Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Blessed Christmas from FIF

A few thoughts on the coming apocalypse:

My wife and I are briefly back in Chicago following a couple days in Cleveland with my parents for Christmas (more on that in a moment) and preceding a flight to Atlanta tomorrow to spend the rest of the month with her parents and the two cutest nieces in the world.

We went to Walgreens to gather a few supplies and price the discounted Christmas merch. For those of you who know my theory of Walgreens, you know that every time I go there, something either hilarious or obscenely scary happens. Today, was no exception. Surely, the world is ending soon.

Ways to know that you're with my family for Christmas:
  1. My father always asks for (and gets) new sweatpants from someone. He opens them and inevitably says, "Oh boy! Panties! Tanks! [sic]" That's my father.
  2. To welcome the Savior of the world, we have chicken tacos and play Clue. I completely blunder into winning one game. Now, there's a traditional Christmas.
  3. I got to have an all-too-rare visit with an old friend, Omar. Omar still wants to do the baseball blog with me, and I want to do it too.
  4. My father, on finding out that his new little ceramic house (we've been getting them for him for years) sings when he claps at it, tries to make it sing "Silent Night" by doing all sorts of things to it. He tries the clapping cadence from "In the Navy" by the Village People. It works.
  5. We all wondered what happened to the dog. It wasn't quite the same without him grabbing at the wrapping paper.
  6. My grandmother... God bless her soul.
  7. No matter where you go, people are short of temper and in a mood to swear at each other and pick fights. Peace on Earth. Good will to men. Get the %$#@ out of my way!
  8. My mother still looks forward to hearing Bob Rivers' Twisted Christmas. It's not the family time or anything else like that. It's Bob Rivers.
  9. My wife knitted a Santa Claus.
On our way out of Chicago, we noted that Chicago radio station Q101 was again doing their end-of-the-year "14 years in 14 days" countdown. As we drove out, they were doing 1997. Specifically, they played this song, which I hadn't really heard in about... well, 9 years. Neither had you, and it's your new obsession song too now.

My brother will be graduating from college in the spring?

While I'm here:

On to the news:

Jesus is King... of Poland
(Jesus is Lord, but Elvis is King)

Santa catches a streaker
(He sees you when you're sleeping, but come on...)

A whole bunch of odd Christmas criminals

Today's fun fact:

What is the origin of Boxing Day? Answer: no one really knows.

And finally:

Being an Orthodox Christian, I have a bit of a different perspective on Christmas. Christmas Day in America is just the culmination of the entirety of about a month of partying that's been going on since Thanksgiving. In Orthodoxy, we fast for 40 days before Christmas so that we're prepared to celebrate for the 12 days of Christmas (thought that was just a song?) So, in that spirit, I wish you a continued happy, joyful, and blessed Christmas.

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The First Annual FIF Awards

This is my last regularly scheduled blog post for 2006. I'm sure that at some point in the next few days, I'll post a thing or two, but no guarantees. You'll have to make due with reading the old archives and laughing yourself silly there. Now that I've been blogging for six months, I have to say, I never thought I'd enjoy it this much. So, to end the year, I am proud to present my first annual FIF awards.

FIF story of the year (celebrity division):


Lindsay Lohan recruits Al Gore to help rehabilitate her image
(Did that one really happen?)

Britney Spears files for divorce from Kevin Federline, on the same day as the mid-term election
(She got top billing!)

O.J. Simpson wins a William Shatner Award for his planned "If I Did It Book"
(Blurring the lines between news and taste, once again, it's OJ!)

Anything involving Kevin Federline, for that matter
(14:58... 14:59... also, does anyone remember the EBay auction for the half-eaten sandwhich and corn dog eaten by Mr. and Mrs. Federline themselves?)

Or Paris Hilton
(Why is she famous again?)

Elton John to record hip-hop album with Snoop Dogg and Kanye West
(The mind boggles)

The Winner: This is essentially the Golden Federline Award. Britney Spears made a late charge at the end of the year with all of her post-divorce work. However, to give the award to Britney Spears would overlook both her guiding force during that time and the woman who has made more consistent and extensive contributions to the field of stupidity than anyone this year. The 2006 Golden Federline Award goes to Ms. Paris Hilton.

FIF story of the year (animal division):


Camel crashes Christmas party, drinks all the beer
(But oddly, didn't smoke any of the cigarettes)

The alpaca paternity lawsuit story
(Total head-scratcher)

Man chases herd of deer with his helicopter
(And is charged with airborne harrassment of wildlife)

Dog rides horse
(Dog bites man, not news. Man bites dog, news. Dog rides horse, FIF!)

Don't hug Swiss cows
(This was apparently a problem.)

Chicken serves as bridesmaid in wedding
(And apparently, they still got married)

The winner: A few good ones. The alpaca paternity story was odd, and the chicken bridesmaid was absurd, but nothing quite beats the thought of a man in a helicopter scaring a herd of deer.

FIF story of the year (stupid criminals division):


Man calls 911 to report that his drugs have been stolen
(Apparently, he had a few too many of them)

12 year old arrested for opening a Christmas gift early
(Called in by his mother... who bailed him out?)

Naked burglar?
(What exactly is the thought process that goes into this?)

The worst excuse for a speeding ticket of the year
(Lack of goats?)

Man doesn't want to tell airport officials that he's carrying a penis pump in his bag
(So he tells them it's a bomb)

Ex-con breaks into jail because he missed it
(He got his wish)

Perhaps he should have tried a less obvious disguise
(But, it's a great mental image)

The winner: The penis pump - bomb one was borderling on unbelievable. The speeding ticket was cute. Calling 911 to report that your drugs have been stolen is a head-shaker. But, the image of the cross-dressing bank robber on roller skates is beyond absurd. Our dumbest criminal of the year goes to the last story on that list.

FIF story of the year ("alcohol was involved" division)


Man fakes his own mugging to cover up his drunk-biking accident
(Yeah... I got... mugged...)

Customs officers discover bootleg vodka pipeline out of Russia
(Where else?)

Woman shows up drunk to her own DWI hearing
(Now that'll get some sympathy from the judge)

Drunk man runs himself over
(Don't drink and drive. The life you save may be your own.)

Drunk man gets into fight with panda
(Could be in the animal division too)

The winner: Does it matter?

FIF story of the year (WTF division):


School bans children from playing tag
(Too many accidents...)

The spray-on condom story

Man steals a doctor's note from his pregnant girlfriend
(Only women use gynecologists?)

Man who dresses up as cigarette busted for bigamy

Dead woman wins election on coin flip

Ugly goldfish gets plastic surgery
(It'll be dead in two weeks anyway)

Mattel makes a dog for Barbie that actually poops
(Soon, Barbie herself will have internal organs)

Cows moo with regional accents
(And someone studied this)

Buddhist monks get into fight at peace protest
(Mental image...)

The winner: Hahahaha! Buddhist monks fighting!

Headline of the year:


Headline: Hermaphrodtic deer with seven legs 'tasty'
(From, well, yesterday)

Headline: Bee thieves stage sting
(Who steals bees?)

Headline: German lawyer seeks compensation for alien abduction victims
(Mental note: Call this guy)

Headline: Alleged burglar in thong leaves video

Headline: Teddy bear kills 2500 fish in New Hampshire
(They look so innocent, don't they...)

Headline: Man needed surgery after sex with hedgehog
(No kidding...)

Headline: Woman crashes while teaching dog to drive
(*jaw agape*)

The winner: Bee thieves stage sting was worthy of all the groans it got. Woman crashes car while teaching dog to drive is the headline that you look at for a moment and then realize why it's funny. Man having sex with hedgehog is just wrong. This year's winner, though, goes to that marauding teddy bear with a gun and the fish that fear him.

Brightest, shiniest object of the year:


Engrish.com has to at least have on representative
(Thanks Engrish.com)

Mark Day's Burger King of the Jews
(My new favorite comedian)

Funny game show answers
(People under pressure + TV camera = laughter)

Things the government has funded
(Thanks, wife, for this one)

Male restroom etiquette
(Required viewing for men)

Stupid antelope!
(Inside joke...)

The German country band's cover of Hey Ya!
(It has been a funny year, hasn't it...)

The Statz Rappers
(Let me see your what?)

Rollin' Wit Saget
(WTF factor: maximum)

The mother of all trailers
(My wife and I still say "And Edward Norton" to each other)

The winner: As a statistics teacher, anyone who takes Nelly and turns it into a song about statistics is good in my book.

Wife of the year:


DJ Chia Pet
(I love you, sweetie)

Winner: Well, I'll be, it's DJ Chia Pet.

And finally:

One more to end the year. My wife and I went to Walgreens tonight where we were scheduled to buy some miscellanity. We walk into the store and she takes charge saying, "OK, let's head over to the candy aisle." She leads me right to the feminine hygiene products aisle. I pointed out the small inconsistency. Her only response was, "I was actually aiming for the shampoo."

I love my wife.

To all of you FIF readers out there, may every blessing fall upon you and remain there during this Christmas-time, and onward into the new year. See you in 2007.

peace, love, happiness, banana pudding,
The Pizza Cutter

Thursday, December 14, 2006


It's kind of an odd day here in FIF-land. I saw a road sign for a crosswalk with the usual stick-man walking across the street. Someone had put a sticker of a bottle in his hand and with that one detail it looked like he was tottering around drunk. My wife and I drove past a place called the "Touch of Class Lounge" which looked anything buy classy. People are outsourcing their holiday shopping, decorating, and wrapping. Joel Zumaya of the Detroit Tigers suffered what will undoubtedly be the dumbest injury of the year, inflaming his elbow while playing Guitar Hero, and Paris Hilton has reached new levels of skank.

This week's theme:
Year in Review, 2006

The end of the four part series, although strangely enough, it ends in mid-November. Nothing interesting enough has been happening lately. Oh well.

October 9th, North Korea tests a nuclear weapon and is roundly condemned by a bunch of other countries who also possess nuclear weapons. It wasn't the biggest bombshell dropped that day as it was announced that Google was buying YouTube for $1.6 billion dollars.

October 13th, U.S. Congressman Bob Ney pleads guilty to corruption charges brought against him. Despite pleading guilty to taking bribes while in office, he refuses to resign from the House for a couple weeks. One wonders, what exactly was he waiting for?

October 15th, legendary music club CBGB's closes down. Now you can laugh at your poseur friend in a band who has one and thinks he's cool by asking him to take you there at some point and having him say, yeah, that would be awesome. You fake.

On October 17th, the U.S. population hit 300 million. How did they know that?

October 31st, North Korea says that they really just wanna talk. (NK: I'm sorry about the whole detonating a nuclear device thing. Can you forgive me?)

November 7th, the Democrats take over the House (and the Senate) announcing a new direction for America and that they'll reform everything and not be corrupt and cut the deficit but keep all the programs that you like and make really good positive laws because America is a positive place where our great spirit is what makes us the home of freedom and liberty around the world. Or something like that. They'll eventually be kicked out because they'll be discovered to be corrupt, free-spending, pork-loving, folks who do nothing but spit out cliches. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On November 8th, D-Rums resigns as Secretary of Defense. He was the funniest man in America.

On November 19th, this happened. I remind you that 'this' can be an anagram for another word. It still applies.

But of course, the most important story of the year happened throughout the course of November when Britney Spears filed for divorce from Kevin Federline. Tomorrow, I'll be handing out my end-of-the-year awards. Bet on both of them to win several.

On to the news:

Headline: Hermaphrodtic deer with seven legs 'tasty'
(I don't write them i just read them)

Headline: Man uses antlers in road rage incident
(On any other day, this would have won in the "FIF stories involving forrest-dwelling ungulate body parts" category, but such is life.)

A few funny 911 calls
(Or as the British translate it "999")

Having taught classes, I can tell you... this is a really bad idea
(Some days you just want to shoot them)

Harry Potter has been legalized in Georgia
(My wife will be happy)

How not to rob a convenience store
(At FIF, we don't encourage felonies, but if you're out to rob a store, this is a good training guide on what not to do)

Bright, shiny objects:

(Nerds rapping... the documentary)

How to attract members of the opposite sex as demonstrated using sock puppets
(WTF factor: medium well)

Today's random "next blog":

The dinosaur blog
(Posts about dinosaur-related matters)

Today's strange anniversary:

December 14, 1901 -- The first-ever ping pong tournament is held. I could sure kick your butt at a game of ping pong.

Fun fact of the day:

Other than humans, black lemurs are the only primates that may have blue eyes.

And finally:

My latest obsession song. One of those ones I remembered completely at random and can't get out of my head. Big hair and power chords, a match made in rock heaven.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy birthday to the clip-on tie

Observed in my daily travels: Up the street from FIF World Hindquarters (Chicago Branch), there's a corner lot that like just about every corner lot around this time of year is selling chopped down Douglas Firs for you to proudly display in your window. Out front, it has a sign that says, "Christmas Trees! Happy Holidays!" Some of you more astute readers can already understand why this is funny. However, for those of you who don't, I'll break it down.

I understand that people are afraid of saying "Christmas" because it might offend someone, just like all the British citizens in this country get offended by people wishing them a Happy Fourth of July, unemployed people get offended by people wishing them a Happy Labor Day, and all us Orthodox Christians get offended when everyone tells us Happy Easter, even though Easter is a week or three away. Imagine if one of your Jewish friends wished you a Happy Chanukkah. What a horrible thing for your friend to say to you! Anyway, back to the lecture at hand.

So, you're selling an icon of Christmas... appropriately enough named a Christmas tree. The people coming to shop at your corner lot are likely to be celebrating said Christmas holiday. But, you give the non-committal Happy Holidays because you'll offend... one of your customers?

This week's theme:
Year in review, 2006

Now into our second half of the year, we continue with our look back at 2006, FIF-style.

On July 2nd, Mexicans go to the polls, and in a close election amid multiple reports of voter irregularities (particularly in the Spanish-speaking areas of the country), controversey breaks out over who exactly won. It lasts for a month and a half and is finally resolved after lengthy recounts. I'm telling you, it can happen anywhere. Gotta love democracy!

July 4th, North Korea decides that it will show the world how technologically advanced it is by shooting off a missile called the Taepedong (giggle). The missile promptly fails.

On July 9th, a real international incident breaks out as Zinedine Zidane of France headbutts Marco Materazzi of Italy in the final match of the World Cup. France then loses on penalties 5-3.
July 15th, the UN decides that the best way to get North Korea to stop testing missiles is to do the only thing it knows how to do: pass a resolution. This apparently took 11 days to figure out. The UN also considers passing a resolution aimed at Zidane.

July 18th, outrage builds as Madonna performs a concert in which, as part of her stage act, she cruifies herself on stage. Ummm, after "Like a Prayer", you were perhaps expecting...

On July 20th, Congress gives itself cheap points by voting 98-0 to extend the Voting Rights Act another 25 years. The law makes it illegal to discriminate based on race in matters of voting. This makes me wonder: Why not just make it permanent? Will it ever be right to discriminate based on race in voting?

July 26th, we found out the Lance Bass of N*Sync is gay. I, for one, was shocked.

July 28th, Mel Gibson is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. He blames the Jews. Mel, if you're out there reading this, not only are you a disgrace to honest and decent people out here, but you're actually embarassing all the anti-Semites out there. Think about that for a couple minutes...

July 31st, it appears that Fidel Castro may be mortal. Following surgery, he turns over the official reins of the government to his brother. However, contrary to popular belief, he does not die. Dick Clark. The Queen of England. Fidel Castro. Cal Ripken. Does anyone remember any time that they weren't in their respective positions? What's that? Ripken retired?

August 8th, in Connecticut, former VP nominee Joe Lieberman is defeated in the Democratic Senatorial primary by Ned Lamont. Undaunted, he decides to run any way. Strangely enough, he wins. Again, the joys of democracy!

On August 14th, Dell Computers warned everyone that their laptop was about to catch fire. This includes the laptop that usually brings you FIF. Hey, my fingers are feeling kinda hot...

August 17th, a federal judge reported that tobacco companies have “their lethal product with zeal, with deception, with a single-minded focus on their financial success.” No freaking way!

August 18th, Snakes on a Plane finally premieres after months of buzz. Audiences are shocked to find out that the film really isn't all that good.

On August 24th, a day on which the FDA approved over-the-counter use of the "morning-after pill", which you think might generate a little more discussion, the entire world was in an uproar because Pluto was demoted from planet-hood. For weeks on end, no one seemed able to function and debates raged on in which people with no qualifications in astronomy argued with other people with no qualifications in astronomy. Apparently, this makes a difference.

September 12th brought us J-Ratz (aka Pope Bingo) and his widely-quoted remarks on Islam, in which, depending on whom you ask, he either condemned all Muslims as "evil and inhuman" or quoted an obscure 14th century work that he didn't even agree with. In an attempt to prove that they are not evil, vicious savages, a few very misguided Muslims decide to desecrate Christian holy places and start riots. That'll show 'em!

September 18th, a tape in which Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admits that he lied about the state of the Hungarian economy to win votes is released to the media. Riots break out. This is why America needs to export democracy. They would know that this was standard faire.

On September 20th, Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin of Thailand overthrows the government. He installs as his spokesperson a former Miss Asia. There's got to be a Tony Snow joke in there somewhere.

On to the news:

If you thought the barking dogs "Jingle Bells" was annoying...
(A farm animal Christmas album can't be that far away)

Shoppers rescue thief from police
(It was so much easier when the bad guys all wore black stetsons)

Texas looks to legalize blind hunting
(No Dick Cheney jokes, please...)

Bright, shiny objects:

A fellow blogspotter posts about his knitting adventures coming back to Chicago
(Thank you, wife, for the link)

Since we're doing funny blog posts today
(The infamous ghetto indoor pool)

Today's random "next blog":

British property traders/real estate folks living in Valencia, Spain
(with pictures.)

Today's strange anniversary:

Today also marks the 104th anniversary of the first Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but more importantly:

December 13, 1928 -- Clip-on tie designed. Now there's an invention that America couldn't live without.

Fun fact of the day:

Walt Disney's autograph bears no resemblance to the famous Disney logo.

And finally:

I'm trying to think of something fun to do on my birthday this Saturday. My wife and I are going to spend the day together, but doing what? Anyone have any good suggestions?

But I thought ferris wheels were romantic

It's time for our Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on!

  1. Another video game is accused of glorifying violence.
  2. Storm troopers are once again on the march. (Apparently, they'll be behind the llamas?)
  3. Apparently, 45% of Americans know someone who is racist, but only 12% admit that they are. So, is this a case of "But some of my best friends are racists!"
  4. Drinking is apparently good for you.

In other words, nothing new is happening.

This week's theme:
Year in Review, 2006

Picking up for part deux of the FIF year in review:

April Fools' Day sees Justin Timberlake win the belching contest at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. Now that's bringing Sexy Back!

On April 6th, scientists (funny how it's always just some random "scientists") announced that they had discovered a fossil of the "missing link" between fish and land animals. This was likely made around midnight between day five and day six.

April 11th saw the Italian people go to the polls and elect a guy named Romano Prodi by about 25,000 votes over AC Milan chairman Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi asked for a recount and the case was finally settled by Italy's highest court. See, it can happen anywhere.

On April 25th, President G-Dubs names talk show host Tony Snow as White House Press Secretary. This is the biggest news story of April, due to the fact that nothing interesting seemed to happen all month.

That is until April 29th, when Stephen Colbert... well, we all know what Stephen Colbert did on April 29th.

May 1st, there were massive rallies by immigrants seeking recogition, citizenship, and (the real reason for any protest) to find a date. Hundreds of restaurants shut down because of "an inability to bring you the high quality of service you've come to expect from us." Everyone knows what that means, but strangely, no one will say it.

On May 3rd, major beverage companies proclaim that they will no longer sell pop/soda/carbo-bevs to schools. I posted this because apparently, there's a website out there called bevnet.com, which focuses specifically on news around the beverage industry. Proof that you can find anything on the internet.

May 21st, Montenegro votes for independence from Serbia. A brand new country was formed and once again, America didn't notice.

May 24th saw Taylor Hicks, a man who looks worryingly like Jay Leno, win American Idol.

June 7th brought us the Senate voting on a Constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage. Yeah, a war in Iraq. Billions and trillions of dollars of debt. Crime, homelessness, poverty. And we're worried about...

June 15th, Bill Gates says that he will step aside as CEO of Microsoft in two years to instead focus on charitable giving. It will take him that long for his Windows-based computer in his office to shut down.

On June 18th, the Anglican Communion elects a woman, Katharine Jefferts Schori, to be its next leader. She's listed as the first woman to lead a major world religion. I think it's funny that someone thought the Anglicans were a major religion.

On to the news:

Kazakhstan: first Borat, now PETA
(In other news, Sacha Baron Cohen won the lawsuit brought against him by the frat boys in his movie)

Burglars give money to the victim
('Tis better to give than to receive?)

But today's top story comes to us from Berlin, Germany:
BERLIN (Reuters) - German animal rights activists have launched a campaign against plans to put up a giant ferris wheel in Berlin, saying it would disturb the sex lives of rhinos in a nearby zoo.

A group of investors has unveiled plans to erect a 175-metre high wheel for 120 million euros (80 million pounds) in the German capital, hoping to attract millions of visitors from 2008. But animal rights activists oppose the project, saying the fully-illuminated wheel would disturb the rhinos' daily routine.

"We're worried that these endangered animals won't breed any more, which would hamper animal protection programmes," Berlin's animal rights association said in a statement.

The planned Berlin wheel would be higher than the London Eye, which claims to be the world's tallest observation wheel at 135 metres, according to its Web site.
What exactly do the rhinos do on a daily basis?

Bright, shiny objects:

What's for breakfast?
(The stupid leprechaun finally gets his comeupance)

Robot playing foosball machine
(They can already beat us in chess, why not foosball?)

Today's random "next blog":

I think it's a blog about the Tornoto Maple Leafs
(That's the fun of the "next blog" button)

Today's strange anniversary:

December 12, 1966 -- The Supreme Court (yeah, that one) votes 4-3 to allow the Milwaukee Braves to move to Atlanta. Will someone tell me why they were even involved?

Fun fact of the day:

Murphy's Oil Soap is the chemical most commonly used to clean elephants.

And finally:

I clicked on Amazon.com today because I like browsing their website. What greeted me was one of their usual splashes on their front page. This time, they showed the "Most Gifted" books. I'm guessing that these are the ones that have most often been bought for others as gifts. The three that were posted were Barack Obama's The Audacity of Hope (makes sense), Amy Sedaris's I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence (huh?), and finally You on a Diet.

What exactly are you trying to say?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Let's review, shall we?

I actually started the Foreign Intelligence Files (FIF for short!) to catalogue the funny news stories that happen every day. It just kinda grew from there. Usually, the funny stories are relegated to the "On to the news" section. But once in a while, we get something here that looks like this:

WICHITA, Kan. - A Wichita man called 911 to report he was the victim of an armed robbery. The theft? A pound of marijuana worth about $1,100 that he had been trying to sell at his home.

The victim told police Thursday that a buyer had pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and stole the drugs. Police brought in a drug-sniffing dog to the house and located more marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The victim was booked into Sedgwick County jail on several charges, including possession with the intent to sell drug. The thief has not been found.

Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

This week's theme:
Year in Review, 2006

This will be my last week of blogging for the year. (I know, sad.) So, this week, I figured it would be best to review the year FIF-style.

We begin on January 1st, where Dick Clark, despite being having suffered a stroke, showed up at midnight to ring in the new year. The man is immortal. Even after he dies, I'm predicting that they'll bring him back Weekend at Bernie's style.

On January 3rd, Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff (giggle) agrees to a plea deal in which he will testify that just about everyone in Congress is a crook. Shock ensues!

On January 19th, NASA lanches the New Horizons probe which will take a nine year journey to the edge of the solar system to explore Pluto. Hopes are dashed later in the year when astronomers, some of whom presumably work for NASA, point out that Pluto isn't a planet. Buzzkill.

On January 23rd, Canadians went to the polls and elected a new conservative government after many years of the liberal Labour party being in power. Nobody in America noticed. So, on January 25th, the Hamas political party won control of the Palestinian assembly. Most Americans still think Hamas is a Scots dish involving sheep intestines.

January 31st marks the first day on the job for Samuel Alito as a Supreme Court justice. After a long, protracted fight on both sides to keep him from being confirmed, Americans can breathe easily and go back to not being able to name him or the eight people he works with. But they can name the Seven Dwarfs.

On February 4th, and for a few days afterwards, following the publication of a few political cartoons in a Danish newspaper depicting the prophet Mohammed (a big no-no in Islam), riots are held in which everything Danish is burned. The problem is that... well, it was a small fire. A counter-protest in which people actively sought to buy Danish products turned up little more than some butter cookies. Attempts to buy Ikea furniture were rebuffed when Bill O'Reilley was informed that Ikea is actually Swedish and that's different.

February 5th, The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Superbowl XL. A few highlights from the game are here, here, here, and here.

February 10th saw the opening of the 20th Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. You forgot about that, didn't you.

On February 11th, Dick Cheney sends a gift to stand-up commedians all over America by shooting his friend in the face. Cheney immediately withdrew from the biathlon portion of the Olympics. (A thought: Who came up with this idea? Let's take someone and make them cross-country ski for a few hours, and then get their heart rate really going. Then, let's have them shoot guns! Answer: Norwegian soldiers in the 18th century)

For most of the days following February 23rd, America was told that it was angry about a company in Dubai, which none of them could locate, which is in the business of running seaports, which none of them knew anything about, really, was contracted to run some American seaports. Everyone screamed that this was bad, but no one really knew why. But they were sure it had nothing to do with the fact that they were Middle Eastern.

On February 28th, the Supreme Court, apparently having nothing better to do, hears the case of whether Anna Nicole Smith should really inherit that rich guy's money.

March 5th, at the Academy Awards, Crash, a film about racism in L.A. beats Brokeback Mountain, a film about gay cowboys. (Neither should have beaten Good Night and Good Luck, but that's another blog.) Also winning awards was March of the Penguins, a film about penguins having sex.

March 10th brought the resignation of Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton. Most Americans were unaware that such a department and person actually existed.

On March 15th, Sadaam Hussein, testifying in his own defense brags about his role in the charges he's facing death for. He considers writing a book called, "If I Did It..."

In France, on March 28th, young workers set out to protest a law that would allow companies to fire them within 2 years for no official reason. In an attempt to show that they would actually make excellent workers, the (mostly) students take to the street and start a riot. Makes sense.

Perhaps they were rioting over the "Britney Spears Giving Birth" sculpture that premiered that day. This featured a nude likeness of Mrs. Federline over a bearskin rug giving birth. Apparently not happy with this depiction, Spears decided to set the record straight on everything later in the year.

March 31st, Former U.S. Senator George Mitchell is tapped to start a probe into the possibility that some Major League Baseball players may have used steroids.

On to the news:

Crime fighting Santa!
(They'll clearly be getting lumps of coal)

Dog gets plastic surgery
(Let's play a game called "priorities")

Yet another man tries to do a Santa impersonation
(Contains the sentence: "Emergency workers were summoned at about 3:20 a.m., but it wasn't clear who called them.")

Border patrol finds alligator in someone's suitcase

Bright, shiny objects:

It's time for our Monday check of Engrish.com
(Mine smells like roses)

(Oy vey!)

Today's random next blog:

A painting blog by a young Polish artist living in New York
(I'm impressed.)

The Monday playlist feature:

This week features my birthday (Saturday the 16th). Naturally, there are a lot of memories associated with my birthday, and I suppose I could pick any of them. But, today, I go with December 16, 1995, my 16th birthday. This day will go down in history as the first time I was on television. At least, that's the day we taped the show. It was a high school quiz show that my school participated in. We wiped the floor with the competition.

Here's what we listened to afterwards:

5) Alanis Morrisette -- Hand in my Pocket

4) Madonna -- You'll See

3) Goo Goo Dolls -- Name

2) Whitney Houston -- Exhale (Shoop Shoop)

1) Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men -- One Sweet Day

Has it been 11 years since Jagged Little Pill? I feel so old right now. I've never heard of the Madonna song. And perhaps there is someone out there who knows why the Whitey Houston reference is outright hilarious.

Today's strange anniversary:

December 11, 1928 -- NL President John Heydler proposes that teams be allowed to use a "designated hitter" to bat for pitchers. That idea will never work.

Fun fact of the day:

A few fun facts about islands.

And finally:

Another trip to Walgreens, another sign of the apocalypse. This seems to happen every time that I go to Walgreens. For those of you who are keeping track, it's December in Chicago. I was in buying shaving razors minding my own business. Someone came in and asked if the store carried suntan lotion.

Can't blame him for being optimistic.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Six years later, she hasn't killed me

I don't want this to become a celebrity news blog, really. But there are some days when the story just writes itself. Lindsay Lohan apparently ran into Al Gore at a banquet. That sentence right there is just weird enough to be a headliner here at FIF. However, she's claiming that Gore promised that he would help her to get her reputation back together.

My wife's response: "This WTF moment has been brought to you by..." (side note: I love my wife.)

After all, if I needed someone who could project a really good media-friendly image for a 20-something starlet, the first person that I'd go to would be Al Gore.

Gore's response was that he didn't know what Lohan was talking about. I don't know either, but for extensive contributions to the field of stupidity, I hereby award thee, Lindsay Lohan, with a Federline Award. Salve, stulta! Popozao!

This is even funnier because I just finished watching Mean Girls.

This week's theme:
Pulp Fiction

We finish up this week's theme with a few clips. Funny enough, if you probably looked hard enough, you could probably watch the entirety of the movie on YouTube.

The opening scene

The dancing scene

Oh go ahead, someone post all of the links.

On to the news:

Shoplifter tripped up by her own pants after stealing a potato peeler, some Rolo candy, measuring spoons and a "a 15-ounce box of strawberry Nestle's Nesquik" hidden in her crotch.
(There's a Britney Spears joke lurking in there somewhere...)

More people in the spirit of the season
(It's today's "alcohol was (sorta) involved" story)

Things not to do on your wedding night
(Unless you're into that...)

Bright, shiny objects:

You'll be puzzling over these for hours
(Thanks to my wife for sorta sending me this link)

Mary Poppins, the horror movie
(Well now, another piece of my childhood ruined by the internet)

Today's random "next blog":

A fashion blog
(Which is obviously the perfect thing for me to link)

Today's strange anniversary:

December 8, 1987 -- Flyers' Ron Hextall becomes 1st goalie to actually score a goal. Not a lot of really interesting anniversaries out there today. (Wink, wink)

Fun fact of the day:

Why do they call it a station wagon?

Something so disturbing it defies all categorization:

This is from the actual White House website. I'm not kidding you. This is your tax dollars at work. How disturbing is it? It features Dolly Parton.

It's Barney Cam. Part Five.
(I suppose in the absence of Chad Vader 5, this will do.)

And finally:

Today is the sixth anniversary of when my wife and I started dating. If you're out there reading this, darling, I love you. Thanks for six years of unbelievable hilarity. Not to mention carrying me through all the rough times and rejoicing with me at the happy times. You're the best.

If you're not my wife, I love you too. Just not exactly in the same way.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Shop 'til you drop... of smoke inhalation

There just won't be time for a full post today. My wife and I are going to something involving NPR, which I was told very little about.

(Update: I got to see Tom Bodett live and in the flesh!!! Am I a total nerd that this makes me happy? He even left the light on for me.)

So, a few tidbits to tide you over.

This week's theme:
Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction in 30 seconds with bunnies.
(I'm not kidding)

On to the news:

Alone this Christmas?
(Now you don't have to be! A thought: If you know someone is going lonely at Christmas, why not invite them over...)

This is what Christmas is really about
(Shopping, despite your life being in danger. In Cleveland.)

Man fakes his own mugging to avoid wife's wrath
(It's this week's "alcohol was involved" story.)

The Seminole Indian tribe is buying the Hard Rock Cafe and Hotels
(I'm serious.)

Bright, shiny objects:

The top 100 NES games of all-time
(Don't try to hide. You'll click on it and waste a mountain of time there.)

No one ever said cheerleaders were the brightest bunch
(But, come on...)

Today's random "next blog":

Looks like a baby blog
(Awww! factor: high)

And finally:

Last night, we got to see my pastor's and his wife's baby. Such a joyful thing.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Where's my tragus?

And now a few prayers. Because surely, the apocalypse is upon us now.
Playgrounds in America might never be the same: Paris Hilton says she wants to have children— soon.

The partying heiress says that hanging around with her new best friend, Britney Spears, and Spears' two tykes has made her want to reproduce.

“It’s been my dream to have four babies by 30,” the 25-year-old heiress announced, reports Life & Style Weekly. And Hilton thinks she’s highly qualified for motherhood, explaining: “I look after animals, so I’d have a lot to give my kids.”
Let's play a game of "count the number of ways in which that is wrong." Shall we?
  1. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are apparently Hollywood's new power couple.
  2. Britney Spears hasn't actually done anything musical in a while and is now mostly famous for being the wife of Kevin Federline. (A thought: Paris Hilton has had a "hit single" more recently than Britney. So has K-Fed.)
  3. Paris recently announced (recently being July...) that she's giving up sex for a year. Perhaps you could see how this might be a bit of an obstacle for her. (Funnier, perhaps she doesn't)
  4. "I look after animals, so I'd have a lot to give my kids." The dull thudding sound that you hear is me ramming my head into the wall. It makes the pain go away.
The end is nigh.

This week's theme:
Pulp Fiction

I wish the above were fiction. But, such is life. For all you fans out there, today, I present a few links dedicated to the movie. I'm sure that if you like it, you will use them to waste more time than you had ever envisioned.

First off, all you Wikis, see what you think here.

The script is apparently on-line.

A few sound clips from the film.

And for good measure, an extra bone for you Tarantino fans.

On to the news:

Camel crashes Christmas party
(And drinks all the beer. It's illegal to drink and operate a vehicle, but what if the vehicle is drunk?)

It's a slow "odd news" day. You'd think there was something important going on. Like major decisions on a war or something.

Bright, shiny objects:

Behind the scenes of the White & Nerdy video
(Al-aholics, unite!)

What would happen if you drew a line from one zip code to another in sequential order, like a connect-the-dots?
(Oddly enough, this. It's the sort of question I'd ask.)

Today's random "next blog":

Notes from the Cookie Jar
(A Canadian mom blogs about being a mom, and other things. Includes cookie recipes! Here in FIF-land, we like to bake.)

Today's strange anniversary:

December 6, 1933 -- Ban on James Joyce' "Ulysses" in US, lifted. As a result, no one actually reads it except college English majors. And they only read the Clff's Notes version.

Fun fact of the day:

The little lump of flesh just forward of your ear canal, right next to your temple, is called a tragus.

And finally:

It's St. Nicholas Day! Happy Sinterklaas to all of FIF's Dutch readers. (I make it sound like I have stateside readers...)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

YouTube is destroying society... and I have proof

It's time for our Tuesday look around the world to see what's going on:

  1. Jessica Simpson did something stupid
  2. What is it about New York? The Yankees aren't trading A-Rod and Hillary Clinton is only sorta kinda thinking about running for President. (wink, wink)
  3. Britney Spears is apparently very popular on the internet
  4. And for some strange reason, Iran has banned YouTube.
In other words, nothing new is happening.

This week's theme:
Pulp Fiction

This is actually what started my thinking about Pulp Fiction: the only single and hit that Urge Overkill ever had: Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon.

Sadly, it was a cover.

On to the news:

No one else will understand why this is funny
(But I got a cheap laugh out of it. What does that say about me?)

Blind man takes over for drunk driver
(With predictable results. Also, his punishment was to be banned from driving for two years. And after that, it's apparently OK...)

Yeah, soon enough, it won't be science fiction anymore
(On the subject, I recommend this)

12-year-old arrested for opening Christmas present early
(The thing that scares me is that the cops actually arrested the kid)

Bright, shiny objects:

Finally, like, an ATM for, like, blondes
(Like totally)

People with no tomorrow
(Ummm... well... I just hope they're all photoshopped)

Today's random "next blog":

Cool desktop wallpaper blog
(A guy apparently makes desktop images... find them here. Quite nice.)

Today's strange anniversary:

December 5, 1776 -- 1st US fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa (William & Mary College), forms. I'm from Beta of Ohio, Kenyon College. I've always wondered though. Didn't they have... oh, I don't know... anything better to worry about in late 1776?

Fun fact of the day:

The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the "General Purpose" vehicle, G.P.

And finally:

For those of you who wanted to take away my Guy Card (tm) for knitting, I encourage you to watch this. Either it was a nice coincidence that this was a featured video on YouTube or someone at YouTube reads my blog. Apparently not someone in Iran.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Santa Claus is coming... to town

I hate snow. Yesterday, I spent half and hour chiseling my car out of a six inch covering of the stuff, because it snowed in Chicago when it was 30 degrees, meaning the stuff mostly turned directly to ice. All this to get the grocery store. My wife, who is from Atlanta, told me, "I love snow. It's so pretty." I asked her whether she had ever driven in snow. She didn't seem to have an answer for that one.

I love my wife.

Speaking of my wife, last Thursday night, she taught me how to knit. I'm not terribly good at it, but I can understand why it's so hypnotic. But now let's see: I'm addicted to Gilmore Girls, I know how to knit... yeah, my Guy Card will be taken away from me at some point in the near future.

This week's theme:
Pulp Fiction

I've been borderline obsessed with this movie lately. Hey, why not. A reminder that there are a few... adult... words in what follows, so, proceed with caution.

With that said, Do you read the Bible?

Apparently, Samuel L. Jackson doesn't.

On to the news:

So that's all it takes...
(How to live to be 120... or maybe she just forgot how old she was)

Proof that you can file a lawsuit over anything
(And I mean anything.)

First my library books, now my garage door
(Thank God no Americans actually go to the library)

Saudi Arabia allows women to sell cars, but not drive them
(No comment.)

Bright, shiny objects:

Let's see what our weekly check of Engrish.com turns up...
(Perhaps that trip abroad is not such a good idea.)

Someone get me this t-shirt

Today's random "next blog":

You never know what's going to come up when you hit the "next blog" button:

A blog by a guy who reads books about being a millionaire
(If becoming a millionaire is that easy, why aren't there more millionaires?)

Monday playslist feature:

This week includes December 6th, which is the feast of St. Nicholas. It's also the anniversary of my First Communion, back when I was Catholic. This took place in 1987.

What was America listening to back then?

5) Whitesnake -- Is This Love?

4) Sting -- We'll Be Together

3) Richard Marx -- Should Have Known Better

2) George Michael -- Faith(!!!)

1) Belinda Carlisle -- Heaven is a Place on Earth

Could this be any more of an 80's list? Seriously, take a look at the rest of the chart from that week and tell me that you wouldn't listen a radio station programmed with those songs.

Today's strange anniversary:

December 4, 977 -- Karel, the Great, becomes king of all France. He's so great that I've never heard of him.

Fun fact of the day:

Dracula is the most filmed story of all time, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is second and Oliver Twist is third.

And finally:

Just for good measure, Moby and Debbie Harry of Blondie have collaborated on a new song. It's brilliant.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy 100th post

It's the official 100th installment of the Foreign Intelligence Files (FIF for short!). I did receive a few messages of congratulations from around the web including this one from Borat. He wanted to thank me for hyping his movie, despite the fact that I still have yet to see it.

J-Ratz himself checked in, following up on his recent efforts to heal divisions between the Catholic Church and Christian Orthodoxy.
Chuck Norris also sent me this lovely card, before he went out to kill everyone in Alaska with his bare hands. Nice, Chuck.

This week's theme:
Oh the places I've gone!

Today, we visit Pine Mountain State Park in Kentucky, the continuation of the "let's pick a state and go there" series that my parents put together some years ago. I did get to stand in three states at once (Kentucky, Tennesee, Virginia).

On to the news:

Blind man sentenced to spend four weeks in a library

Power Ranger fights off burglar

Man shoots himself with his own crossbow

I think this excising Jesus from Christmas thing has gone a little too far

Bright, shiny objects:

Burger King of Kings
(I should give this guy an entire section of the blog. Look for the rest of his vids.)

The ten hottest Disney Girls of all time
(As opposed to the Bond Girls)

Today's random "next blog":

Now here, no where
(The tagline is: "My fascinating adventures in bookstores, as well as deep, meaningful insights into my life. Or just silly ones. Whatever works." My kind of blog!)

Today's strange anniversary:

December 1, 1929 -- Game of Bingo invented by Edwin S Lowe. If he were about six when he did that, he'd now be old enough to play the game.

Today is also the anniversary of Michael Jackson releasing Thriller (1982). He(?) used to be really good. Perhaps there should be an award for people who fall so far into the depths of laughability called the Michael Jackson award. This year's award would go to Kevin Federline.

Fun fact of the day:

An animal epidemic is called an epizootic.

And now a word from our sponsors:

A commercial for milk from Japan
(Is that all it takes?)

And finally:

It's time for our weekly check of Is It Friday dot net!