Showing posts with label humor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humor. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The crazed author cackles...

A laugh break from the depressing topic below:

via Summa Minutiae

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to take your monkey through airline security

The Transportation Security Administration has a helpful guide on service animals:
When a monkey is being transported in a carrier, the monkey must be removed from the carrier by the handler prior to screening,

The monkey must be controlled by the handler throughout the screening process.

The monkey handler should carry the monkey through the WTMD while the monkey remains on a leash.

When the handler and monkey go through the WTMD and the WTMD alarms, both the handler and the monkey must undergo additional screening.

Since monkeys may likely draw attention, the handler will be escorted to the physical inspection area where a table is available for the monkey to sit on. Only the handler will touch or interact with the monkey.

TSOs have been trained to not touch the monkey during the screening process.

TSOs will conduct a visual inspection on the monkey and will coach the handler on how to hold the monkey during the visual inspection.

The inspection process may require that the handler take off the monkey’s diaper as part of the visual inspection.

The absurdity of the situation recalls the old SNL Sprockets sketches in which the surreal Dieter asks his guests if they would like to touch his monkey.

But it is disturbing to see the complacency of Americans before the demands of a government bureaucracy seemingly more effective in securing airplanes from bashful passengers than securing the borders from terrorist infiltration.

There have been few hints of concern for modesty in the proposals for full body scans for passengers. As Andrew McCarthy notes, only a few religious leaders have spoken out.

Even the Pope's supposed condemnation of body scans is hard to verify, as he never actually mentioned the scanners and we know the press is notorious for imagining that tangential papal comments fit their storylines.

Nakedness can trigger moral prurience and vicious curiosity. But it also has iconic significance: Christ showed God's total love by being crucified naked.

Lamentable is the silence of the clergy and other Christians in the face of another violation of modesty and another degradation of the religious sense.

TSA officers can strip you with technology, and they can strip you physically. But they'll not touch you, so long as you're a monkey.

Monday, June 29, 2009

St. Thomas Aquinas the comedian

Christopher Tollefsen in his spring lecture at CU-Boulder noted this bit of scholastic humor from St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae I.i.1 Art. 8:

If [sacred doctrine] is argued from authority, it seems unbefitting its dignity, for the proof from authority is the weakest form of proof... according to Boethius.

Curiously, New Advent's edition of the Summa omits this geeky self-parodying joke. The jest is in the Latin text, however:

Si [argumentatur] ex auctoritate, non videtur hoc congruere eius dignitati, nam locus ab auctoritate est infirmissimus, secundum Boetium.

Friday, December 12, 2008

So Barack Obama calls up Gov. Blagojevich to ask him to spare the nation grief and step down.

“Yeah, I can resign…” the governor said. “But it’ll cost ya!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Papal Visit Report-o-matic

Reprising an old idea, I have written an automated story generator for papal visit coverage.

A sample of its talents:
Washington, DC -- With his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington on Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI began his first papal visit to the United States.

During his visit Pope Benedict, formerly known as the legalistic authoritarian oppressor of saintly dissenters Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, will visit the White House, address the United Nations, and celebrate two outdoor Masses in Washington and New York, respectively.

In the United States the Pope will find that questions about the future of the Catholic Church can be asked, and answered, by anyone.

Can the Pope shepherd his divided flock?

Will he make the Catholic Church relevant to Renaissance Faire carnies?

And, most important of all, will the Pope convert to Episcopalianism?

On Tuesday evening, the Opus Dei handpuppet Oprah Winfrey made an incoherent attack upon the Catholic Church's approval of self-trepanation and illiteracy.

"The Pope should listen to influential people like me when it comes to these issues," Oprah Winfrey said.

( Insert some quote from Chicken Soup for the Easily-Satisfied Soul )

When Pope Benedict boards his plane and leaves New York City on Sunday evening, it is certain his visit will have had a lasting effect. But on whom?

What can I say? I am easily amused. Go ahead, create your own.

More substantive blogging should resume in the next few weeks.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Proposing Teepees

Ross Douthat links to a melancholy Atlantic piece from a single middle-aged woman who in her singleton loneliness wishes she had "settled" instead of being too selective in her choice of mate.

One commenter writes:
The real problem with arguments like this is that it assumes that monogamy is the only possible long-term option, and then it's a question of either settling or being lonely.

I have a feeling a lot of people might find a lot more happiness in non-monogamous arrangements where different people fulfill different needs.

Recall the last lines of Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! where the dull-witted hero, fresh from saving the world from a Martian attack, addresses the survivors on the steps of the U.S. Capitol:
So I guess, like, now we just have to start over and start rebuilding everything, like our houses, and...

...But I was thinking maybe instead of houses, we could live in teepees, 'cause...'s better in a lot of ways.

When one feels that Bonobo sexual habits are a model for societal reform, one might as well propose living in teepees too.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

George Washington: An American Legend with an RPG

Wandering through Denver's "LoDo" section last night, I walked by the Sloane Gallery of Art. The art in the window display, part of a Russian artists exhibit, arrested me where I stood. The most remarkable piece:

Any man whose heart does not leap upon seeing George Washington astride a Roc-sized bald eagle as he wields an RPG is either dead or un-American. Stephen Colbert needs this kind of imagery in the Colbert Report's opening credits.

The surrealism increases:

What rough beast, its hour come 'round at last, wriggles in the arms of the Father of the Country?

This scene reminds us that Washington is one of the few presidents to have killed another man in close-quarters combat. George should play hurly-burly with the head of Hitler. Stalin's noggin should be mounted above the gates of the White House.

V.I. Lenin wearing Washington's mask. A subtle comment on the Trotskyite roots of pompously patriotic neo-conservatives? An intimation that the monetary system is communist plot? Nah, it's just a creepy portrait.

I don't think Americans could produce so extreme a parody of monumental art, though they certainly can commission it. Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid developed these paintings for the 1998 opera Naked Revolution. The artists' home page links to more photos from the opera. Local coverage of the art collection, whose owner lives in Denver, is found in the Rocky Mountain News and in Westword.

Friday, November 30, 2007

You lose, Khrushchev

Treasure Chest was a monthly comic book published by the Catholic Guild from 1946 to 1972. Each issue featured several different stories intended to inspire citizenship, morality, and patriotism. In the 1961, volume 17 number 2 issue, the story "This Godless Communism" began. It continued in the even numbered issues through number 20. The entire story is presented here.

The first comic in the series, which I spent far too much time skimming, imagines what a communist America would look like. The series then plunges into a brief illustrated history of communism.

According to another site, the comics were distributed to parochial school students.

I especially enjoyed the last pages of the series, which include counsels to pray to Our Lady of Fatima. The above panel is taken from this page, which also has a special message from J. Edgar Hoover.

via The American Scene

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tryfon Tolides makes it big

Oh dear.

The author of the laughably bad mouse poem chosen for praise by America magazine now has published a collection of his poetry. The soporific title? An Almost Pure Empty Walking.

Mencius Moldbug at Unqualified Reservations writes the necessary critique. Mencius, too, finds the vacuity of Tolides remarkable. He connects Tolides to Universalism of the Unitarian variety, depicting him as a vehicle for Bobo aspiration like NPR or Starbucks coffee.

He informs us that Tolides has benefited considerably from his teacher, Mary Karr. Ms. Karr generously awarded her own student the first place in the National Poetry Series.

Incest creates poetic abnormalities. Who knew?

Echoing Dr. Frankenstein's rapturous description of the monster he created, Mary Karr endorses her student's poetry:

"Tryfon Tolides has followed the territory set out in his native Greece by C. P. Cavafy and later followed (in geography and sensibility) by Jack Gilbert. But Tolides trades the darkness of those poets for a more illuminated grandeur. Tolides is the shaman of epiphany. He makes for his reader keen and particular moments of revelation seized from his fierce and fleshly occupancy on the planet. In the wide-eyed consolation these poems offer up, the starlight they emit, he conjures Tomas Tranströmer and other poets of profound spiritual power. At a time when the planet is in flames, he gives being human a good name."

It's alive!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sponsored by the Raphael Hythloday Foundation for Imaginary Think Tanks

It is easy to ignore the silly self-important descriptions think tanks and activist groups use to name themselves. It is almost as easy to make up hilarious names for such creations.

I got on a roll and couldn't stop, so I offer my inventions below:

Samuel Johnson Center for a Cant-free Future

Scientists for Unethical Research

Foundation for an Opportunistic Punditry

Students for a Reactionary Tomorrow

The William O. Douglas Center for Emanated Penumbras

Office of Convenient Statistics

Coalition of Subtle Panderers

People for a Progressive Yesterday

The Evelyn Waugh Foundation for Nostalgic Bitching

Students for Transient Enthusiasms

The Irresponsible Policy Foundation

Future Senior Citizens of America

Center for Incoherent Studies

Citizens for Improvident Government

Librarians for a Surreal Future

The Office of Abnormal Development

Center for Satirical Studies

Citizens Ignorant of Logic

Federation for Comical Legislation

Alliance for the Advancement of Minor Idiocies

The Institute for Poorly-worded Phrases

Taxpayers for Improvident Government

Students for an Unspecified Cause

Citizens for Bipartisan Sleaze

Technologists for Automated Folly

Dentists Against Saccharine Appeals

Academics for Regrettable Policy

Americans United for Random Emoting

The Department of Sensual Bureaucracy

Students for Faddish Posturing

The Office of Indescribable Horror

Center for Unlikely Legislation

Federation of Labored Analogies

Union of Phantastickal Accountants

The Center for Useless Distinctions

Americans for Aromatic Sewage

Foundation for Casual Diplomacy

Alliance for Shiny Objects

Coalition for Dubious Honors

The Bureau of Predictable Appearances

Students for Diversity in Failure

Office of Snide Dismissals

The Center for Centralized Mismanagement

Foundation for Anachronistic Analysis

Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Billy Graham gets the Michelangelo Treatment from Time

Newsbusters is making hay about an obvious subtle allusion to Michelangelo's "Moses", which also has horns.

Friday, December 01, 2006

His Orotundity George Will turns Miss Manners on senator-elect James Webb's alleged boorishness in the presence of the President.
"Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency."

Provided one is not in the military or an employee of the executive branch, patent disrespect for the presidency should be the default position.
"In a republic, people decline to be led by leaders who are insufferably full of themselves."

This had me in stitches. Doesn't this sound more like a line from Christopher Buckley than George Will? Self-aggrandisment is a prerequisite for office.

Of course, the laughter dies quickly. To invoke the republic is to mourn its loss.

Gene Healy reacted to many of the same lines, and Daniel Larison comments further.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dude, Where's My Deity?

Perhaps massively multi-user Wikis have promise after all. They can generate this great sendup of Liberal Christian Theology.

via Mark Shea

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Virtual Politics, Virtual Insanity, Real Comedy

"You've performed quite well, sir," he said. "You are not a noob."

I still can't figure out if a Washington Post report on a virtual town hall meeting by "presidential hopeful" Mark Warner is a real or a joke:

By the time everybody figured out how to sit down, they had lost the governor. "[The] guy was here, where did he go?" Zon inquired. "Five bucks says he split because of the low turnout."

Actually, Warner created the low turnout. Shortly before he flew onto the scene, his aides cleared the virtual room of all uninvited guests, including an avatar called Xtof Sao who was demanding a kiss from another avatar named Chat Parrot. This produced a protest from the usual Second Life crowd.

Cyberpunks, how far have ye fallen!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Colorado Has An Antipope!

Via HolyOffice, we learn that "Pope Michael" scheduled his coronation in southern Colorado a week ago, but it was delayed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Academic Oddity of the Day: "Philology is based in Creationism"

A field that qualifies as a pseudo-science and is based on creationism is philology, which was developed in the 19th century. By cloaking its arguments in academic language and claiming to reconstruct human history by analyzing the roots of words in various languages, it passes off biblical descriptions as historical events. One of the pioneers of philology, Max Muller, was a self-admitted believer in the historical foundation of the description given in Genesis and asserted that "we still speak the language of the first ancestors of our race." He went so far as to write to Charles Darwin that evolution is false because the languages of animals do not resemble those of humans.

Although today's scientists do not consider philology to be a legitimate science, believers in the literal interpretation of the Bible insist on using philology to promote their views. One such view, which has been repeatedly discredited by science, but is still being pushed for inclusion in California's textbooks without mentioning its biblical aspects, is a theory known as the Aryan Migration Theory. According to this theory, descendants of the biblical character Japheth invaded India after the deluge and populated it. Inclusion of this theory in school textbooks would indirectly give sanction to creationism and open the doors for future frontal assaults on science.

A recent paper co-authored by Peter Underhill in our Genetics Department analyzed genetic evidence and concluded that there is no such thing as Aryan migration into India. This is consistent with evidence from other fields such as carbon dating, fossil studies, archaeology, geophysics, linguistics, metallurgy and satellite imaging. However, in a letter to the California State Board of Education, Vinay Lal -- a humanities professor at UCLA and believer in philology -- dismisses such scientific conclusions as "palpable falsehoods" and "alleged evidence of some unknown geneticist." He avers that science has no role to play in overturning "the long established view on this matter."
J. Sreedhar, Stanford Daily

The relationship between Sanskrit and Greek is pretty well-established. This is one of the weirder guilt-by-association arguments I've seen.

I wonder if this writer's perspective is rooted in Hindu nationalism.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Joy of Junk Mail

My friends, my relatives and I get far too many mass-mailed solicitations for credit card applications. These provide easy pickings for the improvident and for identity thieves. My little way of getting back at these credit card companies is to:

1. Remove all identifying characteristics from the solicitation's literature.
2. Send back what is left of the solicitation in the included envelope stamped "no postage necessary."

When enough people do this, such dead-tree spam will stop, and not a moment too soon.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Prig of the Month

Dumb Story of the Week: Controversy over Rockstar Games' "Bully", on which game creator Terry Donovan remarks:
"History is littered with forms of expression that have been considered 'controversial,' only to be welcomed into the fabric of society as valuable creative expression a few years later."

What a self-aggrandizing boast! History is also littered with crap considered controversial then justly forgotten months later.

Bertin likens the Bully debate to what happened to James Joyce's Ulysses. The book, now considered the foundation of the modern novel, was banned because of its sexual content.

"Ulysses was targeted because it had sex in it ... it wasn't targeted because it was a great piece of literature," she said. "These (video games) are things not being assessed by their content or value; they are being assessed by the topics."

Anybody who compares a video game to James Joyce is a name-dropper with no sense of proportion. I myself tend to doubt the salutary nature of Ulysses. Joyce precipitated the academic captivity of literature and amplified the woeful obsequiousness shown to anyone with artistic pretensions and talent only for obfuscation.

The article also voices some concern about the "demonization of youth culture." Cry me a river. Youth culture is rightly demonized because it is a creation of the corporate world, appealing only to the lowest common denominator and hindering kids from growing up responsibly. It is a corrosive acid upon any culture worthy of the name.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Beer Blessing

From the Rituale Romanum (no 58)

Bene+dic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen

Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

via Michael Novak, who normally gives me the howling fantods

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Advantages of Living Upriver

Right when wistful desires for the well-connected moving-and-shaking circles of the East Coast was setting in, I read this story:

A third of male fish in English rivers are changing sex due to 'gender-bending' pollution, alarming research shows.

Experts say female hormones from the contraceptive pill and HRT are being washed into our rivers and causing male fish to produce eggs.

The problem - which is country-wide - has raised fears that the pollutants could also be contaminating our drinking water - and even be affecting the fertility of men.

This calls for a "Why East and West Coasters are Girlie-Men" mass e-mail spam.

link via