Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

My weirdly intense-yet-atheistic interest in religion can pretty much be traced to growing up in a very Christian place while not having a religious family at all. I’m sort of like that kid you know who’s never left Wisconsin but is really inexplicably into Japanese culture, except there are no swords hanging on my wall. Yet.

This puts me in a position of having several religious friends who I’m close with, but an absolute deluge of Facebook friends (otherwise known as “people I vaguely remember from high school”) who are very religious. Then they post things. Fantastic, terrible, religious things for everyone to “think about.”

These posts are about those things.

Our first is actually from a friend of a friend, who got so excited that she emailed the whole thing to me.

Cell phone vs. Bible
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn’t live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go….hmm…where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don’t have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think – “where are my priorities?” And no dropped calls!

This particular nonsense comes from a long, proud line of nonsense which gets all upset that something secular (e.g. cell phones, iPods, cars, television, laser discs, the Beatles) are now more popular than the Bible; these things also all assume that the reader is already Christian. That makes sense, given that 77% of Americans self-identify as Christian (even though something like 15% of them attend church more than twice a year*). Presumably, the answer to all these questions is supposed to be, “My life would be better in every way!” not, “I would have the extra encumbrance that comes with carrying around a big book.”

This little missive mostly makes sense. Mostly, because I have never “received messages from the text” from my cellphone. Nope. I just receive texts like everyone else, except apparently the author of this note. I’d use my Bible when I traveled, but does it still work in Europe? Do I have to get a different BibleCard for it so I can use it over there? Can I somehow use it to contact AAA in case of an emergency? Maybe I should upgrade to a Bible with 100-mile tow. I bet that would be extra useful if you were stuck in the Devil’s Punchbowl or Hell’s Gate, and it would all be free because our buddy Jesus has apparently pre-paid the bill.

My favorite, though, is the “And no dropped calls!” tacked on at the end there. Well, no, the Bible does not drop calls. It also doesn’t carry calls in the first place, unless “calling” here is a metaphor for “praying,” in which case maybe the call is never dropped but we’re more like that guy in the old Verizon commercials wandering the globe, shouting, “Can you hear me now?” into a book. And then we give up and just call God back from our landline, because our Bible doesn’t work in our office building, and this metaphor is really overextended by now.

The point of this is, I think, Jesus should be #1 on your speed dial. That’s right, even before your mom.

Two stars because while entertaining, I am not enlightened and it did not really bring the crazy.


*Totally made the second number up.

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The other day I was driving home from work when I heard the most ludicrous commercial I’ve heard in a while for this thing called “Pepsi Max.” It is diet soda for MEN. Manly, manly diet soda, not that any real man would want to lose weight or watch his calories. It’s just in case he wants to eat a pound of bacon later, he can save up those calories otherwise wasted on a Pepsi. I absolutely did not make that part up.

Sadly I seem to be the only person who has ever heard this spot, because it’s not on the internet, and no one else I know listens to the radio in the car. But here’s a TV ad for it:

In case you can’t watch, here’s a quick rundown.

Dudes are not bothered by: all manner of grevious bodily injury; head wounds; causing serious harm to others.

Dudes are extraordinarily bothered by: diet soda.

Now, in terms of being extraordinarily bothered by diet soda, I’m right there with dudes. That stuff is disgusting. I don’t really like sugar to begin with–I was looking at Pepsi varieties on Wikipedia, and apparently they have unsweetened Pepsi in Europe, which sounds kind of awesome–but fake sugar adds that special ass flavor to take it from something I’m not crazy about to something I won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.

I am however bothered by injury, both on myself and others.

I get that we live in a culture where women have more pressure on them to be thin than men, and through a special sort of non-logic that works out to watching your weight being a feminine trait and therefore something a manly man cannot do unless he wants his man-card revoked. At least in terrible commercials. Normal men pass on dessert all the time, at least in my experience.

After watching this and being kind of baffled by it, I wondered why this was man-cola. Surely it must differ in some way from lady-cola, right? Maybe it’s got testosterone or viagara in it? Enzymes to make digesting bacon easier? Grows your chest hair? Gives you super-burps?

No? It’s got Ginseng and slightly more caffeine? But still less caffeine than a cup of coffee, and it’s still sweetened by the same stuff? Oh. Well then. Obviously being awake is for dudes, then.  Sleeping is so damn girly.


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Like an orange.
Image from the Karl Pilkington Poster Project, who are trying to spread this image to further the campaign.

Karl Pilkington (pictured above) is apparently refusing to do another podcast with Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (creators of The Office and Extras). Ricky Gervais has created a blog to annoy Karl into doing the podcast. I’m not sure how he thinks that will work, but I’m glad he does.

Here’s a segment from a previous podcast, animated by youtube user CatfoodStinksABit:

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Around the time that I began to receive “messages” signed with my friends’ names, telling me that I HAVE to try the Ice Cream Personality Quiz, I realized that Facebook had gone around the bend. I’ve since gotten used to a steady stream of spam making its way to my Facebook account. I found this frustrating for a while, until I realized that a healthy chunk of my Facebook inbox was coming directly from my friend Ben, who really wanted to play this zombies vs. cowboys game.

However, some new scheme seems to have started up recently, which extends beyond ads. I’m not sure why this is happening, but I’ve received several friend requests from people who clearly don’t exist.

Here’s what happens: I get a friend request from someone with an unfamiliar name and a suspiciously revealing profile photo. (Here’s a hint – most real people I know don’t pose in bathing suits on beds in their internet avatars. Most real people I know make a stupid face while half-heartedly trying to hide a beer in their internet avatars. Or look sad in black and white.)

But the real magic is in the profile. Here’s the text that has appears in the “About Me” section of more than one of these profiles:

I might have a bit of a confidence problem. love people especially those with a good sense of humor. my favorite quote is gentle,guytype – it really speaks to me!

Nothing too special – just some boilerplate random spam text. But, just to make it all seem appropriately Facebook-y, the following appears:

if you’ve never read The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald you should go pick up a copy – it is great! I am a ripe little peach ready for plucking.

That’s right. I’ve received several friend requests from people who recommend The Great Gatsby, and are ready for plucking. For sheer entertainment value, I’d say that those two sentences have earned this spam a star.

False People on Facebook: ★☆☆☆☆

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