Soren Bowie

Person: Tim Tebow

In War of the Worlds, the aliens, with all their superior technology and brains, were still defeated by something as simple as a virus. They had reached the highest form of evolution but had somehow lost immunity to the simplest form of attack along the way. The success of that virus against invading aliens is an apt analogy for Tim Tebow's success against every other NFL team.

For anyone who doesn't follow football, Tebow is structurally designed to be one of the best fullbacks football has ever seen. The trouble is that he plays quarterback and his throwing mechanics are so bad that even someone wholly unfamiliar with the sport will look at his passes and think, "Hold on, that can't possibly be right." But somehow, defenses are powerless to stop him from winning games.


As we understand it, the football is supposed to be on the ground 85 percent of the time.

Not since the return of Michael Vick has there been a more divisive player in the NFL than Tim Tebow, which is odd, because Michael Vick tortured dogs, while Tebow just sucks at throwing and loves God a bunch.

2011 is his first year as a starter for the Denver Broncos, and Tebow consistently rushes for more yards than he throws. But more importantly, he's become famous for kneeling in prayer before games. And during games. And after games. In fact, he kneels in prayer with such frequency on the field that his piousness has become an Internet meme. And while his constant mention of God can be exhausting to listen to, even for a Broncos fan, it's shocking to see how many people outright hate him. Among commentators, fans and even people who have no interest in football but love controversy, there is no one who is on the fence about Tim Tebow -- he inspires only love or loathing. Part of that may have to do with how overrated some people think he is -- culturally we hate seeing terrible athletes bathed in positive attention -- but more than likely it's because somehow his combination of wobbly passes and God-loving is actually working.


Expect a lot of mascot sacrifices this weekend.

Since he became the starting quarterback for Denver, their record has gone from a dismal 1-4 to 8-5. Somehow he continues to win games,usually with comeback victories all while making skeptics privately suspicious that maybe there is a God and he does watch football after all.

Internet Clip: Save a Pretzel for the Gas Jets

Considering it's just two and a half minutes of complete absurdity, making the Rick Perry Bad Lip-Reading video must have required an insanely specific skill. The creator had to learn to read lips, but not quite to proficiency; he had to be exactly mediocre for it to work.

In an interview with The Washington Post, he revealed that his mother had lost her hearing over a matter of months, and in an effort to understand what she was going through, he would mute the television and try to guess what people were saying. He didn't have any formal training, he was just curious about lip-reading. His inadequate ability made for some hilarious errors, and so he started sharing them on YouTube, through dubbed music videos first and then political commercials. Had he discovered his ability at any other point in time, it would have just been a novel trick that a few people would have appreciated before moving on, but by chance, he discovered it during the first stages of the Republican primary, and that made all the difference.


"... and that's the kind of liberal immigrant work policy we just won't tolerate in this party."

"Save a Pretzel for the Gas Jets" was the first of many political dubs that found the perfect way to poke fun at rambling politicians, regardless of party affiliation. There is no pointed agenda or attacks on the personal lives of the politicians -- they are just compilations of laughably senseless dialogue spilling out of the proud faces of each candidate. I don't know what kind of lasting power these videos will have, but "Save a Pretzel for the Gas Jets" was a perfect zeitgeist for 2011.

Word: Rapture

This year, the purest of heart were scheduled to ascend into heaven, and everyone else was supposed to be consumed in eternal fire. Twice. Christian radio host and holy number cruncher Harold Camping had solved God's greatest math problem by figuring out the date of the Rapture. God, Camping said, had tentatively penciled in humanity's reckoning for May 21 of 2011, and in case the date didn't work for everyone, then October 21 for sure. Both those dates came and went without any hint of an apocalypse, which was understandably embarrassing for Camping and his followers.


"I don't understand why no one's here. I even made tiny cakes."

What was most remarkable about the Rapture hype was not that Camping was wrong, it was the worldwide attention he received in the first place for predicting something so inherently ridiculous.

Leading up to May 21, the second leading search in Google was "end of the world may 21st." Hundreds of people quit their jobs and took to the streets preaching the word of the Lord before it was too late, and even internationally people gathered by the thousands to wait for Christ's arrival, and perhaps, if they were lucky, get an autograph.


His stuff was good, but his need to appeal to a wider audience really destroyed his career.

The word "rapture" became part of the everyday lexicon, even if it was almost exclusively used as a punch line. Still, everyone -- whether they believed it or not -- was keenly aware of the prediction of one Christian radio host, because each time we discussed it on the Internet, we inadvertently spread awareness. If the 2011 revolution in Egypt was a testament to the possibilities of social media to share information and mobilize people behind a cause, "the Rapture" was proof of how that power could be squandered on the asinine. We clumsily tried to wield the same weapon of uncensored and instant worldwide communication just months after the revolution, except we had nothing to say, and so instead we talked about the crazy old man in Texas who was predicting the end of the world.

Photo: Massive Spider Webs in Sindh, Pakistan, After Floods

At the end of 2010, floods in Pakistan forced hundreds of thousands of spiders up into the trees. Remarkably, several different species of spiders that were usually notoriously territorial started working together, spinning enormous webs and blanketing entire trees. This is the first time these spiders have ever worked together in known history, and assuming this spider co-op proves beneficial to them, there's no reason they would ever go back to the way things were. 2011 may go down in history as the year trees started swallowing children.

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