Archive for July, 2006

Neateye Gouranga!

Jul 28, 2006 in Pop Culture

What do the Hare Krishnas, Grand Theft Auto, UK bridge graffiti and an unusual viral spam campaign have in common? Gouranga!

I recently received an email with the following text:

From: “Neateye” NitaiGouranga@aol.com
Subject: Gouranga

Call out Gouranga be happy!!!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga ….
That which brings the highest happiness!!

This I found curious because I once practiced Vaishnavism, and am familiar with who/what Gouranga is. At first I thought it was some old acquaintance playing a prank. Then I did a Google search and found out that this same message has landed in thousands of mailboxes over the last three years.

Multi-colored ‘Gouranga’ graffiti appears on bridges across the UK. Posters and stickers bearing the name have also been the subject of a long-running guerilla art campaign across Scotland. The culprits are likely Hare Krishna devotees from the Scotland temple, according to this discussion in the Guardian.

The ‘Gouranga bonus’ is an easter egg in the first Grand Theft Auto game, awarded when the player swiftly runs over a group of Hare Krishnas. An article in the latest issue of Edge magazine documents the making of GTA:

“One of the programmers came up with a routine that had pedestrians following each other. This led to the idea of a line of Krishnas following each other down the street and then, once we had all experimented with ploughing through them all in one go, the Gouranga bonus became an obvious addition.”

Gouranga, by the way, is another name for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the principal avatar figure of the Gaudiya Vaishnava branch of Hinduism, popularized in the West by the Hare Krishnas.

A Wikipedia entry summarizes the Gouranga meme.

More Bon Ami cleanser!

Jul 27, 2006 in Humor

Bob Harris was a contestant on Jeopardy over a dozen times, during which he lost every tournament he played in.

In this hilarious video promoting his new book, Prisoner of Trebekistan, Bob shows off the loot he’s won during his stint on Jeopardy, such as a lifetime supply of Bon Ami cleanser, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and Sue Bee honey.

In your absence I find other forms of amusement.

Jul 24, 2006 in Humor

An oldie-but-goodie: I was browsing through the contents of my old Livejournal (you probably wouldn’t be interested), and I came across this link.

The Surrealist Compliment Generator will provide you with minutes of fun, as well as a Dali-esque turn of phrase to woo the woman (or man) in your life. After all, what woman wouldn’t swoon over compliments like this?

A suburban distance lying across your chest, a purpled frock befitting the asphyxiated, cans of lima beans upon your knees, you are truly a goddess of disturbed tranquility!

You blink thrice warned that I can but think of the eyebrows of Richard Nixon covering a hostess of furry twinkies.

Your skin sheds forth so that I endlessly crave pans of fried baclava.

Romantic, no?

The Onion predicts the future… er, present

Jul 15, 2006 in Linkage

Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over’ | The Onion - America’s Finest News Source

This week is The Onion’s 10th anniversary. Among the highlights from their archives is the above article, written just around the time of Bush’s inauguration in 2001. Six years later, this satirical article has proven to be strangely (well, not that strangely) prophetic.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

“You better believe we’re going to mix it up with somebody at some point during my administration,” said Bush, who plans a 250 percent boost in military spending. “Unlike my predecessor, I am fully committed to putting soldiers in battle situations. Otherwise, what is the point of even having a military?”

… “We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two,” Bush said. “Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there’s much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation’s hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it.”

Uncanny, isn’t it?

Santo Gold, Santo Gold!

Jul 06, 2006 in Humor


Above is a short clip from an infamous late ’80s infomercial for Santo Gold, which attempted to market both a gold jewelry business opportunity and a “science fiction space wrestling movie comedy” called Blood Circus.

This bizarre anomaly was reportedly seen frequently on late night TV, although it never made it to the air in Central PA (why?). Blood Circus ran for a week in Baltimore in 1985, and the original print is presumed lost. Mr. Santo Gold himself was prosecuted for mail fraud in 1988 and spent 10 months in prison.

I can only hope a full clip of this infomercial appears online soon. The Santo Gold Museum has collected what little information there is available. As for Santo Gold himself, either he or someone pretending to be him has an unfinished website at Santogold.com.

Fish and Poop

Jul 02, 2006 in Humor

This absolutely cracked me up:

This company needs to hire a new marketing person.

Freedom of the press coming under attack worldwide.

Jul 02, 2006 in Current Events

There’s been a lot of controversy recently concerning the New York Times’ report on the secret government program that monitors financial transactions to fight terrorism. Some have called the NYT report “treasonous,” and Republican lawmakers are calling for investigations.

But consider: Even if the government’s program of monitoring bank records does help to fight terrorism, it is only the latest in a series of revelations that our government is doing things that possibly violate the Constitution, or the Geneva Convention. Before this, it was the NSA’s database of phone records, the secret CIA prisons, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

Did the NYT make a mistake by revealing the existence of the program to monitor bank records? Possibly. Does the press occasionally make mis-steps? Certainly. Should the press (or in this case, the NYT) be prosecuted for revealing information that they feel is in the best interests of the public to know? Absolutely fucking not.

The purpose of a free press in a democracy is to keep watch on the government, lest it does something that infringes upon the rights of it’s citizens. It’s right there in the First Amendment. And in many so-called democratic countries across the world, that purpose is coming under fire.

This recent AP article details the legal troubles that reporters and newspapers are having across the world when it comes to reporting questionable actions by their governments. And these aren’t countries like Iran or North Korea, No, we’re talking about Britain, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and of course the United States.

In almost all of these cases, the ‘leaks’ have to do with activities concerning the war on terrorism or the war in Iraq. Whistleblowers who revealed that there was no evidence of WMDs in Iraq have faced prosecution or retribution. Two officials in Britain are charged with leaking a memo revealing that Bush suggested bombing the headquarters of al-Jazeera — probably the only major free press outlet available in the Arab world.

It’s been said that the first casualty of war is truth. The truth is still being told, but it is under attack by those who’d prefer we trust Big Brother instead. In two days, we will be celebrating the occasion when our forefathers broke free of an oppressive empire to create a free country. Our greatest enemy now is not Islamic terrorists or insurgents. The greatest threat to our country is ourselves. No external force can take away our freedoms. Only us, or our government, can do that for us.