Atheists should grow some.

Humor, Philosophy, Religion 6 Comments

bull.jpgJonah Goldberg is the author of “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning,” which I haven’t read, but which has one of those woo-woo doublespeak names – something on the order of “The Anti-White Genocidal History of the Murderous, Hateful American Indians, from the 1500s to the Present” – that doesn’t exactly inspire me to want to rush out and buy it.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also seen one or two atheist-bashing articles in the past by the guy. So when I saw this bit in the LA Times Opinion page online, I figured it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, despite the April 1 date on it. (Evidently he liked the piece so much he repeated it in the National Review Online on April 2.)

Just FYI, it’s editors who typically choose the titles for articles, so I don’t blame Goldberg too much for the header, but the piece is called “Evolution of religious bigotry: The cowardice and intolerance of slapping a Darwin fish on your car bumper.”

Ahem. Yeah.

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A New Element Discovered!

Humor 1 Comment

newelement.jpgSomeone emailed this to me. I thought it was too cool not to pass on:

UC Berkeley has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named “Governmentium.”

Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has half as many peons, but twice as many morons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. It can be detected, however, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A reaction that normally takes one minute or less will require a week or more if contaminated by trace quantities of Governmentium.

The half-life of Governmentium is 4 years. It does not, however, decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

The characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is called the Critical Morass.


Doing a search on the web just now, this thing appears to be everywhere out there, in a variety of versions. Wikipedia attributes the original to an article by William DeBuvitz in the Jan. 1989 issue of The Physics Teacher. Kudos to Mr. DeBuvitz, and thanks for the laugh.

Stand Up

Humor, Personal 2 Comments

comedy.jpgI’ve been taking a class in stand up comedy. Tonight was the second class, and I had to get up in front of my other classmates, about 20 of them, and attempt to be funny.

I did pretty good. I felt good, they laughed, teacher said good things about me.

It was a Sally Field moment: “You like me! You really like me!” I could get into this.

Next week: Local club. On stage. Me. 

Whoo boy.






Fun Diseases & Big Cats

Humor, Nature No Comments

lion.jpgComedy is where you find it.

Diseases that sound funny (but probably aren’t): Amnesic shellfish poisoning • Arenavirus infection • Black Creek Canal virus • Brainerd diarrhea • Cat scratch disease • Cat flea tapeworm infection • Chagas disease • Crabs • Delusional parasitosis • Dracunculiasis • Endilomax nana infection • GBS infection • Hansen’s disease • Hib disease • Hot tub rash • Kala-azar • La Crosse encephalitis • Lassa fever • Monkeypox • Orf virus infection • PCP infection • Pediculosis • Pontiac fever • Rat bite fever • Rhinitis • Rift Valley fever • Scrub typhus • Shingles • Slapped cheek disease • Sleeping sickness • Swimmer’s ear • Thrush • Undulant fever • VHF (Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers) • Whipworm • Wuchereria bancrofti • Yellow fever • Yersinosis

Others that sound even funnier (but still probably aren’t): 

Astrovirus infection sounds like it would lay Astroboy up for days with a high fever.

New York-1 virus infection is probably something only the governor of the state of New York can contract.

I hear American Express is suing to have a disease named after them. For everyone else, there’s VISA (Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus).

Kawasaki syndrome can only be caught by wussies. Real men get Harley Sickness, or they get nothing at all.

I had mumps as a kid, and I know it’s serious, but it still sounds like something only Eeyore would come down with. It’s even fun to say: Mumps. Mumps. Mumps.

Q fever is particularly virulent among Star Trek: The Next Generation fans.

And finally, a decidedly unfunny one: Anytime you read about it in the news, it’s usually prefaced with the phrase “antibiotic-resistant superbug” — MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)  killed about 19,000 Americans in 2005, most of them in hospitals, according to a report published in October in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to Wikipedia, that’s more people than AIDS. Each year. And you can catch it from touching people.

And we worry about mountain lions.

Attack of the Giant Pythons

Humor, Nature No Comments

python.jpgNews Flash! Government scientists confirm: Humans are mammals!

“As for other potential prey, human beings – like rodents, beavers and deer – are mammals, government scientists confirmed.”

… Of course, we’re all going to be eaten by giant snakes. But still.

San Francisco Chronicle / Thursday, Feb. 21

New threat to our way of life: giant pythons

Oh, good.

Fractal Wrongness

Humor, Philosophy, Religion 2 Comments

fractals.jpgDang, I wish I could take credit for this idea. It’s something I just came across last week, and I finally got around to posting on it.

Fractal Wrongness:

The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person’s worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person’s worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person’s opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet–in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums–your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.

The Brassican Heresy

Humor, Philosophy, Religion 5 Comments

broccoli.jpgWarning: The following post is long, and may contains insults to French people. And Christians. And probably frogs.

(Also, it underwent a slight editing, with some additional material, on Feb. 11.)


I’d like to propose to you a daring hypothesis.

You may be surprised by it. You may be stunned. You might even be shocked. Because this is such a daring idea, some of you reading this right now may actually be horrified. There’s even the possibility – distant, but real, so I have to warn you – that one or more people about to read the following hypothesis will suffer deep psychological damage and end up under permanent psychiatric care, or possibly even comatose.

I don’t really want to just spring it on you suddenly. This is something so new, so different, so deeply significant, that I feel very strongly that it should have its own screen. It’s just not something I feel okay with plopping down in a sea of insignificant words, as if it were one common grain of sand on a vast beach.

This is something so special it demands treatment you’d immediately consider … unusual.

So. If you think you’re ready for it, brace yourself and look below the break. Here it comes:

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The Wisdom of the Beavers

Humor, Nature, Philosophy 2 Comments

beaver.jpgSaw this little magazine in the foyer of a local coffee shop a few days back. The main title, “Wisdom,” was stated in large letters, then below, smaller, was a subtitle “of the beavers, earth, body, mind & soul.”

So I picked it up. How can you go wrong with a magazine titled “Wisdom of the beavers”? The wisdom of Earth’s natural architects, able to build dams and cozy lodges out of trees? Especially if the beavers were finally weighing in on “earth, body, mind & soul.” Whoa, count me in!

Oh, man, can’t tell you how disappointed I was. I finally looked at the cover again and realized that in the scripty font they were using, the word that looked like “beavers” was actually “heavens.”

So it was really “Wisdom of the heavens, earth, body, mind & soul.” It was all this new-agey stuff. Nothing at all about beavers.


For instance, here’s an ad from the inner pages:

[Picture of woman with big hair and giant earrings] Hello, My name is Layla. I am a very experienced channeling psychic. I have several abilities and talents that range from one spectrum to another. For example, I am clairvoyant, clairaudient, clairsentient, a channeler, a mind reader, past, present, future time frames, an astrologist, a member of the American Tarot Association and a certified professional tarot reader. I can also do seances, automatic writing, prophetic revelations, psychometry, dream interpretation and handwriting analysis. I would love to have the opportunity to speak with you. Give me a call, thanks.

See? No mention of beavers. I mean, sure, the woman’s practically a Swiss Army Knife of psychic abilities, but could she gather materials for a dam using only her teeth?

And then: [Mystical mandala thingie superimposed over largish woman with sunglasses] “Cheri Evans – Spiritual Counselor, Master Teacher, Intuitive Healer – Doing Spiritual Readings for over 25 years.”

“Through many transitions and initiations, Cheri has come to find her path. As her journey has now come full circle her truths become available to those who search for answers. – Spiritual and Life Readings – Past Life Readings – Conscious Channeling – Cheri’s work is to bring forth information that sheds light on your path and connects you with your life’s purpose.”

Well, that all sounds noble enough. But what use will it all be when the floodwaters rocket down the canyon towards your house? 

I guess I don’t get this New Age stuff.

Hwd Video Sux — but that’s just my subjective opinion.

Humor, Personal No Comments

I was in one of those video stores tonight to return a movie. I rented “Cars” a few days back. I was in the mood for an animated story, and Cars fit the mood.

Took it home to play it, got about 20 minutes or so into the movie and the scene froze. Nothing I could do would make it work. It did have a scratch on the shiny side, but it didn’t look that bad. But apparently that one scratch was enough to bollix up the laser thingie. I went “eh” and figured I’d return it and get a refund.

Turns out Hwd Video, according to the well-trained corporate-ette in the store, will give you only this very special “refund” — they’ll give you a credit which is good ONLY for that specific movie. In other words, they’d give me another copy of Cars.

She explained it to me: “Because otherwise, you could get to watch another movie for free.” Left me gaping. Huh?

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Dumb as a Post

Humor 1 Comment

yoko.jpgAn old cowboy friend used to tell me stories of the time he was hired to teach mule packing to the U.S. Army.

Mule packing” is when you load supplies onto a mule, using ropes, tarps and rigid boxes or special canvas bags, to carry them into roadless wilderness areas. Yeah, it sounds weird that the Army would want soldiers to know such things, but if they’re called upon to conduct quiet operations in remote mountainous or wilderness areas, it might be the only way to take food or weapons along in amounts larger than individual soldiers can carry.

Like a lot of things that sound simple but aren’t, there’s an actual technology to mule packing — keeping the load balanced, limiting the total weight, tying the proper hitches and knots, and even quite a bit of mule psychology. 


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