National Lampoon co-founder Doug Kenney speaking at UCLA (1972)

Before he contributed his writing talents to Animal House and Caddyshack, National Lampoon's co-founder Doug Kenney spoke at UCLA in March 1972. He talked, in a sort of stream of consciousness, about the popular publication and his half-finished comic novel, Teenage Commies from Outer Space.

Kenney had taken a year off from the magazine to write that manuscript and, as the story goes, threw it in the waste basket when his Lampoon partner Henry Beard indicated that it sucked. Beard clarified, "What he was trying to do was capture this global inanity of the American experience... What it turned into was the high school yearbook parody. It was just a question of finding the right format."

I came across this nearly-hour long interview last night after watching Netflix's new biopic on Kenney, A Futile and Stupid Gesture, and wanting to learn more about him.

Kenney was found dead at the age of 32 in August 1980 at the bottom of Hawaii's Hanapepe Lookout. It was deemed an accidental death by the police but as Harold Ramis once quipped, "He probably fell while he was looking for a place to jump." Read the rest

XKCD's security meltdowns for the coming year

Over at XKCD, Randall Munroe's predicted the Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures for 2018, with some pretty solid predictions (especially under the tooltip, which finally reveals a secret that many of us have kept mum about for literal decades -- damn you, Munroe!). Read the rest

The Onion's review of Fifty Shades Freed

Peter K. Rosenthal faces an existential crisis after watching 'Fifty Shades Freed' and learning the nature of his predicament.

For as long as I remember I've been imprisoned here, forced to watch an endless cavalcade of rote, insipid moviemaking. ... Every DVD I watch is slipped in on a tray. Recently, for some reason, they've also been putting this revolver on it.

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If Siri existed in the 1980s

Leave it to Squirrel Monkey (previously) to imagine what Siri might have been like in the eighties. In this spoof called Wonders of the World Wide Web, they give the ancient alter ego of Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant a garbled, synthesized voice which I found particularly funny. Be sure to watch the whole video, as it just gets weirder as it goes along.

(Tastefully Offensive) Read the rest

Starlings: razor-sharp stories and poems from Jo Walton

Stephen King once wrote that "a short story is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger" -- that is, sudden, pleasant, mysterious, dangerous and exiting, and the collected short fiction of Jo Walton, contained between covers in the newly published Starlings, is exemplary of the principle. Walton, after all, is one of science fiction's major talents, and despite her protests that she "doesn't really know how to write stories," all the evidence is to the contrary.

Coolio teaches white people how to pronounce hip-hop slang

A recent contestant on Jeopardy! got dinged for pronouncing "gangsta" incorrectly, which prompted this bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. It imagines Coolio hosting a Golf Channel TV show called Pronunciation Station that teaches "Anglo-Saxons" how to say popular hip-hop words, phrases, and names. Read the rest

Liartown: the First Four Years, a tour-de-force of killer shooping and acerbic wit

Sean Tejaratchi's amazing Liartown, USA (previously) is a bottomless well of astoundingly good photoshops from a parallel universe of bitter, ha-ha-only-serious sight gags, minutely detailed, lovingly crafted and often NSFW; Tejaratchi's new 248-page color, 8.5"x11" anthology, LiarTown: The First Four Years 2013-2017 is a powerful dose of creepypasta in its purest form.

A useless machine that wraps gifts in 10 seconds

It's not a good machine or a precise machine, but it is still a machine that will wrap gifts (and sandwiches and ankles) in 10 seconds.

But the best part of this video isn't the present wrapping, it's when inventor Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines shows his many attempts at automating the Christmas-tree-decorating process. Read the rest

Diesel Sweeties pins: I want to believe in RSS and Computers Professional

From the delightful R Stevens of Diesel Sweeties fame, a pair of excellent enamel pins: Computers Professional ($11.33) and I want to believe in RSS ($11.55). Read the rest

Sexysenator.com, americanjerks.com, toddlerjail.com and other unregistered domains

"Still Not Dotcom" is Brian McMullen's annual catalog of unregistered .com domains -- as found poetry goes, you'd be hard pressed to find anything funnier. You can also listen to it as a free, unabridged audiobook thanks to KCRW's The Organist. Read the rest

When Bob Odenkirk perfectly played Charles Manson

Well before Breaking Bad, and Better Call Saul (and even Mr. Show), Bob Odenkirk showed his comedic chops by playing Charles Manson on the short-lived 1990s TV sketch series The Ben Stiller Show.

In two of the skits, he plays the madman as a sort of incarcerated "Heloise" in "Ask Manson." In them, he answers questions on stain removal and car troubles.

The third one takes a different, and completely inspired, turn. It's Manson as Lassie and it's one of my all-time favorites.

I won't say anymore, just watch: Read the rest

What to do if your parachute fails

Jumping out of a plane from 12,500 feet is exhilarating fun, until that parachute of yours decides to jam. Don't panic, this instructional video will help you get to that book deal. You'll be shaking hands with Al Roker in no time.

(TwistedSifter) Read the rest

Cannabis ad brilliantly parodies prescription drug commercials

Oregon-based cannabis delivery company Briteside has just created a dope ad for its new weed subscription box service. The one-and-a-half minute long video takes a well-deserved shot at Big Pharma by parodying their formulaic TV commercials.

Side effects may include euphoria, increased appetite, uncontrollable giggles, elevated sensitivity to musical dopeness, and reduced anxiety.

(Mashable) Read the rest

Australian government proposes jail terms for satire

Juice Media is a company whose "Honest Government Adverts" Youtube series lampoon both the Australian government's decisions and the way it promotes them. Juice's videos are very funny, and very, very obviously parodies (they spell "Australian" wrong!). Read the rest

John Hodgman's Vacationland: a masterpiece of humor that means something

If you -- like me -- are a loyal listener to the Judge John Hodgman podcast, then you have a sense of what makes Hodgman a treasure: it's his combination of understated, low-key wit; his quick self-deprecation; and his deep compassion, which is what makes his comedic "fake internet courtoom" into more than a quick gag, turning it into reliable source of thought-provoking insight into how to be a better person. If that's your thing, then you will love his latest book, a memoir called Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches, which isn't just funny... it's also sneaky as hell.

The Best Towel for Crying Into

The best paper towers for mopping tears as reviewed by Wirecutter, which is to say McSweeneys.

Why You Should Trust Us

Drawing from decades of experience covering cleaning products, we created a grading system by consulting at length with paper towel experts and manufacturers. Then, we corroborated our findings against thousands of online ratings and sources like Consumer Reports and Good Housekeeping. To create the tears, we referenced a complete list of every mistake we’ve ever made, usually right as we were trying to fall asleep.

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BBC documentary about computer programmers

Sir Richard Attenborough exposes the secret lives of those mysterious creatures that make apps and websites. Read the rest

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