Culture

Ups and Downs: Where Bears Trick You Into Thinking They Are Not Trying to Eat Your Head.

Grizzly Bear

Up: It’s the Headline of the Week!: This week’s headline comes from the Reuters news wire and only won because, as with Alan Thicke, I admire the fact that I can’t tell if it’s being ironic. The headline:

Bear Hunter Severely Mauled by Grizzly.

“Severely”? I wasn’t aware that we were classifying degrees of bear maulings now. Is there such a thing as being mildly mauled? Grizzly bears are 800 lb nightmare beasts that can feast on other large mammals like moose, elk, other bears and, probably, beluga whales. Even more horrifying, Grizzly Bears are highly intelligent: They trick you into thinking that you guys are totally bros and then when you’re not looking they completely wreck the brand new tent you just bought this weekend. Or they just eat your skull. Either way, the outcome of any encounter that involves your body and the claws or teeth of a humongous fucking bear is, by definition, going to be severe — even if it’s only the degree to which you crap yourself.

The runner-up this week was from Time magazine: Schwarzenegger, Strauss-Kahn and Caligula: Why Powerful Men Compulsively Cheat.

It was a blistering, tell-all report about the time that the Terminator traveled back in time to kill Ghengis Khan at an orgy in a Roman bath-house. Powerful stuff.

Down: This is worse than Suessical: Mike Huckabee has had a whirlwind week. First, he announced that he won’t mount a presidential campaign for the 2012 election, leaving an opening for another candidate looking to finish third in next year’s GOP primaries. Then Huckabee, somehow, found a way to make educational programing even more unpleasant for children. He announced that he has started a website and partnered with a group to produce a number of animated videos called the “Learn Our History” series. According to a statement from Huckabee, the videos claim to teach American history from an “unbiased” perspective:

“Some teachers and education boards are using history and social studies classes as their soap box to promote their own political opinions and biases! Using animated videos that kids love, this series tells the tales of the Time Travel Academy, a group of friends who create an incredible time machine that takes them back in time to relive history in the making.”

When he complains about teachers promoting their political biases in class, he’s using code words for a common hobby-horse for conservatives and / or idiots: That radical liberal teachers are teaching students to blame America for all the world’s problems. As you might expect, then, the first video in series is about the Reagan Revolution. I’m not shitting you. Check out the recently-released promo:

YES. Kids do love videos which appear to have been animated by a meth addict with a Mac suite. This is the educational equivalent of a conservative wet dream — a revisionist kind of history in which Ronald Reagan personally ended the deep financial downturn of the 70’s, negotiated an end to the Iranian hostage crisis, and tore down the Berlin Wall using nothing but his biceps and the force of his incredible belief in trickle-down economics. If Mike Huckabee were in charge of a school’s curriculum, your children would learn that dinosaurs went extinct because President Reagan killed them with his bare hands.

For what it’s worth, the best part of the above video comes at the 0:25 mark, when a bi-racial man in a skin-tight tank-top that has the word “DISCO” printed across the front attempts to mug the kids from the Time Travel Academy — something that, in real life, would only happen in the gayest parts of San Francisco.

Up: Outside of Mike Huckabee’s videos, how can we make school even more unbearable for children?: An article from the Associated Press raised an interesting question this week: Does the internet mean the end of snow days?

With more and more classrooms utilizing technology to teach from a distance, some people are suggesting that snow days will soon be a thing of the past. Instead, kids will just hop on their computers to finish their lessons on mornings when heavy snow prevents them from physically attending class. On the surface, it sounds like a depressing idea. Anyone in Chicago or the greater Midwest this February for the Blizzard of 2011 experienced the fun of having the entire city shut down for almost two days, giving everyone some time to sleep-in, sled, and shovel their car out of an 8-foot snow drift. For some people, it was a once-a-lifetime event. But in reality, many high school and college students already bring their laptops and iPads to class, so that they can pretend to take notes as they update their Facebook statuses. This will just allow students to forego the formality of wearing pants.

Down: Yes, but what’s blocking the porn channel on the TV?: PC World ran this helpful article this week giving tips about common items that can block a WiFi signal, such as household appliances or neighboring WiFi signals. They are planning to publish a follow-up next week, featuring six more items that could be obstructing your WiFi signal. Fortunately for you, I’ve already seen the new list, and I can give you a preview right now:

1. Your mobile meth lab: In addition to blocking your WiFi signal, your lab is also a risk to set your van on fire.

2. All that tinfoil you’ve been chewing: Rather than leaving it near your router, place it neatly in trash. You’re welcome, mother earth!

3. Alien signals aimed at mind control: You’re already in their power, so you’re as good as fucked from the get-go. Don’t fight it.

4. That dead body you left slumped over your laptop: Just push it on the floor. Now you’re ready to surf the internet!

5. Hundreds of millions of people downloading porn and / or watching the Rebecca Black music video: At some point, that song becomes legitimately catchy.

6. Your microwave: You probably shouldn’t keep your router in there.