAs you are aware by now, I am considered one of the foremost scientific minds on the planet. My grasp of disciplines from zoology to pharmacology to pharmacozoology has bedazzled my collegues in the Grand Council of the Great and Serious Men of Science for decades.

That said, I admit I was surprised to learn the following from the Independent:

Researchers at the University of Newcastle found that “boiled-before-cut” carrots contained 25 per cent more of the anti-cancer compound falcarinol than those that were chopped up first.

In other words, chopped carrots give you cancer.

I suppose this is not terribly surprising. We’ve been abusing carrots for years by feeding them to wise-cracking cartoon scofflaws and shoving them in the asses of talking horses. It’s only natural that they would start evolving defense mechanisms against us. That’s just pure science. Obvious to people of my abilities.

Carrots cooked whole ‘better at fighting cancer’ [Independent]



Filed under food