Monday, December 28, 2009

The execution could have used some work, but can't fault the conception...

..if I'm allowed to use "conception" with reference to monks. Though all we know for sure that these particular monks have vowed themselves to, is silence...

HT: Jonah Goldberg.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Redneck safety

I actually don't have my tongue in my cheek. The towel keeps the BBs from ricocheting, and the reason Dad is sitting on the fence (well out of the line of fire, I might add), is to put up a "halt" sign when cars are passing, just to make sure nothing bad happens from missing high. And the cigar is there to keep me warm despite the stiff, chilly breeze. ("But why not just wear a jacket?" I hear you cry. Well, because I don't want my jacket to smell like cigar smoke, don't you see.)

In case you doubt that a well-designed slingshot could put some hurt on you if loaded with a decent-sized rock, note the acorn embedded through the towel into the fence:

And there was much rejoicing

Dave Barry's 2009 Year In Review is out. I haven't read it yet myself but I can tell you right now to drop whatever you're doing and go read it. Unless what you're doing is, tossing up a quick blog post to announce the Annual Return of the Humor Messiah.

Off to find out for myself what happened in 2009.

UPDATE: As expected, laughed until I cried at multiple points. Let's just say that the idiom "hiking the Appalachian Trail" is forever altered for yours truly.

Good thing they weren't wimpy women -- them ducks gets right rowdy sometimes

Husky Women Subdue Ducks.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sean and Kegan's birthday

Over to the Williamses we went, me and Rusty and Anya and Roma, bearing gifts...and I can't remember what Katy had just said to draw that glare but I certainly didn't realize she was about to take the picture. Oh well.

Congratulations to my new yellow belt

Well done, Rusty!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Not to get Finke all excited or anything...

...but if the Titans win out -- especially if they make the playoffs -- doesn't Vince Young pretty much have to be your MVP? You're talking about a guy who would pretty much single-handedly be the difference between 0-6 and 9-1.

Hmmm...Matt Schaub, Vince Young. Vince Young, Matt Schaub. Hmmm...

UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long.

Sometimes even I can come up with the perfect gift...

...such as this one:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Redneck "Spooner" Peril Dept

One reason not to sing absent-mindedly along with Oleta Adams on "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" when it's 1:15 in the morning and you're concentrating a lot more on your software testing than on your lyrical fidelity:

Because you might announce that you have "brought some porn for copping."

And since Oleta is a very Christian gal I don't think she'd appreciate it the sentiment.

Back to the testing, now. In prudent silence.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The "Toilet Prank"

I'm not a fan of prank videos usually, but Natashenka directs me to a pretty good one here:

I hear Madden is coming out with a version

See the Tiger. Be the Tiger.

Why We Need Guys, Yet Again

Because women would never get around to hooking a Guitar Hero game up to their Christmas lights display. (Nice finishing touch there, dude.)

In his explanation, Ric makes it clear that the point is to play the game:
When you play, you watch only the Christmas lights, but the audio you hear is from the Wii, so your flubs are broadcast for all to hear (people in cars can tune 99.1 and crank it up as loud as they want.)...A video screen is on the driveway showing the game video, but if you want to be on the high score list you have to make it through the whole game only watching the Christmas Lights.

Of course I got this from Dave.

Criminal Mastermind Of The Day Dept

Carjacking 101: Choose an appropriate victim.

Would these be okay for Casual Friday? got lots of product reviews for this one...but naturally none serious, and most flamingly scatological or otherwise non-family-friendly, though a few of the early ones were mildly funny. A relatively non-scatological and more-than-usually witty example:
I hate backpacks, these pants (with the optional file organizer) let me carry around a full days school load. Now when a professor asks me if I pulled that answer out of my a**, I can answer a definitive yes! Thanks MJOLK!...
But most of them...yikes, no link for you. Google "MJOLK Simonslouch Trouser in Blue Organic Cotton Jersey" if you just have to go read those revi...actually, just take my word for it, don't go there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Something for you guys to pray about

For those of you who never met her, let me introduce you to my young friend Nurgul.If things had worked out differently, you would all know her, because I tried very hard to adopt her and her brother Ramazan; but then if those things had worked out differently you wouldn't have known Anya and Kinya, because the paperwork that we used to adopt Anya and Kinya was the paperwork we had originally put together for Nurgul and Ramazan.

I'm very proud of Nurgul, who, despite the fact that ultimately she didn't get adopted and come to America, has refused to let that stop her from getting on with life. She has managed to keep herself in school, with the help of a "youth house" that gives Kazakh orphans a place to stay while they're in college, and she has found work as a programming intern during vacations (she wants to be a "programmist"), and she only has one semester left.

But I need you guys to pray for her. The youth house is full and they're moving out the oldest kids to make room for younger kids who are about to age out of the orphanages, just as older kids had to make room for Nurgul a couple of years ago. "They" -- by which I think Nurgul probably means "the government," though I haven't asked her specifically -- have informed her that she has to move to the equivalent of a housing project. Now neither you nor I would ever want anybody we know to live in a high-crime, crumbling-concrete, government-run housing project; but I don't see what option she has at the moment. Apartments ("kvartiri") don't work in Kazakhstan the way they do here; kvartiri are more like condominiums than like apartments, in that you have to buy them, not rent them. So while we might have been able to pull together a couple hundred dollars a month for Nurgul to rent an apartment while she starts working and saving money to buy her own place, that's not actually an option -- if she wants a kvartira she has to buy one outright, and the cheapest one-bedroom kvartira she can find, would cost $7,000.00. Which of course she doesn't have (and I don't either).

Think of it this way: the cost of living in Kazakhstan isn't what it is here, but the start-up cost for entering independent adult life is rather higher. My impression (which Roma or Dina will probably correct, in which case I'll come back and rewrite this bit) is that the way you deal with this as an ordinary Kazakhstani young person, is that you live with your parents quite a bit longer than American children live with their parents. I know Anya and Kristina were rather taken aback to discover that the natural expectation of American kids was that graduating from high school pretty much meant leaving home and living on your own after that (though, naturally, with plenty of financial support from the folks until the college degree had been secured).

But Nurgul has no family, of course. So it's come up with the $7,000, or off to the housing project she goes. There's no way she can come up with that kind of cash, and it'll be 2011 probably before I myself will be in any position to say, "Hey, I'm sending you a check..." (There's a bank account where I put a little bit of money every month for her to withdraw from the ATM's over there, but it'll take a long time for her to save $7,000 out of that pittance of an allowance.)

God, however, is perfectly capable of providing it if He sees fit. So if you could remember Nurgul in your prayers, I'd be ever so grateful.

An e-mail thread taking amusement from Al Gore's most recent literary efforts...

...may be found over at Politics of the Peril. Special thanks to collaborators Guidry and Perry, though I'm sure Guidry would wish it to be known (especially to his superiors at his place of employment) that he is a sometime correspondent of the Peril only, not a contributor to any such disreputable blog as, um, this one.

A true story about God's sense of humor...

...may be found over at Contriti Corde (I didn't put it here on the main Peril blog, even though I think it's a pretty funny story, because it's an explicitly religious tale with a moral, albeit a tale that even the non-religious will probably think is amusing).

It really is a true story, though; I'll vouch for its truth even though I had to change some names to protect confidentiality.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rhod Gilbert's luggage...well, "goes astray" is hardly le mot juste

Friday, December 11, 2009

An interesting article on the intersection of Christianity and economics...

...may be found here. I don't know that I agree with its every assertion or conclusion -- I just sort of skimmed it, and will read it with more detail later -- but on the broad outlines I think he's got it mostly right.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Been a while

I'm giving a short dinner breakfast speech at our church's men's breakfast on Saturday, at 8:30, at the La Madeleine on Westheimer just east of the Beltway (in case any of my Christian friends in the neighborhood want to drop in -- the guys, that is, this being a Male Chauvinist Pig event).

Now this will gladden my mother's heart, which has never fully recovered from the fact that once I got confirmed in the Episcopalian Church, I largely stopped preaching sermons, preaching not being something laymen are generally allowed to do in the E.C. (I did get asked to preach one Sunday morning a long time ago, and duly preached, but I'm fairly certain the bishop would not have been happy with my priest. Understand, an Episopalian layman can read a properly authorized sermon that somebody with the proper credentials has written, but for a layman to preach a sermon of his own composition is so unusual that I'm pretty sure it's proscribed.) At any rate, I think I may have Rusty go along and videotape it so that my mom can see it later, even though it's hardly going to be a "sermon" in the sense she would like. But beggars can't be choosers, and this is as close as she's likely to get -- of the two churches I attend more or less regularly, the one where the sermons are given in English is Episcopalian, and the one where laymen frequently fill the pulpit, is one where the language of the pulpit is Spanish. And, um, I ain't preachin' in Spanish. You'll see me singin' karaoke before you hear me preachin' en español.

And you won't hear me singin' karaoke anytime soon.

Does anybody know where I can find...

...a DVD version of Le Père Noël Est une Ordure that has English subtitles? It's been twenty years since my French was good enough to follow the dialogue in a French farce/black comedy without English subtitles.

This one comes very highly recommended by somebody reasonably familiar with my taste in comedy, but I gotta have the subtitles.

Why we need women

Because otherwise, who would find all those new and fascinating uses for Botox?

Not, you understand, that I would pretend for one moment that we need women nearly as much as we need guys.

(Of the above links, by the way, my favorite is this one.)

I have no idea what headline to give this story

So I'll just use ananova's own: "Roundabout way home"

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Even I, your resident redneck and habitual driver of imperfectly repaired vehicles, think this goes a bit too far.

According to ananova, Mr. Li drove 400 miles like this. With his head out the window.

In the winter.

Mr. Li, I would declare you an honorary redneck, except not even we are that crazy.


From failblog, of course.

The Derb was on fire today

I mean, with amusing non-political asides. (Be warned; if you follow the links you will find yourself at a highly partisan political group-blog, albeit at a couple of specific posts that don't have anything to do with politics.)

First of all, he reminds us of the classic definition of a mistress: "That which is found between a mister and a mattress."

But what really amused me was this nugget (scroll to the bottom of the post) passed on to him by one of his readers:
When I was in junior high, the Hebrew day school I attended, in cooperation with the drama department at a local high school, put on a full production of My Fair Lady in Hebrew (barad yarad b'drom sfarad ba' erev — "The hail falls in southern Spain in the evening"). If you think it's funny to hear Dick Van Dyke doing cockney, you should listen to someone trying to do a cockney accent in Hebrew. The girl who played Eliza Doolittle had to transition from Hebrew with a cockney accent to Hebrew with an upper crust Brit accent over the play's duration.
What a wonderful world we live in...and why, oh why, couldn't somebody have videotaped that performance? Or, if they did, why isn't it on YouTube?

More notes to self

Donald Kagan, Thucydides: The Reinvention of History.

Philip Henry Stanhope, Lord Moran, The Life of Belisarius.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Peril compliments the Rasmussen folks...

I stand corrected

Gentle Reader "Iris" took exception to my disparagement of the Andrea Bocelli song "I Believe," said disparagement having been based on a complaint that its lyrics were at odds with orthodox Christian theology. Iris comments:
"I believe" was written originally about 10 years ago for Andrea to sing for Pope John Paul II and it is said to have been one of the Pope's favorite songs and that he was very moved when he heard Andrea sing it. Now I am not an expert on Catholic theology, but if the song was approved by the Pope, I don't think your comments on it as theologically unsound can stand--at least as far as Catholics are concerned.

The song is clearly meant to be a Utopian vision, as Andrea himself has said--not anything more concrete and realistic than that. But it's strange to me that no one seems to have noticed that the song's message is the quintessential Christmas message: "Peace on earth, good will to all men."
Okay, JPII is a big hero of mine, and certainly he was not a political Pollyanna, being one of the few Popes in a long history of Papal political activity who was both (a) influential in world politics and (b) influential for good rather than ill. So there clearly must be some way in which a devout and conservative Christian can reconcile this song's theology to Christianity, or else JPII wouldn't have liked it.

So I must have been wrong. I stand corrected.

Iris also helpfully provides the explanation, which I think I can paraphrase by saying, "When Bocelli says, 'I believe that...' he has his fingers crossed -- he doesn't actually believe it in the ordinary English sense of the word. What he really means is, 'It sure would be nice if...'" Now, if I take out every occurrence of "I believe that..." in the song, and replace it with, "It sure would be nice if..." then what I get is something that would wholeheartedly agree with. So, given that explanation, I withdraw my theological objections to the song, which becomes an inocuous variation on Amy Grant's "Grown-Up Christmas Wish."

This leaves me with a slightly different problem: I have, temperamentally, no use whatsoever for Utopian visions. I never had any particular complaint with "Grown-Up Christmas Wish;" but I can't hear it without muttering sotto voce, "Yeah, well, don't hold your breath." But that is simply a limitation of my temperament, and all that means is that I have no business offering criticism of Utopian anthems.

I will say this: if you take out the first verse with its dreaming of "a world where war has been banned [presumably by some transnational government edict?]," and then you take the song as a vision of what the Church (as opposed to secular society as a whole) can be, then you would have an anthem I could belt out with enthusiasm. So, if I liked enough the song itself musically, I'd deal with this by simply writing my own first verse and singing louder than Bocelli does until we get past those first three lines. But, you see, I don't care much for the music. And on this point I think Iris and I are in agreement. My take:
Okay, you've heard this kind of number before -- it's every duet Celine Dion has sung with a male partner in the last two decades...[theology aside, it's worth] an "it's painting-by-numbers symphonic pop, but it has Bocelli's voice" thumbs-up...
And Iris:
I dislike the duet version and the glitzy David Foster arrangement of the music and I recommend that everyone go to hear the original, as sung by Andrea as a solo on the 1998 DGG CD, "A Hymn for the World" vol. 2.
Bottom line: you're probably better off asking Iris for her opinion than me, because it seems to be rather better informed and more useful than mine. Major thanks to Iris for improving the blog with her comment, there.

Hey, Iris, if you're lurking...if you could only own one Andrea Bocelli album, which would it be?

Okay, that's probably too about your top three?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Criminal Mastemind Of The Day...oh,, no, this time it really is the Criminal who is the Mastermind here

Criminal Mastermind Of, wait...durn it, that's twice in a row

As far as I can tell this is legit.

The classiness, Christian temperament, and soundness of judgment that is Mike Huckabee... commented upon over at Politics of the Peril. (This is one the Democratic Gentle Reader will probably enjoy.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Criminal Mastermind Of The...No, wait, this time I really mean it

It's the policeman who plays the Wile E. Coyote role in this one. Now, where did I put that bank robbery hold-up note?

HT: Patterico.

P.S. In the news article, don't miss the commenter who gives us this shining example of utter lack of perspective in re his own importance compared to the rest of the world:
good job police, funny note gobbling, but....

why in the heck do I not see cars moving past them?

They hopefully did not block off the highway because they pulled a single car over.

My wife is a doctor at the Cleveland clinic and she commutes along that road to work.

Would have been stupid to hold up (no pun intended) important people like that from getting to work over some toolbag that had just robbed a bank.

I dont see how blocking off that side of the highway would have helped anything.
Yes, "David," God forbid that we should hold up an Important Person like your wife while we make sure a possible bank robber isn't, you know, ARMED. [shaking head]

Secretarial Mastermind Of The Day Dept

My daughter Kristina is thinking she might like to be an executive secretary. So just to make sure we're clear about this: Kinya, if your boss is ever running late on his way to the airport, don't helpfully call in a bomb threat to make sure the plane doesn't leave without him.

HT: Dave, who is on a roll recently.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ask Mr. Relationship Answer Man

DEAR MR. RELATIONSHIP ANSWER MAN: Does this count as "fighting fair"?

MR. RELATIONSHIP ANSWER MAN ANSWERS: Absolutely -- anything one does with a pickup truck counts as "fair."

HT: Dave.

Rock climbing: the rhythm method

I think the following is a very, very cool picture; but the bit I like best is the part of the quote where the climber says, "You really get into the rhythm of the wall." there anything in the world less rhythmic than a sheer granite face?

HT: Another one from Dave Barry.

I don't think this counts as acing your job application

"I'm a criminal mastermind -- wouldn't you like to hire me?"

HT: Dave

A bit of harmless fun is poked at a high-ranking government official...