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August 2009
I'm back from vacation. Actually, I got back a few days ago, but I promptly came down with a case of the flu, which I probably picked up on the plane, and that took me out of action for a few days. Coincidentally, the book I read on the plane was The Great Influenza by John Barry, about the flu pandemic of 1918. So it was with all those images of the gruesome ways flu victims died in 1918 fresh in my mind, that I first noticed flu symptoms developing in myself. Thankfully, I seem to now be over the worst of it, though I felt like crap for several days.

I didn't get a chance to see anything particularly hoax-related on my tour through the southern states. The one oddity I made my wife take a detour to see was the Gay Dolphin Gift Store in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. From what I had read, the store was supposed to be full of all kinds of strange novelties, like feejee mermaids. But I was very disappointed. It was just row after row of junk, like seashells, keyrings, and tacky postcards. I recommend skipping it if you're ever in Myrtle Beach. In fact, I'd recommend skipping Myrtle Beach entirely.
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Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 31, 2009
Comments (8)
Just a quick note to say that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth. Been busy finishing a bunch of projects before I start work on a new book. And now I'm on a two week vacation, driving through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Here's a picture of me visiting the Otis Redding "sitting on the dock of the bay" statue in Macon, Georgia.
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Posted by Alex on Mon Aug 17, 2009
Comments (14)
I think the trend toward hyper-realism in dolls started in the 1970s with the introduction of Kenner's "Baby Alive" doll which ate, drank, and wet its diapers.

The latest evolution of the trend is Baby Glutton, the breastfeeding doll. According to thingamababy.com: "Your child wears a colorful bra-like halter-top featuring flowers over the nipple area. When the doll is lifted to the flowers, it makes a suckling motion and sound." A little too realistic, perhaps?

More links: berjuan.com (maker of the doll), nj.com.
(Thanks, Bob!)
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 04, 2009
Comments (28)
The Birther movement has progressed from claiming that other people are involved in an elaborate hoax, to promoting a hoax of its own. The leader of the Birthers, Orly Taitz, has produced what she claims is a birth certificate proving that Obama was born in Kenya.

Debunking of the document has already begun. For instance, skeptics note that "Kenya was a Dominion the date this certificate was allegedly issued and would not become a republic for 8 months."

Also, the name of the registrar listed on the document is "E.F. Lavender." Maybe this is someone's real name, but it also seems to be the name of a type of detergent (Earth Friendly Lavender).

But all that analysis isn't really necessary, because the first thing a document expert would ask is what is the provenance of the document. i.e. Where did it come from? As far as I can tell, the document came from someone called Ed Hale who, in turn, said he paid a woman named Shirley $1000 for it. That doesn't seem like a very reliable source.
Categories: Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 04, 2009
Comments (31)