Monday, April 15, 2024

Sunday!

I can’t think of a single reason why I would wake up this morning thinking about Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney, but there you have it. The human brain, which fundamentally is solely tasked with keeping our reproductive organs intact until such time as they have successfully continued the species, has a tendency to use its off time to continue working aimlessly in very much the same way a lawnmower when not actively engaged in cutting grass never would. “Cha Cha” was portrayed onscreen by Bonnie Bedelia who it turns out is the aunt of MacCaulay Culkin of Home Alone fame.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Mohawks and fingerless gloves

Is it only me who thinks that the Tesla Cybertruck looks like a prop built of spray-painted plywood on a Fiat chassis in a really cheesy Italian Road Warrior knock-off movie from about 1983 where all the extras look like they escaped from a Ratt video? I think the Tesla’s designers wanted it to look futuristic but the problem is we’ve already used up the future. Like, an Amazing Stories cover from let’s say 1926 looks way more like The World of Tomorrow than any current technology here in the actual 21st century which we’re nearly a quarter through it.

Monday, April 1, 2024

No Fooling

For a long time it was thought that the apricot originated in ancient Armenia but recent genetic studies seem to indicate that the fruit was first domesticated in China. The pits contain amygdalin which in the digestive system decomposes to produce hydrogen cyanide, a deadly poison. A derivative of amygdalin, laetrile, was promoted as a cancer cure but this was pure quackery. The original Steve McQueen (not to be confused with today’s Steve McQueen, the British film director) underwent a series of treatments that included both laetrile and coffee enemas in an attempt to cure the cancer that killed him.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Save the date

Sometimes scientists postulate the existence of a substance to make their observations conform to their ideas. Like phlogiston was this imaginary stuff that escaped and created heat when you set fire to something. The ether was this all-pervasive invisible fluid through which waves could propagate across space. They’re gone now; subsequent research obviated the need for them. Now new research suggests that there’s no such thing as dark matter. As a consequence of this, the estimated age of the universe gets bumped up from just under 14 billion years to more than 26 billion. So, update your calendars, I guess.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Maybe it was Arabian

Do you remember that one television show? This one guy had this horse that lived in his garage and it could talk. The horse, I mean, but only to the one guy, Wilbur. At least, that was the story; it didn’t really happen. It was a fictional portrayal from the perspective of this poor sick crazy guy Wilbur who had this delusional belief that Ray Walston had flown in from Mars and left a talking horse in his back yard. Anyway, you know what I heard? That horse didn’t really speak English and had to learn all its lines phonetically.

Monday, March 11, 2024

I don't deserve this

Our language has a lot of words that used to mean something other than what they mean now. Words like “hysterical” or “awesome” or “terrific.” So, last night through no fault of my own for work-related reasons I was sort of required to watch the Academy Awards all the way through on an extremely large screen. The main things I learned are that the phrase “transformational journey” now means what “job” used to mean, “brilliant” is the new word for competent, and “magic” can be used in place of “profit.” In addition, the phrase “I love you” means nothing whatsoever.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Our Demands Are Not Negotiable.

1) Declare Election Day a national holiday. Move it to summer. Provide ice cream.
 

2) Eliminate the penny and use all that zinc for batteries for EVs.
 

3) Abolish daylight saving time, which was invented to make us feel powerless and stupid.
 

4) Outlaw the designated hitter rule. Two teams of nine players each: it should be in the constitution.
 

5) Revise the calendar to consist of 13 months of 28 days each, so that each day of the month always falls on the same day of the week, adding up to 364 days. The extra day? duh. Election Day.

Monday, February 26, 2024

I kinda like Ike.

Do you think of Dwight David Eisenhower as a particularly poetic person? Until now me neither but this is kind of great:

“When I was a boy growing up in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there on the warmth of a summer afternoon we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him I wanted to be a major league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be president of the United States. Neither of us got our wish.”

Monday, February 19, 2024

Born to lead

Here’s a thought experiment. Put a hairbrush in a shoebox. Put the lid on the shoebox. Then start asking people what they think is in the shoebox. Maybe they’ll say, “An apple.” That would be incorrect, though. Somebody else might guess shoes, which isn’t a bad guess, or a stapler, which, why not? A bar of soap? A Hummel figurine wrapped in tissue paper? A dead Guinea pig? Eventually and inevitably  someone will ask, “Is it a hairbrush?” And, yes, it’s a hairbrush! Wow! This extraordinary person knew about – predicted – the hairbrush in the shoebox! They must be a genius.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Shrove is the past tense of Shrive

King Cake is just whatever you feel like baking smothered in sugary frosting and encrusted with granulated sugar tinted in colors which are not typically the colors of actual food. King Cake is everywhere around this time of year and you find yourself eating it constantly leading inevitably to Fat Tuesday. To me the best time to enjoy Carnival Season in New Orleans is Wednesday Gras when you can stand on the curb without the inconvenience of congested streets or the unpleasantness of being stuck in an inebriated crowd and you are less likely to be struck by flying beads.

Monday, February 5, 2024

What are the odds?

I have just read that the chances of being struck by lightning over one human lifetime are about 15,300 to one which makes this a thing about which you for all practical purposes need not worry at all. Don’t give it another thought. Your chance of winning the Powerball is close to 20,000 times worse than that; you’d be better off taking out lightning insurance on your friends and family. The odds of surviving a lightning strike are about 90%, so there’s every chance you could rake in a fat payout and still enjoy that favorite cousin or bowling partner.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Omaha and Lincoln, if you're wondering

Inspired by the example of that harbinger of tomorrow, Alabama, Nebraska State Senator Loren Lippincott has introduced legislation to make asphyxiation with nitrogen an Official Nebraska State Method of Execution. Senator Lippincott represents a place called Central City, which unless I am very much mistaken was also home to the Flash back in the 1960s. It is just a bit more than a two hour drive from Bellevue, the third biggest city in Nebraska and the second largest city in the U.S. named Bellevue. Is thinking up better ways to kill people a normal part of a Nebraska legislator’s job?

Monday, January 22, 2024

Your Partner in Progress

In today’s fast-paced business climate, where just-in-time materials strategies are driving new economies of scale in the logistics of outsourced supply-side input streams, key operators in the manufacturing sector are turning to turn-key solutions to address their downstream customer’s demands for flexibility and expertise with a widening array of off-the-shelf offerings that provide mission-critical support that allows them to leverage their key competencies for success in a global market. That’s why, to serve you better, Amalgamated Punch and Federated Chisel have joined forces to form Consolidated Punch and Chisel, the full-service one-stop resource for all your punch and chisel needs.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Size Matters

Cawker City, Kansas, is one of several places claiming the world’s biggest ball of twine. The thing is, ball of twine arguments have gotten so much media attention that they are no longer considered quirky enough to warrant the full attention of true biggest stuff aficionados. Just outside of Effingham, Illinois, (motto: “I Wonder Who’s Effingham Now”) stands America’s second biggest cross. It is 198 feet tall, which for comparison is nearly 1,358 times the height of the typical crucifix such as might be worn around the neck, which would likely escape your attention as you passed Effingham on I-57.

Monday, January 8, 2024

eeew

I didn’t write the following, just cut and pasted: “In slugs it is often impossible to distinguish closely related species using external features and so reliable identification requires dissection to examine the genitalia. Slugs produce two types of mucus: one is thin and watery, and the other thick and sticky. Some species of slug secrete slime cords to suspend a pair during copulation. In the banana slugs, the penis sometimes becomes trapped inside the body of the partner. Apophallation allows the slugs to separate themselves by one or both of the slugs chewing off the other's or its own penis.”

Monday, January 1, 2024

The Island of the Danged

We should have seen what was coming when the Captain stubbed his toe. We had at that moment disembarked and were standing on the shore surveying the island which, it seemed, was fated to be our home until such time as rescue should arrive. We were: Myself, O’Connor the industrialist and his charming daughter, Schmidt the brusque and vigorous circus strongman, and the monocled and highly decorated Prinz Kraznoffski escorting the much-celebrated chanteuse Mademoiselle Mimi. How were we to know that none of us would escape mishaps as grievous as our Captain’s, or in some cases, almost nearly as bad.