Monthly Archives: October 2009

Friday Random 10: You can’t overestimate Gerry Callahan

Father Scott

On my delicious nine-minute commute this morning, I got to hear the dulcet tones of Gerry Callahan say the following on EEI (paraphrased):

“You can’t overestimate the importance of the return of Brett Favre to Green Bay.”

Oh, Gerry, Gerry, Gerry. I’m afraid you don’t know me well. Watch how I overestimate this:

I say the return of Brett Favre to Lambeau Field is 12 times more significant than the invention of the cotton gin. Lewis and Clark trekking west? Bitches. Genocide in Africa? I wouldn’t bother myself with such trifles when I can spend my mental energy on imagining what the 650 lb. McCarthy couple thinks about some old guy throwing around a leather ball for three hours.

Am I being petty? Of course. But this is one annoying verbal tick that needs to go away. I don’t just mean in sports. News, politics, finance, whatever. Just say it’s interesting, or this means more to Wisconsinites than the local grocery stores’ buy 12 wheels of cheese get one half-off sale (OK, that’s also and overestimation.) You can always overestimate stuff and always sound stupid.

Like, for instance, you’re at a conference for work but have a tickle in your throat so you stay in your hotel room the whole time, but then stay up late tweeting about the World Series. In that case, you’re probably overestimating the effect of your sickness. Either that or you’re just a disgrace to your Viking ancestry.

UPDATE: Related: Via @Adam_Schefter on Twitter: True Factoid: What was “Minnesota Avenue” in Green Bay was officially renamed this week “Aaron Rodgers Drive.” That’s pretty awesome.

The songs:

I And Love And You, The Avett Bros.
Gimme a Sign, Ryan Adams
Pennyroyal Tea, Nirvana
Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
A Fond Farewell, Elliott Smith
Faithfull, Pearl Jam
Made You Look, Nas
Gone Gone — NYC, Conor Oberst
Sunlight, Harlem Shakes
Play Your Part (pt. 1), Girl Talk

Bonus video:

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Tuesday Tubby Tearfest: In which I straight up don’t believe NBC

Father Scott

We all know that reality shows lie to our faces every episode. For instance, The Hills masquerades as non-fiction. Flavor of Love seems to suggest that Flavor Flav reads above a third-grade level. The Bachelor/Bachelorette series want you to think that every time a contestant is sent home, it was “the hardest decision [the main character] has ever made.”

For the most part we accept it, because it adds to the drama, or on the other hand makes whatever we’re being spoonfed more digestable.

The Biggest Loser isn’t so bad as far as this stuff goes. I mean, their product placements are now so direct that I almost think they’re wink-wink-nudge-nudge jokes from production assistants. (Note: Last week I was grocery shopping and intentionally didn’t buy Yoplait yogurt because I’m sick of Bob talking down to me about my snack choices. Take that Tats McGee.)

The contestants regularly talk about going home, refer to the show, and last week we even saw a producer step in front of the camera when Coach Mo took a tumble.

But here’s one major way NBC is lying to us: There is no way on God’s green Earth that Alexandra/Antoine “relationship” is not set up.

Alexandra left after like a week. Antoine goes home a few weeks later, and during his send-off it is revealed that they had a connection and now work out together and are dating. They even drop the L-bomb on camera.

Now hold up.

They met for a week. They were both morbidly obese. They were on the show for weight loss, and spent eight hours a day drenched in sweat. Romance is not even a C-story on this show, because America doesn’t want to watch unattractive people banging (they want to watch unattractive people become attractive, then start banging).

I went to NBC’s website for more details, and believe there are further lies. Antoine is listed as from North Carolina, while Alexandra is from Pennsylvania, which disputes Pax’s theory that they knew each other beforehand. Or does it? Alexandra claims to be working on her MBA…but is age 20. And where is she in college?

I call shenanigans NBC. Either Alexandra goes to Duke and is already nailing Antoine (who’s going to be an attractive dude if he slices off another 100 lbs.), or you guys pulled the two As together and said, “hey fatties, let’s ham it up for the camera, maybe you’ll get a spin-off show”.

Well fatties, you won’t, and stop lying to us.

And if you’re wondering why I’m talking about this now…Dina is boring and I have nothing to say about her.

OVER/UNDER ON CRYING

I’m going with 23.5 this week. The website promises a former contestant to come back, and that shit always rattles these people. It involved a record, so it’s probably whoever lost 100 lbs. the soonest, since Rudy is banging down that door. I hope the record is actually “most tree-like carrot sculpture” so Paul can make his return. Or maybe it’s “most not-over his ex-wife.”

WHO’S GOING HOME

Daniel. His production has dropped off, and I don’t think it’s a blip. He’s got emotional problems, but the sympathy can only go so far, and this cast’s sympathy is clearly all with Shay.

WHAT TO EAT

As you’re watching The Biggest Loser, you’re probably eating. They’re constantly tempting the contestants with delicious treats, and if you’ve got time to plop down for two hours on the couch, you’re probably not the kind of go-getter that’s at the gym at night.

So eat something delicious that those assholes can’t get away with.

Last week I went frozen pizza followed by a bunch of bite-sized candy. Tonight, I’ll probably eat before the show, but for during-show snack, I’m going with my mom’s homemade pumpkin whoopie pies, whose secret ingredient is sugar-infused sugar-butter sugar sugar sugar. It promises to be a delight, though type-2 diabetes probably won’t be.

Enjoy the show, Paxites.

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Friday Filler: Who You Gonna Call?

I’m out for the afternoon, and next week I’ll be in Las Vegas then Chicago for nerdiness and debauchery, respectively. In the meantime, please to enjoy this chubby guy — who one YouTube commenter likens to a lesbian from the Middle Ages — rock out a full-on a capella version of the Ghostbusters theme song.

It’s like Ray Parker Jr. and Shelly Winters had a baby.

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Friday Random 10: Whiplash Edition

Neck Brace - Bodyline Cervical CollarsWhat ever happened to whiplash? In my formative years of the 1980s and early 1990s, you couldn’t watch three consecutive episodes of any sitcom or TV drama without at least one character outfitted in one of those foam neck brace things. The cause of the whiplash was almost certainly a low-speed car accident, and the chances that the character was faking it were roughly 63% — especially if it was that dingbat Boss Hogg. Always pushing the legal envelope, that one!

Anyway, while whiplash the injury (really a catch-all phrase for neck injuries caused by abrupt forward-then-backward head snapping) is still a real thing, it sure seems like it’s dropped off the cultural map. Perhaps we just wore out the concept a few decades back, or maybe it’s because advances in auto safety have effectively reduced the real cases of the injury.

According to this article — 5 things never to tell your insurer — you should avoid saying the word “whiplash” after a car accident, even if your neck is in pain. That’s because the insurance industry associates the word “whiplash” with fraudulent claims, meaning your case could be delayed and unfairly scrutinized. I’m guessing the volume of people using whiplash claims to commit insurance fraud grew rapidly during the heyday of whiplash-centric TV, causing an insurance backlash which subsequently drove down the number of insurance claims. Fewer claims equals fewer people in foam neck braces. Or something. I don’t know. What am I, some kind of wizard or something?

The Songs:

Over The Hillsides — The Real Tuesday Weld
The Lon Gisland Sound — Beirut
Get-Well-Cards — Conor Oberst
If I Am A Stranger — Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
The Morning of the Magicians — Flaming Lips
Me and the Bean — Spoon
Shanty for the Arethusa — The Decemberists
Lifetime Piling Up — Talking Heads
Punkrocker (ft. Iggy Pop) — Teddybears
Cello Song — The Books, featuring Jose Gonzalez

Bonus Video:

Boneless (Live) — The Notwist with Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra

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 giant seagull is suspicious

Police in Australia took a break from chasing down stoned wallabys this week to reopen a decades-old murder case. The Australian news media volunteered to help the effort by calling for information from the public.

Here’s where it gets weird. In this clip from Channel 9, news reader Peter Hitchiner describes the story. Look closely at the background. If you squint your eyes and focus just past his right shoulder, you’ll see a menacing figure pass through the inky shadows behind him. Pay close attention, though, because it happens quickly:

Did you see it?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust this fucking enormous seagull. How did it get so big, anyway? My guess is murder made him so big. Or trans fats. Or science. But really — murder.

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Hugo Chavez plays the imaginary banjo

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Stop dribbling

teapotThe Grand Council of the Great and Serious Men of Science recently conducted a survey to determine which unanswered questions of science vexed us most. The results comprised the usual suspects, such as “What is the biological basis for consciousness?” and “Do deeper principles underlie quantum uncertainty and nonlocality?”

However, the most vexing of all was determined to be the following:

“Why must my teapot dribble hot tea all over my knickers?”

Mercifully, a cadre of French scientists say they have discovered the reason behind all the damned teapot dribbling. Their research is being hailed as a breakthrough in fluid dynamics and beverage overage mitigation:

Previous studies have shown that a number of factors effect this process such as the radius of curvature of the teapot lip, the speed of the flow and the “wettability” of the teapot material. But a full understanding of what’s going on has so far eluded scientists.

Now Cyril Duez at the University of Lyon in France and a few amis, have identified the single factor at the heart of the problem and shown how to tackle it. They say that the culprit is a “hydro-capillary” effect that keeps the liquid in contact with the material as it leaves the lip. The previously identified factors all determine the strength of this hydro-cappillary effect.

The way to combat this effect, the scientists have shown, is to endow your teapot with a spout that is both thin and water resistant. This will help maintain detachment betwixt the tea and pot, even if the flow is reduced.

I am especially excited about this research, because it confirms the scientific validity of a new product I am bringing to market later this year. I call it the Pax Arcana Wiener Spout:

pourer

Yes, it’s painful, but it will keep the front of your toilet bowl clean regardless of the condition of your personal fluid dynamics.

The Death of the Teapot Effect [Tech Review]

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