Monthly Archives: October 2009

Don’t call it a comeback

Father Scott

I live by a few simple rules in life. Always accept free cake. Don’t trust large, goofy scandinavians.

But the most important one is: If many women ask you to do something, do it.

And that rule is why I’m happy to announce the return of the greatest regular feature in the illustrious history of Pax Arcana: Tuesday Tubby Tearfest.

I lost interest in The Biggest Loser after season 6’s unlikeable cast was followed by season 7’s unwatchable cast. Basically, Paul left large shoes to fill (literally and figuratively). Wonder if he ever got over his post-show pneumonia.

With Samurai focus, I build this carrot tree. Carrot. Carrot cake. Pulled pork. Chocolate-covered nachos with mayonnaise. MMMMMM

Anyway, I have three more shows to catch up on to get back to real-time, but should be able to carve out four or five hours in my weekend of coke orgies to do so.

After episode 1, I have the following thoughts:

1) Jillian has become a parody of herself, to hilarious results. She’s still motherfucking insane.


2) Coach Mo is awesome. I dread his eventual dismissal (thanks for the spoiler, Pax).

3) Never before have I seen a reality cast more coached by the producers. How many sentences started with, “I feel like I have a second chance…” in the first episode? The over under was 143.5, and I’m betting Pax’s mortgage on the over.

4) Alison Sweeney is smokin’.

If you haven’t yet read Tuesday Tubby Tearfest, here’s what you can expect:

1) Making fun of fat people who cry

2) Philosophical discussions as to whether Jillian is human

3) What delicious food I eat while watching these fatasses struggle to get out of bed in the morning

If that doesn’t sound like your slice of pie, go back to tweeting about Balloon Boy, or whatever it is you people do.

UPDATE: OMGZ 47 billion hat tips to Pax for this astoundingly…something…video by/about Paul:


Filed under television

Monster will sue your ass

Hansen Beverage Company is a small mom-and-pop concern with a billion dollars and a dream — a dream in which it murders the shit out of smaller businesses that make products that are sort-of maybe kind-of like what they make.

vermonsterHansen makes Monster energy drink, the official beverage of high school wrestlers and high school dropouts. Matt Nadeau makes small batch craft beers in Vermont. To commemorate 10 years of staying in business, Nadeau’s Rock Art Brewery produced a special barley wine called The Vermonster.

Because Hansen has some designs on maybe someday entering the alcoholic beverage industry, it sent a nasty letter to Nadeau demanding that he pull all marketing and sales efforts behind The Vermonster. Because the names kind of sound like each other, and people can get confused. If they’re idiots. Which is actually Monster’s primary demographic.

Anyway, several trademark lawyers have told Nadeau that the Monster people have absolutely no case, but still advising him to give up. Hansen has enough cash to keep the case in the courts for years, and Nadeau’s legal fees would likely drive him to bankruptcy:

“This is just about principle,” said Nadeau, 43. “Corporate America can’t be allowed to do this, in this day and age. It’s just not right.”

Trademark attorneys say companies are right to be aggressive about trademark infringement, since they can lose trademarks down the road if they fail to defend them. It’s just a side effect of having a strong 1st amendment.

You know what else the 1st amendment is good for? Reviewing products on the Internet. Even products like Monster energy drink, which tastes like boiled urine sprinkled with Feta cheese. In fact, I bet there’s nothing worse on earth than the taste of Monster energy drink. It’s like paint thinner run through a colander full of dead guinea pigs. Seriously, it tastes like crabs (the STD, not the crustacean).

Monster-maker to Vt. brewer: No ‘Vermonster’ beer [AP]

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Panic Face King

According to Boing Boing, there’s a hidden-camera show in Japan called Panic Face King. The object of this show is to induce a look of sheer panic on someone’s face by scaring the crap out of them, while simultaneously making me cry and throw up a bit because I’m laughing so hard.


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OMG only three years left!

The Y2K era represents the high-water mark of American science, technology, and culture. I mean, yeah, every computer on earth imploded and hundreds of airliners fell from the sky, but eventually we were able to rebuild our civilization by fusing together the scraps of fallen communications satellites.

Wait, hang on.

mayan_calendarI just did an Internet search, and apparently none of that stuff happened. Which would make me a lot happier if I didn’t know we only had three more years on this earth!! !11!!!!OMGOMG

I’m referring, of course, to the Mayan doomsday calendar that everyone’s talking about. Apparently, some ancient Mayan calendars run out of their normal cycles in 2012. This definitely means the world is going to end, because it’s not like the Mayans were ever wrong about anything. Except about how not to die off as a civilization.

Anyway, there are still Mayans out there. And guess what? Even they think it’s totally full of shit.

Apolinario Chile Pixtun is tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly “running out” on Dec. 21, 2012. After all, it’s not the end of the world.

Or is it?

Definitely not, the Mayan Indian elder insists. “I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff.”

Historians point out that 2012 — the end of the supposed calendar cycle — is one of many that Mayans left behind in inscriptions. The year 2012 has a tendentious relationship with a certain astronomical phenomenon, but then again I just learned what “tendentious” means and it’s 2009. OMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE TOMORROW OH NOESZZ!!!!!!!!

2012 isn’t the end of the world, Mayans insist [AP]

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The slopes are safe again

Legendary Austrian skiier Hermann Maier retired yesterday, leaving the slopes from Gstaad to Chamonix just a bit safer for the rest of us. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, this is Hermann Maier crashing during the downhill at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano:

Days later, Maier won two gold medals.

Three years after that, Maier almost lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Three years after that, he won two World Cup gold medals.

Maier says he’s retiring because of off-season knee surgery that has hampered his training. I doubt that’s the real reason. My guess is he realized his hobbies are a bit dangerous.

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Toss your balls for bigger brains

jugglingResearchers at Oxford University say they have proven that juggling improves your brain, a finding that does much to support my much-criticized choice of oral surgeon — Dr. Bonkers Sneezlechips. Sure, he may dress like a clown and his nose honks like a European compact car, but he’s a wizard with the nitrous and he can keep five hankies in the air effortlessly.

Anyway, the Oxford scientists say juggling not only increases the amount of gray matter in your brain, but also alters the composition of white matter. White matter serves as a kind of network of connections between lumps of gray matter:

The Oxford University researchers scanned the brains of 24 adults before and after juggling training and compared the images with those from a control group of 24 other subjects.

After the six week course they could all perform at least two continuous cycles of the traditional three-ball cascade routine. This sparked changes in an area of the brain known as the parietal lobe – which has previously been linked to visual and movement functions.

The researchers also found similar differences in grey matter, some of which were localised to the same area as the white matter changes. And the changes in both types of brain matter were still apparent when subjects were scanned again four weeks after they had last juggled, showing they are quite long lasting.

The researchers say juggling builds brain power because it is a complex activity that stimulates areas of the brain associated with visual tracking and movement. Theoretically this means similar activities could yield similar benefits. Except for hacky-sacking, which makes you instantly retarded.

Why juggling is more than just a party trick for your grey matter [Daily Mail]

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Friday Random 10: Our Lord’s Lasso Edition

cabin_feverHere’s something I didn’t know — there are people living in Greenland. Well, to be totally accurate, there are people living in Greenland temporarily. Until they off themselves.

According to this article in Slate, Greenland boasts the world’s highest suicide rate, at almost double the frequency of Japan — where most teenagers are convinced that death results in a sparkly wonderland of anime pornos and talking Hello Kitty backpacks. You may think it’s always been this way, since Greenland is both remote and sucky. But the truth is that it’s a relatively modern phenomenon:

Indeed, for the first half of the 20th century, Greenlanders lived much as they had for the previous 4,000 years: They hunted and fished, clustering in small, remote villages that hug the rocky coastline. They also boasted a suicide rate among the world’s lowest. One Danish analysis found that from 1900 to 1930, Greenland had an annual suicide rate of just 0.3 people per 100,000. And “as late as 1960 there was still the occasional year when there were no recorded suicides by Greenlanders,” reports Jack Hicks, a Canadian expert on suicide in the arctic region.

Sounds like a fun gig.

Anyway, by 1986 some towns cited suicide was the leading cause of death among young people. And when young people in Greenland want to kill themselves, they really, really want to kill themselves:

One reason for Greenland’s high suicide rate is that people are particularly proficient at the act, employing methods that leave little chance for survival. Shootings and hangings account for 91 percent of male suicides and 70 percent of female suicides. (Almost every Greenland home has at least one rifle for the annual caribou and musk-ox hunts. Of course, any rope, fishing net, or electric cord can be fashioned into a noose, which in the Greenlandic language is called “our Lord’s lasso.”)

“Young people in Norway and Sweden make a lot of suicide attempts with pills, but they’re not successful. Here the kids are successful because it’s always so violent,” said Poulsen.

A few thoughts here:

1. Our Lord’s Lasso is an awesome name for a metal band.

2. The moon definitely has something to do with this. Douche.

The songs:

London Homesick Blues — Jerry Jeff Walker
Knowledge in Hand — The Forms
Librarian — My Morning Jacket
Invisible — Modest Mouse
Paranoid Android — Radiohead
Broken Home, Broken Heart — Husker Du
Go-Go Girls — Frightened Rabbit
My Family’s Role in the World Revolution — Beirut
Fire Escape — Fanfarlo
Sequestered in Memphis — The Hold Steady

Bonus video:

Please Visit Your National Parks — Oxford Collapse

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.


Filed under music

Take that, moon!


Whether it’s monkeying with our ocean levels or turning people into werewolves, I think we can all agree that the moon is a total douche. In fact, the moon was just awarded the Nobel Prize for Fuckfacery. So when a bunch of scientists got together this morning and fired a rocket up its ass, a single joyful tear fell down my cheek.

Oh, and we’re looking for water. Moon water:

Of greatest interest is whether there is water ice hidden in the crater’s perpetual darkness and frigidness. The data could play into the debate over where NASA’s human spaceflight program should aim next, whether to return to the Moon or head elsewhere in the solar system neighborhood. The presence of large significant amounts of water could make it easier to set up future settlements with the ice providing water and oxygen.

What the hell is it with scientists and their obsession with making us all live on the moon? Oh they’ll tell you it’s so they can use the moon as a jumping-off point for deep space exploration, but let’s be honest about what’s happening — these nerds want to float around in zero gravity on a space station. Well, me too nerds. Me too.

Oh, and good job firing a rocket up the moon’s ass.

This has been Pax Arcana with your in-depth science report. Take it away, Jim…

In Test of Water on Moon, Craft Hits Bull’s-Eye [NY Times]


Filed under science

C’mon Son 5, in which Ed Lover kills ESPN

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Oh. Oh no. Oh no no no no. Oh dear God no.

Last week I thought long and hard about writing a post on our former arch-nemesis Gregg Easterbrook — whom we have lambasted in this space for everything from self-righteous moralizing to being bad at science. I’ve continued to read Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column throughout all of these episodes, because despite his flaws, he does offer a unique approach to sports and is quite often correct about things like the mendacity of Brett Favre and the fraidy-cat play calling of NFL coaches.

That was what I was going to say. Now I’m going to say something different.

gregg_easterbrookNow I’m going to say that Gregg Easterbrook has hatched, from deep inside the inky recesses of his brain pan, the single most stupidest idea for saving the newspaper industry in the history of the entire universe. If there were a contest in which everybody in America were asked to come up with the dumbest, most intellectually baffling, immediately recognizably moronic idea they could, and then those ideas were cast into a great heap so that they could be weighed as one unit, it is indisputable scientific fact that it would represent only a small fraction of Gregg Easterbrook’s proposition.

If you opened the door to a room with this idea inside of it, the smell alone would erase your entire brain.

Consider yourselves warned:

Can technology save newsprint? Here is the advance TMQ is hoping for: a print-cost breakthrough that allows you to print the newspaper yourself at home, eliminating delivery. Xerox recently rolled out a new generation of printers that use something called “solid ink” to cut the cost of color. Xerox’s product is intended for the office market, where most printing occurs, but perhaps is an indicator there will be a cost breakthrough in home printing.

“Huhhhh-GUH. Huuuhhhhhhhhhh-guh. HUUUUUHHHHHHHHHH-GUHHH.”

That’s the sound of my disbelief falling off its suspension.

There’s more:

Already home printers are themselves cheap, though the ink is expensive. If “solid ink” or some other improvement cuts the price, here’s what a future newspaper economy might look like: You subscribe, and each morning at whatever time you select, the newspaper transmits itself to your advanced printer, including, of course, the very latest news to that moment. Even with you paying for the ink and paper, that might cost less than $63 a month, since the newspaper subscription price — now basically a licensing fee — would go way down. You could set your printer to produce only the parts of the paper you actually read, reducing resource waste. A category of entry-level employment, newspaper delivery — once done by teens on bicycles, now often done by adults using cars — would be eliminated. But that’s a lot better than all newspaper-related jobs being eliminated!

If there were only some platform that would deliver me the news I need without forcing me to subscribe to a printed, delivered newspaper. Perhaps some way to make use of these computers and their blazing fast rates of information transfer. Oooooh, I’ve got it. Someone should establish a digital network of some sort in which news stories can be hosted and transmitted. Then we can feed that information directly into the brains of cockatoos — either through USB or ethernet ports. The cockatoos can then read us the news as we prepare to walk to work the wrong way around the entire Earth.

For all our grousing about what appears in the paper, right now American newspapers as a group are the very best they have ever been. Subscribe, or patronize the local newsbox. You will be sorry if the newspaper industry fades away. And don’t say, “I’ll just use the Internet for news.” The vast majority of the news presented on the Internet originates as a newspaper story.

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I’m sorry. My brain just flipped inside out for a second there. What were we talking about? The Internet?

Yep, Favre proved he can still play [TMQ]


Filed under journalism