The Phoenix

Monday, June 30, 2008

You're No Mariah Houston!

I'm a big fan of karaoke. I love doing it...and I'm happy to report that I have never been booed off the stage. Generally speaking, however, getting a bunch of drunk people to sing their favorite tunes into a microphone can be a scary experience.

There seems to be two philosophies among those that cannot carry a tune: those that know they suck and those that think they are the second coming of Clay Aiken.
So, are there people out there that are just naturally tone deaf? Even with proper training, can they learn to sing on key? Researchers at the University of Finance and Management in Warsaw and University of Montreal decided to get to the bottom of this. They asked more than 150 people to sing a very familiar song - like "Happy Birthday." Then they had another group sing a note after hearing it from an instrument.
What they found was pretty astonishing.

More than 90% could sing in tune. The identified two types of bad singers: those that are completely tone deaf. They sing terribly and can't discern the correct note they hear from an instrument. The other group can easily tell if a note is off key, but can't sing properly - they are tone mute.
Regardless of singing ability, there are tons of "artists" that have made it big in the music industry despite having terrible singing voices. Here are my personal top five:
5) J-Lo. She's gorgeous, she could dance, and her perfume was probably OK. But when she had to sing live with her hubby, Marc Anthony, it became obvious that she really cannot sing.

4) Tom Petty. How does a guy who sings like he's got a mouthful of everlasting gobstoppers sell so many albums? The dude has an awful voice. Why oh why did he sing at the last Superbowl?

3) Britney Spears. She's a trainwreck, and before K-Fed, she was so cute. Ever hear what she sounds live? It'll make your ears bleed.

2) Chris Martin of Coldplay. Many of you will disagree because they have a hot single on the Billboard Charts right now. But be objective and listen to his voice. He often sings in falsetto - and it's not very good. At other times, it sounds like his moaning in his sleep. What do you expect from a guy that thinks Amy Winehouse is the best singer in the world?

1) Bob Dylan. I've had sounds come out of my butt that sounded better than this guy's voice. I know he wrote powerful lyrics - I will not disagree. But he sounds like one of those hair clippers at the barbershop. Listening to his voice reminds me of the sound some kid in my 5th grade gym class made after his nuts got rocked from a line drive. He might be the voice of his generation, but his generation spent most of their days in an incoherent stupor.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Hot Bot To Trot...A Solution For Lonley Guys

You're a lonley, desperate Japanese guy...and you're striking out with the ladies. What do you do?

Try porn?
An escort service?
Become a priest?

Nope. Just buy the Eternal Maiden Actualization - or E.M.A. robot - to fulfill your every fantasy.

Manufactured by Sega Toys, E.M.A. might stand only 15 inches tall, but she's programmed to please. For a mere $175 USD, she can go into "love mode" and give her owner a tender kiss. "She's very lovable and though she's not a human, she can act like a real girlfriend," says said Minako Sakanoue, a spokeswoman for Sega Toys.

Oh, so it also has a "nag mode?"

E.M.A. is designed with all the womanly curves any man lusts after, and she walks like Marilyn Monroe with specially designed hip joints.

Sega has very high expectations for E.M.A., forcasting sales of 10,000 units from September until next year.

I was going to ask if E.M.A. has a USB port, but I think I'll just refrain from that one...

Plastic cleavage is HOT!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer = Psycho Parents

Happy summer...and in towns and suburbs all across America, summer means hundreds of thousands of kids playing baseball, soccer, and other sports. And accompanying these children are their parents.

Normally even-keeled adults take to the field and suddenly transform into crazy, angry, abusive parents. They'll fight with other moms and dads, the referees, the coaches, and even with the kids.

What is the cause of this nasty phenomenon?

Ph.D student Jay Goldstein of the University of Maryland School of Public Health decided to find out why. He surveyed and observed over 340 parents during youth soccer games in suburban Washington D.C. What he concluded was that parents suffered from an affliction identical to road rage. Goldstein calls it "sideline rage."

Moms and dads most likely to lose control at a soccer game could be identified as having control-oriented personalities. “When they perceived something that happened during the game to be personally directed at them or their child, they got angry,” reports Goldstein. “That’s consistent with findings on road rage.”

More studies need to be done in order to find out just how this kind of parental behavior affects their kids. However, I'm going to assume kids hate it, are probably embarrassed by it, and many usually repeat it with their own children.

Goldstein came up with a list of techniques to help these psycho parents from losing their cool. They consist of relaxation techniques and such. I would like to submit my own list of things for control-oriented parents to think about before watching their kids on the field:

1) Lots of sports involve physical contact. You kid will probably fall, which means your kid will probably get hurt. Get over it. You can't put your kid in a bubble. If the opponent is actively trying to trip your kid, the ref will see it. So chill.

2) The coaches are volunteers and often are your fellow parents. Leave them alone. It's a thankless job. If you're such a hotshot expert, take your kid out and coach your own team. I bet you won't find many parents bringing their kids to your Nazi boot camp. Loser.


3) Your glory days are over. Maybe you were "da shit" in your prime. Take a good look at yourself. Just because you were never on a box of Wheaties doesn't mean you can make your kid into a superstar in order to compensate for your crushed ego and personal failures. You suck.
Oh, by the way, if you tried to go out onto the field to show us how it's done, you're either going to make a total ass of yourself or suffer a massive coronary. Go sit your fat ass down and shut up. Bringing that cinnamon roll to your mouth is the closest thing you'll ever come to "bending it like Beckham."

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Moon Not To Miss

Tonight, Wednesday - June 18th, is a great night to get a great look at the Moon. Because of a seasonal lunar optical illusion, the moon will appear to be gigantic as it rises in the sky from the horizon towards the top of the sky.

Although it looks like the moon is closer, it's really not. There are a couple of things at work here.

First, we're dealing with a pretty full solstice moon this week. You might have noticed it lighting up through your windows the last couple days.

Secondly, everything looks magnified when it's close to the horizon. Take clouds for instance. We're accustomed to looking straight up intot he sky and seeing clouds. But clouds near the horizon seem to be so far away. If you think it's hundreds of miles away, but it's not, it appears to be bigger to you.

The same thing happens with the sun, although I don't recommend that you stare straight into it. The sun seems super huge as it's rising or setting. But int he middle of day when it's overhead, it seems smaller.

The is called the Ponzo Illusion. I have no idea who Ponzo is. Maybe he's Gonzo's brother.

So check it out.

Moonrise times in the States:

New York City: 8:58 pm
St. Louis: 8:58 pm
Miami: 8:35 pm
Seattle: 9:51 pm

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Object of Her Desire

In a post from 2005, I mentioned a neurological disorder called Kluver-Bucy Syndrome where the sufferer has this unstoppable impulse to have sex with inanimate objects. There are 40 people in the world that have been diagnosed with objectophilia.

Meet Erika La Tour Eiffel (pictured left). Yes, that is her legal name - she changed it a year ago after marrying the Eiffel Tower.

Yes. That's not a typo.

She freaking married the Eiffel Tower.

Mrs. La Tour Eiffel suffers from Objectum-Sexual disorder (among other things, I think). She has had other loves as well. Her first love was "Lance" - a bow she had used to become internationally ranked in archery. In addition, she is in love with the Berlin Wall. And when I mean she's in love with it, I don't mean she simply understands the history and significance of the structure. I mean she's sexually attracted to it.

She has admitted that she has an intimate relationship with a section of fence that's kept in her bedroom in San Francisco. I wonder if it's cedar or PVC.

The Eiffel Tower is her true love, however. And soon after marrying the object, she changed her last name to show her devotion to the 990 foot tall French tower.

So what do you give the happy couple for their 1st wedding anniversary?

How about a can of brasso?

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Rising From the Ashes...Monday June 16


Established 2005...

Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


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