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.


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.”


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.


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:


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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Tuesday Tubby Tearfest: Please go home, Tracey

Father Scott

Every so often, I have a dream that I am twisting one of my bottom teeth and it eventually pulls out of my mouth. It’s an extraordinary dream, because I feel like I experience something that I haven’t experienced in, what, 15 years?

And it feels so good. My tooth is hurting (in the dream), which is why I keep yanking on it. The relief is amazingly satisfying, and the sensation of touching the gum with your tongue after a tooth has vanished is unmistakeable.

Of course, I wouldn’t actually want to yank a tooth out of my mouth, even the offending tooth (which doesn’t really fit in my mouth because my teeth are perpetually tightening, twisting this sonofabitch enough to give me dreams that its removal would be a delight). The lack of tooth would create a ridiculous-looking hole in my mouth that would make me look even more homeless than my scraggly beard does. I’m happy with semi-homeless.

This is how Tracey feels about weight loss.

Tracey is an attention-grabbing, crazy-eyed, rumpled-haired, lying, illogical whore. OK, she does not sell herself sexually for money, as far as we know. But the rest is all documented.

But the thing is: She does not actually want to lose weight.

As Jillian so often says, “This is a CHOICE.” Everyone on the show has health issues, because they’re monstrously overweight. But not everyone runs off to Dr. Huizenga. If everyone had meetings with Dr. H every few days, wouldn’t there be dangerous levels of all kinds of stuff in their bodies? OF COURSE. And of course it’s dangerous for them to be working as hard as they are.

Sure, she passed out on the first episode because walking a mile is just too much activity. But I think there’s something psychological going on. Am I saying she intentionally passed out? No. But I think she’s psychologically weak, and that’s tying into physiological weakness. Tracey doesn’t want to lose weight, because she will no longer stand out. She will no longer be an obese, and in her mind, tragic figure, deserving of your sympathy. She’ll just be another annoying lady with kids.

Unlike my tooth, Tracey’s weight is actually a problem, and she would look better. But it would change how she is perceived in the world, and she can’t handle that.

Her attention-grabbing is getting old. It’s clear, as Pax said to me before I watched the last two episodes, that Tracey is just trying to become the star of the show, just as Heba did in season 6. Except that Heba combined strategy and melodrama with actual work, whereas Tracey talks, talks, talks, and sits, sits, sits. I officially do not believe The Biggest Loser scales — or they are just blatantly lying about how much activity she does — because it is totally illogical that some of these people bust their asses, and this ho loses weight and stays alive.

Tracey: You do not want to be The Biggest Loser. You do not even want to be ON The Biggest Loser. You want to be on TV. You want to be Octomom, not Mark from season 5. And I fucking hate Octomom.

Please go home, Tracey. And I hope Jillian pummels the shit out of you on the way out.


For those of you who are new to Tuesday Tubby Tearfest: Each week I provide an over/under for how many instances of crying will happen on the show. It’s a totally subjective determination, and the phrase is just as clunky as “percentage of weight loss of xx lbs.”. Generally, I consider an instance of crying being any time in which there are tears or blubbering. If you collect yourself and bawl again, I count it.

This season was out of control with the tears — I’m pretty sure episode 3 set some kind of record. But with Sean gone, I think it’s going to be more even keeled. The line is 13.5 this week. I’ll take the over, but I’m not that confident about it.


Well, Tracey if it were up to me. But the producers are clearly fucking with the game to keep her on.

I’m going to say Liz. The shit catches up with the older folks, and Liz may be late 40s, but she acts and looks about 60. She’s not nearly as committed as some of the other people, and when it comes down to it the voting depends on A) who needs to be there B) who they like the best and C) who wants to be there. I think people like Liz, but she doesn’t need to be there as bad as some (Rudy, Shay) and doesn’t want to be there as much as some (Shay again, and Daniel).

Enjoy the show, homies.


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Your brain changes the game

It was a tough sports weekend for the house of Pax. Not only did the Giants get creamed by New Orleans, but the Yankees and Phillies took several steps closer to playing in the biggest asshole douchebag fuckface World Series of all time.

On top of all that, Steven Hauschka — the official placekicker of Pax Arcana — missed a 44-yard field goal that would have sent the Minnesota Favrekings home with their first loss of the season.


I root for Hauschka because we both attended the same college — the Central Vermont Institute for Advanced Tomfoolery and Maple Syrupry. So I was heartbroken when he — our only NFL player ever — just missed the chance to humiliate Brett Favre in front of millions.

He’s a young kid, though, so he’ll bounce back. Assuming, of course, he can use his brain to convince his eyes that they’re wrong about where the goalposts are.

According to Wired, new research shows that missed field goal kicks actually change a person’s perception of the dimension of the goal posts:

In a study of 23 non-football athletes who each kicked 10 field goals, researchers found that players’ performance directly affected their perception of the size of the goal: After a series of missed kicks, athletes perceived the post to be taller and more narrow than before, while successful kicks made the post appear larger-than-life.

While this might appear to be a “no duh” result, the study may alter the way scientists perceive perception itself. Until now, scientists pretty much separated the processes of receiving visual input and interpreting that input. But if the study subjects genuinely reported different perceptions based on the past performance of field goal kicking, that means the input and interpretation are more closely tied than believed:

According to visual perception researcher Maggie Shiffrar of Rutgers University, who was not involved in the research, Witt’s conclusions are troubling to many scientists because they suggest that computer studies of perception might not be a reflection of reality.

“If Witt is right that what we see depends upon what we can do, then it logically follows that many of us have spent our lives studying perception in the WRONG WAY,” Shiffrar wrote in an e-mail. “In the vast majority of studies conducted in my lab, for example, observers view displays on a flat computer screen and make simple, dichotomous judgments about their perceptions of those displays. Thus, subjects in my studies don’t do anything other than push a button. The results of Witt’s studies suggest that the results that I’ve collected and the corresponding theoretical conclusions that I’ve drawn won’t generalize to perception in the real world. In the real world, people look at objects so that they can do something with those objects.”

It seems true — people do look at objects so that they can do something with those objects. And so finally, after all these years, science explains why slutty girls are hotter.

Missed Kicks Make Brain See Smaller Goal Post [Wired]

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Friday Random 10: Sexy ass fruit flies edition

Scientists in Canadia say they have discovered a way to genetically tweak fruit flies in such a way as to make them utterly irresistible. Not only do fruit flies of the opposite sex flock toward the modified flies, but many of the same sex apparently turn gay for these sexy little monsters.


Professor Joel Levine, who led the study at the University of Toronto, genetically tweaked fruit flies so they failed to produce a particular pheromone or odour, which is used by the flies to communicate.

The effect on males and females when the cuticular hydrocarbon pheromone was removed was a ‘sexual tsunami’, he said.

The research has a long way to go, but I think it’s good that we’re on our way to explaining why Father Scott is so damned alluring. To insects, anyway. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to zip up my mosquito tent and get back to work.

The songs:

I Don’t Want To Die In The Hospital — Conor Oberst
Fell in Love With a Girl — White Stripes
Time is on My Side — The Rolling Stones
Sweet Illusions — Ryan Adams
Saved by Old Times — Deerhunter
Balcony/Green Eyes — Joe Purdy
The Bunker — Beirut
Don’t Look Back in Anger — Oasis
A Fool for You — Ray Charles
Take Pills — Panda Bear

Bonus Video:

Dashboard — Modest Mouse

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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