May 31, 2006
Steve R forwards this story about whale tangled in fishing gear. Snopes reports that it's a true story.
If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 14, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farralone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off that they must act immediately. The only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her, a very dangerous proposition. Just one slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually she was freed.
When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around, she was thanking them.. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eyes were following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
Two hippies were waiting at the bus stop alongside a nun whose leg was in a cast. The first hippie asked "Sister, how did you break you leg?"
"I slipped in the bathtub."
The second hippie asked the first, "What's a bathtub?"
"How should I know? I'm not Catholic!"
Evolution of Dance
Carol sends a link to this very funny clip:
A construction worker came home and found his wife in bed with another man. So he dragged the man down the stairs to the garage and clamped the man's Johnson in the vise on his workbench. He secured it tightly and removed the handle.
Then he picked up a hacksaw.
The man, terrified, screamed, "Wait! Stop!! You're not going to cut if off, are you?!"
The husband said, with a gleam in his eye, "Nope. You are...
"I'm going to set the garage on fire."
May 30, 2006
"More 100 proof cute!" says our contributor.
I'm still looking...
...for the Very Worst Pun Ever. This one comes from my sister and I'm thinking it's a real contender for that title:
Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 cases of the condiment scheduled for delivery to Vera Cruz, Mexico - which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.
This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York The ship hit an iceberg and sank and the cargo was forever lost.
The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day.
The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.
World's Greatest Magician
One of the funniest things I've seen recently -- from Google Video:
Anybody looking for a good bridge?
Man Tries To Invent Cordless Jump Rope
POSTED: 8:37 am EDT May 30, 2006
WASHINGTON -- If you think keeping fit is merely mind over matter, Lester Clancy has an invention for you: a cordless jump-rope.
The idea is that you hold both handles and jump over the pretend rope. Or if you're truly lazy, you can pretend to jump over the pretend rope.
The U.S. Patent Office apparently thinks it's the real thing. It's awarded Clancy a patent.
Clancy said what makes this invention work are the moving weights inside the handles. They simulate the feel of a rope moving. At least they would, if there were two of them.
Clancy has only one handle so far because he's waiting for financial backers.
California State University professor Mike Ernst says the cordless jump-rope can be a good idea if it promotes physical activity.
Would he buy it? Ernst says, "I'm not an idiot."
May 29, 2006
Scott Ott has a good essay about Memorial Day up at Scrappleface: Sixty-Two Years and Two Hard Words.
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetary, St. Louis
Lou sends this list:
After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch or you'll have to pee.
Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
If you dial a wrong number, you never get a busy signal.
If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tire, the very next morning you will have a flat tire.
If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will start to move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).
When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.
The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with
When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.
The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.
At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.
The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.
Steve R sends this image of "A beautiful old bird doing a high speed low pass." (Click for a larger image.)
May 27, 2006
I'm back home in the Missouri hills after another two weeks on the road. Since the project I've been working on involved a large utility vehicle, I'm reminded of the Grateful Dead song Truckin'. And "what a long, strange trip it's been," indeed.
Luckily, we skipped the "Livin' on reds, vitamin C and cocaine" part of that song.
This (pop-up) image of me climbing down from the cab of the vehicle was taken at the start of the day near Wapella, Illiniois. The Panasonic Toughbook I was using is visible to the left of my head. I was very happy with the Toughbook's performance; it took a lot of rattling and bouncing around during the last month and it never faltered. And it's pretty snappy, to boot. If you ever need a ruggedized laptop, check out the Toughbook.
But the best news was that we had a great team. We had a lot of sharp eyes and level heads in our group, especially given the often frustrating circumstances. A big shout-out to Allen, Alan, Amy, Brian, Kyle, Sean, Stacy and Steve for keepin' it right.
This last two weeks saw us visiting several more rural locations in the Midwest. If you're up for more prattle about the prairie, as in my last post on this topic, then read on.
Since all the work we were trying to do on this project was - literally - in the field, we were subject to the weather. Rain was a Bad Thing if it occurred while, or just before, we planned to work. Since it was rainy in Monmouth when we reconvened after Mothers' Day, our client decided to take the show on the road.
Our first day out, we visited Newton, Iowa. Here's a view from the field we were working in, taken not long after sun-up.
Since morning is my favorite time of day and since I like being outside, it was usually a treat to get out in the country early. The part I didn't like was the staying out there until 8 or 9 PM.
After an afternoon and most of a day at Newton, we spent an evening and a morning traveling to Kerkhoven, Minnesota. We had a long first day at Kerkhoven when we discovered a problem with one of the electrical subsystems late in the evening. So we were in the equipment shed until after 10 PM trying to troubleshoot it. Luckily, our client had the foresight to bring an ice chest full of frosty cold ones with him.
Don't be misled by the word shed. This "shed" is a fairly new Morton building: it's fully insulated, it has a full concrete floor with radiant heat and it has one of the most interesting doors I've seen.
This big door folds in the middle horizontally and the halves are pulled together by cables driven by an electric motor. When it's open, the doorway is tall (and wide) enough to admit a small airplane. The small doorway for people (at the left) will give you a sense of scale. It's quite a building, for an equipment shed.
This one was taken in mid-afternoon, the day we arrived at Kerkhoven.
Kerkhoven looks a whole lot like Newton, doesn't it? Part of the reason for this is that the places we usually worked were the bottom lands that are good for agriculture. The other part is that there's a big old mess of prairie in the middle of North America: from eastern Colorado to western Pennsylvania (north of the Ohio river) and north from Oklahoma into the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. There's a reason they call it the Great Plains: there are thousands of square miles of mostly flat grasslands out there, with the occassional river valley.
When we left Kerkhoven, we traveled south to Mapleton, Minnesota where we worked last Saturday. Mapleton's not far south of Mankato, Minnesota. I don't have any photos of Mapleton, but by now you know you're not missing much. It looked much like the other photos above.
From Mapleton, we returned to Monmouth. Since we had equipment following us from Minnesota back to Illinois, I had some free time on Sunday to drive to Champaign-Urbana and visit my foster mother.
To her happy children of the future
those of the past send greetings
The statue of Alma Mater at Illinois was made by Loredo Taft, who was a well-known sculptor in his day but who doesn't even seem to rate a Wikipedia page these days. The university's motto is "Learning and Labor" and I believe that the other two figures in this statuary group are intended to represent those virtues.
It was a beautiful day in Urbana; bright and sunny with a temperature in the high 70s. The campus had that lazy, uncrowded summertime feel to it that I recalled from the summers when I lived in Urbana year-round.
The next week, we spent three days working in the Monmouth area. This is the Warren County courthouse which sits at the northwest corner of the Monmouth public square.
Our final worksite was at Wapella, Illinois, where this post started. We spent most of a day there and then we headed home. Here's a picture, taken at Wapella, of some fellows loading a soybean planter before they start a day of planting.
This particular machine will plant 23 rows of soybeans at a pass, with each pass being 28.75 feet wide. They can plant many acres of beans pretty quickly.
And, having just got back from Illinois, I believe I'll lock the front door because I got to sit down, take a rest on my porch, and look out my back door.
Cheaper than gas
Carol sends this image.
Now that's bad cotton mouth
J.R. sends this amusing visual joke:
So this koala is sitting in a gum tree smoking a joint...
...when a little lizard walks past and looks up and says, "Hey, Koala! What're you doing up there?"
The koala says, "Smoking a joint, man. Come on up and have a toke."
So the little lizard climbs up and sits next to the koala and they burn a few. After a while the little lizard says his mouth is dry and he's going to get a drink from the river. But the little lizard is so stoned that he leans too far over and he falls into the river.
A crocodile sees this and swims over to the little lizard and helps him to the side. Then he asks the little lizard, "What's the matter with you?"
The little lizard explains to the crocodile that he was sitting in a tree with a koala smoking a joint, got too stoned and then fell into the river while taking a drink. The crocodile says he has to check this out. So the croc walks into the forest, finds the tree where the koala is sitting, looks up and says, "Hey you!"
And the koala looks down at him and says, "Shiiiiiiiiiiit, dude... How much water did you drink?!"
May 15, 2006
A little more about animal husbandry from Dave, the heathen Hoosier husband. (Say that real fast a few times.)
A man took his wife to the county fair and one of the exhibits was breeding bulls. They went up to the first pen and there was a sign that said, “This bull mated 50 times last year.”
The wife poked her husband in the ribs and said, “He mated 50 times last year.”
They walked a little further and saw another pen with a sign that said, “This bull mated 120 times last year.”
The wife hit her husband again and said, “That’s more than twice a week! You could learn from him.”
They walked further and a third pen had a bull with a sign saying, “This bull mated 365 times last year.”
The wife got really excited and said, “That’s once a day. You could REALLY learn something from this big fella.”
The husband looked at her and said, “Go up and ask him if it was always the same cow.”
This reminds me of the old joke told about President and Mrs. Coolidge, leading to the naming of the Coolidge Effect.
Carol sends this collection of editorial cartoons.
A couple of folks passed this one along as "George Carlin's New Rules for 2006". But Snopes says they aren't Carlin's and they're from Bill Maher's show instead. They're pretty funny in any case.
New Rule: Stop giving me that pop-up ad for classmates.com! There's a reason you don't talk to people for 25 years. Because you don't particularly like them! Besides, I already know what the captain of the football team is doing these days: mowing my lawn.
New Rule: Don't eat anything that's served to you out a window unless you're a seagull. People are acting all shocked that a human finger was found in a bowl of Wendy's chili. Hey, it cost less than a dollar. What did you expect it to contain? Trout?
New Rule: Stop saying that teenage boys who have sex with their hot, blonde teachers are permanently damaged. I have a better description for these kids: lucky bastards.
New Rule: If you need to shave and you still collect baseball cards, you're a dope. If you're a kid, the cards are keepsakes of your idols. If you're a grown man, they're pictures of men.
New Rule: Ladies, leave your eyebrows alone. Here's how much men care about your eyebrows: do you have two of them? Okay, we're done.
New Rule: There's no such thing as flavored water. There's a whole aisle of this crap at the supermarket, water, but without that watery taste. Sorry, but flavored water is called a soft drink. You want flavored water? Pour some scotch over ice and let it melt. That's your flavored water.
New Rule: Stop fucking with old people. Target is introducing a redesigned pill bottle that's square, with a bigger label. And the top is now the bottom. And by the time grandpa figures out how to open it, his ass will be in the morgue. Congratulations, Target, you just solved the Social Security crisis.
New Rule: The more complicated the Starbucks order, the bigger the ass hole. If you walk into a Starbucks and order a "decaf grande half-soy, half-low fat, iced vanilla, double-shot, gingerbread cappuccino, extra dry, light ice, with one Sweet-n'-Low and one NutraSweet," ooh, you're a huge ass hole.
New Rule: I'm not the cashier! By the time I look up from sliding my card, entering my PIN number, pressing "Enter," verifying the amount, deciding, no, I don't want cash back, and pressing "Enter" again, the kid who is supposed to be ringing me up is standing there eating my Almond Joy.
New Rule: Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn't make you spiritual. It's right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to "beef with broccoli." The last time you did anything spiritual, you were praying to God you weren't pregnant. You're not spiritual. You're just high.
New Rule: Competitive eating isn't a sport. It's one of the seven deadly sins. ESPN recently televised the US Open of Competitive Eating, because watching those athletes at the poker table was just too damned exciting. What's next, competitive farting? Oh wait. They're already doing that. It's called "The Howard Stern Show."
New Rule: I don't need a bigger mega M&M. If I'm extra hungry for M&Ms, I'll go nuts and eat two.
New Rule: If you're going to insist on making movies based on crappy, old television shows, then you have to give everyone in the Cineplex a remote so we can see what's playing on the other screens. Let's remember the reason something was a television show in the first place is that the idea wasn't good enough to be a movie.
New Rule: No more gift registries. You know, it used to be just for weddings. Now it's for babies and new homes and graduations from rehab. Picking out the stuff you want and having other people buy it for you isn't gift giving, it's the white people version of looting.
New Rule: and this one is long overdue: No more bathroom attendants. After I zip up, some guy is offering me a towel and a mint like I just had sex with George Michael. I can't even tell if he's supposed to be there, or just some freak with a fetish. I don't want to be on your webcam, dude. I just want to wash my hands.
New Rule: When I ask how old your toddler is, I don't need to know in months. "27 Months." "He's two," will do just fine. He's not a cheese. And I didn't really care in the first place.
J.R. sends this message about a little girl who lost her goldfish.
May 13, 2006
Weekend reading 16
The latest Club For Growth newletter provides a link to a George Will column about Senator McCain's lukewarm attitude to defending First Amendment rights. Despite BCRA (McCain-Feingold), the senator seems to think we need still more federal regulation of funding political speech, this time for "527" groups. Will's column opens:
Presidents swear to "protect and defend the Constitution." The Constitution says: "Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech." On April 28, on Don Imus's radio program, discussing the charge that the McCain-Feingold law abridges freedom of speech by regulating the quantity, content and timing of political speech, John McCain did not really reject the charge:
"I work in Washington and I know that money corrupts. And I and a lot of other people were trying to stop that corruption. Obviously, from what we've been seeing lately, we didn't complete the job. But I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government."
I first mentioned the "527 Reform Act" in this post last month when H.R. 513 was passed by the House of Representatives.
The CFG site has added a Free Speech Action Center page to its site. Check it out. Then act - before your right to fund political speech with others who share your ideas is limited even more than it is now.
Light posting and a little prairie nostalgia
Since May 1st I've been putting in beaucoup hours working on a technically interesting project at a rural site near Monmouth, Illinois. Though the location's remote and the hours have been extremely long, one bit of good fortune has been the excellent restaurant across the street from my hotel. If you're ever in the area, check out Cerar's Barnstormer: great food and great service.
Monmouth is an interesting little town about 50 miles west of Peoria, where I grew up. Being out on the Illinois prairie again brought back a host of memories from my teen and young adult years, before I left Illinois for Arizona. There aren't many man-made elements in the prairie landscape -- just enough to highlight the open expanse. We downstaters will tell you that's a big part of the prairie's charm. And, man, is the air sweet.
The town itself reminds me of parts of Peoria; I spotted some old brick sidewalks like the ones I grew up with. Monmouth is pretty small, with about 9900 residents. It's not big enough to have any outskirt, so you're out in the farm fields practically as soon as you leave the city limits. One of its touristy claims-to-fame is that it's the birthplace of Wyatt Earp. Who knew?
Another thing that struck me about Monmouth was the Maple City logo and tagline you see around town. I'm not an arborist, but I didn't notice an overwhelming preponderance of maple trees. Maybe it's a historical thing (or maybe I need to pay more attention).
Monmouth appears to be still pretty much as it was originally laid out 150 years ago. In the middle is a town square with its traffic circle. Main Street runs north and south from the square and Broadway runs east and west. Driving west along Broadway from the square, the streets have letter names (A Street, B Street); driving east, the streets have number names (1st Street, 2nd Street). Driving south along Main, the streets are named with numbers again (1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue) and driving north, the streets appear to be named after people. The city fathers ran out of naming schemes, I suppose.
Monmouth College is a a few blocks east of the town square. Driving a dozen blocks north, south or west of the square brings you to the edge of town; it extends a little further if you drive east, past the college.
Update: I spoke too quickly about the Monmouth city founders and their running out of naming schemes because I noticed that the streets you cross driving north along Main Street also follow the A,B,C pattern used on west Broadway. They're named Archer, Boston, Clinton, Detroit, Euclid, Franklin...
I expect another week or two away from home on this project and some travel to other rural locations in the Midwest, so posting (and e-mail responsiveness) will continue to be spotty. Back in the daily dose business by Memorial Day, I hope.
My Favorite Things
I don't know the origin of this funny lyrics parody that Lou forwarded.
For the older crowd - much older than any of us, of course. Sung to the tune of the classic song from the movie The Sound of Music.
Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favorite things..
Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
When the pipes leak,
When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.
Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.
When the joints ache,
When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.
[Internet legend incorrectly claims that actress/vocalist Julie Andrews sang this at Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall for the benefit of the AARP to commemorate her 69th birthday on October 1, 2004. Ms. Andrews lost her ability to sing following unsuccessful surgery to remove a non-cancerous growth from her vocal chords in 1997.]
Avian Flu in Florida
Rob (and others) sent this image showing an outbreak of avian flu in Florida:
A direct line
A little regional humor.
A man from Topeka, Kansas decided to write a book about churches in the United States. So he flew to San Francisco and started working east from there. Going to a very large church in the Bay Area, he began taking photographs and making notes. He spotted a golden telephone on the vestibule wall and was intrigued with a sign which read: "Calls: $10,000 per minute."
Seeking out the pastor, he asked about the phone and the sign. The pastor answered that the golden phone was, in fact, a direct line to Heaven and if he paid the price, he could talk directly to God. The man thanked the pastor and continued on his way.
As he continued, he visited churches in Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and all around the United States. Everywhere he found more such phones with the same sign and with the same explanation from each pastor.
Finally, the man arrived in the Austin, Texas. Upon entering a church he saw the usual golden telephone. But this time the sign read: "Calls: 25 cents."
Fascinated, the man asked to speak with the pastor. "Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country and in each church I have found a golden telephone, been told it is a direct line to Heaven and I could use it to talk to God. But in 20 other churches, the cost was $10,000 per minute. Your sign says 25 cents per call. Why is that?"
The pastor smiled benignly and replied: "Son, you're in Texas now! It's a local call."
Bud Light tribute
An ad from their Real Men of Genius series.
Video below the fold.
[WMV format. Save.]
May 06, 2006
Blondes are back!
Did you hear about the two blondes who froze to death in a drive-in movie?
They went to see "Closed for the Winter."
Why did the blonde resolve to have only 3 children? She heard that one out of every four children born in the world was Chinese.
Did you hear about the near-tragedy at the mall?
There was a power outage and twelve blondes were stuck on the escalators for over four hours.
A blonde was driving home after a game and got caught in a really bad hailstorm. Her car was covered with dents, so the next day she took it to a repair shop. The shop owner saw that she was a blonde, so he decided to have some fun.
He told her just to go home and blow into the tail pipe really hard, and all the dents would pop out.
So, the blonde went home, got down on her hands and knees and started blowing into her tailpipe. Nothing happened. So she blew a little harder, and still nothing happened.
Her roommate, another blonde, came home and said, "What are you doing?" The first blonde told her how the repairman had instructed her to blow into the tail pipe in order to get all the dents to pop out.
The roommate rolled her eyes and said, "Duh! Like hello-o-o-o! You need to roll up the windows first."
A blonde went to an eye doctor to have her eyes checked for glasses. The doctor directed her to read various letters with the left eye while covering the right eye.
The blonde was so mixed up on which eye was which that the eye doctor, in disgust, took a paper lunch bag with a hole to see through, covered up the appropriate eye and asked her to read the letters.
As he did so, he noticed the blonde had tears streaming down her face.
"Look," said the doctor, "there's no need to get emotional about getting glasses."
"I know," agreed the blonde. "But I kind of had my heart set on wire frames."
A man entered the bus with both of his front pockets full of golf balls and sat down next to a beautiful (you guessed it) blonde. The puzzled blonde kept looking at him and his bulging pockets.
Finally, after many such glances from her, he told her, "It's golf balls."
Nevertheless, the blonde continued to look at him thoughtfully and finally, not being able to contain her curiosity any longer, she asked, "Does it hurt as much as tennis elbow?"
This has to be one of the best blonde jokes around. This should make all you technologically challenged people feel GOOD.
A young man wanted to get his beautiful blonde wife, Susie, something nice for their first wedding anniversary. So he decided to buy her a cell phone. He showed her the phone and explained to her all of its features.
Susie was excited to receive the gift and simply adored her new phone.
The next day Susie went shopping. Her phone rang and, to her astonishment, it was her husband on the other end. "Hi, Susie," he said, "how do you like your new phone?"
Susie replied, "I just love it! It's so small and your voice is clear as a bell, but there's one thing I don't understand though..."
"What's that, sweetie?" asked her husband.
"How did you know I was at Wal-Mart?"
J.R. sent this clip from Late Night with Conan O'Brien about hot dogs and homophobes. It's a little suggestive but still SFW.
Video below the fold.
[WMV format. Save.]
Such a deal
Over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux nails it one more time in his post The Best Deal Going. He begins by talking about the "energy crisis" and ends up with this:
I love this market process. People such as me -- people who lack even a whiff of creativity, people who are terribly risk-averse, people who lazily prefer to read novels and work at secure jobs and spend our evenings at home dining and drinking with family and friends -- just sit back and wait for profit-hungry hard-working anxiety-ridden creative entrepreneurs, each in competition with others, to find new ways to improve our lives. And we don't even have to accept what they devise. If we like it, we buy it. If not, we don't buy it.
I almost feel like a free-rider, a lazy bum, a poacher. I do nothing entrepreneurial, and yet my daily life is filled with the marvelous fruits of entrepreneurial creativity and effort.
Will somebody please...
While I'm not one of those who think that President Bush should be impeached, I'll admit I was amused by this protestor's sign.
Tip o' the hat to Rob.