As if driver’s license photos aren’t bad enough already, now some states are requiring “neutral facial expressions.” They’re doing this so the computerized systems that match new photos with those previously taken don’t get confused. Apparently if you smile in one photo and not in the other it won’t make a match. In Virginia, you’re not allowed to smile at all. Arkansas, Indiana, and Nevada, on the other hand, allow slight smiles. Grins, smirks, looks of amusement, and outright laughter will not be tolerated, so stop this instant!
Archive for May 2009
After 68 years of stringing two girls along, Archie of comic book fame has chosen one of them. Yes, in the new issue of Archie comics he proposes to Veronica, leaving Betty in tears. The cad. While they should be getting married in the Riverdale Senior Care Community, thanks to Botox and sharp artist pens they haven’t aged a bit. Okay, a little bit—Archie finally graduated from Riverdale High School, which makes him the longest running senior in education history. And you thought Moose was dumb! No word on whether Jughead will be the best man, nor if he is, how he’ll look in a tux and that weird hat of his. Can a reality series be far behind?
For the first time in its 78 years, Vatican Radio, known as the Voice of the Pope, will broadcast commercials because apparently the economic downturn is hurting the church too. They considered having a pledge week but remembered that they already do that every Sunday. The ads, which will start airing on July 6, must be in keeping with the “high moral standards of the Catholic Church.” [Insert favorite altar boy joke here.]
The people who lived on Butt Hole Road in Conisbrough, England, didn’t think it was amusing that tourists liked to drop their drawers and have their photos taken in front of the local street sign, so they had the street renamed. To Arse’s Way. I mean, Archer’s Way. The Butthole Surfers say they have no intention of changing the band’s name nor of performing at this year’s block party.
Continuing to show that he’s the hippest pope in town, Pope Benedict XVI has launched Pope2You, an online portal featuring links to WikiCath, a Facebook application that lets you send virtual postcards of Benedict and excerpts from his messages, an iPhone app called H2Onews that delivers video updates about the pope, and a link to his very own YouTube channel. And no, he doesn’t sing Who Let The Dogs Out while skateboarding. So far there are no papal tweets, no unreadable MySpace page, and no store at CafePress, but hey, it’s still early in the 21st century, give them a chance.
It sounds like a set-up to a joke, but a 45-year-old African-American woman will the first, well, African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi. The ceremony will be in Cincinnati, after which she’ll take a job leading Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, North Carolina. She’ll clean her own house but be very generous with the hand-me-down oversized eyeglasses and gold sparkly sandals she gives herself.
Christie’s auction house was all set to sell a hand-written copy of a poem written by little Bobby Zimmerman—that’s Bob Dylan, to you—in 1957 for the newspaper at the Jewish camp he attended in Wisconsin when they learned that he, uh, “revised” the lyrics to a Hank Snow song, Little Buddy. They’re now investigating the reportedly startling similarities between Subterranean Homesick Blues and Snow’s Rhumba Boogie.
At least year’s Belgian bodybuilding championship, 22 of 29 contestants tested positive for steroids or refused to take the test. So this year they moved the event across the border to Vlissingen, Netherlands. The 20 contestants were weighing in when Belgian doping officials showed up, necessary legal papers in hand, to check out the bodybuilders. The contestants grabbed their gear and headed for the door so they wouldn’t be tested. When asked why they were in such a rush to leave, each of the bodybuilders replied, “I think I left the water running in the bathroom sink at home.”
Like most Indians, Kailash Kalau Singh wants to have a boy. So 35 years ago he consulted a seer who told him that if he didn’t take a bath he’d be blessed with a boy, so he stopped bathing, instead taking a “fire bath” by standing with one leg beside a bonfire while he smokes marijuana and prays to Shiva. The 63-year-old Singh still doesn’t have a son but somehow his wife got close enough to him to have seven daughters. See, miracles do happen.
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research describes what two economists call “the Denomination Effect,” which is the phenomenon that people are more prone to spend money in small denominations than larger ones. In other words, you’re more apt to spend four quarters than a dollar bill, or five one-dollar bills than a fiver. If the government really wants to kick the economy into gear and get people to spend their stimulus rebates, they should bag the idea of sending out checks and instead ship us each a carton of nickels.
In New York University sociologist Dalton Conley’s new book, “Elsewhere, U.S.A.”, he discusses how the line between work and leisure time has become blurred, creating what he Elmer Fudd-like calls “weisure time.” “Lork” would have been good too. As would “Hey, I am wewaxed. I’m not typing on my Bwackbewwy neawly as fwanticawwy as usual.”
The operator of a Boston trolley that crashed and injured 20 people after going through a yellow and a red signal, then not seeing the train that was stopped 480 feet in front of him, admits he wasn’t paying attention because he was sending a text message at the time. Hopefully his last texted words were OMG, because he won’t be LOL anytime soon.
According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, walking backward helps people think more clearly. The team of Dutch scientists concluded that “whenever you encounter a difficult situation, stepping backward may boost your capability to deal with it effectively.” Unfortunately it also boosts the chances of you bumping into something, stepping down a manhole, and being called a chicken for walking away from your problems.
For the past 10 years there have been employees at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure whose job it was to watch and make sure women didn’t flash their breasts when the souvenir photographs were taken on the Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, Space Mountain and California Screamin’ rides. Well, they’re being reassigned, having lost the best jobs in the park. Employees will still check for inappropriate photos when customers buy their souvenirs, so don’t worry, you’ll still have the proof you need to get your Mardi Gras beads.
A judge in the Dominican Republic has proposed a law that would ban children’s names that can be confusing, give no indication of gender, are vulgar, have more than three words, or are difficult to pronounce. He cites such names as Tonton Ruiz (Dummy Ruiz), Toshiba Fidelina, Querida Pina (Dear Pineapple), and Rambo Mota. Hey, it’s not like they’re naming their kids Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin), Banjo (Rachel Griffiths and Andrew Taylor), Bronx Mowgli (Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz), or Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee and Beth Riesgraf).
A survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that, of the world’s wealthy nations, the French spend more time sleeping and eating than anyone else, snoozing almost nine hours a night and spending more than two hours a day eating. Americans, on the other hand, sleep less, spend half as much time eating, are more obese, and are the only nation in the survey where people aren’t getting taller. Go ahead, have it your way.
A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released this week found that the more often Americans go to church the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists. Apparently if you’re into torturing yourself you don’t feel as bad about torturing others.