Thursday, November 27, 2008

What is a merkin?

Here is some funny standup about Merkins and talking about the private part wigs

http://ia310834.us.archive.org/1/items/WhatUseIsAMerkin/Standup-Murkins_64kb.mp3

This is a clip from Hosks Half Hour the comedy podcast that everyone is listening to but no one has heard of

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Impossible not to laugh at this clip of two radio commentators laughing

I was thinking about laughing today, I have noticed that when I am recording contents for my comedy podcast I am often laughing at the daft stuff I am or have just said.

The reason I was thinking about laughing because I was thinking about the funny clip of two BBC cricket commentators Brian Johnson and Jonathan Agnew laughing when commentating at the oval. The commentators start cracking up with laughter and go all high pitched. You can find the clip here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/fungames/audio/legover.mp3

I find it impossible not start laughing when I hear this clip. The silly thing is I know exactly what is going to happen, once they say he couldn’t get his leg over, that’s it they can’t go on and start laughing. I am almost laughing just thinking about it.

Ricky Gervais often does this on his podcasts and interviews, the sound of Gervais’s high pitched laughing often makes me laugh regardless if what he is actually saying is funny.

When you think about this, it is in some ways disturbing, it seems laughing is contagious. I have heard this theory mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in his book the Tipping point. This lead me to think about my own podcast, Ricky Gervais and the excellent cricket commentary clip.

What this contagious laughing indicates is a couple of points

1. Laughing is contagious; if someone else laughs you might too.
2. you don’t even have to hear or know what they are laughing at to join in
3. laughing isn’t always a response of hearing, reading or seeing something funny

The above points may explain why people enjoy watching comedians perform live. I have often been to a comedian and then the next day someone asked me if it was good, Yes I would say but then I couldn’t recall anything funny the comedian said. The of course could be due to my poor memory but maybe it wasn’t all that funny but the fact everyone else was laughing caused me to laugh as well.

I am not saying that comedians just rely on a few people laughing to start a laughing wave and then they don’t have to worry about saying anything else funny but I am saying having lots of people laughing will definitely encourage other people to laugh regardless of the quality of the material.

The mirror has included a list of TV and radio stars who couldn’t stop laughing, if only they included the links to the clips

So what is laughing and is it any good for us, this is one of those topics I wonder how humans would explain laughter to aliens, perhaps they already beamed down to earth and found a bunch of humans laughing and got back in their space ships thinking we aren’t ready to meet them yet, anyway I found a description of laughing here

“When we laugh, the brain pressures us to simultaneously make gestures and sounds. Fifteen facial muscles contract, the larynx becomes half-closed so that we breathe irregularly, which can makes us gasp for air, and sometimes, the tear ducts become activated (1). Nerves sent to the brain trigger electrical impulses to set off chemical reactions. These reactions release natural tranquilizers, pain relievers and endorphins (2). “

I have to admit it doesn’t sound as much when you see it written down in such a clinical manner. This article has some interesting facts, like 80% of laughter isn’t based on humour. It also states speakers laugh 46% more than listeners, although this is 97.5% false when you investigate the laughter speaker to listener level of my podcast, which I have selfishness not mentioned for a few paragraphs, although writing that did make me laugh and probably not you.

I love statistics and this article is chock full of odd and intriguing statistics. Humans laugh on average 17 times a day! And some researchers who presumable are avoiding doing any real work, theorise laughing 100 times a day is the equivalent of doing a 15 minutes of exercise.

The baffling figures they pluck out of the air is impressive for the definitive numbers which I would multiply with a uselessness factor of 3.5 to come to the conclusion I would also like to be someone who spent his time coming up with such statistics.
So scientists think laughter is contagious, I think laughter is contagious so all is good in the world. Laughter it seems is also good for you and is like doing a workout, well bring on the laughter diet.

The amazing fact these ideas seem to indicate is all we need to do is just laugh more, we don’t have to be funny or read funny things or even see anything funny. The only thing we have to do to laugh more is decide to laugh, by laughing you will trigger someone else laughing whose laughter will bounce back making you laugh and none of you will know why. If anyone else comes into your laughter zone they will then start laughing as well.

The results of this will be increased happiness, healthy body, positive feelings, endorphins released and you will all feel a whole lot better with the only downside is your face might ache a bit but when you are all laughing your aching face will probably seem funny.

So get laughing and if you need any help, did I mention I have a funny podcast full of laughing and you know what listening to laughing does to you

Hosks Half Hour - http://hoskshalfhour.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hosks Half Hour - Episode 51 - Explaining why you should never laugh in public toilets

The Hosks Half hour is back, so get ready to laugh you pants clean off

Episode 51 - why you shouldn't laugh at people in the toilet

Hosk Story
BT stands for Bastards and Twats
BT - Hazaar I'm back baby
SKY - Screwed me big time
Hosk turns light out in toilet
hosk laughing - bus man pissing in bushes

Hosk Standup
The Hosk almost died of a heart attack!
morning time
pinball wizard

Hosk Thought
McGoogan
rubbish breast joke

News nuggets
krypton factor is back!
man trapped in toilet
man punched in face in urinal

songs
green field
this is bass
The Hosk singing to Bon Jovi
I have been reading some interesting articles today, one leading me onto another. I first started reading about an article by Richard Dawkins after the September 11th attack in 2001, with the title

Stop respecting religion and start submitting it to the same scrutiny as any other idea or argument

actually the first part of the article starts with this

Stop respecting religion and start submitting it to the same scrutiny as any other idea or argument, says Richard Dawkins. And September 11th 2001 makes this scrutiny more urgent than ever...

In the article Dawkins mentions the religion has been the cause of many violent atrocities and conflicts in the world, which always strikes me as incredible odd and something which I can never really understand. Why religion is so intolerant of other religions, in fact why is religion so intolerant of many things and peoples ideas. It always strikes me that religious people I would expect to be the most tolerant and forgiving but always seem to be in the media complaining about things. My comment is probably an inferior rehashing of Dawkins and Gore Vidal and I would recommend you read those articles for a more intelligent discussion of the subjects of religion and Monotheism, read the rest below if you want my thoughts on it.

In the article Dawkins quotes Gore Vidal and his essay - The Great Unmentionable) Monotheism and its Discontents

This essay by Gore Vidal goes into a good deal of depth about not being able to discuss religion and is well worth reading.

I didn’t know what Monotheism meant so I had to look it up

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/monotheism
Monotheism
mon⋅o⋅the⋅ism
[mon-uh-thee-iz-uh m]
–noun
the doctrine or belief that there is only one God.
________________________________________
Origin:
1650–60; MONO- + (poly)theism

The idea of one god always brings a forth intrigue from me, intrigue in what religious people make of this. If there was one religion and everyone believed the same religion with the same god, although I would think this foolish to believe in a god, you would at least give it a bit more credence being based on the fact everyone who believes in god is believing in the same one, some strength in numbers or at least consistency. Basically if everyone who believes in a god all believed in the same god then I could entertain the idea of plausability. The current situation of many different religions and gods seems to contribute to the argument of no god existing.

I myself think Football should be classified as a religion and each team as a different faith because it also is based on illogical, hereditary or environmental (e.g. where you live) conditions.

The fact is there are hundreds of different religions featuring many different gods. This must surely raise a few doubts or questions to religious people, one story about a God creating the world and you doubt it, many stories of different gods creating the world and now you are thinking, well they can’t all be right but how do we know which one is true?

The question of knowing which religion is correct is an impossible one to answer, all the religions are based on faith and not facts. So you could read about all of them but get no nearer the truth.

In the initial article Dawkins focuses on how society is conditioned not to questions religious beliefs and indeed we often tell each other never to discuss religion or politics are you have had a few drinks. The reason why we should discuss these topics is because they are based on faith and not facts, you won’t be able to prove to a religious person God doesn’t exist and in the same way they can’t prove to you he does, so all you have left is a lot of hot air. Politics is based on ideology but it’s difficult to discuss it because it is based on a number of topics with people arguing different and unrelated points, leaving you with more hot air.

Dawkins also mentions an article from the late and great Douglas Adams and his article “is there an artificial God

The Douglas Adam article I recommend reading because it’s humorous, thoughtful and informative, a delicious mix.

So I will finish with thinking about the new word I have learnt Monotheism, the belief there is only one god. How do religious people come to terms with this, they must realise if they had been born in a different country they would believe in a different religion and god. What do religious people think about all the people who believe in a false god? They must think those poor misguided fools, dedicating their lives to pray and worship a god that doesn’t exist, can’t they see that might god is the only one that exists.

I would say to those religious people, the thoughts you have on the people who believe in a god that doesn’t exist are the same thoughts I have about the god you believe in and all the reasons you have to explain why the other religions god’s don’t exist could be used to explain why you god doesn’t exist. Surely there can’t be all these gods and if there was only one, why would he let all these people believe in the wrong god, why doesn’t he just pop down to earth and let the whole world stop spending time fighting, arguing and talking about which god exists.

Of course if he did that I would have to find something else to write about, so hopefully he will wait a few days before he puts in an appearance otherwise this article will all seem rather silly but I’m fairly confident there won’t be any sightings for a while.

If you like this why not listen to my funny podcast Hosks Half Hour

Are people starting to like Bill Gates?

I sometimes wonder what people will say about me when they are gathered round someone’s house or hopefully down the pub after my funeral. I hope they are sad for a second and then focus on my entertaining, stupid and amusing anecdotes and stories.

The reason I wonder this is that when ever someone dies people only have good things to say about them, rightly so in many ways, you want to remember and focus on the good qualities of people when making a brief statement about their life. Still I hope that someone might say that I could be a bit of an arse, argued a lot and often made a bit of a nuisance of himself, I mean who want’s to be liked and doing good things all of the time, bugger that a bit of selfish thinking never did anyone any harm.

Why am I talking about this, well I was wondering if we will start to see a change of opinion about Bill Gates, a slow changing of opinion towards nerdy Bill. This can happen now that Bill Gates has retired from Microsoft, although not working for Bill Gates is probably only working 37.5 hours a week I am guessing. Bill Gates will have a glimpse of the kind of things people will say at his funeral as social commentators routinely write articles on him from now until his actual death, if indeed he can die and hasn’t replaced his living organs with a biochemical version of windows!

Gates has been seen as the enemy, part of the windows led dictatorship of the home PC. In some ways Bill Gates has been lionised as the Darth Vader character in Star Wars and all, he was “the man” many people were rebelling against. A lot of PC users liked to see themselves as Han Solo’s or Luke Skywalker’s working in a small Rebel Alliance trying to work against the big corporate machine/imperial army (to labour on with the Star’s theme).

I have noticed this rebelling and rally against popular/mass used entities before, it often happens to bands. After a certain time when a band becomes so popular then the people who want to be different/individual and not go along with the norm will start to distance themselves and dislike the popular band. I read about one instance of this, it was when the Bee Gee’s had 5 singles in the top of the American single chart and was around the release of Saturday Night Fever. Showing perhaps there is truth in the saying that the only way to is down. Recently we have also had Cold Play, what most people seem to complain about is not the music but the band and their ubiquity.

So Bill Gates and Microsoft had a monopoly and then fought to keep it using nefarious bullying tactics and crushing any smaller competition which had the temerity to try and compete against Microsoft.

Recently I have noticed a small change in the opinion of Bill Gates, I personally have had a grudging respect, in a similar vain to the respect I have for the ruthless efficiency of seven times Formula one winner Michael Schumacher. I freely admit I do not have the focus to control as long and as hard as either Bill Gates or Schumacher and am not sure if I would be willing to act in the way they have done (although it is distinct possibility if I was in their position) but I can appreciate their actions in a cold calculating historical reflection. It has been successful because it is Bill Gates and Michael Schumacher that we know remember and not the names of the people who they bested.

Now Bill Gates has chosen to dedicate his time and considerable wealth to philanthropy will also make it easier for people to warm to him, which is saying something because he seems to have a impatient manner which often precocious intelligent child geniuses have when having to talk to well rounded but less intelligent individuals. I will use this opportunity to tell this trumpeted up self important little brain bullies, all the time you were locked away studying the rest of us were out on dates and socialising with people and having fun and no fun cannot be defined by making up a new calculation or formula or in Bill Gates’ case a new operating system.

I will add I think it is noble thing for Bill Gates to do, many businessmen often spend their time and money in making more money, so regardless that Bill has more money than anyone, the media attention, time and money he is putting towards good causes is a benefit to the mankind and so should rightly be applauded, Well done Bill you weasel faced uber nerd, there I said it.

So with the Gates shuffling out of Microsoft (is he a rat leaving the sinking ship?) and his focus on philanthropy, you will see history slowly rewritten to paint a nicer version of events which make nerdy Bill sound a bit more human and less Microsoft. It will also focus on his many achievements, especially on the start of Microsoft and his school days where he put in an incredible amount of work and thinking to propel him and Microsoft, which for a long time people could tell where Microsoft started and Bill Gates finished.

The plus side of Bill Gates giving his money away is it will hopefully stop people telling how many millions Gates earns a second or a minute, who cares, I bet he doesn’t it. It will also stop me wondering if you could buy your own country for 50 billion and what you would do with it.

So prepare yourself to join the new Bill Gates appreciation society as the world starts to like the person who was once the Darth Vader of the computer industry.

Why not listen to some comedy in your ears, listen to the comedy podcast - Hosks Half Hour for some comedy like you have never heard it before

Monday, November 03, 2008

Why do people still read Horoscopes?

Horoscopes and astrology is an unusual beast that we have roaming around our daily lives, a seemingly mythical beast born which flourished in an agein the world where claims of reading futures in the stars seemed plausible but why does it continue to thrive in the current climate.

Horoscopes and astrology when tested by scientists have been shown to produce random results, unsurprising really, if people could accurately predict the future surely they wouldn’t need to rely on newspapers for money. Thinking about scientists testing horoscope predictions does bring forth an amusing image, what would be the criteria to test if a horoscope was true or false?

When you factor in the vagueness of horoscope predictions and appreciate the results apply to hundreds of millions of people, the task of testing the accuracy of the predictions becomes implausible, exhausting and pointless. The scope of the prediction would seem indicate the impossible job horoscopes have gleefully given themselves, imagine saying you could predict the future of 6 billion people divided into 12 star signs merely by looking up at the stars, planets and sun.

This leads me to my first odd point regarding horoscopes, everyone knows their own star sign, why? People like me who think it’s completely bonkers anyone could possibly tell anything about anyone’s future from looking at the moon, sun, planets and stars, yet I still know my star sign.

Why do I know my own star sign, up to this point in my life knowing my star sign hasn’t produced one single small benefit or accurate insight into the future? The only benefit which comes to mind is laughing at the future predicted for my designated star sign.

I’m not sure how many people believe in star signs and to what extent. I think a lot of people think the notion of astrology as a future predicting medium is nonsense.

Yet horoscopes and symbology are ubiquitous in society and are prevalent in every daily newspaper. I am not entirely clear whether the horoscope predicts the future on a daily forecast; it would seem to be this way because there is a new horoscope everyday. Yet the contents of horoscopes are generally so vague it doesn’t seem likely for them to occur in one day.

Daily horoscopes can also include a number of predictions, which seems to contribute to an increased likelihood of failure in the forecast. I have also witnessed some forecasts include special forecasts for single people, quite how the stars manage to sort themselves into forecasts for only single people really is quite impressive.

What do people who read horoscopes hope to gain from them? If they believe the future is already set and they are merely travelling down that path, which if you believe horoscopes you must belief the future is already set. This personally seems a very undesirable notion, if I were to belief this then why would I ponder over any decisions because I would belief I have no alternative but to make the choice I am destined by the stars to choose.

If you thought horoscopes were correct why would is the benefit of reading them, you can’t change them unless you believe that by reading the horoscopes it will help you make those decisions. This is one area perhaps horoscope believers help to justify the validity of horoscopes to themselves, a form of self prophecy. If they read they are going to ring an old friend or find love in the supermarket then it is likely they are going to look for these opportunities now the idea is placed in their heads and thus themselves contribute to the correct prediction of the horoscope.

It’s seems most fortunate to people who read horoscopes they are recipients to mostly positive futures as predicted in horoscopes and rarely is anything bad or unpleasant bad news. This is another reason for me to question the validity of horoscopes.

Horoscope writers seem to have self preservation in their mind because who would ever want to read a horoscope with negative or downbeat forecasts, probably only a few miserable people. So in order to retain their popularity they have a tendency to write positive exciting futures which people will enjoy reading, thus preserving the horoscope column.

People do not seem to concern themselves with the accuracy of the horoscope predictions. It is my experience with people who read horoscopes that they have what I describe as a fruit machine memory regarding horoscopes. A fruit machine memory is something I attribute to people you see in pubs who put in pound after pound into the fruit machine but never really remember all the times they lost or how much money they put in but only remember when they win the jackpot. I view horoscope readers in a similar vain to fruit machine addicts, they only seem to remember the times when the horoscope said something that happened but conveniently forget the daily occurrence of incorrect predictions.

People seem to take horoscopes as a mixture of simple fun and yet are willingly to give its prediction some importance if it sounds like something good. Why are certain people willing to take prompting and advice from someone who is clearly making it up? Do they garner some sort of comfort from another person predicting their future? I am yet to understand the appeal of a taking some advice from a stranger who gives you a paragraph with odd, random and mainly useless advice.

The fundamental problem I have with star signs and horoscopes is the millions of people who each have the same future. There are 12 star signs and there are roughly 6 billion people in the world. So this means 500 million people are going to have the same future or prediction each day, no matter what country or social environment they live, so people in the Antarctic will have the same future as people who live in Ghana or London.

People in prison are predicted the same future as someone is free? Age doesn’t seem to be factored into the prediction either babies and children will have the same predicted future as adults and the very old. The other question which puzzles me is why are all the horoscopes completely different in each paper, are they looking at the same stars and planets?

So next time you are reading a horoscope for a bit of fun just think how daft you are being and think maybe it’s about time I started looking up to the stars and making my own future and deciding to do something worthwhile rather than something daft like this from the guardian! I wonder what happens if I don’t refresh my wardrobe?

Sagittarius
22 Nov-21 Dec

The gap between your public role as hard-grafting trooper and your private life of tender feelings currently looks quite a chasm. Until your birthday month, however, you just have to render to Caesar his due and keep your innermost concerns and private duties to yourself. As Venus is still on your side, a charming smile and a refreshed wardrobe will carry you through most social challenges.