Cooking with Volidity: Pasta Bread Bowl

Americans are spending billions of dollars a year to avoid gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. However, recent scientific research is pointing to a new culprit, FODMAPs, as the actual cause of much of our contemporary gastrointestinal distress. Gluten, it seems, is perhaps not the enemy of humanity we once imagined it to be (unless you have Celiac Disease--sorry, guys!). Now that gluten has been exonerated by Science, the Volidity Report has decided to prepare a dish that celebrates this special protein in its many forms. For inspiration, we turn our eyes to a pioneer of glutenous meal combinations: Domino's, creator of the BreadBowl Pasta™.

For a mere dollar extra[!], Domino's will encase a pasta dish within the bready confines of a "bowl" made from pizza dough. Now, if in theory such an innovation appears brilliant, in practice it has met with some rather harsh critiques, claiming that "the result is pasta that's simultaneously mushy and dry, like baked ziti that has been sitting out a day too long" or that the dish is "a salty, sloppy, non-sizzling bowl." With this in mind, following a time-honored tradition, the Volidity Report has appropriated and then elevated the concept of the BreadBowl Pasta™ into a dish of gluten-filled joy.


The Top Ten "Top 10" of 2014

Was 2014 the worst year ever? Probably not, if you're someone who is aware of the years that have preceded it, such as 1914 (that is, unless you live in Ukraine). Good or bad, it must be noted that 2014 was a boom year for memes, series of useless books, and listicles, which are "rapidly becoming the lingua franca of new-media journalism." Taking that into consideration, as the Volidity Report is a serious journalistic enterprise, we embark once again on an annual tradition: the ranking of the top ten Top 10 lists from 2014, provided to you in helpful listicle format.

10) Spectator UK: My Top Ten Most Fatuous Phrases
Ron Liddle is right. If all goes well, in 2015, we'll all be using more words like "fatuous".

9) Golf Channel - Top 10 in 2014: Controversies
Were you as upset as we were when Patrick Reed called himself a top-5 player? Why, with declarations like that, he'll never make the top ten of golf statisticians, let alone critics!

8) The Top 10 Most Popular DARPA Stories of 2014
The U.S. government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency proves it's still on the cutting edge with a self-referential Top 10 list compiled by the best and brightest of social media interns. We're excited to see how the DARPA #brand will grow in 2015!

7) Top 10 Items You're Too Old To Wear
Ladies! Fellas! Time to face the music. You’re just TOO OLD to wear those message T’s! "'The message tee boom was fueled by Young Hollywood [as] a way for people to express frustration.' And that doesn’t exactly come off as mature."

6) TOP 10 shipping container structures of 2014
Do you still think that shipping containers are *just* for shipping things? Then you're in for a rude surprise in 2015 when all your peers will have absorbed the lessons of this important Top 10 list.

5) Top 10 Reasons Libertarians Aren't Nice to You
Had a real Randroid meanie in your life this past year? Chris Cantwell totally gets it - and he's happy to explain why you deserved it!

4) The Top 10 Feminist Hashtags of 2014
As we all know, there's nothing the patriarchy fears more than ideas transmitted on a web platform preceded by a pound sign.

3) Minnesota State Fair Top 10 Places to Poop
If you were like me, you wanted to love the MN State Fair...but there was just no place to drop a load! And in Obama's America, you can’t just poop in the middle of crowded fairs anymore. But worry not Frustrated Fairgoers! Know that Cityblogs has you covered for next year with all the hot spots to squat.

2) Time Magazine: Top 10 Everything of 2014
Somehow anticipating the Volidity Report's meta-approach in trying to cover "everything," Time still managed to leave the assessment of Top 10 lists to us.

1) 10 Things Only I Will Understand
That feeling when Mallory calls you Steamboat...

№ 2, 4, 6, 8 & 9 suggested by Herrence Meritocracy and № 1, 3, 5, 7 & 10 suggested by LK Shov. All methodologies scientific.


Killing History

Producing a book of historical scholarship can be difficult, especially when one is writing for a popular audience. Take a gander at the New York Times Best Sellers if you want to grasp the nature of the problem. Just last week, your Editor spotted in the Top 5 Hardcover Nonfiction and Print/E-book Nonfiction a book with the word "Nazi" in the title, a book by a late night teevee comedian, a book by a conservative "comedian," and a book about a four year old's journey to heaven where he got to hang out with God and Jesus and the gang. America knows what it wants!

So perhaps we cannot totally blame teevee guy Bill O'Reilly for titling his history of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln "Killing Lincoln." It's simple, catchy, and more of a factual statement than Heaven is for Real. But if the American public has been an enthusiastic consumer of this book (and its made-for-TV special!), the U.S. Park Service has refused to sell Killing Lincoln where Lincoln was killed due to its numerous factual errors.

This didn't stop ol' Bill though. Using this template, he went on to co-author two more books on other subjects that have already been written about endlessly, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus. Given that O'Reilly's B.A. in History from Marist College (currently ranked 375th best in the U.S. by Forbes!) might not seem the strongest basis for being an author of various history books, Your Editor foolishly assumed that the co-author (always appearing as MARTIN DUGARD below BILL O'REILLY) must then be a trained historian with a Ph.D. in History. Au contraire! Mr. Dugard does not claim any degree and splits his time between writing and coaching high school track, making him that rare person honored as a New York Times bestselling author *and* "Girls Varsity Cross-Country Coach of the Year" in Orange County, CA.

Considering how successful the duo of O'Reilly and Dugard has been, why leave history writing to the historians? In fact, why even leave history writing to history? The Volidity Report has thus decided to write a history of the future, predicting what books might be next for Bill O'Reilly and other potential co-authors (assuming that Martin Dugard will be busy with track-and-field season). Let's review!


Venetian Doge

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog. This is despite the fact that dogs have gained rather great prominence on the internet, enough to even challenge the hegemony of the feline. One popular internet figure of late is a Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu, whose thoughts and experiences have been catalogued under the pseudonym "doge."

Americans may know their memes, but they sure don't know much about history. Now, as textbooks have been made obsolete by iPads, we must recognize the need for new teaching methods. By choosing the name "doge," the denizens of the internet have offered us an opportunity to teach the Youth about another set of doges. Hailing from Venice, the *Most Serene* of Republics (and thus the chillest), these doges were in fact humans elected to run the city-state and its maritime trading empire from the middle ages until 1797.

Thus, the Volidity Report presents the Venetian doges in a vernacular understandable to the internet:


Top Ten "Top 10" of 2013

2013--it was quite a year, containing many memorable months. Though we at the Volidity Report are often busy this time of year fleeing from Druid Rage and volunteering for the War on Christmas on the side of Black Santa, there is a tradition we need to uphold. As we internet consumers review the best photos of 2013 and look ahead to the inspiring images of 2014, there must also be someone to review the reviewers. Thus, following on our award-winning coverage of 2011 and 2012, the Volidity Report is proud to present the Top Ten "Top 10" of 2013:

10) Top 10 Overused LinkedIn Profile Buzzwords of 2013: Make 2014 your year by being as irresponsible as possible!

9) Top 10 Arizona Gun Stories of 2013: While some foolish liberals argue that the unrestricted ownership of firearms could be dangerous, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne thinks that it is "inexcusable for teachers, students and school staff" at Arizona schools not to be armed. Let's see how that works out in 2014!

8) The 10 Most Gifted Rappers in Nigeria: Igbo is a Nigerian language that made its way into Carribbean patois, which may explain why the accent sounds kind of familiar. It works for guys like Phyno, who raps in his native language.

7) Top Risks 2013: Emerging markets--still risky! But forget the indebted PIIGS or the rising BRIC, watch out for the JIBs as big structural losers next year.

6) Top Ten Pearl Jam Moments of 2013: Pearl Jam apparently had such a busy year that Number 10 starts at 12! Familiarize yourself with all the essential moments of 2013, including the genesis of the Pearl Jam podcast, the week they spent with Jimmy Fallon, and how they changed rock forever with their bold merchandising strategy!

5) Top Ten 'most hated' celebrities in France: Why can't Nabilla get any respect?

4) Top 10 New Species 2013: Featuring the world's smallest vertebrate and the only reptile whose name could be a protest or 1970s English punk song, the "No to the mine! snake"

3) The Top Ten Pony Videos of August 2013: What have the Bronies been up to this year? Who knows? Watch this video compilation and get more confused!

2) Top 10 World’s Best Intelligence Agencies 2013: Maybe if the CIA wasn't so worried about being "the most popular" intelligence agency, they could get back to Number 1 where they belong. After all, "the Agency has the credit of being one of most swift in dealing with every aspect of world issues."

1) Top Ten College Women of 2013: Women! In college? 2013 truly was the year everything changed.

№ 1, 4, 7 & 9 suggested by Herrence Meritocracy and № 2, 3, 5, 6, 8 & 10 suggested by LK Shov. All methodologies scientific.


The Ages of Civilization

What year is it? 2013 (of course!), you might say. Simple question, right? Well, other perspectives abound: it's also year 5774 of the Jewish calendar, 1434 AH of the Islamic calendar, 1392 of the Persian calendar, and CCXXII of the French Republican calendar. Over time however, these calendars were supplanted by the hegemony of the Gregorian calendar, with Papal revisions and later a nice neutral "CE" slapped on over "AD" for objectivity's sake.

Even if that debate has been somewhat settled, we are left with the question--in what age does 2013 AD/CE reside? Are we in the Atomic Age (1945-?), the Space Age (1957-?) or the Information Age (1947-/1958-/1969-/1977-?)??? Though we know at least that humanity will not enter the Jet Age until around 2062, the overlapping ages of today's world present a dilemma. Just what is the defining characteristic of our time? If academics cannot achieve consensus, are there other expert sources we could consult?


NICE BOD: Volidity Report Short Stories Kind-Of Using the 'Exqusitie Corpse' Method Over Gmail While At Work ~~~ # 1: A CLOSE ENCOUNTER

Exquisite Corpse was a drawing game played by the Surrealists, and every person since.  Each contributor writes a paragraph, and passes it on, adding to the story.  We didn't do it 'blind' which I guess means it's not exactly EC, but who cares.  Contributors to this round were C. Cameron, E. Wright, and LK Shov.   Remember kids - just because you're in the office, doesn't mean you can't be productive!


One time, I was sitting in a booth at Baja Burrito. It was late, probably after 8, and I had just driven back into town. I could have bought some Wendy's on the drive, but I opted to just hold off and get the good stuff. It was late, but I remember this Baja had a bar. Strange, I remember thinking at the time. At the bar, a couple were sitting, pounding rolling rocks and waiting on their burritos to be made. They were clearly velociraptors, anyone could see that. They had long tails which allowed them to balance on their bar stools, and wore long trenches which hung down to the floor. They were bickering in hushed tones, but if I focused my attention I could make out some of what they were saying. "Diana just doesn't have any idea about social etiquette," said the one on the left. "If she wants to get fresh, she might just get popped. Is she afraid I won't?" "I think she's just getting you confused with Blake," said the other one, eyeing the empty ashtray on the bar. "She just puts up this armor, you can't get through. she is so annoying, and if that's the way shes going to act, I'm just don't know what I'm gonna do." The first raptor said nothing. His burrito had arrived.

Clearly though, it was more than just the burrito that the raptor had on his mind. Yes he had a deep-seated fondness for barbacoa (as do most velociraptors, for obvious reasons), but it was the struggle with Diana that really got to him. He didn't want to admit it to Valerie, his date on this fine evening, but his feelings and frustrations ran deeper than just annoyance over her social behavior. She had the finest, longest tail in town, and all the other single male raptors lusted over it. Including himself. It was just the way she slung it around for everyone to see that maddened him so. But it maddened him in other ways too, ways that couldn't be admitted it anyone else, other than joking or complaining to his date. All that was left at this time was to eat his burrito and continue getting drunk on Rolling Rocks.

"Say," said Valerie. "Don't look now but there's a human giving you a little stink eye at the end of the bar."

"Oh hush," he said. "You're drunk." But oh so casually, he craned his long neck to look at the human watching them and trying to eavesdrop. He didn't like it one bit, but for decorum's sake he tried as best as he could to ignore it.

Valerie was completely out of her comfort zone. First of all, she couldn’t believe that her date, the raptor she has been ogling over for weeks now, took her out to a bar at a BURRITO joint. Didn’t he know she was trying to cut carbs and follow that strict herbivore diet her best friend, Zara, was on? She guessed not. Second of all, he had the audacity to take her to a place where humans were free to roam around; Valerie understood that they didn’t pose any real threats, but ever since she had that run in with the douchebag at Wells Fargo, she tried her hardest to avoid those wimpy excuses for “animals.” However, the thing that was really bugging her about this whole “date” thing was the way Craig reacted with the mention of Diana. She knew she shouldn’t have brought her up, but she had to confirm to herself that the rumors weren’t true. Craig couldn’t have feelings for the oblivious, socially inept, ditsy excuse for a raptor that was Diana. But it was clear to Valerie that as much as she tried to diss Diana, she was always going to be second-rate in Craig’s mind. The way his eyes lit up the moment she said her name was a big enough blow to make Valerie down her beer. “I never should have met him here” she thought, “I fucking hate burritos."

The patrons were getting belligerent, but who has never seen that before. That's the thing about these sauropods. They're all talk. You try and get to know them, but you can never get past the drama. And the racism. My chalupa arrived, and my thoughts drifted out the window. Gloria was like that. The year was 1967, and I had been seeing this pretty little allosaur down in Montgomery. We met by happenstance. I - fresh out of the Ozarks, with my 2 year Certificate of Paleontology fresh from the printer, flapping in the breeze, and she- a curvaceous, 12 foot tall creature from the Cretaceous Period, found each other chatting at a house party downtown over mint juleps. If I am honest with myself, I knew from the get go that we could never be. It was that sense of urgency that probably drew us together. When Gloria told me she was leaving town the following week - there had been a 'mishap' at the museum of natural history- she asked if I would come with her, but I said no.

I snapped back to the present, the air was thick with the summer rain and the smoky aroma of cooked meat. Violence hung in the air like a freshly caught snapper ready to flop up and rake your skin with its scales in its last throes of life. The basketball game on ESPN was drawing the attention of most patrons, though a clear growling could be distinctly heard from the sauropod corner. I guess it goes to show how many people just don't see or hear what they don't want to or cant understand. But something about the growling of a velociraptor will put fear into the hearts of even the most hardened man. I hoped it had nothing to do with me, after the male one and I gave each other stink eye for a good five minutes earlier. So, instead of waiting around for him to try and eat me or some bullshit, I downed the last of my beer, paid my tab and walked out the door. I felt pretty good about having avoided an altercation with those 2 sauropods, and thought I might actually whistle a tune.

As I turned the corner of the building, headed towards my car, I noticed three young men in hooded sweatshirts lurking in the shadows. Surreptitiously glancing behind me and seeing no one else around, the fear I thought I had conquered earlier had swiftly returned. I really need a hobby, I thought.