Monday, September 18, 2017

Your mileage may vary

As I’ve previously observed, Britain can’t actually leave Europe. That’s because it’s stuck on the same continental plate. But if they really want independence from the continent, they could revert from the metric system to the imperial, joining the exclusive club that includes Myanmar, Liberia, and the U.S.A.  Although metric has some big advantages: Instead of inches they use centimeters, only about one fifth as long. And kilometers are only 62 percent of a mile. So your car is faster, your penis is bigger, and marathons are easier to run. But at the lumberyard, the 2x4s are really flimsy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

This is just sad

Could it be that 100 words is too many? Once a week too often? How lazy, exactly, can one person get? Pretty lazy, it turns out. Lazy enough to transcribe a couple of post-its from the periphery of the monitor:

Did you hear about the career diplomat who was called back to Washington after decades in South Asia? He was disoriented. Worse, a head trauma caused him to lose all memory of his time there. Indonesia

I have a special form of synesthesia which whenever I hear anybody talk about it I perceive them as a pain in the butt.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Better Late Than Ever

As your source for the late breaking up to the minute news you need to start your day, I feel bad about waiting so long to bring you this: "Iron-60 is an iron isotope with a half-life of 2.6 million years, but was thought until 2009 to have a half-life of 1.5 million years.” Holy crap! Then this: “Remnants of Iron-60 found in fossilized bacteria in sea floor sediments suggest there was a supernova in the vicinity of the solar system approximately 2 million years ago." For some reason the use of the word “vicinity” in this sentence is hilarious.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Just bad planning

We’re cutting 11 percent from the National Science Foundation’s budget, because, firstly, these science people do things we can’t understand, and things that mean nothing to us are therefore meaningless. Like Portuguese or Canadian Football. Second, we are very disappointed in the science we’ve been getting so far, such as the squandered promise of the laser beam, which instead of incinerating hordes of bug-eyed monsters as they exit their shiny spaceships is used to frustrate cats and highlight important features in PowerPoint presentations. Lastly, our astronomers should have scheduled this eclipse for a weekend, when more folks could enjoy it.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Locale Hero

I think I’ve mentioned the excellent interstate pastime of seeing the names of imaginary celebrities on exit signs, like silent film stars Victoria Luxora and Darien Whitewater. Now there’s Amherst Oberlin, “The Blacksmith Poet,” once much-anthologized but today nearly forgotten. In the little New England town where he lived and died, he was less known for his verse than for his bespoke orthopedic horseshoes.

Here’s the first stanza of his best known work, “To a Daffodil:”

O how shall I sing of the daffodil
That blooms in yonder yard?
Its petals pale, its leaves a-dew,
It makes my pecker hard.

Monday, August 7, 2017

like lipid pools

This is not a news site, but sometimes a breaking story pushes our regularly scheduled blather to the back burner. This is one of those times, because of the big oil spill in Hong Kong. It’s a palm oil spill, from a ship collision off the coast of mainland China. A disgusting amount of this essential Oreos component has fouled ten busy beaches. Two thoughts. First, isn’t that, like, built-in suntan lotion? Secondly, I believe this is the first time this year I’ve seen the phrase “rancid smelling sticky white clumps” used to describe anything outside of the West Wing.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Now in the pipeline

Elon Musk (whose name sounds like a truly wretched aftershave) says he has “verbal government approval” to build a superfast Hyperloop transportation system to whisk passengers between New York and Washington D.C. in less than 30 minutes. A Hyperloop is an underground tube within which passenger cabins are literally sucked from place to place. It’s reassuring news for all the folks who fear that aloof coastal elites are oblivious to the troubles of small-town America. If Mr. Musk (a forgotten Beatrix Potter character) can pull this off, the heartland will be flyover country no more. It will be tunnel-under country.