Thursday, May 24, 2007

Links of the Oddest Variety

I've been saving a few links to write about for quite a while, but they're just so strange that I couldn't make fun of them. Much.

First off, from Sirius, an article at MSNBC titled "Enjoying Christmas With Pooping Peasants." Here's an excerpt:
Throughout Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, statuettes of "El Caganer," or "the great defecator" in the Catalan dialect, can be found in Christmas scenes, and increasingly on the mantelpieces of collectors, where for centuries symbols of defecation have played an important role in the season's festivities.

If I just had a dollar for every e-mail that called me the great defecator...

Here's another excerpt:
During the holidays, pastry shops around Catalonia sell sweets shaped like feces, and on Christmas Eve Catalan children beat a hollow log, called the tio, packed with holiday gifts, singing a song that urges it to poop presents out the other end.

"Honey? Did you bring home the feces log?"

The full story is here, and of course there's a picture of the "action figures."

This next link is a promotional press release from PopCap, but it's still funny (thanks Tara Calishain):
Two years ago, 72-year-old Sister Marie Richard Eckerle, School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) bought a copy of Bookworm for a computer at St. Mary of the Pines, a community for retired SSND in Chatawa, Mississippi. She was a fan of the video game, and her enthusiasm soon spread among her community members. She recalls, "It quickly became popular with so many others that we knew we'd better get more copies!"

Now St. Mary of the Pines owns a dozen more copies of Bookworm and has expanded their collection to include other "casual" video games, such as Bejeweled and Chuzzle. The games have become a regular - and important - part of daily life at St. Mary of the Pines. Staff and residents use them not only for entertainment, but also as a means of encouraging socialization and mental stimulation.

There you go. When retired nuns are playing games, I think they've officially gone mainstream. Games, not nuns.

Here's the press release. I bet PopCap just laughs when all these giant game companies announce losses of tens of millions of dollars, because as far as I can tell, PopCap prints money.

To complete the oddity trio, Brad Ruminer sent me a link to a story about a group of "eco-extremists" known as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

Ah, delicious irony.

Here's an excerpt:
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is an informal organisation that has spent the past decade campaigning for the phasing out of the entire human race. It is, if you like, the pressure group to end all pressure groups.

Followers crusade under the slogan "may we live long and die out", and advocate a lemming-like approach to the problem of overpopulation. Mankind, they say, is a destructive force at the root of every environmental problem now facing the planet; as a result, it should now commit biological hara-kiri.

This may sound like some sort of Monty Python spoof, but it's deadly serious. Even the organisation's shorthand has stern method to it: members call the group VHEMT, "pronounced vehement, because that's what we are".

It does sound like a Monty Python skit, actually, when you get to this paragraph:
The man behind this intellectual movement is Les U Knight, a middle-aged supply teacher from Oregon who became interested in the environmental lobby in the early 1970s after returning from Vietnam. He quickly made a number of major changes to his lifestyle, inserting the "U" in his name, and joining an organisation called Zero Population Growth. Later, while still in his mid-twenties, he underwent a voluntary vasectomy. Soon, though, Knight realised simply standing still, in population terms, was no solution to what he believed was a burgeoning crisis. The only solution, he decided, would be "for us to phase ourselves out completely".

Okay, somehow I wouldn't classify inserting a "U" into your name as a "major change" to your lifestyle, but I quibble.

It's a wonderful, funny article for all the wrong reasons (which is always best). Oh, and don't miss the classic quote from a VEHMT member who says this: "I'm not a strict extinctionist."

Classic comedy, and you can read it all here.

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