Nine People Worse Off Than You

Having a bad day? The bakery on the corner gave you the wrong kind of muffin? Was one of your expenses rejected? Did your little sister mouth off to you? Oh poor you. If you’re having that kind of day, it might pay to keep these people in mind. It won’t make the hurt any less, really, but it would certainly distract your thoughts for a bit and get you thinking “I’m glad that didn’t happen to me!”

1. Charlie Parker
The seminal Jazz saxophonist became a huge success at a young age. He enjoyed money, fame, and women, but threw it all away for heroin and just about anything else he could put in his body. At one point the Kansas City native was forced to perform on a cheap plastic saxophone, having sold his in order to buy smack. Parker led such a hard life that by the time he died at age 35, the coroner believed him to be around 60 years old. And he was a fatass. You don’t want to piss off the pallbearers. Not that I know from experience.

2. The Stolen Generations
If you were an aboriginal child in Australia any time between the early 1900s and the 1970s, your life was fairly horrid. You were likely brutally torn from your parents’ arms at a young age, placed into a squalid orphanage, and if you were lucky you weren’t raped. Upon reaching adulthood, you were released back into society; angry, in great emotional pain, and probably a drunkard. I’m sure you feel really bad about missing out on the subway seat in the morning now.

3. Socrates
Most people think the Greek philosopher led a great life because of all the respect given to him since his death. This, however, is untrue. To start with, Socrates was incredibly ugly. He was also short. The man fought in three wars, had no job, a wife he didn’t love, and three sons who sound like shiftless layabouts. But Socrates liked to talk, and he like to be annoying. For which he was eventually forced to drink poison. Oh, I’m sorry, are you working a crappy restaurant job?

4. Ryan White
White was a young hemophiliac who contracted HIV through a contaminated blood transfusion. His infection was discovered in 1984 and his school expelled him. While he did gain national attention and help promote understanding of HIV/AIDS, he died at 19 without graduating from high school or ever getting laid. I’m sure that last sounds callous, but how would you feel if you died only ever having kissed your Mom?

5. Joanna the Mad
She ruled Spain, her husband was king, and her son was a Holy Roman Emperor. Imagine living in opulence, but being chained to a patriarchal system where you Father hated the idea that your son from elsewhere would rule. Then end your life imprisoned and unable to come to grips with reality. You never change clothes, bathe, or eat. I’m sorry, are you reading this and late for work?

6. Stephen Hawking
So you’re the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a position Newton once held. You’re one of the leading minds of your time, certainly amongst the top three in physics. You’ve made money from books and television, and you even left your wife for your hot nurse. But, you needed a nurse. And you needed her because you’re paralyzed. There’s no doubt you’re respected, but your mind is trapped in a body communicating through a robotic voice you control with your teeth and you can’t fuck the hot nurse. Remember our well-respected and good friend Stephen when you haven’t been laid in a while.

7. Mohammad Jawad
You’re fifteen years old and hanging out in Afghanistan. Things have pretty much already sucked your entire life, what with the Taliban banning dancing (amongst other things). Suddenly your country is invaded and you get picked up by some U.S. servicemen who say you tossed a grenade into their camp. Then you’re sent to a speck of land on the tip of Cuba and tortured for six years. Cuba of all places! You’re now old enough to drink in the U.S. (if you weren’t Muslim), but you probably couldn’t even hold a bottle with those shaking hands of yours. Yes, it’s a damn shame they didn’t put enough sugar in your Dunkin’ Donuts today, sugar.

8. The Ammonites
Hey, the Jordan River Valley is great. It’s some thousands of years BC, there are nice crops, good sunlight, sultry Mediterranean women, and only the occasional cattle raid. That is until a pack of scraggly, bedraggled, smelly desert wanderers come over the dunes and murder you, your family, and everyone you know because their God told them to do so. Just so they can get the land and sunlight. Yes, you just had an awkward moment with that girl you kissed a couple of weeks ago. Beats death.

9. Ferdinand Magellan
He’s got strait and two dwarf galaxies named after him, how is he worse off than you? Well, first he worked for years to get Portugal to send an expedition past South America, through the Pacific Ocean and on to the Spice Islands. They told him he could take a hike. Then he went to Spain and tried the same thing, but they were suspicious. It took them a year or two, but they finally gave in. At which point they were still suspicious because he was Portuguese. So he makes his trip, fights off mutiny and starvation, saves most of his crew across the Pacific, and then is killed in a land he doesn’t know, by someone only known to history because they killed him, and his body was never recovered. Plus he never actually made it around the world.

I ended the list at nine purely to annoy you. Number 10 would’ve been interesting, though…

Crustacean Considered Kosher

Karakol, Kyrgyzstan – The serendipity of science continues in an onward direction! Children from a local village, in an attempt to play a painful prank on a visiting British scientist, have brought into the blazing beam of the lighthouse of science Pronephrops capranothus; the Mountain Lobster. The children and local villagers were denied the chance to name the lobster, however. Dr. G. Everett Spindle refused to consult them before submitting the discovery to the journal Biology.

“That’s what they get for being literal pains in the bum,” the irate Spindle responded when questioned on his decision. “I’m still unable to sit down a week later!”

The Mountain Lobster, whose scientific name roughly translates as “bastard of the goat” is not just the first lobster to be found on land. In fact, it is also the first lobster known to have hooves and to chew its cud. It is also the only known lobster to live exclusively on a diet of grass.

These discoveries have made for an influx of Jewish and other Hebraic tourists to the Karakol region on the assumption that they could now enjoy lobster like everyone else. Rabbis everywhere have cautioned that the appearance of hooves and cud-chewing does not negate the animal not being a mammal. A minority of Rabbis have posited that the Mountain Lobster could be the long-lost species of locust mentioned as edible in the Torah.

The creature is still rather difficult for non-locals to find. Though large in size (some approach nearly a meter in length), the Mountain Lobster is able to run at over 10 miles per hour. They dig extensive burrows in the mountainsides and, due to a symbiotic relationship with a slime mold, are able to blend seamlessly into the crags and crannies of the local valleys.

The benefit to the slime mold is, at present unknown, though it has been hypothesized that organism has created a culture based entirely off of wind power, which the lobster’s movement provides.

Slime molds with culture and windmills are also a biological first.

Kyrgyzstan was long ridiculed as the land of stone rolling competitions and a poor man’s Uzbekistan. This Mountain Lobster discovery, newfound tourism income, and a more prominent place on the world stage all bode well for the landlocked Republic.

Only time will tell if the Mountain Lobster becomes an income generator pending Rabbinical decision, though the fact that the lobster tastes slightly like motor oil mixed with wheat germ may preclude its eventual adoption as a popular food stuff.


Before I really get into this, you should watch the following. It’s worth the thirty seconds.

Okay, you hear that bit at the end?

Only you can prevent wildfires.

I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, they changed it from forest fires.” However, that’s not it at all. I’m talking about the bit before the bit at the end.

Nine out of ten wildfires are caused by humans.

Nine out of ten. That’s 90%. So the vast majority of wildfires are caused by humans. I get that. Basically I should be careful with cigarettes, firecrackers, fireworks, roadflares, Duraflame™ logs, movie stunts, and toast.

But that still leaves 10% not caused by humans. If 10% of wildfires have no connection to me or anyone related to me closely through the evolutionary tree of life, I can only see one conclusion. Even I cannot prevent wildfires.

Time to head to Yellowstone with some matches…

The Fractal Bear, Jerboa, John Wilkes Booth

It’s barely Saturday morning, the snow has started, and it’s definitely time for Three Links.

Your cute for the day: long-eared jerboa.

Your weird for the day: the fractal teddy bear.

Your education today: did you know that before he assassinated Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth owned an oil company in western Pennsylvania? Read about the Dramatic Oil Company here.

How to Tell if You’re In Love

  1. Sasquatch tells you so.
  2. You stitch your loved-one’s name into your socks.
  3. Suddenly you start liking death metal.
  4. One afternoon you decide to make dioramas of the best scenes from Say Anything, but you replace the main characters with you and the person you love.
  5. You give up your religion, your family, and your community.
  6. Their goitre doesn’t bother you one bit.
  7. In conversation with your friends, you say “Their feet don’t smell that bad.”
  8. So their apartment’s infested. So what?
  9. You tell them you hate their sexual orientation.
  10. When you think about them you get nauseous. This could also be indicative of salmonella poisoning or existential angst.