Monthly Archives: February 2013

(Art) Work of the Week

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1505)

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Since the left side of the above triptych is apparently the scenario we live in now and the right side is supposedly what’s going to happen when we cut a tiny bit of fat out of the government tomorrow, I thought this painting would be perfect. Almost nothing is known of 16th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s thoughts or life and there are fewer than 25 paintings remaining today that can be attributed to him. His most well-known is the above, commonly known as “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” though the original title is unknown.

When the panels are closed, the image is of God creating the Earth. When opened, it reveals three different scenes: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden make up the left panel, the big center panel is dedicated to worldly pleasures – mostly of the nude, fruit and fantastical animal variety – and the right panel depicts “The Musician’s Hell,” a disturbing, surreal, symbolically perverse orgy of torture and madness. Why he painted these scenes and what his message was are open to interpretation. Some speculate he was inspired by a heretical point of view and the images were meant to titillate and be ironic, some believe it is satire and mockery of piousness as the High Renaissance was beginning to ascend, others believe he was simply reflecting the orthodox religion of the medieval Church he grew up around.

The interpretive ambiguity is one of the things that makes it interesting, particularly on the subject of the “Musician’s Hell” panel (the most interesting one, in my opinion). It seems his imagination was rooted in the reality of his time. So is this a comment on crime and corruption in a turbulent world? In the lower right hand corner there is a pig wearing a nun’s veil, trying to get a man to sign legal documents. Is the art work in part a complaint from a member of a citizenry that was groaning under the weight of taxation? Why the emphasis on music? Musical instruments were sometimes used in art at the time to depict eroticism. It could also be a rebuke against traveling minstrels, who were often accused of spreading sin via song. Is the piece a comment on the Church’s corruption and hypocrisy, at a time when Popes showed off their bastard children? Is the painting as a whole a warning by a pious man on the danger of earthly temptations and lustful humans? Did Bosch even believe in the Divine Judgement and Hell he depicts? You decide.

Bosch’s work inspired the surrealist movement in the early 20th century. In 2009, the Museo del Prado in Madrid, where the triptych has resided since 1939, selected it as one of the museum’s most important paintings, to be displayed in Google Earth at a resolution of 14,000 megapixels. Bosch in the digital age: for all his imaginativeness, even he probably couldn’t have imagined that.

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Your Morning Cup of Links

Anyone who grew up in the 90s knows “Legends of the Hidden Temple” was the best game show on TV. Every kid wanted to be on it, navigating through the Cave of Sighs, the Pit of Despair! We wanted to be yelled at by Kirk Fogg, the khaki-pantsed host with the “I-should-be-a-pedophile-in-a-Lifetime-movie” look and his mixed messages. “You’re running out of time!” “You’re doing great!” “You’re going the wrong way!” The phenomenal sweatpants. That fucking silver monkey!!! If you wonder why today’s kids are such pussies it’s because none of them have to endure the cruelty/awesomeness of that show anymore. Yesterday’s little fools are today’s problem solvers and heroes. I bet the guy who shot bin Laden in the face was on that show. Here’s an excerpt from the hilarious article I linked to, which details the most soul-destroying moments of the show:

This is just what this show does to you, man: it rips the ambitions out of your preteen soul and reduces you to a wandering ghoul without short-term memory or long-term ambition. It envelops you in a matrix of horrors. In these three minutes, the waters rise and fall, the fields erode to canyons, civilizations are built and toppled, and at the very end, you are left to cling to a rope, without destination or purpose…You short heroes. You little fools.

Great news! The Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets for your health, especially for those prone to heart disease. The diet includes drinking wine and consuming olive oil, fish, fruits, nuts, and other awesome treats…

One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra-virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least 4 four tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup — a generous handful. The mainstays of the diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables. Participants were to eat fish at least three times a week and legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, at least three times a week. They were to eat white meat instead of red, and, for those accustomed to drinking, to have at least seven glasses of wine a week with meals.

More great news! I found more crap we can cut out of government so that President Obama can stop letting criminals out of jail. The government gives millions of dollars a year to small public airfields, most of which have zero air traffic. That’s right. They’re just sitting there. Empty.

This is Lake Murray State Park Airport, one of the least busy of the nation’s 3,300-plus public airfields. In an entire week here, there might be one landing and one takeoff — often so pilots can use the bathroom. Or none at all. Visiting pilots are warned to watch out for deer on the runway. So why is it still open? Mostly, because the U.S. government insists on sending it money. Every year, Oklahoma is allotted $150,000 in federal funding because of this place, the result of a grant program established 13 years ago, in Congress’s golden age of pork. The same amount goes to hundreds of other tiny airfields across the country — including more than 80 like this one, with no paying customers and no planes based at the field.

I found some other stuff too. Keene, New Hampshire, a town of 23,000 people, gets federal money to purchase small tanks. Fuck that. The Department of the Interior has 75,000 employees, 10% of whom are “conserving the wilderness of Washington, D.C..” HAHAHAHA. SLASH. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine? They get $130 million taxpayer dollars a year to study yoga and herbs. GOODBYE.

David Axelrod, former Obama Minister of Propaganda Senior Advisor and Robert Gibbs, former Obama State Secretary for the Enlightenment of the People Press Secretary, recently joined MSNBC as “independent-minded analysts.” Gibbs actually got off to a decent start by telling us that “the most transparent administration in history” told him on day one to never, ever acknowledge that the drone program exists. The Administration has spent the last couple days threatening sweet, old, I-wanna-be-your-grandpa, I-pronounce-Republican-like-Repub-UH-lick-can” Bob Woodward, one of the only men left standing in America who can say, “I may dodder words now, but I once fucked up Nixon. BAD.” Woodward told the White House last week, “I’m going to call you on your bullshit and tell everyone you’re lying.” The White House responded with, “You’ll regret doing that.” Then the White House aide entered Barry’s, I mean Harry’s, body, looked up at Bob Dumbledore Woodward and said, “You’ve lost, old man.” Just kidding about that last part. What actually happened is Darth Vader Obama drew his lightsaber and arrogantly claimed, “Your powers are weak, old man.” Then BOBi-Wan Kenobi calmly and assuredly said, “You can’t win, Barack. If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” Kidding again, but goddamn it how awesome would that have been?? In less fun reality, Woodward responded like a boss, by telling everyone about the threat, like a real journalist should.

As I’ve noted frequently over the past year, things are getting really bad for women in Egypt. Egyptian woman like Doria Shafiq and other women’s rights activists, who marched for and achieved women’s rights in the 50s, are being removed from school textbooks. Thankfully, local human rights activists aren’t taking this crap lying down. They have a street art campaign going, using graffiti painted pictures of women to show they will not be removed from public life. Paint on, sisters!

Here’s the UN’s really bad, no good, excrementally evil, demonically rude, gonorrheic rubbish response to the cholera crisis they created in Haiti. You can read about it in detail at the linked article, but basically a UN peacekeeping force was in the middle of an active cholera outbreak in Nepal and then got sent to Haiti without being screened or quarantined or anything and now thousands of Haitians are dead. And the UN’s response is basically, “Oh you want us to take responsibility? Be held accountable? HAHAHAHA WE ARE THE UN. GO FUCK YOURSELVES.”

This is why as much as I can’t stand Republicans, I dislike Democrats more. Because the latter never go away. We will never get rid of the Obamas. They will be with us, pursuing power, forever, just like the Clintons. That’s the nice thing about Republican Presidents. When they’re done, they go away, back to regular, powerless life and are scarcely heard from again.

Bill Kristol has a pretty depressing, but pretty awesome article combining poetry and politics, using lines from Matthew Arnold’s superb poem “Dover Beach.” Our situation is indeed a “darkling plain” and tomorrow will be very telling.

Ever heard the phrase, ” the global village”? Surely, you’ve heard the term “village idiot.” Well, that’s Chuck Hagel…the global village idiot…and our new Secretary of Defense. If you called the man a wit, you’d be half right. Anyway, Chuckles Hagel, foreign policy scholar trainwreck, put forth his vision once again yesterday that our problems would be solved if we were just a kinder, gentler United States. Holy shit, why didn’t anyone think of this before? If the world could just hold hands and sing kumbaya everything would be great. If America – which is the source of all evil and global problems, everyone knows that, duh – was just a little nicer, everyone would listen to us and be all relaxed and peaceful and shit. Iran would say, “Yeah man, we don’t really need to kill the Jews. Shut down this nuclear program…and pass that bong.” If we would just fart rainbows instead of EVIL, jihadists would lay down their weapons, take off their suicide vests, exchange their Korans for the Declaration of Independence and say, “Forget this Caliphate. USA! USA!” If America would just take the first kind step and make women wear sleeves…SLEEVES…Is that really so much to ask???…Islamic regimes the world over would frolic through the streets, throwing flowers out of baskets, gleefully exclaiming, “Unveil these women! Equal rights for all!” If we would make candy-shatting unicorns instead of nuclear missiles, Russia would free Pussy Riot, China would let Ai Weiwei say anything he pleased. IT’S SO OBVIOUS. GENTLENESS. UNDERSTANDING. CULTURAL RELATIVISM. LOGIC. THANKS CHUCK. Here’s an article outlining all the important things the Defense Secretary does. Under Hagel we will likely soon have a European-sized military to go with our soon-to-be European-sized welfare state. Since the Republicans caved on Hagel, perhaps they should just cave to the President on everything, let the economy suffer, give the voters the economic malaise they asked for in November. Take the H.L. Mencken line, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

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Oh for fuck’s sake, ladies. Grow up!

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Stop bitching about EVERYTHING. All your whining, now days later, about Seth Macfarlane’s “misogynistic” Oscar performance just proves the man right. There is a huge swath of women out there who CAN’T LET ANYTHING GO.

This may shock you, but if a man makes a joke about a woman, it doesn’t automatically make him a misogynist. Just like if you refer to something as “gay,” it doesn’t automatically make you a homophobe. If you disagree with President Obama’s policies, that doesn’t automatically make you a racist (sorry, Chris Matthews). We have got to stop this politically correct nonsense before it destroys us. It stops the conversation, chills free speech and benefits no one. Bette Davis once said, “When a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.” This could be rewritten as, “When a woman tells a joke, she’s a woman. When a man tells a joke, he’s a misogynist.”

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Let’s remember two rules about humor:

1. The best jokes are the ones that have a grain of truth in them (I’m sure at some point you’ve uttered the phrase, “It’s funny, because it’s true”).

2. If everyone laughs, you have failed.

So congratulations, Seth. Well done. Christopher Hitchens (who got his share of feminist hate when he published his essay “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” the contents of – if you know how to read – are absolutely true) had another rule, also applicable here, “if you worry that you might be going too far, you have already not gone far enough.” Buzzfeed has a list of Macfarlane’s apparently unforgivably “sexist” jokes. Really, we’re not allowed to make fun of the Kardashians? We can’t call Rihanna out on her terrible decision to take Chris Brown back? Oh my god, he made a joke about the fact that many female celebrities diet to fit in their dresses for Oscar night. The horror! Because that’s not true at all, right? As for the boobs song, if you don’t want it to be recognized by men that you showed your boobs on film, then don’t do it. Actresses do that for men, not for women, so don’t get mad at men when they like it. As usual in situations like these, the people who are actually the targets of the faux “misogyny” don’t even care. I don’t here any of the actresses complaining, some of them even played along with the piece. It’s always a sordid, howling, banal group of bullies and bores who live to be offended. Get over yourselves. Join a real cause. There are plenty of actual misogynists in the world for you to get mad at. And for Christ’s sake, lighten up. If you can’t laugh at yourself, life’s going to be long and miserable.

P.S. This is the guy who does “Family Guy.” What did you expect? Thanks to all your bitching, he’s never going to do the Oscars again. So congratulations, now we get Billy Crystal for the rest of our lives. Also, thanks for feeding into the stereotype that women are fickle and live to nag.

Stop being so insecure and paranoid, ladies. Men in this country see women – their wives, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, friends – being successful, intelligent and inspiring all the time. The idea that we can only talk about women in the context of success, because if we make stereotypical jokes it will suddenly make all men look at us as just objects, is ridiculous. Lusting and respecting are not mutually exclusive. Men will always look at women with lust and women will always be aroused by it. That’s biology. But as Camille Paglia has pointed out, “Leaving sex to the feminists is like letting your dog vacation at the taxidermist.” Let’s also remember what the actual definition of misogyny is: someone who hates women. Does anyone honestly think because Macfarlane joked about how Salma Hayek is beautiful but difficult to understand – which everyone knows is true – that that means he hates women? Because he made jokes about physical appearance in a room full of people who are obsessed with that – and who make lots of money off of that alone – it means he hates women? Seriously?

Some critics are slightly less insecure but more arrogant and just as hysterical, arguing that Macfarlane’s performance was the result of, “a defensive anxiety about the ascendant power of women.” Yes, I’m sure that was Seth’s plan. Afraid that women will supersede him and render him impotent and jobless, he decided to make “sexist” jokes all night in order to halt the conquest. Please. Once again, GET OVER YOURSELVES. This arrogance brings me to my next point about hypocrisy and the real aim of many modern feminists.

This is probably my favorite “Seth Macfarlane hates women” article, which goes through the predictable diatribe, before declaring that men are obsolete and unnecessary and this was the “End of Men” Oscars. No sexism there. I’m sure she wouldn’t have been upset at all had Macfarlane said that women are unnecessary. Another example of this hypocrisy is Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes. They did a phenomenal job hosting, with their “real torture is being married to James Cameron” joke being one of their best. I didn’t hear any men flipping out over that. Had it been reversed and Macfarlane made the comment that “real torture is being married to Kathryn Bigelow,” feminists would be shitting a brick over it. This is because much of the modern feminist movement doesn’t really want equality. They want female domination, “the end of men,” as the article says. Real equality and real feminism, Rebecca West-style, respects and wants to uphold the masculinity of men and the femininity of women. It’s not about emasculating men and lambasting women who choose the traditional role of housewife and stay-at-home mom. It’s about men and women having equal rights and opportunities to be who they are and do what they want. It’s about men and women respecting each other, while also recognizing biological realities. Telling men they’re not allowed to make jokes, while women can say whatever they want, is not equality. Until we can deal with something as harmless as humor like we’re equals, we won’t be.

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Video of the Day

Jennifer Lawrence is awesome.

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February 26, 2013 · 6:27 pm

Your Morning Cup of Links

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Check out more classical masterpieces infused with pop culture, like the one above (“Vader and Unicorn” based on the Baroque fresco “A Virgin with a Unicorn”), here. Kudos to artist Hillary White.

“Argo” was a great movie (despite the fictionalized ending) and is a great CIA (and Canadian) success story, but what about the other 52 American hostages? The National Journal explores.

North Korea has issued a list of 28 approved “socialist” hairstyles. Because dictators hate long hair. But Tim Stanley has found a silver lining…

The new rules governing hair are therefore actually a reflection of the growing willingness of Pyongyang residents to challenge the conservatism of the regime…This was how things started to end in the late Soviet Union. The USSR was brought down by economic collapse and nationalism, but also by the wave of cultural dissent heralded by Perestroika. In an oppressive regime that promotes Puritanism as part of its moral vision, a dash of red lipstick or a knock-off Cartier bag is an act of rebellion that is visually alluring enough to encourage others to join in.

50 new Rudyard Kipling poems have been discovered. Very exciting!

“His texts have never properly been studied but things are starting to change,” said Pinney. “There is a treasure trove of uncollected, unpublished and unidentified work out there. I discovered another unrecorded item only recently and that sort of thing will keep happening. It is a tremendously exciting time for scholars and for fans of Kipling.” The 50 unpublished poems are being included alongside more than 1,300 of Kipling’s poems in the three-volume Cambridge Edition of The Poems of Rudyard Kipling, the first ever complete edition of his verse, out on 7 March.

Meet the amazing woman who is Afghanistan’s first female mayor

When Azra Jafari became mayor of Nili, she knew that the impoverished and remote Afghan town desperately needed roads and investment. She was aware she would be living in very basic conditions, on a meagre salary of $76 (£50) a month, and that taking care of a four-year-old daughter at the same time would be challenging. What she was less prepared for was the appearance of a powerful mullah in her unheated, makeshift office, wagging his finger at her, warning that Nili was not about to accept a female mayor who thought she could “exploit her femininity in order to complete a few projects and influence our women”. “After three months, the same man came up to me and thanked me,” Jafari recalled, four years later. “He said, ‘If a man could do just half of what you’ve done here, our province will surely flourish.’ He now supports me and we work very well together – I have a great deal of respect for him.” She is now referred to as “Mr Mayor” by her community, a title that conveys respect in a country not known for women’s rights.

Hey look, I found some government spending we can cut that won’t make lines at airports longer. Renewable energy research is important, but taxpayers don’t need to be funding this bloated lab and its ridiculously overpaid employees, especially considering they haven’t achieved anything in over a quarter of a century. Leave renewable energy research to universities.

Let’s also get rid of agriculture subsidies, something I’ve been saying until I’m blue in the face for years. It’s such a waste of money and is actually harmful to the third world.

Farmers are wealthy, the U.S. food supply is not remotely at risk — and yet the government still piles on the subsidies. They totaled an annual average of $11.5 billion over the past four years, according to USDA. Farmers get direct payments for growing certain commodities, deeply subsidized crop insurance, cash rewards for practicing soil conservation — you name it. The programs distort markets and shift resources to agriculture that might find more efficient use elsewhere…Last week…a bipartisan group of…senators offered a bill that would cap subsidies at $125,000 per farmer or $250,000 for a married couple. It’s a reprise of legislation…offered in the past — and it’s certainly a step in the right direction. But limiting agricultural corporate welfare to a quarter-million dollars per couple is a far cry from a total rethink of farm policy, which might start with this question: Perhaps God made the farmer, as Paul Harvey says. But does the federal taxpayer have to make him rich?

New Secretary of State and geography genius John Kerry made his first trip abroad memorable by inventing a country. Meanwhile, back at home, the White House claims that the sequestration will affect the National Drug Intelligence Center, a department that stopped existing almost a year ago. You know the bureaucracy is too big when you can’t even keep track of which departments are open and which are closed. In additional news, our President, the head of “the most transparent administration in history,” ordered the press out of the room yesterday during his meeting with governors, so he could take some questions. This administration (like most administrations) is full of idiots, hypocrites, liars, crooks and cronies, but never forget that the fish rots from the head.

An examination of the love letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz.

The love letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz number upwards of 25,000. It’s such a prolific amount, it makes you marvel that they had any time at all to live the lives they did. The first published volume of their correspondence is some 700 pages, and it captures all the intimacies and intangibles one suffers for, because of, or in spite of love. It is also a valuable source of art history, self-help, bad spelling, and indulgent use of the em dash…Like all great epic poems (because love letters are nothing if not poetic), the writing is both tacky and penetrating, and captures the sort of anxiety and misanthropy that often accompany the creative mind. Referring to numerous people as “great stains” on the world, O’Keeffe’s letters in particular emphasize the artistic vocabulary of her paintings.

Does being sick make you stupid? Can boosting immunity make you smarter?

Without T cells, Schwartz and other researchers have found, the brain does a bad job of healing itself. Kipnis was fascinated by the discovery because he knew that T cells cannot get past the blood-brain barrier. Yet apparently they could significantly influence the brain from a distance. He wondered if T cells did more for the brain than just help heal wounds…When we’re healthy, T cells keep the immune cells in the meninges from inflaming the brain. But when we get sick, the T cells loosen their hold to let the immune system attack invading pathogens. The resulting inflammation helps clear out the invaders, but it also blunts learning. When we’re sick, Kipnis proposes, it’s more important to launch a powerful immune attack than to have a sharp mind. “Everything in life is priorities,” he says. Kipnis has recently started to investigate what happens to people’s brains when they start losing T cells. People with cancer, for example, often suffer a loss of T cells when they undergo chemotherapy. It may be no coincidence, he argues, that chemotherapy is notorious for causing “chemo brain”—a fuzzy mental state in which patients have trouble thinking clearly. Kipnis proposes that without T cells to keep inflammation in check, immune cells in the meninges pump harmful compounds into the brain.

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Your Daily Dose of Cute

These red pandas will melt away the anger you still feel this morning about Jessica Chastain getting snubbed for Best Actress last night.

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February 25, 2013 · 3:47 pm

Your Morning Cup of Links

Is the Higgs Boson particle actually the cosmic doomsday particle? Irene Klotz explains

If calculations of the newly discovered Higgs boson particle are correct, one day, tens of billions of years from now, the universe will disappear at the speed of light, replaced by a strange, alternative dimension, one theoretical physicist calls “boring.”

A disturbing report on Egypt’s child abuse scourge, the detention and torture of minors under Morsi.

While the exact number of children arrested is hard to come by—in part because of recent changes to prosecutorial procedures that make it more difficult to track cases—Priyanka Motaparthy, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, tells The Daily Beast that in Cairo and Port Said alone, there have been more than 170 documented cases of child detentions in the last month. And activists, who point out that other cities such as Alexandria, Suez, and Tanta have also experienced unrest, say the problem is nationwide. Mahmoud Bilal, a lawyer who works on the issue, estimates there may be as many as 400 cases from around the country.

Many of the children rounded up during the crackdown have been held in pretrial detention at camps such as Gabal Ahmar, a notorious facility used by Egypt’s central security forces once synonymous with the detention and torture of political activists under toppled tyrant Hosni Mubarak. Such detentions are illegal under Egyptian law, and there have been persistent reports of torture and maltreatment of child detainees. At Gabal Ahmar, the young inmates had been viciously beaten or electrocuted using Taser-style devices, according to Bilal.

On the (supposed) decline of “Downton Abbey”. It’s basically a British soap opera, what do you expect? All soap operas jump the shark at some point, but we will all still love it. God I miss “All My Children.” P.S. There are lots of spoilers in the linked article, so if you haven’t watched it, don’t read it.

The disaster we’ve helped create in Syria by our inaction.

As the world looks on (or away), the country jammed between Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Israel is disintegrating. Perhaps the regime of Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, will collapse in chaos; for some time it could well fight on from a fortified enclave, the biggest militia in a land of militias. Either way, Syria looks increasingly likely to fall prey to feuding warlords, Islamists and gangs—a new Somalia rotting in the heart of the Levant. If that happens, millions of lives will be ruined. A fragmented Syria would also feed global jihad and stoke the Middle East’s violent rivalries. Mr Assad’s chemical weapons, still secure for now, would always be at risk of falling into dangerous hands. This catastrophe would make itself felt across the Middle East and beyond. And yet the outside world, including America, is doing almost nothing to help.

And without help, former moderates are turning to jihad.

Guam is about to receive a planeload of Tylenol-laced, toxic mice to try and solve its snake problem.

Dead mice laced with painkillers are about to rain down on Guam’s jungle canopy. They are scientists’ prescription for a headache that has caused the tiny U.S. territory misery for more than 60 years: the brown tree snake. Most of Guam’s native bird species are extinct because of the snake, which reached the island’s thick jungles by hitching rides from the South Pacific on U.S. military ships shortly after World War II. There may be 2 million of the reptiles on Guam now, decimating wildlife, biting residents and even knocking out electricity by slithering onto power lines.

Picknose control freak Gaius Julius Umbridge Bloomberg is never satisfied. Ordering pizza for a group of people and want a 2-liter soda so everyone has something to drink? Forget it. Want a pitcher of soda at your kid’s birthday party or a carafe of mixer for that table service you ordered at the nightclub? Not going to happen in Bloomberg’s NYC.

In other ridiculous government overreach news, bars and restaurants in DC better make sure there are exactly five ounces of wine in that glass, otherwise the Office of Weights & Measures is coming for you.

The Hollywood White House had to show up at the Oscars last night to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Washington and Hollywood do indeed go to bed together. FLOTUS presented the Best Picture award with smiling military personnel in the background, because the Obamas don’t do anything without people props. Just be thankful they spared the children and the first responders this time. Michelle was happy to do it because the Obamas, “watch movies all the time!” OMG, THEY’RE SO COOL, THEY’RE JUST LIKE US. COOLEST. PRESIDENT. EVER. The appearance was treated like a “state secret” with many measures taken to ensure that her appearance wasn’t “leaked.” It’s too bad those measures weren’t taken to ensure that other things weren’t leaked, like Stuxnet or the Pakistani doctor who is now in jail because he helped us find bin Laden or the double agent in Yemen who helped us stop a terrorist attack. But hey, some things are IMPORTANT.

Ending on a happy note, Nerve gives us the visual history of the vibrator.

What do antique sex toys and Mark Twain have in common? The Arnold Massage Vibrator. It’s rumored that Samuel Clemens himself used this early model. Resembling a hand mixer, the Arnold Massager was advertised as a facial exfoliator to preserve a perpetual youth (orgasms will do that).

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