Dispatches from Outland
A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Copyright © 2003 Roy M. Jacobsen.

Friday, December 12, 2003  

Not Taking Themselves Too Seriously Department: Nursery rhymes show a cynical disregard for injuries. At least, that's what a pair of researchers say.

Sarah Giles and Sarah Shea, from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, say Humpty Dumpty should have been put on a spinal board immediately after his big fall.

...[The researchers] added the presence of all the King's men suggests a "shocking lack of crowd control".

They ask: "Could the crowded scene explain the inability of the responders to put Humpty Dumpty together again?"
Giles and Shea also note that the baby in "Rock-a-bye Baby" was at risk of serious injury in the fall from the tree-top, and that "the fact the child was in the tree in the first place suggests a reprehensible lack of parental responsibility."

Before you get too worked up about pointy-headed ivory-tower types with too much time on their hands, the researchers submitted these findings in a satirical letter to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:56 AM

Wednesday, December 10, 2003  

Doing My Part Department: You want miserable failure? I'll show you miserable failure.

Confused? Here's the explanation.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 3:52 PM

Take A Quiz Department: This seems about right...

Congratulations! You're Merry!

Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:35 AM

What Do Humanitarians Eat? Department: Now this is just sick: celebrities getting wads of cash or gifts for appearing at charity events.

A California court case is providing a peek at celebrities and charity work, with such names as Bill Cosby and David Schwimmer being used to illustrate the limits of largess.

Examining some 2,000 pages of court documents related to the mail fraud prosecution of Southern California promoter Aaron Tonken, the Los Angeles Times revealed Monday how celebrities "line their pockets'' with fees from charity events.

Cosby was in line to get a $75,000 fee and $10,000 in expense money to accept a Humanitarian Award at a UCLA cancer research benefit earlier this year. (His spokesman told the paper Cosby would have waived the fee if the event had gone off, but it was canceled after Tonken's troubles emerged.) Schwimmer got two Rolex watches worth some $26,000 before an appearance at a charity gala that benefitted the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

Other celebs cited by the Times included Ray Charles getting $75,000 for singing four songs at a benefit for disabled children and Paul Anka picking up $100,000 to perform three songs at a hearing-aid foundation gala in Minnesota. Comedienne Roseanne Barr, after she agreed to emcee a benefit gala, was gifted with a $60,000 "rib run'' to a restaurant in Canada, via private jet, that included $350 worth of caviar on board and an $11,500 shopping spree in Windsor, the Times reported.
Can't any of these people afford to just give their precious time to a deserving charity? I think Mark Butterworth says it best:
Call me hopelessly romantic about compassion, but it seems to me that even were I rich and famous, that should I decide the National Psoriasis Foundation is worthy of support -- I think it should cost me to help it, and not the organization.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 8:54 AM

Tuesday, December 09, 2003  

About Time Department: I've long thought that John Lennon's song Imagine is one of the most overrated songs imaginable. OK, maybe the melody is alright, but the lyrics! The words to that song have always given me the screaming heebie-jeebies. And I'm not the only one. Joel Engel has given the song the fisking it so richly deserves. For example:

Imagine there's no heaven . . . No hell below us . . . Imagine all the people living for today. Okay, let's imagine that; let's imagine six billion people who believe that flesh and blood is all there is; that once you shuffle off this mortal coil, poof, you're history; that Hitler and Mother Teresa, for example, both met the same ultimate fate. Common sense suggests that such a world would produce a lot more Hitlers and a lot fewer Teresas, for the same reason that you get a lot more speeders / murderers / rapists / embezzlers when you eliminate laws, police, and punishment. Skeptics and atheists can say what they like about religion, but it's hard to deny that the fear of an afterlife where one will be judged has likely kept hundreds of millions from committing acts of aggression, if not outright horror. Nothing clears the conscience quite like a belief in eternal nothingness.
And he doesn't stop there.

Link via J Bowen who also has a great link to an article about what the media isn't telling us about stem cell research.

posted by Roy M. Jacobsen at 9:08 AM
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