William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Category: Fun (page 1 of 91)

Two cannibals are eating a clown and one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

The Inevitable Red Skins Name Controversy Post

An early Cleveland tail-gating.

An early tail-gating.

Readers have been patiently waiting for the WMBriggs.com take on the Washington Redskins1 controversy, the gist of which is this: Lefties don’t like the name because they feel only they are allowed to worship skin color—generally to say it doesn’t matter at all and to insist it be tracked (and rewarded or punished) everywhere and always—while the Righties, who don’t give a damn about skin color but love tradition, wish the Lefties would take a long walk off a short dock.

Although it’s much been in the news, the Red Skins are only the tip of the political-correctness-berg. You probably weren’t aware, but there are many other teams targeted by the Outrage Police, even in baseball, the only sport of interest worth following in these once United States.

I did some research and was shocked at the breadth of the naming scandal. What follows is a brief summary of the mental agony which awaits us once these become more publicly known.

  1. Cleveland Indians: racist. The Mahatma Gandhi Appreciation Society (Ohio branch) insists the name does not accord with the non-violent philosophy of its idol after a fan was heard in the stadium shouting, “Kill ‘em!” The group plans a stadium sit-in, and say they will eat only raw rice and the dandelions harvested from the parking lot until the name is changed.
  2. Minnesota Twins: homophobic. GLAAD issued a press release intended to jerk tears from readers, in which they groan that single-sex couples can’t have babies, twins or otherwise, and thus feel the name is an insensitive and constant reminder of their constituents’ disability. They suggested the new name The Inclusives.
  3. Minnesota Vikings: racist. The North-American Danes and Nordics (NADA) Knitting Club are incensed over the stereotyping of their ancestry, and point out that many Vikings did not cut open their victims’ chests and splay out their lungs jokingly as wings, and that many Vikings were gentle farmers.
  4. Detroit Tigers: speciest. PETA is angry that animals’ images are being used without their consent and are suing on their behalf, asking for three million dollars and a year’s supply of goats (to feed the tigers). Detroit is seen as a test case, which the teams from the Orioles to the Cubs are watching closely.
  5. Kansas City Royals: anti-democratic. The Howard Zinn fan club of Boulder, Colorado voted to have a vote to vote on the motion to publicize their discontent and announce that since it is 2014 there is no place for royalist thought anywhere in the world.
  6. Los Angeles Angels: theocratic. The American Atheists and Freedom From Religion Foundation joined forces to sue, claiming that since the mayor of that city once threw out a first pitch, there was an unconscionable mixing of state and religion. The parallel suit against the St Louis Cardinals was subsequently dropped after a Bright attended one of the games and realized their mistake.
  7. Texas Rangers: racist. La Raza are organizing a march to the stadium. Participants will carry posters of Chuck Norris’s Lone Wolf McQuade with red Xs painted over them. Special badges to identify marchers will be handed out, though it is expected these will be refused.
  8. Milwaukee Brewers: corrupting influence Mothers Against Drunk Driving are planning a special bake sale on the state capitol steps featuring snacks all under 100 calories.
  9. Pittsburgh Pirates: sexist. The Collation of Women’s Studies Departments expressed “outrage” that the very symbol of misogyny and rape culture should be praised. They said it was “one more indication of the cruel patriarchal tyranny under which we live”. The group plans a rally at the south side Dunkin’ Donuts to “raise awareness” and to cash in on their coupons for limited-time Pumpkin Delite donuts.
  10. San Francisco Giants: sizeist. The San Francisco City Council realized they were falling behind in the latest progressive craze and seized on the opportunity to make themselves feel superior to ordinary citizens. Realizing they had no legal merit to close the Giants’ stadium, one council member introduced a proposal to ban baseballs within city limits, “for the safety of the children.”

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1A professional franchise organized to play “football”, a game in which about four to five dozen men sit in booths far away from a field, directing another set of men to do very little and in short bursts, accompanied by a massive number of commercials.

Up North At The Lake, With No Phone, Computer, TV

Another day at the office.

Chris doesn’t have a computer. And he doesn’t want one. He’s my age and works at the Dobleski Marina as a mechanic. He has a house, family, couple of cars, and of course lives near the lake.

The shop has a few dozen men, and one day the boss switched to a new company to handle everybody’s benefits. This required the men to go on line with their “pass codes” and enter information. One by one the men came into the office to do so.

The first started pecking around with one finger, asking for help with the mouse. The boss asked, “What’s the matter. Don’t you know how to use a computer?”

“Nope. Don’t have one.”

Same thing with Chris—and with about a third of the men. No computer, no internet access at home. Why? They see no need for it. Chris said, “It’s a waste of time.” Costs too much, too.

“My boss said, ‘Why don’t you have the internet. It’s great!’ and he proceeded to show me some thing that took an hour to get it to work. Why do I need that?”

Chris also doesn’t have cable television. He had it once, but the company started raising the rates, raised them some more, and then raised them again. Chris called it quits. Said TV is a waste of time anyway. But to please his daughter he bought an antenna. He now gets five channels, and sometimes six if the weather is just right.

You probably already know, but Chris doesn’t have a smart phone, either. And he isn’t alone. Many people up here just don’t see the need.

Now the lake Chris lives on is a big one and the town is one with a lot of rich folks from down south who have summer mansions, in which they spend a week or four a year. These people aren’t any different than anybody else and like to play, but having orders of magnitude more money than most, their toys are shinier—and most of them float.

It’s Chris’s job to fix these toys. Last week, he had to fetch a 59-foot beauty from point A and drive it to point B, about thirty-some miles away. He drove the work boat over to get it (and towed it back), and took along Mitch who spends most of his days inside. Mitch is a detailer.

Now the person who owned that big boat also drives from A to B every now and then. That trip, a popular route, is the reason he bought the boat, and is why he pays for its docking and maintenance. Since the maintenance is expert, it isn’t cheap. Would you know how to fix the motor of one of these things?

The men at the marina are outside most of the summer, and even into the fall and part of the winter. They try to get the inside work done before January, because the building which houses the boats isn’t heated. And boy can it get cold up here, with plenty of snow.

Another fellow bought a fancy new boat and thought something was funny with it, so he called the marina to have somebody take a look at it. Chris was dispatched. Back out onto the lake, the sun shining, the wind just so. Tigers on the radio.

The man was waiting. He said, “My boat smells like water.”

Chris knew enough not to laugh and tried to get the man to explain more carefully what he meant. Well, he meant what he said. When he went below decks, he thought he smelled water.

Now it was costing plenty for Chris to come down and inspect the boat, and to give the man the feeling that he was getting something for his money, Chris told him that boats tend to smell that way, but if he liked he could run his dehumidifier once in a while.

This advice greatly cheered the man, who paid the hefty fee, and Chris got back into the work boat heading north. The sun was still shining.

Chris is gratefully these rich folk want to play in his back yard. If they weren’t there, the 59-foot boats wouldn’t be there, a source of beauty would go missing, and far fewer people up north could make a living. And although Yours Truly didn’t talk with any, it’s a good bet these rich folks are glad people like Chris are around, too.

The names have all been changed, but the story hasn’t.

Calvin & Hobbes’s Atheist Days?

First comes the irresistible dawning of an ego-driven theory.

ch1

Followed by the rejection and castigation of tradition and consequent feelings of superiority.

ch2

Which creates the inevitable narcissism and the mistaking of self-indulgence for the Good.

ch3

And finally, in some, a repair and maturation of the soul.

ch4

Winner Announced In What Should Artists Do About Global Warming Contest

This is art.

This is art.

Background

Ten short days ago, we started the What Should Artists Do About Global Warming Contest. It was inspired by a performance “art” piece by one Sarah Cameron Sunde, who bravely stood in San Francisco Bay “for a full cycle of tides”, which is “more-than 13-hour process”.

Why?

To battle Global Warming, what else?

Now, modern art is pure evil, as is well known. But so is Global Warming. Therefore, why not set one evil to battle the other? No matter who loses, we win! At least one foe of humanity will have been vanquished. Hence our inspiration.

On to the contestants!

Entries

  • Hans Erren suggested any Cartoon by Josh. But this would not be sending evil to fight evil, since Josh’s cartoons are not ugly—and certainly not transgressive.
  • Paul Murphy suggested a visual performance piece, in which the artist takes stage and shows an image of the southern end of a northbound bull named “Global Warming”. The artist then “sits—back to audience, facing screen—[and] types on his iPad.” This is brilliant and earns Second Place.
  • Rich suggested playing John Cage’s hoax 4’33”, a fine start of an idea that needs fleshing out.
  • Chronus said, “I will build a pyramid of charcoal, then light it afire. After a suitable period of pondering my paleo ice age ancestors who tamed the flame and fought the earliest duel with Global Climate Change, I will forage in the ice(box) for mammal meat to char as they might have. Beer, the original killer app of civilization, will be served to the audience.” This is good, but would tend to put the audience in happy mood, whereas we are aiming for, at the least, is melancholy, if not outright despair.
  • AM (via email) sent in a project outline called “The Greening Planet”, the highlights of which follow.

    “As carbon dioxide spits forth unhindered from the smokestacks of civilization the chaotic tipping point between ice age and fire age may occur…already the Australian Outback is greener, more proof that the carbon cycle is being broken…

    We don’t care that it has been hotter, wetter, colder, dryer in the past. The past is history, and therefore it was somehow perfect. The future is a mystery, and the unknown scares us until we cry green tears. But don’t cry too much, you’ll waste energy metabolizing and spew out more carbon dioxide.

    …But we do know that the civilization that has taken us so far must somehow be our doom. Maybe we should create a new myth, the counter Prometheus, who stole fire from man, and gave it back to the gods so that we could live forever in shadow, safe from uncertainty of our own making and misunderstanding.”

    This is a good start, but not a full project idea. We need art that cuts and wounds for the winner.

  • Scotian (via email) sent in a completed project. Below are two images which our reporter on the spot was able to capture, both of which show the devastating nature of Global Warming and the ravages of sea-level rise!

    “I and my lady love, the strawberry blonde bombshell, decided on a lobster dinner at Hall’s Harbour before global warming caused the inevitable extinction of the lobster. I took the following photo on arrival. The boats were dragged up on the beach for safekeeping and could be easily launched down the central river.”

    Image 1

    Image 1

    “After a leisurely and very enjoyable meal of lobster, made even more poignant by the thought of their coming extinction, I and my one true love exited the restaurant to encounter a horrifying sight. The Greenland ice sheet had clearly collapsed while we were eating the last lobsters in existence, causing an unprecedented increase in sea level.”

    Image 2

    Image 2

    This clearly deserves an Honourable Mention, and could well have been the winner, if only Scotian had melted those glaciers himself in an effort to raise awareness.

The Winner!

Sheri suggested three projects, the best of which is this: “Alicia and George volunteered to spend one hour in light clothing in a meat freezer to show how the warming planet may actually make things more cold and there would be more snow and ice. Outside of the violent shivering, both reported the experience was certainly worth it and they would be doing more such art in the future, after the skin graphs are finished and the amputated fingers and toes surgeries heal.”

This is a clear and convincing winner because it neatly highlights the paradoxical nature of Global Warming, and the mysterious way it often makes things cold. Also, it involves amputation and bloody stumps, and if that doesn’t put the modern in “modern art”, nothing does.

The Prize

Sheri will receive a Kindle copy of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein (due to be released November 13, 2014). A Kindle is not needed to read the book; it can be read various ways using Amazon’s free readers.

Sheri, supply me your Amazon-preferred email by 5 September 2014. If you’ve forgotten my email, use the Contact Page.

How Do You Care For The Environment? #BecauseICare

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If you can’t see it, it reads: “When I drive, I only use 100% organic fuel. #BecauseICare”

How about you? What do you do for the environment?

Update You’re not doing enough. Man to live on melting iceberg for one year to urge climate change action (Video)

Still a tad busy here at WMBriggs.com-land.

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