Saturn in the Balance

Posted in Humor, Politics, Weather, Astronomy at 10:13 am by Administrator

Saturn Storm

Astronomers are puzzling over images of what appears to be a giant hurricane-like storm on Saturn’s south pole. At five thousand miles wide, the storm is much larger than earth hurricanes. It also doesn’t move.

The astrophysicists at NASA may not yet know what caused this storm, but I already have it figured out: Since scientists haven’t seen a storm like this on Saturn before now, it must be something new. Therefore, it must be the result of global warming on Saturn. This proves that there are humans on Saturn, since we know that human activity is the only possible cause of global warming on any planet.

We can’t wait for further scientific study. Action must be taken on this now, before it’s too late. Since humans are obviously causing global warming on Saturn, someone needs to go there to show them the error of their ways. Who could be better than Earth’s foremost expert on global warming? Maybe he could even make a sequel…

Hot Saturn

An Inconvenient Truth II: Saturn in the Balance


And another one gone…

Posted in Humor, Politics, World at 8:08 pm by Administrator


Early this morning the U.S. Military, acting on a tip from an informant, reduced the current final hiding place of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to very small pieces; thereby sparing us a new set of prison underwear shots. Seriously though, I’m glad they’re learning. Capturing Saddam alive was one of the biggest mistakes of the Iraq occupation. A 500lb bomb provides a certain immediate sense of closure that’s impossible with a long trial.

Someone has already set the bombing video to music. You can download it here. (Save to your own computer for best viewing.)

The Al-Zarqawi death photo reminds me of some other photos released by the military a while back. Remember these?


Mozart was a Red

Posted in Art & Drama, Humor, Philosophy at 7:02 pm by Administrator

This hilarious one act play was written by Murray Rothbard and performed at his birthday party in 1986. I stumbled across it while searching for Ludwig von Mises Institute documentaries. (It takes a little while to load.)

Mozart was a Red

I think it is readily apparent to whom the play is referring. If you need an explanation, the full script and a commentary are available here. Sorry L.P., sometimes the truth hurts. (It can also be funny.)

I think Bismarck’s quote about laws and sausages also applies to books. You may not want to meet the author.


Posted in Humor, Movies & TV, Clothing & Fashion at 2:17 pm by Administrator

Jack Bauer with his Manpurse 

I’m in the midst of the most profound sort of personal crisis.

It has long been my cherished belief that the so-called “messenger bag” has no place in a self-respecting heterosexual man’s wardrobe.

If that’s the case, then what the hell is Jack Bauer doing with one?!? I had previously been evading reality by telling myself (and others) that Bauer kept all his weapons and gear in a “duffel bag,” a “laptop bag,” or some other such delusion. However, I just read on Blog4Bauer that Bauer’s actual bag is being sold on Amazon.com and they call it [gasp] a “messenger bag.”

(Actually, they call it a “Heavyweight Classic Messenger and Travel Bag — Unisex.” The word they seem to be groping for is “manpurse.”)

How can this be? Jack Bauer is the quintessential symbol of manliness for the 2000s. Messenger bags are not manly. If he wears a manpurse then nothing is sacred. Will he start getting most of his intel by listening to gossip at the nail salon? Will his primary tool of torture be a hot curling iron? Where does it end?

Perhaps I’m overreacting. Maybe Bauer, being the pragmatic sort, realizes that the messenger bag is simply the best tool for the job and uses it despite its implications. Remember how he kept it hidden away until he absolutely needed it? The War on Terror requires sacrifice after all.

No. I’m simply deluding myself again. He chose that messenger bag. I’ve seen his work and I refuse to believe that Jack Bauer is some sort of closet metro, hipster, or emo. This can only mean one thing. I must have been wrong about messenger bags.

They do have a certain utility to them. They allow quicker access to their contents than backpacks. They allow for the concealment of larger items than pockets. They keep all necessary equipment in one place (”Damn! I have the plastique, but the detonators are in my other pants!”). They also have a long strap that can be used to strangle terrorists.

Does this mean that messenger bags are now manly? Maybe they are. Then again, maybe Bauer chose to wear one specifically so he would appear harmless.

I don’t think so though. Even when undercover, Jack Bauer never loses his “man on a mission” look. Therefore, I must conclude he considers the messenger bag to be part of his overall self-image. Remember: Image is everything.

Where does this leave me? Do I abandon my original notion and embrace the manpurse just because Bauer says it’s ok? Or do I hold out and stubbornly cling to my original notion of manliness?

Oh, screw it. Where’s my credit card…

Bauer's Messenger bag at Amazon.com


Window in the Grass

Posted in Art & Drama, Humor, NIU at 2:32 pm by Administrator

Here’s a typical example of NIU’s silly outdoor sculpture:

Window in Rock at Northern

I suspect it’s some sort of portal to another universe. So far, however, I haven’t been able to turn it on. 

The sad part is: Compared with some of the other sculpture here, this piece is actually not that bad. It doesn’t say anything particularly meaningful; but it’s well done for a (chopped up) rock with a hole in it. Note the Picasso imitation in the background.

Maybe it really is a portal. I wonder if they have lots of Zeppelins on the other side.


Restoring Modern “Art”

Posted in Art & Drama, Humor at 4:24 pm by Administrator

Restoring a Pollock

On RationalArtBlog, Sara wonders how the shoddy craftsmanship demonstrated in many “modern art” pieces will affect their long term monetary value. Expensive restoration may help but, with some pieces, it’s simply not an option. (The Pollock above showed signs of deterioration only ten years after it was completed. In terms of modern art, that’s longevity.)

Fortunately, there is a way to maintain the value of your investment. As a gesture of goodwill to my readers who like this stuff, I will share it. The solution is simple: Make another one! After all, it’s not like you’re copying the Mona Lisa. Just try it. With a little practice, you’ll be glueing dead birds and bubble gum wrappers to a canvas with the best of them. 

Even Pollock’s paintings can be easily reproduced. (I should know. My Pollock imitation was the best in the class.) Once cracks start to form on your 10 million dollar ”Number 2, 1949,” just whip out your paints and brushes (drippers?). In a few days you will have a new one and no one will know the difference (trust me, they won’t). If you’re lazy, just have your kids do the painting for you.

Don’t worry about trying to sell it. These people only buy art so they can act sophisticated at dinner parties. In fact, if you tell your buyer the piece isn’t original, he probably won’t care. It will only matter to him that everyone else think it is.

The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

Some pieces will be more difficult to duplicate than others.


Medical Science

Posted in Humor, Science & Engineering at 3:30 pm by Administrator

At about 11:30  last night, I got a headache. This was not an ordinary everyday headache mind you; but a truly head-splitting, feels like a brain tumor, dot-com investor headache.  I eventually cured this headache with my usual headache remedy (3 Tylenols, 3 Advils, 3 Aspirins). I couldn’t help observing, however, that had I gone to the best hospital in the country (Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins or something…NOT RCH), they probably would not have been able to tell me why I got a headache. In fact, they could not have determined with any kind of certainty whether or not my headache had been caused by:

  • the melatonin tablet I had taken so I would wake up early
  • the fact that, besides my usual coffee and Altoids regiment, I had eaten practically nothing that day but popcorn and leftover Easter candy
  • latent stress over the pile of homework I have due by the end of the semester
  • the five consecutive episodes of Desperate Housewives I had just watched on a 2.5 inch screen

Sure, they could have looked at the statistics stating that melatonin causes headaches in 10% of the population, stress causes headaches in 75% of the population, and Desperate Housewives causes headaches in 99% of the male population, but they would never have known for sure. They could only have made a somewhat educated guess.

If I had submitted to a series of expensive, invasive, degrading tests, they may have been able to rule out anything seriously wrong with me (such as Schwannomatosis, Neurofibromatosis, or being a sports fan); but they could never have determined, with absolute certainty, what had caused something as simple as a headache. In the end, I would probably have been told to go home and take an aspirin.

Contrast this with the typical experience with a car mechanic. You bring your car in, the mechanic plugs some neat little diagnostic tool into your engine, and in three minutes he tells you EXACTLY what the problem is, and how many thousand it will cost to fix. 

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with paying money to fix either my body or my car (or my car’s body), but I would prefer to pay for accurate diagnoses and fixes, not guesses based on my subjective description of the symptoms. Therefore, I submit that until medical treatment is as exact and precise as car repair, we should treat doctors less like gods, and more like unreliable body mechanics, useful mainly to fix clearly defined problems (like multiple stab wounds).