Category Archives: Stuff

Stevie Wonder’s secret sight gives me a glimmer of hope

The night before the dark, Stephen Colbert hosted Stevie Wonder so that the beloved musician could give one last impassioned plea for Americans to vote for Hillary Clinton:

Continue reading Stevie Wonder’s secret sight gives me a glimmer of hope

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How did Michael Bennett explain his bike-thievery anyway?

So about that earlier post — titled “The New York Times inexplicably chopped this quote in half” — which accused the Times of twisting Seahawks DE Michael Bennett’s words:  Mea cul…pass (?)* It turns out that when I wrote it (at some point between 3 and 4 AM), I somehow failed to notice that the gap between the NY Times and the quote I remembered was wider than I thought.**

Continue reading How did Michael Bennett explain his bike-thievery anyway?

The media got this “Ebola rejection letter” story all wrong

You may have already seen the headline: “Texas College Turns Down African Students Over Ebola“.  If not, here’s what went down:

CNBC spoke with Kamorudeen Abidogun, a Texas resident who had five relatives from his native Nigeria apply to [Navarro College] and use his home address for mailing purposes. “I received, last weekend, two rejection letters,” explains Abidogun, “saying the reason why they were not giving admission was … Ebola.”

Except that’s wrong. They weren’t denied admission because of Ebola. Sure, that’s what the headline claims, too —  “Texas College Turns Down African Students Over Ebola“.

But compare that to the published text of the rejection letter:

Continue reading The media got this “Ebola rejection letter” story all wrong

Hamas and Israel: *finally* a cease fire they can agree on

Israel loves to point out how it continuously offers to cease fire in Gaza, but Hamas refuses to stop shooting:

So it appears to have finally worked out a solution to the dilemma. Today, Israel finally offered a cease fire it knew Hamas would have no choice but to accept. Via Haaretz:

Continue reading Hamas and Israel: *finally* a cease fire they can agree on

“Weirdest creature[] we’ve ever seen” basically vindicates Disney

Almost two years ago, Grist published a piece piggy-backing off another piece in Scientific American, alerting readers to the incontrovertible fact that “crazy living rock is one of the weirdest creatures we’ve ever seen“:

The fact that this sea creature looks exactly like a rock with guts is not even the weirdest thing about it. It’s also completely immobile like a rock — it eats by sucking in water and filtering out microorganisms — and its clear blood mysteriously secretes a rare element called vanadium. Also, it’s born male, becomes hermaphroditic at puberty, and reproduces by tossing clouds of sperm and eggs into the surrounding water and hoping they knock together. Nature, you are CRAZY.

. . .

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be looking more carefully at rocks in the future. Also possibly trees and dirt. Who knows what apparently inanimate objects might be filled with innards and holding perverse “selfing” orgies right in front of our noses? Thanks for keeping us on our toes, nature.

But can Grist really claim to be surprised by the discovery of a living rock? After all, Disney alerted us to the possibility almost twenty years ago (I am so old):

Continue reading “Weirdest creature[] we’ve ever seen” basically vindicates Disney

Why did the North Korean smuggler try to slit his own throat?

A North Korean ship was intercepted last week attempting to traverse the Panama canal. The ship was supposed to be carrying sugar, but acting on a drug-trafficking tip, Panamanian authorities were shocked to discover an even more-unexpected cargo:

Underneath all that sugar, it turned out, were parts for what appeared to be elements of an antiquated Soviet-era missile radar system that was headed, evidently, to North Korea — a country that usually exports missile technology around the world, rather than bringing it in.

Late Tuesday night, Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the cargo stashed in the vessel, the Chong Chon Gang, consisted of “240 metric tons of obsolete defensive weapons” bound for North Korea, where it was to be repaired and then sent back to Cuba.

How obsolete?

“We’re talking old,” one official briefed on the episode said. “When this stuff was new, Castro was plotting revolutions.”

The Cuban Ministry did not seem to be offended, describing the equipment to be repaired as “two antiaircraft missile complexes, Volga and Pechora; nine missiles in parts and spares, two MiG-21bis and 15 motors for this type of airplane, all of it manufactured in the mid-20th century.”

I guess a half century of embargoes and the loss of Soviet allies can really dry up that weapons pipeline.

When inspectors boarded the vessel looking for drugs, they became suspicious after the situation quickly escalated to a “violent standoff between Panamanian marines and 35 North Korean crew members, armed largely with sticks*, who were subdued and arrested while their captain, claiming he was having a heart attack, tried to commit suicide.” Specifically, according to Newser, he tried to slit his throat with a knife.

*To be fair, when you’re using stone age weaponry, Korean War-era armament can look rather attractive.

Why the seemingly drastic reaction? Yes, the captain must go down with his ship, but last week was hardly the first time this particular North Korean vessel has been intercepted:

The Chong Chon Gang, a 36-year-old freighter, has its own peculiar history, and this was not the first time the vessel had encountered run-ins with maritime authorities. It was stopped in 2010 for carrying narcotics and ammunition, Mr. Griffiths said. He also said it had been attacked by Somali pirates.

So what exactly was the captain afraid of? As it turns out, he had good reason to fear the potential repercussions of his capture:

Continue reading Why did the North Korean smuggler try to slit his own throat?

Arrested Development blue my mind — again

Ever since the new season came out on Memorial Day, I’ve been busy watching Arrested Development — but not Season 4. Because it’s been six or seven years since I first saw the original series, I decided to rewatch the whole thing so as to better enjoy the new season. So far, I’ve nearly made it through the end of Season 2, but based on the reviews I’ve come across — and I try to avoid them, because spoilers — I’m not missing out on a whole lot by not having yet caught up. And even if I end up disappointed by the new episodes, no matter: committing myself to watching Seasons 1 through 3 hardly constitutes a tircha.*

But enough about current events, and more about what I was doing exactly one year ago today: reading Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. This is not the sort of detail I typically track, but that very book just so happened to inspire a June 12, 2012 post titled, This obscenely tasteless post goes out to all you Arrested Development fans. To fully appreciate what’s about to come, I strongly encourage you to head over and review that post before you come back here to finish reading — I’m going to assume you have a passing familiarity with its content going forward because there’s no use rehashing the whole thing blow-by-blow.

Just kidding: I mainly wanted to work in that “blow-by-blow”. If for some reason you decided not to click on that link and kept reading anyway, you may have made a tiny huge mistake, but I’m still happy to give you a bare-bones summary: I had literally never heard of Pat Conroy or Prince of Tides before it was heartily recommended to me by a good friend, and after reading it, I tied a few events it describes into an inappropriate Arrested Development-inspired joke. I have never taken notice of either Pat Conroy or Prince of Tides in any context other than what I just described — I haven’t seen the movie, it hasn’t been randomly referenced on Archer, nothing — neither before nor since.

Or so I thought — until today.

I was rewatching Season 2, Episode 15, “Sword of Destiny”, and was hardly two minutes into the episode before Tobias proclaimed, “Time for me to take off my receptionist skirt and put on my Barbara Streisand in the Prince Of Tides ass-masking therapist pantsuit.”

My response was pretty much the same as Michael’s: “What?”

So as it turns out, I have come across Prince of Tides before — the first time I watched Arrested Development. It obviously didn’t register back then, but it is pretty amazing that David Cross once dropped a fairly random line referencing a particular character in a specific book — and that, five or six years after seeing that, I was inspired to write a blog post involving Tobias Funke and his occupation as a therapist and the very therapist he referenced in that fairly random line concerning masked asses.

Mind bluen.

And so I end this post in the exact same way I ended the other: Thank you, Tobias Funke.

——————————————————————

*burden.

Invasion of the Unidentified Smiley Objects?

An extremely reliable and trustworthy friend who in no way has a taste for games, especially on the internet, reports sighting unidentified smiley objects on this blog — and only on this blog — particularly while viewing one particular post, ironically titled Why I Love the Internet.* He further reports, “Where it is in the page depends on the level of zoom.”

*Ironic because it apparently should have been titled “Why I don’t understand the internet”.

I don’t see them, and I spend a good amount of time around here. But then again, I also don’t see the WordPress ads. And so I turn to you, Dear Reader. Do you ever see them? Or is my friend hallucinating? Or trolling me?

Better, do you know what’s going on?

I’m really just curious, and in the meantime, happy to learn my blog is seemingly a joyous place.

Continue reading Invasion of the Unidentified Smiley Objects?

Rachels, Rachels everywhere…

I know enough people named Rachel that if you ever try to tell me a story featuring “Rachel” and don’t also mention some unique identifier (e.g. last name, prominent feature), you’d probably have been just as well off skipping the name altogether.

In fact, that very sequence of events once transpired, prompting me to point out that “I’d be surprised if I had less (sic) than 20 Rachel friends on Facebook.” 20 was a wild, uncarefully-considered guess — but I was, of course, quite proud when I checked the actual number of Facebook friends I had who were named Rachel… and the correct answer was exactly 20.* Heroic feats of guesstimation aside, the point of my narrative so far is simply this: we all know no shortage of people with Rachel for a first name.

But Rachel for a last name? I’d personally never heard of it (and Idan Raichel doesn’t count). Until, that is, I glanced up at my Facebook newsticker, and discovered Mark Zuckerberg had given me an early Passover present (yes, I’m easy to please):

Continue reading Rachels, Rachels everywhere…

One horse meat scandal pun to rule them all

This is not my first post about horse meat. It is not even my second post about horse meat. Nor is it the first tasteless* horse meat-related joke recorded on this blog (though in retrospect, my timing — early January — was quite prescient). But it is my third post about horsemeat, and the second horse meat-related joke recorded on this blog.

And now that we’ve got the numbers out of the way, I will also take this opportunity to note that I am not responsible for either of the two jokes — just for sharing them.

As you have surely by now heard, Europe — soon to be joined, I imagine, by the US — is caught up in a horse meat scandal (that shouldn’t be a scandal). But not every country is responding to the news in the same way. The Times is on it — with one of my favorite puns of all time:

Continue reading One horse meat scandal pun to rule them all