Tuesday, March 22, 2011

See, God just didn't give them the gift of inductive reasoning...

Monday, March 21, 2011

For positions in government "service," only the best and brightest need apply

THE CASE: A lawsuit over whether records at the county recorder's office should be readily available at reasonable cost.

THE WITNESS: A $64,000-per-year (not counting benefits and pension) public "servant."

THE QUESTION: "During your tenure in the computer department at the Recorder's office, has the Recorder's office had photocopying machines?"


Well, actually, that would be a very long blog post, because the Witness demands that the lawyer define the term "photocopying machine." At one point, we have this exchange:

WITNESS: ...and I'm asking if you could help me out by explaining what you mean by "photocopying machines" instead of trying to make me feel stupid.

COUNSEL: If you feel stupid, it's not because I'm making you feel that way.
Really, the whole thing is worth reading, if only because for once in your life you'll probably find yourself on the lawyer's side. Towards the end of the excerpt we get the following exchange:

COUNSEL: Have you ever -- do you have machines there where I can put in a paper document, push a button or two, and out will come copies of that paper document also on paper? Do you have such a machine?

WITNESS: Yes, sir.

COUNSEL: What do you call that machine?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Graph of the Day (not made by me, by the way)

HT: GraphJam, which gives this graph the headline, "You speak orange?!"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hmmm...the kid's on to me

Yesterday I was trying to speak Chinese with my wife and stepson, who had just gotten a barrage of immunizations all at one go and were complaining that their arms hurt and they felt tired. I wanted to warn them, "You guys might get a fever," which would be something like, "Kě​néng​ fā​shāo​." Unfortunately I got kě​néng​ confused with kě​yǐ​, which is more along the lines of "you can" or "you may" rather than "maybe," and so to Helen's amusement I said, "Kě​yǐ​ fā​shāo​." I knew as soon as I said it that something didn't sound right, and she straightened me out and all was well.

But then sure enough the next day they were both running fevers, and Helen was taken aback when suddenly, about mid-afternoon, Kai announced, "This is all Daddy Kenny's fault."

HELEN: How is this Daddy Kenny's fault?

KAI [grinning]: It's his curse.

HELEN: His what????

KAI: Well, he said, "May you catch fever..."

Those of you who think you know what a steel guitar sounds like...

...might want to take a gander at what Sasha Ostrovsky does in this video:

It's not the story that made me laugh, it's Dave's heading

Headline of story linked to by Dave: "Prince Charles: We must save the squirrel"


Friday, March 18, 2011

"Texas: Land Of The Criminal Mastermind" Dept

BANK ROBBER: Give me all your money!

BANK TELLER: Yes, sir, of course. I'll need to see two forms of ID.

BANK ROBBER: Oh, hang on a sec...

HT: Dave, who took my standard "Criminal Mastermind Of The Day" tagline and forced me to find something different instead.

Irish History In Sixteen Words And One Exclamation Point Dept

Yes, yes, I know that potatoes didn't in literal historical fact make it to Ireland until after the conquistadors brought some back from Peru...but it's still funny.

HT: Failblog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Crosspost from Helen's blog: "What can be seen, is temporary; what can't be seen, is eternal"

Helen writes (in Chinese):

My adorable silly husband has sent me another love song. It seems ordinary at first glance, but it stirred up a multitude of thoughts and feelings. "It cannot be seen, it doesn't make a sound, you cannot touch my love, yet it's all around" -- what a simple, honest statement!

So many people think the things we can see are real, and that anything we can't see is imaginary. How can they not see that all the things that really matter in life are things that can't be seen? Our love for our family, romance, friendship, the emotions of our deepest heart, the feeling of happiness even when it ends in grief -- none of these can be seen.

I well remember once seeing a man interview a lot of rich, successful businessmen who had reached old age. The interviewer asked them what they regretted most looking back at their lives, and not one of them said they were sorry they hadn’t bought more fancy houses, or taken over more companies, or accumulated more shares of stock. They regretted that they had not spent more time with their families, that they hadn’t invested even a little time in love, that they hadn’t been able to experience what it was to be loved even a little bit…that kind of love, that kind of experience, how can the eye see that?

The Bible says, “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. “ Truly a classic saying.

"WRITTEN IN MY HEART," by Lydia Salnikova

I only know
So many words
So you won’t hear my love
Put into verse

I do not draw
I cannot paint
So you won’t see my love
Up in a frame

But I promise you this
For as long as I breathe
I’ll carry it inside of me
It may not be written in stone
It may not be written in the stars
But it’s written in my heart

It cannot be seen
It doesn’t make a sound
You cannot touch my love
Yet it’s all around

And I promise you this
For as long as I breathe
I’ll carry it inside of me
It may not be written in stone
It may not be written in the stars
But it’s written in my heart


I promise you this
For as long as I breathe
I’ll carry it inside of me
It may not be written in stone
It may not be written in the stars
But it’s written in my heart
Note from Kenny: Please note that this is my translation of the post. "And why did the adorable silly very non-Chinese American husband do the translation instead of the fluent-in-English woman who wrote it to begin with?" I hear you cry. Well, because Ms. Salnikova wanted to know what the post said about her, and the fluent-in-English woman who wrote it to begin with...is sound asleep right now, in the middle of Shanghai's night.

If Helen wakes up tomorrow and decides the translation is too bad then I'll fix it. In the meantime, if you know Chinese you can read it for yourself by following the link at the top.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A couple of conversations between Helen and Kai

The conversations were in Chinese, of course; but here's are a couple of rough paraphrases (Gentle Chinese Readers can laugh at the American Husband Translation Fail by reading the originals, as sent to me by Helen, which I have included at the end of the posts):

HELEN: Kai, you know that when you were very little, you listened so well when I explained things, you were so obedient...

KAI: Well, you still explain things to me.

HELEN: But now even though I explain everything to you very carefully, you don't listen at all -- why is that?

KAI: Because when I was a little kid, I was foolish, and now I'm not!

HELEN: [can't come up with a response]

Here's another one.

HELEN: You know Mama worries about you?

KAI: Yeah, I know.

HELEN: And you know Mama wants you to study hard so that you can have a good future?

KAI: Yeah, I know.

HELEN: And you know Mama doesn't like to get angry, and that angry people get sick more easily and get old faster?

KAI: Yeah, I know, I know.

HELEN: So why do you still go ahead and make me mad?

KAI: Aha! Mom, you're caught in my trap!

HELEN: [can't come up with a response]


As promised, the Chinese versions from Helen:















Fashion Footwear of the Day Dept

You can buy these for only £1,300 a pair. Apparently Dave couldn't wait for next Christmas's gift guide.

You Got Questions, We Got Answers Dept

Specifically, we got a good answer to the question, "Why doesn't my boyfriend get his period?"

You do have to appreciate her sensitivity in asking the question to the world on Yahoo rather than possibly hurting the young man's feelings by asking him directly -- after all, as she explains (to the world), "He was a late bloomer in puberty..."

HT (indirectly): FailBlog.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Um...Congratulations? Dept

HT: FailBlog.

Friday, March 11, 2011

9-1-1 Call Of The Week So Far Dept

DISPATCHER: "9-1-1, what's your emergency?"

CALLER: "So, I'm trying to take a shower, and there's this guy outside the bathroom door, and he sounds really upset, and I'm afraid he might have a gun."

DISPATCHER: "Why is he upset?"

CALLER: "Because it's his house."

DISPATCHER: "So you're his houseguest?"

CALLER: "Um...define 'houseguest'..."

HT: Dave.

Presented without comment

HT: VeryDemotivational.

Monday, March 07, 2011

"World's Luckiest Man"?...well, actually, that's Helen's husband. But this guy can be Second Luckiest.

Actually, I think you pretty much have to give the trophy to this guy:

The Problem With Having Lots Of Guy Friends Dept

(Click on the picture and zoom in to read.)

Some kids you just can't do anything with

True, if somewhat embarrassing, story: my parents got me a World Book Encyclopedia when I was in first or second grade, and I happened upon an article that taught Mayan numerals. I thought this was really cool; so I did my next math assignment in Mayan numerals...and then was astonished when my teacher gave me a zero.

By the way...high-school teachers these days use "WTF??" as a grading comment??

But Dear, It's For Medicinal Purposes Dept

Presented without comment, since I'm married and all.

UPDATE: "But dear, she's a doctor...oh wait...well, genius is never recognized in its own time by professional organizations..."

Both of these, naturally, come to you courtesy of Dave, who once blogged a story about a burgled toilet under the heading, "The Police Have Nothing To Go On."

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Very nice takedown

I usually read Iowahawk for the laughs, but in this quite serious piece he absolutely takes Paul Krugman apart, and in the process provides a very good lesson to people who haven't taken statistics, about the general inadvisability of paying attention to any statistic quoted by a partisan hack.

Now, granted, he is slicing and dicing Paul Krugman, which is about the equivalent of my kicking Steven Hawking's butt in a boxing match -- there are few people who better illustrate the gap between the self-regard of modern American "intellectuals" and their actual intellectual competence than does Krugman, and if you can't refute a Paul Krugman op-ed then you must never have made it out of eighth-grade debate class. But even though any refutation of a Krugman statistic is necessarily a Day-One-Of-Stats-101-level elementary lesson, still many people have never had even a Lesson One in how statistics work, and Iowahawk gives an extremely good Lesson One here.

And yes, I know Krugman has a Nobel Prize. So does Yasser Arafat. So do Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and Al Gore. More to the point, so does Friedrich Hayek -- and since Hayek and Krugman disagree on every possible question of economic theory and practice, any organization that awards a prize in economics to both of them is an organization whose prizes are of no value whatsoever. You would be able to understand if I awarded a Pierce Service To Humanity Prize to Irena Sendler, and you would probably agree with me. You would have an explanation if I were to award a Pierce Service to Humanity Prize to Adolph Hitler: the explanation would quite obviously be that I was a thoroughly evil fascist anti-Semite. But if I were to award Pierce Service To Humanity Prizes to both Irena Sendler and Adolph Hitler, your only possible conclusion would be that I knew nothing whatsoever about twentieth-century European history, and that the Pierce Service to Humanity Prize was utterly meaningless. And any organization that awards prizes in economics to both Friedrich Hayek and Paul Krugman...well, while you're at it, why not declare that the Nobel Prize for Holiness this year will be shared by co-winners Jesus Christ and Satan, Prince of Darkness?

The really funny thing about Krugman's writings (which are consistenly off the charts in unintentional comedy) is that the man is absolutely hopeless with statistics -- and yet his entire approach to economics is an approach that goes all-in, on every hand, on statistical reasoning. It's as though you had a guy who had been claiming to be a professional stock-car driver for forty years but still couldn't remember which pedal was for making the car go and which pedal was for making it stop. Any person capable, for example, of committing (a word I use advisedly) to publication the paragraph Iowahawk obliterates, is one of the following:

  • As stupid as a bag of bricks.

  • Completely statistically illiterate (which makes Krugman's line in the next paragraph about how "they, ahem, got the numbers wrong" a great example of the unintentional comedy I referred to a paragraph ago, especially given Krugman's chosen line of work).

  • Alternatively, you could argue that he is smart enough, and well-educated enough, to know the difference between valid statistics and statistics used with shameless dishonesty...but that he figures you don't know the difference and is happy to impose on your gullibility by quoting bogus statistics to create an impression he knows to be the exact opposite of the truth.

I don't know whether Krugman would prefer to be considered a fool, an ignoramus, or a liar; I would be happy to honor his preference if I knew it. But those are pretty much the only three choices.

By the way, my friend Tina gets a hat tip for this one.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


As the chick reporter (I can get away with calling her that because she's on Fox News so the feminists' only complaint will be that I didn't use the term "fascist bitch") says, this guy puts the "high" in "high-speed chase."

A Reservation In Hell Has Been Made For Yet Another Smart-Ass Dept