Monday, May 24, 2010

Sex Tapes Vs. Pornography

One of the "stars" of a reality show so awful I never watched more than five minutes of it-- "The Girls Next Door"-- and another reality show so awful I never watched more than three minutes of it-- "Kendra"-- has just finalized the sale of a sex tape she made many years ago with her then boyfriend.

Kendra's first pay check for the soon-to-be-released sex tape is a massive $680,000, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.

The reality television star secured the secret payment from Vivid in addition to receiving up to 50 percent of sales, as RadarOnline.com was first to report.
$680K upfront is a large chunk of money, especially when you consider that there is ample free pornography available on the internet (google it; this is a family blog) and that "Kendra" is not exactly an appealing woman.

She's certainly no uggo, but she's not sex-tape-for-$680K-beautiful, either.



If I were an actual pornographic film actress, like Stoya or Eve Lawrence or Jenni Lee or Tori Black or Carmen Kinsley, or any of the dozens of other legitimate pornographic film actresses I've never heard of before, I would be plenty irritated by this.

But it gets even more unfair for the legit porn stars:
Kendra's ex-boyfriend Justin Frye -- the man who orchestrated the deal with Vivid -- sold a virtual library of home videos that numbered as many as 20 tapes and tens of hours of content, RadarOnline.com has confirmed.

It has set up Vivid to release a series of money-making sequels to the Kendra Exposed premiere, which is scheduled to be released on DVD this week.
Does anyone actually watch pornography on dvd anymore? How quaint.

20 "tapes," and tens of hours of content equals pornographic film actress to me. And yet, "Kendra" is the star of two reality shows, and has gotten a massive payday for her-- well, they're not calling them pornographic films, are they?

They're calling them "sex tapes."

There's a difference, somehow, but I am too dense to catch it.

Consider the case of Ms. Penny Flame. Or Jennifer Ketcham. She was a legit porn star who lowered herself to appear in two programs with the disgusting Dr. Drew Pinsky, "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew" and "Sober House." On the final episode, Dr. Drew set up an interview for Ms. Flame I mean Ketcham with a producer for "Access Hollywood," where Ms. Ketcham touchingly revealed that she would be willing to work as a PA if it meant getting her foot in the door at "Access Hollywood."

This was presented as Ms. Ketcham taking new control of her life. Throwing off the shackles of the pornographic film industry that had exploited her.

Kendra seems to be going in the opposite direction. Except, you know, she didn't associate with all those skeevy porn stars. She just made a bunch of sex tapes.

So what is the difference between "sex tapes" and "pornography"? Well, "sex tapes" are what famous or semi-famous people make when they're playing at porn. When they're pretending to be edgy. When they're safe and secure but they want to feel like they're taking bold risks.

And the possible payoff can be, well, $680K. Or, if you're the new wife of the other participant-- you know, the guy who basically served as the famous woman's apparatus-- you might get a new, luxurious Arizona home out of it:
As RadarOnline.com was first to report, Frye -- a newlywed and construction worker -- received $100,000 for selling the tapes.

Now sources close to the 28-year-old reveal he is also getting a percentage of sales, although it is a much smaller percentage than Kendra’s and is set up as a step deal, meaning he will get varying percentages depending on the level of sales.

Frye and his wife plan to use their cut to purchase their first home in Arizona. They married within the past year.
Consider that for a minute. You're a newlywed. Your husband is on the periphery of the z-list because he once dated some former Playboy playmate and "star" of some reality shows, whose shtick is that she's kinda dim and has an annoying laugh. And the two of you are buying a house with his cut of the proceeds from series of pornographic films I mean sex tapes he made with said former girlfriend.

Every day, as she's tending her garden, she gets to think, "My husband's ex helped pay for the rose bushes."

How happy would you be in that situation? What feeling of accomplishment or pride would you have?

"At least my husband wasn't in porn," you can always tell yourself. And you might feel a little better about it, even.

Kendra Wilkinson pic source.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bret Michaels Just Can't Get Completely Well-- And, His New Song, "Warning Stroke"

Not too long ago I wrote a long and embarrassing mash note to Bret Michaels, lead singer for Poison and current reality show star and charmer. My reason for writing this was twofold: First, I wanted to show the world how much I appreciate Mr. Michaels, especially in his current, reality-show persona.

The second was that I hoped to (somehow, I don't know how and I realize I'm irriational) help Mr. Michaels get over his recent and traumatic medical problems. For awhile, as Mr. Michaels' condition seemed to be improving, I was composing in my head a rather unctuous entry in which I would imply that it was my fantastic post, with its life-giving compliments, that facilitated Mr. Michaels' seemingly miraculous turnaround.

But, alas, I still haven't gotten around to that. And it's probably for the best anyway because now it appears Mr. Michaels' condition has gotten very dangerous again.

Bret Michaels suffered a serious setback in his recovery from a brain hemorrhage, experiencing a small "warning stroke" that sent him to the hospital, where tests then revealed he also has a hole in his heart.
First of all, as a glass-half-full kinda guy, I'd like to suggest that "Warning Stroke" is a great title for a Bret Michaels song.

I want to feel your warning stroke
Light that fire and give it a stoke


Okay I'm no Bret Michaels but give me another five minutes and I could have a winner on my hands.

Anyway, don't leave us in suspense, doctors-- will Bret ever appear on television again?
Both conditions are treatable and are not believed to be connected to his subarachnoid hemorrhage. But his doctor questioned whether Michaels can return as hoped to the May 23 finale of Celebrity Apprentice or to a concert on May 28.
Oh, wow.

Get well soon, Bret! We still need you--- and I'm looking forward to hearing your new song "Warning Stroke"!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

They Just Look Like They're So Much in Love!

The two stars of the "Twilight" movies, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, are apparently in love. Possibly getting married. You can certainly see the love they feel in this photo from the cover of OK! magazine (the exclamation point is part of the magazine's title):


I don't know if I've ever seen two people who looked happier to be together.
The news swept across the Internet and shocked Twilight Nation: In May, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart had a fierce lover’s quarrel that sent Kristen into a screaming tirade on the Vancouver set of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, where cast and crew were reshooting crucial scenes for the film.

The problem? The brooding Brit had missed his flight and showed up on set a day late after being out until all hours partying at a London strip joint.

So how did Hollywood’s hottest young couple go from feuding to fawning over each other?
Oh-- maybe they were feuding when this picture was taken.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Does Lindsay Lohan Have a Lesbian Cougar Lover? Does it Really Matter?-- The Important Thing Is I Got the Words Lesbian and Cougar in a Post Title; That Oughta Be Good For a Few Hits!

According to the New York Post, Lindsay Lohan is dating "a new, cougar lesbian lover."

Lohan, 23, who previously dated deejay Samantha Ronson, has been secretly seeing Indrani, 36 -- half of the respected lens duo of Markus Klinko and Indrani -- since the women worked together on a photo shoot last fall.
...
Indrani told The Post, "We have been spending a lot of time together. I have never had a relationship with a woman before, but Lindsay is just somebody who I find fascinating, gorgeous and extremely smart, as well as super-hot.

"Lindsay gets a lot of bad press, but she's a really strong, creative woman and is trying really hard to get her life in a good, positive place."

Klinko said the pair are good for each other.

"Lindsay and Indrani have been seeing each other since we shot her last fall," he said. "I've seen them on dates, I have seen them making out . . . Indrani is a good influence on Lindsay. She is the opposite of a party girl -- a Princeton graduate, she's into art and is a philanthropist -- not what you'd expect the typical girl for Lindsay to go out with.

"When they are together, they talk about art and the deeper meaning in life
."
Emphasis added because goldarnit that is just so mean and passive-aggressive.

Indrani, the alleged cougar, and her business/performance partner Markus Klinko, both seem to be stating unequivocally that Indrani and Ms. Lohan are an item. Even though Indrani is, like, the total opposite of what you'd expect in a partner for Ms. Lohan. A Princeton graduate and a philanthropist.

And the photo accompanying the story is just so adorable! I mean, they make such a great couple!


It kinda reminds me of my high school prom photo. (The theme was "Phantom of the Opera"!)

So, considering just how positive an influence is Indrani, Ms. Lohan must be lucky to have her, and grateful besides.

Notsofast!
When asked about a report that she's dating a 36-year-old photographer named Indrani, the actress, 23, tells UsMagazine.com, "No, no, no... In NO way am I dating her."
That seems fairly unequivocal in itself. It's even more unequivocal (or, if you prefer, less equivocal) than the statements attributed to Indrani and Mr. Klinko in the New York Post story.

When she answered UsMagazine.com, did she really answer "NO" in all caps? After everything Ms. Lohan has been through and done, is the thought of having such an extremely attractive Princeton graduate as a lesbian lover really that abhorrent to her?

But why would Indrani and her business partner Mr. Klinko make up such a story? It's not like she's going to be appearing on a reality show or anything...
Indrani -- who will be star in a Bravo show called Double Exposure premiering June 15 -- snapped Lohan at a photoshoot last fall.
Oh, she has a new television show starting in less than a month. So maybe this was just a cynical attempt to get her name on wesmirch.

Or maybe they really are in love, and Ms. Lohan is just, um, so happy that she can't bear to actually admit how happy she is. Or maybe she objects to the New York Post's use of the word "cougar." Can we please stop using that word, already? For crying out loud that has got to be one of the longest-lived bogus trends of all time.

And the woman is only thirty-freaking-six. "Cougars" don't become "cougars" until they're in their late 40s, right?

Cougars can't be 36. 36 is super young. It's practically the new 25.

Anyway, it appears that neither Ms. Lohan nor Indrani can be trusted on this. So, let's forget the whole thing, shall we?

Monday, May 17, 2010

New When Falls the Coliseum Post Examines The New York Times's Examination of Facebook's Privacy Policy

My new post over at When Falls the Coliseum looks at a recent NYT article on facebook's privacy policy. First few paragraphs:

The New York Times, one of the most famous news-related advertising-delivery publications in the world, has exercised some serious journalistic muscle in bringing its readers the lowdown on one of the most important issues of the day.

Facebook’s privacy policy.

Because, you know, that is some serious stuff. The article, entitled Price of Facebook Privacy? Start Clicking reveals that people who voluntarily choose to partake of the social networking site have to read and click on a few things to ensure that some of their information is kept “private.”

On the internet.

Whole thing here.

New Season of Celebrity Rehab Might Not Happen

It's easy to get cynical. I mean, there are just so many awful things in the world and if you focus on those awful things it just seems like nothing is going right.

But then, every so often, something happens (or doesn't happen) that goes a long way toward restoring my faith in humanity. Case in point: the odious "Dr." Drew Pinsky can't find anyone willing to commit himself to a season of the reprehensible program "Celebrity Rehab."

Sources close to the production tell TMZ they have struck out left and right trying to find A, B, or even C-list celebs for the show. As we first reported, they had their eyes on Lindsay Lohan and Heather Locklear, to name a few, but were quickly shot down.

The show was able to get a tentative commitment from a few D and F-listers, but our sources say the network rejected them.

We're told there was a deadline last Friday to lock down the cast, but since they don't have ANYONE signed on ... the deadline was extended to Wednesday.
It's a small thing, I know, but it brought a smile to my face.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hollywood Really is Different

Imagine in your hometown of Anyplace, USA, a video surfaced in which a man of 44 years old was shown rubbing his crotch against the buttocks of a 16 year old girl.

What would happen to the man of 44 years, in Anyplace, USA? Arrest? Sex offender registry for life? Forced to live under a bridge?

It's happened.

People get hysterical about any perceived exploitation of children, especially by adults. In most towns. For instance, in January a soldier in Afghanistan (fighting our "war on terror!") faced courtmartial when his mother sent him a photo of a young relative of his... in a bathing suit.

An Illinois National Guard soldier in Afghanistan has been charged by the U.S. Army with possessing child pornography over pictures of a young relative his mother says she sent him.

Terri Miller of Galesburg says she sent her son, Specialist Billy Miller, pictures of the little girl to help him get over his homesickness.

The pictures show the child in a swimsuit playing a wading pool and sitting on a truck. In one, the girl is wearing a swim suit and part of her buttocks are exposed.

The Army says Miller will stay in Afghanistan until his court martial. His unit came home last August. Miller faces jail time, if convicted.

Terri Miller says the pictures are innocent.

WQAD TV reports that the child is a relative Billy treated as his own child when the girl was diagnosed with cancer as her father was going through boot camp. The family notes that the same pictures are on family computers and on Facebook pages, and no one else has been investigated.

"You have no clue how it eats me up", said a crying Terri Miller. "I blame myself every day, every day, if I wouldn't have sent the pictures he would be home."
(Via Nobody's Business)

And yet, in Hollywood, a 44 year-old producer can be videotaped rubbing his genitals against the buttocks of a 16 year-old girl and...

Um, what's happened to him, exactly?

TMZ has the video, which can be viewed here. (Can't embed it and I'm not sure I want to, anyway).
Miley Cyrus felt more than the beat last summer as she got downright nasty on the dance floor with a slightly older gentleman during a wrap party for a movie ... and TMZ has obtained the video.

Miley -- who was 16 at the time -- was dancing with 44-year-old Adam Shankman during a wrap party last summer in Georgia for the movie, "The Last Song." Shankman, who is openly gay, produced the movie as well as "Hairspray" and other flicks and is a judge on "So You Think You Can Dance?"

The people who shot the video say they were offended by the dirty dancing -- which included a graphic lap dance.

We're told Miley's parents were not at the wrap party. Miley's reps had no comment.
The video pretty plainly shows the 44 year-old Mr. Shankman groping the 16 year-old Ms. Cyrus, and then the two wandering off the dance floor where Mr. Shankman takes a seat, and Ms. Cyrus continues rubbing.

Try to imagine this video appearing on your local news. Substitute the assistant manager of some local semi-prominent business for the "movie producer," and "his 16 year-old employee" for the "actress."

Wouldn't there at least be an investigation by the police? Whether the girl's parents complained or not, wouldn't there be some kind of investigation?

Who would work with such a person ever again-- a middle aged man who rubs his groin against a girl? Would you want to work with such a person?

Well, I hope people are calling out the responsible person for their bad judgment!
It seems Miley Cyrus has danced her way into another round of media scrutiny.
...
This isn’t the first time Miley’s moves have drawn criticism. The singer was called out for a performance at last year’s Teen Choice Awards in which she pole danced on top of an ice-cream cart.
Waitasec-- it's the 16 year-old whose moves have "drawn criticism"? A 16 year-old girl is rubbing against a 44 year-old man and it's the girl who's drawing the criticism?

Are you f*cking kidding me?

Surely not everyone is blaming the child in this!
What do you think about this – is Miley Cyrus somebody you want your kids to be looking up to anymore?
Whaddahell?

Why does any judgment of Ms. Cyrus come into this at all? Maybe she makes a goofy mistake by beginning to "dirty dance" with an adult (and no, it does not matter if he's gay or straight), but for crying out loud the adult didn't say, "This is wrong, Miley, cut it out."

The question people should be asking is, "Will you continue to watch 'So You Think You Can Dance,' or any of the films this guy produces?" Not, "Has Miley Cyrus fallen in your estimation?"

She's 16 years old, for crying out loud (at the time of the "lap dance," anyway. She is at an age where her decision-making skills are unformed.
For many years it was thought that brain development was set at a fairly early age. By the time teen years were reached the brain was thought to be largely finished. However, scientists doing cutting-edge research using magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, have mapped the brain from early childhood into adulthood and found data contrary to these beliefs. It now appears the brain continues to change into the early 20's with the frontal lobes, responsible for reasoning and problem solving, developing last.
It was totally and unequivocally the responsibility of the adult to stop her, immediately.

Luckily, the TMZBots understand this, right?


Okay, those are just comments. To be fair, some of the commenters do say that Mr. Shankman should have exercised his adult judgment and put a stop to the whole sordid mess, but still-- a lot of commenters left vituperative insults for Ms. Cyrus.

The 16 year-old. Exercising poor judgment.

16 and exercising poor judgment. Which is what all 16 year-olds do. That's why she needs adults with good judgment around her. Apparently she does not have this.

A few days ago I wrote a short piece about Ms. Cyrus's new song and video "Can't Be Tamed." That video, I suggested, was, ironically, pretty tame.

Who knew just how tame it was? Filmed about a year after her "lap dance" video, it appears that Ms. Cyrus is becoming more demure in her old age.

Kids push boundaries. Adults are supposed to be there to stop them. TMZ notes that Ms. Cyrus's family was not at the party in question. I'm reluctant to harp on them about that because it's entirely possible they believed-- or made arrangements with some of the-- adults at the party would watch out for her.

What parent expects their daughter is going to attempt to give a lap dance to a 44 year old man, and the man in question is going to not only accept said lap dance but actually grope her on the dance floor?

Parents can't be around 24 hours a day. I have no idea of what kind of relationship Ms. Cyrus has with her parents.

But there were other adults there. That party was full of adults. Full of potential accessories after the fact.

Try to imagine those people walking down the street of Anyplace, USA, the day after that video surfaced. How would you treat them?

Hollywood really is different. Everyone's afraid of offending everyone else. Everyone's afraid of looking like a "square." You learn to keep your mouth shut, if you ever want to work in that town again.

Even if a 16 year-old girl is rubbing against a 44 year-old man. You just keep your mouth shut. And maybe, if you're lucky, you'll get hired to be that 44 year-old man's assistant!

UPDATE @2:47 PM PST

TMZ has just posted a story in which Ms. Cyrus's father, Billy Ray Cyrus, reacts to the video.
Billy Ray Cyrus is blowing off the controversy over his then 16-year-old daughter Miley Cyrus grinding on a 44-year-old man -- saying, "It's what people her age do."
...
Papa Billy says Miley was just "having fun."
This is an example of the warped thinking in Hollywood. True, people her age do bump and grind-- with each other.

If she's bumping and grinding against a grown man, the grown man should have the sense and decency to put a stop to it.

Mr. Cyrus is, for some reason (maybe he wants to ensure his daughter can still get work?), deflecting from the real issue here, which is that Mr. Shankman, a 44 year-old man, was groping and grinding against a 16 year-old girl.

Again, imagine yourself in Anyplace USA. Imagine such a video surfaced, and then imagine what you'd think of a father who said, "She was just being a 16 year-old kid. Wharn't nothin'," instead of, "If I ever find that middle aged jackass who was grinding against my daughter I'll knock him out."

Like I said, Hollywood really is different. If you want your daughter to have a career there, be prepared to let her, well, grind against middle aged men.



Miley Cyrus pic source.

Senator Surprise-- One of the Great "Lost" Comic Books of the 1970s

New When Falls the Coliseum posting, this one about a great, a fantastic, an amazing comic book from the 1970s called Senator Surprise. He's sort of like Dr. Strange, if Dr. Strange were a senator from Louisiana who spoke with a thick Cajun accent.

From Senator Surprise first ten pages

This story, "How a Spell Becomes a Law!" has an important message for today's audiences, RE: financial reform.

You can read the entire post here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

EXCLUSIVE! Excerpt from Tyra Banks's Novel "ModelLand"!

Wow, she's hot. She really is. But can she write?

Sure, People magazine has the story that model and talk show host Tyra Banks is publishing a novel-- but only Project Child Murdering Robot has the exclusive first sneak peak at its contents, thanks to the exciting excerpt excerpted below!

Let me tell you, if the novel is anything like the excerpt, look out-- Ms. Banks has a bestseller on her hands!

MODELLAND by Tyra

Chapter One:
Ayrt enters ModelLand

Once there was a beautiful, fierce, and extraordinary young woman named Ayrt. She was so fierce, that everything she did was met with success! Whether it was hosting her own talk show, "The Ayrt Skanb Show," or hosting her prime-time network show "America's Next Great Beautiful Young Woman," or appearing on magazine covers as a super model, she did it all, and did it well, and fiercely.

But still, Ayrt wanted something more.

She was like, "I think I'm meant for something more." She thought this because she was so successful, but she still wanted more. More success, and more ways to prove that she could be successful. Like if she wanted to save children from burning buildings, she probably could.

But she was never around when there were any burning buildings.

She attributed this to her fierceness. If she were less fierce, buildings would probably catch on fire all around her, and then she could save children inside them. But she couldn't. So she needed another way to prove herself.

"I could run for president," she thought. Then she quickly dismissed the thought. "I have already conquered the world of entertainment. Why should I bother with politics? That is so last year anyway."

So she sighed. That's how you could tell she was feeling a little bit sad. Because she sighed.

A bunch of people noticed that she sighed, so they asked her, "Why are you so sad, Tyra Ayrt?"

It hurt their hearts to think that Ayrt might be sad. They would rather think of crying orphans than of Ayrt being sad, because they loved her that much. She was so important to them, and if she was sad then that must mean that the world was sad, because Ayrt was their world.

They were her personal assistants.

Anyway, Ayrt goes, "I'm not sad, I'm just sad because I have already conquered every challenge on this earth, and there are no more challenges for me. I guess I'm just bored." She looked at the floor and pushed something with her foot-- it was like a little piece of fuzz like you find under beds sometimes.

Dust bunnies.

"We want you to feel fierce!" her assistants said. They were almost crying.

Then suddenly this magical creature appeared, sort of like those creatures from The Lord of the Rings movies, and said, "I know of a place where you can conquer!"

Everyone looked at the guy from Lord of the Rings and they gasped. The guy from the Lord of the Rings was like one of those guys from Lord of the Rings, except if all those guys from Lord of the Rings was flamboyantly gay, and wore eyeliner and fabulous clothes and were all fierce.

"Where is this magical place?" Ayrt said.

"It's called--- ModelLand!" the gay guy from Lord of the Rings said, with a flamboyant flourish of his fierceness.

"That sounds like the perfect place for me!" Ayrt said. She practically cried because she was so happy that she didn't have to be bored anymore, because she was such a famous and successful celebrity and everyone loved her and thought she was so beautiful and fierce and independent and intelligent and she was all of those things, but after awhile being so fierce and confident can be boring and she just wanted to be normal every once in a while, and have to face the world the way normal people did.

That was why she sometimes went "undercover" on her talk show, "The Ayrt Skanb Show." Once she put on a fat suit and makeup to find out what it would be like to be fat and ugly the way normal people are. That was so challenging! But she could take off the fat suit and the makeup and be fierce again. Normal people couldn't.

They would never be fierce.

Anyway, Ayrt needed to be less fierce sometimes, and going to ModelLand would let her do that, if she could trust the gay guy from Lord of the Rings. And she could, too, because Ayrt had such a strong gay following that she knew that no one who was gay would ever lie to her, about anything.

"So let's go to ModelLand!" the gay guy from Lord of the Rings said! And then Ayrt went to ModelLand, and her journey through ModelLand began! It was a magical world!

Want more? You're going to have to spring for the book when it comes out at some point in the (fierce) future!

First Tyra pic source.

Indian Mystic Doesn't Live Without Food and Water, and a Journalist Actually Does His Job

You remember the ridiculous story of the man who supposedly died when an eel was shoved up his rectum? I just can't let it go because it points to something that I find infinitely irritating-- that news organizations often just pick up ridiculous stories and present them as fact without bothering to check if they're true or not. Because the stories are just so good, you know?

And yesterday I wrote about the wonderful Kenny Strasser ("K Strass"), the supposed yo-yo champion who is actually a performance artist whose venues happen to be local news programs gullible enough to put him on the air without checking him out.

For crying out loud, if the news can't get it right about something as simple as a "champion yo-yoist," why should you trust them about things that are actually important?

Anyway, today I saw something-- linked on yahoo's main page, no less-- that made my heart glad. Not in that cynical, K Strass way; but in a genuine this-is-how-the-media-should-handle-outrageous-claims way. The story is headlined "Indian Mystic Claims Not to Eat for 70 Years."

Right away you will notice how this deviates from the eel in the rectum story. The headlines states that the "Indian Mystic" claims not to eat. It does not state "Indian Mystic Does Not Eat for 70 Years."

The story itself is even better. Everyone at the Huffington Post who reposted the story about the eel in the rectum guy should read this.

As remarkable as his story is, Jani is not the first, nor the only, person to claim such a supernatural power. The claim that people can live without food or water is called inedia, and is actually somewhat of a common claim among religious fakirs and godmen of India. Unfortunately none of the cases have withstood scientific scrutiny. The human body needs both food and water to function; it's as simple as that.

It's easy for anyone to claim that he or she has not had anything to eat or drink for the past few weeks or months (or years). But unless the person has been carefully and continuously watched during that time, it's impossible to prove the assertion true.

Several people who have claimed to survive without food or water were later caught eating and drinking. It can take only a few seconds to eat something, and other than in specific areas such as prisons, conducting a close around-the-clock surveillance on a person is not easy. Often the person will ask for privacy to sleep or go to the bathroom (which is suspicious in its own right) - and then snack surreptitiously. One well-known breatharian advocate in the 1980s, a man named Wiley Brooks, claimed he did not eat yet was caught consuming junk food.
...
Reports claim that Prahlad Jani "has now spent six days without food or water under strict observation and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from hunger or dehydration." Assuming the claim is true - and it's not clear just how strict the observation is - Jani's inedia so far remains unproven. If he really doesn't need food or water, he should be under close observation for months or years to prove it. Given that he claims not to have consumed anything since World War II, this shouldn't be a problem.
The author reports on the claim, and then explains why you should be skeptical. He states that others who have made this ridiculous claim have been found to be liars, and then offers some skepticism about the level of "strict observation" related in the "reports."

And he states unequivocally that "Jani's inedia so far remains unproven."

Yes!

In a world where K Strass can make it on the air six times in a month, when news gathering organizations can pass along stories about eels in rectums, and people dying from playing video games for 72 hours straight, this story is small victory for reason.

Except. There is this, in the first paragraph of the story:
An 82-year-old man in India is claiming to have not had anything to eat or drink since 1940 - and doctors from the Indian military are allegedly studying him to learn his secret.
Apparently the Indian military has money to burn and time to spare. If only they'd read the article, they would know not to waste their resources on this guy.

That's why we need to be vigilant about this stuff. There are real-world consequences that come from not thinking critically. No way should any money or time be spent on this guy. Isn't there a global recession going on? Aren't we all losing money?

The author of the article, by the way, is Benjamin Radford, a name well-known to skeptics-- he's one of the editors at Skeptical Inquirer magazine. It's heartening that he has a regular column for LiveScience.

If he's not going to eat, why is he holding a fork?

Pic source. (By the way, this link is to a credulous story on the "Indian Mystic." So you can see how not to do it.)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kenny Strasser AKA "K Strass" is My Hero For the Week

One of the recurring themes of this blog is that you cannot trust the mainstream media. They are lazy! They will take an obviously unbelievable story like the one about the guy in China (to take one recent example) who supposedly had an eel shoved up his rectum and run with it as if it were a true story-- without bothering to check.

And as if to prove my point that you cannot trust what you see in the news, there is a wonderful gentleman called Kenny Strasser, or "K Strass," who presents himself as a yo-yo champion, and has appeared on six local newscasts in the last month, showing off his mad skillz.

But not with the yo-yo. No, Kenny Strasser's mad skillz involve making fools of local news programmers, producers, and personalities, and showing that just because something makes it onto tv, it's not necessarily true.

A strange, strange man has been showing up on morning shows throughout the Midwest, claiming to be a yo-yo trick champion. He is not. He is actually terrible at yo-yo. Yet he keeps getting on the air.

Little is known about "K-Strass," who goes by Kenny Strasser, or sometimes Karl Strassburg. He claims to be from Wisconsin (except when he doesn't). He claims to be from a broken home, with his own addiction issues (except when he isn't).

All we know is that K-Strass has shown up on television six times in the past month, showing off his yo-yo "skills" and generally embarrassing the hosts.
Here he is on one such news program. The host asks him about yo-yoing, and Kenny Strasser, the supposed expert, seems to know about as much about it as I do. Then he alludes to some deep-seated emotional issues, discussing his own divorce, and that of his parents. He takes a phone call because of said personal issues.

He takes a phone call on the air, in the middle of his interview.

And that's not even the best part. I actually can't decide what's the best part-- is it when K Strass refers to "the Garth Brooks of the yo-yo, Eric Stringer"? Is it when he talks about his grandfather doing "a lot of yo-yoing through the south"? Maybe it's the time when, asked how much time he spends practicing the yo-yo, he replies, "honestly not that much"? How about when he says, in reference to his (ever-diminishing) school programs, "A lot of times, we'll be laughing so hard, we don't even get to the environmental stuff"?

But please don't take my word for it. Watch this guy. He is a genius:



You will note that one of the newscasters (or, as shampoo calls them, "newsactors") refers to Kenny Strasser as "an award winning and master yo-yoist."

Did anyone at the station bother to check this guy's credentials? How did he get on the air?

Think about that the next time you're watching the news, and they're talking about the latest city council meeting, or the mayor's report on the parks department, or when they've got some "expert" telling you--

--well, anything.

Kenny Strasser is more than just a great performance artist. He is a great American. Thank you, K Strass, for exposing television news for the cesspool of incompetence that it is! You're my hero for the week!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weekend Box Office Predictions for Mother's Day Weekend 2010

Brand new post over at the delightful site When Falls the Coliseum-- Weekend Box Office Predictions for Mother's Day weekend. Sample:

Sorry I’m late getting in this weekend’s box office predictions, but it’s MOTHER’S DAY ON SUNDAY and I don’t mean to shout like that but you all got to remember to get your mother something nice. She did all those great things for you. She taught you right (helping little old granny ladies across the street) from wrong (kicking little old granny ladies down the street). She locked you in the closet for eight hours a day when you did poorly on your grammatical tests. She took you to your first cockfight. She let you stay up until way past your bedtime so that you could watch “Carrie” with her, back when HBO would only show R-rated movies at night and she was too scared to watch it by herself. She pretended not to notice when you stole her cigarettes and smoked them yourself (she was trying to quit anyway). She taught you how to hold your liquor.
Whole thing is here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My new favorite twitter follower

I get a lot of twitter followers who turn out to be spammers trying to get people to go their "adult dating" websites. Usually they've only tweeted once, and that is nothing more than a link to their site with a message, usually about checking out their pics.

But Marina Weaver, aka weirdbumpa12575 is different. Oh, sure, she's trying to send traffic to her adult dating website-- but she's got other things to say, too. As you can see from the screenshot below:


I wonder how the nycterines were. Say hi to "mmo" for me!

Parsing Miley Cyrus's "Can't Be Tamed"

Miley Cyrus is the star of a television program called "Hannah Montana," and she also appeared earlier this year in a film adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. She is apparently 17 years old, which makes her just a few short months away from being "legal" in most states.

(By the way, what's javascript:void(0)the difference between 17 years, 11 months, and 29 days, and 18 years?)

She is also the star of a new video for a song called "Can't Be Tamed." The video and song are apparently "controversial."

If you want any more proof that we are suffering in a repressed, stasist culture, you need look no further. The idea that "Can't Be Tamed" could be considered "controversial," or "provocative," or really worthy of anything other than a shrug of the shoulders-- and perhaps an ever so gentle rolling of the eyes-- is a sad commentary on just how far we have not come.

Here is the video:



Just some dancing and writhing around in various outfits, in dark rooms with murky cinematography. It looks like about half the music videos that have ever been made, although I do like the bird wings at the very beginning.

Here are the lyrics:

For those who don’t know me, I can get a bit crazy
Have to get my way, 24 hours a day
‘Cause I’m hot like that
Every guy everywhere just gives me mad attention
Like I’m under inspection, I always get the 10s
‘Cause I’m built like that

I go through guys like money flyin’ out their hands
They try to change me but they realize they can’t
And every tomorrow is a day I never planned
If you’re gonna be my man, understand

(Chorus)
I can’t be tamed, I can’t be saved
I can’t be blamed, I can’t, can’t
I can’t be tamed, I can’t be changed
I can’t be saved, I can’t be (can’t be)
I can’t be tamed

If I see my reflectiona bout my intentions
I’ll tell ya I’m not here to sell ya
Or tell ya to get to hell
I’m like a puzzle but all of my pieces are jagged
If you can understand this, we can make some magic
I’m on like that

I wanna fly I wanna drive I wanna go
I wanna be a part of something I don’t know
And if you try to hold me back I might explode
Baby by now you should know

[Chorus]

I’m not a trick you play, I ride a different way
I’m not a mistake, I’m not a fake, It’s set in my DNA
Don’t change me (x4)
(I can’t be tamed)

I wanna fly I wanna drive I wanna go
I wanna be a part of something I don’t know
And if you try to hold me back I might explode
Baby by now you should know

[Chorus]

The song is, as Ms. Cyrus would herself say, "bull; that's crap." It's just a bunch of words stuck together. She can't be tamed, and yet, she's looking for a boyfriend ("if you're gonna be my man")?

She also implies that she is a gold-digger ("I go through guys like money flyin’ out their hands"), but then insists that she's not "a trick you play," and that she's "not a fake." In fact, the entire song appears to be about a young woman who is looking for someone to finance her expensive lifestyle ("I wanna fly, I wanna drive, I wanna go;" I assume she doesn't wanna fly in a cheap airplane, or drive in a Pinto, or go in a bathroom without a gold-plated bidet).

"I'll tell ya I'm not here to sell ya?" I know you're not "here" to sell me. You're selling yourself. Actually, your handlers are selling you. That is the entire point of the song and video.

But what gives the entire proceeding an air of pathos is the singer's (is it really Ms. Cyrus? the voice is so worked-over and filtered that it could be anyone-- hell, it could be me) insistence that she "can't be changed," and the later, much more desperate chanting of "don't change me, don't change me," over and over again.

It sounds a bit like a plea, doesn't it? And so ironic from a little girl looking to shed her previous child-star persona for a more "grown-up" one. As E! says in the story accompanying the video,

The smoky eyes, striking costumes and racy dancing all let us know she's moved beyond "Party in the U.S.A,," but we're not complaining.
Ah, but E!, if you're not complaining then you haven't actually listened to the song, have you? Because it's bad enough, with its schizophrenic lyrics and manufactured music, yet what it says about us as a culture is even worse.

This is controversial?





Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Quote of the Day-- and, Is It Extortion?

The quote of the day comes from actor David Boreanaz, one of the stars of a show called "Bones," that I confess I have never seen, and "Angel" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," which I confess I have seen.

(Full disclosure: I used to be attracted to a woman who wanted to have an affair with him, back in his "Angel" days, and actually dated a woman who wouldn't have turned him away if he'd asked her, but wasn't obsessed the way the other woman was.)

The actor has recently confessed to having an affair (a single affair, which is pretty quaint in the age of Tiger Woods and Jesse James), and had this to say about the situation, to People magazine:

"I was associated with a woman who I was involved with and had a relationship with," he says. "She asked for money. I felt as though I was being blackmailed or there was some sort of extortion."
I have read that quote far too many times, and wasted too many precious seconds of my life trying to figure out what it's supposed to mean. I still cannot. Oh, I get the part about the money/blackmail/extortion (and I do actually like that he says I felt as though I was being blackmailed, and not I was being blackmailed. can't be sued now for slander!) The part that gets me is the first part-- He was associated with a woman, he was involved with her, and he had a relationship with her.

Wha--?

Why does he phrase it like that. It's pretty clear from his "I felt I was being blackmailed" bit that this statement was carefully parsed. So what is the point of saying associated-involved-relationship.

Anyway, because it's so far advanced from my understanding, I am making it my quote of the day.

As for the question of extortion or blackmail, well, as TMZ reported,
TMZ knows what went down. We're told Boreanaz had a short-term relationship with the woman -- one source says they hooked up "2 or 3 times." Sources say he started paying her money -- several thousand dollars here and there -- but she began demanding more, threatening to go public with the affair. Boreanaz then confessed the affair to Jaime Bergman, his wife of 9 years.

Enter Gloria Allred, who reps the mistress. Allred contacted Boreanaz' lawyer -- legal pit bull Marty Singer -- and demanded 6 figures.

Boreanaz then blunted the attack by going public with his affair. He has refused to pay the mistress another cent.
That sounds like a blackmail attempt to me, what with the apparently threatening to reveal embarrassing information about someone if they do not (continue to) pay you money. But wait! Now TMZ reports,
Allred claims Boreanaz's lawyer -- legal pit bull Marty Singer -- tried contacting the mistress and only then did Allred get involved. Allred says, "We discussed the possible resolution of my client's legal claims against Mr. Boreanaz by mediation." Allred does not say what legal claims the mistress had.

But Singer was more than willing to tell TMZ about Allred's legal claim. He says Allred's claim was that Boreanaz had promised the mistress that she was "exclusive," even though she knew he was married.

As we first reported, the woman had a very short-term liaison with Boreanaz -- 2 or 3 times -- he paid her money but she allegedly kept demanding more, and then threatened to go to the media unless he upped the ante. Boreanaz told the story publicly yesterday, and shut down Allred's claim.

Now Allred says, "My client has not told her story to the press, but now that Mr. Boreanaz is attacking her she has decided to tell the story of their relationship, so that the truth will come out."
I'm not sure how Mr. Boreanaz is supposed to be "attacking" this woman since, as People pointed out, he refuses to name her. His statement just says that he was associated with her, involved with her, and had a relationship with her.

Maybe in lawyer talk that's considered an attack; if so, I just don't get it.

Also, as TMZ points out, Allred doesn't mention what her client's "legal claims" might be. Maybe he signed a contract offering her money or gifts in exchange for services. But that's illegal.

This story is beyond me.

Doesn't it get tiresome when someone points out that a man is crazy to cheat on his wife when she's so beautiful? I mean, really, that is the most tired observation ever. But I really have to wonder why a man would cheat on a woman like that. She is gor-GEOUS!

Pic source.

Monday, May 3, 2010

No, A Man Did Not Die After an Eel was Inserted in His Rectum.

Despite the provocative headline in the Huffington Post, I am thoroughly unconvinced that a man in China has died after having an eel shoved up his rectum.

A Chinese man has died after an eel was inserted in rectum by friends as, reports claim, a joke.

Doctors in Sichaun, China, apparently found the creature, a 50cm Asian swamp eel, in the 59-year-old man's rectum after he had died from internal bleeding.

Yeah, and he also died from playing video games for 72 hours straight, and from an exploding cell phone battery, and from watching "Avatar," and he was murdered by lesbians in a town in Sweden where no men are allowed, and he lost his hearing from kissing too long.

I don't believe it. Every so often there is a strange, unverifiable story from China, or another country in the far east, it gets reported by some source, somewhere, and then it gets picked up by hundreds of other sources that just quote each other, and don't do anything to try to verify it.

Follow the link on the Huffington Post story. It takes you here. You get a hyperlink at the top of the story, under the word "Eew." Clicking on said hyperlink gives you an alert that the url is invalid and cannot be loaded. Then there is a block quote containing the following (presumably obtained from the mystery "invalid" link:
A man has died after an eel that was inserted into his rectum gnawed away at his bowels, causing agonising injuries which were eventually fatal.

The 59-year-old man, a chef, was reportedly taken to a Sichuan hospital complaining of abdominal pain, dehydration and a great deal of anal bleeding. He was soon diagnosed as being in a severe state of shock.

Doctors were mystified as to the cause, and obtained permission from his family to undertake an exploratory laparotomy. Cutting open his innards, they discovered a 50cm long Asian swamp eel lodged in his rectum.

Though dead, the eel had apparently already wrought havoc on his innards, biting its way through his intestines prior to dying. Internal bleeding and infection rapidly set in.

He was reported to have eaten a lot of eel the previous day, but otherwise doctors had no idea how the creature had got there. His condition quickly worsened.

He lingered for 10 days in intensive care but eventually succumbed to the injuries and sepsis.

The likely cause was eventually established - he had apparently been drinking with friends, and had passed out. His friends had decided it would be amusing to insert a live eel into his anus whilst he was comatose.

Police have reportedly begun an investigation.

You'll note the story has no real facts. No names, no places; just a "59 year-old chef" taken to a "Sichuan hospital"-- this is typical of these stories. There's nothing that's in any way verifiable. Just some truly horrific or bizarre story that's too good not to pass along, even if it's not true.

Following this block quote, the author of the posting avers,
And this really isn't a joke. Here's the report by the China News Agency, via Sichuan Online. You can't make this shit up.
The link takes you to a Chinese language website. I can't read Chinese so I have no idea what that page says.

But it doesn't matter. Chinese "news" agencies are notorious for their inaccuracy. I have already covered this ground extensively.

They all follow the same pattern. Some outrageous story is reported by a "news" source in a far eastern country. Some credulous western "news" outlet picks it up without bothering to do anything to try to verify it. Then it gets linked by thousands of other sources, often with some snarky comments, and finally ends up on some big credulous aggregator, like the Huffington Post, and then is "retweeted" by thousands of other credulous people.

If only people would exercise a little critical thinking-- they'd save themselves some time and embarrassment. You're being played!

How many times must I say this??? A man didn't die when an eel was inserted in his rectum!

Poor Christina Aguilera. She's Not Herself Tonight, and No One Cares.

Did you hear the big news?

What big news?

The big news that Christina Aguilera had a brand-new music video debut on Friday!

Uh. No, I didn't.

Well, it was supposed to be a big deal. Just Jared was atingle with anticipation over all the sure-to-occur "controversy" on the 27th of April.

Christina Aguilera is sure to spark some controversy with her new music video, “Not Myself Tonight.”

Set inside a church, the 29-year-old singer dances away in some lingerie and other skimpy outfits while surrounded by a few shirtless muscular male dancers. Watch the ten-second teaser below!

Christina Aguilera, looking for controversy.

Yes, there was a "teaser" for this "controversial" video. Here it is:



And of course all weekend, it's all anyone could talk about. Did you see that sexy Christina Aguilera video? What-- you didn't? How could you miss it? It was all over-- well, anyway, here it is (NSFW-- because it's so, you know, edgy):



Sexy dancing in church! PVC fetish attire! That is edgy. I mean, it was edgy. Back in maybe 1986.

She is trying too hard. Ms. Aguilera has always been in someone else's shadow. Her song "Genie in a Bottle" came almost a year after Britney Spears's "Baby One More Time," and it felt downright tame by comparison. The line "I'm a genie in a bottle, you gotta rub me the right way" sounded, well, artificial and strained in context. It didn't help that whoever was designing her "look" didn't exactly have his/her finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Check her out in the video:



She looks like a typical teenaged girl. She probably even used her own clothes for that video. I bet she picked the locations. "I'd like to sing at the beach! Or at a cool beach house! That would be, like, so cool!" Now check out the video for "Baby One More Time":



Ms. Spears looks like a dirty old man fantasy. Naughty schoolgirl with wide, innocent eyes. Dancing in a school hallway with other naughty schoolgirls. A dirty old man created her look. A dirty old man dressed her. A dirty old man chose the location.

Dirty old men run the world.

Both Ms. Aguilera's and Ms. Spears's handlers attempted to sexualize teenage girls. Ms. Spears's handlers exhibited significantly less shame. Ms. Aguilera's people gave her the song, the much dirtier song lyrically, but they pulled back in the video.

Ms. Aguilera hasn't recovered. She's always been in someone's shadow. Ms. Spears, usually. Remember when Britney Spears kissed Madonna on stage at the MTV video music awards? That was all over the news at the time. It's still fondly remembered today.
Madonna and Britney Spears' infamous smooch at the MTV Video Music Awards has been voted the top kiss of the decade.

The two superstars made headlines around the world after they puckered up at the annual ceremony in 2003, and U.K. department store Selfridges has branded the kiss the most iconic of the 2000s.
There's just one problem with that, and it's illustrated by the photo that accompanies the article:


That's right. Christina Aguilera was part of that Madonna-Britney Spears performance. She even got a kiss from Madonna. But no one remembers that. All anyone was talking about was Madonna kissing Britney.

Christina might as well not have been there.

And today, it's Lady GaGa. Back in March, she released a video for a song called "Telephone." You probably heard about that. It was a sensation.
When was the last time a pop video became a global talking point? Lady GaGa’s all-singing, all-dancing, lesbian-prison-sex and mass-murder promo for Telephone has stirred up the kind of pop sensation not seen for a decade or more. It has featured on television news bulletins and the front pages of newspapers, as well as predictably tearing through the internet, breaking records on YouTube, trending on Twitter and inspiring frame-by-frame analysis and vigorous pro and anti blog commentary.

The video was ubiquitous for awhile. Here it is:


It got a couple of reactionary writers over at the Huffington Post absolutely batsh*t livid about what it was doing to-- well, the children, of course:
With all the press it's getting, Lady Gaga's latest video offering ("Telephone") hardly needs elaboration here: Naked girl-on-girl-in-prison soft porn sprinkled with violence, a mass murder fantasy and, of course, ample product placement. Ms. Gaga manages to foist it on our kids in the name of "art" with the tacit approval of culture critics who apparently fear political incorrectness if they go against the trend.

Lady Gaga may be a talented singer and pianist, but when she makes the jump from wild theatrics and sexually-charged lyrics to releasing a video soaked in sexploitation--the complete reification of women as sexual objects in accordance with pornographic stereotypes that the women's movement thought it had put to rest 30 years ago--doesn't someone have to stand up to the Gaga juggernaut and ask if this is really art or rather vulgar media manipulation in the service of selling her product?

Who decreed that the highest bidder (read: the product sponsors who pay for such videos and media moguls who stand to profit) should be allowed to impose violent sexual conditioning on our kids? (To argue that it's intended as adult fare is to ignore that kids are a significant chunk of her audience--and any parent of a 12-17 year old who pretends they can censor what their kids watch on YouTube is living in a dream world.)
Christina Augilera was hoping against hope for that kind of reaction. Instead, she's gotten, well, eh. She's talking to Access Hollywood about how she's "not a cookie-cutter soccer mom."
“Mama still has to be me,” the singer told Access Hollywood’s Shaun Robinson in an exclusive visit to the set of the “Not Myself Tonight” music video. “I never claimed to be a cookie-cutter soccer mom. That’s all good for some people. Not for me.”
Wait a second. That doesn't sound edgy at all. In fact, that sounds like the opposite of edgy. It's certainly the opposite of the sentiment expressed in the "Not Myself Tonight" video. You know, the line where Ms. Aguilera states, quite plainly, "The old me's gone I feel brand new and if you don't like it f*ck you."

That line encapsulates the problem, actually. It's not that people don't like it. It's that they just don't care. Which is far worse. Even her fans are losing interest.
Christina Aguilera is bringing dirty back with the video for her new single, 'Not Myself Tonight,' ditching the motherly, good-girl image she cultivated following her raunchy buttless chaps days. Christina sings that she's "not the same girl" ... and maybe she isn't, because despite our longtime love for her -- and her videos -- we can't help but feel like we're looking at an over-sexed stunt when really all we want is our gorgeous, sultry Christina back. Or, in more song-appropriate terminology, we want Christina, not X-Tina.
X-Tina is what Ms. Aguilera once called herself, back when she was dirty. Or dirtier. Her "buttless chaps" days:


She is an attractive looking woman. I mean, I really think she's hot. Fantastically hot. That's probably the main reason I watched the new video. Actually, to be honest, I didn't watch it all the way through. I got bored. It's not aimed at me, of course-- I mean, I got excited over Joan Armatrading's new album, for crying out loud-- but I do listen to new stuff. I like some of Lady GaGa. I like M.I.A. Sometimes I'll hear something that the kids consider "hep," and I'll stop listening to Ms. Armatrading, or Warren Zevon, or Steely Dan, or Kirsty MacColl, or Richard Thompson long enough to at least give it a try.

But "Not Myself Tonight" barely even registers as a song. It certainly has the elements of a song. There is sound that fits the broadest definition of "music," and there are some words that form "lyrics," but other than that... Eh. I have no emotional connection to the song. It means less than nothing to me, and I truly get the impression that it means less than nothing to Ms. Aguilera.

She sings "f*ck you" in the song, but then says “I never claimed to be a cookie-cutter soccer mom. That’s all good for some people. Not for me" to Access Hollywood.

It's almost as if someone told her, now that she has a child, she has to be "defiant," and "edgy." And then came up with a concept for a music video. Then wrote her a song and presented it to her five minutes before she sang it.

But even now, Ms. Aguilera is being upstaged. It's been a month and half since Lady GaGa's "Telephone" video. She, and the record label, probably thought they had a nice big window in which to introduce their own bit of "controversy." But then, some soldiers in Afghanistan decided to do their own version of "Telephone."
In what may be the most entertaining music video homage ever shot in a war zone, a group of American soldiers stationed at a military base in southwest Afghanistan star in a lip-synced version of Lady Gaga's hit "Telephone." The video, which yesterday began to spread online, was filmed recently inside what appears to be a garage at the Forward Operating Base in Farah Province. Posted to YouTube a week ago, the 3:45 production--complete with props, signs, and costumes--features an all-male cast from the 82nd Airborne Division.
Again, Christina Aguilera would probably give just about anything to get the kind of publicity that the American soldiers have gotten.



Another problem for Ms. Aguilera? The soldiers in Afghanistan made a far better, far more insightful, clever, and ironic video than she did. It even tops the original Lady GaGa version.

Ms. Aguilera was attempting to make a bold statement about empowerment, I suppose. What she did felt like a tired publicity grab. What the soldiers in Afghanistan did was effortless, by juxtaposing the frivolity of popular culture against war in the Middle East, they've made the far bolder statement.

Poor Christina Aguilera. It's not that we don't like you, we're just at a par-tay.

Buttless chaps pic source.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Obama Cheating Scandal!

The National Enquirer is reporting, in a piece entitled OBAMA CHEATING SCANDAL: SHOCKING NEW REPORTS, that... um, well, I can't really tell exactly what they're reporting.

UPDATED: Reports out of Washington, DC: PRESIDENT OBAMA in a shocking cheating scandal after being caught in a Washington, DC Hotel with a former campaign aide.
Okay, that sounds pretty damning, and they've gotten my attention with that attention-getting opener. So what have they got?
A confidential investigation has learned that Obama first became close to gorgeous 35 year-old VERA BAKER in 2004 when she worked tirelessly to get him elected to the US Senate, raising millions in campaign contributions.
A politician and a campaign worker have an affair. Not exactly unprecedented. But this is the sitting president we're talking about. So, what have they got?
While Baker has insisted in the past that "nothing happened" between them, reports reveal that top anti-Obama operatives are offering more than $1 million to witnesses to reveal what they know about the alleged hush-hush affair.
That's what they've got? "Top anti-Obama operatives are offering more than $1 million" for information about an affair that might have happened in 2004? That's what the reports are about?

That "anti-Obama operatives" are trying to find out if Barack Obama, a politician, had an affair with a campaign worker? That's what their "reports reveal"? For crying out loud, politicians have affairs with campaign workers. Because, you know, they spend so much time together, and the politicians are just so caring and they just don't get to spend as much time with their families and they need to feel that connection and one thing leads to another and it's just so beautiful, you know. Because they care so much. That's why they're in politics, and that's why you're working so hard to help him raise money.

The real story would be if a politician didn't sleep with a campaign worker.

I expect more from the Enquirer. They're the outlet that broke the John Edwards cheating story, when the "legitimate" news organizations were ignoring it. So I ask again, Enquirer, what have you got?
Among those being offered money is a limo driver who says in 2004 that he took Vera to a secret hotel rendezvous in where Obama was staying.

An ENQUIRER reporter has confirmed the limo driver's account of the secret 2004 rendezvous.
Okay. So the Enquirer has something. They confirmed the story of a limo driver who took said campaign worker to a "secret rendezvous" with the politician in question.

But, I need to ask again because that seems pretty flimsy-- what else have you got?
DEVELOPING STORY
What does that mean, "Developing story"? That you've got more to come? That you're working on the story and you hope something pans out? You've got another lead besides the limo driver?

I'll say this for the Enquirer, they illustrated their big shocking story with a photo of an appropriately sheepish-looking president looking, well, nonplussed.


He looks genuinely stumped in this picture. But what's Vera Baker, the alleged mistress, look like? A google image search reveals--

--not a lot, actually. I did manage to find a website that claims to have a picture of her:


Well, she certainly is an attractive campaign worker. And Mr. Obama is a politician. And the Enquirer was right about Edwards.

However, it's too early to state with certainty that Mr. Obama, a politician, had an affair with Ms. Baker, an attractive campaign worker. Even though that's what politicians do, and the Enquirer was right about this in the past. So I will not state that Mr. Obama had an affair with Vera Baker, his campaign worker. That wouldn't be fair.

It's a developing story. So develop it, Enquirer!

Captain America Masturbates in the Shower

Ever wonder what superheroes do on their time off? Tales of Suspense number 82, cover dated October 1966 (reprinted in Essential Captain America Vol. 1, gives us the answer, at least for Captain America. He hangs out in the Avengers mansion, looking over old photographs of himself from World War II. Then he has some tea, provided by the Avengers' butler, Jarvis.

You'll note that Captain America is hanging out in full costume. Why must he be wearing his super suit when all he's doing is looking through old scrapbooks and drinking tea?

Answer: He is a superhero. He is always "on duty."

Anyway, it's the third panel that gives us our most revealing glimpse into the mind of the super hero. Captain America is so bold, so powerful, so downright goshdarnit honest that he tells Jarvis exactly what are his plans.

I'm going to go masturbate in the shower.

He's a little more subtle than that, but not much. I'll just take a shower-- single-handed. The emphasis on the word "shower" is telling. It's the verbal equivalent of a wink at Jarvis. You know what I mean by shower, Jarvis. And just in case you don't, I'll throw in the totally superfluous line about doing it "single-handed."

I'm not judging Captain America; he's a superhero and he probably has a hard time building romantic relationships. There is a limited pool of super women from which to draw, and if a superhero mates with a "normal" woman, well, as Larry Niven famously postulated in "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex," the results could be disastrous for the woman. And of course, we all masturbate in the shower. But do we announce it to the butler before we trudge off wearily to do it?

That's just part of what makes Captain America one of our greatest heroes. He gets bored, he goes to masturbate. And he's secure enough to tell whoever happens to be around.

I'm going to masturbate in the shower.

Excelsior, Captain America!