Letter to An Administrator

letter-writer.jpgYou may be aware that PZ Myers has come to the attention of the Catholic League (“For Religious and Civil Rights”), for lightheartedly offering to “desecrate” a communion wafer, if someone would send him one.

The shriekers are out in force, apparently, and Dr. Myers has asked for a pushback from the secular community. I encourage every good-hearted person of intelligence to pitch in.

Here’s my effort, a letter to the President of the University of Minnesota: 

President Robert H. Bruininks

202 Morrill Hall

100 Church Street S.E.

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, MN 55455

Continue reading “Letter to An Administrator”

Thank You Jesus for RSS

rss.jpgI just yesterday finally bit the bullet and learned how RSS works. Damn! Why didn’t somebody TELL me!?

Now I have all my favorite sites in a Bloglines feed. I click on ONE link in the morning to check everything, rather than a dozen or more, and I can skip the sites with no recent updates. Wonderful!

If I get really daring, I’m thinking of trying out those incandescent indoor light thingies. I hate it that I have to stop work when the sun goes down, and the torches are just so smoky.

Great Movie Insult

manny.jpgManny the Mammoth, talking about Sid the Sloth, Ice Age 2:

He’s not my kid! He’s not even my dog! If I had a dog and my dog had a kid, and the dog’s kid had a pet, that would be Sid.








A Young Artist’s Heartbreak

[Afternote: I looked up the history of Crayola on Wikipedia, and I’ve misremembered some of this. The 96-box came along well after I was in first grade. It was the 64-box I recall. I’ll correct it in a day or so. Meanwhile, here’s the original piece.]

crayons.jpgYou ever have the experience of finding something in your head you didn’t know was there?

I just had one of those moments. I’m not totally surprised to find it there — it’s based on a memory, after all. But it’s a leftover from, oh, about the age of 5 or so, and at my current age of 55, it’s just curious to find it still in there somewhere.

It has to do with how I felt about Crayola crayons. And the memory bubbled up at this bit on the ColourLovers site: All 120 Crayon Names, Color Codes and Fun Facts.

You remember when you were a kid how much you loved your Crayolas? You could do anything with those great colors. I wasn’t much of an artist when it came to creating original works on blank coloring paper, but I was pretty good at picking realistic colors to fill in pictures in coloring books.

Continue reading “A Young Artist’s Heartbreak”

Atheists should grow some.

bull.jpgJonah Goldberg is the author of “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning,” which I haven’t read, but which has one of those woo-woo doublespeak names – something on the order of “The Anti-White Genocidal History of the Murderous, Hateful American Indians, from the 1500s to the Present” – that doesn’t exactly inspire me to want to rush out and buy it.

I’m pretty sure I’ve also seen one or two atheist-bashing articles in the past by the guy. So when I saw this bit in the LA Times Opinion page online, I figured it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke, despite the April 1 date on it. (Evidently he liked the piece so much he repeated it in the National Review Online on April 2.)

Just FYI, it’s editors who typically choose the titles for articles, so I don’t blame Goldberg too much for the header, but the piece is called “Evolution of religious bigotry: The cowardice and intolerance of slapping a Darwin fish on your car bumper.”

Ahem. Yeah.

Continue reading “Atheists should grow some.”

A New Element Discovered!

newelement.jpgSomeone emailed this to me. I thought it was too cool not to pass on:

UC Berkeley has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named “Governmentium.”

Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has half as many peons, but twice as many morons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. It can be detected, however, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A reaction that normally takes one minute or less will require a week or more if contaminated by trace quantities of Governmentium.

The half-life of Governmentium is 4 years. It does not, however, decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

The characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is called the Critical Morass.


Doing a search on the web just now, this thing appears to be everywhere out there, in a variety of versions. Wikipedia attributes the original to an article by William DeBuvitz in the Jan. 1989 issue of The Physics Teacher. Kudos to Mr. DeBuvitz, and thanks for the laugh.

Stand Up

comedy.jpgI’ve been taking a class in stand up comedy. Tonight was the second class, and I had to get up in front of my other classmates, about 20 of them, and attempt to be funny.

I did pretty good. I felt good, they laughed, teacher said good things about me.

It was a Sally Field moment: “You like me! You really like me!” I could get into this.

Next week: Local club. On stage. Me. 

Whoo boy.






Fun Diseases & Big Cats

lion.jpgComedy is where you find it.

Diseases that sound funny (but probably aren’t): Amnesic shellfish poisoning • Arenavirus infection • Black Creek Canal virus • Brainerd diarrhea • Cat scratch disease • Cat flea tapeworm infection • Chagas disease • Crabs • Delusional parasitosis • Dracunculiasis • Endilomax nana infection • GBS infection • Hansen’s disease • Hib disease • Hot tub rash • Kala-azar • La Crosse encephalitis • Lassa fever • Monkeypox • Orf virus infection • PCP infection • Pediculosis • Pontiac fever • Rat bite fever • Rhinitis • Rift Valley fever • Scrub typhus • Shingles • Slapped cheek disease • Sleeping sickness • Swimmer’s ear • Thrush • Undulant fever • VHF (Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers) • Whipworm • Wuchereria bancrofti • Yellow fever • Yersinosis

Others that sound even funnier (but still probably aren’t): 

Astrovirus infection sounds like it would lay Astroboy up for days with a high fever.

New York-1 virus infection is probably something only the governor of the state of New York can contract.

I hear American Express is suing to have a disease named after them. For everyone else, there’s VISA (Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus).

Kawasaki syndrome can only be caught by wussies. Real men get Harley Sickness, or they get nothing at all.

I had mumps as a kid, and I know it’s serious, but it still sounds like something only Eeyore would come down with. It’s even fun to say: Mumps. Mumps. Mumps.

Q fever is particularly virulent among Star Trek: The Next Generation fans.

And finally, a decidedly unfunny one: Anytime you read about it in the news, it’s usually prefaced with the phrase “antibiotic-resistant superbug” — MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)  killed about 19,000 Americans in 2005, most of them in hospitals, according to a report published in October in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to Wikipedia, that’s more people than AIDS. Each year. And you can catch it from touching people.

And we worry about mountain lions.

Fractal Wrongness

fractals.jpgDang, I wish I could take credit for this idea. It’s something I just came across last week, and I finally got around to posting on it.

Fractal Wrongness:

The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person’s worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person’s worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person’s opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet–in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums–your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.