Cello scrotum is a tricky medical condtion

Was this another musical performance ruined by the dreaded... cello scrotum?
Two doctors have finally revealed that "cello scrotum" - a condition revealed in a 1974 letter to the British Medical Journal which was described as raw and swollen loins of men who play their cellos a bit too long or vigorously - was a hoax.

The prankster doctors were responding to another letter - also likely a hoax - that described "guitar nipple."

Some doctors took these conditions somewhat seriously, and cited these fake conditions in other medical papers.

The Journal's current deputy editor said people could probably still spoof the journal, but it's less likely today than it was back then, because people don't tend to turn in single case reports or anecdotes, which are less accepted today as evidence.

The journal did publish research on the physics of head banging, but that was for their annual Christmas research, which purposely publishes jokey research.

Cello Scrotum, Guitar Nipple: Docs Fess Up to Invented Conditions at ABC News / Health>>

How to steal lottery tickets

The lottery ticket scam

Okay, so in New York City, a clever scammer has figured out a way to scam retailers out of lottery tickets with a sleight-of-hand trick. In con-man lingo, this kind of deception is called a short con.

Here's how you do it.

Walk into a convenience or liquor store.

Ask for a large number of lottery tickets. Make sure you're a friendly kind of guy.

After receiving the tickets, but before paying for them, say:

"Oh, do you have a rubber band or an envelope or something I can put these in?"

While the clerk is distracted, switch the unused stack of tickets for a used stack of tickets with a real ticket on top.

Put the real tickets in your pocket.

When the clerk looks at the stack of tickets, it looks the same.

Then you say:

"Crap! I must have left my wallet in my car. Hold these for me. I'll be right back!"

You leave, but you never return.

Eventually the clerk looks at the stack of tickets, and discovers... That bastard! I've been had!

The scratch-off tickets can be worth as much as $20 each, so if you pretend to buy a stack of tickets, you can make a pretty good score. One deli got ripped off for $800.

But here's what I don't quite get: these are lottery tickets. It's not money you're stealing. You might get nothing at all. So you're risking a lot to get potentially nothing.

Lottery officials say they don't reimburse theft. But lottery vendors are all hooked up with computerized terminals, and aren't tickets numbered or marked in some way, so the stores could refuse to pay out on tickets that are stolen?

And wouldn't that be a deterrent for a crafty con-man like you? Wouldn't that be like a bank robber stealing marked bills from a bank?

Probably what's happening is that the con-man who steals the tickets then sells them at a reduced rate to others hoping to win:

"I've got real $20 lottery tickets for sale, only $10."

So make sure you have friends who are thinking more about winning the lottery than thinking about getting caught.

That's a much better scam than scratching off a stack of tickets yourself, right?

But is that true? Are the odds better for selling the tickets for a guaranteed $10, or for you the con-man scratching and redeeming the tickets yourself?

Source: NACS Online, New York Post>>

He detected a lover's lie but did not discover the truth

Detail of a portrait of Méry Laurent by Edouard Manet, 1876. Laurent was a model for Proust's character, Odette
I found this short excerpt from the very long novel (one of the longest novels ever) by Marcel Proust called Remembrance of Things Past, or as it's usually referred to now, In Search of Lost Time.

In this excerpt, Charles Swann is in love with Odette de Crécy. She's a courtesan, a complicated term meaning a female companion or escort, one of whose duties was sexual. Swann visits her but she doesn't seem to be at home. Later he returns and she says she was there, but she was asleep, yet she heard him knocking... and Swann realizes she's telling him a lie.

One day when Swann had gone out early in the afternoon to pay a call, and had failed to find the person at home whom he wished to see, it occurred to him to go, instead, to Odette, at an hour when, although he never went to her house then as a rule, he knew that she was always at home, resting or writing letters until tea-time, and would enjoy seeing her for a moment, if it did not disturb her.

The porter told him that he believed Odette to be in; Swann rang the bell, thought that he heard a sound, that he heard footsteps, but no one came to the door.

Anxious and annoyed, he went round to the other little street, at the back of her house, and stood beneath her bedroom window; the curtains were drawn and he could see nothing; he knocked loudly upon the pane, he shouted; still no one came.

He could see that the neighbours were staring at him.

He turned away, thinking that, after all, he had perhaps been mistaken in believing that he heard footsteps; but he remained so preoccupied with the suspicion that he could turn his mind to nothing else.

After waiting for an hour, he returned.

He found her at home; she told him that she had been in the house when he rang, but had been asleep; the bell had awakened her; she had guessed that it must be Swann, and had run out to meet him, but he had already gone.

She had, of course, heard him knocking at the window.

Swann could at once detect in this story one of those fragments of literal truth which liars, when taken by surprise, console themselves by introducing into the composition of the falsehood which they have to invent, thinking that it can be safely incorporated, and will lend the whole story an air of verisimilitude.

It was true that, when Odette had just done something which she did not wish to disclose, she would take pains to conceal it in a secret place in her heart.

But as soon as she found herself face to face with the man to whom she was obliged to lie, she became uneasy, all her ideas melted like wax before a flame, her inventive and her reasoning faculties were paralysed, she might ransack her brain but would find only a void; still, she must say something, and there lay within her reach precisely the fact which she had wished to conceal, which, being the truth, was the one thing that had remained.

She broke off from it a tiny fragment, of no importance in itself, assuring herself that, after all, it was the best thing to do, since it was a detail of the truth, and less dangerous, therefore, than a falsehood.

"At any rate, this is true," she said to herself; "that's always something to the good; he may make inquiries; he will see that this is true; it won't be this, anyhow, that will give me away."

But she was wrong; it was what gave her away; she had not taken into account that this fragmentary detail of the truth had sharp edges which could not be made to fit in, except to those contiguous fragments of the truth from which she had arbitrarily detached it, edges which, whatever the fictitious details in which she might embed it, would continue to show, by their overlapping angles and by the gaps which she had forgotten to fill, that its proper place was elsewhere.

"She admits that she heard me ring, and then knock, that she knew it was myself, that she wanted to see me," Swann thought to himself.

"But that doesn't correspond with the fact that she did not let me in."

He did not, however, draw her attention to this inconsistency, for he thought that, if left to herself, Odette might perhaps produce some falsehood which would give him a faint indication of the truth; she spoke; he did not interrupt her, he gathered up, with an eager and sorrowful piety, the words that fell from her lips, feeling (and rightly feeling, since she was hiding the truth behind them as she spoke) that, like the veil of a sanctuary, they kept a vague imprint, traced a faint outline of that infinitely precious and, alas, undiscoverable truth; - what she had been doing, that afternoon, at three o'clock, when he had called, - a truth of which he would never possess any more than these falsifications, illegible and divine traces, a truth which would exist henceforward only in the secretive memory of this creature, who would contemplate it in utter ignorance of its value, but would never yield it up to him.

Méry Laurent by Edouard Manet

Proust's writing is notorious for rewarding a reader who reads it again. I found this is true even with this short passage, and because it's short, it's easy to reread.

We know that Swann is a skillful lie detector, but he realizes that Odette's secret of what she was doing at three o'clock is going to remain an "undiscoverable truth."

From Swann's Way, Remembrance of Things Past (or In Search of Lost Time), Volume One, 1913. by Marcel Proust

(A note to any Proust purists - yes, I added spaces between all the sentences for ease in reading large blocks of text. It makes the novel seem more modern, too.)

The folding machine gun, disguised as a flashlight

Folded, it's a high-tech flashlight
Surprise! It's a machine gun
"The Magpul® Folding Machine Gun (FMG9™) is a rapidly-deployable, ultra-concealable personal defense weapon currently in development for military, law-enforcement and private security operators. It is designed to offer maximum firepower and control in a compact and discreet package. The FMG9™ is currently a conceptual prototype."
Magpul Industries Corporation is just down the road from me, in Erie, Colorado. They make "aftermarket" products for use with firearms, such as magazines, stocks and grips. They currently have no plans to make this "Transformer-esque" gun.

If you need more info, go to Magpul Industries Corporation >>

For a PDF file about their prototype flashlight gun (it opens as a PDF) go here>>

Meat-eating Nazis and black people as apes - deceptive or outrageous?

Alexander - the Man Who Knows - a magic poster for a mindreader


Buy this CD Now for the band Tiger! Tiger! The Kind of Goodnight
There are over 100 great images like the ones above in a set on Flickr called Similarities. They were posted by Bob Caruthers, a retired professor of Graphic Design. He posts design images that are similar to each other. These images might be deceiving you into thinking they are original, or they might not. According to Mr. Carruthers, they fall into different categories:
    Accidents - where one creator is unaware of the other. Nothing deceptive here.

    Re-contextualized - where an old image is given new life in a new context. If you as a viewer don''t know about the old image, wouldn't you attribute this completely to the new creator? These might be seen as slightly deceptive.

    Inspired - the creator takes inspiration from the old source. Some say that all art "borrows" from the past, so I think we can safely say these aren't deceptive.

    Homages - the image that's being borrowed from is famous enough to be widely known. These can't be deceptive because it's like quoting somebody famous. If you say: "To be or not to be..." most people know you're quoting Shakespeare.

    Appropriated - the original image is taken, used, and usually uncredited. Without credit, wouldn't this be a bit deceptive?

    But there's more than deception involved when "borrowing" an image.

    America's Meat Roundup - a poster used to advertise meat
    In one case, many copies of the America's Meat Roundup posters were distributed before someone said, "Hey, doesn't that meat guy look exactly like that Nazi guy on a Nazi youth poster?" (And they traced the illustration - meat guy was traced exactly from Nazi guy.)

    Der Deutsche student - Kampf fur fuhrer und volk  (The German student fights for the Fuhrer and the people)
    And a Vogue magazine cover (shot by well-known photographer Annie Lebowitz) of basketball player Lebron James and model Gisele Bundchen seemed to evoke old images of black people... as terrifying apes.
    Vogue cover with athlete and pretty girl

    Destroy this mad brute - Enlist - US Army - A WWI propaganda poster
    For more about Nazi meat and Vogue insensitivity, go to Media Assassin, written by Harry Allen>>

    Did you hear the joke about the nun and the cabdriver?

    See the nun in the back seat?

    A cab driver picks up a beautiful nun. He won't stop staring at her. She asks what's wrong. She says he can tell her anything.

    He says he's sorry, but he's always had... sexual fantasies about nuns.

    She tells him it's all right. She just has two questions: Is he Catholic, and is he single?

    He tells her he is Catholic, and he is single.

    She tells him it's his lucky day - today's the day she's leaving the church, and she's always wanted to do a certain something to a man.

    They pull into an alley.

    When they've finished, the man's crying. She asks him what's wrong.

    I'm sorry, he says. I can't lie to you. I'm married, and I'm Jewish.

    That's okay, says the nun. My name's Kevin, and I'm on my way to a Halloween party.

    Fake glass of milk lights up your life

    It's a milk glass with internal turbulence

    And it lights up

    Now vegans and the lactose-intolerant can have a glass of milk

    It's a White LED Milk Glass Mood Lamp Night Light. It turns off when you tilt it sideways or turn it upside down. It won't fool you into thinking it's a real glass of milk, but I like it.

    Buy it at Locomolife>>

    "Oh no, a lion!" How male antelopes trick females for sex

    Female antelopes, on average, mate with 4 male antelopes, and male antelopes have approximately 12 female partners.
    In a study called Male Topi Antelopes Alarm Snort Deceptively to Retain Females for Mating, it's said that:
    "Male topi antelopes alarm snort deceptively to retain receptive females in their territories and thereby secure mating opportunities."
    Translated into non-academic language, this means:

    Horny male antelopes pretend there are lions around by snorting, the same kind of snorting they use when there really are lions around. The female antelopes think, "Hey, there are no lions around here! That antelope's been snorting like that whenever it's my time of the month. Hmm... but what if he's right, and there really are lions around? I guess I'd better stay close to him, because if there really are lions around, and I stray too far from this horny antelope, I might get killed by a hungry lion. And a hungry lion is worse than a horny antelope."

    That's how the male antelopes are able to scare the females into sticking close by, giving the male antelopes more opportunities to screw the female antelopes.

    In conclusion:
    "Although firm statements about intentions behind behaviors are notoriously difficult to make, our study does identify a parallel between animals and humans in their capability of using false signaling to deceive mates, a finding that hints that their communication may be less fundamentally different than widely assumed."

    Males lie to have sex.

    Abstract of the study at The American Naturalist>>

    A few more words at USAToday>>

    No camo in Jamaica, mon!

    Jamaicans will not be able to shop at the online store Surplus and Adventure and buy this genuine issue US Army Woodland Camo BDU Shirt, said to be the exact type worn by the Jamaican police

     The man on the left is not a Jamaican policeman
    The Jamaican Parliament has passed a law banning all camouflage clothing, except for uniforms worn by the police. The police don't want civilians to be mistaken for police officers. The previous law said the clothing was illegal if it was used to deceive the public, but the "deceiving" part was difficult to prove.

    Source: Jamaica Observer>>

    Don't deceive yourself with... "The Black Hole"

    The Black Hole

    This hilarious little short is from Phil and Olly (Olly Williams and Phil Sampson), and is said to be inspired by the Warner Brothers Road Runner cartoons.

    It's The Twilight Zone meets Alfred Hitchcock meets Office Space - a cautionary fable in under three minutes.

    Stealing old books can make you money

    A single page ripped from an old book on flowers can be sold as an antiquarian print for over $100.

    William Jacques had already been in jail for four years for stealing rare books, but he couldn't stop. He was caught again, this time stealing books on flowers from the Royal Horticultural Society's Lindley library. (The book was Nouvelle Iconographie des Camellias, by Ambroise Verschaffelt.)

    With low-tech methods not much more sophisticated than your average shoplifter, William Jacques simply walked into the library and stuffed the rare books under his clothes.

    He was smart, though - he knew which books were valuable and could be auctioned off whole, or cut apart and sold piecemeal.

    Many of the books he targeted are not easily accessible to the general public. But one bookseller said that Jacque "is very adept at it. He seems to wheedle his way in and be very convincing."

    One thing that's stopped the police from catching book thieves is the same thing that also stops many who've been conned: a reluctance and embarassment to admit that anything was stolen.

    In many cases, the victims are worried about how library donors would react.

    Security professionals are trying to teach libraries to balance patron's access to books and protection from criminals.

    (Mr. Jacques, who was nicknamed the "Tome Raider," has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail.)

    How thieves target rare books, Read article at the BBC News Magazine>>

    How corporate culture killed a bank

    Former Lehman Brother's president Joseph Gregory, with his second wife, Niki
    Lehman Brothers was the 158-year-old financial services firm that died of bankruptcy in 2008. It was the largest bankrupcy in U.S. history.

    Vicky Ward's book, The Devil's Casino, says the roots of the problem were found in Lehman's corporate culture. She examines four Lehman employees - close friends who wanted to be the good guys of finance - and how obedience was enforced and backstabbing politics became the rule.
    "I think the book is really a kind of morality-tale. It shows us how the best intentions go astray and how the will to acquire, to succeed, is in the end a force of human nature and is rarely tempered and overcome. I think the book shows that no matter what the “rules” or “regulations” are on the Street, clever or hungry bankers have always historically found a way around them. So I think that we will see history repeated – probably not tomorrow. But eventually - yes. Doesn’t history always get repeated? Isn’t that the irony of humanity?"
    Book review from The New York Times>>

    The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High-Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers by Vicky Ward>>

    You can read an excerpt at Vanity Fair where she looks at Lehman from the wive's perspective. It sounds as petty and mean-spirited as a wealthy high school. Well, no, that's not quite right. These people have money and power through their husbands. The politics and social maneuvering are more like the dukes and earls (or the female dukes and earls - would they be the countesses and ladies?) suffocated in intrigue inside a King's court, handling everything to do with family while their husbands took care of business.
    Karin Jack knew what was required of her as her spouse rose in the company. “I mean, Brad didn’t do one single thing for 20 years that wasn’t Lehman Brothers,” she recalls. “Not a postcard, nor a Christmas present, nor a phone call to his family. I did everything, unless it had a Lehman stamp on it. As a Lehman wife, you raised your kids by yourself. You had your babies by yourself in the hospital. And then you were supposed to be happy and pretty and smiling when there was an event, and you really would have liked to strangle somebody,” she explains.
    Lehman’s Desperate Housewives, at Vanity Fair>>

    Rainbow book optical illusion

    The book takes a simple two-dimensional spectrum...

    ...and transforms it into a three-dimensional rainbow.
    I like the idea of Masashi Kawamura's Rainbow in Your Hand book, where flipping through the book's pages creates the optical illusion of a rainbow.

    Available from PrintedMatter>>

    Alfred Hitchcock's psychic scam

    E.G. Marshall and Jack Klugman are wage-slaves in this 1957 TV episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Mail Order Prophet

    This episode, where a character receives visionary letters from a psychic named Christiani, parodies a real-life mail-order spiritual movement called Psychiana, started in 1928 by the self-professed prophet Frank Bruce Robinson. In this TV episode, Marshall's character begins to ask himself: "What if this psychic really can predict the future?" while Klugman remains skeptical. The episode also reveals the supposed workings of an elaborate con-game, and slyly messes with our ideas of faith.

    "Stop the counterfeit cigarettes!" says the Marlboro men

    This Marlboro is an obvious fake. Most are not.
    The Marlboro cigarette brand wants unfair competition to stop. The cigarette's parent company, Altria, uses undercover investigators to find counterfeit cigarettes and cigarettes without tax stamps.

    Cigarette smuggling has increased in places like New York, especially since the state raised taxes. A typical pack of cigarettes costs about $10 in New York City. If you load a car with cigarettes in a low-tax state like Virginia, you could make $30,000 in profit selling them in New York.

    Altria also wants the Seneca, a nearby Native American tribe, to stop selling tax-free cigarettes. You could buy a carton of cigarettes there for $50, and resell them for $100 at a convenience store.

    Also a big problem: completely counterfeit cigarettes from China, which makes 99% of all counterfeits. A pack of fake smokes only costs 20 cents to make in China. And counterfeiters make separate versions of Marlboros for each market - with authentic-looking tax stamps and regional health warnings.

    A 40-foot shipping container of cigarettes can be produced in China for $100,000. Smuggled into the U.S., it'll sell for up to $2 million on the street.

    Fake Chinese smokes sent to Russia have produced this interesting fact, said a Chinese police officer:
    "The feedback from Russian customers is that they've gotten used to the fake flavor, and now they don't want the real ones anymore."
    I'm sure American cigarette manufacturers do not want to hear that.

    Business Week article>>

    Article by Te-Ping Chen, the short version, at Slate>>

    Article by Te-Ping Chen, the long version, from the Tobacco Underground, a project of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists>>
    This version includes more details about the way counterfeiting works in China, and why Chinese manufacturers hide their operations underground. (It's the same as many illegal marijuana operations - because of the smell.)

    The fastest 20 million dollar prank ever

    The Tornado GR4 aircraft is capable of speeds of 1,400 mph
    A Royal Air Force navigator pranks the pilot by holding up a sign saying "I'm with stupid."

    They were on a training mission in their £13million (over $20 million U.S.) Tornado GR4 aircraft, zooming through a valley in northern Wales.

    An RAF spokesman said it was a "light-hearted moment."

    BBC News - RAF Tornado 'I'm with stupid' prank laughed off by MoD>>

    Better pics - Demotix - RAF Navigator makes Plane-spotters smile>>

    The 100% completely non-deceptive music video

    The 1982 song Total Eclipse of the Heart
    Here's a well-known literal music video, where all the visuals are completely explained by the lyrics, so you are never deceived.

    The Deception Of Beauty Magazines

    This is a before-Photoshopping image of the "ugly" Faith Hill
    While I was at a party, I recently opined, in my highly knowledgeable and indignant voice, that no image appears in any medium anymore without being Photoshopped in some way. Jezebel reaffirms my pronouncement:
    "The crazy thing about the Faith Hill Redbook cover is not that it was Photoshopped - it's that this is the standard amount of digital altering that goes into a cover."
    If this type of manipulation is so common, is it even considered deceptive? Is it only the old people who look at these magazine covers and complain about media manipulation, while the young people say: "Of course they're not real. What, you think video games are real, too?"

    Go to The Dump to see pre and post Photoshopping>>

    See more examples at Jezebel's Photoshop of Horrors Hall of Shame>>

    How deception helps Alzheimer patients

    With all the reports of bad deception - frauds and cons and stealing money and murder - sometimes there don't seem to be enough examples of "good deception."

    Here's one:

    The Benrath Senior Centre in Düsseldorf, Germany had a problem. Alzheimer patients would sometimes wander off, and they had to call police to find them. They worried that patients would spend the night in the cold of winter.

    So they erected a fake bus stop sign in front of the senior center.
    “It sounds funny, but it helps. Our members are 84 years-old on average. Their short-term memory hardly works at all, but the long-term memory is still active. They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home. We will approach them and say that the bus is coming later today and invite them in to the home for a coffee. Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.”
    From the Telegraph>>

    The deceptive blueberry pie

    The 9 Inch Sliced Blueberry Pie

    I don't fully understand why you'd want this. It's a fake pie that's so deceptive-looking it might fool you into thinking it's an actual pie. But it's not a pie at all. Actually, it's a candle. If you look closely, you might see candle wicks sticking up from the blueberries and crust. They probably do not contribute to the illusion. And they might give it away a bit more if they're lit. But if you want a pie that catches on fire yet burns safely, this pie's for you. (Please do not leave burning pies unattended.)

    This pie's from Sherwood's Forest>>

    Chef lied to have more sex after killing wife with frying pan

    Peter Wallner
    "It was out of control. I could not keep one story straight. What I did in those weeks and the following years is not only inexcusable but I can't even explain it to myself."
    - Peter Wallner

    In the UK, 30-year-old hotel chef Peter Wallner used implements he was familiar with.

    When his wife, Melanie Wallner, discovered text messages proving he was cheating on her, he waited until she fell asleep in bed, then beat her to death with a griddle pan.

    Griddle pan

    The next night, he had sex on his bed with a work colleague while his wife's body lay elsewhere inside the house.

    He decided to buy a freezer.

    Large Capacity Freezer

    He placed the freezer in a garden shed and hid her body inside.

    He contacted her family in South Africa and said Melanie had died, possibly from a "brain aneurysm."

    Her mother flew to London, but he convinced her not to visit her daughter's badly discolored body.

    For her memorial service, he filled her cremation urn with ashes from his barbecue grill.

    Barbecue Grill
     He did not cry.

    At the hotel where he and his late wife both worked, a colleague said: "He was his normal self, easy-going. I would never have known he had lost his wife."

    Her parents kept asking for the death certificate but he made excuses. When they flew to get it in person, he said he was in Portugal, spending his inheritance.

    Three years later, at a home he'd just moved out of, garbagemen couldn't lift the garbage bin into their truck, so they left it.

    Garbage Bin
    After three weeks, the garbage bin began to smell.

    Neighbors looked inside and discovered a human foot. The foot was attached to the upside-down body of his wife, Melanie Wallner.

    Peter Wallner was found in Malta with his girlfriend, 23-year old Lilia Fenech.

    He said he would help with the investigation.

    Peter Wallner was eventually arrested, found guilty, and given a minimum ­sentence of 20 years.

    (Wallner also had three other lovers, parents he said were dead who were still alive, and - even though he said he had a vasectomy - fathered a baby girl.)

    Four lovers and a wife in the freezer at The Daily Mail>>

    BBC story: Surrey wheelie bin murderer's 'heartless' lies>>

    "A bad novel tells the truth about..." (really it's about sex toys)

    Okay, I cheated. I was looking for funny novel titles appropriate to the G. K. Chesterton quote to use as a picture. I couldn't find a good bad title that worked. But when I discovered the above book, Make Your Own Sex Toys, with its bright orange cover of a line drawing of a guy diligently making sex toys in his workshop, I knew this book was the one.

    "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author."

    - G. K. Chesterton 

    The runner up to the funniest book title: Scouts in Bondage. Again, a cheat. Words change meaning. But still...

    A simple striped optical illusion

    I like this one. It vibrates, and seems to move, and sometimes looks 3-dimensional. (Click to enlarge.)

    He deceives his best friend and pays with his life

     Long Black Veil
    A man is in love with his best friend's wife. One night he sleeps with her. The man has deceived his friend, so now fate comes to test him. He's accused of an unrelated murder on that same night. He lied to his best friend, and now he only has to tell the truth to save himself. His alibi is that he was with his friend's wife. Will he betray his love by telling the truth, or will he lie and condemn himself to death?

    This song was originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1959, and has been covered by The Band, Dave Matthews and Emmylou Harris, the Chieftains with Mick Jagger, Burl Ives, and many others. There are lots of great versions of this song. This one's from 1969, on the first episode of The Johnny Cash Show, as a duet with 26-year old Joni Mitchell.

    To me, this song is similar in tone and theme to the folk song Tom Dooley, made famous by The Kingston Trio. (And it may also concern one person lying to help another - see Wikipedia>>)

    Ten years ago, on a cold dark night
    Someone was killed, 'neath the town hall light
    There were few at the scene, but they all agreed

    That the slayer who ran, looked a lot like me

    She walks these hills in a long black veil
    She visits my grave when the night winds wail
    Nobody knows, nobody sees
    Nobody knows but me

    The judge said son, what is your alibi?
    If you were somewhere else, you won't have to die
    I spoke not a word, though it meant my life
    I'd been in the arms of my best friend's wife 

    Oh, the scaffold stood high and eternity was near
    She stood in the crowd but she shed not a tear
    But sometimes at night, when the cold wind calls
    She comes to my grave and she mourns over my bones

    She walks these hills in a long black veil
    She visits my grave when the night winds wail
    Nobody knows, nobody sees
    Nobody knows but me

    Nobody knows, nobody sees
    Nobody knows but me

    Martin Gardner fought deception, fads and fallacies in science

     Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

    The classic book Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner is a masterpiece. Published in 1957, and only his second book, it helped launch the skeptical movement with its understandable debunking of dubious fringe science. It's one of the most important popular books ever written on understanding what is science and what is not science.

    Though some of the quack theories he talks about have faded away, much is still with us.

    Gardner's insights are relevant today in combating any type of deception.

    Read this book along with Carl Sagan's classic The Demon-Haunted World.

    In the first chapter of his book, Gardner is optimistic that we can become smarter by educating ourselves:
    "...the best means of combating the spread of pseudo-science is an enlightened public, able to distinguish the work of a reputable investigator from the work of the incompetent and self-deluded. This is not as hard to do as one might think. Of course, there always will be borderline cases hard to classify, but the fact that black shades into white through many shades of gray does not mean that the distinction between black and white is difficult."
    More on Martin Gardner>>

    An excerpt from Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science by Martin Gardner, 1957
    Chapter One - In the Name of Science

    SINCE THE BOMB exploded over Hiroshima, the prestige of science in the United States has mushroomed like an atomic cloud. In schools and colleges, more students than ever before are choosing some branch of science for their careers. Military budgets earmarked for scientific research have never been so fantastically huge. Books and magazines devoted to science are coming off the presses in greater numbers than at any previous time in history. Even in the realm of escape literature, science fiction threatens seriously to replace the detective story.

    One curious consequence of the current boom in science is the rise of the promoter of new and strange "scientific" theories. He is riding into prominence, so to speak, on the coat-tails of reputable investigators. The scientists themselves, of course, pay very little attention to him. They are too busy with more important matters. But the less informed general public, hungry for sensational discoveries and quick panaceas, often provides him with a noisy and enthusiastic following.

    An hour of aural infidelity - adultery and cheating

    Gaze at these covers from 1953
    if you can't take the time to listen now. 
    They enlarge when clicked.

    An episode of the radio show This American Life with Ira Glass.

    These are some of the stories: in the wedding notices in The New York Times, couples will sometimes publicly explain how they "met cute" - because one of them cheated on a long-time relationship. In England, someone's affair isn't discussed. Statistics are cited about infidelity. A man is tempted in his underwear. A woman explains all the confusion during an affair. And what happens when the affair is over?

    The show is 58 minutes and one second long. Stream it for free. Download for 99 cents.

    A quickie promo>>

    Longer and more complicated (the entire show)>>

    My Secret Marriage comics - I think there's something about the style of these 1950 comics that captures the tawdriness in adultery. And women, did you notice that if you want to attract notice, it helps if you place one hand on your hip and one hand in your hair while facing away from the man of your desires? (The low-cut blouse falling off your shoulders doesn't hurt, either.)

    Do you hate used car commericals? Six parodies to watch

    Dealer's Choice - 
    a 1972 Parker Brothers wheeling dealing 
    used car board game

    Some of these ad parody videos are NSFW.

    A real used car spokesman goofs around (NSFW)

    The Large Detroit Car Company, from Elephant Parts, 1981 

    Top Gun Motors!! by the overly enthusiastic Ted "the Iceman" Jackson

    A real used car ad, sabotaged by the voiceover

    From the movie Used Cars, 1980, starring Kurt Russell (NSFW)

    The most profane version that’s still funny (extremely NSFW)

    The "appropriate brutality" of Richiardi's chamber of horror and illusion

    Click to enlarge this New York Post
    clipping from 1973

    In this video, the magician Teller introduces the sawing segment of the 1980 TV special "Richiardi's Chamber of Horrors," hosted by horror maestro Vincent Price.

    After sawing into the girl, Richiardi would invite the audience to pass by. Afterward, he would say:
    "Ladies and Gentlemen, some of you made comments as you passed by. One person said, 'It's a trick.' Of course, it's a trick. Thank God! I could not legally saw a girl in half for every performance. Especially this one, for she is my daughter. Some of you found the illusion to be in bad taste, even horrible, not remembering that I warned you in advance that you had the option to leave. I wanted to give you a little bit of almost everything that there is in the art of magic. I did not want you to miss this one. I beg of you to tell me: Is the illusion well done?"
    Richiardi lived from November 24, 1923 until September 6, 1985.

    Yes, he was secretly hiding this much stuff in his butt

    Gavin Stanger, 24, was booked into jail on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

    He was supposed to serve three days.

    He was searched and no contraband was found.

    Later, a jailer found a plastic bag and duct tape floating in the holding cell’s toilet.

    The prisoner was questioned and he surrendered his contraband:
    • a green cigarette lighter
    • cigarette rolling papers
    • a golf-ball size baggie of tobacco
    • a bottle of tattoo ink
    • eight tattoo needles
    • a one-inch-long smoking pipe
    • a small baggie of suspected marijuana
    A police spokesman said: "The tobacco was pretty impressive; it was a good ounce."

    He will now be charged with introducing contraband into the jail.

    Source: The Wenatchee World>>

    How to produce terror with deception - H.P. Lovecraft

    The Necronomicon
    "My own rule is that no weird story can truly produce terror unless it is devised with all the care & verisimilitude of an actual hoax. The author must forget all about 'short story technique', & build up a stark, simple account, full of homely corroborative details, just as if he were actually trying to 'put across' a deception in real life - a deception clever enough to make adults believe it."
    Excerpt from a letter, from H.P. Lovecraft to Clark Ashton Smith, October 17, 1930, in the book Selected Letters 1934-1937 - H. P. Lovecraft