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, October 25, 2012

Just still somebody afraid from stones

When you combine an incomplete understanding of the English language with a) sarcasm or b) mental illness, you get something like this comment, which I found on a Turkish news site's story about an archaeological find. The story is here, but I've copied the comment verbatim for fear it will somehow disappear from the web. Things like that happen, you know.

"for sure is from Mars . names also from cities provide that . all are from marsian origin . the alfabet or maybe the corect word is marsabet is an alian one .everybody in western word know that . just still somebody afraid from stones . jews and greeks by the way forced before milion years to pluto . to belive in a jewish religion and have a greek based education and politic system its real hell "

This was posted by someone whose user id is constantinos kio. I leave it to you (or perhaps Dr. Dahl's translation software) to speculate on its meaning.

Be afraid from stones.

Forget Java; start coding in ...

Proto-Elamite. It's the oldest language we know about and can't yet read, but stand by, because a bright boy or group of same is closing in on it.

A while back, namely 3200-2900 BCE, some folks in what is now, God help it, Iran, used this text to record ... something. And if some high-powered computers have anything to say about it, we'll know soon. The sort-of-gushing BBC story is here, including a good picture of some of the proto-Elamite writing itself.

I called the scientist in question (Oh, yeah. Archaeologists are always happy to drop what they're doing and chat with unknown bloggers and cranks. They love it. Give it a try.) The text of the interview is reproduced here:

WCA: I'd like a pizza to go and no anchovies.

Dr. Jacob Dahl: You've got the wrong number. I spell my name, "Danger." (Hangs up)

WCA: Oh, man. Nobody will come up into the hills at all!

WCA: (calls back) Is this Dr. Dahl?

DJD: Are you the prat who just called me?

WCA: Yes. I mean no, no not at all. I'm someone quite else.

DJD: What do you want?

WCA: About this proto-Elamite stuff -- what do you think it'll say when you get it deciphered?

DJD: How the hell should I know? That's why we need to decipher it. Was there anything else?

WCA: Why does the porridge bird lay its egg in the air?

DJD: (Hangs up)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Game changer!

No, I'm not talking about Trump's asinine little stunt. I mean the news today that Italy's own Sylvio "Bunga-bunga" Berlusconi is dropping out of future contention for Prime Minister -- so that he can run fpr the US Presidency! Ok, I made that last part up. But he is out of the picture, he says, in Italia.

Wanna bet?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Recurring nightmare theme

Over the years, except for the years when I wasn't driving (1976 to 1978, more or less,) I always seem to have had an automotive bĂȘte noire -- a car, driven by others, that always seemed to be in my way, underfoot, and generally annoying. For a while, it was the Datsun B210, a tinny, underpowered little lump, one of which it seemed was always ahead of me, demonstrating its inability to get out of its own way.

Later on, it was other cars. The early mini-vans were bad, bad, bad, mostly because of the poor distribution of driving skills among their target market. Just last month, I had a fit of Honda Odyssey hating, not so much for operative as aesthetic reasons (them's butt ugly, in my arrogant opinion.) But I realize, especially upon reading this blog post from Jalopnik, that I have always, from the day of its inception, hated the Prius. Still do.

And now the damn things are outselling not only reasonable vehicles (e.g., the Ford F-150) but also Toyota's own wretchedly-bland Camry. I think secession may be our only hope.

Unless ... we can convince the Italians to mass produce something like this little darling. Imagine one of them with, say, a Ford 302 V-8 or even a Nissan 6 pulled out of a wrecked Z. Ommmmmmm.
Oh, what is it? A 1956 Lancia Aurelia.

The question was asked, how come you weren't driving back in the Seventies? It was a combination of three things: a misplaced, idealistic notion that you could get along in the American Midwest without a car (totally false unless we're talking downtown Chicago;) a deep disgust with the last five or nine motor vehicles I'd owned, all of which were ancient, poorly maintained, and poorly built in the first place; and simple penury.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Absolutely god damn right

As Martin Sheen's character says in Apocalypse Now, "Never get out of the boat!"

Having been driven around in India by locals (you couldn't have paid me enough to get behind the wheel, myself,) I can attest to the validity of this article's thesis: Never Drive in India.

Oh, and in another example of "Absolutely god damn right," the Detroit Free Press' Editor in Charge of the Bleedin' Obvious says, "Detroit's next police chief will have hands full."

As if the last five or six of 'em didn't, in all possible ways you can interpret the phrase.