Friday, 23 December 2011

The top 5 most noteworthy people ever born on December 25th

Eris had been born pregnant, and after 55 years (Goddesses have an unusually long gestation period - - longer even than elephants), Her pregnancy bore the fruits of many things… - Principia Discordia

People around the world are soon going to be celebrating the "birthday" of a Nazarene named Jesus. Assuming that guy existed and that the story of his birth as depicted in the bible is accurate, anyone who has ever done a bit of research knows that his birthday was probably in the spring. But December 25th continues to be the days his followers celebrate as his birthday.

If you can't really get behind the whole Jesus's birthday thing but still feel like it's a good day to celebrate the birth of someone important, here's my Discordian top 5 people born on December 25th.

Isaac Newton (1642) – Most people know him as the guy who had an apple fall on his head and realized that things seem to fall instead of flying off into space. That story has been thoroughly dismissed as myth, but considering the mind of this man, that nursery school anecdote is the closest that most people will ever come to understanding what he did. The man invented calculus, so he is pretty much equal parts hated and revered by people who ever had to actually learn calculus.

Carlos Castaneda (1925) – Quite possibly the most famous self-help guru to profit from the hippy era. He published books to promote the methods of probably fictional Yaqui Shaman Don Juan Matus. Castaneda invented a magical martial art and became a recluse, keeping the company of three women. Basically Charlie Sheen if he had invented Yoga.

Rick Berman (1945) – This man was Gene Roddenberry's successor to the Star Trek franchise and had his hand in all things Star Trek from TNG onward. There were some great Gems in there, but ultimately he was credited for being the reason that Star Trek is no longer bold.

Jimmy Buffett (1946) – This man is like a totem for the working stiff. His music is largely about taking off to some tropical island and leaving the rat race behind. And who hasn't tried to remember the words to Margaritaville while drunk? Even if you could never Manage, it didn't matter. This guy was the definition of laid back.

Karl Rove (1950) – The man who put the dirty into politics, or at least elevated it to an art form. He learned the tricks of the trade from the Nixon administration and later mastered the art of getting a Bush elected. From campaigns reminding poor people to vote on the day after the election, to outing an active CIA agent, the man helped desensitize the American public to lies and crimes at the highest levels.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The absolute least you can do for the environment

There's a pretty simple case to be made for why people should take steps to help protect our environment. Generally speaking there is only one way people can do this: reduce consumption. However, people in the western world have a habit of being both greedy and lazy. Today I would like to introduce you to the Discordian top 5 ways to save the planet without having to compromise you standard of couch-sitting.

1) Buy electronics that have all the features you want

In fact, you might actually consider buying MORE than you want. In this era of people being brainwashed into buying a new cell phone just because there's a new one available it would be wise to get one that's going to do everything you can imagine wanting to do with it for as far into the future as you can make it. The goal is to reduce electronic waste products by buying quality high-performing products that you aren't going to throw out in 6 months. Treat yourself to the high-end and stick with it for longer. 

2) Double-roll toilet paper
Larger rolls of toilet paper not only mean that you'll have to dig out a new roll less often; they also mean that you throw away less packaging. A double roll means you throw out half as many paper tubes and the reduced empty space means there's less packaging around the whole pack. The bigger the roll and the more rolls per package means less packaging per roll.

3) Pee in the shower

Every time you flush the toilet you are wasting drinking water. By peeing in the shower you save one toilet flush worth of water. It's similar to the "if it's yellow let it mellow" method of saving water, except that your guests won't judge you. Unless you shower with them.

4) Use Cruise Control

In this day and age it's incredible that we still have to use both our upper and lower bodies to drive a vehicle. Aren't we supposed to have robots for that? Well, we kind of do, and they are better at it than we are. Cruise control uses less gas on long trips than your foot on the gas pedal.

5) Toss recyclables on the ground

Litter? Can I be serious? An alarming number of people can't be bothered to take recyclables to the depot to collect their deposit and as a result many bottles and cans end up in landfills. However, in many communities there are homeless people and low income people who aren't above combing the ditches and garbage cans for something that's worth a dime. So if instead of tossing it in the garbage, you left it on the ground someplace visible, there a good chance it will soon end up being recycled without you having to lift a finger.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Hang out with a stranger for $5000

Based on my own collection of anecdotal evidence, if you are a Discordian, you probably have heard of the online game Kingdom of Loathing. This browser-based online game has more active Discordians than I have ever seen in one place that wasn't specifically targeted at Discordians. This is apparently evidence that Discordians are fond of stick figures, puns, and references to They Might Be Giants. Or maybe it's just absurdist humor in general. Either way, the game has been attracting Discordians from all over since February 23, 2003, and has established a loyal player base.

The Founding writer of this Game, known as Mr. Skullhead, recently made an error in judgement. He has been working on a comic book that takes place in the Kingdom of Loathing and decided to pursue backing from the player base. He set up a KickStarter page in the hopes of Raising $4,500 in 40 days. The error? It only took 12 hours. He established a number of "Thank You" rewards for different donation levels, including $23 as a nod to the Discordians (2+3=5).

Most talked-about on the Forums (and chat) of Loathing is the option to pledge $5000, which would be thanked by a personal visit from Mr. Skullhead, himself:

 Joshua Nite, aka Mr. Skullhead, will fly to your home (anywhere in the U.S. -- sorry, rest of the world), hand-deliver all your other rewards, cook you dinner, and hang out until you ask, nay, beg him to leave. He knows lots of jokes and stories, can quote literally hundreds of movies, and even plays a little guitar! You can't buy quality entertainment like that, unless you totally do.
Nobody has yet to pledge that amount, so what are you waiting for? You know you're lonely and in need of a friend.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The trouble with Atheists

Greyface and his followers took the game of playing at life more seriously than they took life itself and were known even to destroy other living beings whose ways of life differed from their own. – Principia Discordia

Atheists. What is the deal with atheists? I'm not at all confused about atheism, which makes sense. Atheism makes sense after evaluation of one's religious experiences and subsequent rejection of their worth. It's the atheists that I don't get. It's like when they concluded that religion was damaging, they forgot that it was the damage that was negative, and not the religion, and proceeded to do their own damage, but in the name of Atheism instead of in the name of God.

Many atheists claim their beliefs are grounded in science and that they don't believe in things that can't be proven by science. This presents an interesting paradox because the disbelief in any form of deity has no scientific grounds. Basically, these atheists do not have a full understanding of the scientific method. A scientific hypothesis must be falsifiable, meaning that it is possible to prove it wrong. As an example, if I had a deck of cards and claimed the top card was the ace of spades. If I were wrong that would be proven when the card was turned over to reveal a different card. The existence of deity cannot be disproven through objective observation, therefore to hold a firm belief, as either a theist, or an atheist, is completely independent of science and both positions are equally valid (or invalid).

Another big hypocrisy that vocal atheist are prone to is in regards to the free practice of religion. Atheist activists categorically dismiss all religious beliefs as ridiculous, including those religions which are technically Atheist, or those that are fully accepting of science, as ridiculous. According to :

We're respectful of the American people's individual rights to practice as they see fit (equal to our rights to do the same), but this does not mean we have to respect the decision.  If you choose to ignore logic and knowledge in order to believe in an invisible magic man in the sky, or Santa Claus for that matter, you've made a ridiculous decision and we're not going to pretend it's "just another way of looking at things."

The bulk of their vitriol is directed towards Abrahamic religions which are the religions of power and influence in most of the world. Atheists are hardly the only group to be frustrated by the ridiculousness of culturally mandated ignorance, but they destroy their chance of having political allies by summarily dismissing all belief systems as the same as those that kill people and demand lesser education for our children.

While it makes perfect sense to attack religious beliefs that fly in face of all evidence (such as the denial of evolution) or churches that extort money from their followers, it doesn't make sense to dismiss all spiritual people as ridiculous. As a Discordian, if you are going to call me ridiculous, I want you to know what you're talking about, first. I'm not offended if someone reads the principia and concludes it's ridiculous, but I am offended if someone reads the Bible and concludes that the principia is ridiculous, because that's just plain ignorant.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Rebecca Black vs Jenna Rose

It is also believed that they have been costuming cabbages and passing them off as human beings. – Principia Discordia

It seems that everyone loves to hate Rebecca Black's impossibly vapid single "Friday", and for reasons that are mostly apparent: it's mindless, repetitive, and speaks to nothing but a privileged adolescence. One thing I noticed about the song that nobody seems to be saying is that it makes Jenna Rose look good.

Jenna Rose, another YouTube darling, has a single called "My Jeans" about, you guessed it, Jeans. The song is pretty mindless and is about a girl who has a pair of Jeans that she sees someone famous wearing in a magazine and therefore feels superior to her peers whose jeans are not featured in a magazine. By comparison, Rebecca Black's "Friday" is about how Friday is when the weekend starts, and weekends are "fun, fun, fun, fun, etc…"


When you compare the two songs, both of them are about the simpler concerns of a relatively privileged adolescence and lack any real emotional depth. They both have a catchy repetitiveness, but not so catchy that you feel compelled to listen to them again. However, "My Jeans" comes off as more genuine and whimsical. It's shallow, but in a way that you feel a young girl might actually have written it, enjoyed writing it, and felt proud when it was finished. Rebecca Black's video comes off as a little too polished to be the whimsical work of a young girl and ends up taking itself too seriously, which is why she's now an internet joke.


Rebecca Black's "Friday" is about such privilege that her life is made up of nothing but fun and school. While most kids have reason to look forward to the weekend, many have to work or help the family with chores. While Jenna Rose's song also speaks to privilege, there is nothing in the song that prevents a teenager who had to get a job to buy their own clothes from relating to the thrill of wearing something that was featured in a magazine.

While both Rebecca Black and Jenna Rose are shallow and simplistic, Jenna Rose manages, by comparison, to have more content and to be more relatable, and generally seems less manufactured. This raises an important question: Is it actually a good thing to have someone who makes Jenna Rose look good achieve as much fame as Rebecca Black?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Vaccine for cat ladies discovered

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain

I think we all have one of those friends. The one with 2 cats that she obsesses over, buying them toys, treats and the latest designer litter box. She lets them sleep with her, she buries her face in their fur with affection, and maybe, just maybe, she will actually complain about her allergies. Whether she complains or not, you can see them: those big, puffy red eyes begging you to take the cats away from her. Of course, you never step in. You know that those cats are your friends surrogate children and you wouldn't dare get in the way of that relationship. The most you could ever do is fetch your friend a pack of antihistamines and hope it works out.

It has always been a mystery why cat allergies weren't enough to keep someone from becoming at cat lady. Surely the universe was trying to communicate to these people that they should not live with cats, or at the very least not sleep with them. Were they fanatics who considered themselves martyrs for some feline cause? Do they somehow feel that they deserve to suffer? Do they own stock in an antihistamine manufacturer? These questions may never be answered, and thanks to a recent discovery, we may soon be able to stop asking.

Researchers at McMaster University have discovered a cure for your friend's troubles: a vaccine that reduces, or even eliminates completely, allergies to cats. That means that your friend can love their furry companions and not have to suffer for it (unless, of course, the stuffy nose was saving them from smelling the litter box). The vaccine, currently in clinical trials, is supposed to have very few side effects compared to current immunotherapy shots and requires fewer injections.

This vaccine's potential is seemingly endless when it comes to benefitting cat ladies: every friend or love interest who kept their distance because they didn't want to deal with their allergies is suddenly going to be able to pet those adorable kitties and only be thinking about how soft and friendly they are. The vaccine could also have benefits for people who aren't particularly fond of cats, such as people who come into contact with cat dander through their jobs, such as house cleaners or veterinarians. Even better, the researchers are working on developing similar vaccines for other environmental allergens such as hay fever. If the trials are a success, taking antihistamine tablets for allergies could become a thing of the past.

The only question that remains is if the vaccine will remove the stigma associated with being a cat lady. If so, the prescription will probably come with directions: "For best results, limit number of cats."

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Canada Rockets toward The Next Generation

I certainly remember building model rockets. It was fun to watch the rocket blast into the air, suspenseful to wonder if the parachute would open to bring the rocket safely back. - Eric Allin Cornell

Canada will be going to the polls on May 2nd and a few things of note are going on in the lead-up to the election. The first is vote mobs. Canadian youth are trying to encourage their peers to participate in the electoral process using a public protest style. This is news because Canadian youth are capable of being interested in the politics of virtually any country except Canada. The second point of interest is the surge in popularity of the New Democrat Party. Recent polls have the NDP placing 2nd in this election.

NDP Leader Jack Layton
The NDP placing 2nd may not seem particularly noteworthy on its own, especially given that those same polls see Canada heading towards another Conservative minority government. However, if the NDP get enough seats, they may end up leading the country anyway. The Liberals have been hesitant to form a coalition government because it apparently loses them some credibility, something the NDP has never really worried about (see photo). It seems more likely that a coalition would actually happen with the NDP in charge, since they've never been expected to form a majority government. The Liberals can tag along as nearly 50% partners while the NDP take the heat for teaming up with the "separatist" Bloc Quebecois, and that's only if they need their seats to out-number Conservative leader Steven Harper.

The election can still go any number of directions, especially if enough young people actually vote. Young people are where pollsters may be made fools: they are less likely to be polled. The election could go in any direction if people did the thing that they were least expected to do and just voted.

It may be unexpected to hear such tradition advice from a Discordian blog. The expected thing for a Discordian to do might be to spoil their ballot, possibly by drawing a cannabis leaf or a cartoon version of male genitalia. However, that's the sort of thing that Discordians have always done, and it's getting a bit predictable. Maybe the young rebels should change it up a bit and draw that image of protest neatly inside the check box next to the candidate you'd most like to see win.