Happy Easter from the Church of Scientology: "We Study Scient!"Easter is almost upon us, a holiday so exciting that every year all Americans with the exception of Catholics and people afraid of rabbits forget it even exists until, like that wave of sludge monster from Creep Show 2, it is upon us. Actually Easter is one of those holidays - completely unlike Flag Day and Arbor Day - that sends out heralds to sound the clarion call of its arrival throughout the seasonal sections of grocery stores and Wal Marts across the land. As early as three months ago you could see the first skeletal signs of a new holiday display being erected by an acne encrusted teenager. By last weekend the corridors of peril were overflowing with candies, plastic eggs, and other items much more vaguely related to the holiday. My logical side tells me that Easter is a celebration of Christ's rebirth, while my purely observational side tells me that Easter is a celebration of plastic eggs crapped out by a wide variety of candy manufacturers and filled to the brim with novelty candy.

Saying that the meaning of a holiday has been lost may be true but it's a bit clichéd and so I'm going to try to steer clear of that. No, the disturbing thing to me is how desperate some of these candy manufacturers have gotten to make sure that their candy sells. Jellybeans, Cadbury crème eggs, and others are all candies that we associate as either traditional or logical extensions of the Easter "egg and rabbit" candy theme. Occasionally a candy maker will cook up some new formula for Easter, like the delightful Rhodes Scholar Mr. Reese and his peanut butter egg, which is scientifically proven to contain the optimal peanut butter versus chocolate ratio. These late-comers to the Easter candy scene are welcomed with open arms if their product proves to be delicious, and cast aside like a box of expired condoms if they are not quite so delectable.

More recently the trend for candy manufacturers has been to make questionable crossover marketing attempts with toy makers and celebrities. Your kids will be going into seizures of joy upon finding a plastic egg that opens to reveal gummi versions of their favorite Spongebob Squarepants characters. These same children will squeal with utter delight when they crack open that egg full of chocolate NASCAR driver heads or the compressed sugar busts of their favorite neo-classical poets. The kids might literally combust with exuberance when they realize that rather than simple chocolate eggs those plastic eggs contain life-like candy replicas of the internal organs of the cast of "Will & Grace".

That's good eatin' if you're a moon commie!I counted no less than ten different "theme eggs" available at my local Target, with the themes ranging from the surreal but still Easter-related "egg full of smaller chocolate eggs" to the ambiguous "Matchbox Racers car-shaped chocolate inside an egg". Do not even dare to ponder what sort of monstrous abomination of science could lay eggs full of matchbox cars, much less edible cars made of chocolate. Science may have created the matchbox egg laying monstrosity, but it remains the answer to correct Easter candy selections. When doing my Easter shopping this year I purchased a wide variety of candy treats and a pair of baskets. Every year I make two Easter baskets full of candy, invite children to the apartment, then light the baskets on fire and hurl them off the balcony to the street while the children scream and cry. A good time is had by all, or more importantly, a good time is had by me at the expense of all.

This year two curiosities found their way into my shopping cart. One is an oddity that is probably quite familiar to you, the other is a mysterious stone-like candy birthed up from a loathsome hell-maggot onto the blasted heath of the 666th layer of the inferno. I am referring to "Marshmallow Peeps" and "Easter Basket Eggs" respectively. Unsure if either would prove adequate for Sunday's flammable festivities I ordained to conduct a thorough scientific examination of their properties. I know little of science so my procedure followed closely the work of such luminaries of academia as "that guy who played Barth on 'You Can't Do That On Television'" and fellow Nickelodeon alumni Mark Summers.

One of the most important phases of experimentation is not conducted with a Bunsen burner, but rather with the observational faculties provided by the moon goddess. I used these keen powers of observation to perform some preliminary research and to assemble basic profiles of my upcoming test subjects.

"Marshmallow Peeps"Fig 1.1 - Marshmallow Peep.Physical Appearance: If it were possible for a chicken to give birth to a marshmallow and somehow instill in it a combination of its own genetic code and Down's Syndrome the marshmallow peep would surely be the result. Bloated, with small and black eyes that are often asymmetrically placed on its misshapen head, the marshmallow peep would seem more at home in a medical waste incinerator at a chicken abortion clinic than an Easter basket. My particular test subjects were yellow in color, although they are apparently harvested from peep spawning pools in a wide variety of unnatural hues. Weight: Roughly the same as a windborne plague spore, ready to hatch open and corrupt an unsuspecting population with weeping sores and tissue necrosis.

Taste Test: Marshmallows are made from a combination of gelatin, sugar, and a few other choice ingredients. Gelatin, in turn, is made from the liquefied bones of fallen warriors, and it is this flavor that is most apparent when tasting a peep. Add to this a vile crust not unlike the dried effluvium from a deep sea crustacean's cloacae and you have some inkling of the disgusting flavor of a marshmallow peep.

Texture: The external texture of a peep is similar to sandpaper or scabs while the internal texture is as moist and fluffy as the still-hot lungs of a freshly slaughtered lamb.

Communication: Peeps are either completely mute or communicate through some form of pheromones. I have not ruled out advanced telepathy as the peeps - while entirely sessile - do display signs of a sort of malign collective intellect.

"Bunny Basket Eggs"

Fig 1.2 - Easter Basket Egg (cross section).Physical Appearance: Roughly the size of an advanced goiter in a human the Easter basket eggs I examined were oblong and rounded but not entirely egg-shaped. They were flattened on one side suggesting that at some point in their early days they were not completely solid and as they formed their protective outer shell they were influenced by the forces of gravity. While casual examination would lead one to believe that the Easter basket eggs are completely benign a closer inspection reveals a strange translucency to their outer shell which may be to permit light to enter the soft interior. This forces me to conjecture that either the Easter basket eggs contain some sort of light-sensitive organs or tissues or can actually metabolize light for energy.

Weight: Approximately the same weight as a .45 caliber ACP round.

Taste Test: Tilt your head back until your face is nearly horizontal. Gently pinch a cockroach or similar beetle between thumb and index finger. Hold the insect above your open mouth and quickly crush it with all your strength until its humors combine and drip onto your tongue from its shattered carapace. This is the flavor of the Easter basket egg. Well, this and a whole fuckload of sugar.

Texture: While I can't be sure, I imagine its texture is identical to what you would get if you laminated an owl pellet.

Communication: Easter basket eggs communicate through ultrasonic vibration that is imperceptible to any human senses but easily detectable on a finely tuned seismograph.

These are the two items which I then subjected to a battery of experiments to test their potential use in my incendiary Easter baskets on Sunday. For posterity, and for those of you who might attempt to "catch the wave" so to speak and begin inviting children over to witness your brutal destruction of their childhood dreams, I post the results of these tests now.

Experiment One: Submerged in Boiling WaterFig 2.1 - Boiling Water Added.Procedure: One each of peep and basket egg were placed into separate glasses. A pot of water was brought to a boil and then each glass was filled with boiling water. Results were noted immediately after the water was added and then five minutes later.

Peep Results: Immediately upon adding boiling water the peep floated to the surface. There was a barely audible hissing sound as chemicals within the peep reacted to the water and heat. The outer surface of the peep dissolved into an oily sludge, with the exception of the eyes which fragmented each into several small flecks of brown coloring. The main body of the peep began showing signs of degradation almost instantly and after five minutes it had almost completely dissolved into a foamy white lump. The water in the glass was colored yellow after five minutes.

Basket Egg Results: The basket egg slowly floated to the surface of the glass. It retained its exterior shell for some time after adding the water, although immediately after adding the water it could be seen shedding a slight corona of blue coloring into the liquid. After five minutes the basket egg's exterior shell had been completely dissolved into the water and the mysterious white interior substance was cratered much like the tissue of a severe burn victim. It did retain its overall shape despite severe degradation. The water was very slightly blue colored after five minutes.

Conclusions: It is my belief based on these experiments that peeps rely on their group intellect to overcome potential foes. Their bodies are pitifully susceptible to boiling water and tearing while the basket egg proved to be much more resilient. Without the ability to judge the overall aggressiveness of peeps and basket eggs it is impossible to judge their respective places in the predator/prey relationship.

Experiment Two: Microwave Radiation Test

Fig 3.1 - Microwaved Peep.Procedure: One each of peep and basket egg were placed in the center of separate plates. The plates were then subjected to thirty seconds of intense (or "high") microwave radiation. Results were noted immediately after the end of microwave bombardment and one minute following microwave bombardment.

Peep Results: Like a corpse left in the hot sun the peep bloated before my eyes, swelling to nearly five times its initial size in the span of thirty seconds. This horrifying display may have been a defensive mechanism on the part of the peep although this conclusion is somewhat misleading. One minute after being subjected to microwave radiation the peep had actually lost much of its volume and was even smaller than it was before testing had begun. In addition, the lower surface of the peep had liquefied into a yellow slurry, possibly a leeching of vital fluids from the peep or simply a byproduct of the swelling process. Either way the peep seemed even more lifeless than before.

Basket Egg Results: No change was perceived. The basket egg seemed to be completely immune to microwave radiation.

Conclusions: Obviously the peep's native environment is not one where they regularly have to contend with microwave radiation. The basket egg, on the other hand, seems to be overall a much heartier specimen than the peeps.

Experiment Three: Peep Superior Symbiosis and Microwave Radiation Test

Fig 4.1 - Untouched Egg in Peep. Click for resulting image.Procedure: This test was intended to examine a potential symbiotic relationship between peeps and basket eggs. This test assumes that peeps would be the dominant species and that the basket eggs would rely on the peep for protection. To conduct this test I gripped the upper half and lower half of a peep in separate hands, neatly tearing it into two pieces but leaving a flap of peep tissue near the neck connecting the two. Into this gap I inserted an unaltered basket egg. The rest of the test was identical to the first microwave radiation test.

Peep Results: Much as in the first experiment the peep became bloated as soon as it began to be subjected to microwaves. However, seemingly due to the presence of the basket egg inside its increasing girth the peep did not swell nearly as large as in the first experiment. I would estimate its overall growth to no more than three times its original size. In addition, one minute after the microwave bombardment ended the peep returned to a much closer approximation of its original state. There was once again a thick sludgy residue left beneath the peep.

Basket Egg Results: No apparent change. The basket egg became partially stuck to the internal "goo" of the peep but did not suffer any loss of structural integrity as a result. After surgically removing it post mortem from the peep I was able to remove the pieces of peep debris from its outer shell and the basket egg was completely fine.

Conclusions: Neither peep nor basket egg benefits significantly from this symbiosis. While the basket egg seemed immune to the radiation it became uncomfortably mired in the internals of the peep and in a natural setting I doubt it could extricate itself without assistance. The peep did receive some minimal benefit from the basket egg's presence but the damage done in the insertion of the basket egg alone was enough to negate this benefit.

Experiment Four: Basket Egg Superior Symbiosis and Microwave Radiation Test

Fig 5.1 - Untouched Peep in Egg. Click for resulting image.Procedure: Much as in the previous test this test was designed to examine a potential symbiotic relationship between peeps and basket eggs. This time the basket egg was bisected and partially gutted in an effort to accommodate the presence of a peep inside it. The basket egg lacked sufficient storage capacity even after most of its innards were scooped out to house the peep. As a result when the time came for the microwave test the peep was basically wearing the shell of the basket egg as a sort of armored vest.

Peep Results: The "armor" provided by the basket egg did shield the peep to an extent from the fury of the radioactive storm raging through the "microwave containment device". The peep swelled to roughly three times its original size, perhaps not quite that large, but the results were virtually indistinguishable from the last test where I shoved a basket egg inside the peep.

Basket Egg Results: The basket egg produced somewhat interesting results in this test. For the first time it did show signs of degradation in a microwave test. The exposed internal substance of the basket egg, essentially a much denser version of what makes up a peep, had bonded with the slightly molten outer surface of the peep. Otherwise the basket egg was untouched, but in the event that the basket eggs ever decide to wage a war of genocide against mankind let it be known that they are not wholly invulnerable to microwave radiation.

Conclusions: This experiment concludes my series of experiments and demonstrates that there is no conceivable mutually beneficial relationship between basket eggs and peeps. While it may be possible for peeps to hunt and kill basket eggs and then use their shells for defensive purposes this concept seems implausible since peeps do not posses the ability to kill basket eggs.

My final decision has been to eliminate basket eggs from my roster for this year's burning Easter baskets. While they might be at home in a normal basket their resilience to physical damage makes them virtually worthless in a burning Easter fireball. Peeps, on the other hand, will be right at home. They'll go up like a propane factory in a meteor shower.

Photoshop Phriday Gone Wild

It appears that today is Friday, which means it's time to look at some funny images courtesy of the SA Forum Goons! Ace reporter Livestock here to let you know they did a bang up job, which means this week is a true sight to behold. "Animal Anomalies" was the name of the game, and the rules were simple: create strange animal or insect abominations.

If you love your family and don't want to see any harm come to them, YOU WILL READ PHOTOSHOP PHRIDAY.

– Zack "Geist Editor" Parsons (@sexyfacts4u)

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