Farmville Fun

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Duck, Duck, Goose on Farmville

Mechanically Separated Rabbit

Harvesting and Separating Rabbits

I used Google as a lazy spell checker and actually found many serious articles about Mechanically Separated Rabbit. They didn’t use a combine harvester though.

Farmville Drought

I made this image for use in a humorous fake news article entitled “Farmville Experiencing Drought: Virtual Dust Bowl Looming?” The cow skull pays homage to a classic photo from the dust bowl era. However, while the concept is funny and the image is good, I haven’t been able to create a consistently funny article using them, despite a fair amount of thought. (Of course, even The Onion frequently has this problem; recall Mad Magazine’s parody of the Onion that accurately skewered them with the article “Area Man Finds Headline Amusing But That’s About It”.)

Farmer in Dust Choked Field, next to Pink Cow Skull

[News Article Caption:] Farmville Super Shoveler Robert Martin in his barren, dust choked fields. He’s already lost this week’s crops and most of his cattle to the drought. The special bonus pink cows that give strawberry milk were the first to die. “Some bonus,” lamented Martin.

Another Guide to Facebook's Newest Home Page

The designers at Facebook clearly skipped the section on interface stability in their User Interface Design textbook. This last interface change has been a mess, accompanied by all sorts of glitches. They’ve provided A Guide to Facebook’s Home Page, but I thought I could make a more accurate one for my readers. The low resolution picture below provides another link to the full size version.

Winter Morning Haiku

My friend Jonas M. recently posted this haiku as his Facebook status (re-posted here with his gracious permission):

His winter finger
Choked off the voice of morning

This seemed rather inscrutable, until I read his immediate comment:

(Sweetie, I’m sorry I turned off the alarm in my sleep.)

His girlfriend was not amused, but the rest of us were!

Skiing Haiku

My friend Vanessa has a wonderful dry wit. While skiing recently, she posted these funny haikus on Facebook, which she has graciously allowed me to post here.

She first posted the status update, “Vanessa wrote some haikus in the lift line.”, followed immediately by this comment:

Pointy razorbacks,
I will defeat you at last.
Victory will be mine.

Then, a few minutes later:

Pointy razorbacks,
You have bested me once more.
Please call ski patrol.

Song Parody: Feelin' Guilty

A song parody of Simon and Garfunkel’s “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”. The original contains only two verses, but I’ve added a third using the same rhythm as the second.

Feelin’ Guilty

“Slow down, you drive too fast.
You should have let that truck go past. Don’t
Go straight through a light like that.”
Driving with Mom and feelin’ guilty.
Always with Mom I end up feelin’ guilty.

I’ve got the classic Jewish mother
She said “Why can’t you be like your brother?
Don’t you have some time for me?”
Talking with Mom and feelin’ guilty.
Always with Mom I end up feelin’ guilty.

He said “Your life seems outta kilter,
Why don’t you ever call your sister?
Your job’s a waste of your degree.”
Talking with Dad and feelin’ guilty.
Always with Dad I end up feelin’ guilty.

Got no hope for praise, no choice they’ll accept.
I brought a date home but my mother just wept.
In the morning they’ll drop all their troubles on me.
That’s why I feel always guilty.

(Harmonizing – with undercurrents of nagging, with airy flute solo, then fades)
For a two verse version (to match the original song structure), eliminate the second verse and use these alternate lyrics for the beginning of the third verse:

“Hello hon, have you seen your brother?
Why don’t you ever call your mother?
I called an early version of this the “Jumping off a Bridge Song”, but it was much darker than I intended. I much prefer this expression of exasperation to one of suicidal intent.

The Origins of the Mayan Calendar Myth

It turns out that, in addition to the Wayans’ prediction of a disaster in 2012, there may actually be a Mayan connection to the prophecy after all. The following story comes from the Mayan mythology; I’ve rendered a colloquial translation here.

Our story takes place in the year 606 AD [by modern reckoning] in the jungles of the Yucatan, in the village of Yaxmuul, part of an empire headed by the Mayan city-state of Palenque.

Continue reading The Origins of the Mayan Calendar Myth

Roller Coaster Kingdom Offer

Some friends of mine on Facebook are playing a game that occasionally makes this post:

[Person] just found a bag of money in Roller Coaster Kingdom! Do you want it? For tax reasons, [Person] cannot keep this money. This is your lucky chance to get some extra money!

This is actually a legitimate game offer — it’s like the mystery eggs and lost animals in Farmville — but you can’t help but think it sounds fishy. After writing my recent fake news article related to Nigerian e-mail scams, I find myself thinking that that announcement should read like this:

Dear Sir, I am Casta Uralli, tax accountant in the Finance Ministry of the sovereign Kingdom of Roller Coaster. Having obtained your contact from the Roller Coaster Chambers of Commerce you have earned business trust that made me to contact you on this matter. It has eventuated here that a large sum of money cannot be claimed within our country for tax reasons, and we are urgently needing your assistance to transfer these monies to a safe account in your country….

Nigerian Businessmen Perplexed by Internet Communication Difficulties

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:] Nigerian businessmen are becoming increasingly mystified by their difficulties in exploiting the potential of the Internet to expand their business and make contacts with the rest of the world.

“We keep reading about the great communications potential of the Internet, but it never manifests,” complains Ighomuedafe Obadina, owner of “Gem of Nigeria” Textiles, a small but highly reputed exporter of specialty textiles in Lagos, Nigeria. “I am sending personal salutations to establish contact with potential customers, but it’s as if my e-mails never even get read. Even people I’ve done business with before by letter don’t respond.” He added, “I have tried to be exquisitely more polite and formal in my phrasing, but no help has this given me. I resorted even to dropping of names of important government officials I have worked with, but that only seemed to make it worse.”

Financial institutions seem particularly affected. “We were never able to communicate to arrange transactions, particularly monetary transfers. We gave up and returned to using paper orders and records via airmail. It’s faster and more reliable,” said Olamilekan Ogboyomi, International Transaction Specialist at First Nigerian Bank of Abuja.

The Nigerian government remains baffled by the complaints. One official told us, “We have had to upgrade our communications infrastructure several times, because a truly immense volume of e-mail traffic leaves our country daily. Yet our businessmen complain they never receive responses. It makes no sense.”

Wayans' Calender Predicts Disaster in 2012

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:] Keenen Ivory Wayans, well known in entertainment circles as creator of the sketch comedy series In Living Color and director of the horror movie parody Scary Movie, was surprised to find the entry “End of the World” marked in his iPhone’s calendar application on December 22, 2012.

“I figured it was some sort of joke by one of my brothers, but when I called them, we discovered it was marked in the whole family’s calendars, all ten of us!” Keenen Ivory Wayans told us, referring to himself and his nine siblings. “We deleted it, and it would just reappear. It was even on our sister Kim’s brand new Blackberry the first time she turned it on!”

Alarmed by this, Keenan decided he should warn people. “I made a post on my Facebook page, but unfortunately I forgot I had one of those ‘random upside-down letters’ applets turned on,” he said, sighing, “so I told everyone that the Mayans’ calendar predicted the end of the world in 2012. Fans had spread it all over before I realized the mistake.” The actor/director told us that he wasn’t too concerened about the mis-attribution, saying that he was just glad that the vauge, unhelpful warning got out.

Keenan stated that the family had no additional information on the nature of our impending doom. However, a friend of the family privately contradicted this, telling us via e-mail that they appear to be preparing to survive a “smarm of giant weteors”.

The Tragedy of Malnourished Cookie Monsters

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:]

A human that eats cookies all the time is a glutton. But a cookie monster that eats cookies all the time is just being a cookie monster.

– Dr. Charles Johanson of the Monster Health Institute

Cookie monster promoting fruit on TV

“The” Cookie Monster (with a singing banana) promoting fruit consumption on Sesame Street.

A well intentioned effort to promote a better diet for human children has had unintended and sometimes tragic consequences for cookie monsters everywhere. The children’s program Sesame Street has had their well-known cookie monster (whom they often call simply “The” Cookie Monster) promote moderation with regard to sweets and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. They’ve even replaced his famous song “C is for Cookie” with a new song, “Cookie Is A Sometime Food”.

“That’s great advice for human kids, but unfortunately, coming from the mouth of the famous Sesame Street Cookie Monster, it’s led many people to believe that it’s also appropriate for cookie monsters themselves. And that’s simply not true,” Dr. Charles Johanson of the Monster Health Institute told me in a recent interview.

Just as vegetarian cat owners have sometimes endangered their cats’ health by putting them on a vegetarian diet, some cookie monster fanciers have attempted to feed their furry friends a healthy human diet, a diet that is anything but healthy for cookie monsters.

“Cookie monsters are obligate dulcivores; they must consume large quantities of simple sugars to survive,” Dr. Johanson asserted. “Highly refined grains and hydrogenated fats are also crucial components of their diet.”

Raw fruit is fine as an occasional adjunct to a cookie monster’s diet, Dr. Johanson conceded, especially the higher glycemic index fruits such as grapes, melons, and (non-talking) bananas. But the high fiber content of some other fruits can be hard on the simple digestive tract of cookie monsters. (Cookie monsters have relatively short small intestines, though their insulin producing pancreas can be as large as a watermelon.) “And though they can tolerate ingesting a huge variety of substances, they derive no nutritional value whatsoever from vegetables.”

Malnourished Cookie Monster on IV

A badly malnourished cookie monster receiving an intravenous infusion of high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Johanson took me into the institute’s clinical ward, to show me directly what long term ingestion of a human diet can do to cookie monsters. The institute handles only serious cases, those beyond the skills of local clinics to treat, currently a baker’s dozen. The ward was quiet as we approached, demonstrating how ill these cookie monsters were. “Cookie monsters are naturally boisterous. Thirteen in one place should be absolute bedlam.”

The first patient (shown in the photo) was the most serious case. This cookie monster was slightly thin though not actually emaciated. He was listless, barely able to open his mouth to wheeze “Cookie!”, much less gobble one. His fur was dulled, almost grey in patches, and the whites of his eyes showed a mild jaundice. (Cookie monster’s livers need to process chocolate regularly to remain healthy.)

“What’s really heart-breaking to see are his aligned pupils. That’s a sign of a very sick cookie monster,” Dr. Johanson informed me sadly. Despite an emergency intravenous infusion of high fructose corn syrup with added trans-fats, this cookie monster’s prognosis is poor.

Other cookie monsters in the clinic were better, but most showed the ravages of prolonged sweets deprivation. But Dr. Johanson smiled as the characteristic “COOKIE! Om nom nom nom nom nom!” sound came from a nearby bed. “He’s almost ready to go home.” But the doctor fears that the bed soon will be filled again by another cookie monster misfed by well meaning but misinformed humans.

Cookie deprived Cookie Monster attacks

A sweets-deprived cookie monster attacks a person who offered him broccoli.

Of course, many cookie monsters instinctively reject vegetables and similar foods as unnatural for them, becoming quite irritable when confronted with such a diet. Poorly disciplined adult male cookie monsters can even become violent when offered vegetables instead of cookies, cakes, or candies (see photo). “In fact,” Dr. Johanson told us, “some people find their reactions amusing and will even restrain hungry cookie monsters and taunt them with cookies. Unfortunately, anti-cruelty laws for monsters have lagged far behind those for animals.”

Despite the upsurge in cookie monster malnutrition cases, Dr. Johanson doesn’t blame the Sesame Street producers; he knows that human obesity and its related health issues are rapidly growing into a crisis. “A cookie monster’s diet is no healthier for a human than a human’s diet is for a cookie monster. And a quick glance around any mall in America will tell you that we have far more humans eating like cookie monsters than vice versa.”

Dr. Johanson just wants to get the word out to the cookie monster community that “cookies are a sometimes food — for people”, but they’re always right for a cookie monster.

Healthy Cookie Monster
A Healthy, Happy Cookie Monster