Monday, August 31, 2009

China admits death row organ use

 China admits death row organ use  
According to the China Daily newspaper, executed prisoners currently provide two-thirds of all transplant organs

 Larry Niven's "Jigsaw Man" is science fiction story about a fugitive from justice, running from the police.  He's wanted for a crime -- he doesn't say what it is -- but if he's convicted of that crime, he faces the Death Penalty. He will be executed and his organs will be harvested. (hence the title "Jigsaw" Man)
In the course of his escape, he commits a large number of other crimes, including the murder of one of his persuers.
He's caught and brought to trial.  The prosecution doesn't even bother to bring up the murder charge. They know they can easily convict him on the original charge...  Jay Walking.
The author comments that in the future, convicts on death row will repay their debt to society by having their organs harvested, so the execution results a benefit to society.  However, when demand increases for a scarce commodity (human organs), then lesser crimes will carry the death penalty.
Perhaps even Jay Walking.


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Nonsense Word Songs

 Ellie Greenwich, one of the most prolific hitmakers of the 1960s, who was the co-writer of such catchy and enduring pop hits as "Be My Baby," "Chapel of Love," "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Leader of the Pack," and who was credited with launching the career of singer Neil Diamond, died Aug. 26 of a heart attack at Roosevelt Hospital in New York, where she was being treated for pneumonia. She was 68

While reading a list of songs that Ellie wrote, I noticed "Da Doo Ron Ron" AND "Do Wah Diddy Diddy".
Two songs with nonsense words in the title.
Hmmm, so if I made a playlist of songs that had Nonsense Word titles, what other songs could I include?
 Here's a quick list of things I've thought of:
Gene Vincent - "Be Bop a-Lula" and "Bi Bicky Bi Bo Bo Go"
Beatles - "Ob La Di Ob La Da"
the Muppets - "Mah Nam a Nah"
Dick Van Dyke - "Chim-Chim-Cheree" (from Mary Poppins)
Trio - "Dah Dah Dah" (German electro-pop song used on a VW commercial)
Koko Taylor (and others I'm sure) "Wang Dang Doodle"
The Dixie Cups (and many many others) "Iko Iko"
Steam "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)".
Blind Blake - "Diddy Wah Diddy"
Crewcuts "Sh-Boom Sh-Boom"
John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom Boom Boom" or
Little Richard's "Hey Hey Hey Hey"
Lionel Hampton's "Hey Bop a Ree Bop"
Bad Manners - "Ne ne nah nah no no nu nu" (80's ska band)
Jesse Hill - "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" (sung by  Tina Louise (Ginger) and countless other sex kittens)
James Baskett - "Zip A Dee Doo Dah" (from Disney's 'Song of the South')
 The Merry Macs - "Mairzy Doats"
( I know the song, but had to look up the performer)
What other songs can you think of?


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Problem solving flow chart

 It's been around awhile, but just in case you've never seen this...

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Kitty Porn (thanks, Mare)

from the South Florida

Martin County Sheriff's detectives didn't buy it when a 48-year-old Jensen Beach man claimed that his cat was downloading child pornography on his computer.

Keith R. Griffin, of the 3600 block of Northeast Jeannette Drive, was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after detectives found more than 1,000 child pornographic images on his computer, according to a news release.

Griffin told detectives he would leave his computer on and his cat would jump on the keyboard.

Not my idea of a good Weight Loss program

Thursday, August 27, 2009

for Mare, Ant, Tacie and Bob

Garbage Plate, served at Nick Tahou Hots, Rochester, NY
from Wikipedia:

A Garbage Plate is a combination of one selection of cheeseburger, hamburger, red hots, white hots, Italian sausage, chicken tender, fish (Haddock), fried ham, grilled cheese, or eggs; and two sides of either home fries, French fries, baked beans, or macaroni salad.
On top of that are the options of mustard and onions, ketchup, and Nick's proprietary hot sauce, a greasy sauce with spices and ground beef. It's served with rolls or Italian toast on the side

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Emergent zipper release: "Free Willy"

A practical science publication (for men):

Comparing 2 Methods of Emergent Zipper Release
 N. Inoue, S.C. Crook and L.G. Yamamoto, American journal of Emergency Medicine, vol. 23, no. 4, July 2005, pp. 480-2.
The authors, at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, report:
"Subjects were provided with zippers and were taught 2 methods of emergent zipper release using a standard method (cutting the median bar of the actuator) and an alternate method (cutting the closed teeth of the zipper). The elapsed times to successful zipper release for both methods were measured.
CONCLUSION: The alternate method of zipper release is faster and easier than the standard method of zipper release; however, the optimal procedure is also dependent on the location of the entrapped tissue relative to the zipper actuator and the type of zipper."

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Here Comes Science! => Full text of article

The full text of previous article
(i didn't realize you needed a subscription to access it)

Your 1987 remake of the 1959 children's song 'Why Does the Sun Shine?' is still popular. Why did you cover it?

We have songs about science and also about the pro-science culture of our childhood — the post-war science boosterism that was going on. The science record that we covered that track from was part of the post-Sputnik period in US history when there was a lot of interest in getting kids into science.

Was science a missed calling?

I would have been a crummy scientist but I would have been enthusiastic. I like science a lot and it's something that I think about all the time, almost as an amateur. It was a nice convergence of personal interests and a logical next step that we did an album about science.

How does this follow on from your previous records for children?

We put out Here Come the ABCs as a placeholder. We were not overly concerned about teaching kids the alphabet because they are going to learn the alphabet anyway. It was a pretext for entertainment. The follow-up with the numbers was an obvious choice — although we were resistant to doing the Here Come the 123s because it was so obvious. Science was a departure from that pattern. And that was really exciting. We got to do something personal to us with the full promotional machinery of the Disney corporation behind it.

From the first song, 'Science is Real', this album seems to be making a statement. Why is that important?

It seems that science has suffered in this country recently, so it was political in a way. There has been some scepticism about science in the past 25 years that has been unfortunate. There's a decadent quality to that — that the culture has lost its way.

Your lyrics talk about evolution being real and how stories about angels and unicorns are just that, stories. Did you worry that this might alienate some listeners?

John Flansburgh took the bull by the horns by writing that song and addressing that situation, which is that religion cannot take the place of science. It's not something you can tiptoe around. It's important that everybody gets what the discussion is about. If we're talking about the history of Earth, we can't rely on religious tradition to tell us all the information. He says it in the song: as beautiful as the stories are, they don't tell us everything we need to know. It's an old complaint on the part of scientists, but it bears repeating.

Did you hire a fact-checker?

We did. Eric Siegel from the New York Hall of Science listened to everything and gave us very useful information, only some of which we entirely comprehended. He was pointing out, also, things in the videos that were misleading or not making the point in the right way.

In the new album you write a musical retraction: 'Why Does the Sun Really Shine?' Why set the record straight?

We overstated the case in saying that the original song is fatally flawed, because a lot of the information in it is good. The Sun does convert hydrogen into helium and there's a nuclear reaction and that's the source of the explosive radiative energy coming out of the Sun. The only thing that was seriously wrong with the original song is that the Sun is not gas, it's plasma. It's one of those modern distinctions that was lost on the writers in the fifties.

What's next?

I wish we could do a second volume of the science because there's a lot more stuff we haven't covered. I don't know, maybe that's going to be our next move. We could spend a lot more time on science.

Interview by Brendan Maher, Nature's Biology Features Editor.

Here Comes Science will be released digitally on 1 September, and as a CD/DVD set on 22 September on Idlewild/Disney Sound.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here Comes Science

from Nature 460, 1084 (27 August 2009)
Brendan Maher

The US band They Might Be Giants has played rock to adults for more than two decades — and to children since 2002.
Next week it releases the album Here Comes Science, with educational tunes about the elements and evolution.
John Linnell, who fronts the band with John Flansburgh, explains why a science-friendly thread runs through their music.
article @  


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The Squirrelizer

Melissa Brandts and her husband were hiking in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and decided to take a portrait of themselves with spectacular Lake Minnewanka in the background.  Melissa set up the camera and went back to pose, and her husband held the remote shutter  release.
"We had our camera set up on some rocks and were getting ready to take the picture when this curious little ground squirrel appeared, became intrigued with the sound of the focusing camera and popped right into our shot," Melissa said.
"Self-Portrait With Ground Squirrel" was born.
The couple submitted the photo to National Geographic, and yet another Internet Meme was born.
Now YOU can add that Photo Crashing Squirrel you own photos!
The Squirrelizer

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6 Reasons Why Firefox Is Safer Than Internet Explorer


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[see attached xkcd cartoon or see]
the rollover text on the website says:

 "You can do a lot better than 1% if you start keeping track of the patterns in what numbers people pick.".
Psychic debunker James Randi gave a lecture in my "Science and Pseudoscience" class, and explained how "psychics" do know the pattern that people pick when given a choice of numbers from 1 to 100.
People tend to pick a number over 50.
People tend to pick a number that's not too close to 100.
People tend to pick even numbers.
People tend to avoid duplicating numbers.
So a "psychic" will ask an audience to think of a number from 1 to 100, and know that "68" has a greater than 1% chance of being picked.
Much greater.
James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world's most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

FW: Microsoft sucks at Photoshop

 From my friend Marc Lombardi:


via Engadget by Laura June on 8/25/09


[Thanks, David]

Read - Microsoft's English site
Read - Microsoft's Polish site

Filed under:

Microsoft sucks at Photoshop originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 25 Aug 2009 15:47:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink | Email this | Comments


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Dead Tech (and #17)

 An MSN website has a list of 40 "Dead Technology" items.
(or at least "Things we seldom see or do anymore")
The list includes:
 Going on a 'blind' first date
 Needing to be 18 to have access to porn
 Hearing the sound of a modem connecting
 Removing the perforated leader strips from continuous-feed paper printouts
 Having easy-to-remember TV channel numbers
 Wearing a calculator watch
 Using a public phone booth
 Booting up to a C:\ prompt
 Getting an AOL disk or CD in the mail
 Using proper grammar and punctuation
 Item  #17  is
17. Making someone a real mix tape
Web sites like and Songza may attempt to fill the void,
but the art of laboring over a custom-made mix tape tailored for a
special occasion or a special person -- as romanticized by John Cusack's
character in "High Fidelity" -- seems to have gone the way of electrical
appliance repair and blacksmithing. It's a shame, too, because mix tapes
made great gifts for dates -- and by "great" I mean "potentially highly
prized by the recipient and yet incredibly cheap and easy to assemble."


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that damned squirrel

 I was looking through some old vacation photos from our family trip to Maine, and guess who was there, too ?

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Internet Rule #34 Motivational Poster

If you don't know Rule #34 :

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Tech Support Cheat Sheet


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Friday, August 21, 2009

I want to say one word to you. Just one word... "Plastics."
be sure to see

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What to do with cheap cans of Natty Lite

I once subscribed to a listserv about homebrewing,
and someone asked the group the following question:
     >Do any of you know of other fun beer related activities
     >that would be easy to organize and inexpensive to fund?

I replied to the list:

Sam & Max, in Freelance Police #1, offer the following:

                  Let's Play Fizzball!
It's the wacky new game that's filling hospital concussion and laceration
wards across the nation! And it's so easy to play.
o  Equipment
Get yourself a few cases of that cheap, nasty beer that's usually found stacked
and on sale near the checkout counter right before National Drinking Holidays.
The Pitcher
Ready to play? Shake the can vigorously. Get about 15 feet from the batter to
pitch.  A real easy underhand pitch is used. You're not trying to strike the
guy out. You want to see the can blow up, right? Right!
The Batter
You'll need an axe or mattock handle or some primitive looking branch. Think
Atomic War-Club size! Yeah! Swing like a mad ape. The object is to hack through
the soft middle and split the can wide open! Yahoo! Some fun, eh?
What are you gonna do, try to catch a shredded metal can? What are you, stupid?
== Reference Section == Various Fizzball Phenomena == Create your own!
The Pinwheel - This is a great Fizzball effect! The can is smacked open and
rotates in the air forever, drenching everything in a 20 foot radius with
beautiful ribbons of foam!
The War of the Worlds - Picture the top of the batted can, snapped free,
spinning and gaining altitude like a hovering alien craft! Wow!
The Cannonball - This one is often frustrating. The swelling can is bashed over
the fence, unruptured and out of reach. But you might want to keep an eye on
the kids next door when they try to open it. Hee Hee!
The Time Bomb - A tiny rupture starts a fine spray-leak as the spinning can
skitters across the ground. Get it back in play before it's a dud!
Have fun and be sure to wear protective head gear (but only if you're some kind
of Goddam pansy), and maybe next time we'll tell you about 8-track tape skeet

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Submitted for your approval...


[ I like how places of interest are visibly demarcated ]

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Who's Still Alive?

from the Village Voice   Wednesday, Aug. 19 2009 
Who's Still Alive?
In the midst of one of the dying-est years in celebrity history, I feel it's imperative to cherish the old-time stars who are still with us and make sure (via prayers, voodoo, or interventions) that they never transition to the other side.  But who are they?  Who's left?
There's Abe Vigoda, but no one can be completely sure of that.

 full @

But you CAN be completely sure of that. 
Go to
I just went there and it says, "Abe Vigoda is alive."
I'll check again in a few minutes...


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am sending an email.

 Study shows 40 percent of Twitter messages 'pointless babble' .

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

humor from 'The Onion' (video)

Advocacy Group Decries PETA's Inhumane Treatment Of Women
"They make women strip down, put vegetables over their genitals, and subject them to hours of photo shoots. No living creature should be treated like that!"

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Monday, August 17, 2009

It's gonna be a busy week

There are 4 of us who are mutual friends of one person, and we have a long Facebook thread of comments to one another. Since the 4 of us only know that one person, and have never met each other, we're trying to find a day to get together to meet.  As a joke I posted the following :

  I'd love to get together with all of you soon. However, I'm a key member of the Republican Noise Machine, and next week I'm pretty busy.

On Monday, I have to forge Obama's birth certificate to make it look like he was born in Kenya.  On Tuesday, I've got to start a rumor that the Health Care Overhaul will lead to the mass slaughter of the Elderly.

On Wednesday,  I have to redefine "Socialism" so that it fits Obama's policies (even the ones that Bush started).

Thursday's gonna be a killer; I have to convince the Party Loyalists that Sarah Palin's capable of governing the country. That might take more than one day.

Oh, wait, wait... All that stuff's already done?

OK, then I can join you anytime next week for a beer, but I can't stay long.  I have to score some Oxycotin for Rush, and get Cheney a few gallons of Tru-Blood.

And I still gotta get around to giving Ann Coulter her rabies shot.


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"Do the math"... correctly.

from the blog In Iraq Now (at 56)

 Earlier I had an argument that would only happen here, at least in my life.  I was walking out the latrine near our motor pool and an old sergeant in third platoon was walking in.  I said hello and he launched into the latest government ripoff.

"Sergeant Gussman, your buddy Ed Rendell just raised my taxes 16% in Pennsylvania."
 He stopped at the urinal and began to multitask. I was glad to be near the door.

"That means he's taking 16 dollars out of every hundred I make. What do you think of that?"  I exited fearing he would lose concentration and some problem would ensue.

When he came outside I said, "Take it easy Sergeant (Arch Conservative) a 16% tax increase on a 2.65% tax is an increase of about 40 CENTS per hundred dollars."

He sputtered, "CNN said 16% and that means $16 per hundred."  Then he calmed down and blamed CNN for misleading him.

He is still upset at Ed Rendell and at CNN and I suppose at me for ruining his perfectly good attack on "those damned Liberals."

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Friday, August 14, 2009

get WiFi from a "CAN-TENNA"

This article explains how to make a WiFi antenna out of a Pringles can, which you can use to boost your Wi-Fi network speeds.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mashed In Plastic - The David Lynch Mashup Album


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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Financial Crisis Most Wanted deck of cards

The Financial Crisis Most Wanted deck is the latest novelty gift to mock the notorious financiers and government officials blamed for the collapse of the U.S. economy. 
Convicted former investor Bernard Madoff looks none too happy on the ace of spades.
Ousted Bank of America Chairman Ken Lewis, still the company's CEO, adorns the king of hearts.
CNBC's bullish "Boo-yah!" stock-picker Jim Cramer smiles from the ace of clubs.
And a stern Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial's former CEO, who faces fraud and insider-trading charges, graces the queen of clubs.


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annual Perseid meteor shower

 Skygazers are preparing for another dazzling sky show, as the annual Perseid meteor shower reaches its peak.
No special equipment is required to watch the shower, which occurs when Earth passes through a stream of dusty debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle.
Astronomers are advised to lie on a blanket or a reclining chair to get the best view.

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Imagine Google Earth on steroids.

 Take look at this short video from PBS.
This is program about a Virtual Globe touch-table display. Imagine Google Earth on steroids.
As an example, about half way in the video it shows Iran's nuclear facility and does an interesting thing.  It displays the image as time-lapse satellite pictures taken over the course of several years, and lets you see  what Iran hid (or thought they hid) underground.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

shades of Frank Herbert's "Dune"

from Australia's Courier Mail:

 ARMED with explosives, two men are heading to Mongolia's Gobi Desert to find the fabled acid-spitting and lightning-throwing Mongolian death worm.The worm has never been documented but some Mongolians are convinced it exists. They call it Allghoi Khorkhoi, or "intestine worm" because it resembles a cow's intestine and is about 1.5m long. The worm apparently jumps out of the sand and kills people by spitting concentrated acid or shooting lightning from its rectum over long distances, NZPA reports. (Seriously.)

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Woo-Hoo !!!

I was in the post office this morning.
  Two words:

" How is education supposed to make me feel smarter?  Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive? "
   - Homer Simpson

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Monday, August 10, 2009


from World Wide Words:

 If you're online a lot, you may encounter appvertisements, a word I spotted in a MediaPost blog on Tuesday.
These are little computer applications (called apps in the jargon) that are also adverts.
They run inside social media networks such as Facebook; they might be games involving virtual currency or virtual gifts that promote a product — send a friend a virtual gift of a bottle of (branded) beer, or a virtual gift that's delivered (virtually, of course) by a shipping firm, so spreading its name around the network.
The technique is called appvertising. .

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Fw: I've Been Simpsonized!

Have you ever wondered what I would look like as a character on The
Not even once?

Well, anyway, I would look like this:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

BBQ Jew website

This site shows what happens when the "Chosen People" choose pork.
North Carolina pork barbecue to be specific.
Includes recipes, too.

I LOVE this one:
Kosher Barbecue:
1 small scoop chopped pork BBQ
1 large scoop denial
     Close your eyes, mix ingredients together, take a bite and tell yourself,
    "I am eating brisket, I am eating brisket."


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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A dozen dozen ways to die.

How Is America Going To End?
The top 144 scenarios.

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
   "Fire and Ice" - Robert Frost

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Rat, you're my Hero

  HeroRATS are trained sniffer rats that detect explosives and diagnose disease. This unusual idea has been developed into a competitive technology by a group of Belgian and Tanzanian researchers and animal trainers under the umbrella organization called APOPO. APOPO was initiated in response to the global landmine problem. In the mid 90's it was well recognized that most mine clearance techniques in use were slow, expensive, and dependant on foreign expertise.
Working with the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining, accreditation standards have been established to license the mine-detecting HeroRATS and over 30 trained HeroRATS are now working to demine Mozambique. From these beginnings, APOPO has also expanded its HeroRAT programs to detect Tuberculosis. Further uses are being explored, such as the ability to conduct search and rescue operations in rubble after disasters.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

xkcd... the book ?!?!?

from Sam Goodman:


When Pixels Find New Life on Real Paper

IT'S not exactly Quentin Tarantino directing Ibsen, or Jeff Gordon racing go-carts, but the idea that Randall Munroe, creator of the online comic strip xkcd — wildly popular among techies the world over for its witty use of programming code in its gags — would for the first time publish a book is still something of a head scratcher.
Not a book for Kindle, I should add. A print book — you know, dead trees, ink, no text search, nonadjustable font size. The plan is for an initial press run of 10,000 copies sometime around June. And judging by the enthusiasm of the strip's fans, who frequently act out the concepts in the strip in real life, those copies should sell quickly.

So, are we seeing an all-too-rare example of the triumph of print books over digital content? Does even an online legend like the 24-year-old Mr. Munroe crave the respectability of print? (Mr. Munroe once before climbed the respectability ladder when in October he competed against the illustrator Farley Katz of The New Yorker in a "cartoon-off." No winner was declared.)

In fact, the xkcd story previews the much more likely future of books in which they are prized as artifacts, not as mechanisms for delivering written material to readers. This is print book as vinyl record — admired for its look and feel, its cover art, and relative permanence — but not so much for convenience.


 If they publish something as old fashioned as a "book", then it will have to come with an audio mp3 instruction manual to let the tech-savants know how to OPERATE that ancient piece of technology:
There is no START button on a "book."  When you want to view the contents, you must grab the "cover" by an outer edge, and lift it off the "pages"....

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Heil... Rosanne Barr?

Roseanne Barr, Dressed as Hitler, Bakes Burnt 'Jew Cookies'
As NewsBusters has chronicled over the years, Roseanne Barr has a history of doing and saying some truly disgraceful things, but this one really takes the cake...or the cookie in this case. Her most-recent tailspin into the gutter involved a photo shoot with Heeb magazine wherein she is seen wearing an Adolf Hitler moustache and swastika as she takes burnt gingerbread "Jew Cookies" out of an oven (pictured right). In another, in same costume, she is shown about to take a bite out of one of these burnt cookies 
 =====   =====   =====   =====   =====   =====   =====   =====   =====

Here's the problem: 
Comedy has lost so many taboos that you need to do photo shoots like this just to be 'edgy'.  Really, after Sarah Silverman's jokes about the Holocaust, Martin Luther King Jr, and AIDS, there's not much room left for anyone to be "outrageous" anymore.  So you go with Hitler and Jew-cookies in the oven.
Problem is, it just isn't funny.  Not because it's sick (which still CAN be funny), it's just that there's no joke there. It's simply a design to be outrageous.
And that's a sign of desperation.
I don't know how you guys feel about modern art, but there have been controversies over Andres Serrano's  "Piss Christ" (photo of a crucifix in a jar of urine) and  Chris Ofili's "Holy Virgin Mary" (elephant dung around painting of Mary).  I remember one artist who designed an instillation that required you to walk on the American Flag in order to get close enough to see it.
Now I'm all for freedom of expression, but I'm all for ART as well.  It seems to me that these artists are just trying (really, really, really t-r-y-i-n-g) to be controversial.  But it's so EASY to do.  Follow these simple steps:
1) Find an image that people value
2) Shit on it.
I think HEEB magazine has just joined the club: "Outrage without Content."
There's no point in screaming at the top of your lungs if you have nothing to say.


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