Archive for the 'That’s NOT Funny' Category
Here’s a proven way to lose weight: The Chicagoboyz anchovy diet.
Cut out the sweets and sticky buns and load up on as much healthful anchovy protein as you want. Simple and delicious.
I’ve lost 289 pounds so far.
It’s been most unsettling, over the last month or so, watching as the ship of state powers straight towards the reefs of financial meltdown, while the Dems and Pubs – establishment ruling class, with just about every one of them grubbing snout deep in the trough – do nothing much but squabble over the arrangement of the deck chairs, and figure out how to be the first one into the purser’s office to loot the safe. And if that wasn’t bad enough to put a dent in my enjoyment of the season: the Newton massacre of school children, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the murders in my own neighborhood, the fact that a basically decent and widely experienced candidate could be defeated in a national election by a legislatively untalented and inexperienced machine hack … all of this was depressing in itself. And don’t get me started on the State Department and the Mysteries of Benghazi. But when a credentialed spawn of academia is given op-ed space in the so-called paper of record to call for deep-sixing the Constitution as an outdated and discredited piece of paper, network television personalities can hector and abuse interviewees with regard to the Second Amendment of same, and an editorialist in a mid-western newspaper (who may be exaggerating for humorous effect, not that he would have a micro-speck slack cut for him if he were a conservative ripping on progressives by name) can call for the torture and execution of those not in agreement on a particular matter, and some fairly senior military commanders can be abruptly side-lined and discredited for playing hide-the-salami (or being assumed to have been playing hide the salami) with a woman not their spouse … well, really, one has to wonder what has been happening here. The ‘othering’ proceeds at a perfectly dismaying rate of speed, with mainstream media and assorted celebs cheerleading from front and center.
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First Guy: I voted for Gary Johnson. We should never have to settle for the lesser of two evils.
Second Guy: You’re married, right?
I don’t remember why I took Debate 101 my sophomore year of high school. I’m not an enthusiastic public speaker nor was I inclined to become one. Perhaps I was interested in learning advanced debating techniques. Then I’d be ever triumphant in the important debates of daily life:
“You think you deserve that last piece of pizza? Let me tell you why you don’t.”
The explanation may be much simpler:
- my experience suggests that teenagers aren’t terribly bright
- my later experience as a junior and senior suggests that sophomores aren’t terribly bright either
Entering Debate 1000, I was 1) a teenager and 2) a sophomore. That evidence, however circumstantial, is sufficient to convict.
If I was interested in learning debate technique, I was disappointed: the debate class wasn’t designed to systematically instruct students to taking apart their own position, reassemble it into a stronger position, and then use their new strong position to destroy their opponent’s position. This debate class was designed to cull skilled debaters out of the general student body who would then go on and compete in regional and state debate competitions. Some technique was dispensed in miserly bursts but mostly it was one instruction-free speaking assignment after another. Those with innate debating instinct went on to join the school team with all the glory that bestowed (not much). The rest of the class had to live with disappointment (again, not much).
One debate format we were taught, Lincoln-Douglas (LD), was roughly similar to this format laid out by Wikipedia:
Thomas William Ward was born in Ireland of English parents in 1807, and at the age of 21 took ship and emigrated to America. He settled in New Orleans, which by that time had passed from French to Spanish, back to French and finally landed in American hands thanks to the Louisiana Purchase. There he took up the study of architecture and engineering – this being a time when an intelligent and striving young man could engage in a course of study and hang out a shingle to practice it professionally shortly thereafter. However, Thomas Ward was diverted from his studies early in October, 1835 by an excited and well-attended meeting in a large coffee-room at Banks’ Arcade on Magazine Street. Matters between the Anglo settlers in Texas and the central Mexican governing authority – helmed by the so-called Napoleon of the West, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna – had come to a frothy boil. Bad feelings between the Texian and Tejano settlers of Texas, who were of generally federalist (semi-autonomous) sympathies had been building against the centralist (conservative and authoritarian) faction. These developments were followed with close and passionate attention by political junkies in the United States.
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I started following what I called “The Affair of the Danish Mo-Toons” way back at the very beginning of that particular imbroglio, followed by the ruckus last year over “Everybody Draw Mohammad” and now we seem to have moved on to the Charlie Hebdo fiasco – a French satirical magazine dared to poke fun at the founder of Islam … by putting a cartoon version on the cover of their latest issue, with the result that their offices were firebombed. I think at this point it would have been fair to assume that representatives of the Religion of Peace would respond in a not-quite-so peaceful manner, so all props for the Charlie Hebdo management for even going ahead with it – for even thinking of standing up for freedom of thought, freedom of a press, even freedom to take the piss out of a target. (The following is what I wrote last year – still relevant to this latest case) Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Mitch Townsend on 21st August 2011 (All posts by Mitch Townsend)
I know it’s confusing, but here is how to tell them apart: one of them used to be an evil alien mastermind bent on universal domination and the destruction of his many enemies; nowadays, he’s more of a comic foil.
The other is a cartoon.
Posted by Charles Cameron on 21st May 2011 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted at Zenpundit -- apocalyptic movements, best readings, budget shortfalls, lack of support for scholarship in crucial natsec areas -- and with a h/t to Dan from Madison for the video that triggered this post ]
What with rapture parties breaking out all over, billboards in Dubai proclaiming The End and thousands of Hmong tribespeople in Vietnam among the believers, this whole sorry business of Harold Camping‘s latest end times prediction is catching plenty of attention. I thought it might be helpful to recommend some of the more interesting and knowledgeable commentary on Camping’s failed prophecy.
First, three friends and colleagues of mine from the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University, about which I will have a further paragraph later:
Richard Landes of BU has a text interview here, and a TV interview here. His forthcoming book, Heaven on Earth, is a monumental [554 pp.] treatment of millenarian movements ranging “from ancient Egypt to modern-day UFO cults and global Jihad” with a focus on “ten widely different case studies, none of which come from Judaism or Christianity” — and “shows that many events typically regarded as secular–including the French Revolution, Marxism, Bolshevism, Nazism-not only contain key millennialist elements, but follow the apocalyptic curve of enthusiastic launch, disappointment and (often catastrophic) re-entry into ‘normal time’”.
Stephen O’Leary of USC wrote up the Harold Camping prediction a couple of days ago on the WSJ “Speakeasy” blog. He’s the rhetorician and communications scholar who co-wrote the first article on religion on the internet, and his specialty as it applies to apocalyptic thinking is doubly relevant: the timing of the end — and the timing of the announcement of the end. His book, Arguing the Apocalypse, is the classic treatment.
Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph is a wicked and witty blogger on all things Catholic and much else beside — the normally staid Church Times (UK) once called him a “blood-crazed ferret” and he wears the quote with pride on his blog, where you can also find his comments on Camping. Damian’s book, Waiting for Antichrist, is a masterful treatment of one “expecting” church in London, and has a lot to tell us about the distance between the orthodoxies of its clergy and the various levels of enthusiasm and eclectic beliefs of their congregants.
Three experts, three highly recommended books.
Two quick notes for those whose motto is “follow the money” (I prefer “cherchez la femme” myself, but chacun a son gout):
The LA Times has a piece that examines the “worldwide $100-million campaign of caravans and billboards, financed by the sale and swap of TV and radio stations” behind Camping’s more recent prediction (the 1994 version was less widely known).
Well worth reading.
And for those who suspect the man of living “high on the hog” — this quote from the same piece might cause you to rethink the possibility that the man’s sincere (one can be misguided with one’s integrity intact, I’d suggest):
Though his organization has large financial holdings, he drives a 1993 Camry and lives in a modest house.
Now back to the Center for Millennial Studies.
While it existed, it was quite simply the world center of apocalyptic, messianic and millenarian studies. CMS conferences brought together a wide range of scholars of different eras and areas, who could together begin to fathom the commonalities and differences — anthropological, theological, psychological, political, local, global, historical, and contemporary — of movements such as the Essenes, the Falun Gong, the Quakers, Nazism, the Muenster Anabaptists, al-Qaida, the Taiping Rebellion, Branch Davidians, the Y2K scare, classic Marxism, Aum Shinrikyo and Heaven’s Gate.
And then the year 2000 came and went, and those who hadn’t followed the work of the CMS and its associates thought it’s all over, no more millennial expectation, we’ve entered the new millennium with barely a hiccup.
Well, guess what. It was at the CMS that David Cook presented early insights from his definitive work on contemporary millennial movements in Islam — and now we have millennial stirrings both on the Shia side (President Ahmadinejad et al) and among the Sunni (AQ theorist Abu Mus’ab Al-Suri devotes the last hundred pages of his treatise on jihad to “signs of the end times”)…
Apocalyptic expectation continues. But Richard Landes’ and Stephen O’Leary’s fine project, the CMS, is no longer with us to bring scholars together to discuss what remains one of the key topics of our times. When Richard’s book comes out, buy it and read it — and see if you don’t see what I mean.
And while it may not see Judgment Day or the beginning of the end of the world as predicted, what this week has seen is the end of funding of Fulbright scholarships for doctoral dissertation research abroad. But then as Abu Muqawama points out:
hey, it’s probably safe to cut funding for these languages. It’s hard to see Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan or anywhere in the Arabic-speaking world causing issues in terms of U.S. national security interests anytime soon.
So the CMS isn’t the only significant scholarly venue we’ve lost to terminal lack of vision.
Posted in Academia, Blogging, Book Notes, Christianity, Education, History, International Affairs, Iran, Islam, National Security, Predictions, Religion, Rhetoric, That's NOT Funny, Vietnam | Comments Off
Mrs. Dan from Madison and I vote absentee every election. We like it for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that we can sit at home and fill out our ballots at our leisure rather than standing in a line (much more important in presidential elections) and we get to hash out a few things politically away from the TV. We typically make it a date over a bottle of wine to research the candidates and talk about the issues on the ballot.
The ballot for our upcoming election in early April has a very strange referendum on it, proposed to the good people of Dane County:
Should the US Constitution be amended to establish that regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limiting freedom of speech, by stating that only human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights?
The city of Madison council is famous for preparing and passing declarations denouncing all sorts of crap on the federal level (this activity, I assume has ceased since the zero became president), but I had hoped that the county board wouln’t get involved with this waste of time and ink. Sigh.
What’s next, declarations of war? Impeaching federal officials? Raising the federal tax rate?
Is burrita the word for a female burrito?
In researching the answer to this question we came across this interesting website. Needless to say, Chicagoboyz condemns the popular practice of donkey sex slavery in the strongest terms.
(But perhaps we could use more donkeys in the chain of command.)
Consider the Gap to be closed…
Core: I got my job because I have a remarkable talent for reading a teleprompter.
Gap: That’s interesting. I got my job because I have a remarkable talent for killing Tibetans.
Surprises can always happen…
The thirst for a magic bullet is profoundly American. In war, the magic bullet manifests itself in the antiseptic wonder weapons that promise to transform conflict into a harmless, contact-free sporting event. In politics, the magic bullet manifests itself as something like a 2,000+ page health care reform law. In finance, it manifests itself as the AAA rated senior tranche in a collateralized debt obligation (CDO).
In diplomacy, the manifestation of magic bulletry is the “grand bargain”. Every diplomat’s secret desire is making the agreement to end all agreements and conducting the negotiation to end all negotiations. As a magic bullet, the grand bargain would kill all diplomatic disputes for all time, Unfortunately, over every aspiring 1648 or 1815 hangs the long shadow of 1919. Versailles was intended to be the magic bullet to end all magic bullets. Instead, it became the magic bullet that wasn’t. Inasmuch as it possessed magic, it was the magic to ricochet off its intended target and right back at its originators.
In today’s West, dominated by those high on the heady drug of global meliorism, the mere act of talking has somehow become an end unto itself. Whether it’s a “peace process”, “six-party talks”, “quartet”, “agreed framework”, “security council resolution”, or some other high-falutin’ hogwash, Western diplomacy resembles is more the decrepit liturgy of a dying baroque cult than the hard-nosed power brokering beloved by naïve realists. Like a general who puts the desperate lunge for a tactically decisive battle above stodgy strategic logic, a diplomat who puts talking, negotiating, and agreements first puts the tactical cart before the strategic horse.
Strategy seeks to convert power into control to achieve purpose. The ideal was outlined by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 31:
Posted by Charles Cameron on 11th December 2010 (All posts by Charles Cameron)
[ cross-posted from Zenpundit ]
We’ve been having an intriguing discussion recently in the comments on Zenpundit about mapping / modeling complex situations in a way that leaves us humans more liable to come to nuanced understandings and less liable to unintended consequences, and one point that keeps on cropping up is the need to pare down the number of nodes in our mapping without losing sight of the subtleties…
I was thus delighted to find, as I was doing my morning trawl of usual and unusual news sources, that Glenn Beck had come out with his estimate of how many Muslim terrorists there are in the world (10% of the global Muslim population, ie 157 million), Fareed Zakaria had refuted him — and there was even a helpful Silobreaker network diagram to show me how the relevant nodes under discussion fit together:
I was delighted to see that (Mormon) Glenn Beck is more closely associated with (Muslim) Rep. Keith Ellison than he is with terrorists, and sorry to note that Beck’s Brewery and Islam are somehow linked… But naturally, once I had seen this much I wanted to drill down even deeper — so I entered the appropriate keywords at Silobreaker and found this:
You’ll see that Beck’s link with Al Qaeda is, thankfully, a weak one. And I think you’ll agree with me that even shifting from a six node to an eight node graph considerably ups the sophistication of analysis required to fully comprehend the issues portrayed.
In any case, I thought it might be appropriate to post Silobuster’s more detailed map of the current situation with WikiLeaks here:
All becomes clear, eh?
I particularly like the node labeled “Gland” (it’s almost hidden but not quite, you’ll find it lower right, between PayPal and Twitter)– that might be the one I’d zero in on to get a fuller appreciation of the complexities of the situation.
And for the record, this post is an example of British “humor” — or as we prefer to call it, “dry wit”.
Posted by Mitch Townsend on 7th December 2010 (All posts by Mitch Townsend)
[Officer] Chalifoux said, “When I asked him to recite the alphabet from A to Z, he said, ‘I can’t do that.’ When I asked him why, he stated, ‘No one could do that. From A to Z? Come on. That’s crazy.’ ” From the Boston Herald
I follow sports more than most people, but less than some. One of the most fascinating areas of sport for me is how quickly professional athletes can burn through their fortunes – and end up completely broke after their careers are over.
With most professional athletes, a five year career is all they get. Imagine yourself after you graduated high school or college and knowing up front that your best earning years are coming up. Wouldn’t you be putting something away for the future rather then spending that dough on assets that are devalued the second you buy them, such as bouncy cars and jewelry?
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Imperial City, Washington D.C., whatever.
Make no mistake, Oprah Winfrey is supporting the rally. Two weeks ago, she surprised members of the studio audience at “The Daily Show” by announcing she will send them all to Washington.
Maybe she knows something the rest of us don’t.
Meanwhile, we can surely be excused if our imaginations run wild. Especially for the biggest fans of Stewart and Colbert, can the rally we anticipate possibly be matched by what they have in store? They haven’t promised us the moon — they haven’t promised us anything beyond generalities — but in lieu of other promises, the moon is what we expect. Or at least Lady Gaga and Desmond Tutu.
Come on. It’s all in good fun. Just a bunch of people attempting to restore some sanity to the fevered national political debate hijacked by evil extremists.
I do have some questions for the CBz readership, though:
(1) Will Twitter shut-down that day as twittering Obamatrons flood the system with gentle observations?
(2) Will the alphabet run out of the letters T, E, A, B, G or R?
(3) Will clouds of smug blot out the sun?
(4) Will there be extra aid stations to tend to all the broken arms injured from patting oneself on the back?
(5) Will Lady Gaga be there?
These are serious times people. And serious times call for serious rallies. Run by serious people. Generally sympathetic to a Very Serious Political Party.
Update: Last bit of the post edited slightly for “aesthetic” reasons. Because I felt like it.
Second update: Just watched the following video of Smugapalooza (link via Instapundit). Apparently, misspelling words invalidates an argument so I made sure to change “high jack” to “hijack.” Any other mistakes of note? How embarrassing. Except, I’m not embarrassed. Well, for me. Nice video of the March To Restore My Inflated Self-Esteem. I’m in love with myself….
Of all the faults I see in people, I think that pride is the most damaging.
I am a small business owner and am pretty close with all of my employees. I have had many employees for decades, and a few for just a short while. It seems that whenever there is a major problem with an employee it all boils down to pride. They can call it other things and make excuses, but the main issue tends to be an utter lack of humility.
Just this morning a new employee who had only been on the job for a few months raised his voice at me. I told him that I don’t yell and scream but would be glad to have an adult like discussion. He continued with the loud voice and I was forced to fire him. He had been looking for a job for close to a year when I hired him and just like that he is gone. I am sure it will take a long time for him to find another job. What in blazes was he thinking?
Only a few hours after his departure word spread and I have been deluged with phone calls and emails of people looking for work. I have never seen anything like it. Nuclear engineers to kids right out of high school. But I digress.
This particular individual showed traits that, it seems, more people are showing. Instead of shutting up this morning and saying “yes, sir” or simply being quiet as I asked, my ex-employee had to keep mouthing off. Of course, my evidence of an increase of pride and lack of humility is completely anecdotal to my little world.
I have seen this in many business acquaintances as well as vendors and customers. I have learned that in my world, to shut up and take it is the best prescription, unless you really want to burn your bridge.
To our commenters – do people of this generation or people in general seem to show more pride in today’s era than in past eras? Or do you think I am noticing something that isn’t there?
I had never heard of Nikki Haley until a few days ago.
She is an elected member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and she decided to run for Governor of that state. Married to a career military officer for the past 13 years, they have two children.
All well and good. But it seems that those who oppose her candidacy are throwing as much mud as they can in an attempt to turn voters against her. As this op-ed details, the biggest clod came from a member of her own party.
It all began in late May when Will Folks, a minor-league Republican operative turned blogger, claimed that he had a sexual relationship with Haley in 2007. The dignity that Folks brings to journalism is encapsulated in his latest blog post: “I have purposely refrained from discussing the physical details of my relationship with Rep. Haley. Believe it or not, I am a Southern gentleman.”
Does anyone else see the epically fearful irony of, a) Jews in German U-boats, b) Armed with nukes carrying American nuclear material, c) Whose bomb designs were tested in then-apartheid South Africa, stalking Iran’s jihadist Regime?
The Sunday Times of London reports just that in this crazier than Tom Clancy’s SUM OF ALL FEARS article titled:
Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran
Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.
The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organization in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.
The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.
The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O”, told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
My irony meter has pegged out.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard speed boats hunting those Israeli subs with Japanese commercial bass-finding sonar with made-in-China electronics?
Apparently the man who tried to blow up Times Square is a Pakistani immigrant, rather than one of those violent Tea Party activists as so many of us initially suspected. Who could have known?
Wait. Do we know for a fact that he isn’t also a Tea Party activist? All responsible journalists must look into this possibility at once.
The latest flap concerning Muslim extremists getting bent out of shape over a South Park episode, and how the network censored images of the prophet, is a case of history repeating itself.
A previous ep from 2006 supposedly depicted Mohammad, until the network excised all images of that particular worthy. They even went so far as to bleep out every utterance of his name. All done in the fear that, unless appeased, intolerant practitioners of the Religion of Peace would indulge in an orgy of bloodshed and fire.
I wrote Comedy Central at the time, taking them to task for their shameless act of cowardice. I received a well spoken, thoughtfully composed reply that explained the concerns of the network.
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Per Lex’s request, on this, the day America laid siege to Boston, MA, interrupting the otherworldly disputations of many a Brahmin:
Noted American science fiction writer Philip K. Dick once observed:
The ultimate in paranoia is not when everyone is against you but when everything is against you. Instead of “My boss is plotting against me,” it would be “My boss’s phone is plotting against me.”
My boss’s phone is rather nondescript. It’s color is a few shades darker than full oppression gray. It whimpers with the soul draining anonymity of the standard corporate VoIP phone design. It has a gray LCD, gray buttons with obscure functions, and an incomprehensible gray user manual.
It frequently finds itself on sales calls.
If it was a person, it would have no face.
My boss’s phone lacks the personality of the door from Ubik:
The door refused to open. It said, “Five cents, please.”
He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. “I’ll pay you tomorrow,” he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. “What I pay you,” he informed it, “is in the nature of a gratuity; I don’t have to pay you.”
“I think otherwise,” the door said. “Look in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.”
In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.
“You discover I’m right,” the door said. It sounded smug.
From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his apt’s money-gulping door.
“I’ll sue you,” the door said as the first screw fell out.
Joe Chip said, “I’ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.”
Of course the motives of doors are usually open and shut. The hang ups of boss’s phones are more cryptic: