March 2008


Strife As Opportunity for Punsters

I have my own opinion on Geert Wilder’s (absolutely NO relation to Gene) filmic provocation (a better description than ‘provocative film’) “Fitna” (link to news story, you can find the video yourself if you want to) and the issues it raises about Islam AND Anti-Islam (which are too serious for this humorous blog), but the punster in me is inspired (am I overusing parentheses?) Since others have already used “Throwing a Fitna”, let me see if I can coin the phrase “Hissy Fitna”.

Yep, “Hissy Fitna” – it can be used to describe the reaction to the film or the attitude of the film itself. I said Hissy Fitna; Google, I’m talking to you.


I Lafka at Your Kafka

A surprising piece in the New York Times recently claimed that Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” was not fictional, but based on a true person with a real medical condition. The article refers to recent publishing scandals about supposedly non-fiction books that turned out to be fake, and suggests that the reverse situation may turn out to be the biggest scandal yet. Uh huh. I wonder how the news biz’s “Grey Lady” will respond when they discover that this story is itself a fake. In fact, I have some inside scuttlebutt that this “Mark Leyner” on the by-line is really the new pen name of the Times’ own past prevaricator Jayson Blair. In fact, my sources suggest that he may have also been involved in that John McCain story last month.


Ten Reasons WHY Barry Became Barack

Barack in his Barry yearsNewsweek has this long article titled “When Barry Became Barack” which featured a bunch of anecdotal items about the Presidential Candidate’s “formative years”, starting with his decision in college to drop using the “Americanized” nickname Barry in favor of having himself addressed as Barack. It’s a generally positive piece but is not without its doubt-inducing moments, particularly suggesting inconsistencies within his autobiography. But it never addresses the real motivation behind the “name change”, which may have a lot to do with who he shared the name “Barry” with. I have assembled ten good examples of why “Barry” was and is not a good name for Obama. First, five who were prominent when he made the change:
Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.


If You Can Read This…

…then the Notorious Happy DreamHost Maintenance Team has either not started its Friday Night/Saturday Morning major “moving a bunch of servers to a new location all at once” operation, or they have actually finished it. With the bad rep the SweetDreamers have been getting lately, this will be an opportunity for them to show what they’re really made of… So I guess I’ll be back in a couple weeks. Just kidding. At least for one night I won’t be felling guilty about not updating the blog (or doing something about my half-way-done-for-weeks design update). Anyway, if you can’t read this, please explain to me how you know what it says?!?


Holy Week!

Where I live, it is still Maundy Thursday, which some people misspell as Maudy Thursday, making it a day we celebrate Bea Arthur before she was a Golden Girl, or Mandy Thursday, a commemoration of Barry Manilow’s first #1 hit. Or you could always mispronounce it as “Monday Thursday” and confuse everybody. Of course, in most parts of the world, it is already Good Friday, the day that proves that Christians CAN indeed do irony, followed by The Saturday That Was Three Days Long (think about it) and finally, Easter Sunday, which some sources claim is the day that Jesus Christ was resurrected. Now, I don’t want to get into a whole Religious Faith Fight here, but I have done a little research into the gospel authors Matthew, Mark, Luke and John… and it seems Matthew’s last name may have been Drudge. And John was either Hodgman or Scalzi.

Oh yeah, nothing controversial about that.


Email, Oh We Get Email…

I wish the spam that slipped through my filters were as much fun as Bruce Sterling’s

Good time of day. You are disturbed by the charitable company Redd Cross of Slovenia. We have the business offer for you. We can offer to you of earnings, thus your salary will make from 1000$ to 2000$ per one month, at an incomplete working day. Your earnings can be and higher. The more and forces you will give time, the there will be your salary more.

If it is interesting to you, you write on the address of e-mail of our agent: he will contact you within 24 hours and will throw off to you all details, and will answer you on all your questions.

Yes, I AM disturbed.
Yes, I have an incomplete working day.
No, forces I will NOT give time.
And please, don’t throw off to me all details.

Is this the long-awaited comeback of the brilliant author of “All your base are belong to us”???

One more thing: have you ever tried singing the Monty Python “Spam” song substituting the name of the canned luncheon meat’s competitor, “Treet”?
Armour Star TREET
Yes, I desperately need to get a LIFE.



In honor of the 20th Anniversary of the release of a song that in recent months has gained a new (undead) life on the Internet, I give you…


Pi Throwing

The current promotion at cafepress involves math-oriented t-shirts for “Pi Day”, March 14th (or 3.14, get it? Yeah, lame). Also, it might have been a good idea to start the promotion more than 3 days before, since most math whizzes understand that rush shipping costs too much. But still, some of the math-related shirt messages (most of which contain more words than numbers) are worth repeating. (Which also saves me from writing my own jokes for the occasion)

So, let’s all dig into the pi, shall we?
The following are estimated numbers based on surveying the first 300 of over 4000 designs in the category:
“Mathlete” designs: 88
“cutie ?” (or QT?): 67
Other variations on substituting ? for pie (including Pumpkin, Cow and …in the sky): 133
“What part of [complex equation] don’t you understand? 59
“NOT i, keep it real'” and “i squared, keeping it real” variations: 57
Designs based on the “Find X. Here it is!” gag: 49
“There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary, and those who don’t” 44
Math Teacher by day, X by night (X= something cool like Rock Star or Spy) 42
Variations on “?-rate”: 38 (because ? arrrrr squared, of course!)

Good concepts I only saw once or twice…

Mathematics is for intelegant people [yes, that’s the way they spelled it]
I left my math teacher costume at home.
This is my math teacher costume
Evil Mutant Math Teacher (I dig self-effacing humor but I’m still surprised this is on the BEST SELLER list)
I do my own math stunts.
Math Teachers Do NOT Do Decaf
7/5 of all people do not understand fractions!
Calculus: The agony and dx/dt
the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow: [complex equation]
Magnum ?
? in the sky
I’ve counted to infinity.
Calculus: Yes, it is rocket science.
Alcohol and calculus don’t mix: Never drink and derive.
Designated deriver
How’s my Deriving? Call 1-800-I-DO-MATH
Math Problems? Call 1-800-[complex equation]
(pictures of) Weapons of Math Instruction
Life without geometry is pointless
I like angles… to a degree
Square root of -666: Imaginary Number of the Beast
i says ‘be rational’, ? says ‘get real!
I Am The Denominator
INTEGRALS my antiderivative (in the style of “my anti-drug”)
Mathematical puns are the first sine of madness
I propose we leave math to the machines… and go play outside.
HO3 [a Christmas design]
For a good prime, call 555-793-7319
DeciMall: where mathematicians go shopping

And some IMO miscategorized (but still entertaining) messages:

X percent of all statistics are made up on the spot. [X being a random percentage among several shirts]
So what is the speed of dark?
I’m an engeneer enginere engenere I’m good with math
Wanted Dead and Alive: Schrödinger’s Cat
If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the particulate
May the m X a be with you
What if I really DO know it all?
Studies show that stating “studies show” will increase your odds of winning an argument
Civil Engineers build targets, Mechanical Engineers blow them up


O Dear…

After the GOPgle logo, I felt I had to give equal abuse to the other side, and that Obama “O” has just been sitting out there like a literal target, but only today did I realize what I could do using only the elements of the logo itself (well, duplicating one part). I’m keeping it “behind the fold” because some people may find it “O”ffensive (while for others it will be “O”bscure… if you don’t know the reference, please DO NOT GOOGLE it, you are better off not knowing)… If your emotional well-being is dependent on keeping this candidate and his iconography up on a pedestal, I don’t recommend you look at this. The rest of you, I HOPE it’s good for a post-partisan guilty giggle.
Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.