Friday, May 16, 2008

Pictured: Duke, the 6ft 5in Shire horse that is Britain's tallest (but he's still scared of mice)

He's about as heavy as a family car - and costs almost as much to run. Duke the shire horse stands 19.3 hands, or around 6ft 5in at the shoulder.

Duke the shire horse stands 19.3 hands, or around 6ft 5in at the shoulder.

He lives in a stable which had to be custom-built to fit all four hooves, and his blankets have to be made to measure. And he munches through £80 of food a week.

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Hefty: 6ft 5in Duke and refuge owner Sara Ross standing alongside a Shetland pony

The one-ton giant has already claimed the title of Britain's tallest. horse.

At five years old he is still growing, however - and may one day take the world record from Radar, a Canadian shire who is around an inch taller.

Earlier this week the Daily Mail featured Chilli, a nine-year-old Friesian who at 6ft6in is believed to be the country's tallest bullock.

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Mighty: Duke weighs the same as a family car and costs £80 a week to feed

Luckily for those who take care of Duke at The Horse Refuge in Finchingfield, near Braintree, Essex, he is as gentle as a lamb.

Carer Sara Ross said: "He's a big baby at heart and is frightened of lots of things, which is unusual because he's such a huge horse and shires are generally very laid back.

"The first time he heard a mobile phone, he freaked. He also doesn't like the rain and will come running back to his stable when it's raining. He also hates snow."

She added: "We rescued him about 18 months ago when his owner suddenly died and since then he's grown and grown.

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Gentle giant: The shire horse is friendly with other horses at the refuge - but scared of mice

"He's the biggest horse I've ever seen and I've seen quite a few horses over the years. He's an absolute giant."

The amount of food he eats is four times that of a normal horse, said Mrs Ross.

"He can really pack it away. In the summer he has two small feeds and then eats grass in the field.

"In winter, he has two large feeds and "ad-lib" hay - which generally means around one-and-a-half bales a day. If he didn't come in at night he'd eat all the grass in the field."

Despite his size, Duke gets on well with his more diminutive stablemates and has a particularly soft spot for a Shetland pony called Jasper.

The average height of a shire horse is 17.2 hands. The British record of 19.2 hands was held by a shire called Cracker until his death last year.

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Why Women Gladly Date Ugly Men (And Probably Even Prefer Them)

It's a pretty well known fact that most women - attractive women - will happily date ugly men. We see it on TV -- in shows like King of Queens, though I would probably argue that Kevin James is kind of a stud, and really, that's exactly the point I plan on making-- and we see it in our friends.

There are plenty of studies on this strangely anti-Darwinian phenomenon - studies which I think don't answer the question as well as I, with my oh-so-steadfast opinions, can, do, and will.

So let's talk about this. Let's talk about what exactly is wrong with these conventionally attractive men, and let's talk about what is right about these, well, conventionally un-attractive men.

Anecdotal evidence aside, I know for a fact that I don't find "hot" men attractive.* Let me clarify - I find them pleasing to the eye, and every so often quite tempting, but I don't find myself actually attracted to them. And here I have to admit that I am undoubtedly judging their books by their covers, but I have yet to find the exception to the rule.

To explain: These high-school hotties are used to having the sort of unadulterated, fawning adoration that the symmetrically blessed always get in high-school, but the problem is that it doesn't do them any good. In fact, it's fair to say that it categorically does them harm.

They're trained from a young age to be (often) unjustifiably self-assured, to eschew personality and affability for cocksure confidence, and to generally treat people like the feudal system is alive and kickin'.

Am I making a sweeping generalization? No doubt. Can the same argument be used against women? Sometimes. But I find that women are much more inclined to date with their emotions - to pick a man that is funny, comforting, kind, and generous - and they'll often pick one or all of those traits over his looks.

I also have a little (and relatively untested) theory. I believe that women tend to come into themselves -- appearance-wise -- much later in school than men. And because of this I think women tend to retain some memory of what it means to be liked (or disliked) for who one is, not how one looks.

The bottom line: Ask any woman who she'd rather have as her boyfriend -- the lovably awkward Albert Brennaman (aka Kevin James -- told you he was the crux of the arugment) from Hitch, or Hugh Grant's wholly irredeemable Daniel Cleaver from Bridget Jones' Diary?

So -- let's start here. Which one would you pick? Did I just set womankind back a generation? Or do you wholly agree? Please share. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

[Disclaimer: This post should in no way indicate that my boyfriend is ugly and/or unattractive. In fact, I find him rather dashing.]

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Weird and Wacky Drinks

Some drinks just make sense. Take a Tom Collins: gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, a drizzle of sugar syrup, and some carbonated water to taste. It’s light, refreshing, and perfect for a balmy spring afternoon (or a summer or fall afternoon—winter would be okay too).

But other drinks defy logic and good sense. Here are some of the weirdest drinks, ranging from stupid (Diet Water) to scandalous (beer for kids) to reportedly sensational (Pizza Beer).

Pizza Beer
Chef Tom & Mamma Mia (also known by their legal names, Tom and Athena Seefurth) chop and smash basil, oregano, tomato, and garlic, spending at least four hours on brew day making sure the bits and pieces are small enough so that they don’t get stuck in the equipment. Chef Tom told me they have produced 300 barrels of the beer, sell it in more than one hundred establishments, and currently ship to certain states. Their Web site claims pizza beer is the “World’s First Culinary Beer.”

Japanese Beer for Kids

Apparently Camel was really on to something when they marketed cigarettes to young kids. According to a Japanese blog, Kodomo no nomimono is a sensation in Japan—it is a nonalcoholic cola that is made to look like real beer, complete with brown dye and froth on top. It is manufactured by Sangaria and made popular by commercials featuring giddy kids with beer foam mustaches. The company now offers wine, champagne, and cocktails for kiddies.

Bacon Martini

Next time you have the urge to order your martini shaken, not stirred, consider asking instead for it “porked, not poked.” At Double Down Saloon, an off-the-strip dive in Las Vegas, bartenders pour from bottles of vodka that have bacon drowning in the bottom. Your oily martini might have a slice of bacon floating on top—not the olives you’re used to seeing. Did anyone ever say meat and liquor don’t mix?

Diet Water

From Japanese manufacturer Sapporo comes … Diet Water! I can’t seem to find the ingredients—at least in English—of Diet Water, but the whole concept seems bunk. How could water possibly have fewer calories than zero, and fewer fat grams than zero? Maybe consumers really are willing to swallow anything.

Pocari Sweat

Forget the euphemism of Gatorade or Powerade. When we sweat, we want to drink … sweat? Pocari Sweat is an energy drink appropriately named. According to the drink’s Web site, the health beverage, introduced in Japan in 1980, replaces lost fluids and minerals, and can be bought in fourteen countries—ranging from Malaysia to the United Arab Emirates—around the world.

Pepsi Ice Cucumber

Photo source: yoppy on flickr (CC)

According to the Washington Post, Pepsi unveiled a—swallow, burp—cucumber soda in Japan last summer. According to the news account, while the special edition of Pepsi does not have an actual cucumber in it, artificial flavors deliver the “refreshing” taste of cucumber. And the masses were apparently enjoying it: Japan’s Pepsi distributor, Sunbury, Ltd., planned to sell 200,000 cases over three months.

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Beer, free stuff lead to 'man cave'

(CNN) -- During the week Ryan Samuel, 30, is a married man working in the energy market in Richardson, Texas. But on the weekends he lures men away from their homes, wives and children with beer, camaraderie, power tools and "The Ponderosa."


"The Ponderosa" is a two-story cabin paid for almost entirely with beer.

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Three years ago, Samuel, his cousin, his brother-in-law and a host of friends started building a cabin on some family land in Oklahoma. They named it "The Ponderosa."

By Samuel's admission, it's more like a shack. It has no power, no plumbing, a leak in the roof and it's already been set on fire once.

Struggling to find the allure? Samuel admits it's not for everyone. He's never shown the place to his wife.

Every time he and his friends go to the cabin, they have to chase hornets, snakes and other varmints out of the building. Once a cow died in the creek behind the cabin and it stank for weeks.

"You want to talk man caves, this place is a total cave," said Samuel. and got an overwhelming response when we asked readers to send in photos and stories of their man caves -- spaces that foster men's hobbies, decorating skills and technological needs.

Samuel caught our interest when he explained that almost all the building materials and labor used to create "The Ponderosa" were paid for in beer, so we had to give him a call to find out more.

It turns out building a cabin wasn't entirely Samuel's idea. He and his cousin Jeff used to own a 1963 Winnebago camper they kept on their family's land in Oklahoma. One day Samuel got a call from Jeff asking if he wanted "the good news or the bad news."

"The good news was, 'I'm building a cabin where our camper is sitting right now," said Samuel. The bad news: Jeff sold the camper for spray-foam insulation. By the time Samuel arrived to survey the situation, Jeff was already laying the floor. Their adventures continued from there.

They got creative with construction techniques and building materials: The one window in the cabin isn't actually framed in. Samuel said he and his friends used a saws-all to cut an opening and then leaned the window onto the hole. "I have no idea where that window came from," he said.

Samuel's cousin Jeff lucked into roofing materials driving down the road one day.

"My cousin was driving down the highway in Oklahoma. He pulls over and there are 10 rolls of roofing paper on the side of the road," Samuel said. His cousin was driving a car that day instead of a truck, so he was only able to fit four of the rolls in the back, but it was more than they needed, he said.

"And right now there's a tarp over [the roof], because obviously we didn't do it right."

The cabin's back yard got a facelift after a rainstorm: "We left a bunch of sacks of Quickcrete out on the porch, and they got rained on," said Samuel. "They turned into perfect blocks of concrete," he said, which they used to build a fire pit.

For years Samuel, his relatives and his friends bartered for, borrowed or found the building necessities for their getaway cabin.

Samuel said his cousin knew a lot of people who could help them build or help them get building supplies.

"You get some guys who are married, maybe have children or not, and are looking for any excuse to get away from the house, and have access to or actually have the building materials .. It's not hard to talk someone into doing the manual labor, because they're accomplishing something that they wanted to also. They're having a few beers with some buddies. If they're hammering some nails or screwing some screws at the same time, that's fine too," he said.

This was typical of user comments in reaction to the images and stories we received about man caves.

Many women wanted to know what was so terrible about the man cave-owners' families that they had to retreat to a cave to get away from them. Many men piped up in the comment section as well, explaining they felt their wives had reign over the entire rest of the house, and that men deserved at least one space to call their own.

So we asked Samuel what he thought.

"The whole point of it, it's just guy time," he said. "There's no rules, there's no bathroom. It's just getting away. ... Most of it is just relaxation and having a good time. Nothing ever happens out there that can create any extra stress."

"Half of it is about hanging out with guys, your buddies and the other half is being out where nobody can see you. Nobody can find you. You're way out there -- there's no city lights hiding the stars. The time that you can spend out there getting away from it all, doing what you want to do, that's the reason behind building the thing," he said.

"When you leave on a Sunday evening and it's time to go home, you can face all the things that you have to do for that next week. But for the entire time you're out there hanging loose, you have no deadlines, nothing else you have to do but just go hang out."
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Pictured: Rocketman flies over Alps with jet-pack strapped to his back

Some people go fishing on their day off. Yves Rossy likes to jump out of a small plane with a pair of jet-powered wings on his back and loop the loop above the Swiss Alps.

The self-built contraption took the former fighter pilot five years to build and perfect - and yesterday he gave it its maiden flight.

Stepping out of an aircraft at 7,500ft, Rossy unfolded the 10ft rigid wings strapped to his back as he plummeted earthwards.

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To infinity and beyond: Yves Rossy soars through the skies

Dangerman: Yves Rossy had a pair of 8ft wings and a jet-pack strapped to his back for the daring flight over the Alps

Passing from freefall into a gentle glide, he triggered the four jet turbines and accelerated to 190mph above the mountaintops.

Steering with his body, Rossy dived, turned and soared again, flying what appeared to be effortless loops from one side of the Rhone valley to the other.

At times he climbed 2,600ft before diving again, leaving a trail of special-effects smoke in his wake.

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Goodbye: The former pilot was launched from a plane at 8,000ft

After one last wave to the watching crowd, Rossy dipped his wings as he prepared for the piece de resistance, a manoeuvre he hadn't tried before...He flipped onto his back and levelled out again, executing a perfect 360-degree roll that even a bird would find impossible.

"It's like a second skin," Rossy said later after landing on the shores of Lake Geneva.

"If I turn to the left, I fly left. If I nudge to the right, I go right."

With his first big test under his belt, Rossy, 48, is ready for bigger challenges: he plans to cross the English Channel later this year, before attempting to fly through the Grand Canyon.

To do this, he will have to fit more powerful jets to allow for greater manoeuvring.

The four Germanbuilt model aircraft engines he currently uses provide 200lb of thrust each, enough to enable the 110lb foldable carbon wings, and Rossy in his 120lb flying suit, to climb at 200ft a minute.

"Physically, it's absolutely no stress," Rossy said.

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Super speeds: The dare-devil reached speeds of 160mph

Scenery: Yves Rossy said he had no time to enjoy the view or scenery

"It's like being on a motorbike. But I have to focus on relaxing, because if I show any tension, I start to swing around."

Should things go wrong there's always a yellow handle to jettison the wings and unfold a back-up parachute.

"I've had plenty of "whoops" moments," he said.

Rossy says his form of human flight will, for now, remain the preserve of very few.

The cost and effort involved are simply too high for it to be produced commercially, he says.

So far, Rossy and his sponsors have poured more than £123,000 and countless hours into building the device.

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Rossy attempts to land with his parachute after the demo flight

But, he believes similar jet-powered wings will one day be more widely available to experienced parachutists.

That is, if they don't mind missing out on the breathtaking panorama unfolding above the Swiss Alps.

"I am concentrating so hard, I don't really enjoy the view," Rossy said.

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Chevy pokes fun at the Citreon C4 Transformer

We all remember the Citreon C4 transformer spot a few years back. In the original The Citreon transforms into a robot, does a little dance and transforms back into a car. This ad is Chevy’s answer to that commercial. I have to tell you, I laughed pretty hard at this one. I love the acting from the long haired guy , its my favorite..;)

This commercial was directed by Lieven van Baelen of the Netherlands Czar production company.
They hav a vry interesting site that you could possibly spend hours going through.

Commercials - Chevrolet Aveo: Transformers

Product: Chevrolet Aveo
Agency: StrawberryFrog Amsterdam
Editor: Alain Dessauvage
Executive Creative Director: Richard Gorodecky
Art Director: Heinrich Vejlgaard
Copywriter: Scott Smith
Agency Producer: Frank van Ree
Producer: Jan Koopmans
Director: Lieven van Baelen
Country : Netherlands
Planner (creative agency): Jeffre Jackson
Media agency: Zenith Optimedia
Music produced by: UNSUNG HEROES
Production company; Czar
Post-production: AVP
Audio post-production: Ear Force
Exposure: Europe
DoP: Marcel Durst
Account Director: Alessandro Saccoccio
Account Manager: Tommaso Calzolari

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Advice from the R. Kelly trial: 12 ways to get kicked out of the jury pool

R. Kelly (center) arrives at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building on Wednesday for the fourth day of his child pornography trial. (Tribune photo by Michael Tercha / May 14, 2008)

Jury selection is expected to resume at 9 a.m., with 10 more Cook County residents available for vetting.

There wasn't any progress Wednesday, with not a single person picked for the panel. Candidate after candidate came in with excuses as to why he or she couldn't serve on the high-profile case.

If the dismissed jurors this week joined together, they could write a book: "How to Get Out of Jury Duty without Really Trying."

Some of the potential chapters: I have a teenage daughter. Several axed jurors provided this explanation for why they couldn't give Kelly a fair trial. "I would have a hard time see anything involving a child without thinking of my child," one man said.

I would change the age of consent. Two who were kicked off offered this philosophy, one going so far as to suggest that "nature already had an age of [sexual] consent: puberty."

I save lives. An oncologist was excused from duty after he told the judge that jury service would create a logistical nightmare for his patients.

Um, well, er, yes, I think I could be fair to Mr. Kelly. Maybe, yes Nearly everyone who paused when asked if he or she could give the singer a fair trial got the boot from either the judge or the defense.

I'm a cop One Niles police officer lasted only about two minutes in the interview room before he was dismissed because of his profession.

I (heart) R. Kelly Nothing gets prospective jurors booted faster than telling the prosecution they are a fan of Kelly's. Just ask the woman who called him a "musical genius." When prodded to say something negative about Kelly, the best she could come up with was: "He and [rapper] Jay-Z don't get along?" Prosecutors bounced her soon after.

I'll change my vacation plans. Overeagerness to serve on the jury is a definite red flag to attorneys. When one man offered to rearrange a trip to see his parents, the prosecution bounced him for being star-struck.

I work for a law firm. A legal secretary wrote on her questionnaire, "I believe Mr. Kelly is guilty of the charges due to what I have read in the papers, and the fact that he was indicted by the grand jury further validates my beliefs." The woman and her perfectly worded response were excused. Lest she think she pulled a fast one on the court, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan knew her answer had been coached.

I'm getting married! The judge dismissed one woman whose wedding was set for the end of June. He didn't believe she could concentrate on the trial amid all the pre-wedding prep. The woman, who sported a nice-size diamond on her left hand, looked thrilled to be released.

I'm currently involved in a lawsuit. Three people named as parties in existing civil lawsuits were automatically excused from service.

Please call my mom When one juror failed to show up for service, deputies called his house and his mother answered. She told the court that she didn't know where her son was and that he hadn't been "right" since he was shot in the head a while back. The judge and attorneys agreed to let him off the hook.

I blame R. Kelly for Sept. 11. When the judge asked one prospective juror about his feelings regarding Kelly, he cryptically answered: "R. Kelly may have led the Taliban in attacking us on 9-11, but you can't prove it." You're right, we can't. In fact, we're fairly certain that no one has ever tried.
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The 9 Most Obnoxious Memes to Ever Escape the Web

The internet is responsible for many terrible things, which the world tolerates as long as these terrible things stay on the internet.

But some internet memes become so popular they spill out and infect the real world in ways that simply cannot be tolerated. Such as ...

Hamster Dance


In 1998, a Canadian art student began a site dedicated to her pet hamster, which features four .gifs of hamsters and a nine-second loop of an irritating song that was basically the aural equivalent of pubic lice. The popularity of the site remained blissfully small until January 1999, when it inexplicably shot up from around 4 hits a day to 15,000 thanks to a campaign of emails, early blogs, bumper stickers and what must have been a worldwide drop in taste and sanity.

Where it Crossed the Line:

By the end of 1999 was drawing an estimated 250,000 daily hits. Worse still, a band called The Cuban Boys released a song called "Cognoscenti Versus Intelligentsia," which consisted mostly of that irritating Hamster Dance sound loop and high pitched yodeling you might recognize as the sped up voice of Satan. As you can guess, the experience was similar to having feces injected directly into your eardrums.

Before too long, versions of the Hamster Dance were being released in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the tune was featured in 2001 film See Spot Run and the 2005 film Are We There Yet? (presumably a chilling trip into the human psyche in which a sadistic father drives his family around on an endless journey, blasting the Hamster Dance tune until they beg for the eternal silence of death).

All Your Base Are Belong To Us


The meme began in 1998, with an innocent animated .gif on a video game website. It was taken from the opening cutscene of a Sega Genesis game called Zero Wing, in which a villain called Cats appears on a space craft's monitor and says "How are you Gentlemen!! All your base are belong to us. You are on the way to destruction!"

If you've never seen the whole thing in context, here it is:

This one line, which existed purely because game companies back then couldn't afford translators, spread across the internet like ... man we hate to keep using the pubic lice analogy, but when the irritating contagion fits.

Where it Crossed the Line:

We're thinking right about here:

And by the end of 2000, it had international media attention--we're talking mentions on Fox News, the BBC and articles in Time magazine. Or course, by the time the rest of the world had jumped on the bandwagon, use of the phrase would earn you instant rebuke from the daylight-dodging denizens of internet gaming forums.

But that didn't stop it. In 2003, as an April Fool's joke, seven teenagers placed signs bearing the slogan all around the town of Sturgis, Michigan. The joke backfired when the town's residents got worried that it was an act of terrorism, Sturgis being widely regarded by its residents (and no one else) as one of al-Qaida's next likely targets.

To this day you can find several t-shirts bearing the slogan.

Those shirts are all probably being worn ironically at this point, since internet memes age in dog years. One irony that's probably lost on the makers of Zero Wing: More money has probably been made off of their inadvertent catch phrase than they ever saw from the game.

Chuck Norris Facts


If you just bought your first computer today, Chuck Norris Facts are an internet fad that consists of hundreds of user-created facts about the actor, usually involving his ability to roundhouse kick your mother into next Tuesday.

It started with a thread on the Something Awful forums back in early 2005, one of probably nine million threads created that day. It simply asked members to post facts about Vin Diesel, at which point hundreds of pieces of completely false and exaggerated Vin trivia came pouring in. Later they were gathered into the Vin Diesel Fact Generator.

The site substituted Chuck Norris by popular request and a phenomenon was born.

Where it Crossed the Line:

Around the time that a World of Warcraft add-on featuring a Chuck Norris Fact generator was released in January 2006, corporate America started realizing this thing might have some crossover potential. Soon enough, references started turning up in non-internet media and then, finally, Chuck himself got on board.

Norris has appeared on several talk shows since this all started. Rolling Stone did a small piece about them, and in 2006, Time interviewed Norris, calling him an "online cult hero."

Then, in a turn of events almost too absurd even for politics, Norris campaigned for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee ... based purely around the premise that he had the magical powers claimed in the facts.

But the ridiculous circle would not be complete until the guy who started the fact generator website, former intern Ian Spector, wrote a book The Truth About Chuck Norris: 400 Facts About The World's Greatest Man).

Norris has sued ol' Ian, the person most responsible for reviving his career. Either Mr. Norris wanted more of a cut of the goods or he was pissed off about the revealing of his super powers, which he had presumably hoped to keep a secret.

Crazy Frog


This meme is an example why early detection is so incredibly important. We had many chances to stop this thing before it spread. But it seemed so benign at first.

In 1997, 17-year-old Swede Daniel Malmedahl recorded himself mimicking the sound of a two-stroke combustion engine and posted it on a website. The sound became something of a meme itself, at least in its native Sweden. A local TV producer convinced Daniel to perform his sound on national television, probably on a Swedish prime-time hit called Sounds Made By People.

In 2003, another Swede, Erik Wernquist, created an animated frog to go with the sound, and correctly christened it The Annoying Thing.

Pretty harmless, right?

By 2004, what would come to be known as "Crazy Frog" had spread all over the internet, making the rest of the world wish Sweden could just stick to making Volvos and Victoria Silvstedt.

Where it Crossed the Line:

Shortly after Wernquist combined the frog with the noise of a nearly grown man pretending to be a motorcycle, he was contacted by a German ringtone company called Jamba!, who asked to use it as a downloadable ringtone for cell phones.

The ringtone became one of the most successful ever in the United Kingdom. Jamba! quickly earned approximately £14 million from download sales and everyone who downloaded it quickly lost all their friends.

Again, it seems like some kind of intervention could have kept this thing from going any further. But the world's government turned a blind eye, and soon a dance track was recorded.

It charted in Europe and follow ups were released. By March 2008, the Crazy Frog had three complete albums, all of which serve as proof that music can be weaponized effectively.

Also released in the UK was a string of merchandise including an electronic game, key rings, backpacks, lunch boxes and air fresheners. Two computer games, each widely loathed by critics, have been released for the Playstation 2.

Worse yet, a German production company called The League of Good People have made a sad mockery of their name by entering into talks with a production company to create a Crazy Frog TV show. A film is rumored to be in the works, and is likely.

Unless, of course, it turns out that there is a just God.

Dancing Baby


One of the earliest internet phenomena, the Dancing Baby (or if you're official about your internet meme history "Baby-Cha-Cha") first appeared on the internet back in 1996-97.

The 3-D-rendered animated dancing baby comes complete with a somewhat disturbing hip thrust and mincing arm movements that suggest his parents shouldn't hold out for grandchildren. It was created as a product sample source file for release of a groundbreaking 3-D character creation program "Character Studio" which was apparently dedicated to creating the creatures that populate our nightmares.

Where it Crossed the Line:

Its most famous crossover was on the popular 1990s legal drama Ally McBeal, as a hallucination Ally experienced.

On the show, it was supposed to represent the ticking of Ally's biological clock or some shit, but to us, it just interrupted our fantasies of "accidentally" entering the firm's unisex restroom to find Calista Flockheart and Lucy Liu having a race to remove their underpants first.

The baby appeared in the music video for Blue Suede's cover of the 1969 hit Hooked On a Feeling. Then a song called "Dancing Baby (Ooga Chaka)" was released by a UK group called Trubble, who not only used an internet meme extensively in their marketing, but also felt the need to spell their name as if an infant had written it.

Back Dorm Boys


The Back Dorm Boys are two former Chinese college students who lip-sync most notably Backstreet Boys songs. Using a grainy webcam, they filmed themselves lip-syncing in a college dorm room whilst an uninterested third student sat in the background with his back to the camera, playing a computer game.

They completed their first video in May 2005, a synced version of "As Long As You Love Me" by the Backstreet Boys. They released it on their local college network, but their act was so compelling that it showed up on YouTube and quickly accumulated millions of views.

Where it Crossed the Line:

Before the end of the year, while still in college, the Back Dorm Boys were signed up as spokespeople for Motorola cellphones in China and became the hosts of Motorola's online lip-syncing contests.

They were also employed by, China's biggest internet portal, presumably meaning that to millions of Chinese peasants, the internet appeared to be nothing more than a high-tech karaoke device. The Back Dorm Boys also maintain a blog, one of the most popular in China, which, in a somewhat unsurprising turn of events, was awarded the "Best Podcaster" award in 2006. The award was given by their employers at, but still.

In February 2006, just before they left college, the Back Dorm Boys signed a five-year deal with Taihe Rye, a Chinese talent management company in Beijing, to continue making lip-syncing videos. As it stands, the Back Dorm Boys have made at least 19.

At this point the Back Dorm Boys began to infect the rest of the world, getting mentions in the US on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, South Park and in the first episode of Heroes. We can't imagine that anyone has gotten more famous on less talent. And luckily we don't have to, because our number 3 meme exists.

Numa Numa


In 2004, a somewhat portly young gentleman named Gary Brolsma, from New Jersey, filmed himself lip-syncing and dancing along to Dragostea din tei, a song by Moldovan group O-Zone.

The term Numa Numa comes from a refrain in the song; "nu mă, nu mă iei," which roughly translates from Romanian as "you don't, you don't, take me (with you)." The video up there has 13 million hits, but that's just scratching the surface (it was originally uploaded to on December 6, 2004, where every single internet user watched it four times).

Where it Crossed the Line:

In February 2005, the New York Times wrote an article about the dance and its creator, and in 2006, UK TV station Channel 4 listed it at number 41 of the 100 Greatest Funny Moments (upsetting critics who thought a home video of some guy getting hit in the nuts with a wiffle ball bat deserved the spot).

A story in the June 2006 edition of The Believer claims the video "singlehandedly justifies the existence of webcams (...) It's a movie of someone who is having the time of his life, wants to share his joy with everyone, and doesn't care what anyone else thinks."

While he does certainly appear to be enjoying himself, we submit that for all your singlehanded webcam justification, boobs will do just fine. At the height of its popularity, the video was receiving mainstream attention from shows such as ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's The Tonight Show, and VH1's Best Week Ever.

The New York Times said Brolsma was an "unwilling and embarrassed web celebrity" and Brolsma canceled several media appearances, suddenly realizing that people were laughing at his hilariously embarrassing private moment.

At the end of 2006, a report on the BBC, based on figures collected by a viral marketing company, reckoned the Numa Numa Dance was the second most viewed video of all time, with 700 million views. Brolsma reappeared in September 2006 with a professionally produced video and began a non-Chinese competition in which contestants pretend to mime to lyrics and win cash, finally accepting that when he lies on his deathbed at age 86, he'll still be "The Numa Numa guy."

Star Wars Kid


Maybe the most well-known internet meme ever, this began back in 2002 when Ghyslain Raza, a wonderfully named 14-year-old French-Canadian, filmed himself swinging a golf ball retriever around, as if it were a weapon.

The filming was done in his school's studio, and somewhat foolishly, Raza forgot about it and left the tape in a basement. Some time later, he found the tape, and, even more foolishly, showed it to his friends. His friends thought it would be funny if they converted it to a .wmv file, and shared it on the peer-to-peer file sharing network, Kazaa. Within two weeks, it had been downloaded several million times, and an adapted version of the video was made, with added Star Wars music and effects.

Where it Crossed the Line:

In 2006, the Viral Factory claimed that the Star Wars Kid was the most popular video on the internet, with over 900 million views. Jumping onto the bandwagon, hundreds of internet users created their own videos, versions parodying everything from Terminator 2 to the Blues Brothers.

Soon after it became a global smash, it was extensively reported in the mainstream news media. The New York Times, CBS, BBC News and GMTV all gave the video a lot of attention, all to the horror of Raza and his family, who, in a huge show of ass-hattery, filed a lawsuit against his friends. The lawsuit stated, in part, that Raza "had to endure, and still endures today, harassment and derision from his school mates and the public at large."

The joke was on him though, because in a wonderfully ironic move, mainstream media outlets who covered the video's startling popularity covered the trial as well, all the while tutting about the internet's ability to ruin a person's privacy while at the same time giving their readers a chance to watch the original video again and laugh once more at Raza's tubby, uncoordinated shenanigans. Raza eventually received $351,000 in Canadian money from his (former) friends, who apparently had way more money than we did when we were in high school.

Among the Star Wars Kid's many references on television, including Arrested Development ...

... and American Dad ...

... the most famous occurred towards the end of 2006 when Steven Colbert, an adamant Star Wars fan, filmed himself mimicking the Star Wars Kid in front of a green screen.

He showed the clip on The Colbert Report and started a contest, asking for viewers to edit in their own CGI and sound effects with the best being aired on the show. Thousands of amateur filmmakers rose to the challenge and it eventually culminated in George Lucas himself making a video, with CGI done by Industrial Light and Magic.

That sounds like cheating to us, but whatever.

The Rickroll


So there's this message board. And just as most of the goods in your house were made in China, most of the internet's irritating memes were manufactured there.

They used to have a tradition there called the Duckroll, where you would provide a link and lie about what was on the other end, often promising underage porn. Once the user clicked through, they'd get a Photoshopped picture of a duck with wheels. It's difficult to explain.

Anyway, at some point that was mutated into the Rickroll, where the goal was to trick users into watching a video of "Never Gonna Give You Up" by '80s ginger pop singer, Rick Astley.

Where it Crossed the Line:

Rickrolling had become widespread by May 2007, with hundreds of thousands of occurrences popping up all over internet message boards, despite the fact that it had stopped being funny around the second time someone ever did it. By 2008, it somehow began appearing outside the web, which you wouldn't think would be possible for a joke based around a misleading link.

A real-world Rickrolling appeared during Anonymous's anti-Scientology marches on February 10, 2008. In marches in Edinburgh, London, New York and Washington DC, protesters marched up and down outside Scientology sites, blasting the song through boom boxes, in what the UK paper The Guardian said was a live Rickrolling, and which bystanders said was some guys playing a song on the radio.

On April 8, after a web campaign starting at, Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" won a poll to be played as the 8th inning sing-along at the New York Mets' Shea Stadium. Five million people voted for the song and, as promised, the New York Mets played it, to the extreme displeasure of the fans who didn't grasp the four or five layers of irony required to enjoy the experience.

This should highlight the "fish out of water" aspect of internet memes. Take them into real life and, like the fish, they'll die and stink up the house. And give you pubic lice. Probably best to leave them in the water is what we're saying.

Original here