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August 18, 2006

i think the public has a crush on you

This is the headline from a follow-up story on the eggheads attempting to reclassify the planets of the solar system:
Public Laughs and Shrugs at 12-Planet Proposal

Actually, that is the abbreviated version of the headline.

The actual headline, as submitted, was:

Public Laughs Coltishly, Twirling a Strand of Hair Around a Forefinger, and Then, Lips Moistened and Eyes Blazing With Something Like Mischief, Shrugs at 12-Planet Proposal

It's true.  The public has a love affair with astrophysics, or least is fixing to have one.

Posted by mrbrent at 4:11 PM

this that other

You will have seen links to this already.  I just want to go on the record with how your teeth just might end up hurting, with laughter, etc.  Because this page is the funniest little project I've seen in a while.

And while I'm at it, let me also recommend the site Comics Curmudgeon, which takes our hobby of tracking bad comic strips and turns it into a bona fide industry.  [Via Wolcott]

And finally, a heartfelt goodbye to Sploid, which we always thought was a consistently funny aggregation of news both mainstream and fringe.  It just goes to show you: what Denton cannot monetize he will fly straight into the ground like a dart.  (I know, it's called "capitalism", on which the jury is still out, if you ask me.)

Posted by mrbrent at 11:16 AM

August 16, 2006

macaca will be over soon, like friday

I cannot think of any witty play on "macaca".  No slogans, no photoshops, no T-shirts.  Maybe "I'm with Macaca"?

Nope.  No T-shirts, even.

I'll just have to take solace in the spectacle of a sitting Senator (and hyped '08 presidential prospect) trying to talk his way out of smilingly hurling an ethnic slur (on videotape!) at a man whose skin was a few shades darker than cream.

He meant to say "mohawk"?  Check.

He doesn't know what the word means?  Check.

He made up a word, and it sounded so good he said it twice?  Check.

Ned Lamont distracted me into blurting a bad word?  Stay tuned.

Ooh, I do believe he's hit below the waterline with his own petard!

And for once, after the obligatory damage-mitigating meeting with the offended parties, I just wish that the local leaders would say, "He looked us in the eye and told us that he would never intentionally say a racial slur.  Personally, I think he's full of shit."

Posted by mrbrent at 1:37 PM

is my snack food consumption ironic?

If you're like me, and you are, then you are partly responsible for America's love affair with ridiculous snack foods.  And you agree that no lunch is complete without some small bag of some "chip" probably extruded and then dumped into a hangar-sized fryolator.  And dip!  Don't get me started.

As a public service, I picked up a "new" ridiculous snack food that I espied while waiting in line at the supermarket.  (Which is where most ridiculous snack foods are launched -- especially those that will fail -- in the checkout line impulse-purchase display.)  The snack is called Nobby's.  Nobby's are manufactured by the ubiquitous Frito-Lay.  They are described as "crunchy coated peanuts".  They are the kind of product that a friend would slap out of your hand if they saw you in the act of purchasing it.

Sadly, your friends would be right.  First, the "crunchy coating" is not is as exciting as it sounds -- it's actually just the goop that they extrude into a Dorito.  So, yes, the snack experience is that of eating a Dorito-covered peanut, or a Dorito with a surprise peanut center.  Those would be two experiences I've never spent any time desiring.  The flavor (I opted for the "Ranch" flavor over the "Zesty Salsa" flavor) is identical to that of the "Ranch" flavored Dorito, or potato chip, or any other "Ranch" flavored Frito-Lay product.  There's enough salt and MSG to give it a big pop, and then enough secret chemicals to make it savory.  Also, there must be some GM high-fructose corn syrup in there -- it would just seem right.

Finally, the name -- "Nobby's" -- is offensive.  I'm not sure if this is the case with you, but in my childhood, growing up in Western NY, a "nob" was but one of the myriad mild insults invoking the male member, probably reasons easily shown by physical demonstration (with a "knob").  I forget where this came from -- Young Ones? APA-5? -- but I do have a clear memory of it, and its use ("You nob!").  So Nobby's induces a small cringe.  And, unless there is another snack that belongs to this one, or unless the full name of the snack is "Nobby Is", the brand name constitutes an apostrophe foul.  Why is Frito-Lay trying to endumben our children?

All in all, I recommend opting for either actual indeterminate snack chip, or for actual peanuts.  Or try fruit.  I hear it makes you swim good.

Posted by mrbrent at 10:45 AM

August 15, 2006

apparently the good news happens when i'm away from my desk

And another reason to hate Big Business.  I am not yet as adultified as to own property and obtain the requisite insurance.  However, I am one of the lucky Americans who has health insurance, and I even got some renter's insurance (hello, burglar!) on a whim.  I read the policies, especially the exclusions.  I work in law, so the jargon does not take so much of a toll on me.  I'd say it's fascinating, but it's really more stultifying and precipitous.

Today comes news of a court decision on one of the basic issues facing the victims of Katrina who are trying to get paid by their insurers.  Basically it comes down to:

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled that a Mississippi Gulf Coast couple cannot collect damages from storm surge caused by Katrina because Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.'s policies do not cover wind-driven water damage.

Sadly, the article does not give details on the specific protection offered by Nationwide Mutual, but it is safe to assume, contextually, that the family in question had reason to believe that their home was covered in the case of a hurricane and not in the case of a flood.  So naturally the underwriter of the policy will attempt to deny claims of hurricane-caused flood, because their purpose is not to insure you as much as it is to steal your money from you in the worst of times.  You are worth nothing to the insurance companies alive or dead; they only want your premiums and to break every promise they make you in the name of "increasing shareholder value".

I could also go on about the dealings of some loved ones with their medical issues, but they haven't yet developed the ones and zeros sturdy enough to contain my spite for the health insurers.

At least we can all warm ourselves in recollections of the nation-wide fight to save the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina.  Wait.  I think I'm mixing up "the nation-wide fight to save the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Katrina" with "the nation-wide fight to save The Family Guy."

Posted by mrbrent at 3:01 PM

who is buried in grant's tomb?

Yesterday Reuters pulled out the big guns for a story that may well change your life.  It's a story that's got the Supreme Court, the seven dwarves, and most importantly, what people think, because, if we don't know what we're thinking, then what do we know?

The headline of the story is "Seven Dwarves more famous than US judges: poll".  Which is sexy, and everyone, especially Reuters, knows what moves the news -- sexy.  In lieu of summarizing the piece, I give you the lede:

Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Show White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices, according to a poll on pop culture released on Monday.

Two things.

First of all, no duh.  Has the Supreme Court of the United States ever putt a butt in a movie theater seat?  Have they ever sold a DVD?  Has a dude in a giant Justice Anton Scalia costume ever terrified a toddler at Disneyworld?  I didn't think so. This is not a surprise, nor is it news.  You could make a civics argument that the relevance of Justices of SCOTUS should supersede the relevance of cultural icons, but this age of the commodification of intellectual property obviates this argument in a big way.

More importantly, notice that the bar set for the percentages reported was to name two out of seven dwarves, and two out of nine Justices.  This is not a high bar.  This is a very low bar indeed.  Accordingly, the headline should actually read, "Majority of Americans unbearably stupid: poll."

U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Posted by mrbrent at 8:52 AM

August 13, 2006

So Monk sent me a link.  It was meant to augment my collection of evidence that the problem with right-wing attempts at humor is not the political leaning of the material, but rather the lack of actual funny.  The link he sent was to a blog in the voice of a supposed leftist, a young lady.  She would write about the events of the day, and she would generally, you know, support terrorists, blame America, etc.  It's a hoot and a snort, yes.

But I can't bring myself to post it.  It's just too unfunny.  It's the baseline spewing hate you hear when from that distant relative that thinks you're a faggot because you moved to New York City.  And it's amateurish.  At least Mallard Fillmore's Bruce Tinsley is making scratch off his odiousness; the dude behind the link-I-shall-not-share is probably posting in between shifts assistant managing at the Blockbuster.  Let's let him suck in peace.

In lieu thereof, here is a link to something actually very funny.  It made me laugh out loud, which I don't do as much as I used to.  Now the pets are wondering what's wrong with me.

[Very good strip originally found at Boing Boing, which you probably support already.]

Posted by mrbrent at 2:46 PM