Tag Archives: news

In Soviet Russia, gum blows YOU into bubble!

A 25-year-old chemistry student from the Ukraine (OK so technically not Russia, but still with the Bond villain accents) died recently after lacing his own chewing gum with an explosive compound. He was working in his room when his parents heard a “loud pop” and rushed in to find him disfigured and near death:

It was reported that the student used to dip chewing gum into citric acid. Police also found another substance near the body.

The news agency said investigators believe the student may have confused the two substances and began chewing on gum that had been treated with the unidentified substance.

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — if you’re going to dip your chewing gum into chemicals before chewing it, you really have to be sure those chemicals aren’t going to blow your jaw clean off of your head. It’s like my advice just goes in one ear and out the other. Which reminds me — you should also refrain from putting explosive chemicals in your ears.

Student killed by exploding chewing gum [Telegraph]

Leave a comment

Filed under science

The Wall Street Journal is concerned about your cankles

Pax Arcana

canklesWhile I have criticized the newspaper industry and its often boneheaded business sense at length in this space, it is true that these organizations still provide the overwhelming majority of in-depth and important newsgathering. For example, did you know that some people have thick ankles? And that thick ankles are often derisively referred to as “cankles”? And that people are embarrassed by them?

Of course you did. You probably heard your first “cankles” reference in the late 90s. But hey, look — the Wall Street Journal just found out about it, too!

To get swimsuit-ready, Jennie Succio adopted a grueling workout regimen that included running uphill and doing dozens of lunges and squats. But she wasn’t going for a sculpted derrière or a chiseled abdomen.

Ms. Succio, 32 years old and the owner of a housecleaning business in Minnesota, wanted to slim down her chubby ankles.

No one will notice your dishpan hands if you have slim lower gams, cleaning lady.

But surely there’s more to the story than one sad 32 year old struggling to reengineer key components of her natural body composition. Clearly this portmaneau deserves its own trend story — like the riches heaped upon puns like “staycation” and “metrosexual”. Oh hey look:

The circumference of a woman’s ankle is about 11 inches, on average. That’s not much to obsess about. But enough Americans are concerned about fat ankles — or “cankles” — that gyms are coming up with new ways to tone them; plastic surgeons are pushing $4,000 to $6,000 liposuction procedures to slim them; and shoe companies are offering special models designed to minimize them.

If I were a cynical person, I’d say it appears that there are entire industries out there that profit from women’s insecurities. And that they actively increase the volume and strength of women’s insecurities by promoting “cures” for problems women didn’t know they had.

But I’m not cynical. That’s why I just founded The Pax Arcana Eyelid Stapling Program. Because let’s face it, ladies — no one likes a blinky woman.

For the Body-Conscious, It’s Now the Ankle That Rankles [WSJ]


Filed under journalism

I thought he looked a little stumpy

Pax Arcana

toe_tagYou know how sometimes your hot dog is too long for the bun, and it’s a pain in the ass because you already put mustard on it, and now it’s going to drip on your chinos and the whole fourth of July is going to be ruined? So you have to bite off the excess hot dog in order to make it fit right?

South Carolina businessman Michael Cave knows the feeling all too well. Only instead of hot dogs, he did it with some dude’s dead body:

The South Carolina funeral board has revoked the licenses of a funeral home and its director for cutting the legs off a 6-foot-7 man so his corpse would fit in a casket.

Hey listen, grieving widow, I know we said the coffins were once-size-fits-all, but your husband was, like, really tall. So we cut his legs off a little bit. It was either that or take his neck out.

The best part, however, is that this all happened five years ago. And that the body was exhumed after investigators heard “rumors” that the dead man’s legs had been truncated. I bet you could have scared the shit out of those investigators if you snuck up behind them during the exhumation and yelled “YAHTZEE!” just as they were opening the casket. They probably would have shot you, though, and then cut your legs off before burying you. And so the cycle of violence continues in this country.

Mortuary’s license revoked for cutting corpse [MSNBC]


Filed under journalism

How to save the news

Pax Arcana

I have no idea how to save newspapers, except to suggest that the writers and reporting go back to writing and reporting rather than foisting their stillborn business models on the public.

That said, I think this video says a lot about how to save TV news. Sing it loud, my auto-tuned brothers and sisters:

Added: The second, even-better installment (hat tip Father Scott)

Via Boing Boing


Filed under Uncategorized

One of your grandparents has HIV


Pax Arcana

It’s been well-documented on this site that old people are hornier than a pod of narwhals (and twice as sexy).  Well, it turns out all that wrinkle-slapping is doing more than grossing the rest of us out — it’s giving them all AIDS.

Or at least that’s what I think the AFP is saying in this summary of a World Health Organization study on HIV:

According to authors of the study, in the United States, the proportion of people aged over 50 with HIV soared to 25 percent in 2006 from 20 percent in 2003.

I’m not an editor or anything [Ed. Note: Yes I am] but I read that sentence five times and I think it says that 25% of all people over 50 have HIV. I assume they mean that 25% of all HIV positive Americans are over the age of 50.

Either way, this is really going to ratchet up the tension in Father Scott’s book club.

HIV+ among over 50s ‘surprisingly high’: WHO [AFP]

Leave a comment

Filed under journalism

Old tortoise is banging, happy

Pax Arcana

With apologies to Father Scott, Betty White isn’t the only prehistoric creature itchin’ to get some loving.

On the island of St. Helena, a sea tortoise named Jonathan is cruising around and eating grass and doing tons of chicks. By chicks, of course, I mean other sea tortoises.

Oh, also, people just found a picture of Jonathan dating back to 1900. Doing the math for you, that means Jonathan the sea tortoise 176 years old.

Or, as I like to say, Jonathan the sea tortoise is 176 fucking years old:


The previous oldest tortoise was widely thought to be Harriet, a giant Galapagos Land tortoise, who died in 2005 aged 175 in Australia.

Despite his old age, locals say he still has the energy to regularly mate with the three younger females.

Pretty awesome, obviously. But there’s a deeper issue here. Jonathan first arrived at St. Helena (as a gift from the Seychelles) in 1882, just after he reached maturity. That means Jonathan’s sex drive was formed in the Victorian age, when the lady tortoises wore their shells down to their knees and a tuppence bought you a laugh and a pint. I wonder how someone adjusts to the multitude of societal upheavals like that. I also wonder why cold water isn’t thicker than warm water. I mean, it’s that much closer to ice, right?

World’s oldest living animal discovered after he is pictured in 1900 photograph [Telegraph UK]


Filed under history

Kim Jong-Il is totally fine

Pax Arcana

kim_jong_ilYou may have heard rumors recently that Kim Jong-Il, mighty leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, had taken ill.

These rumors are false, and are a conspiracy by the American imperialist conspiracy to undermine Dear Leader. These pigs speak with dog’s breath.

I know because I watch the news closely from the Web site of the Central Korean News Agency. Recent reports from the agency, as highlighted in this propaganda piece in the New York Times, have shown that Kim is in terrific health, and is ready to stamp out the American aggressors once and for all with his perfectly symmetrical boots.

For example, here is an account of Kim Jong-Il’s glorious magnanimity after the death of a comrade:

Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, sent a wreath to the bier of Pak Song Chol, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK and honorary vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, on Wednesday expressing deep condolences over his death.

Kim Jong-Il did not release the deceased from the embrace of death because that day he was busy defeating a soccer team of giants with laser beam eyes all by himself. The final score was 100 to 0.

Kim Jong-Il has also made several public appearances of late, including a visit to an art performance in Pyonyang:

They put on the stage chorus “Please Receive Our Salute”, male solo and chorus “Song of Comradeship”, orchestra and chorus “The Snow Falls”, female trio “The Glow over Kangson”, female quartet and mixed chorus “May the Motherland Prosper” and other colorful numbers.

At the end of the performance he waved back to the cheering performers and audience and congratulated them on their successful presentation.

But that was not his only recent public appearance. In October, the peerlessly great leader inspected a women’s battery of the KPA.

He highly appreciated the assiduous way the servicepersons of the battery have managed its economic life, greatly pleased with the fact that they are living full of revolutionary and militant spirit as required by the slogan “Let us train, study and live like anti-Japanese guerillas!” and have registered great successes in sideline farming, in particular.

Walking in the compound of the barracks, he watched the thick verdure formed by trees of various species. Noting that its soldiers have created a thick woodland and greenery, he praised the women soldiers for having tended even a single tree and a blade of grass of the country with ardent patriotism.

He acquainted himself in detail with the soldiers’ service and living, going round an education room, a bedroom, a mess hall, a wash-cum-bath house, a non-staple food store and other places.

That’s right. In North Korea they have wash-cum-bath houses, which only demonstrates that the American imperialist tyrants do everything in the wrong order.

North Korea Tries to Show Kim Is Well [New York Times]
We’re Eight Pounds of Crazy in a Five Pound Bag [Korean Central News Agency]

Leave a comment

Filed under North Korea

Last one, I promise

Pax Arcana

As globe-hopping dilettante Father Scott (I’ve sent him on the Grand Tour to mingle with the upper crust of the Europe — and hopefully touch a boobie or two) points out in the comments to this post, Pax Arcana has veered far from its anti-political mission statement of late. Obviously that’s my fault, as I was consumed by my breathless stupidity and sold out our nation’s future to a terrorist celebrity socialist who is going to appoint gangsta rappers to his cabinet and maybe try to close some corporate tax loopholes or something.

Barring any hilarious or totally obscure zombie, baseball, or science related angles to the big story of the year, we will refrain from mentioning it again.

journalist_waitwhutBut first, you have GOT to read this article on the Newsweek Web site. Basically it’s a collection of nuggets gathered during the campaign that were not released — for various reasons — during the home stretch. In it, we discover that Sarah Palin may or may not have spent way more than the reported $150,000 on clothes and shit for her family, that John McCain consistently demonstrated basic human decency when directing the tone of his campaign only to be sold out but good by Civil Rights (and Pax Arcana) hero John Lewis, and that Barack Obama hates debating because Brian Williams asks stupid questions:

The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

OK. That is all.

Hackers and Spending Sprees [Newsweek]

Leave a comment

Filed under politics

It could be worse


Pax Arcana

I once heard Garrison Keillor — famous public radio personality and writer of mostly-boring things for the hummus and pita set — riff on the central philosophical underpinning of the even-keeled Scandinavians of the upper midwest. The theory is that these lumbering squareheads maintain a certain equilibrium by greeting all news, good or bad, with the following mantra:

“It could be worse.”

Here’s a clip from an essay he wrote that sums it up:

Whatever bonehead things we’ve done, we have not yet put our tongue on the pump handle and let it freeze there, and this is a fact not to be overlooked. There are pump handles around, and in freezing weather they become lethal. You walk past them and they exert a powerful force on your body, particularly on your tongue. Imagine the misery of standing, tongue frozen to the iron, waiting for the firemen to come and pry you loose. In my darker hours, ever since I was 6 and went trotting off to Benson School, I have imagined that the pump handle would be my fate, but so far I have avoided it, and you too, my friend. Together, once again we hope to come through the cold season with our tongues intact, and if we do, then winter has no grip on us. It could be worse.

Anyway, I was trolling the Facebook statuses of my millions of adoring fans this morning, and it turns out some of them are displeased by the nation’s electoral decision last night. Reading their first reactions to the result is like taking a swan dive into a well of broken glass and menaced delusional fantasies about the man most of us chose to lead us out of this morass.

I sincerely don’t wish these people to suffer for their political choices. Despite the antagonism between the two sides during the campaign, I hope with all my heart that Barack Obama lives up to his pledge to be the president of all Americans — not just those of us who punched our chads in his favor.

But surely that sentiment alone will do little to quell the anger and frustration of those on the losing end of this election. In fact it may come across as patronizing or demeaning.

So the best I can offer my friends on the far side of the chasm is this:

It could be worse. And I have proof.

Your chosen candidate did not succeed, but at least you weren’t hit by a motherfucking rocket like this poor asshole:

County Antrim Shield Final Cliftonville v Linfield  4/11/2008

Pictured: The dramatic moment a footballer is hit by a rocket fired by opposition supporters [Daily Mail]


Filed under Uncategorized