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Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Bipartisan Grocery Shopping Analogy

There’s nothing about the way my wife shops for groceries that I would consider wrong, and I’m pretty sure she’d say the same thing.  We behave in a very modern, egalitarian way with regards to shopping and cooking – our schedules are both very erratic, so both duties tend to get done by whichever one of us happens to be available.

My wife once went to Ecuador for ten weeks, leaving me for an entire summer with the three girls, and I learned a few things about those differences while she was gone.  First, I learned that I was perfectly capable of taking care of the girls on my own for that length of time.  And along the same lines, I learned that most mothers were shocked by this concept. 

I cooked real meals and we rarely ate out.  I was careful to include a variety of vegetables and fruit and healthy food in general, but as the summer wore on, we all had to admit that my arsenal was pretty limited.  I was stuck on about ten things I knew how to make well, and we rotated through them until it started to get a little old.  We made it through the summer just fine, but we were all happy to have my wife back.

Soon after, she went out to the store and spent around three hundred bucks.  For a family of five, that’s a fairly average trip to the grocery, which I would normally expect to last about 10-14 days.  But I was surprised the next day when I came home from work, went into the kitchen, and couldn’t find anything to make for dinner that night.  It wasn’t that there wasn’t any food – it was just all a bunch of food I didn’t know what to do with.

I don’t know why I was surprised.  It wasn’t the first time she’d done that, and it was also no secret that I tend to buy about the same batch of stuff when I go to the store, resulting in a monotonous menu which she is forever trying to break.

When I go to the store, I have to be conscious about what I’m buying so that she has things to eat as well – she’s a vegetarian.  The trouble is, my cooking skills are very fifty years ago.  If your mom didn’t make it for you when you were a kid in the seventies, then there’s a good chance I can’t make it for you, either.  So frequently when I go shopping, my wife finds herself standing in the kitchen thinking the same thing. 

I think this is pretty common.  And for fourteen years, it’s just been a fact of life.  If I’m doing the shopping, she’s disappointed, and if she’s doing the shopping then I am.  It’s a mild disappointment, I don’t think it’s eating at us or anything.  But it results in minor, secondary trips to the grocery store to offset the things the other person missed.

Just the other day I suddenly realized that we’d settled upon a solution – and the crux of it was that neither of us was doing anything wrong at all.

I didn’t turn out to be right.  That would have been cool, if we got back a report from NASA and they said, well, our analysis is complete, and Tom is definitely the more efficient grocery shopper. My wife could stand there arguing with rocket scientists all day long if she wanted to.

And I’m sure my wife would have appreciated it if the imaginary report said the opposite.

No, instead we just happened to finally alternate for about a month.  She’d take a trip, and then a week later I’d take a trip.  When we did it that way, we found that the trips grew smaller each time, as we were able to stock up on ingredients that the other didn’t care about, and then work them in two weeks later, as the cupboards started to empty out and we could stand there looking at what we had left to work with.

It’s so obvious, it’s almost embarrassing. For a long time, I really believe – both of us truly thought we were shopping better than the other one.  For a long time, we both thought that we were the one who was right, and we both thought it mattered.

It didn’t.  What mattered more was both of our perspectives gaining equal ground.  The grocery bill dropped, and cooking became easier, and there were fewer last-minute trips to the store, the kind that can snowball into mini-shopping sprees.

I realized it standing in the middle of the frozen food section at Giant Eagle, that this is what’s missing from our political discussions.  Genuine respect and cooperation are nowhere to be found as we instead fixate on the things we both think the other side is doing wrong.

I’ll just tack another min-analogy on to the end here.  I think we need to stop whacking each other over the head with these oars and put them back in the water, and realize that the boat will only go in a circle unless we paddle on both sides of it.  The only way forward is to stop thinking of each other as idiots who are paddling on the wrong side, and start thinking of each other as partners who have to paddle at the same time.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Do Not Disrespect The Cold Fusion Reactor

Just in case you thought all scientists were a bunch of eggheads who never did anything but invent gadgets for James Bond and write on chalkboards, meet Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi.  They’ve just unveiled what they claim is a cold fusion reactor, and reading about it in this article, Italian Scientists Claim To Have Demonstrated Cold Fusion, it sounds like expressing any doubts or even asking the wrong kind of question might be a decent way to get your ass kicked.

In case you’re a big, stupid blogger who didn’t know what cold fusion was until Shawn emailed this story to me twice and then explained it to me using sock puppets and a Kermit the Frog voice, cold fusion is a way to achieve energy by cramming two nuclei into a single, bigger nucleus, which releases a bunch of energy for some reason. 

It all happens at about room temperature and it doesn’t create any CO2 and there’s no radioactive waste when you’re done, so it beats the hell out of most of our current ideas, which usually involve eating something we’re runing out of and then crapping it into our own drinking water.

Of course, the scientific community in general is very skeptical of this new cold fusion claim, for a variety of deep, scientific reasons, and by all means, head on over there and check them out.  Usually all I do is summarize things, and it’s hard to summarize what you don’t understand. 

Here’s all you need to know – mainstream science says this isn’t going to happen, these two guys say hell yes it is, it’s happening right here on this table in our new cold fusion reactor.  And if you don’t believe them, they’re willing to step outside and settle it like men.  Are you disrespecting our cold fusion reactor?

No, no, no – I’m asking you a question.  Are you disrespecting our new cold fusion reactor?  I don’t see any other cold fusion reactors around, so you must be talking about ours, right?

These short-fused, hardass, bareknuckle scientists are from the University of Bologna, which if you ask me is a hilarious place to unveil whatever you invented which no one believes.  If I ever get my time machine working, I’m going to hold a big press conference in Horseshit, Ohio, so everyone can see how it works.

Rossi and Focardi – who already have enough problems without sounding like a sparkling wine – are getting pretty tired of everyone disrespecting their cold fusion reactor.  Like when they went to apply for the patent on it and were told, basically, we’re not giving you a patent on something if you can’t even explain to physicists how it works.

You better believe that makes their Italian blood boil.  How does it work?  It works just freaking fine, that’s how it works.  We’ve had one running for two solid years already, heating an entire factory.

Oh? Said the scientific community.  Do you have more information on that one?  The one in the factory that’s been working for two years?

No, Jessica Fletcher, we don’t, they reply.  If you want to write a book about our cold fusion reactor, then you’re going to have to make it a mystery.  We don’t explain fusion reactors, we sell them.  Find yourself an egghead if you want to hear some numbers. 

After they say that, they find a way to accuse everyone of wearing skirts and then they do that kind of Low Five hand slap, where they don’t look at each other, you know?  Just Low Five each other behind their chairs, slouching.

Later they explain that the new solution to the world’s energy problems is incredibly simple.  You turn it on by flipping a switch, and then the cold fusion comes out here into this bucket.  Mmmmmm, cold fusion.

That’s weird, says another scientist.  Because it looks a lot like another reactor another guy made a while back, which wasn’t very impressive.  What’s the difference between that guy and you two?  Do you have any proof it’s not the same one or that it’s even cold fusion at all?

Which then causes Rossi to smack the side of his cold fusion reactor right there on the table in front of him.  “The proof is that I am making operating reactors.  He is not.”

No one really seems to know what to make of these guys.  Going all type-A on a bunch of scientists might actually be a stroke of genius.  What’s the matter, Rest of The Scientific Community, something wrong with your eyes?  Are you blind or stupid?  You can’t see the cold fusion reactor sitting right here in front of you?  Yo, McFly – I’m talking to you.

The scientific community – which in general is not looking for a fight – tries to be polite.  Listen, guys, I don’t know how things work at the University of Baloney, but you’re going to have to prove the stuff you’re saying if you want to convince us it’s real.  That’s how science works.

That’s not the way Rossi sees it, though.  Right from the article:

“We have passed already the phase to convince somebody,” Rossi wrote in his forum. “We are arrived to a product that is ready for the market. Our judge is the market. In this field the phase of the competition in the field of theories, hypothesis, conjectures etc etc is over. The competition is in the market. If somebody has a valid technology, he has not to convince people by chattering, he has to make a reactor that work and go to sell it, as we are doing.”

There you have it.  Take that, science.  They’re finished explaining things to people – it’s right there on the table in front of you.  If you don’t believe them, feel free to buy one and turn it on.  Or don’t, they don’t care.  If the cold fusion reactor isn’t really a cold fusion reactor then the market will reject it.  

It’s not science, it’s bidness.  Don’t you guys know anything about bidness?

It turns out a lot of scientists don’t understand bidness, see, but I’ll bet they understand knuckle sandwiches.   I hope they hurry up and slap a Cold Fusion Reactor sticker on the side of this thing, so we don’t have to find out.

 

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Welcome To The Harmless Ice Monster Project

You don’t have to worry, because it’s not like a monster movie at all.  As you can see by this BBC article Lake Vostok Drilling in Antarctic ‘Running Out of Time’, all that the ragtag group of scientists are doing is drilling into a mysterious lake which has been locked away under the Antarctic ice, completely unchanged for fifteen million years.

And if a monster movie were going on, then how likely would it be that the movie would start one week before the deadly Antarctic winter cuts the entire site off from civilization for months? 

It’s called Lake Vostok and it is a little over two miles beneath the ice.  I guess the way it works is that the ice is so thick it traps geothermal heat beneath it, creating a vast igloo full of water and dinosaurs.  What do you say we go on down there and start poking stuff into it?

No need.  The Russians are already on it.   

Actually, they came pretty close to drilling all the way in, around twelve years ago.  Then they had to stop because they uncovered strange microorganisms in the core samples – again, there is nothing Monster Movie about that, so quit smirking – and they became concerned about contaminating the pristine environment.  Sounds backward to me, but yes, you heard them.  They’re worried about hurting the monsters. 

See, microorganisms could mean an ecosystem – more complex organisms, all kinds of stuff.  For example:

I didn’t mean to scare you there, but it didn’t seem to me like you were taking me seriously enough.  We can stick our heads in the snow like ostriches who are really lost, or we can look right in the face at what our fellow human beings are screwing around with.

Look at him, damn it!  Do you think this is a game?

All right, I’m sorry.  Come back.  That’s probably not going to be what the ice monster looks like anyway, because he’s probably going to be more like a dinosaur.  But it would be pretty arrogant to assume that magnificent creature up there can’t swim.  When you assume something like that on an ice monster mission, you make an ass out of U and Me.

That’s definitely how the Russian scientists see it.  Here you can see them engaged in a time-honored, zero-tolerance, highly disciplined Ice Monster Preparation Protocol:

So, clearly the Ice Monster Project is in the right hands.  These guys are so serious and focused and single-minded in purpose, that I’ve been sitting and staring at this photo of them before I go to sleep.  It makes me feel serene.  Yes, there is evil and ice monsterality in the world – but there’s an elite force out there to do battle with it. 

Anyway, eventually they figured out a monster-friendly method for drilling into Lake Vostak without contaminating it.  It’s basically a gargantuan condom they put over the drill.

No, it isn’t – can you imagine?  Heh.  Actually they spend a stylistically questionable length of time in the article describing how they really do it.  It seems especially questionable when I can sum in up by telling you they pretty much take a shop vac down there with them.

So, it looks like it took around six or seven years to hammer out the Super Sucky Drill Protocol in all it’s glorious detail, and now they’re at it again. 

Apparently, even the ice is mysterious at that depth.  They’re currently drilling at a rate of just 1.6 meters a day into “pure frozen lake water, composed of huge round monocrystals of a metre or more in diameter and as hard as glass.”  Usually when you’re drilling into something super weird, there’s just normal stuff behind it, right?

Naturally, there are still squawkers wearing lab coats and talking with their noses plugged, who reason that since we’ve basically crapped every place on the planet that wasn’t locked under two miles of ice, maybe it’s not so responsible to go drilling a new toilet into the joint. 

The Russians scientists on the other hand are pretty sure everything’s fine, and they don’t think we should worry about it.  “It’s our freaking monster lake,” they were most certainly not quoted as saying. “How about we worry about our drilling projects, and you worry about yours?”

So anyway, now they’ve got a week left and just about a week’s worth of drilling to do before the seasons change and they have to airlift out of there.  Apparently, we have a whole crew of scientists out there who have never seen The Thing, Thirty Days of Night, Reign of Fire, Alien Vs. Predator, Leviathan, Sharktopus, or Godzilla, so they’re not worried about getting eaten one-by-one and then filling the drill shaft with natural gas from a pocket they found earlier in the movie and then blasting out of the shaft on a snowmobile just as a cloud of fire erupts behind them and then barely making it to the helicopter as the flaming ice monster jumps out again and goes ROOOAAARRRRR, and then having to shoot it with a really remarkably powerful flare gun and tell it, “Ice to see you again!”

It’s like there’s no talking to them in that regard.  When I Skyped the brilliant, smoking hot scientist girl in charge of Environmental Concerns, she said that if anything went wrong, they would all put on SCUBA gear and split up, and a couple of them would probably just find a place to make out, and that there was a single kind-hearted African American male on staff they could send down to restart the generator, if it kicked off mysteriously and there was a thumping noise.

“He’ll be fine,” she assured me.

So, I guess they’re all squared away out there.  It’s nothing for us to worry about – not even Katia Moskvitch, the writer of the article, is worried about it.  It’s very exciting, she tells us, because “sampling the waters could also move us a step closer to the understanding of similar glacial conditions at one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa.”

Yes, that’s excellent.  Make sure you don’t worry about ice monsters when you’re screwing around on Europa, either. 

You know, another bunch of knuckleheads is planning to clone a mammoth, right?  So it’s going to get pretty monstertastic up in here this century anyway.

Might as well get on board.  These are scientists.  They know what they’re doing.

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And an update posted later:  Nothing To See At Project Ice Monster

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2011 in Lake Vostak, News/Commentary

 

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The Golden Voice Dance Remix: Engaging The Milker

I don’t know if I’ve been clear about this, but I am a bit disgusted by what passes for news in pretty much every modern incarnation right now.  

Consider Walking Simpsons Episode Ted Williams, AKA The Golden Voice, a man whose mildly interesting story has been over for a solid ten days.  But of course it doesn’t matter if there is anything interesting to say about him at all – he’s the Golden Voice and people click on stories about him, and I’m no different.  And neither are you, Clicky – I see you.

So let’s take a look at the local coverage of the Golden Voice story from start to finish and then you can decide for yourself if my disgust is warranted.  10tv is right here in Columbus, Ohio, after all – we’re Ted Williams hometown!

Hmm wait.  I’m not sure that’s the right word.  Homelesstown?  Antihometown?

How about Previous Geographic Location.  Let’s go with that.

Okay, first, 10tv catches wind of the story through their intricately crafted network (Facebook) of informants and sources (Facebook friends).  Thank God they’re out there, keeping the Torch of Information And Stuff burning, right? 

That’s a pretty big scoop, says 10tv.  It is our sacred duty to share this scoop of Internet Information with the People.  It can’t stay buried as a viral Internet video with five billion hits.  The world has the right to know.

The next logical step, they report the Internet to everyone.  This just in from the Internet, a human being who can do something cool. 

Of course I’m linking to 10tv’s online articles, which the clever reader may be aware, are actually from the Internet Itself.  But if you watch their news shows, guess what they’re doing?

Reading the Internet out loud, that’s right.  Word on the street is, they’re going to add sock puppets pretty soon.

So anyway, the ratings go completely bonkers.  Everyone who doesn’t have the Internet is just as crazy about this guy as the Internet was.  Editors send out email blasts to their cube farms full of howling, chained-up monkeywriters – start reporting the hell out of this Golden Voice guy, get cracking.

Lucky for them, their phones are already ringing.  Everybody wants to hitch their wagons to him, I mean, hell, that’s amazing, isn’t it?  I thought the reason they were homeless was they couldn’t do anything!

The job offers start rolling in.  Except oddly, they roll through media outlets on their way to rolling in, because they aren’t really job offers so much as they are commercials.  Suddenly businesses and sports teams and MTV are all about the homeless community and its vast network of free ad space. 

“We’ve always been huge advocates for the homeless community,” says a fictional amalgam of all the job offers incarnate.  “We just didn’t know it was cool.”

Then the Golden Voice reunites with his mom.  Half of America goes, “Awwwwwwwwwwwwww,” while the other half goes, “What kind of selfish prick hasn’t seen his own living mom in 20 years?”

Meanwhile, back at Non-Internet Headquarters, the editors are screaming, “YES!  That kind of shit right there!  More of that!  Find anyone this singing dollar sign has ever eaten a sandwich with!  Type, you filthy animals, type!”

The cube farms erupt with whips and shrieking.  Hatches in the ceiling open and murders of local news reporters darken the skies, and all across the city, people whose brains work bustle their children inside and bolt the shutters.

A former rehab roommate says he thinks the Golden Voice is going to be popular.  Get that on the front page!

Then Williams heads to California to be a star.  The central Ohio news outlets disappear for four days to pop pills and drink vodka in their bathtubs.  Why does everyone have to leave us for California?  WHY?!

But then the Golden Voice gets arrested for getting into a “heated argument” with his daughter.  We don’t know what that’s all about, but okay, at least we got to see him again.  Hi, Golden Voice!  Be careful with the L.A. cops for the love of God, that’s not Columbus you’re standing in!

Meanwhile the local media is just a tad smug and distant.  We tried to tell you California was a slut, but you didn’t listen.

This is what happens when you leave us, says his psycho ex-girlfriend/former media cheerleader 10tv.  You belong with us, Golden Voice.  You belong with us forever.

Two days later he starts cancelling appearances, and the same day we get another article, this one entitled Homeless Radio Man Headed To Rehab

Funny how he’s not the Golden Voice all of the sudden, he’s the Homeless Radio Man.  That’s still 10tv, just giving him a cold, mirthless stare across the room.  You blew it, buddy, you could have had it all. 

Then he arrives at rehab – six days later.

And okay, I can imagine if I were headed to rehab, I might take the long way.  You might have to hunt me down a little bit, that’s cool, I’m with him on that one. 

At least he’s Golden Voice again in that story.  You can just see 10tv thinking, Oh yeah, he’s coming back to mama.  Who takes care of you Golden Voice?  Does that hussy California take care of you?  No, she doesn’t. 

The next day Williams admits getting drunk and using drugs “in between discovery and rehab.”  That’s how they like to word it, but I think I can come up with a more accurate way:

He started drinking and using drugs shortly after we all gave him a stack of money in exchange for hooking a mechanical cow milker up to his soul.  How’s that grab you, 10tv? 

Big news right there, by the way.  Shocking.  Every time I give a homeless guy a couple of bucks, I assume that he’s either putting it toward his 401k or investing it in precious metals.  You say he drank and smoked it?  Damn, that’s crazy.  Well, there’s no way anyone could have known that was going to happen, so don’t feel bad, media.

It turns out, they do feel bad, but only because if he’s in rehab, then they can’t report on him.  Any chance we can follow him into rehab?

Zero chance, says rehab.  Editors explode into clouds of profanity as they break open crates of bananas and expired sausage, throw them into their horrific, writhing reporter pits, then look away in disgust, shielding their faces from the shrapnel and spit.  The sound is indescribable.

Get me a Golden Voice story by any means necessary! 

Yes, Master, they hiss.  Smeagol will get you a Golden Voice story.

How about his tipsy homeless girlfriend?  Now you’re talking, get her out here.  Oh, dammit, Dr. Phil’s already got her.

Fine, we’ll do an entire story about her appearance on Dr. Phil, there’s nothing weird about that.  Every television show is a news story if a reporter is watching it.

And then – for crying out loud, now she’s going to rehab, too!  Why does everyone always leave us?  Why is Dr. Phil so helpful and awesome, why, why, why? 

Three days later, the Golden Voice checks out of rehab, citing reasons such as “screw this” and “please leave me alone, this is none of your business.”

Oh yes it is, says 10tv.  Everything is some of our business. When was your last bowel movement and how much did it weigh?

The main thing we get from that article is that he’s going back to L.A. to work.  You heard him.  He’s the workaholic kind of homeless guy.

He says that he’ll hold a press conference three days later.  Then he doesn’t hold a press conference, the big liar pants.  Do you think that stops 10tv from writing an article about it?

Nope.  Here’s one called No News Conference For ‘Golden Voice’ Williams

That’s right, it’s an article about the fact that Williams did not hold a press conference.  Because bringing you the news that matters is their sacred duty – someone had to come out and tell the truth.  About nothing at all happening that day with regards to the Golden Voice.

And that point right there is just about where any Psycho Ex-Girlfriend/Former Media Cheerleader has to make a decision.  Do you drop the story just because it’s been over for at least a week and a half?  Or do you ratchet up the crazy a notch, and drop an old-fashioned stalking on him?

Dust off your Christmas Tree suit – it’s Stalkin’ Time.

“Golden Voice” Williams Seen In Central Ohio, declares this 10tv article, though a better title would have been Ted Williams Goes To The Carryout. 

Because, that’s what it’s about.  A woman who went into Speedway and saw Williams and then got her picture taken with him.  It doesn’t tell us if she asked him to sign her breasts like Eddie Van Halen, or not.

If you go to the link now, you’ll see that her face is blurred out.  It wasn’t blurred out this morning, so I’m thinking she didn’t know that they’d be slapping this one right on the front page.  Maybe gave them a ring-ding later and said, hey, I’m ashamed of myself and people are laughing at me and calling me names. 

“I just wanted to prove to everybody that he was in South Bloomfield,” she is quoted as saying in the article.

Because that’s usually what it means when you cancel press conferences, that you want your location proven and publicized.

Watch for potential upcoming 10tv articles, Golden Voice Scratches Butt At Vending Machine and A Candy Bar For The Golden Voice: What Kind Of Candy Bar Was It?

I guess the only thing that you or I might be wondering about now, the only loose end left over would be how about his actual ex-girlfriend.  The one who went on Dr. Phil and then went to rehab, too.  Is she all right, did she stay clean, is she still in there?

Well, that’s too bad, because 10tv’s not wondering that.  They don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about – what ex-girlfriend?

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Earlier:  The Feast of the Golden Voice

 
 

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CSI: Arkansas Vs. The Serial Bird Thumper

You know what I expect when I click on an article entitled Report Gives Answers To Bird Deaths In Arkansas?

You guessed it – answers.  But yes, I would agree that not quite everyone’s idea of answers are the same.  Wrong, stupid, or incomplete answers are all kinds of answers, yes?

To illustrate, consider the following exchange:

You:  Say, Tom, why aren’t you wearing pants?

Me:  Well, I woke up at the park and they were gone.  What day is it?

See how my answer was actually just a variation on “I don’t know?”

Well that’s just me being ridiculous.  You wouldn’t expect that from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in their official report following their investigation into the recent bird kills in their state, would you?

But go ahead and look.  You won’t believe what Ace Ventura and the Arkansas Pet Detectives came up with to “explain” the mystery.  (And yes, it’s a mystery, despite CNN’s idiotic claim that Carcass Storms Are Perfectly Normal).

Right from the article:

“Laboratory tests were conducted on 13 of the birds that were part of the group that flew into buildings and died in a neighborhood in Beebe, Arkansas, 40 miles northeast of Little Rock.”

Huh.  I hadn’t realized that the birds had flown into buildings right before they died.  I think that if I had heard such a thing, I and anyone in their right minds would have found their deaths considerably less mysterious.  But oddly, in the initial CNN article about this, they make absolutely no mention of birds flying into buildings. 

That article was called Arkansas Game Officials Probe Mystery of Falling Birds, and it seems to me that if they had all flown into the sides of buildings, it would have been called something more like Why Did This Particular Flock Of Five Thousand Birds Fly Into The Sides Of Buildings?

I mean, we’d know why they fell out of the sky, right?  If they all hit buildings?

In a way, I kind of appreciate the complete lack of a smokescreen or a cover-up.  Just go ahead, and say something else this time, CNN – the past is gone, right? 

See, the first article says they fell out of the sky and were still falling out of the sky when investigators arrived.  So that’s awfully odd, declaring a Birds Falling Out Of The Sky Mystery, then publishing idiotic articles about how in fact normal that is, and then completely recharacterizing the dead birds as birds “that flew into buildings.”

See how that’s not the same mystery all of the sudden?  See how suddenly, it’s pretty easy to solve? 

Next, please investigate the startling mystery of the dead deer showing up every mile or so along county roads, and cue the X-Files music.

So far, I have seen nothing to effectively contradict The Horrifying Bird And Fish Reverse Conspiracy Theory, not anywhere in the news.  And yes, I know it’s just an unproven theory, but check this out, also right from the article:

“The tests ruled out bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, pesticides and avicides (chemicals used to kill birds) as causes of death.”

Cause I mean, that’s weird.  Looks like you guys ruled out a lot of stuff, including some very specific chemicals, and yet you declined to check the birds for evidence of chemical weapons tests from the largest depository of chemical weapons in the United States of America, which is right there in the area. 

If you found a man dead in a pile of his own blood and vomit right outside the chemical weapons storage facility, would it still not occur to you to check him for evidence of chemical weapons exposure? 

Looks like this guy died of a broken heart, boys – let’s wrap him up and go home.

I mean, avicides?  That’s good work, fellas.  “We better check these critters for bird poison.  Oh, awesome, they’re clean, so they must have fallen down!”

Really.  After such a detailed investigation, that’s what they came up with.  These birds died from blunt trauma, almost as if they all hit something.  These birds which we’re suddenly going to describe as having hit buildings, instead of dying mysteriously and falling out of the sky, like we said two weeks ago.

Riddle me this:  If our government had been testing or mishandling the dangerous chemical weapons which they store by the thousands of metric tons right down the street, and if whatever they did released these dangerous chemicals into the environment where it came into contact with five thousand birds, then do you think that maybe the birds could all get sick and then fall out of the sky? 

And then do you think they would experience some blunt trauma when they hit the freaking ground?

Yes, so do I, Watson. 

So, since you officials still don’t have an answer other than “They died from hitting the ground,” or “All of them simultaneously ran into buildings,” then how about if you stop insulting the general population and test the chemical weapons test theory, which fits the facts of the incident like a glove?

Again, this isn’t a report.  It’s propaganda.  It’s old-fashioned horse shit. 

And if you think I’m being paranoid about CNN participating in some kind of cover-up (wouldn’t take much, they don’t have to know what’s going on, just hand them a sack of tacos and they’ll say whatever the hell you want), then please examine the last paragraph of the story:

“This incident came several days before another mass death of animals. In that incident, 450 miles south of Beebe, some 500 red-winged blackbirds, starlings and sparrows were found dead. Also that same week, about 50 dead birds were found on a street in Sweden.”

Ah yes, it did come right around the time of those two relatively unremarkable incidents.  But it also came at around the same time as 2 million dead fish in the Chesapeake Bay, 150 tons of red tilapia floating dead off of Vietnam, 40,000 dead crabs in Britain, and 100,000 dead fish that same week, right there in Arkansas. 

I understand that you guys are all news professionals and I am but a mere blogger, but are you pretty sure that you used the most informative, helpful examples there?  Because it sure looks like you carefully selected normal examples to match your other article about how carcasses rain from the sky all the time, and that this was right after you decided the birds were all simply clumsy and bonked their heads. 

If this is your idea of reporting, CNN, and this is your idea of an “answer,” then there are only three possibilities:  You are incompetent or you are a brothel, or both.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Bird and Fish Kills, News/Commentary

 

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Jeanne Moos, Taco Bell, And The Fine Art Of Media Prostitution

Just in case my last post about Taco Bell didn’t make you want to barf quite enough, CNN’s Jeanne Moos decided to ratchet up the Disgusting Factor by forgetting any kind of responsibility toward objective news reporting and instead leaping to her feet to service Taco Bell’s image, exactly like a lunatic hooker when her favorite John walks in.

Oh, yes, I know – that’s harsh isn’t it?  For the love of God, watch this video A Beef With Taco Bell, which features Moos in what I guess is an attempt to be funny.  The two main problems of course – it’s not funny, and she’s not a comedian anyway.

See, this is a story about allegations that Taco Bell serves hideously low quality meat products to millions of people.  It’s not a rumor or an urban legend, it’s a lawsuit filed by a former manager of a Taco Bell through an Alabama law firm. 

I can’t think of any reason for CNN to file this story in the “Off Beat” category – it’s actually very straightforward, and it’s about something that affects millions of consumers – unless CNN wants to help out its BFF Taco Bell with their new PR problem.

I also can’t think of any reason for this story to have a wacky tone.  You practically expect kazoo music as Moos starts audibly rolling her eyes within the first few seconds. 

“Looks like beef,” says Moos in voiceover, as we are treated to a close-up of either a Taco Bell product or veterinary surgery.  “But doesn’t this story ‘ring a bell?'”

Then they show us a clip of the old, crazy popular Where’s The Beef commercials for Wendy’s.  “They used to say it about hamburgers,” Moos continues.  “Now they’re saying it about Taco Bell.”

Except of course, the Wendy’s commercials involved surreal fictional characters commenting on the size of the hamburgers served at Wendy’s competitors, whereas we are currently talking about lawyers and scientists and former Taco Bell employees in the real, non-fictional world – and they’re saying it shouldn’t be called “beef” at all. 

But that’s her tone – Here We Go Again – as if this is just one of many times in a tiresome cycle of restaurants getting accused of serving food that maybe, legally, should not be classified as food.  Ho, ho, ho, it’s like the old hilarious Wendy’s commercials, remember those?

No.  It’s not like the old hilarious Wendy’s commercials.  Not even a little bit.  You know, since it’s not hilarious, it’s not old, it’s not Wendy’s, and it’s a lawsuit, not a freaking commercial. 

And just in case you don’t think that Jeanne Moos is here to give Taco Bell’s image a non-therapeutic massage, the next thing she does is slap down an actual bag of Taco Bell on her desk and then starts stuffing it into her face hole as she interviews the attorney handling the lawsuit over the phone.

It’s gross.  Plain and simple.  She’s not a particularly healthy-looking person anyway, so watching her eat Possible Dog Food, really close up?  Well, seriously, go ahead and look if you dare.  Might want to grab a bucket or a trash can or something, maybe a glass of water, because once you watch it, you won’t be able to unwatch it.  Probably want to clear off your morning.

But listen, I’m not just disgusted by watching this “news reporter” eat garbage at her desk – although it is most certainly disgusting.  No, I’m disgusted because it’s so obviously slanted.  Why is she assuming that this lawsuit has no merit?

That’s the message we’re supposed to get – why else would she sit there crunching down Taco Bell while she’s asking the lawyer “So what do you hope to accomplish with this lawsuit?”  The clear message is that she doesn’t believe or care what the person she’s interviewing says.

Then she tells us that the law firm took a Taco Bell product to a lab and found that the meat mixture was less than 35% meat, “instead of what they say is the 70% required by the FDA.”

Right after that, she says into the phone, “It tastes good!  Sorry, my mouth is full.”

Yes, we can see and hear you, Jeanne.  You look and sound like a some kind of mutant hog monster.

I know – I’m being really mean.  But again – aren’t you supposed to be a reporter?  So why do you have to rely on “what they say” about the FDA requirements?  Do you think you could stop shoveling crap into your face for a second and do a little research on your story? 

Perhaps then you could confirm that yes, it’s not just what “they say.”  It’s in fact what the USDA requires.  And that no, that bag of slop Taco Bell sent you as a prop for your PR story, it doesn’t even come close.

Why would you bother doing a news story about this at all, if you aren’t actually going to present the facts in anything approaching an objective manner?  The answer is of course that this isn’t a news story, it’s a commercial for Taco Bell.  We even get Taco Bell’s response blasted across the screen in big letters:  “We start with 100% USDA-approved beef.”

Yes, we know, Taco Bell.  Do you think we can’t see the word “start” in there?

If I take a bucket of 100% USDA-approved beef, and then take a crap in it and mix it around and make Meat/Craploaf out of it, can you see how both you and I started with 100% USDA-approved beef?  Isn’t it suspicious when your official statement does not even technically dispute the lawsuit you’re responding to?

If a responsible reporter were handling this story and not say, a metaphorical prostitute with an eating disorder, then that would have been the next question.  Say, Taco Bell, once you get started, what do you do next?  And what meaty percentage would you assign to say, I don’t know, the actual finished product that gets put in front of your customers when they order your goddamn food?

Since that’s the whole point of the lawsuit, and since that’s supposed to be the whole point of the story.  Let me go ahead and help you out – perhaps they simply use a really generous definition of “seasoning.”  Perhaps the Taco Meat Filling is 35% meat, and 65% “seasoning.”  And then let me guess – practically any batshit crazy substance or chemical qualifies as a “seasoning?” 

What do you want to bet that’s their defense, when you boil it all down?  Well, until an actual reporter gets on the case, I guess there’s no way to know, huh? 

What CNN and Jeanne Moos have chosen to give us instead is not even a cursory, thinly veiled attempt to present the facts in this story about a lawsuit against a giant corporation.  It’s spin, right there on the news, and it certainly seems designed to convince a swath of the population that the lawsuit against Taco Bell has no merit. And her two main sources?  Taco Bell and her own gaping mouth. 

Congratulations, CNN and Jeanne Moos – you just made me more nauseous than any kind Horsey Dorsey Organ Paste Product ever could have.  Go ahead and grab a twenty spot out of Taco Bell’s wallet on your way out of the motel room, for cab fare. 

You’ve definitely earned it.

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Earlier:  Me And Taco Bell Are Here To Ruin Your Day

And:  Defenders of the Glomp

 

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The Tiger Mom’s Ancient Chinese Secret

I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Calgon.  And it’s not even a secret anymore, now that Amy Chua’s article Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior has emerged into our collective psyche, enraging American Mommies from coast to coast.

Now, you might think that American Mommies are angry because the Tiger Mom is so strict and possibly abusive.  She did, after all, admit to calling her daughter a piece of garbage when she was too disrespectful one day.  And she doesn’t let her daughters do practically anything that the rest of us do – no television, no computer games, no sleepovers, no school plays – and that’s sort of like being a vegan, isn’t it? 

If she’s doing it different, then she must think you’re doing it wrong, yes?  And worse, she must think your mom did it wrong, too.

Correct.  In fact, it’s right there in the title, and something tells me that it isn’t really her strict, maybe-not-so-borderline-abusive parenting style that’s bothering American Mommies.  It’s that she had the gall to declare her style superior to the Standard American Mommy style.

What a bitch, right?  I mean, you know she’s wrong, because your style is obviously superior to hers.  And your mom was a WAY better mom than Chua’s mom.  She has a lot of nerve saying…

Ooop, wait a minute, you’re both claiming to be superior to each other, aren’t you?  I mean unless you think that it’s a tie?

The frustrating thing about the Tiger Mom of course is that she can prove a certain strain of superiority.  Straight A’s, musical virtuosos – how do you want to keep score?

Did you just say happiness?  That seems to be what I keep hearing the mommies say.  I’m as great a mom as the Tiger Mom even though my kid’s knocking out C’s and can’t even play the little flute thing from second grade – because my kid’s so happy!  Yayy!!

Meanwhile, the other half of the country is busy complaining about American kids and their materialism and short attention spans and underachievement and constant texting and the way they run amok in restaurants and scream their heads off on planes.

Amy Chua is not breaking the law or even talking about breaking the law.  Let’s all get that through our heads right now, because the only way that you would know if this Yale Law Professor were breaking the law would be if she for some reason described it in her article or in her book.  If she did something so The Opposite Of A Law Professor, then the county wouldn’t be shy about swinging by and checking her out. 

Of course if they visit her then what do you think they’d find?  Miserable children locked up in basement rooms eating raw turnips and solving equations on a blackboard?

Close.  Here’s Amy Chua with her two daughters – doesn’t the misery and hate just emanate from this photograph?  God, how can she put them through it, you know?  I think that one on the left is about to stab her, what do you think?

Huh.  Well, they’re probably just terrified of her and pretending to be happy.  Let’s just go ahead and assume the opposite of what is depicted here, since what is depicted doesn’t match our idea of how miserable these kids should be.

Naturally, the first thing to happen is other adults raised in similar Asian households popped up instantly to warn us all that being raised by a Tiger Mom makes your soul all hurty.  Just ask Lac Su, author of I Love Yous Are For White People, which by the way is a pretty weird title. 

I mean, that’s it, Chinese people and white people?  I think he means, “Non-Asian Members of Non-Tiger Mom Families” but that’s not a very catch title, is it?

Anyway, Lac Su discusses his painful upbringing in this article Tiger Mothers Leave Lasting Scars, in which he also feels free to speculate on Chua’s psychological motivations for doing things the way she does them, all without a psychological examination.  Isn’t he amazing?

I don’t know, all I can tell you is, the guy sounds kind of whiny to me.  Can’t help but notice you’re a writer for CNN, there, buddy – I wonder if your strict upbringing had anything to do with your success, or if you got there by getting away from those parents and watching Adam Sandler movies all the time? 

Yes, I know, his mom made him eat cow brains.  Isn’t that horrible?  That’s obviously a part of a cow that we shouldn’t make our kids eat, as opposed to all the other wonderful, non-gross parts of cows that we give them here in our culture.  Hey you!  This is America – make sure that cow brain goes to waste!

My first thought upon seeing all these articles by other people with Tiger Moms and how horrible it was for them is, gee, that’s odd.  Amy Chua was raised the same way, and she thinks it turned her into the brilliant, disciplined Yale Law Professor she is today, with three published books and a beautiful family and what generally looks like an all-around successful life.

So either you critics did not in fact grow up in the same envionment Chua did – in which case, who cares? – or you did grow up in the same environment, and Chua just handled it better.

Seriously, you’re whining, she’s singing the praises of her parents.  Which one of you am I supposed to like again?

I have to say, I had this image of Amy Chua as this horrible person, but I read her article for myself and thought she was hilarious.  I like the part where she says to her husband – “Fine!  You be the fun one and take them to games and buy them cookies, and I’ll be the bad one who hammers in all the academic and musical excellence.”

See, I’d take that deal from my Yale professor wife – no problem, sweetheart, we’ll be down at Coldstone.

The part where she’s at a dinner party talking about calling her daughter a piece of garbage and then one of the American Mommies starts to cry – that’s absolutely priceless.  If I’m at a dinner party and you make someone’s Mom cry, I’m probably scooting my chair closer to you, just for sheer originality.  Let’s get over here where the action is.

Meanwhile, poor Amy Chua’s sitting there thinking she’s telling an awesome Gotcha parenting story.  “So I says to her, shut up you piece of garbage.  Right?  Am I right or am I right, ladies?  Ladies?”

Yep, that’s a dinner party conversation stopper. 

Really the key to that story is context, though. She claims her daughter was extremely disrespectful to her, and the thing about teenagers is, they don’t always listen to reason.  Often they are being outrageously unbelievably nuts and they know it, they just compensate by sobbing.

I’ll bet if you’ve got teenagers, you’ve said something crazy like that.  I’ll bet the worst thing to ever fly out of your mouth was in the ballpark.  You’re just not talking about it, and that makes sense.  Chua didn’t have to tell us, either.

I don’t know if there’s enough disrespect to make such an insult okay in my book, but generally, I’m not too worried about it.  I don’t think you should knock your kid down on the floor, either, but if your kid takes a swing at you with a tire iron or something, then you need to do me and yourself and all of society a favor, and you need to go ahead in that particular scenario and knock your kid down on the floor.  Call me crazy.

Here’s a world we live in where kids have credit cards and wear hundreds of dollars worth of clothes made by third world slave labor, a world where laziness and entitlement issues are rendering an entire generation completely out of touch with reality and respect.  What’s going to happen when we run out of stuff to hand them?

They’re going to go work for Amy Chua’s kids, is my guess.  Something tells me that’s going to be a rough transition, too.

Grab a social worker and ask her to describe to you the worst mom she saw today.  You’ll start hearing about chains on doors and excrement on walls and babies eating dog food, and then ask her about yesterday and the day before.  You’ll find out that there are literally millions of rock stupid parents out there setting their kids up for spectacular failure, just completely refusing to equip them for a responsible adult life at all.

Yes, but let’s make sure the Tiger Mom lets her musical prodigy honor students watch the Disney Channel because Hannah Montanna Deprivation is just absolutely killing their social lives and it’s just so cruel I’m going to cry. 

Seriously, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask everybody to climb on down out of Amy Chua’s butt now.  Sometimes kicking ass isn’t pretty.

She’s not telling you that you have to raise your kids the way she does.  She’s merely explaining to us why her kids are going all Harlem Globetrotter on the rest of our kids.  I think she’s being kind of considerate and nice, and I’d totally want her to come over to my house for dinner with my family. 

The only problem is, I don’t think she’d let her kids hang out with mine.

 

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