The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Breaking news

Someone thinks he or she saw a cougar up on North Campus. The UM Armed Amateur Theatrical SocietyDepartment of Public Safety issued the most intriguingly metaphysical statement you're likely to hear from a police spokesperson: “If it is something, it could potentially be problematic,” On the other hand, of course, if it isn't something, then nothing could be worse.

At press time, famed French philosopher and zoologist, Jean-Paul Sartre, author of "Being and Something Problematicalness," was not available for comment.

Update: 2012 04 15:
It was a dog.

The McLuggage Platform

As promised when I summarized the GOP candidates' positions on a range of key issues, here is a general statement of J. Francis McLuggage's platform, ready for use in the 2012 or in fact, any election, when and if he should decide to run. As he noted in a brief statement to the press, he has made many decisions to run, over the years, and it's always been a good idea, the only problem having sometimes been the choice of direction and the size and durability of the thing chosen to hide behind at the end of the run.

The Economy Didn't think the H-1B visa thing was an especially good idea back when we did, in fact, have a shortage of COBOL programmers -- along about 1999 -- and certainly is not in favor of it now. Advocates a new branch of the military, The United States Technical Corps, into which young men and women could be drafted, starting at age 18, and providing a career progression from Technical Support positions up through Java Coder and topping out, for enlisted personnel, at Program Manager. Those making a career of it could aspire to ranks such as SCRUM Master, Quality Assurance Gauleiter, and General Protectionfault.
Defense Sums up his views on Defense with the slogan, "It's the Pac Rim, stupid!" Advocates a policy of strengthening America's naval power and bolstering the arms and capabilities of the Japanese and certain cannon fodder-providing friendly countries in the region, such as Australia.

Would push for a policy of requiring all nations that export small arms to have internal sales in proportion to their population, forcing, for example, one very large Asian country to sell a proportionate number of AK-47s to their own citizens as they do to ours. "That should keep 'em busy for a while," says the candidate.
Separation of Church and State Would press for an end to tax-free statuses for anything that even smells like a religion. The Render Unto Caesar Act or "Stand and Deliver Amendment" would be retroactive to 1791, and would involve a complicated algorithm for calculating back taxes on income, property, and, in a revolutionary new concept in taxation, "smack-talking." The candidate notes that in implementing this program, the software effort alone would create one hundred and forty million new jobs, at least. Two hundred and forty million, if you want it to run on Macs, too.
Foreign Affairs The Foreign and Corrupt Practices Act, which today prohibits bribing foreign officials, would be extended to apply to US officials, as well. The Blagojevich Act, as it would be known, would also increase the penalties for bribing an official in a country we don't like, at the time it happened. This would provide an incentive for countries that are currently on our shit list in disfavor to amend the policies we find offensive and thus increase their chances of being bribed.

The candidate has also discussed a new concept in trade agreements, complementing the notion of Most-favored Nation status. Countries that act in ways that are in opposition to US interests, that compete with us in ruthlessly exploiting assisting in the development of natural resources, or are simply annoying could be assigned Least-favored Nation status, and thereby made subject to a range of sanctions, including attack by another proposed new military corps, The Rapid Deployment Snark Force, formed of volunteers from the ranks of Saturday Night Live and Daily Show writers. England and North Korea would be initial and permanent members of the list.
Climate Change The candidate is in favor of any form of climate change that improves the quality of life in the upper midwest, annoys the people in Ohio, and/or fosters the production of a high quality Pinot Noir varietal in central Michigan. Say, in Shiawassee County, for example.
Local Concerns Advocates a ban on paving anything that isn't already paved and fixing the holes in things that are.

No super-PAC has been formed to date, but negotiations with Jon Stewart are underway.

A thorny comment

Apparently, one of Romney's own staffers referred to him as an Etch-a-Sketch(tm), meaning, again apparently, that his opinions and positions were as mutable as the faint, angular, scribblings that seven-year-olds produce by moving a stylus through some kind of powder, using X-Y axis movements on one of the most boring toys ever marketed. The implication, one assumes, is that Mitt's platform could be as easily revised for the big election as the image on an E-a-S, namely by holding him upside down and giving him a good shaking.

While that might be fun and perhaps the Governor might even enjoy it, he was not amused at the suggestion that he could flip-flop on virtually anything he'd said over the last several months of grotesque pandering to all that's lowest in America's twisted psyche campaigning. Obviously, the fact that one of his own people said it, not one of his opponents, GOP or otherwise, didn't sit well, either. And I can sympathize. I've had employees like that.

I scarcely know how to react

Rod Blagojevich's hair is back in the news. Turns out, as his long-time barber spills his guts to Federal Investigators cheap, sensation-seeking journalistic hacks, the mop is a die job and will quickly turn gray in prison. Seems hair die is not available to inmates, since (one assumes) they could make illicit alcoholic beverages out of it use it to disguise themselves.

Once again, delay in publishing comments

Somewhere, hidden in the convoluted convolutions of a google account name and a blogger account, there's a setting that sends notifications of new comments to -- my old account, which is now neither receiving nor bouncing. I will eventually find this setting and fix it, but for the moment, I'm not getting email nags when you post comments here. I have to actually view the blog myself to see that there are comments awaiting "moderation" (Ha! As if there's anything moderate about it.)

Anyway, apologies for the delays -- I would turn open commenting back on except that I truly don't want to hear what people who like Mitt Romney are thinking -- it keeps me up at night, weeping for my country -- and when I do hear it, I certainly don't want to provide even one more, tiny, squeaking forum among the din and rumble of political discourse for those folks to exploit. I'd make a good mid-East dictator, in fact, when it comes to squashing free speech.

And in partial recompense, here's a philosophical point to ponder, as you go through your day: my spam filter just popped up a window, informing me (as it does every twenty minutes, it seems like) that "Smart updates are available."

The question: what other kinds are there, and do you any of you have software that overtly offers "stupid updates?" (I have many things running that do, in fact, provide stupid updates, but they don't call them that.)

The birthers go balistic

Somehow, the loonies in the who's-a-born-again-American? movement have gone bi-partisan. A group in California (where else?) now want ALL candidates' eligibility certified, including that of Mitt Romney!

Folks, in what other country in the world could someone like Romney have been born? Seriously? Well, OK, maybe Australia. But other than that?