Fun With Research

Every week I bookmark dozens of articles that I consider column-worthy. From those bookmarks I narrow my choices down to one topic. You have seen the end results in columns such as The War on Drugs is Being Fought in Your Toilet, Deloitte & Touche & Women, and Robots Cannot Love.

Obviously, I can’t use every article. And obviously I don’t want to waste the time I spend researching either. So this week I thought I’d share ten of the hundreds of stories that I have bookmarked since July that will never be featured as columns.

We’ll call it the First Ever Joe Donatelli Aborted Column Spectacular.

No, wait, the word aborted is kind of grim. It makes me think of military air strikes that were called off at the last moment. And that’s just sad. Poor little air strikes never had a chance.

We’ll call it the First Ever Joe Donatelli Cavalcade of Dead Baby Columns.

In an article entitled Binge Drinkers Prefer Beer, Bloomberg News reports that three quarters of binge drinkers prefer beer over other types of alcohol. I thought this made sense. It’s hard to binge on vodka. You’ll – what’s the word? – die.

Another beer-related story that I found on brought my long-awaited dream of a merger between Keystone Ice and Gold’s Gym one step closer to reality. Spanish researchers have found that Beer After Exercise May Be Better Than Water. Don’t laugh at this. Spanish-funded research is the reason America was discovered. When the Spanish research something, you can bet that it will eventually establish a constitutional rule of law based on individual rights, carry the world economically and produce the only movies worth watching. Jogging and drinking will put a man on Mars by 2050. Trust me.

Sometimes I see articles that work well in combination together. Here are two fun ones. A story on the Voice of America web site says that Older Americans Are Staying Sexually Active. The story claims that 26 percent of people between the ages of 75 and 85 are having sex. Then I found a USA Today blog that says A Seventh of Elderly Americans Suffer From Dementia. Now I have to wonder, what percentage of that 26 percent that is claiming to have sex is also suffering from dementia? It’s not sex if you’re walking around the Benetton with no pants on, grandpa. It may be a fucking good time. It may be something we should all do at least once in our lives. But it’s not sex.

Here’s a story that comes out at least once every six months. In an article entitled Film Smoking Sways Teens, Study Shows, The Hollywood Reporter reports on a new study that claims to link smoking on film and teenage tobacco use. No way. If this was true, film would influence other social behaviors as well. As a child I watched American Ninja at least a dozen times, and at no point did I ever wait silently in a ceiling rafter only to descend upon my enemy, slit his throat, throw a smoke bomb and disappear into a cool mountain mist in further search of the man who murdered my sensei. Did I want to? Yes. Did I act on this impulse? No.

(Above: Private Joe Armstrong kicked ass so I didn’t have to.)

Sometimes I grab a story just for the headline. I can’t resist any article with a title like Pac-Man Finds Next Level Of Fear Research. The Nobel Prize for Totally Fucked Up Research goes to the Wellcome Trust centre for neuroimaging at the University College London, which modified a version of Pac-Man to deliver electric shocks to people to see how they react to danger.

Two questions:

1. Do you think the Wellcome Trust centre is located in London’s historic Thannk Yoou District?

2. Why Pac-Man?

Pac-Man is one of the only nonviolent video games that people love. If the Wellcome Trust centre wanted to instill fear in people – and I think it’s hilarious that anything called the Wellcome Trust centre wants to instill fear in people – it should have forced players to spend more than five minutes playing E.T. on the Atari 2600. I would claw a man’s skin inside out and build a ladder with his blood-wet bones to get the hell away from playing E.T. on the Atari 2600. If you played this game, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Here are two more stories that belong together. In a story called A First For The FCC: Fining Fake News, reports that the Federal Communications Commission is fining broadcasters that air video news releases without disclosing that they’re not actually news. Meanwhile FEMA held a ‘News Conference’ during the recent wildfires in California in which FEMA staffers posed as real reporters. So … will the FCC be fining FEMA? Also, can someone please tend to the lump of grey matter that now rests in front of my laptop? I was just thinking about how these are the same people who are responsible for the fact that I have to pay $12 a month to hear Howard Stern and my head exploded. Please put whatever is left of my brain back on top of my neck. Thank you.

I love this story – Pentagon Confirms It Sought to Build a Gay Bomb. It’s true. It was tested once, on Feb. 5, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pa., on the day the Steelers won Super Bowl XL. It was a complete success.

And finally, according Great Britain’s Telegraph, Italy’s Biggest Business Is The Mafia. Some countries should just be forced to start over. Here are five signs your country has failed completely and needs to file for the U.N. equivalent of Chapter 11:

1. You were on the losing side of more than three wars in the last 100 years.
2. You have failed to mass-produce a decent automobile.
3. You can’t break double digit medals at the Summer Olympics.
4. There are more people of your nation’s descent in New York City than in your capital.
5. The Bill Gates of your country started his career by leaning against a street corner lamppost flipping a coin.

That last one could go on for a whole column. Let’s have some fun with this. Send me your qualifications for when a country should be forced to start over. If I use them, I will give you credit in the column. Best entry wins a special prize to be determined. If we can come up with about 20 I’ll write a whole column about it.

If you don’t, you will have killed a dead baby.

/>To read Joe’s previous column The Best Holiday click here.

Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles

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