Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I don't even have words...

...no, actually, it's the places where the words are missing that turn the staggeringly lame Microsoft parody I pointed you to a couple of days ago here into a gut-busting parody tracked down by Ed Driscoll here. There aren't any bad words...unless you supply them yourself, with your own dirty mind, which naturally you can't help but do.

A word of advice: please watch at least a minute or two of the original before watching the parody. You don't have to torture yourself by watching all of the original, but please watch two or three minutes of it. I can't think of any better example in my entire life of the principle of "less is more"...simply taking out an occasional word here and there, turns one of the lamest commercials of all time into one of the funniest parody videos of the year.

Though, on the off chance that my children have developed dirty minds, I decided not to embed the video in this post...don't miss it, though.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Line of the Day

From Lileks: "If Microsoft had been put in charge of marketing sex, the human race would have ended long ago, because no one would be caught dead doing something that uncool."

If you manage to make it all the way through that Microsoft...commercial? I'm not sure human language has polluted itself with a word that truly captures the essence of the suckitude that is that video...anyway, if you manage to make it all the way through the video he has embedded at the above link, why then you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din. It makes you realize that in all those Apple PC-versus-Mac commercials, Apple is deeply handicapped by the fact that not even their marketing guys can script a guy as truly lame as a Microsoft nerd.

Spoken, of course, by a guy who has used pretty much nothing but Windows since college. [sigh] Sometimes life just doesn't turn out the way you planned.

UPDATE: You know, I tried to watch it again, and I wonder whether that video wasn't perhaps an internal video distributed within Microsoft explaining to Microsoft employees how to do launch parties...kind of, you know, "the price of those shares you get each year would be nicer if lots of people bought Windows 7 so why don't you do your part to move some copies?" Very hard to imagine anybody greenlighting that thing as a marketing device to, you know, the outside world.

Fund-raising, tentatively, complete

I was able to figure out a way to monetize some as-yet-unvested stock by sleeving a home-equity line of credit through relatives whose home is fully paid off; so, pending final approval of the deal by the bank, I should be able to meet my $20,000 deadline and pay back the several thousand dollars already generously offered by various friends and relatives.

Thank you, more than I can say, for the prayers.

Now I'd like to address a comment from an anonymous drive-by commenter, who was, shall we say, unimpressed by my original post. My interest isn't in refuting his unkind remarks; as I explained at one point to one of my sons who was gently letting me know that people at my ex-wife's church mostly blame me (which is to say, the imaginary monster they've been led to believe I am) for most of what goes wrong over at my ex-wife's house, I am never troubled by the bad opinions of people who don't know me. (The logic is quite simple: wise people do not form opinions of private persons based on what other people say about them, and only fools trouble themselves about the opinions of other fools. So you can divide the people at Holy Apostles into three groups: those who don't know my name and couldn't care less, those who are wise and therefore by definition have refrained from forming opinions about my character based on nothing other than they've been told by people who are mad at me, and fools. The first two types of folks don't have a bad opinion of me, and what do I care if the last type thinks I'm a jerk, as long as they don't have any power to actually hurt me? See how that works? Once you grasp that basic principle, life instantly gets a heckuva lot more serene. But I digress.)

As I was saying, my interest isn't in refuting him. I just think what happened was a fascinating example of how much our own preconceptions affect our ability to see what we're reading -- an example of how much of what we think we're reading in a text is actually being read into a text.

I wrote that post with a great deal of care, because the situation was delicate: there were other people besides myself involved, and I had (and continue to have) an obligation to respect confidentiality. It's all very well to be open and frank with the world about your own problems, but that doesn't mean other people want their problems shared with the general public. I had permission from the other people affected to explain what was going on to certain specific people (in particular, to anyone who was actually loaning money, and therefore had a right to detailed explanation); and there were some people with whom I could share a high-level view without going into details, on a sort of need-to-know basis for both fact and level of detail. But the blog is open to the general public, and therefore there's almost nothing I can say on the blog.

Now, confidentiality is a pretty big thing to me, and if I see a post on somebody's blog that says, "Some tough things happening in the extended family..." followed shortly by another post that says, "I can't really say why, but I have to come up with some money...", why then my instant assumption is going to be that confidentiality constraints are operative. So it literally didn't occur to me that the post could be read any other way.

But then this anonymous poster came through, and left a message in which he made it clear that he had decided to guess what the deal was about this whole "I can't say why" bit -- and he had two theories, to wit: "What are you doing, training to be a televangelist, or are you in deep with the mob?"

See, I think that's just fascinating. I referred to Philippians 4:19 ("But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus") specifically to make sure my friends didn't feel somehow pressured or obligated to pony up. But "Anonymous" saw a guy asking for money and quoting scripture all more or less in one breath, and thought, "Televangelist bastard!" Now that he mentions it, I can see how it would be taken that way; but it didn't cross my mind when I wrote it. And then the bit about my being "in deep with the mob" -- again, when he puts it that way and I go back and re-read the post, it does sound rather like a guy trying to pay off gambling debts, doesn't it? Didn't occur to me at all when I wrote it; but if you put on the mob-colored glasses it reads exactly as though I'm worried about the health of my kneecaps.

Language and preconceptions...kinda funny things, aren't they?

"You are always near"

The most moving piece of performance art I've seen in at least two or three years. To say it left me in tears is to understate the situation...sort of embarrassing, actually, since I just got through watching it for the first time at Java Dave's, whose customers have therefore gotten to see a grown man weeping (silently) in public. At the end of the piece, the message she writes in the sand appears to me to be, "Ты всегда рядом [Ti fsegdá riádom]" -- hard to translate with adequate punch, but it's literally, "You are always near," but I think in the sense of, "You have been, are now, always forever will be here."

The venue: Ukraine's branch of the "Country X Has Talent" franchise.

The medium: sand art (but note the passion that infuses her physical motions as well, such as the graceful fury with which she hurls handful after handful of sand onto the screen to obliterate the old image before bringing to life the next one).

The subject: the Nazi occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

Have a whole bucket of tissue paper handy...especially if you already know anything of the history of what Ukraine suffered.

HT: Ace.

Word of the Day Dept

James Taranto, neologist, eschewing the trite and unwieldy phrase "thrown under the bus":

"...(though in fairness, a full-length front-page story about Jones's hypovehiculation appeared on the second day)."

[cackling delightedly] I now have to see whether it's possible...no, wait, why should I selfishly keep the fun to myself? Why, Gentle Readers all, shouldn't you join in the fun?

[Cue dramatic music in driving 5/4 rock beat]

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to use that word (or cognates such as "hypovehiculator") in casual conversation at least three times at work on Monday -- in non-political conversation. As in, "Man, I remember that meeting. Nothing like being eyewitness to a double hypovehiculation." Or, "Hey, just watch your back when you're around Randy, 'cause if anything goes wrong, that guy is the Mother of All Hypovehiculators." (That sentence partially inspired by the AP story, also pointed out by Taranto, that in all seriousness includes the straight-from-The-Onion line, "Bono revealed to his parents that he was a lesbian at age 18.")

This laptop will self-destruct in five seconds...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cookie Marketing Dept

HT: Randy Guidry's sister-in-law (who needs to learn how to blog, IMHO).

Norman Rockwell was always more of a visual storyteller than an artist

Which, by the way, is an entirely serious statement on my part, but which I only bother to mention as an intro to a hilariously deadly bit of political fun...but here's the thing -- wouldn't it be cool to be able to get a version with yourself in the role of Self-Portrayer? I just think that would be awesome. Would be, in my opinion, one of the all-time great T-shirts. Really, I'm serious: think how hilarious it would be to see somebody walking toward you with this on their T-shirt, starring themselves. I mean, I don't think that's the reaction the person who came up with this was going for, but then most people in his target audience probably don't get as much of a kick out of self-mockery as I do...oh, sorry, here's the picture:

By the way, I tried to find the original over at iOwnTheWorld.com [warning: this turned out to be a very partisan political site], but couldn't. Otherwise I would have linked to 'em. I'll have to be satisfied with the link to their main site, and with a hat tip to the Closet Republican.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fund-raising status (kept at top)

This post will stay at the top of the blog until further notice; so if what you're looking for is a joke or funny picture, like, say, this one...

epic fail pictures
HT: Fail Blog

...with full details to be found in news stories like this one...why, then you can just drop to the next item in the list to see if there's anything new.

This post is just to let you guys know how close I am to that $20,000 I have to raise. So:


STILL TO GO: $16,500

Keep on prayin'.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gotta raise some money

I can't really say why, but I have to come up with $10,000 in the next ten days and another $10,000 by the end of October. I get a big chunk of my income in March in the form of annual bonus; so I'm not in need of permanent contributions -- just money I can borrow, at, say, 4% annual interest, until, say, 1 April. Make it 2 April just so that you won't think I'm April-foolin' you.

If any of you Gentle Readers feels called upon to help out, I'd appreciate it very much. For the rest of you, please pray that God will honor His promise in Philippians 4:19, which so far as I know has not yet been repealed.



Thursday, September 17, 2009

Unrefined Jokes of the (Spectacularly Gorgeous) Day

Yes, indeed, Houston gets about three days every year of absolutely gorgeous weather, and after today our quote is 33% met...what a gorgeous, gorgeous, perfect day.

Two jokes for you guys, both of them with particular appeal to rednecks and similarly unrefined persons. To put it another way: persons of refinement (I do after all know some) probably will want to spare themselves. You have been fairly warned.


I was in a café out in Yellowstone Park the other day and couldn't help but overhear the conversation at the table next to me. The three gentlemen all looked like they had been in the woods a long time -- they could all have used a shower and a shave, for one thing -- and one of them, who was wearing a yarmulke, looked pretty seriously torn up -- right arm in a cast, left knee in a brace, a big white bandage on his head under the yarmulke. Turns out they were clergymen all, and that they had apparently met back up to settle a bet as to which one of them could do a better job out in the wilderness converting bears to his religion.

When I sat down, the Baptist preacher was holding forth in triumph. "Well, the first couple of bears I saw didn't seem to have any interest in the ways of the Lord, but then I got to one of them that stopped and listened to me. I told him all about the Four Spiritual Laws, and I quoted John 3:16, and I prayed the Sinner's Prayer over him, and when it was all said and done that bear was so convicted of his sins that he let me baptize him. Full immersion, my friends! Praise the Lord and set them angels t' dancin'!"

I wasn't sure what to think of this, but the next thing I knew the Catholic priest was weighing in. "Well, Reverend Simmons, that's pretty impressive, but I have to say I wasn't without success myself. The very first bear I met, I sat down with him and I read the catechism to him, and before the day was out I had taught that bear the Pater Noster and the Ave Maria -- only in sign language, of course, not in Latin; but even so, I have to say I'm satisfied with the success God bestowed upon my efforts."

A silence falls, as the preacher and the priest (and, surreptitiously, I myself) turn to gaze expectantly at the rabbi. He weighs his words carefully for a couple of seconds, and then says slowly, "In retrospect, I admit that it was unwise to begin with circumcision..."


HUSBAND OF BLONDE [to his wife]: Oh, honey, I don't know whether you noticed but I got a new toilet brush for our bathroom.

BLONDE WIFE [carefully, obviously not wanting to hurt her husband's feelings]: Yes, dear, I saw it, and that was very sweet of you, but...I hope you don't mind, but...I have to say, after trying that new toilet brush, I still kinda prefer the paper.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Prayer request

Some tough things happening in the extended family. Not at liberty to share details. Will wind up costing me a TON of money that I don't really have; but I'm sure Romans 8:28 and Philippians 4:19 will kick in, in due course.

I'm really just saying: until further notice, I would appreciate very very much your heartfelt prayers. God already knows what for.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On political affiliation, from the standpoint of a lifelong independent

PERIL (musing aloud during a political conversation with August): You know, I appreciate the fact that the AP usually puts an "R" or a "D" after the names of Congressmen...I find it very convenient to know at a glance whether the Congressman I'm reading about is Repugnant or Despicable...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Political Groaner (that is, bad pun) Of The Day Dept

Vodkapundit observes that President Obama is so talented that he "can throw a Van under a bus."

Even I am groaning on that one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Say It Ain't So, Joe! Dept

Look, nobody takes a back seat to me in thinking that politicians of all stripes are generally buffoonish scumbags, but, um, I'm thinkin' maybe this is one of the all-time non-news news stories...

He...he...I can hardly bring myself to pronounce the words...he took caffeine!!! And we don't even know if he has sought treatment -- he found some doc who rationalized it for him and for all we know he could still be addicted!!

My faith in human nature is shattered...

I must also say that I am crushed to discover that addiction to caffeine is a drawback in a politician. And I had such high hopes for my own eventual ascent to the Halls of Power...

Now that's a guy with an attitude I like

One of the commentors over at Ann Althouse's blog started nattering on about "income inequality," which apparently seems like an intrinsic injustice to some people though I personally have difficulty seeing a rational reason for that position. That's not a discussion for this blog, though; I bring it up merely in order to pass on this comment from "Revenant," in response to the wanna-be-Lennon's, "Remember the movie 'A day without Mexicans'? Imagine 'A day without income disparity'":

Scary thought. I'm smarter and harder-working than the vast majority of Americans. A day without income disparity is a day when I'm underpaid.

Oooo, I like this guy. [still chuckling several minutes after first reading the comment] Besides, don't you agree that an above-average salary ought to go to outstanding performers, like, say, anybody who has managed to be Manager of the Year sixty times?

In fact that's my new motto, and I want it on a T-shirt:

"A day without income disparity is a day when I'm underpaid." Really and truly, I think I'm going to make that into a T-shirt. In fact I'll make it TWO T-shirts -- because I figure Novera will have to have one of those.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Manager of the Year...sixty times?

While at my favorite Dairy Queen (it's the one in Bay City, and I don't know what they do different when they cook their hamburgers but they're just outstanding), I got to lookin' at the plaques on the wall. The manager at this particular Dairy Queen, I began to realize, seemed to be one heckuva manager because he had a wall full of "Manager of the Year" awards. So I went to investigate more closely...and here's how you become "Manager of the Year" sixty (I counted) times:

Pretty cool working at a place where they have a different "Manager of the Year"...every month.


The previous post should have gone on the politics blog; I got confused about which of my two blogs I had posted to last. My bad.

Thank God (well, Obama -- same thing, after all) for the stimulus package

And thanks to Innocent Bystanders for helpfully showing us how much of a reprieve from unemployment that $787 billion of new debt / inevitable dollar devaluation has bought us:

What a deal, eh?

Oh, and a hat tip to the fair Kate for the pointer.

Friday, September 04, 2009

I suspect faulty research meth -- my God that woman is gorgeous!...

...holy cow, I wouldn't mind gettin' me a litter outa that...oh, sorry, what was I talking about again?

Steve Martin? I had no idea

Get a bunch of genuinely first-class musicians together and turn 'em loose to jam for five minutes...they'll all have a blast and you might get something like this:

HT: Instapundit.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another LA County fair commercial

Randy Guidry found this one for me: