Saturday, December 26, 2009


I'm feeling like I'm in a poppy mood today... Fine Young Cannibals, She Drives Me Crazy:

English Beat, Tears of a Clown:

UB40, Red, Red Wine:

Trivia: Two members of the second group, Andy Cox (guitar) and David Steele (bass guitar), went on to form the first group. The third song was originally written and recorded by Neil Diamond in 1968.

Saturday Funnies: Christmas Edition

Alright, ladles and jellyspoons, two editions of Sunday Funnies this week. The Boxing Day edition is focused on Christmassy themes. At the same time I was going back looking for Yuletide funnies, I was also putting together the regular Sunday Funnies, which I have saved and will post tomorrow after I tack on any other giggles that come up in the next 18 to 20 hours. Also too, I'm trying to separate out political humor from the Sunday Funnies, which may lead to another weekly funnies aggregation. We'll see. But as always, this blog is pretty much ad hoc, flying by the seat of my pants, and I'll do whatever I darn well please with it.
song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs
The Saturday Bulletin
The true meaning of the Holidays, via Criggo.
Christmas is ruined. The terrorists have won. Via BuzzFeed
“I have nothing against the little drummer boy. I just wish he’d learn a new song.”
From Shoebox
Medium Large
Savage Chickens
Luke Surl
This is my life... via The Daily What.
funny cat pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I skip more videoclips than I watch, but the "engineers with cats" series is almost always worth the time; this one is no exception. (Spoiler: Pew-Pew-Pew) Via The Daily What.Amazing Super Powers (click for readable)
Tree Lobsters... finally, an explanation that makes sense.
Luke Surl's Surveillance Santa Society
Saturday Bulletin
I'm planning on being very, very naughty so I can get a sample of coal next year. (Anthracite, please) Criggo

From Not Always Right, a compendium of anecdotes demonstrating that the customer isn't. Poor kid. I can relate.

(Mall | London, UK)

(I am the elf at a Santa’s Grotto display in a shopping centre. A very well-dressed, eloquent boy, no older than 5, sits on Santa’s lap.)

Santa: “Merry Christmas, young sir! Have you been a good boy this year?”

Boy: “Oh yes, Santa! I’ve been extra good all this year because mummy and daddy said if I am extra good, I can have whatever I want!”

(Santa looks up to the smiling parents, who are nodding approvingly.)

Santa: “Well, it does seem you have been EXTRA good this year! What would you like?”

Boy: “Angelina Jolie.”

(Santa looks again at the parents, who continue to smile and nod like this is a standard request.)

Santa:“You’d like Angelina Jolie for Christmas?”

Boy: “Because I’ve been extra good!”

Santa: “I’m sorry little guy, I don’t think she would fit in my sack.”

Boy: “Oh don’t worry, I don’t want Brad Pitt. You can give him to someone else!”


Fellow Oregon blogger Fran posted this clip of a kitteh getting the scare of the season... I've already watched this a half dozen times, giggling at each jump. In a similar vein...
And finally, not so much funny as whimsical (but I laughed), The Big Picture has 42 snowy scenes that warmed the cockles of my heart down to my frozen toes.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Central Oregon Christmas cinder cone, taken last year. Another, which I posted last year also, is taken from the porch of our suite at Inn of the Seventh Mountain, looking southeast over Newberry Volcano sunrise Christmas Day

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas From Glenn Beck

Get it? Get it? Cause the religious emblem for Christian Christmas is white, the emblem for all those other religions must be brown! HaHaHaHa! Glenn Beck is just so clever!
Don't even think about sending your friends Christmas cards. Or Hanukkah cards. Or cards for any one of your other intolerant, hate-filled holidays. The only option this holiday season is RamaHanuKwanzMas cards. These cards come in boxes of 10 (with envelopes) and have the RamaHanuKwanzMas logo on the front. On the inside, they say "Best Wishes for a Non-Offensive Celebratory Event." Buy your box while supplies last.

I fart in your general direction, putz.

Holy Cow, here's this too. I went over to get the link, (both links to the same page) ended up looking around for a moment and found:
Have you ever driven by a hippie, environmental protest and had your beautiful gas guzzling SUV keyed?

Now you can protect your car by making it appear environmentally friendly with the Glenn Beck Hydro-Carbon Powered Eco-Vehicle bumper sticker. Look like a friend of the Earth while killing it at the same time!

Hydro Carbon just means oil, but with our clever recycle-shape inspired design, environmentalists and global warming zombies alike will take one look and think you’re on their side. Only we’ll know the truth behind it…you evil conservative hate monger!

And with this sticker 2-pack you get one for your car, and one to share with a friend.
Really? Now I'm not recommending vandalism, but it's kind of stupid to bring this to my (and others') attention. BTW, hydrocarbon is one word, and most of the people who worry about our overuse of the materials therein are familiar with it. You clever, clever protist.

Merry Conflicted Christmas

Despite the conflict in this song, it's very sweet. And the refrain,
The boys of the NYPD choir
Were singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells were ringing out
For Christmas day.
hits the sentimentalist in me pretty hard.

I can't say it's "my favorite" Christmas song, but it's definitely a favorite.

NORAD on the Net

The North American Radar Aerospace Defense (NORAD) has little to do since the collapse of the Soviet Union, so they put a great deal of effort into tracking Santa Claus each year. It's not even eleven in the morning here in my cozy little burg, but on the other side of the world, it's already Chritmas morning; below you can see where Santa has already stopped on his annual delivery trip:
This year NORAD has teamed up with Google Earth to bring a high-tech display of the eight reindeerpower flight path of Santa and his sleigh. So you can zoom and pan at will, and see pictures and videos of the locations Santa has visited.
I don't know how long this page will be up, but after Christmas morning, I'm pretty sure it'll be static for a year, after Santa returns to his workshop.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Which Ben Helps Me Express My Reaction to the News

I don't think he completely understood what I was going for at first. "Which News?" he asked. My response was "pretty much all of it over the last few months.
If you can't beat the world, laugh at it, is my position.

Followup: 12/26- It has come to my attention that the above animation often doesn't animate. If it's just a still frame, you can't really see the funny... try this link.

Praying for Theistic Murder

This came out yesterday; I first saw it at Balloon Juice. It has since been picked up by Mock, paper, Scissors and Brilliant at Breakfast, as well as a few others. The back story is this: On Monday, Sentator Coburn called on his faithful followers to pray for the death or incapacitation of Robert Byrd, so as to prevent the dems from having the requisite 60 votes to move health reform forward. Byrd showed up... But Senator Imhofe, a Republican, didn't. What we have below appears to be a caller who is tearfully afraid that his prayer session may have backfired, killing Imhofe by mistake.

It didn't occur to me that this might be a hoax, a bit of performance art. No one seems to know whether this is "real" or not, though presumably, someone does. Since this has popped up in quite a few other places, I had more or less decided not to post it myself. However, I think Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast makes a very, very important point:
If it ISN'T a joke, but a serious caller, than we are in more trouble than we realized. And even if it is a joke, Barrasso's reaction, or rather, non-reaction, to the idea of praying for someone to die, means we are in more trouble than we realized.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unlocking the Puzzle

What does it take to get the repiglicans to act in the interests of the American people and their constituency?
The bill is expected to win approval, but Republicans were threatening to continue debate until early evening Christmas Eve. But some in the GOP were wary, fearing they would not be able to get home in time for the holidays.
A threat to their vacation. Their selfishness never disappoints.

It's Been Told Before

I knew how the story would turn out very quickly after the title scene, but this is a nice version. Not one for the kiddies, in my opinion. There was a doll at my grandmother's house that gave me mild nightmares; this is the kind of thing that might do the same for sensitive kids.

Still, I really like modern computer animation, and this is worth the five minutes it takes to watch.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Bottom Line

(Via Matt Yglesias; ) The health reform campaign jumped through one of its last (and scariest) hoops in the wee hours last night, about 1 AM Eastern time. A final vote is expected Christmas eve, which seems both ironic and apropos. While I have been frustrated, exasperated and, yes, angry about all of the shenanigans, and while I'm still angry that our legislative bodies (with their zircon-encrusted health plans) couldn't do better, this is an improvement on the status quo.

I'm more sympathetic than I'd like to be with the "Kill Billers," but we have been focused on this stupid thing now for about six months. There are other issues that are just as important simmering on the back burner. Killing it would almost certainly mean more of the steadily-deteriorating status quo for a decade or two.

You can't always get what you want; there will still be a significant number of unnecessary premature deaths, illnesses and medically-induced bankruptcies. And lord knows I'm not pleased with that. However, more often than is true now, sometimes people will get what they need.

Pass the bill. Contentment is not about getting what you want, it's about understanding what you have.

Vegetarianism is Murder

OK, that's hyperbole, but I've always been a little befuddled that, according to many vegetarians, killing plants is fine, while killing animals is "murder." I'm not talking about factory farming animals, which I do find shameful, but the moral position that somehow, killing plants isn't, you know, killing. My own diet is almost completely vegetarian, but I do eat meat on occasion and have no plans to change that.

An article from the NYT does a fascinating job of explaining some of the strategies plants use to avoid being dinner:
When plant biologists speak of their subjects, they use active verbs and vivid images. Plants “forage” for resources like light and soil nutrients and “anticipate” rough spots and opportunities. By analyzing the ratio of red light and far red light falling on their leaves, for example, they can sense the presence of other chlorophyllated competitors nearby and try to grow the other way. Their roots ride the underground “rhizosphere” and engage in cross-cultural and microbial trade.

“Plants are not static or silly,” said Monika Hilker of the Institute of Biology at the Free University of Berlin. “They respond to tactile cues, they recognize different wavelengths of light, they listen to chemical signals, they can even talk” through chemical signals. Touch, sight, hearing, speech. “These are sensory modalities and abilities we normally think of as only being in animals,” Dr. Hilker said.
Folks, we're part of the Kingdom Animalia. Quoting from Wikipedia, "All animals are also heterotrophs, meaning they must ingest other organisms for sustenance." Like it or not, your survival depends on other living things dying. That's life.
It’s a small daily tragedy that we animals must kill to stay alive. Plants are the ethical autotrophs here, the ones that wrest their meals from the sun. Don’t expect them to boast: they’re too busy fighting to survive.


I may watch it eventually, or I may not. While it might be wondrous visually, that just doesn't go as far for me as it used to, and everything I've read about it suggests that the LOL version below pretty much sums it up.Via BuzzFeed. Sorry for the spoilers, if you haven't seen it yet.

Happy Solstice!

If my figuring is right, the solstice occurred about an hour and a half ago, at 9:47 Pacific time. It's now officiously winter, and the days will get longer for the next six months. Once they start getting shorter, on June 21, the clouds will start to break up.

Oh well.

Picture swiped from Anne at Highly Allochthonous.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More Bogus Science Trivia

I noticed a couple of people clicked through on the link to the answers, and one person even left a couple of comments. So once again, in the name of keeping you informed, here are the choices for Steve Mirsky's Bogus Brainteaser: one of the stories below is bogus. Have you been paying close enough attention to know which? (Click the prior link for the answer and explanations.)
Story 1, famed primatologist Jane Goodall wrote to a judge on Staten Island urging him to send a woman to prison.

Story 2, another New York City story, the Department of Health last week removed bees from the list of animals that New Yorkers are prohibited from having. In other words, beekeeping is poised to be legal again in New York.

Story 3, another stinging story, many species of catfish actually produce poisonous venom.

And story 4, people with large fingertips have more touch sensitivity.
Fair disclosure: two of the stories were unfamiliar to me, but I recognized the one that misstated the news.

The reason I refer to items such as the above as "trivia" is not they they are necessarily unimportant, nor certainly not that they're uninteresting, it's that they represent little facts devoid of their broader context and relationships. There has been a fairly big blow-up in the geoblogosphere, especially the vertebrate paleo section, due to science being misrepresented in a major media production. (I've been meaning to get to this, and still may; here are a few places to start, if you want to plow into this on your own) This is the result of media types knowing their trivia, but not knowing their science. Science trivia knowledge does not equal science literacy. Trivia is often wrong. It may be thought correct at some point, and become part of broad cultural knowledge; meanwhile, scientists mercilessly test and challenge the "facts." So sometimes the facts change. Of the above (assuming they're stated correctly), at least three might potentially change, given the differing challenges they face. They might not, but they might.

So pay attention.

Sunday Funnies

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures... convergent evolution, I guess.
Many of my eastern US blogospherian buddies have been buzzing about the blizzard. Their coverage is less clouded than the above. Criggo

About a buoy...
"London's ambassador in Spain was obliged to make a public apology on November 20 after British soldiers based in Gibraltar shot at a boy painted in the colours of the Spanish flag during target practice."
From a Reuters news release which was later corrected to read "buoy" rather than "boy."
From Regret the Error, via TYWKIWDBI. Here's another from Regret the Error, to which I have just now subscribed:
Earlier this week, we called congressman Jason Chaffetz a self-hating weirdo, an asshole, a probable closet case, and the son of Kitty Dukakis. He is not the son of Kitty Dukakis. We regret the error.
("Error" at Gawker) Thanks for pointing me at this blog, Minnasotastan! And here's another:
Luke Surl often puts "hovertext," a small text box that appears when you put the cursor over the picture without clicking," under his comics. Click over to see the hovertext for this one... pretty funny.
Tree Lobsters
Old joke, nicely retold- note that the buttered side should be facing up and away from the cat's back. Science is cool. The Daily What
tim burtons mad hatter totally looks like madonna
see more Celeb Look-A-Likes
see more Lol Celebs
john cleese
see more Lol Celebs
funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

A couple of Barack's emails, via The Guardian:

To: All White House Staff Subject: My Nobel Peace Prize acceptance

All: By now I'm sure you've had a chance to watch the speech I gave in Oslo – about the paradox of receiving an award for peace in a time of war, of how we must sometimes use force to fight force, and other entries from the manual my speechwriting guys keep on their office bookshelf (On the One Hand This, On the Other Hand That: How to Use Contrasts to Seem Judicious and Fair-Minded). But above all, I stressed how humbling it was to receive the same prize as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi and Mother Teresa. I must say I was deeply impressed by my own humility. Humbled by it, even. I don't want to brag – that wouldn't be humble at all – but I really felt I was pretty damn humble. Which was nothing if not humbling.

Humbly, Barack
Also too,

To: Sarah Palin
Subject: Re: I liked your Nobel speech because I believe too in how good and evil there is sometimes war, but too I think you should boycott the Copenhagen summit as history's lessons show us, often.

Huh. Thanks, I guess. I'd always assumed you'd have a ghostwriter for your emails as well, but apparently not.

What I expect from the Health Reform bill, when all is said and done. Noise to Signal
Sugar and spice and everything nice... and armed to the gills. Picture is Unrelated.
Oddly Specific
robert smith
see more Lol Celebs
Medium Large
Brown Sharpie. Too True.
My First Dictionary
My first thought on seeing this was that the artist had captured the third dimension of the tiger with an uncanny knack. Click over to Skull Swap to see how this effect was achieved. Really, please do. It's amazing.
Ugliest Tattoos
Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr
political pictures for your blog
see more Political Pictures
Edgerton's Earth, from Driftglass.
Probably Bad News
SUV divided by zero... That Will Buff Out
Depends on who's coming over for Christmas, I guess. Criggo
carrie prejean
see more Political Pictures
Oddly Specific, indeed.
Skull Swap
Buttersafe, via The Daily What
funny graphs and charts
see more Funny Graphs
The word I've been seeing associated with pictures like this is "Squee!" Skull Swap
This is another one of those times when I feel like adding a caption is overkill. Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr (note: he didn't add the caption)
josef stalin
see more Political Pictures
Skull Swap
Blame It On The Voices
A smart person knows the best thing to say.

A wise person knows when adding the f-word improves it.
DuhismNon Sequitur
What Would Jesus Deliver? I'm guessing anchovies; enough to feed a crowd. Skull Swap
Funny, painful or cute? Why not all three? Skull Swap
"Seasoning's Greetings" from Cake Wrecks. Holiday cakes seem to bring out the funniest bakers; there's a whole series of Christmas Cakes to bring on the Yuletide levity.
Probably Bad News
This is my own, taking the idea from Probably Bad News. I found that image a little too painful to make light of.
The Daily What
Stairway to Nowhere... There, I Fixed It
There's a collection of coloring book pages from this person (kid? I'm sort of hoping not) at Epic Win... I was torn between this and the "Hulk Power Ballad" piece.
Be Good. Be Very, Very Good. Blackadder
Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr
georgie henley and james mcavoy
see more Lol Celebs
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
engrish funny upon existing
see more Engrish
Oddly Specific... With the title, "There is also a sign here."

see more Lol Celebs
Epic Win
Blackadder... lysdexia can be tebirrly diciffult to deal with.
epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails
The Daily What
This will be funnier if you've been following Regretsy (it's a Photoshop combination of two regrettable products), but even if you haven't, it's hysterically surreal.
epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal