Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009: A Look Back at the Year in Review

JANUARY: Barack “Hussein in the Membrane” Obama is sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States. However, due to a misspeaking of the oath of office by Chief Justice John Roberts and some confusion regarding a birth certificate, George W. Bush technically remains president for an extra hour and a half, during which time he issues blanket pardons for Dick Cheney, Colonel Oliver North, Richard Nixon, and Dr. Richard Kimball as played by Harrison Ford in the movie The Fugitive. During his inauguration speech Obama pledges to fix the economy, provide universal health care, balance the budget, achieve world peace and racial harmony, and reach across the aisle to work with Republicans. In a tragic twist, no Republicans actually hear this extended olive branch because Fox News was re-running an episode of Fox and Friends during the inauguration. Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich puts Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat up for auction on ebay with buyer’s protection and free shipping.

FEBRUARY: Congress passes an economic stimulus package using some of the extra money the federal government has lying around. Record sales of ammunition are reported on rumors that President Obama has been sneaking into people’s homes at night to steal their guns. John McCain holds a press conference blaming the youth of America for his election loss. “I would have gotten away with the Presidency, too,” he says, “If it wasn't for those meddling kids.” Courageous voters in California solve the state’s budget crisis by banning gay marriage.

MARCH: Fugitive financier Bernie Madoff is arrested by federal agents when he emerges from hiding to apply for a government bailout. He cashes his $65 million executive bonus check from a prison yacht in the Caribbean. Democrats in Congress promise a vigorous debate on healthcare including many town hall meetings where the public can participate in the process. Republicans giggle and whisper amongst themselves at this but, when asked what is so funny, they just smile and say, “Oh, nothing.” Reeling from the economic collapse, the nation finds solace in the heart-warming relationship of famed Octomom Kate Gosselin and her doting husband Jon.

APRIL: Liberals applaud Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as “the most politically correct choice imaginable” while Conservatives fume at the absurdity that a Latina woman could ever be wiser than a white male. South Carolina governor and white male Marc Sanford immediately sets off on an international fact-finding trip to investigate Latina women. Susan Boyle turns the media world upside down with the flabbergasting revelation that singing talent is not exclusive to nubile, spandex-wearing twenty-two-year-olds. After Navy Seals shoot three Somali pirates to rescue the captain of the Maersk Alabama; the Recording Industry Association of American asks the Navy to deploy the snipers against anyone downloading pirated movies from the internet.

MAY: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hurts the feelings of the Central Intelligence Agency by having the nerve to suggest that the CIA would actually lie. Colleges and universities cancel their graduation ceremonies as almost all seniors skip their final exams—5% of them citing swine flu fears and 95% deliberating failing as a desperate ploy to stay in school and avoid the worst job market since the great depression. Vice President Joe Biden urges all Americans to panic; Washington D.C. legalizes gay marriage.

JUNE: States begin setting up Death Panels in a pre-emptive, cost-cutting move to eliminate the sick, elderly, unborn, and anyone exercising their second amendment rights. The first victims: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and pitchman Billy Mays. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a religious conservative exploiting the xenophobic nationalism of his rural followers, is declared the winner of Iran’s contested presidential election by an unelected body of officials; pundits chalk up another victory for Karl Rove. Marc Sanford admits tearily that he has been Hiking the Appalachian Trail with another woman. His wife announces that she has no plans to Hike the Appalachian Trail with Sanford at any point in the future again, ever.

JULY: Sarah Palin resigns as Governor of Alaska to spend more quality time with her family by loading them on a bus for her book tour. Conservatives blast former President Bill Clinton for securing the release of two journalists imprisoned by North Korea and demand that he produce his birth certificate before being allowed back in the country. The Death Panel body count continues to mount including Walter Cronkite, retired quarterback Steve McNair, and concept artist Christo. Glenn Beck’s head explodes on live television.

AUGUST: Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai dismisses reports of election fraud saying that his 110% share of the vote constitutes a clear mandate from the people. Former president Clinton googles “Hiking the Appalachian Trail Lady Gaga Megan Fox” but quickly switches to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet when Hillary enters his office. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is caught attempting to burn down the entire state of California to collect the insurance money. “It’s the only option left,” he claims. After 60 Minutes produces a piece investigating Death Panels, producer Don Hewitt is found with a poison dart in his jugular. Later that same week Senator Ted Kennedy dies in what some refer to as a “gangland-style revenge killing.”

SEPTEMBER: President Obama appeals to Congress to pass comprehensive healthcare reform, urges America’s children to stay in school, and pushes for Chicago’s 2016 Olympics bid. Expressing their outrage at these socialist policies, millions of conservatives cancel their health insurance, pull their children out of school, and move to Rio de Janeiro. Ken Burns’ documentary The National Parks achieves the highest ratings ever for PBS with the “Appalachian Trail” episode featuring David Letterman, Jon Gosselin, basketball coach Rick Pitino, Senator John Ensign, and Miss California Carrie Prejean. Sarah Palin shocks the world by announcing that she is resigning her judgeship on American Idol to spend more quality time with her family. Death Panels claim Patrick Swayze and William Safire.

OCTOBER: In an effort at compromise, the Senate proposes a healthcare bill that only includes “a strongly worded suggestion” that insurance companies “should probably not cancel the policies of orphaned children with cancer.” Rush Limbaugh decries this unwarranted government intrusion into the private sector. After minimal news coverage of its latest withdrawal from multi-party disarmament talks, North Korea breathlessly announces that fearless leader Kim Jong Il is trapped in a runaway weather balloon. Photographer Irving Penn and commentator Lou Dobbs fall victim to Death Panels. Jack Kevorkian is named Secretary of Health and Human Services.

NOVEMBER: The House of Representatives passes a sweeping overhaul of the American healthcare system. Horrified, the Senate approves a resolution condemning this as an act of aggression. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wins re-election by writing a personal check to each New York City voter for $180. Sarah Palin resigns as honorary treasurer of the Wasilla Jaycees. The Department of the Interior awards Tiger Woods a special commendation for Hiking the Appalachian Trail more than any celebrity since Magic Johnson. Death Panels reap the lives of gameshow host Ken Ober and Uga VII, bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia.

DECEMBER: During a very special episode of Holiday American Idol, the secular media declare victory in the War on Christmas. Congressional Democrats announce triumphantly that they have a new, comprehensive healthcare bill that will empower roving Death Panels to solve the problems of homelessness, unemployment, poverty, the looming insolvency of Social Security, and the continued celebrity of Sarah Palin. In a long-expected move, the bank finally forecloses on the city of Detroit. In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace prize, President Obama announces the immediate closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy, the revoking of the USA Patriot Act, and sweeping changes to U.S. environmental, public transit, energy, and agriculture policies to promote sustainability and fight the effects of global warming. “Sorry I didn’t get around to doing all that sooner,” he says. “I was on Facebook and I guess I lost track of time.”

Saturday, December 05, 2009

An Impromptu Interview with Nipsey Russell

I was coming back from an extended Thanksgiving stay with my extended family in Miami, Florida when I thought I saw a familiar face at the Miami airport. As I got closer, it was a familiar face indeed…the famed game show host Mr. Nipsey Russell! Of course he was mobbed by adoring fans-including me!

Luckily I carry my press credentials from VLKF on me at all times. Once I whipped that out, Mr. Russell eagerly agreed to do an interview right then and there! Well, almost then and there…We quickly retired to the Delta Airlines Crown Room Club® where we were promptly admitted as I showed a second set of credentials: my international fax technician identification. Fixing faxes pays off in more ways than the obvious!

So here it is: my impromptu interview with Nipsey Russell.

VLKF: I used to fix the fax machines for this club. Have you ever fixed a fax machine?

Russell: No.

VLKF: How did you get your start hosting game shows?

Russell: I started out back in ’65 hosting Here is Your Life with Merv Griffin. After that I moved on to Family Feud and a few other shows here and there. I was actually the first African-American host to appear in reruns on the Game Show Network.

VLKF: Truly inspiring. You have often been described as the poet laureate of the United States of America. How does this make you feel, and how did this start?

Russell: If you ever go out with a schoolteacher, you’re in for a sensational night; she’ll make you do it over and over again until you do it right.

VLKF: That’s beautiful. Did you just make that up?

Russell: No, of course not. That was Ezra Pound.

VLKF: Ah, she was one of the greats.

Russell: Indeed.

VLKF: Your work as a serious actor was described by president Obama as “pivotal for the advancement of African American artists.” What was it like acting in such true classics as In the Heat of the Night? And do you think that In the Heat of the Night will ever be shown on television?

Russell: Don’t be ignorant. There is a time and a place for everything there is, but now is the time when I gotta take a whizz.

VLKF: You are certainly no stranger to controversy, especially in the early nineties when you denounced your former friend Dick Clark as a fraud and a charlatan. Any regrets?

Russell: I am a straight shooter. I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em, and I sees ‘em like I calls ‘em.

VLKF: Can you tell us more about your son David Hampton and his attempt to pass himself off as the son of Sidney Poitier?

Russell: No comment.

VLKF: How have the recent internet rumors concerning your death affected your career?

Russell: I will survive. As long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive. I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give, and I’ll survive.

VLKF: Have you ever incorporated any of your poetry into your game show or acting work?

Russell: No.

VLKF: Oh, I see. Do you have anything else that you would like to share with our readers today, Nipsey?

Russell: Playing Family Feud today are some talented women and men; lost their jobs giving money away, so now they're trying to win!

VLKF: Thank you. That was wonderful. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Today Only: Cavalcade of Facts

  • Birds do not sleep in their own nests. They must instead find a nest made by another bird or woodland creature to sleep in.
  • DRY CLEAN ONLY: A company in Japan sells underwear made from toilet paper.
  • The word "lamination" is derived from "lamentation" because funeral directors often covered their business cards in plastic so they would not be ruined by tears.
  • According to one estimate, comedian Tyler Perry is the world’s richest transvestite.
  • Approximately 175 million cubic yards of earth was dug up or dredged from waterways to create the Panama Canal. This material was used to form the country of Ecuador.
  • In 1982, a cactus in Phoenix, Arizona killed a man.
  • THINK OF THE RACCOONS: Due to the possibility of animals nesting in your engine block, PETA recommends that you shout, beep the horn, and bang the car door before entering any car parked outdoors.
  • The "Mexican Hat Dance" is the unofficial dance of Mexico.
  • Leslie Easterbrook, who played Callahan in the "Police Academy" movies, sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 17.
  • People who wear dentures are often afraid to eat.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turkey Time, Gobble Gobble!

Some helpful holiday hints from your friends at Very Little Known Facts.

What Kind of Turkey Should I Buy?

The best turkey is one that is still alive. This allows you to name your turkey and get to know it before butchering, beheading, and preparing the corpse for consumption.

The next best option, but just as good, is buying a fresh turkey from a supermarket or farmer’s market or from your neighborhood turkey vendor. (Quick tip: Ask for a "turkey vulture," which is the scientific name for a wild turkey.)

Another choice is frozen turkey, which leaves something to be desired but is virtually indistinguishable from the previous two options. NOTE: If you choose to serve a “frozen” turkey for Thanksgiving, you will need to unfreeze it prior to cooking. Do NOT attempt to cook a completely frozen turkey, as this is not recommended.

Last but certainly not least, you can choose a “turkey loaf” or “tofurkey” which is processed turkey parts mixed with filler and chicken stock then chemically recombined and mashed into a turkey-shaped form for cooking. This option is preferable if you have vegetarian or vegan guests for Thanksgiving.

What Do I Do with This Thing?

For live turkeys, be sure to wring the turkey’s neck, drain it’s blood, and de-feather before cooking. Failure to do so may yield undesirable results.

Fresh turkeys that are already dead require the least preparation. Adventurous eaters may even try the giblets “al dente” which is Italian for “sushi-style.” But be sure you are up-to-date on your salmonella shots! (Just kidding. Salmonella has been virtually eradicated in the First World.)

Frozen turkeys need a little more preparation. Unfreezing is a process that takes two to three weeks, so plan ahead. You will need enough counter space to hold one turkey and several air fresheners as the turkey ripens and begins to emit it’s signature scent. Do not be alarmed if the turkey becomes “overripe” as this is the desired result; just like Kobe beef and fine wines, the best turkeys are aged to perfection.

Another option prior to cooking is brining. This involves soaking the turkey for up to one month in a salty solution. The simplest brining method is salt water which is available to our readers who have seaside access; simply tether your turkey carefully to a pier, rock, or anchor and then let it soak in the ocean. Note that this method requires vigilance as crabs, eels, and jellyfish may attempt to pilfer bits of raw turkey from the carcass. In fact, you may want to plan on losing up to 50% of the breast meat during this seasalt brining process (crustaceans prefer white meat to dark.) Be sure to check for jellyfish eggs after retrieving the turkey.

How Do I Cook This Thing?

The classic way of preparing a turkey is roasting. Traditionally this is done via rigging a spit using two forked sticks in the fireplace and having a small child or neighborhood urchin rotate the spit slowly, slowly, slowly. This is how those delicious “rotisserie” turkeys you see in supermarkets are prepared. (Of course, due to child labor laws, midgets or other Small People are employed by the supermarket instead of urchins.)

If you do not have a fireplace, you may roast the turkey in a conventional or “convection” oven. For bigger birds, crank up the broiler to ensure the correct internal temperature. Below sea level, this should be at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius). For higher altitudes, adjust accordingly.

Another option is pan frying, a sure-fire crowd-pleaser that imparts some down-home Southern goodness. Simply coat your turkey breasts, legs, thighs, and wings in batter and dunk them in a stock pot filled to capacity with boiling oil. The results may surprise you—and as a bonus, you will have the lingering aroma of fry oil in your house throughout the winter months!

A third option is smoking. Smoked turkey is considered a delicacy in some circles, while it is an unmentionable abomination in others. Do the research ahead of time to make sure you don’t horribly offend your guests, especially if they include any Azerbaijanis!

To smoke a turkey, fire up your grill. Charcoal works best, but if you have a gas grill, just load it up with leaves or pine needles from the yard. Crank up that temperature—remember that you are cooking the turkey inside and out. Place the turkey on the grill and cover. After an hour turn the turkey. NEVER turn the turkey more than once or you will lose those coveted grill marks!

Serving Suggestions

Carving a turkey is a lost art form—do not attempt it. Instead, simply serve the turkey “family style” by placing it in the middle of the table and allowing your guests, starting with the elders and moving down the line in order of importance, to pull the meat off by hand until the carcass is picked clean. Add dried parsley as a garnish.

What Do I Do With All This Leftover Turkey?

If you planned correctly, you will have exactly the amount of turkey desired by everyone present and no more. However, we are only human, and some people feel guilty about simply chucking that leftover meat in the back yard for the raccoons. Why not try putting pieces of turkey between two slices of white sandwich bread? Or maybe make your own turkey loaf using leftover turkey bits and freezing it for next year’s Thanksgiving feast? The possibilities are endless.

Bonus Fact:

The country Turkey ironically does not have any live turkeys outside the national zoo in Damascus!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Facts Known Only by the Very Little

  • Some fish can actually get seasick.
  • Panama hats are primarily produced in Panama.
  • SO MANY CHOICES...There are around 35 different ways a chess game can turn out, making it one of the hardest games in history.
  • Cleopatra was Abyssinian, not Egyptian.
  • Due to a translation error, the Korean War never technically ended.
  • Vesta is the brightest asteroid orbiting Mercury which has no moons or satellites.
  • EVERYBODY'S WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND: It requires 4,500 silkworms to make just the knot in a man's silk necktie.
  • In France, women could not legally vote until 1978.
  • There are more than 500 feathers on the whistler swan's body, the most of any bird.
  • Women blink twice as many times as men.
  • Vatican employees are required to submit a bi-monthly blood test.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today’s Freshmen Class

The world of today’s youth is a far different place than any world you or I have ever known. Instead of calling their friends using old-fashioned rotary-dial and cellular mobile phones, they prefer to communicate via tweets and sexts. Instead of wearing flip-flops to class like we did, they wear flip-flops and sometimes Crocs. Instead of sexy vampires as imagined by Anne Rice, they only know sexy vampires from Twilight. And instead of watching the evening news to learn what is going on in the world, they don’t watch any news at all because that is boring.

To give you an idea of how the Class of 2013 thinks, we at VLKF have prepared a few facts about Generation Z.

  • A freshmen just starting college in the fall of 2009 was probably born in 1991. The Simpsons have been on TV for their entire life. Kurt Cobain has been dead for their entire life. The Soviet Union has never existed, and stockbrokers have always been cooler than astronauts.
  • They have never used typewriters or toaster ovens.
  • They will look at you blankly if you ask them “Where’s the beef?” over and over again.
  • Pluto has never been a planet, but Planet Hollywood has.
  • They have never drunk warm milk straight from a cow’s udder.
  • They never learned to duck and cover, leaving them woefully unprepared for nuclear attacks.
  • Will Smith, Johnny Depp, and Tom Hanks are considered serious actors because they have never seen The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, 21 Jump Street, or The Da Vinci Code.
  • They don’t like that music you listen to. What is that, like the Grateful Dead or something?
  • For these students, Captain Kangaroo, Alf Landon, Charles Manson, Buddy Ebsen, the Big Bopper, Michael Jackson, and punk rock have always been dead.
  • They don’t remember a time when a Bush or a Clinton was not representing America to the world in some capacity, and they don’t care.
  • They don’t like Vegamite or Tang. They prefer Britney Spears to Gina Lollobrigada.
  • For them, libraries are places where homeless people update their Facebook status. Apothecaries are now pharmacies, except they call them “drug stores.” Marijuana has always been legal.
  • Books have always been read using a Kindle. They have never read a magazine printed on paper, nor have they ever used a movable type block-letter press.
  • Under duress, they can lift several times their own body weight.
  • Vinyl records and compact discs are completely foreign totems representing mysterious ancient technology and cultural rituals that have something to do with Dixieland jazz.
  • They don’t even know about the Frost-Nixon interviews or the Spanish Civil War.
  • They can’t remember when the Brooklyn Dodgers became the Anaheim Angels.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been a politician, not an oiled-up, mostly-naked Austrian strongman.
  • They believe that all pain and suffering is merely an illusion because the world is spiritual rather than physical in nature, therefore accepting medical care is a sign that your faith is…wait, that’s Christian Scientists, not college freshmen.
  • The Segway changed everything for them--but then again, it changed everything for everybody.
  • They have never felt the savage, primeval joy of killing an animal with their bare hands and plunging their teeth into its still-warm flesh.
  • For the sole purpose of irritating old people like you, they dress up in stupid clothing from thrift stores, choose silly hairstyles, drink cheap beer, and pretend to like things ironically.
  • They can’t remember when the word “gay” meant “happy” instead of “gay.”

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today Is Not Opposite Day

Happy Opposite Day! Sike! Actually you should not celebrate Opposite Day because today is not Opposite Day. Because it is.

  • Opposite Day originated in Canada for the television show You Can’t Do That On Television, which was ironically broadcast on television. It is celebrated today, which is at the exact opposite end of the calendar year from Boxing Day. Interestingly, Boxing Day itself was first celebrated as the opposite of Christmas, the American holiday. On Boxing Day Canadian children are asked to put one of their Christmas presents back in a box to give to someone else.
  • On land, fires move faster uphill than they do downhill. On water, the opposite is true.
  • Beach Adjacent: Every single house in the state of Florida is within 80 miles of a beach. For cities along the coast, this distance is even shorter. The opposite is true of landlocked North Dakota.
  • December is the most popular month in the Phillipines. What is the least popular month? Also December, for Namibians in any case. There is no February in the Cayman Islands. The Turkish calendar does not have Wednesdays due to the fact that this was a traditional holy day in the Eastern Orthodox church.
  • If it's not Scottish... Scottish boxes of crayons have three different shades of green, all of them named simply “Scottish Green.” The opposite is true in Belize, where there is no word corresponding to the color green in the local dialect—even though they speak English!
  • It is illegal to tip in Iceland. The opposite is true in Greenland, where tipping is mandatory but at the discretion of the patron.
  • Synonym is the opposite of antonym. Antonym is an antonym for synonym, which means synonym is an antonym for antonym. A synonym for synonym is analogue. Opposite is a synonym for antonym.

The following articles are not related to this subject in any capacity:

Ketchup Is the Opposite of Mustard
Chocolate Is the Opposite of Vanilla
The Beatles Are the Opposite of the Rolling Stones

Thursday, April 30, 2009

VLKF Offices Closed Due to Swine Flu Scare

The Very Little Known Facts corporate offices will be closed until May 4 due to concerns arising from the H1N1 swine flu epidemic.

As a side note, in the future VLKF employees should regularly clear out their lunch products from the break room fridge. It is especially important to remove expired foodstuffs such as deli-sliced Boars Head Black Forest Ham, which has a tendency to grow a distinctive green mold after several weeks, a mold completely unrelated to and not capable of infecting anyone with the H1N1 flu virus.

For more information about influenza and common mythconceptions thereof, see our article Cold and Flu Season: Myths, Facts, and Legends.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A New Year Brings New Danger

Since April 1 is the first day of the vernal equinox, we at Very Little Known Facts thought it only fitting that we "spring" into the new year with some dire warnings.

  • Watch out old timer! Up to 90% of nursing home inhabitants have aids, gonorrhea, or herpes. This is due to the fact that people could not afford common antibiotics like bactine during the Great Depression.

  • If you hold your breath, no insect can sting or bite you.

  • Are you chicken? The best way to deal with a snake bite: after bitten, immediately apply a fresh chicken breast as a poultice. That is where we get the English word poultry.

  • If you survive a snake bite to the toe, the bone in your toe will eventually wither and die.

  • Even non-poisonous snakes, although they are safe, have venom that can be transmitted via a snake bite. You can tell a non-poisonous (safe) snake from a poisonous (non-safe) snake by the markings.

  • Sushi anyone? Due to the global recession, shark attacks are down worldwide. Scientists and marine biologists tell us that this could ultimately lead to starving shark populations attacking in a "feeding frenzy" of feeding.