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Saturday, December 31, 2005

What a year...

...1945, I mean. 2005 was interesting also, but not quite as momentous due to the conspicuous abscence of thousands of defeated Nazis and Japanese fascists.
Of course today, the Germans, and Japanese have rejected fascism for electronics, motor vehicle production, and strange imitations of American and British rock and roll...but I digress.

Today, I'd like to just briefly review the highlights and lowlights of 2005. Most news media outlets will cover the "traditonally" big stories: the hurricanes, a change at the Vatican, Iraq, Tom Delay's ongoing and monumental legal expenses, Howard Dean's latest personal meltdown, Ken Livingstone's impersonation of a wombat, etc. I'd just like to address some of the more interesting and, for us, compelling events. First the most annoying and then the most peculiar (So, two lists for those who are counting at home.):


The 10 Most Annoying Things of 2005
(as compiled by Earl Fando)

10. Fox Soccer Channel. Now actually, 99% of the time, I love this channel. It's almost all footy, all the time, with the exception of the occasional bit of rugby, Aussie Rules, and cricket, all of which I enjoy to varying levels. However, FSC has the incredibly annoying habit of running the football (soccer) scores on their programming for tape delay games they are about to broadcast. ("And in Premier league action, Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 4-1. Next on Fox Soccer Channel...Arsenal versus Middlesbrough! That should be an very unpredictable match!")

Idiots. Morons. Gormless Twits. Stop it, or by the power invested in me as a Gooner supporter for life I will sentence you to be locked in a closet with Jose Mourinho while he tells his life story, including the parts about how Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson are having him followed by Scotland Yard.

9. Ben Affleck, for making my second list twice. (See below.)

8. Multiple New Year's Eve programs. Dick Clark, Regis Philbin, some bloke on one of the other networks. It's all so confusing. The musical acts are, with the notable exception of Mariah Carey's this year, always taped from weeks ago, meaning the spectacle of dozens of Hollywood "background artists" (known to those with real jobs as "extras") really is as contrived and blotto as it looks. How else can you get worked up over New Year's in October?

Enough. Simulcast one big, live party, just like the American Presidential Debates, only with music and sport. Hire Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt, and Halle Berry to cover the thing.

7. Discovery Channel programmes about potential natural disasters. There was one on tonight about a potential tsunami on the western American coast. The announcer gravely intoned that such a disaster might not happen for millions of years, or...tomorrow! All that was missing was the jarring chord of menace, like when Blofeld made some announcement to Bond about blowing up the world or shooting off "007 and a half", if you catch my drift.

Another part of the particular programme I watched consisted of a rather befuddled looking scientist complaining about an evacuation sign placement. It was obvious she'd rather be talking about things like undersea land mass displacement or wave amplitude. Instead, she was muttering about a road sign as though she'd just discovered the Rosetta Stone. Fine, get the sign moved. Just don't go on about it for a bloody fortnight.

The silliest thing about these kinds of programmes and some of the "science" behind them, is the reliance on computer models. Even the most unserious scientific researcher must understand that computer models are subject to biases of all kinds. This is why, until recently, they were more commonly found in places like sports betting offices, rather than climatology research laboratories. A computer model can predict that anything will happen, if you skew the programming enough. For the show it was a magnitude 9 on the richter scale that lasts for over five minutes up and down the entire western coast of the United States and Canada. While certainly possible, that's only slightly more probable at any given moment than the model I would suggest, which involves a giant lizard boring a hole through the continental shelf with his schnozz.

6. The Friends of the National Zoo (U.S.). They still haven't answered my e-mail, and they deserve as much ridiculd as possible for hanging on to an acronym (FONZ) almost older than Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff combined.

5. Oprah can't get in. Oprah Winfrey couldn't get into a shop. She threw a somewhat public tantrum. Ten words of advice: "We all love you Oprah, but they were closed, dammit." Who do you think you are, J-Lo?

4. The Sonic fast food boys. Not funny. Annoying. If annoying sells then they are the most successful ad ever produced on the face of the earth (With the exception of Number 2 on the list below.) Perhaps I'm not the one to judge by, just because I avoid Sonic by miles for fear I'll actually meet these blokes in person and fall over dead from seizures of boredom. Years from now, they'll be doing their "Sonic" routine in the Catskills, killing elderly people by the gross.

3. Tom Cruise. It's not just the Scientology money-grubbing and weirdness, or knocking-up Katie Holmes and marrying her, after reportedly having her fifth on a list of women you'd consider, or bouncing on a couch like a maniac (I sometimes wonder if Katie dances on a couch at home shouting, "I'm number five!"), or blathering on about psychiatry when it's clear to the average person that psychiatry would do the lad a world of good. No, it's all of the above. Good actor. Strange and annoying person.

2. Bob. Bob is the blinkered, endlessly smiling idiot in the commercials for "male enhancement". Let's be bluntly honest here. The type of person who thinks you can grow your dangler a few inches by ingesting herb-based pills delivered through mail order is exactly the sort of person the Nigerian e-mail scammers are looking for: greedy, unrealistic, and possessing stupidity of historic proportions. Like Nazis for example. ("So, Mein Fuhrer...you vant to invade Russia? OK, ve give it a shot. By ze vay...how ist de ole' zausage lengzening medicine coming along?") I'm not saying Bob is a Nazi, merely that Bob is clearly as stupid as a Nazi.

1. Terrorists. Speaking of being as stupid as Nazis...we had to have one serious thing in here. Terrorists are wankers, only with weapons and explosives. They deserve much more than ridicule, but that's all we can do from here. Thankfully, serious people are on the job.


The 10 Most Peculiar Events of 2005
(as compiled by Earl Fando)

10. Ben Affleck finally marries a celebrity named Jennifer. He got the better of the two if you ask me. Marginally perhaps, but Garner's action-hero, sex-kitten act seems frightfully sane compared to Lopez's egocentric, Cleopatra, servants shall not look me in the eye, megalomaniac diva act. So maybe Ben's moving up in the world? Or is Jen G. moving down?

9. Madonna gets down with Kabbalah. There's nothing so strange as watching ex-Catholic pop singers named after the Virgin Mary getting heavily into suspect Jewish mysticism. Somewhere Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who is as looney as a summer badger, is thinking to himself, "That Madonna, she is a strange one, she is. She was such a nice sensible girl too, doing the like a virgin dancing and marrying the wacky Sean Penn." (All right, it's much funnier if you imagine Peter Sellers doing the voice.) "Madonna the yidish yente," does have a strange sound to it.

8. Martha Stewart: ex-con. Honestly, didn't you all think that Donald Trump would wind up in jail before her? From doilies to the work gang. Who knew? Remember the magic word is "Risotto".

7. Charles. Camilla. I think most honest and decent people hope that they are truly happy, have wonderful lives...and are satisfied that they can never, ever reproduce. (Erm...I apologise for that remark in advance, if Charles is ever king, and that OBE ever comes through.)

6. Nicholas Cage names his child Kal-El. Mrs. Cage really needs to take charge of this family. I fear it will all come to ruin someday when young master Cage attempts to stop a giant meteorite with his bare hands. They should have named him Luke Cage and bought him a big yellow shirt instead. The main lesson though should be, don't name your children while paralytic on grain alcohol.

5. Did you say, "Diddy"? That's his latest name. Rumour has it that his next name will just be "Did", as in "I did have a career before I went crazy obsessive about my stage name and they threw me in Bellevue."

4. Prince Harry dresses as a Nazi. I'm sure the millions of British whose homes, hearth, and heads were the targets of Goering's Luftwaffe thought it was hilarious. When Cleese, Palin, Chapman, Idle, and the two Terrys do it, it is, because they're making fun of them. When Prince Harry did it, people weren't sure if he was having a joke at the Nazi's expense or tapping into the darker fringes of his old Saxe-Coburg bloodlines. We all suspect of course that what he was tapping into was the deep stock of 20 year old Glenfiddich in Windsor Castle.

3. Ben Affleck's practical jokes. Reportedly, they involve his personal, ahem...items, and other people's necks. Why this man hasn't been institutionalized is beyond me. Ben Affleck makes this list twice...impressive, as far as nutters go, no pun intended.

2. Beyonce storms the Oscars. She was everywhere. It was like "The Beyonce Show...also starring the Academy Awards". Someone please hire her for a film in Australia (or better yet, Mars) next February. A bit part, a walk-on, anything. At this rate she'll be hosting the bloody thing in a year or two. I'm sure she's nice but too much of a good thing, eh? As Will Smith might say, "I know you want to be on the show but...Daaaammn."

1. The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas begins. With names like Earl, Stew, Juan Carlos (No offense to the reigning King of Spain), and Zimpter, we know we're peculiar and we mention it to remind you that no matter where you get mentioned in here, should you get mentioned, it's all meant in fun and love...mostly. Be sure to tell your lawyers, dears. Happy New Year.

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