Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category


Ambrose Bierce

LABOR, n. One of the processes by which A acquires property for B.

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–from The Devil’s Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce


There’s currently a post on Boing Boing, by Jason Weinberger, whose headline begins, “Baseball is boring.” This epitomizes hipster condescension toward baseball, condescension based on hipsters having a shorter attention span than that of the average flea and as much understanding of baseball as a dog does of algebra.

They look at the field slack jawed, in incomprehension, and they’re “bored.”

If they had even the slightest understanding of the game, they wouldn’t be.

Here are just a few of the interesting things they could be looking at with no one on base. (These will vary from batter to batter and sometimes from pitch to pitch):

  • The position of the infield (depth and relation to the bases)
  • The position of the outfield
  • The pitch sequence (type of pitch, attempted location)
  • Actual pitch location
  • The pitcher’s pitch count
  • The pitcher’s velocity
  • The pitcher’s mechanics
  • The batter’s batting stance
  • The batter’s position in the box
  • The batter’s plate discipline
  • The batter’s ability to foul off bad pitches — one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen was Brandon Belt’s epic 21-pitch at bat, fouling off pitch after pitch, earlier this year

With a runner on first base, things get even more interesting. You still have all of the above, but you have more:

  • How big is the runner’s lead?
  • How fast is he?
  • Does it even make sense for the runner to try to steal?
  • How good is the pitcher’s move to first?
  • How fast is the pitcher to the plate?
  • How good is the catcher’s arm and how fast is his release?

With a runner on second or third, or with multiple base runners, it often gets even more complicated.

Then if you’re watching real baseball (National League baseball — without the dumbed-down abomination known as the designated hitter) — you have the fun of trying to outguess the managers:

  • When and if the manager should pinch hit for the pitcher
  • Which pinch hitter should the manager use?
  • Or should the manager have the pitcher bunt, take, or fake a bunt and try to hit a butcher boy?
  • When exactly should a manager bring in a relief pitcher? And which one?
  • Should the manager make a double switch if he calls in a reliever?

Again, this only scratches the surface.

Yes, baseball can be boring — in blowout games. But so can football, hockey, basketball and socker — and please don’t call that unAmerican foreign sport “football”: that term applies only to a popular American religious ceremony involving human sacrifice.

Hipsters generally prefer football (a ritualized form of mayhem conducted for your and my — go ‘9ers! — entertainment) and basketball (the perfect game for those with nonexistent attention spans, and proof that childhood glandular disorders need not impair adult earnings potential).

Me? I’ll take baseball.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ambrose Bierce

DISOBEDIENCE, n. The silver lining to the cloud of servitude.

–Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary


BIRTHDAY. n. A milepost on the march to death.

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— This one is not from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, but it will be if we ever get around to publishing a further expanded edition. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


PRIEST, n. A holy individual who follows — often to excess — the divine injunction to “love the little children.”

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— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


GUTLESSNESS, n. According to the savvy political strategists who have guided the Democratic Party for decades, a certain route to victory.

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— from The American Heretic’s Dictionary (revised & expanded), the 21st-century successor to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary. (The link goes to 50 sample definitions and illustrations.)

American Heretic's Dictionary revised and expanded by Chaz Bufe, front cover


Quantum Thief cover

“But first, tell me: Why religion?” Paul asks.

Isaac laughs. “Why alcohol? Once you try it, it’s hard to give it up.”

He opens the flask and takes a swig. The vodka burns on his tongue.

“Besides, this is the faith of champions my friend: a thousand arbitrary rules you just have to accept, all completely irrational.”

–from Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief