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October 2008
I'm not a fan of McCain/Palin and I certainly won't be voting for them. With that out of the way, I don't believe that Sarah Palin has an IQ just above "borderline retarded." When I look at her, I'm not seeing Albert Einstein in a skirt but I'm not seeing Forrest Gump either. Go to this link and do a page search for "mrtshw" (without the quotes) to see a posting claiming that the Alaska governor is not all that intelligent:

Capitol Hill Blue

The posting immediately below that one links to a probable source for this libel.

Obama's had a lot of nasty crap thrown at him too, of course. I guess personal attacks are to be expected in the waning days of a very contentious campaign, but this kind of nastiness is just plain wrong.

Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Fri Oct 31, 2008
Comments (13)
When I read the first paragraph of this story about Orson Welles' Mercury Theater production of War Of The Worlds 70 years ago today, I was a little ticked at the writer. Read it all the way through for the punchline; I won't spoil it for you.

Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Fri Oct 31, 2008
Comments (12)
...make sure that your fellow passengers don't decide that you aren't wearing pants (even though you are).

Salt Lake Tribune
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Oct 27, 2008
Comments (5)
So, you're walking down the street. Suddenly, you decide you need to pray right then and there. Sure, you COULD just pray silently in your mind, but what fun is that?

Enter the Prayer Booth:


It's pretty obviously a modified phone kiosk (not exactly a "booth" really). The website, written in somewhat broken English as you will see, says this is in Florida, but the sixth photo down sure looks like New York, probably Manhattan, to me. Are these a franchise or something? Have any of you seen one of these? Are they popping up all over on the streets of Big City America?

Incidentally, the manufacturers should pray for some English lessons. The instructions use "it's" when they mean "its." Yes, I'm a nit picker.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Oct 27, 2008
Comments (9)
If you thought that Sarah Palin's (alleged) $150,000 wardrobe was excessive, consider the concept of pants worth $54 million bucks:

Washington Post
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sat Oct 25, 2008
Comments (4)
By now, you've probably heard about Ashley Todd. She's the young McCain campaign volunteer who claimed to have been attacked by a large black man while she was at a Pittsburgh ATM. She told police that the letter "B" scratched on her right cheek was put there by her assailant after he saw the McCain bumper sticker on her car.

"I'll make you an Obama supporter," the mugger said.

The whole thing started falling apart when the police noted that the "B" was backwards, as if Todd had done it to herself. Guess what? She did. Under questioning, she admitted that there was no black mugger. Her motives for filing the false police report are still unclear.

One thing is certain, though: John McCain was having a bad enough week without her "help."

[Sorry for the non-automatic links but Expression Engine, the site used to post things here, keeps mucking them up. I suspect you all know how to copy and paste.]

Another version with more detail about Todd and her story:

And the plot thickens even more. Turns out the whole "I'll make you an Obama supporter" detail came not from Ashley Todd, but from McCain's Pennsylvania Communications Director:

It's getting UGLY out there!

Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sat Oct 25, 2008
Comments (6)
Alex has posted a lot of stories about pareidolia (seeing things that aren't objectively there). Most of the pareidolism (word?) one sees in America is Christian-related. People tend to see Jesus and/or his Mom all over the place.

In the interest of providing equal time to religious hallucinations of a non-Christian nature, I present:

Pareidolia Ganesha

Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Thu Oct 23, 2008
Comments (9)
A company named Art Van Furniture is asking its customers which of ten proposed designs it should use for its delivery trucks. One of them shows a couch emerging from what looks like a big candy bar's wrapper. Cute and harmless, no?

Not according to Hershey. They're filing a lawsuit against Art Van, claiming that the design is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace. Like people are going to think that Art Van's couches are made out of chocolate?

When people talk about "frivolous lawsuits," this should be the kind of thing they're referring to.

Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Tue Oct 21, 2008
Comments (14)
I like the concept of viral videos, but there's been so many of them of lately, mostly from companies looking for a "big bang" with little cash outlay, that I think the genre is getting stale very quickly.

Here's the latest one making the rounds, along with some reporter's observations about it:

Viral Wedding Video

I live on the Edge of Nowhere on the Oregon coast where we can't get high-speed Internet access, so I haven't watched the whole thing, but I did see a clip of it on one of the Portland TV news shows. One thing which occurred to me which the reporter didn't mention is that it appears to have been shot with at least two cameras. That suggest to me that it was staged. It doesn't prove it, but it increases the likelihood that the video was planned rather being a case of someone just happening to catch this accident on tape. If this is a fake, I don't know what it's promoting, but that may come out in the fullness of time (ooh, fancy language!)
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Mon Oct 20, 2008
Comments (20)
OK, I heard back from Alex, who is now in Germany. My log-in is working now (obviously) so it's Go Time!

When I couldn't log in as the Subby, I said in a comment that as soon as I could be here in my "official" capacity, I would make a confession. Here goes.

Earlier this year, when Hillary Clinton was still in the race for the White House, I got a crazy idea for a hoax so I went with it. As "retired dot com entrepreneur Bob Porter," I spread the word that I wanted to pay the Senator $750,000 (later increased to a cool million bucks) to pose for a "series of tasteful nude photos." This was supposedly to prove that she really was the different kind of candidate she claimed to be. How exactly posing for nude photos would "prove" that I'm not exactly sure, but I stuck to my story.

As ridiculous as the premise may sound, I managed to do 15 radio interviews (13 with American stations, 1 for an Irish station and 1 with an Australian station), almost all of which took me seriously. I even managed to convince some of my interviewers of the "logic" of my argument.

The story also showed up on a number of websites, including and As eccentric millionaire Bob Porter, I did a series of YouTube videos, including one from my hospital bed when I had my appendix removed (for real). For your dining and dancing pleasure, here's a link to the videos:

My Hillary Project

Between feeling kind of lousy for a time after my surgery and Hillary's campaign losing steam, I let my project languish. I've never fessed up to it publicly before but I figured the MOH was the ideal place to come clean, so there you go.

I'm curious to see if any of you heard me on the radio or read about what I was claiming to be doing. If so, what did you think of it? Did you believe me? Did you think I was nuts? Did you smell a rat? Comments?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Sun Oct 19, 2008
Comments (15)
I've barely been able to post anything in the past week. Why? I'm blaming it on my decision to remodel the hallway bathroom in my house... and do all the work myself (because I can't afford to hire a contractor). New drywall, plumbing, electrical wiring, tile floor. I did it all. Problem was, I really wanted to get the bulk of it done before I go on vacation to Germany, which I do today. My flight leaves in about four hours. So that meant I've been scrambling to get it done for the past few days. Here's a picture of the new tile floor I just installed (the first tile floor I've ever installed), which I'm quite proud of. You can see that the sink is not yet installed. That'll have to wait.

Unfortunately I'd never be able to get a job as a contractor because, while I can do all the handyman stuff, I'm painfully slow at it.

So anyway, I'll be gone for two weeks, but I'm leaving everyone in the capable hands of hoax expert Bob Pagani, aka Cranky Media Guy. All the regulars here know him already, of course.

Hopefully I'll be able to post a few times while I'm in Germany visiting relatives. I'll be a week in Berlin, followed by a week in Bremen.
Categories: Miscellaneous
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 17, 2008
Comments (12)
It's probably not going to be received by the book-buying public with as much enthusiasm as the latest John Grisham thriller, but this is the kind of book that gets me excited. It's a new (and what looks to be very well researched) history of the Cardiff Giant hoax titled A Colossal Hoax: The Giant From Cardiff That Fooled America by Scott Tribble. It's due out at the end of November. A bit pricey, but that's often the case with non-mass-market books. From its blurb:

In October 1869, as America stood on the brink of becoming a thoroughly modern nation, workers unearthed what appeared to be a petrified ten-foot giant on a remote farm in upstate New York. The discovery caused a sensation. Over the next several months, newspapers devoted daily headlines to the story and tens of thousands of Americans-including Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the great showman P. T. Barnum-flocked to see the giant on exhibition. In the colossus, many saw evidence that their continent, and the tiny hamlet of Cardiff, had ties to Biblical history. American science also weighed in on the discovery; and in doing so revealed its own growing pains, including the shortcomings of traditional education, the weaknesses of archaeological methodology, as well as the vexing presence of amateurs and charlatans within its ranks. A national debate ensued over the giant's origins, and was played out in the daily press.

Ultimately, the discovery proved to be an elaborate hoax. Still, the story of the Cardiff Giant reveals many things about America in the post-Civil War years. After four years of destruction on an unimagined scale, Americans had increasingly turned their attention to the renewal of progress. But the story of the Cardiff Giant seemed to shed light on a complicated, mysterious past, and for a time scientists, clergymen, newspaper editors, and ordinary Americans struggled to make sense of it. Hucksters, of course, did their best to take advantage of it.

The Cardiff Giant was one of the leading questions of the day, and how citizens answered it said much about Americans in 1869 as well as about America more generally.
Categories: History
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 17, 2008
Comments (3)
I just finished writing a list of the Top 20 Satirical Candidates of All Time, which I've now added to the site. It seemed an appropriate time for it. I chose "Nobody" as the #1 satirical candidate. I thought it was an obvious choice. After all, how can Anyone top Nobody?

But also on the list are the foot powder that won an election, Pat Paulsen, Stephen Colbert, Vermin Supreme, etc.

What the list doesn't cover is mock political parties. The focus is entirely on candidates.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 16, 2008
Comments (19)
Cathal Morrow is embarking on an experiment to live for a year without lying. When he's done, he'll report the results in a book to be titled The Complete Kant. (The title refers to Immanuel Kant, who said that lying is always morally wrong.)

Morrow doesn't seem to have a publisher yet for the book, though according to the Guardian, he does have a private equity company financing him for the year in exchange for half the profits of the book. (The book better be a bestseller if they expect to make a return on their investment.)

I don't believe it's possible to go a year without telling some kind of lie, unless you stop communicating altogether.

If, at the end of the year, Morrow claims to have done it, I won't believe him.
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 07, 2008
Comments (42)
A picture (top) has been doing the rounds showing Piper Palin, Gov. Palin's six-year-old daughter, apparently giving a boy the finger. Yes, it's a hoax. In the original (bottom), which can be found on the Alaska state website, it's clear that Piper has two fingers raised.

Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 07, 2008
Comments (84)
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