Nifty website alert! So Many a Second creates visualizations of statistics so you can perceive the scale of the number. There are categories, like environment (trees cut down is a shocking cascade of instanteously disappearing), and people (births per second are surprisingly sparse). The only thing more dense than the new stars born in the universe is the number of porn requests. Interesting all, but Ronni wanted to know if they add more figures to spice it up, and she cut to the chase with the title question. "Dr. Oz on Oprah says men fart seven times per day while women average five times," she said. "Multiply those numbers times six billion, and then by the number of seconds in the day, and that's a lot. Let's see that in your computer!"
Yes, that appears to be a fog-shrouded room full of missiles in which the loc'ed-out Israeli arms dealer is cavorting with singing belly dancers -- natural partners in the fight against terrorism! The lyrics:
I need to feel safe and sheltered
Security and protection
Commitment and perfection
We will never be apart
I think all security alliances should be set to music. Come to think of it, why stop there? Make the world stage a Bollywood production. Trade in that cold hard realism for good old fashioned matters of the heart!
Here's a movie they ought to make: another huge, big-budget Hulk, again scrapping the earlier ones and pretending that they never happened, but this time finally getting it right with the starring roles filled by Rob Schneider as Bruce/David Banner and The Rock as The Hulk. Haven't you always thought that The Rock looks is a born dead ringer for the monstrous, raging, Hulk-version unrestrained id that lurks within Rob Schneider? Well, I have. And it's not just because of the eyebrow thing:
I can't find a picture of Rob Schneider doing the same thing, but fans of his an surely picture it in their minds. I did find a picture of Mr. Schneider in an unnaturally tan state, however:
See what I mean? Combine that look with the fact that both have perfected the eyebrow thing, delicious comic timing, and a tragic vulnerability and now you're talking about a casting miracle. Why Hollywood has not jumped on this opportunity, I'll never know. Someday it will happen, I hope. Because the Rock may not know it, but he already is the superhuman alterego of Rob Schneider. Or maybe Rob Schneider is the mild-mannered rational alterego of The Rock -- because, really, just who is the alterego in these situations anyhow? You can see why this is pure gold, just waiting to be plucked from the deep by just the right visionary.
In the meantime, what do they give us? Race to Witch Mountain. I won't be seeing that one, and it's not just because I can't find Rob Schneider anywhere on the IMDB cast list. It's because of a tangential childhood trauma, back when the original Escape From Witch Mountain came out. I saw it on television. Several times. And for some reason -- and I know this is weird, but it's true -- the voice of the older brother sounded like peanut butter to me. It was a synaesthetic shock which was already unnerving. Every time he talked, which was a lot, I could sense peanut butter. After a while, it started to feel like we were all drowning in peanut butter. Here he is, the little trickster:
I know. I don't understand it either. But then again, such is the nature of creative genius. Nabokov was a synaesthete too. Anyhow, I can still hear/smell/taste it all now, and it's freaking me out, just like it always did.
Perhaps because it is more than, say, Christian Bale yelling at the stoned kid in the back seat; these are real musical Mash-Ups, like the kind you would listen to on purpose, except using YouTube clips as source material:
Or really, the YouTube clips are instruments. The method, apparently: the guy peruses god knowsh how many clips of songs, historical performances, homemade bedroom noodling, high school band recitals, and low budget YouTube instrumental instructional videos, and combines them to form his own songs. The result is seven diverse -- and good! -- songs of various genres. That first one arranges some fairly active and original funk out of dozens of different instruments and melodies, including a guy with a mullet playing a theremin.
I also like Babylon Band, an unintentional ethnoelectronic supergroup with a levantine sound formed by combining a stonerish kid on his elaborate drum kit with greek teenager jamming on what looks like (to my untrained eyes) a tambouras:
But she doesn't know who she's dealing with. You can lay cards like that down on the felt, but you better be prepared to pay the piper. That's a poker saying, or metaphor, or something, right? Anyhow, hers was a good play, so I had to answer with the meta-cute masterstroke of the world's tiniest art director:
"Oh, what sort of play is this?" you ask, fingertips touching and eyebrows arched. At first blush, this drawing may seem to be just a cartoon of some dinosaurs. But it is in fact the result of an ingeniously adorable collaboration between an artist and his four year old daughter. Together they have a blog. She requests drawings. He makes them. Then the daughter evaluates, critiques and either rejects or approves the drawing. The stats of this particular drawing:
The Brief: Some Silly Dinosaurs The Critique: I like it Artist Angling For A Better Quote: Anything you don't like about it? The Critique: Don't ask me that Daddy! Just give me a treat right now! Job Status: Approved
I know, I know. Believe me, I know. The many drawings are endlessly enjoyable. Makes me want to have a four year old daughter. But only if we can skip the years one, two, and three and then stay on four forever. Also, she can never get grouchy. Although, some critical sensibility is necessary, since some of my favorite entries from this four year old are the drawings that don't make the cut, like this the Stupid Ugly Angry Monkey:
The Brief: A Monkey The Critique: Stupid ugly angry monkey. I hate him. Job Status: Rejected Additional Comments: His tummy and his belly button and his eyebrows and his hands and his feet. And his head too.
Instead of showing me how many calories I've burned, what if there
was a graphic representation of those calories - as delicious food? So
when I start running there is just a pile of shredded lettuce but as I
continue to run, some pickles rain down, followed by buns, a 100%
all-beef patty, followed by all the "fixin's and spreads" ... I need
the treadmill because I love food and so what better to keep me
motivated than by having me "chase" a juicy burger that only gets
juicier looking - the more I run?
When we "roll out" the
device, we will have other options besides burger, including several
vegetarian entrees. In fact, I am envisioning at least 10 different
food options. We will have everything from hot fudge sundaes to sushi.
Every time I get forwards about animals, I say to myself: Don't do it, Bearman. Have some dignity. Take back control of your life. Don't click it. It's just a dancing Walrus, and is that really what you need more of? Apparently, it is. Because I always click on it. And then I am rewarded by the sight of a hamster on a piano eating popcorn, baby hedghogs with little casts, poodles groomed to look like teenage mutant ninja turtles, or a man who has built a remote potemkin city for his five hundred cats:
The proprieter of the Caboodle Ranch -- and yes, the news package couldn't resist intro-ing with "the whole Kitten Coboodle" -- explains that "This is animal control," while covered in no less than five cats. As Pauline, the forwarding friend in this instance, pointed out, the nature of this man's feline city raises many questions. Why Wal Mart and not PetCo? Jellotime91, a YouTube commenter, stayed true to form with a less cerebral reaction:
Amazing! I want to donate asap lol.. God I fucking love cats.
My sentiments precisely! Which makes me wonder why this video only has 27,000 views. I'd of thought it would have taken off by now. Someone once told me that no cat-related product has ever lost money. And it would follow then, that no cat-related YouTube shall ever remain un-viral. Mark my words.
For reasons that can only be known to him, a man in Kentucky impersonated a doctor in order to fool homeless people into getting naked:
To Timothy Lucas, it sounded like easy money.
he had to do was let a doctor give him a physical exam and he would
earn $50 - no small amount for the homeless Lexington, Kentucky man.
Lucas became one of an unknown number of people allegedly duped by a
man posing as a doctor doing medical research. Now that man, Dean Alan
Willoughby, 43, is accused of practising medicine without a license and
is awaiting a hearing in court next week.
continue to delve into his practices and are urging patients to come
forward. It is unknown how many people Willoughby might have seen at
his office, or for how long.
People like Lucas are angry to learn
Willoughby not only passed himself off as a doctor, but that he also
did the same years ago in South Carolina, where he was convicted and
spent time in prison.
"I feel violated," Lucas said yesterday at the Catholic Action Centre. "If I knew that, I wouldn't have done it."
and two other men told staff at the centre that they visited
Willoughby's office. Lucas said he stripped naked and was given a full
physical, from his ears and nose down to his prostate. He was even
supposedly tested for sexually transmitted diseases. It all took about
Willoughby acted professionally and even took notes
in a chart, Lucas said. "It was a basic physical. He said I was
healthy," Lucas said with a bemused look on his face. "Why would he
even do that if it wasn't legit?"
This very strange type of sex offender is also a recividist:
1994, Willoughby created a public health scare among nearly 200 people
he examined, many of whom were homeless, according to The State
newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.
The then-assistant church
pastor pleaded guilty to practising medicine without a license,
aggravated assault and distributing a controlled substance.
pleaded guilty to practising medicine without a license, three counts
of aggravated assault and one count of distributing a controlled
substance. A judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison, suspended to
Lexington police do not know how long Willoughby was
examining people here, nor how many. "We don't even know what kind of
ballpark figure we're looking at," Lexington police spokeswoman Ann
Gutierrez said. His ruse "could go back several years".
He never obtained a medical license in Kentucky or South Carolina, according to police.
A 58-year-old Wal-Mart employee who said he
"couldn't take it anymore" lit himself on fire in a parking lot
near the Bloomingdale store where he worked late Thursday night and was
later pronounced dead at a hospital, authorities said this morning.
an interview, his son said his father went to work last night with
nothing seeming out of the ordinary. "This had nothing to do with the
economy. I want to make that clear," he said, adding that the family
may never know the reason for the public suicide.
Carol Stream man, who worked the overnight shift, was in a parking lot
of an adjacent sporting goods store in the west suburban strip mall
when he set himself on fire with lighter fluid around 10 p.m., said
Randy Sater, a watch commander with the Bloomingdale Police Department.
The man set himself afire outside of 328 W. Army Trail Road, and the
Wal-Mart is at 314 W. Army Trail Road, in the same mall, Wal-Mart
corporate spokesman Dan Fogleman said.
At least 10 people,
including some teenagers, witnessed the suicide and several attempted
to help the man by throwing their coats on top of him in an effort to
put out the flames, he said.
"He said he didn't want any help and threw the coats off," Sater said.
When one of the first officers tried to speak to the man, who by
that time was severely burned, he responded, "I just couldn't take it
anymore," Sater said, citing the officer's report.
The man "enjoyed his job and living in the 'burbs," his son said.
"We were getting ready to redo the front lawn." He added that his
father had no health problems.
"You try not to ask yourself the question [why he did it] because there's no answer," the son said.
The Zombie Zeitgeist A full scale movement is on the lurch. But why the best zombie movie ever made a video game?
Believer interview with Mark Allen Digital artist and awesome gallerist Mark Allen talks about Tekken Torture Tournament and other projects where people were wired to machines and did strange things in public.
Believer interview with Marjane Satrapi Enlightening Q & A with the Persian cartoonist, memoirist, quick conversationalist in which she declares: “THE WORLD IS NOT ABOUT BATMAN AND ROBIN FIGHTING THE JOKER; THINGS ARE MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.”
Yeti Researcher Yet another 100-page issue of the world's top academic journal devoted scholarship about the Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasqatch, and other mystery primates worldwide. For researchers and lay audiences alike, the latest YR features a history of Sasquatch sightings in southern California, an update on the wily orang pendek of Sumatra, and a new look into Teddy Roosevelt's obsession with bagging a Bigfoot. As Editor-in-Chief, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Panda PowerPoint! I guess I don't mind being "the entertainment" when it's at Mark Allen's second annual Holiday Fry-B-Que. Presented: preliminary findings from my ongoing research into the most charismatic megafauna of all: Giant Pandas.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Dec 9, 2006 For those who missed it, there will be more. World, Explained is going strong! Money was raised, laughs were had, and for those paying attention, small amounts of useful information about things like the aurora borealis were transmitted. Plus: Michael Cera = lovably funny. And Nick Diamonds' renditions of Dumb Dog and Hanging Tough are still in my head. As is that horribly catchy Fresh Step jam.
Jest Fest at Skylight Books Somehow I wound up hosting the 10th anniversary jubilee for Infinite Jest at Skylight Books. Because who doesn't love a jubilee, right? Despite being delirious with Hepatitis A (that's the mild, non-lethal kind; I'm not at risk for Hep B since I always go the needle share and choose clean-looking prostitutes), I managed to not mis-pronounce anyone's name and make an erudite joke and poke gentle fun at Michael Silverblatt.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | June 10, 2006 Number Three! Last one was sold out so we moved to a slightly larger theater. Andy Richter hosted, and his opening exegesis of CSI: Miami warmed the people up right. Evany Thomas presented her very scientific findings on the Secret Language of Sleep; Starlee Kine bared her neuroses to the world (or at least the 300 people in the audience); Josh Davis showed video of his 135-lb self sumo wrestling a 550-lb opera singer from San Bernardino; and Davy Rothbart closed it out with some Found Magazine magic. Grant Lee Phillips, Sam Shelton and Zooey Deschanel provided the music punctuation! I can still hear their rendition of We Are the Champions.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Feb 11, 2006 The second in our series of precision comedy and fact-based entertainment extravaganzas benefiting 826LA. Patton Oswalt was kind enough to host, and Jon Brion joined in on the piano and guitar as thematic accompaniment. Presenters included: David Rees, Michael Colton, John Hodgman (along with his hirsuit troubadour, Jonathan Coulton), and me. Plus: a fashion show of exciting multi-user garmentry.
Little Gray Book Lecture at Galapagos How to Observe President's Day. Jonathan Coulton's technical wizardry has made this entire show available online. The summary from PRX: Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. My contribution? Yes, from Yeti Researcher. Again. Actually that was the first one. So I have only five stories!
July 25: TJ to LA -- A Night McSweeney's Readings I was honored to be part of a strange triptych along with Salvador Plascencia and Josh Kun. Sponsored, somehow, by La Ciudad magazine, we all packed into Beyond Baroque with no air conditions. 150 people showed at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening, which we took as a good sign of something. Sal held up and anxiously discussed drawings from his novel, Josh delivered an essay on the Dr. Moreau of Tijuana, and my shtick (again) was Pac Man and metaphysics, this time with fun slides.
October 8th: Skylight Books w/Stephen Elliott Fun times were had by all. Someone in the audience actually mistook me for an expert on the psychology human character. We ate shrimp cocktail and drank cheap wine and laughed at Bush and celebrated the certainty of right besting wrong in American democracy. A lot of good that did.