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.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tonight on TRU TV: Top 10 Dumbest Populations

It is -- or was -- a major world power. Its name is synonymous with cultural development. It was a key driver of the Industrial Revolution. For a time, it was the world's policeman. Today, it's a sad shambles, its economy in disarray and its youth actually dumber than its adults. That's right, horrifyingly, the young people are less clueful WRT reading and math than their elders, bucking a long, long trend. And its two leading political parties jumped at the chance to blame each other for it.

Which country? You might say, "The US, of course." You might say that, and you'd be wrong with a capital WR. It's the motherland, the United Kingdom. Its kids are morons, comparatively speaking. At least according to this BBC story. Take it with a grain of salt; it is, after all, the BBC, a paragon of take-no-chances journalism. But they sound pretty confident of their data, and the response of Labour and the Conservatives (there ought to be an emoticon for two fingers, pointing at each other, but if there is, I can't find it) is so US-like that our House and Senate are considering a lawsuit for patent infringement.

Duh, Britannia, Britannia can't spell "waves".

Meanwhile, another country, tired of dealing with opposition in a civilized, democratic way, has simply decided to jail the wilder ones. Where is this crackdown taking place? Egypt? Syria? Texas? No, this week anyway, it's in the birthplace of democracy, Greece, where they're rounding up the neo-nazis and charging them with, um, things. Admittedly, one of them probably did murder a critic of their crypto-populist viewpoint, but still ... Aristotle did not return phone calls, asking for comment.

I keep promising myself not to start the day by reading the news, but I can't seem to break the habit. Here at home (where we're apparently striving to take the idiot honors back from the UK), a group of at least two and possibly more truck drivers are planning their own shutdown of the government by driving at the speed limit around the beltway (presumably in their trucks). One faction says they're going to "arrest" any lawmakers they can find who aren't upholding the constitution; another faction says "Nuh uh!" That's why I say there are at least two of these concerned citizens. Except in extraordinary circumstances, you have to have at least one person to make up a faction, per Federal regulations.

And because this isn't Greece (or Egypt or Syria), they probably won't just be spike-stripped, tased, dragged out of their Kenworths, and summarily shot. And because the Air Force is on shutdown (or it isn't -- not exactly clear), they can't finish their program of phasing out the A-10 ground attack planes and turning them over to local police forces for traffic control. Pity.

2013 10 11: Update on the trucker thing. Faction one now says it was all a "hoax" to get media attention, and he probably isn't going, himself.

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