March 28, 2014

And now . . . this - Mar. 28/14

Something smells fishy about this "logic"

The troublesome fish currently known as Asian carp may get a new name in Minnesota over concern that the current one casts people from Asian cultures in a negative light.

Proposals advancing in the Legislature would require the Department of Natural Resources to refer to the fish as "invasive carp," a reference to the threat the non-native fish pose to Mississippi River-area ecosystems.

[Full Story]

Yep. According to Minnesota lawmakers, since Asian carp and Asian people both happen to hail from the same continent, there needs to be a law to protect Asian people from being mistaken for invasive species.

Of course, we might just as easily stereotype the carp as overachievers, violin players, and poor drivers with overbearing parents. Ridiculous thinking, it seems, is a one-way street—even if it's equally ridiculous in both directions.

March 20, 2014

And now . . . this - Mar. 20/14

I told you. Vampires.

Gov. Walker's Facebook and Twitter accounts posted "Philippians 4:13" on Sunday, an apparent reference to a Bible passage.

The FFRF sent the governor a letter Tuesday, asking him to immediately remove the message from his government social media accounts. The letter states, "It is improper for a state employee, much less for the chief executive officer of the state, to use the machinery of the State of Wisconsin to promote personal religious views."


Hey FFRF: I realize this isn't Twitter, and it's considerably less than 140 characters, but: Psalm 53:1.

March 17, 2014

And now . . . this - Mar. 17/14

Who are you, hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo

This article is actually a couple of months old, but I came across it and thought it was too good to pass up:

An alleged drunken driver arrested while hiding 30 feet up a tree Friday on I-290 “rambled on about being an owl” when confronted, police wrote in court documents.

Troy A. Prockett, 37, of Hudson, was arraigned Monday on a slew of charges – including third-offense drunken driving – after town firefighters had to use a bucket truck to bring a cop 30 feet into a tree to arrest him.

[Full Story]

Seems like a waste of effort, when all they had to do was trap him using dea mice as bait.

The suspect was later allowed to stay in the tree, after Al Gore pointed out that he was an exceedingly rare sotted owl.

March 12, 2014

Happy birthday, WWW

On March 12, 1989, computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee submitted a proposal for a new, hypertext-based information management system at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) to address the problem of long-term information loss due to employee turnover. His solution was a non-linear pool of information interconnected with hyperlinks. And hence the World Wide Web was born.

Today, 25 years later, of course the WWW has evolved into a repository of Justin Bieber, pr0n, pictures of cats with amusing captions, and blogs like this one. Occasionally, academic research does still get done.

The original WWW went "live" in 1991. Although it's changed locations, it's still viewable. As an HTML coder, I was eager to view the source just to see how different the original HTML markup was from the current 5th version.

The Web has come a long way in 25 years from those plain grey pages we all discovered back in the early 90s. Sites like Blogger or Facebook simply wouldn't have been possible with the technology of the time; it took about a decade for that. I need to leave a note for myself for March 12, 2039: how will we share our LOLcats then?

And now . . . this - Mar. 12/14

A British woman says she has finally found the true meaning of marriage now that she has divorced her husband and married her dog.

Amanda Rodgers and her dog/wife Sheba appeared on British television's ITV's "This Morning" Tuesday to discuss why she decided to wed her pet in a ceremony attended by 200 people in Croatia last week, reports the Mirror.

"She was two weeks old and she was new to the world—but I fell in love with her," Rodgers, 47, told the show's hosts. "I knew that we were meant to be."

[Full Story]

Well, "marriage equality" advocates should love this one. It hits the trifecta: same-sex, inter-species, and pedophilia.

March 11, 2014

And now . . . this - Mar. 11/14

Your best take now

You know what I'm having trouble feeling right now? Sympathy.

An estimated $600,000 was stolen from Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church this weekend in Houston.

According to a statement sent to church members, someone allegedly stole cash, checks, and credit card information from the church safe, reported the Houston Chronicle, one of the first of many media outlets to cover the story.

[Full Story]

For some reason, I am most strongly reminded of this verse from the Bible:

[H]ow can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house. (Matt. 12:29)

It was easy to clean out Osteen's church. There wasn't a strong man around.

I do feel for the people who have possibly had their banks accounts or credit cards compromised. As for Osteen himself, well, maybe if the prosperity-gospel huckster had had more faith, this wouldn't have happened. I'm sure the poor soul will have to go a whole extra week before he can polish his solid-gold house again.

March 10, 2014

Are atheists vampires?

Well, they're certainly not the rational and entirely non-superstitious geniuses we're led (by them, of course) to think they are. Case in point:

A group of atheists have launched a legal challenge against the inclusion of the 'miracle cross' from the Twin Towers in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

The 17-foot cross that emerged from the rubble at Ground Zero was seen by many rescue workers as a symbol of hope, but now other groups fear that it violates the constitutional divide between church and state.

The group, called American Atheists, says that the cross should not be displayed at all in the museum, and went on to say that if it is included, then there should be a similar panel to represent the atheists who perished at the site.

"We're arguing for equal treatment in some way, whatever that might be," the group's lawyer Edwin Kagin said last week.

[Full Story]

(If you're at a loss to understand how "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" actually means "The September 11 Memorial and Museum shall not display a structural-steel cross," you're not alone. But I digress.)

When an advocacy group demands "equal treatment" but immediately admits that they have no idea what that means, you know right off the bat that you're not dealing with the brightest (or Bright-est) bulbs in the box. I might be an ignorant right-wing Christian theist, but I have a suggestion: since religions have symbols (like metal crosses), and American Atheists is irreligious, then they need no symbols. I'm sure that where there aren't crosses, there are huge volumes of empty space. Let AA claim those.

Nothing seems to enrage an atheist quite like a cross. I have a theory as to why this is: Atheists are vampires. This is annoying to me, because vampires are cool monsters1, whereas atheists, particularly of the AA stripe, are arrogant, irritating gadflies. Worse than that, they're superstitious, driven to a self-righteous frenzy over having to see a symbol representing a god they don't believe in.

Let them eat crucifix. Watch 'em run!


1 The popularity of The Walking Dead aside, zombies are not cool. They're slow, stupid, and easily dealt with. If I were a police chief or mayor of an area with a mob of zombies attacking, I wouldn't waste my time going after them with shotguns and chainsaws. Instead, I'd locate the local vampire clan and hire them to clean up the zombies, promising that they could keep whatever they killed, because who can turn down free food?

And now . . . this - Mar. 10/14

Leave the planet. Take the cannoli.

Sicilian amateur scientists have launched a model cannolo, a cream-stuffed pastry roll symbolic of the Italian island, into the stratosphere, capturing bizarre images of the dessert flying far above the earth.

[Full Story]

Then, after that teaser, Yahoo didn't see fit to provide any of these pictures. Here is one, from another story on the site:

[Space cannolo]

Doesn't it look delicious? Unfortunately:

As a real cannolo would be unlikely to survive the voyage, the group made a model of the cherry-studded pastry with a polymer clay material hardened in an oven.

Numerous Sicilian men then remarked that their wives must make cannoli out of the same material. (Ow! Hey!)

"Sicily has always been a place of negative connotations, mafia and unemployment. We wanted to lift up Sicily in our own way," said filmmaker Fabio Leone, 34, who recorded the project with Antonella Barbera, 38.

This is not helpful, of course, because it only reminds us that in the Godfather trilogy, cannoli were involved in two Mafia murders.

March 08, 2014


I've often planned to take on the bodily-autonomy argument for abortion rights (aka the "violinist argument" formulated by Judith Jarvis Thomson) as a blog project. I may still do so, but not too soon. It would seem too much like getting on the bandwagon, after Matt Walsh blew it out of the water.

Read. Learn.

I Am Afraid of This Indisputable, Pro-Choice Argument

March 07, 2014

F5 #4: Writer's block

Yes, not only am I late, I'm so late (How late was he?) that I'm writing the last post of February a week into March.

Well, I began this year's F5 theme, pet hates, with good intentions: spend the month when I'm most personal on the blog talking about things I dislike, rather than things I like. I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to say for the first three weeks of February. But I never came up with a fourth topic. My most hated books, music, or movies? Wouldn't know; never had to read, listen to, or watch them. I don't waste time disliking what I don't have to be exposed to.

Which leads me to believe that I'm a lot less cynical or curmudgeonly than I thought. In that case, perhaps I'll just voluntarily close the series off a little early this year, and start thinking about next time. No one's keeping score, right?

On the other hand: I really, really hate not knowing what to say.