Archive for November, 2009

30
Nov
09

Fun with Search Terms!

One of the neat features of WordPress is the Blog Stats tab, which gives you the search terms that people were using that brought them to your blog.

Here are some of my more interesting ones.

“violence captain planet”
“dilophosaurus mask”
“prehistoric bass”
“dinosaur saddle”

The absolute best one was “megaloceros zombie deer”. This person needs to be a contributing writer.

The most worrisome of all, was “naked children movie” Eww. Well, Mr. or Ms. Pedophile, I hope that my homespun amusements temporarily swayed you from your predatory, sociopathic behavior for at least a little while.

28
Nov
09

Missouri WildLife with Kaje: This Goofy Orange Spider I Found

I was out walking my dog Friday afternoon when I came across this fine specimen of spideryness. The first thing I noticed was that it was orange, and I mean really freaking orange. I thought that some careless government stooge had coated the poor thing with spraypaint; that’s how orange it was. It also had black and white bars on its legs, like it wandered off a Tim Burton set.

My sources say that this is a color phase of either a Shamrock Orb Weaver or a Marbled Orb Weaver. To cover my bases I will simply refer to it as the Goofy Orange Spider. (Arachnus Orangagoofinus)

Due to my inability to pinpoint her exact species, I will stick with observations that cover not only Goofy Orange Spiders, but spiders in general.

  1. Rule of thumb: In spiders, the bigger individuals are usually the females. My Goofy Orange Spider was about the size of a wolf spider, so I can say with certainty that she was a female.
  2. Do you ever want to rid yourself of your arachnophobia, get a quick rush of adrenaline, or just make people think that you’re brave? Might I recommend the art of Spider-Butt Poking? All you need is a finger, and a good-sized spider in a web. The game is simple: lightly poke the spider in the butt. It really sinks home the notion that spiders are more scared of you than you are of them. You’ll jump the first time you do it, since the spider will react quickly, but all s/he’ll do is retreat to a safer spot away from your amorous digits. Once you get used to that, you will feel like a total beastmaster. Hotties will follow. (Also! Don’t do it to an individual spider more than once! It’ll stress them out. They have enough problems without multiple gropings from a pervert thousands of times their size.)
  3. You may have heard that spiders are complete loners. This is a lie; there are some spiders that live in communal webs. Back in 2007 there was a huge nest in Texas’ Lake Tawakoni State Park that made the news. 200 yards of spiders, strewn above you in the trees. Sweet dreams.
  4. You’ve probably figured that spiders respin their webs every day, but did you know that some spiders eat their old webs first? Now you know. Amaze your friends.
  5. The biggest spider in the world is the Goliath Bird-Eater Tarantula (Therephosa blondi). The name’s not an exaggeration;  it’s not common but it happens. My friend had a smallish one for a pet, and it was about the size of a cereal bowl.
  6. A good way to make your friends think you’re an uncreative bore is to name a spider Charlotte. Ha ha ha that’s a reference to Charlotte’s Web you’re so clever ha ha ha. If I ever get a spider I’m going to name it Damocles and dangle it over people’s heads.
  7. Some spider myths that need to be debunked: Daddy Long Legs are not venomous to people, and they’re not even spiders (they’re related though). Spiders do not lay eggs in your brain or any other part of your body. Finally, there’s really no way to tell how many spiders the average person swallows in their sleep; but it’s probably none.

I hope you know more about spiders than you did before. If you already knew all this junk, please email me and tell me what the heck this Goofy Orange Spider is.

26
Nov
09

It’s the Most Doorbusterful Time of the Year

This week we celebrate one of our most cherished holidays; that one day in November that celebrates American values and times of plenty.

Of course, I’m talking about Black Friday. What? Was something else going on this week?

I’m kind of exaggerating, but kind of not. Black Friday is, or is on its way to becoming, a holiday in its own right. One thing I noticed this year was all the press it was getting. It’s on the cover of our very own Your Home, it gets a segment on every evening news show. The hype is quickly catching up to that of Thanksgiving’s, and who’s to say that they won’t one day be on equal footing?

Can we perhaps reverse the trend and buck our habits of mindless consumerism? Ha, yeah right.
Now, I’m not one of those Neo-Luddites who are always chomping at the bit to bemoan modern society’s constant tide of change in newspaper editorials. Instead, I’m here to help ease the transition and perhaps have a hand in shaping new traditions. Here are my suggestions regarding Black Friday.

1.    Does Black Friday seems completely unpalatable to you now because of the materialism, zombie like behavior, and needless injuries/deaths? Here’s a suggestion: think of it as America’s very own Running of the Bulls.
(Fun fact: Everyone expresses disdain for Spain’s Running of the Bulls, yet secretly wishes to participate. True fact.)
If you’re an anti-consumerist type, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! No buying is required: all you have to do is show up to a door buster and avoid getting trampled. And you won’t feel as disappointed in your fellow man if you choose to view them as crazed herd animals!

2. Here’s an idea that’s similar to the previous, only a million times better: instead of bulls, view the shoppers as zombies. Hmmm…does anyone else smell a LARP opportunity? “This Friday will be the BLACKEST Friday of all!”

3. Write some Black Friday carols. All we have now is “Run, Run, Rudolph” and the Russian Dance from the Nutcracker. Carols are tedious and repetitious enough, but when you only have two? Shudder. This must be rectified.

4. Here’s a great witch hunt opportunity, which I know you all will appreciate. Know someone who does all their shopping online? They’re declaring War on Black Friday! Bully them, and bully businesses and government agencies into refusing to comply with their wishes. Fun!

5. Finally, don’t forget the poor retail employees embroiled in this mess! Leave a tip. Buy a little gift (preferably an item from another store, which the clerk’s store doesn’t carry, to prevent snafus) and give it to the clark as a token of appreciation. Have a pharmaceutical drive for all their wracked nerves and physical wear- “Care for Clerkz”. If you see a customer treating an employee like dung, tell them to knock it off. At the very least, be pleasant and say “thank you.”

I hope you keep these suggestions in mind as you finally allow Black Friday to weasel its way in your heart. Good luck, and may your Friday be blacker than night!

23
Nov
09

Joplin Globe Madness: The Hepcat Speaks

This letter made me laugh at first, but now I find it sad. Let’s break it down.

C/o Diane DiMassa

c/o Diane DiMassa. If I ever get a tattoo, it's going to be this panel. I love it so much.

Square? Another of the good old words has gone the way of love, modesty, and patriotism. Something to be snickered over, or outright laughed at. I remember it used to be that there was no higher compliment you could pay a man than to call him a “square shooter.”

We’re not laughing at “square” because we find squares laughable. Well, we do, but that’s not the main reason. We laugh at “square” because absolutely no one uses it anymore. I mean, I had a post were I was grasping for synonyms for boring old coots, and I never even thought of using “square.”  If you use a word like “square” to describe yourself, you are probably beyond “square” and need either professional help or a time portal to the 1940’s.

Also, there’s two usages of “square” here. “Square” as in “square shooter” means “fair”, and is still in use. But that’s not the usage of “square” he’s writing about, he’s talking about the archaic slang for “conventional person”. Actually, that’s not true either. Judging by the next two paragraphs, Lytlle’s “square” is a teabagger under the delusion that he and his are the only moral people in the nation. They’re also really boring, which has been established as a moral value.

Best part–he criticizes government spending, and then sings praises for libraries three sentences later.

A square is a guy who lives within his means, whether the Joneses do or not, and thinks his “Uncle Sam” should do it, too. He doesn’t want to “fly now and pay later.” A square is likely to save some of his own money for a rainy day, rather than count on using yours. A square gets his books out of the library instead of the drugstore.

“So are you a completely unremarkable, unthinking person with obnoxious politics that allows more people to walk over you than the carpet at PayLess? Don’t do anything to improve your situation–you should be proud!”  That’s what I find sad. This is just one beat in the constant patterning of drums in Southwest Missouri. “Join us…conform….don’t think…don’t strive…don’t complain or question…be proud…don’t rock the boat…,” etc.  Luckily for us, Lyttle’s definition of “square” is strict enough that most of us don’t apply. I live within my means and love my parents, but I don’t suck up to Sky Santa. Hopefully that’s enough to bar me out of square status. What if you’re a hard-working, God-fearing family man who actually knows how a library is funded? Sorry, dude. Maybe you can achieve dead hoofer status, but that’s it.

You know what I what to see? A letter praising people’s individuality and ability to buck the status quo. Maybe I’m just the rug-cutter to do it.

EDIT: For some reason this letter has disappeared. Maybe it was supposed to run tomorrow.

EDIT AGAIN: According to Scott, it turns out the letter was remove because it was plagiarized. Squares are thieves? Who knew?

23
Nov
09

A Day in the Life of a Heartless Automaton

“Name one person who acts solely on science”.

-Yours Truly

If “faith is crap” I suppose you do thus you scare me.

-Anson Burlingame

I understand you mushy-brained silly apes with your “feelings” and your “emotions” could benefit from some raw data. With this in mind I provide an account of my Saturday. I hope you won’t find it too terrifying.

I woke up at 7:00 to my cell phone alarm. It was the theme from MTV’s “Aeon Flux.” Since there are only two spheres of human endeavor, Faith and Science, changing one’s ringtone to a cartoon theme must surely be an act committed by someone of faith. It certainly wasn’t me who put this art on my phone. There must have been an intruder. I made a note to increase the voltage on all the windows.

I was greeted by Miss Millie, the cat I was watching while the owners were away. I lit up when I saw her.

“Oh joy—an experiment.”

I hope they don’t mind that their Tortoiseshell Manx is now a Sphynx. Anyway, I couldn’t dilly-dally. Today Skepticon II was being held in Springfield. Other heartless shells were going to conspire and give each other light headbutts in camaraderie. (Headbutts are like handshakes for empiricists. Works on goats, too.)

When I arrived, I simply followed the screams of the townsfolk to the right building and was greeted by other atheists and assorted ne’er-do-wells. Their emotionless faces and solemn scrutinizing could easily be mistaken for smiles and laughter by the unscientific mind. Do not be fooled by the inflatable pirate swords and the cute hipster girls one sees at this event. It’s a den of joylessness and death. The facade of emotions are kept up to lure in prey. More people sucked in means more acquaintances who could go on vacation, which means more opportunities for cat-sitting which means more experiments.

After the first speech I had to excuse myself, for there was a friend in Springfield I wanted to touch base with. Did I say “friend?” I meant acquaintance. I HAVE NO NEED FOR LOVE.

Anyway, we met up and ate at Applebee’s. She trembled in fear as I diagrammed my BBQ Riblets (my hypothesis? Delicious.) Sputtering things similar to friendly conversation, she was so terrified that we went to her apartment and watched Home Alone.

“Heh heh…they mistook the neighbor for their kid,” I noted empirically. My friend’s cat jumped on my lap.

“Oooh…another experiment.”

I wondered what would happen if I stroked the specimen’s back in a repetitive manner. I was so embroiled in the experiment that I didn’t even notice the passage of time.

“OH CRAP! I MISSED LIKE THREE SPEECHES! I GOTTA GO!,” I said coolly.

My friend dropped me off right after one guy finished his speech. I forget his numerical code, but his human name is Joe Nickell. I went up to offer my arguments as to why he shouldn’t have me ground up into delicious nutrients.

“OMIGAWD I WANTED TO SEE YOU SPEAK SO BAD AND I TOTALLY MISSED IT!”, I remarked dryly.

This towering behemoth of the empty husks that is us, he did the most logical thing. He cheered me up with a magic trick and gave me a souvenir to make up for it. My facial muscles twitched upward, I made a noise similar to that of a pre-adult human female. Is this what you readers call…happiness? I must make notes and research this phenomenon further.

There were other horrors to inflict- an impromptu poetry slam, squids, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, dinner at Chili’s- but I had to head home. I could terrorize the pitiful sheep of this world on my own turf.

I also had to check on my experiments.

*I may be a being of pure logic, but I was still too stupid to take any photos of the event. So here’s the youtube video of last year’s Skepticon, and they’re going to upload this year’s event there soon.
14
Nov
09

An Open Letter to Ironic Hipster Movie-Goers.

Dear Ironic Hipster Movie Goers:

Please stop patronizing horrible, big budget theatrical movies on purpose.

I say this to you as a fan of both genuinely good movies, and so-bad-it’s-good movies as well. I have almost every Mystery Science Theater box set that’s been released. I bemoaned the Bad Girls Go To Hell team getting kicked out of Picher. I just wrote a post on how Tank Girl sparked a political revelation, for chrissakes.

But when you post on Facebook about how excited you are to see 2012 or whatever bastardization Uwe Boll has crapped out, my heart atrophies a little and I pray for superflu. Because these big Hollywood movies aren’t so-bad-they’re-good. They’re just bad.

Remember when Snakes on a Plane came out? It was a sure winner– Snakes on a Plane! Samuel L. Jackson! SNAKES ON A MUTHA (fornicating) PLANE! You bought the t-shirt, and lined up opening day. A few hours later and you realized you’d been had, duped, played for a patsy into paying nearly ten dollars for a one-liner and little else. I feel your pain. I know because I’ve been there. But really, we brought it upon ourselves.

Hollywood executives have caught on, and they’re making bad movies on purpose. As you know, there are few things less funny than intentional campiness. And there are few things dumber than us ironic hipsters, so these movies will still bring us in before they realize that they’re being manipulated.

You know how much these movies cost to make? 10,000 B.C.cost $105 million. All that for mammoths building the pyramids. I can get the same thing from the Sci-Fi (I refuse to call it SyFy) channel, and those cost a mere fraction of that. Think what could have been done with 10,000 B.C.’s budget?

My advice? Wait for these movies to show up on cable. See a low-budget cheesefest- they’ll get it right more often. Or hit Netflix. Or save up your money so you can make your own movie.

Just please don’t send Michael Bay any more money.

Yours,

Johnny Kaje

10
Nov
09

It Starts with an “M” and Rhymes with “Isogyny”

We had another “oh woe when will the violence end?” article in the Globe yesterday, courtesy of Mankato’s The Free Press. Hadn’t seen one of those in a while, and usually not about rapes. Like most “oh woe when will the violence end” articles, this one was devoid of any serious investigation or facts. We just got one paragraph of “experts say…”; the definition of “experts” being expanded to include “any random yahoo on the street with an axe to grind.”

“Why does this happen? Experts blame popular music and violent video games, an absence of religious faith, a world where young people are ruled by technology and blur the lines of what’s real and what isn’t.”

When the piece finally does scratch up a diamond, it kicks it aside to continue its frenzied efforts. “Hurry! We must scratch up as much as we can before anyone notices we’re not really digging for anything!”

“A television report in the aftermath of the homecoming dance rape continues to haunt. In it, a teenage girl from the school tells a reporter that girls her age are considered nothing more than “meat” by many of the boys. They are not persons, she said in an emotionless, matter-of-fact statement.”

There. That’s probably one of the keys you’re looking for.

You could have a son who listens to death metal, plays Resident Evil games, and is an unrepentant atheist. But if you teach him that women are people, that they aren’t your property, that any sex the woman can’t consent to is rape, and hold him to non-sexist standards, guess what? Bystander effect notwithstanding, his chances of being involved in a vicious gang rape are probably going to plummet.

Remember George Sodini? He was the guy who shot up a women’s fitness center back in August. He did this because he thought he was entitled to women, and was filled with rage when they weren’t willing to ignore the fact that he was a psycho.

This isn’t a coincidence. Ask an actual expert (like this one on school shooters) and they’ll tell you that anxious masculinity (that’s the insecure kind that obsesses over guns and puts TruckNutz on their Dodge Rams) and misogyny are key components of all gang rapists, and most rampage and serial killers.

So women are being raped, shot at, and otherwise viciously murdered and abused by certain entitled dudes. Is any of it sinking in to the public at large? Let’s look at the Globe comments!

Little Bo Peep writes:
Johnny needs a “time out.” Read Dr. Spock. Follow the “liberal’s” ideas of child rearing. Send moms to “careers” in the work force and have someone else raise their kids. Moms need to “experience their full potential.” That is why kids are the way they are today and it ain’t gonna change; it’s gonna get worse.

This person could go to church every Sunday* and never play video games. But he or she’s got that key component—misogyny—that makes gang rapists and rampage killers.

I have a feeling Scary Evil Feminist Career Mom’s kids are less likely to be one.

*I’d argue that unthinking investment in a patriarchal religion/culture actually makes you more likely than a freethinker to be a viscous gang rapist, but whatevs.



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