Archive for Bogus History

Lightness of a sort

Tentative artwork for their first major-label album, Punching Bozo:

Fake album cover for Biogas Jackrabbit

(Suggested by Tamara K. Photo was cropped from this original by Michael Dorausch.)

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Why is this month different from all other months?

By now you’ve seen this, probably stuck into your Facebook feed:

Claims about August 2014

Ancient Chinese secret, eh? I’ll have you know I’ve lived through half a dozen of these already, and I may well be around for another one in 2025.

You don’t have to believe me. But Cameron Miquelon has done the heavy lifting already.

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Does whatever he does

This, I think, was inevitable:

Similarly, Woody Allen in Without Feathers:

The great roe is a mythological beast with the head of a lion and the body of a lion, though not the same lion.

No doubt other semi-hybrid creatures exist, or can be presumed to exist.

Addendum: No way I could pass this up:

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To say the yeast

It didn’t happen this way, of course, but it’s wholly consistent with human nature:

Sometime after beer was invented, somebody figured out that just boiling water was enough to make it safe to drink, you didn’t actually have to make beer out of it. Since people no longer needed to start the day with a tankard of ale, productivity went way up. This was the start of the industrial revolution.

Things have been going downhill ever since.

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Man, that’s deep

It is a measure of something, I am sure, that if you Google “deepak chopra quotes” you’ll definitely see this generator, which explains itself thusly:

It has been said by some that the thoughts and tweets of Deepak Chopra are indistinguishable from a set of profound sounding words put together in a random order, particularly the tweets tagged with “#cosmisconciousness”. This site aims to test that claim! Each “quote” is generated from a list of words that can be found in Deepak Chopra’s Twitter stream randomly stuck together in a sentence.

“Your desire reflects total acceptance of chaos,” it tells me.

(Snarfed from Erin Palette’s Facebook page. I have no doubt she enjoyed it greatly.)

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The age of hilarious

Neil deGrasse Tyson lets the sunshine into the cosmos:

(Via a Nancy Friedman retweet.)

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It’s worse with a d20

Dice usually have several sides, the typical cube having six, with various other shapes in general use. Why might you want a die with only a single side? For predicaments like this:

Imagine this all too common scenario faced every day by D&D DMs around the world: your group is in a dungeon crawl. There’s a room with a pie in it, and the pie is guarded by an orc. If the characters open the door, one of these things happen:

1. The orc attacks

That’s it, there’s only the one option. So the characters do indeed open the door and the poor DM consults the chart. Unfortunately the smallest die type he has is a d4, so our DM has no choice but to roll the d4 over and over until he gets a 1 before he knows what the orc is going to do.

This is exactly the situation that 1-sided dice are designed to solve. Now the DM can grab the d1 and quickly roll just one time, see what the orc will do, and get on with the action of the game.

This is why I never became a gamer of any renown: I never could come up with neat stuff like that.

(Via this Dave Richeson tweet.)

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Hello? McFly?

So, Marty, how do you like this version of the Future?

Time machine settings from Back to the Future 2

What’s that? No, the Cubs haven’t won a World Series. Some things take more than miracles of technology.

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This could take a while

And not just loading; even picking it up will be tedious and painful.

Windows 8.1 on 3711 floppy disks

I remember when you used to be able to fit Windows on six floppies.

(A K. Latham pin from

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I’ll be hornswoggled

Guy in N’Hampsha says he wants to sell two unicorns:

We are selling 2 purebred unicorns. Male is 3 years old named Pagasus. Female is 5 years old and named Daisy. Price of $930,000 USD is per unicorn.


Oh, and he’s not above blowing his own horn, so to speak:

We are the only fully licensed unicorn breeder in North America, and are NUBAA certified.

A quick Googlage of “NUBAA” turns up the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, which is obviously even more diverse than we thought.

This, however, makes me ever-so-slightly suspicious:

We also offer unicorn eggs for purchase.

Eggs? Is there something Twilight Sparkle isn’t telling me?

(Via the Daily Dot.)

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Abe speaks out

There was some minor flapdoodle last week over the President’s alleged editing of the Gettysburg Address. It never occurred to the doodleflappers to go to the source — Abraham Lincoln’s blog:

I am taking the train to Gettysburg tomorrow and am planning to give a brief speech at this remarkable and sad place. For the many who cannot be physically present, here is a preview for you, My Loyal Readers and Fellow Citizens.

There follows at least one version of the Address.

As always, don’t read the comments. As Lincoln himself said: “The problem with internet quotes is that you can’t always depend on their accuracy.”

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Such language

After the fracas a few years back over a new expurgated version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we now have: backlash!

Instagram photo by Alfred Yankovic

“Weird Al” Yankovic posted this to his Instagram account, declaring: “I can’t believe they’re selling this. HIGHLY inappropriate.”

And they’re not. In the full-sized version (see Al’s link), or even from this one if you have better vision than I do (as who doesn’t?), you can read the ISBN number in the barcode, from which you can find the correct cover for this collection. Still, it proves once more that Al knows the Zeitgeist as well as anyone — and that there’s no chain he can’t successfully pull.

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And now, your San Diego Wind Turbines

What happens when all thirty-two NFL teams are renamed with political correctness in mind.

Although “Oakland Occupiers,” all things considered, isn’t half bad.

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Routine bites hard

Somehow I can’t imagine this being real, and yet something inside of me wants it to be:

Joy Division Divorce Attorneys

I wonder if they handle bizarre love triangles.

(From 33 1/3 via BoingBoing. Yes, it’s three years old.)

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The owner will never know

This, I am told, is the engine cover from a last-generation Hyundai Santa Fe:

Hyundai bogus engine cover

I suppose those shiny bits are intended to suggest the actual intake runners beneath. There’s just one minor detail: this engine is mounted transversely, so the cover, which suggests longitudinal mounting, is 90 (or maybe 270) degrees out of phase, completely and utterly bogus.

(Seen at; suggested here.)

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It was a thousand years ago today

And the research, as it must, goes on:

Before you ask: no, they did not evolve from Monkees.

(Thanks to HCShannon for that last quip.)

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Add to Favorites

Repeat after me: Correlation does not equal causation.

Then go download a new browser:

Comparison, murder rate to Internet Explorer usage

If it saves just one life, isn’t it worth it?

[sound of Firefox crashing]

(Via GraphJam.)

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An equal and opposite reaction

A news release from the Imperial Center at Coruscant:

The overwhelming military superiority of the Galactic Empire has been confirmed once again by the recent announcement by the President of the United States that his nation would not attempt to build a Death Star, despite the bellicose demands of the people of his tiny, aggressive planet. “It is doubtless that such a technological terror in the hands of so primitive a world would be used to upset the peace and sanctity of the citizens of the Galactic Empire,” said Governor Wilhuff Tarkin of the Outer Rim Territories. “Such destructive power can only be wielded to protect and defend by so enlightened a leader as Emperor Palpatine.”

That’s the trouble with those earthlings: they keep electing Alderaan people.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

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Magazines at checkout

Tam finds a particularly egregious form of artificial dissemination:

So, some goldbug site reports that his sister’s cousin’s mother’s boyfriend went to Wal-Mart and tried to buy some .22, and the computer told the cashier that they were out of ammo and wouldn’t be ordering any more.

Which story, of course, immediately went viral, despite the fact that it couldn’t possibly have been true:

Does nobody think that if the administration had arm-twisted Wal-Mart into discontinuing ammo sales, the first person you’d hear it from wouldn’t be a cashier in the sporting goods department, but rather Barry O. himself, doing some nerdy student government brainiac version of a sack dance behind the podium in the White House Briefing Room?

Bordering on Urkelesque, it is.

If nothing else, this proves that crap is not a zero-sum proposition: the population continues to grow, and crap per capita is definitely not declining.

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Bend yer own crank

The search for perpetual-motion machines hasn’t entirely ended, but we still have inventors unperturbed by those so-called laws of physics. A recent example:

The cranks of a bicycle are what connect the pedals to the front gears. They’re lever arms that cyclists exert a force onto the end of, through the pedals, in order to turn the front gears. The front gears pull the chain which then spins the rear wheel, sending the bike speeding along.

Just about all the cranks on the market are a straight line from the pedal to turning radius. However a company called Z-Torque claims that their cranks give cyclists more power just by changing the crank arms into a bent shape. The problem is that physics doesn’t work like the company claims it does.

Here’s the pitch:

It is indeed true that increasing the crank length will put more torque at your disposal. However, this doesn’t actually increase the crank length in any meaningful fashion: the pedal is still the same physical distance from the pivot point, no matter what shape your crank is in.

I await the breathless announcement of a conspiracy dedicated to protecting the Bicycle Establishment by keeping this invention off the market.

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All the Friedman you could ever want

What’s that you say? You’d love to give up The New York Times altogether, but you’d miss the gentle reproofs of Thomas L. Friedman? (Work with me here and assume that such a thing is possible, okay?)

Your answer is here: the Thomas Friedman Op/Ed Generator. Just push the button, and in a second or so you’ll have a perfectly plausible Friedman op/ed, suitable for, well, whatever it is you’d do with a real Friedman op/ed from Admittedly, the paper version of the Gray Lady is slightly more cost-effective, if your needs happen to include lining bird cages and/or wrapping fish, but if you read the Times on your desktop or your tablet, you can read your freshly generated Friedman column the same way. Sorry, no iPhone app yet.

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Recommended by Several Critics

It’s The Title: The Movie. Finally.

(As seen on FAIL Blog’s WIN!)

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The new crusty menstruals

This seems entirely too pat to be what it’s represented to be, based as it is on an ancient joke, but it’s too good to pass by.

A chap left this anguished message on the Facebook page of a British brand of “feminine protection” products:

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen … lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger

The corporate response was properly contrite:

Even if this was all contrived, it’s viral marketing at its very best.

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Deconstruction zone

Precisely what does this mean?

The valuation of order qua meaningful order, rather than order-in-itself, has been thoroughly objectified in the Darwinian worldview. This process of de-contextualization and reification of meaning has ultimately led to the establishment of “dis-order” rather than “this-order”. As a result, Darwinian materialism confronts us with an eradication of meaning from the phenomenological experience of reality. Negative theology however suggests a revaluation of disorder as a necessary precondition of order, as that without which order could not be thought of in an orderly fashion. In that sense, dis-order dissolves into the manifestations of order transcending the materialist realm. Indeed, order becomes only transparent qua order in so far as it is situated against a background of chaos and meaninglessness. This binary opposition between order and dis-order, or between order and that which disrupts order, embodies a central paradox of Darwinian thinking. As Whitehead suggests, reality is not composed of disordered material substances, but as serially-ordered events that are experienced in a subjectively meaningful way.

Answer: Not a damned thing.

(Via Pejman Yousefzadeh.)

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Looking in Alderaan places

Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star? Not a chance, says Brian J.:

Come on, reason it out: Skywalker was a seventeen-year-old moisture farm boy suffering from post-concussion syndrome whose experience piloting a small attack craft was cruising along the surface of Tatooine in a hovercraft and a couple of hours riding on the Millennium Falcon. Lucas wants you to believe he just suited up, hopped into a short range attack fighter, fought dogfights in the three-dimensional and zero gravity environment of space, and blew up an attack station?

Of course, Noggle has The Answer — for now. I figure, if George Lucas lives to be 100, he’ll have revised the story six times more, and Jar Jar Binks will have served at least one term as Emperor.

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Illuminatus Bank and Distrust Company

I found this revisionist history of PayPal in a Consumerist comment:

PayPal started as a religious extremist anti-government money laundering scheme. It’s hard to figure out why it was not shut down after 9/11 as the traditional Hawala money transfer method was in the arabic world were. Now PayPal stands as the New World Order bank, above the law, that the founders claimed to be against.

Although hawala persists, and the 9/11 Commission says that most of the funding for the attack came, not through hawala, but through ordinary wire transfers to actual banks.

Still, some people find it easier to see fnord than others.

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That’s not what I said

“The trouble with quotes on the Internet,” Abraham Lincoln once observed, “is that you can never know if they are genuine.”

Okay, maybe he didn’t say it. But there’s an awful lot of misquoting and misattribution going on out here in Pixelvania, and some of it may be due to the brain wanting to take the easy way out:

Have you noticed how incorrect quotes often just sound right — sometimes, more right than actual quotations? There’s a reason for that. Our brains really like fluency, or the experience of cognitive ease (as opposed to cognitive strain) in taking in and retrieving information. The more fluent the experience of reading a quote — or the easier it is to grasp, the smoother it sounds, the more readily it comes to mind — the less likely we are to question the actual quotation. Those right-sounding misquotes are just taking that tendency to the next step: cleaning up, so to speak, quotations so that they are more mellifluous, more all-around quotable, easier to store and recall at a later point. We might not even be misquoting on purpose, but once we do, the result tends to be catchier than the original.

On the other hand, in contemporary political discourse, it is probably wise to assume that any misquotation is deliberate.

A personal note: Since the old Movable Type days, I’ve had a sidebar feature called “It is written,” which yanks a quotation out of a text file. For some reason, most WordPress widgets offering rotating quotes expect you to store all that material in the database; the plugin used here does not, which is exactly why it is used here, inasmuch as that file has grown to about 160 kilobytes and roughly 2,000 quotes. Of those two thousand, I’ve had to go back and correct about 50, although the problem is more often misattribution than misquotation. I mention this because the piece to which I’ve linked contains one quotation I’d semi-improperly attributed: correct speaker, but incorrect rendering of his name. Of course, it’s since been fixed.

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Pick a circle, any circle

Further evidence that anything — anything at all — can be ponified:

This, mind you, from a chap who wrote a story called Sweetie Crush.

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Quote of the week

AP stringer Helmund Gormworthy calls ’em like he sees ’em:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Obama’s annual State of the Union speech was a gigantic lie from start to finish, as he told one fib after another in an increasingly desperate effort to hide the multiple failures of his administration.

“My fellow Americans,” Obama began, in an obvious attempt to conceal his Kenyan ancestry, before proceeding to tell Congress a series of big fat whoppers in a deceitful lecture that continued for more than an hour before concluding with a trite and transparently insincere, “God bless America.”

During the course of his 72-minute speech, the president told 64 outright lies and more than three dozen half-truths, according to an analysis provided by the Republican National Committee.

“Frankly, the overwhelming stench of bullshit nearly made me vomit,” Speaker of the House John Boehner said afterwards. “This was the most heinously dishonest speech I’ve ever been forced to sit through. Not even Bill Clinton told this many outrageous lies.”

You may already have spotted this as an object lesson in Neutral Objective Journalism from Robert Stacy McCain, but there are a few things not even slightly hidden in the text that give away the game. For one thing, what normally passes for “analysis” from the RNC seldom gives any actual numbers. And John Boehner calling out anyone for BS is like Jeffrey Dahmer bitching about Iron Chef.

Still: “Gormworthy”? I like it. Especially now, given the utter gormlessness of certain of our pundits and most of our candidates.

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There are some great opening passages in the literature of the world. This is not one of them:

Finding a glass bottle in the driveway was nothing particularly unusual, though it’s far more common to turn up a bottle made of plastic, typically reeking of the sort of cheap booze appreciated only by cheap boozehounds on foot. I shrugged, picked it up, noticed that there was no screw-on cap and no place to screw it onto if there had been, and then dropped it — slowly — into the bin. The recyclers would pick it up Tuesday.

About an hour later, I noticed that I’d forgotten to close the garage door, and hit the remote switch. The door had reached the halfway point when I saw it: another bottle, same place as the previous one. I hit the switch again, the door reversed its descent, and I walked out to the driveway. Before I could pick up the bottle, it vanished. Disappeared. The whole classic into-thin-air bit, in about one second, and not a magician in sight. I was ready to write this off as pure hallucination, but it had been something like 18 hours since the last time I’d popped an Ambien, and anyway I was pretty sure I wasn’t asleep, since if I had been asleep I wouldn’t have been wearing these old khakis and a T-shirt. Still, no other explanation presented itself, so I decided I would come back out in an hour or so and see if Bottle Number Three had made an appearance.

For those of you who might be wondering about My Little Writing Project, well, those are the first two paragraphs. I expect this thing to end up somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 words; as of last night I had rolled up, or pounded out, around 9400. This is not the kind of pace routinely maintained by NaNoWriMo participants, who have to knock out close to 1700 words a day for a whole month, but it’s actually faster than I anticipated.

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