You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Let's talk about whacking the eels.

This poll on the MSN news website asks a simple question: “Should folks in Lyme Regis, England, be able to whack each other with giant dead eels if they want to?” A fair question, however, wrapped up in that question are questions of free will and cultural mores. While defending Leopold and Loeb, Clarence Darrow made the observation,

What has this boy to do with it? He was not his own father; he was not his own mother; he was not his own grandparents. All of this was handed to him. He did not surround himself with governesses and wealth. He did not make himself. And yet he is to be compelled to pay.”

We can ask the same thing of the residents of Lyme Regis. Sure their town is named after a tick disease and a B-list celebrity, but can they be blamed for doing the same thing that their fathers did and their father’s fathers did? Well yes, I guess they really can but at least they don’t consider themselves Nietzschean supermen who go around killing 14 year old boys.

Or do they?

Come on folks, wake up, anybody who goes around slapping people with giant dead eels can’t be totally sane and their irrationality has to be questioned. In public they may be slapping each other with eels but what occurs behind the scenes when the lights go down and they’re left to their questionable machinations in the tiny hamlet of Tick-disease Philbin. Fourteen year old boys beware.

But is that really any worse than anybody else’s eccentricities?

Consider the wonderful and excellent sport of Footvolley for a moment. Even though it is the most fantastic new foot sport around, I’m sure there are people in Burkina Faso or Kyrgyzstan who would probably think you’ve flipped your lid if they saw you playing it. The real question here is: Do people really care what the people of Burkina Faso or Kyrgyzstan think about their fabulous foot sports? Who do they think they are anyway? And what do they have to do with eel slapping or the Leopold and Loeb trial?

I’ll consult the CIA factbook.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dressing Down

Mrs. Fando, the Littlest Fando, and I were sitting in a local pizza parlour this evening, sampling their cheesy wares, when the subject of athletic supporters came up.

No, I wasn't wearing one! (I'm a briefs man, quite frankly.) Rather, we were discussing the ridiculous lengths people go to in order to support their teams. For instance, one U.S. high school I'm familiar with is from a region of the country known for its, erm... backwoodsmen. All right, let's come right out and say it: Hillbillies. For whatever reason, the hillbilly is a traditional symbol in this particular town.

So, whenever athletic events happen, particularly basketball for some reason, a large group of students will turn out, dressed like Lil' Abner and Daisy Mae from Al Capp's immortal and cleverly titled farce Lil' Abner. Most Yanks know of what I speak: The overalls, randomly and profusely patched, with one of the straps undone... corn cob pipes... dodgy thatched hats...the look of confused rage... inconsistent teeth... and the smell of sour mash liquour and popcorn, which is sold regularly at these events. The popcorn, not the sour mash.

I commented to my lovely wife, "Why on earth would someone find such a look to be attractive in any way? I mean, I've never heard anyone actually say, 'Oooh, them's some cool hillbillies!'"

Let's face it, throughout the vast majority of the planet's population, there is little regard for the ecclectic combination of being wild, barefoot, uneducated, inbred crackers, with an inate gift for shooting and then asking questions later, or more likely not asking questions at all besides things like, "Thought I wouldn't shoot ya, huh?" or "How do like them apples, now that yer dead?" Yet, in the school in question, people go out of their way to dress like that on special occasions, the way other people put on a tie and sportscoat.

Since it is sport, there is the chance that this is all some sort of attempt at the intimidation of the other team. One could, I suppose, imagine a group of visiting players coming out of the changing room. taking a quick but appalled look at the fan base and then thinking to themselves, "I hope I don't resemble Ned Beatty." Still, it's a reach. How many well-conditioned athletes are actually likely to resemble the talented, but pudding-shaped Ned Beatty? Even then, you'd think that the supporters would try to create some sort of mental connection beyond this, such as repeatedly strumming the opening notes of Dueling Banjos every time someone went to the free throw line.

No, there's just something about people who like to dress down to the lowest, most degraded stereotype known to their community. There's a certain sort of, dare I say, pride, in their muddled, hormone-driven expression of team support.

It's obviously the sour mash talking. The same phenomenon could be seen in the English terraces in the eighties, when several pints of ale would find a certain class of Englishmen shaving their heads and singing the praises of certain Nazis, who only 4 decades earlier were bombing the living crap out of their neighborhoods.

Alcohol + sports + confused adolescents = Utter stupidity. When you think about it, it's a fairly simple equation, even for someone as maths-challenged as I. Now, if only I could figure out why some people paint themselves and go shirtless.

Footvolley sounds like interesting sport

There seems to be something for everyone. There's footy type action for people like me, volleyball-like game structure for people who like side outs and judges who sit in high chairs, the beach for people who like sand up their crevasses, and the ridiculous shorts for people like Tom Cruise who, erm... like ridiculous shorts (and who will absurdly link it all to Scientology).

It's just a shame that all the Footvolley players are flesh-eating zombies.

All right I'm kidding about that, but I have found more evidence about Peter Graves. It's here (Warning - a small amount of mature language and themes) at a site written by self-professed zombies called Eat My Brains. What more evidence could you ask for?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Putting one foot in front of the other!

Since my obsession with Peter Graves (not a zombie by the way) is going along so well, I thought I would take the next step in my two phase obsession strategy. Since Earl has soccer/football/futbol/hand-crotch covered…well, like a defender covering his crotch while staring down David Beckham, I thought I would find a foot sport of my own. Most of the good ones seemed taken until I found a foot sport worthy of obsession. Yes, you guessed it, I found Footvolley.

What is Footvolley you ask? This is a question posed by many people, even those heavily involved in the sport themselves. Just imagine a soccer match played on a volleyball court with two teams using their feet and heads to launch a soccer type ball over the net. Grabbed your attention yet? I thought so. Footvolley is the number 53rd growing sport in all of the United States just edging out Dwarf Tossing in a recent poll.

Children and the mentally challenged around the country are getting into the sport like never before and it has spawned off-shoot interests like playercard collecting. Kids go absolutely giddy wondering if they will get a Sergio Menezes or a Daniel Rigo when they open their next pack.

Check out some action photos:

Footvolley can be played in abrasive volcanic ash.

The fans go wild over the colorful uniforms.

These gentlemen have just won the trophy for Most Upsetting Shorts.

Lounging with "wives" after a hard day of Footvolley.

This man has just dislocated every bone in his body.

So you can see that Footvolley is the sport of tomorrow and my new sports related obsession. Watch out Earl, Footvolley is taking over the world. Don't be left behind reliving past soccer glory for it will soon pass from this world like a big passing from this world thingy.

From the editor: We wish to correct a mistake made in the above post. In the caption for the fourth photo please insert the word "prostitutes" for "wives". Thank you.

Science Myths or Not? has created a page of the most beloved science myths. This is sort of like when Zamfir plays the world's most beloved melodies on the Pan Flute, only without all the breath noises and saliva. Well, most of the saliva. Scientists are fairly moist people.

Unfortunately, just as with Pluto, they got it all wrong. Most of the myths included aren't even myths, as suggests they are true at least in part. Even the actual myths are far more complex than the simplistic scientists will let on.

Here are just a few corrections:

  1. LiveScience says: Chickens can live without a head. According to the brainy gits, at least one specimen forged on for 18 months. Ha! That's nothing. Donald Trump's head was surgically removed and replaced with a polystyrene version -minus the brain, which was considered expendable - over 12 years ago. Which, of course, explains the hair.
  2. LiveScience says: Water does not drain backwards in the Southern Hemisphere due to the Earth's rotation. I don't know about the Earth's rotation, but water does too drain backwards. Stand in Bristol and watch the water drain. Then stand in Canberra and do the same. The unimaginative chaps at LiveScience say they are exactly the same, but in Canberra, you are completely upside down from how you are in Bristol! Dullards.
  3. LiveScience says: Humans use much more than 10% of their brains. First of all, it should be pointed out that we are talking about averages here, and not the hyperintelligent types that brain researchers tend to focus on. Second, brain scans are tosh where brain usage is concerned. Those brain scanners are simply overloading from the extrasensory waves put off by extraterrestials living in my neighborhood, the same waves that are constantly setting off my car alarm.
  4. LiveScience says: Poppy seed bagels can create a positive drug test. Don't sugarcoat it LiveScience! I once ate a poppy seed bagel and was high for a fortnight. I thought I saw rabid weasels coming out of Howard Dean's forehead. Stew told me that was nonsense and that they were badgers. He didn't even have a bagel.
  5. LiveScience says: A penny dropped from a very tall building would not kill any pedestrians below. Depends on the penny, doesn't it? How about this one? Or, what if the edges of the penny have been sharpened and dipped in a highly lethal poison derived from various plants found in the Amazon rainforest? Just asking.
  6. LiveScience says: A falling cat will not always land on its feet if it is dropped from a foot or less. What they left out from their little experiment is the following redacted clause from the end of that sentence: "...if the cat has first been tied up with Sellotape, bound with ropes, blindfolded, and fed 12 ounces of corn mash liquour." A fairly significant omission, don't you think?
  7. LiveScience says: Men probably do not think about sex every seven seconds. I have to agree with this one. It's obviously less than that. John F. Kennedy reportedly thought about sex once every 0.132 seconds, which made eating and sleeping quite difficult.
  8. LiveScience says: The five second rule about whether you can eat food that has fallen on the floor or not is false. This really depends on the food, doesn't it? Day old chips? Possibly up to seven years. Porridge? Less than a millisecond.
  9. LiveScience says: Animals cannot predict natural disasters. I give them half and half on this one. They argue that some animals are killed in natural disasters, so this is proof that they can't predict them. However, haven't these hypothesising web geeks ever heard of stupid animals? Also, what about those poor animals born without the gift? However, it is true that some animals cannot predict disasters. They can only predict when food will be in perfect range of their greedy, ravenous little snouts. I should add that in terms of theories of natural selection, this is a much more useful ability.
  10. LiveScience says: It does not take seven years to digest gum. Ha! Double Ha! Doublemint Ha!! It not only takes seven years, but if you're a particularly gassy person, you'll be surprised at where you'll find yourself blowing bubbles from. According to a friend of a friend of a friend, etc... Dick Cheney does this as a party trick.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Linus Coconut to join DOUI... Maybe.

I'm positively sure you don't know who I'm speaking of. (All right, writing of... who are you people anyway, Vulcans?) If you do, then jolly good show, for you are very highly placed indeed.

Anyway, I have it on good authority that the Linus Coconut might be joining us on the blog sometime in the next week and a half. At least he's on holiday for that long, and so I'm pestering him on a regular basis. Either he'll join us, or stop reading his e-mail and answering the phone. (He had to answer today, as it was Mrs. Coconut's birthday.) (I know... too many brackets/parenthesis!) (All right, I'll stop now.)

Who is Linus Coconut, you ask?

I can't provide details, such as age, birth name, region, planet, species, or anything like that. However, if you'll indulge me, I can give you a general idea. (Those of you Trekkers who remember the "Logic is..." bit that Spock did in "I Mudd" may find this a tiny bit familiar. Sorry, this was a totally necessary bracket/parenthetical.)

Linus Coconut is...

  • A slice of pumpernickle in a Wonder Bread world.
  • A breath of fresh air outside a paper mill. Not that fresh... a bit cheesy.
  • A tiny caterpillar slowly eating away at the leaf of reality.
  • Larger than a breadbox, but smaller than Torquay, Devon, England
  • Malt liquour in a dry county... in Saudi Arabia.
  • Not Donald Trump or Tom Cruise
  • Awfully fond of pumpkin pie. (Not a joke, he loves the stuff, the way I love bacon.)
  • A fruit bat flying about in the midst of a Who concert.
  • Your final answer on Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the Regis version.
  • Twelve beatniks on an escalator.
  • Sherbet.
  • Forever singing the REM song "Pop Song 89."
  • A cayenne pepper plant in an Iowa cornfield. (This is not some sort of clue... Linus lives nowhere near Iowa.)
  • A space alien, probably.
  • Inside your head, right now, as I'm typing this. When you're reading it, he'll be somewhere else.
  • Wondering what the hell I'm going on about.

Anyway, hope to see you soon Linus. Don't force me to ring you up again.

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 - Not Forgotten

It's hard to believe it's been five years since the terrible and evil attacks of 9/11/2001. Our prayers go out to all those still mourning the loss of loved ones, to those injured and crippled by the attacks, and to all those fighting to bring terrorists to justice and eliminate the wicked grip they have on the world.

Take a moment today and remember. There'll be plenty of time for laughs, later.