William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Category: Fun (page 1 of 90)

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

How Do You Care For The Environment? #BecauseICare


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?

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

What Should Artists Do About Global Warming Contest

This is art.

This is art.

Picture shows artist Sarah Cameron Sunde, who stood in San Francisco Bay on Friday Aug. 15, 2014, “for a full cycle of tides, a more-than 13-hour process.

A more than 13-hour process!

Why did artist Sarah Cameron Sunde stand in San Francisco Bay “for a full cycle of tides”, which is “more-than 13-hour process”? You already know the answer. To turn the tide against global warming!

Come, wasn’t it brave of artist Sarah Cameron Sunde to stand in San Francisco Bay “for a full cycle of tides”, which is “more-than 13-hour process”? She called her art “36.5: A Durational Performance with the Sea.”

Artist Sarah Cameron Sunde stood in San Francisco Bay “for a full cycle of tides”, a “more-than 13-hour process”, to raise awareness about rising sea levels. Consider my awareness raised! For instance, I’m now aware that if the Pacific ocean keeps rising at the same alarming rate as now, then in three or four short centuries, residents might have to move their beach chairs an inch or two back from the shore, lest they get wet feet.

SF Gate reports artist Sarah Cameron Sunde’s final words: “I’m walking out – I hope I survive”.

She did. Survive, that is. But there was little doubt. Artist Sarah Cameron Sunde also stood around in the water for a day in Bass Harbor, Maine and Akumal, Mexico. She survived those, too. SF Bay is pretty cold, though. Her warming trick? “I pee in the wetsuit,” she said. Charming.

Now I don’t know about you, but this is what I call art. Don’t take my word for it. Writer Jennifer Herman, the paper reports, happened to walk by and noticed Sunde not doing anything, so she, Herman, “was inspired to sit down and write some prose.” Prose!

Great art should be inspirational, and while it’s true little could top artist Sarah Cameron Sunde’s “durational performance”, we still ought to try. We only have one planet! (Not counting the few billion which are slightly too far away to get to using today’s technology.)

Dear readers, what kind of art best conveys the true message of Global Warming?


Readers must describe, in 300 words or so, art which raises awareness of the true message of Global Warming. You have one week from today to do so.

Entries with vivid pictures will, of course, receive higher weight. As will those that are written in professional art talk. Look to any major museum or art installation for examples, or take your cue from artist Sarah Cameron Sunde, who managed to make standing around in the water for a few hours into a heroic sounding deed.

Yours Truly is the sole judge and jury. There will be no appeals. I may engage in favoritism.

The Booty

The winner will receive a Kindle copy of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein (due to be released November 13, 2014).

The winner must supply me his or her email one week after I announce his or her name. Look to this webpage for the announcement.

Pass It On

Readers will be doing the entire planet a service by passing this contest around to the widest extent possible. Use the buttons below to push the post to Facebook, Twitter, and other services. Or simply email it.

Come on, gang! We have a planet to save!

Bonus activity

In popular accounts, of course. Do try it. “The science is settled!” becomes “The politics are settled!” Have fun!

Best Drinking Songs?

The results of the Theme Song post are below.

Best drinking songs? How about this? I mean The Perfect Fool’s part, Ed “Fire Chief” Wynn’s bit.

Don’t you dare say it isn’t. It is, and obviously so. If you think not, it’s only because you haven’t tried it. Sluice down a schnapps and give it a go.

See, I was raised on radio. My maternal grandpa had a set of old radio show LPs which I listened to over and again. Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, The Shadow, Johnny Dollar, Big band remotes, and of course Ed Wynn’s Fire Chief. (Nowadays we can search for “OTR”—treasures await! I recommend Box 13.)

It was on those records I learned the true appreciation of the Bad Joke (that, and my father is a master). Anybody can tell a good joke: all the work is done for you in the words. But only a master comedian can make a bad one funny.

Which is why it pains me this clip is cut short. (Disney is jealous of its copyrights and longer legal ones don’t exist.) Here’s the finish. Mary Poppins and company are stuck floating at the ceiling and discover the only way to escape is to think of something sad. Wynn knows a story that will bring them down.


Wynn tells us that a man knocked at his neighbor lady’s door, and the man said, “I’m sorry to tell you madam, but I have run over your cat.” (The ceiling party begins to sink, saddened.) The lady is pained, which moves the man. “Madam, I’d like to replace your cat.” (They sink lower.) “That’s very well,” she says, “But how are you at catching mice?”


This is also the scene where Dick Van Dyke begins a story, “I know a man with a wooden leg named Smith” and Wynn interrupts, “What’s the name of his other leg?”


Drinking song runners up:

That’s it. There’s only two. Face it: you’re drinking. How many songs can you be expected to remember?

Perhaps you have other ideas?

Theme Songs

Couple weeks back we picked our theme songs, and I asked readers for ideas besides Hard to be Humble for me.

Gary suggested, with good cause, Groucho’s I’m Against It. YOS thought Fur Elise (in ragtime, or as DAV corrected, stride), played by a well-dressed gentleman (though black hats with white bands are to be discouraged). Scotian, staying with the clothing theme, went with Donald, Where’s Your Trousers?. JH said Touch of Grey.

Sera said any song by Dean Martin. This one. Though I’m more of a Bing Crosby guy (what a mullet! Hey, Giddens! When is volume II coming out?). What a voice!

Bruce Foutch was probably closest with the Peter Gunn Theme. Along those lines, and much jauntier, this, my favorite theme (Hint: “Cops and women don’t mix. It’s like eating a spoonful of Drano. Sure, it’ll clean you out, but it’ll leave you hollow inside”). Or perhaps this, the theme from Perry Mason, maybe the best of them all (that pause! another interesting take).

Speaking of radio…

From Dr Grumpy (as recommended by the Blonde Bombshell):

“Dr. Grumpy: ‘Any other major health issues?’

Mr. Durante: ‘I sneeze once a day, sometimes twice.’”

Think about it.

Winners Announced In The Rename “Global Warming” Contest!

The thing that was Global Warming is to the left.

The thing that was Global Warming is to the left.

On 17 July we started the Rename “Global Warming” Contest. This produced 66 entries, which is a record for contests here. Thanks to everybody who participated. I think we’ve done a lot to assist our forlorn environmental brothers and sisters.

Forlorn? Yes. You see, for decades gloomy-eyed environmentalists have been telling us that Global Warming was going to destroy us all. Unless. Unless what? Unless they were put in charge of the world’s economy and the personal habits of each and every citizen of the planet (excepting those peoples excused through mandatory diversity and multicultural requirements, and also excepting those put in charge, of course).

These environmentalists sure scared the bejeebers out of a lot of folks with their talk of ever increasing dangerous calamitous unstoppable tipping point runaway Global Warming. Prediction after prediction of the excruciating horrific pitiless Death By Heat that awaited all of us were made, and were believed.

Only problem was that the weather didn’t cooperate with the forecasts. Oops and drat. And heartache among the enlightened when they realized their old catch phrases could not longer put the fear of Gaia into the congregation.

Thus was born (the tepid) “Climate Change”, a banal phrase that nobody in the world doubts, or ever doubted. And it isn’t even scary. It did have the advantage of being true, which “Global Warming” conspicuously lacked. But it never packed the oomph needed to attract the crowds.

A manic depression settled over the environmentalists, awful to see. The hyperactive melancholy became so bad that even rationalists began to feel sorry for the enviros, and thus, in the spirit of Christian love and brotherhood, was born our contest.

We wanted to find the phrase or phrases that would shake listeners to their core, to frighten them into making rash and stupid decisions like “Global Warming” did in the glory days. Have we succeeded? Let’s see.

Here are the list of notable and winning entries. Winners will be contacted by email and will be invited to write a 300- to 400-word essay on What I Learned From Global Warming, which will appear on this site (we’ll see who replies!).

(Oh, I did ask our pal Gav Schmidt to be a judge, but he never responded. I’ll be sure to let him know about the winning entries, so he and his fellow grant writers can start using them right away.)

Ironic and comical names were excluded automatically. Only the genuinely macabre made the cut.

Runners Up (in no particular order):

  • Mike (with shout out to Frank Hebert), “Global Weirding”
  • Sander van der Wal, “Climate’s Revenge”
  • GS, “Climapocalypse”
  • Mike B, “Anthropogenic Biosphere Calamity” or “ABC”
  • Bob Mrotek, “Ob Calefactionem Mundi”
  • Roadki11, “Anomalous Biospheric Collapse Dynamics”
  • RobR, “Acute Global Climate Poisoning”
  • Anders Valland, “Anthropogenic Climate Disruptive Catastrophe” or “ACDC”
  • vuurklip, “Catastrophic Climate Collapse”

Winners (in rough order of preference):

  1. Will, “Thermageddon”
  2. Bruce Foutch, “Climageddon”
  3. Alan Cooper, “The Anthropaclysm”
  4. Tom Scharf, “Ecopocalatastrophe”
  5. Sundance, “Global Greenhouse Gas Chamber”
  6. John, “Climactic Climatic Calamity”
  7. Yours Truly, “Apoplectic Apocalyptic Anthropogenic Atmospheric Aneurysm”

Readers: Pick Your Theme Song

It’s summer and everybody’s on vacation, except, it seems, Yours Truly. And whoever is left is over at Anthony’s place fighting the Kaya wars. (My side? Take a look at the guy who introduces Pielke Jr in this video. Would you believe any equation/identity introduced from a man who purposely spikes his hair? Fashion tip: Never do that.)

So with all this inactivity on our hands, it’s about time we settled on theme songs, which is to say, leitmotifs. A tune or snippet of a melody that, when heard, tells listeners Briggs has done it again.

Long ago, it had been suggested to me that this offering by Mac Davis would fit best:

But that was then. And since this is now a more humble and self-effacing self speaking to you, something softer and more enlightened is in order.

Note carefully: a theme song is not your favorite pop song. If it were, I might nominate Where Oh Where Are You Tonight? (apologies for not linking to a better version, but the rights holders keep having YouTube delete the good ones).

No, a theme song tells people who are you, what you are about, and what you are going to do. It should accomplish this task in as few as notes as possible.

Yet must brevity be all? The most memorable television theme songs used to last a full minute; now they are five to ten seconds. But that’s because production companies have to make a profit. Ideally, Yours Truly would, too, but we can’t have everything.

There is no end to this post. I don’t have a candidate replacement in mind. I’ll work on it.

Meanwhile, I’d like to hear your theme songs, especially those of regular contributors. If any are at their computers, that is.

Note that links to YouTube are sometimes quarantined by WordPress. Best to cut and paste the URL directly. If yours seems lost, don’t worry, I’ll un-quarantine it in time.

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