Robert J. Sawyer and friend

“Don’t tinker endlessly with your story.”

–Robert J. Sawyer in his discussion of rule #3 of Robert Heinlein’s rules for writers


Western Diamondback

“Rattlesnakes are attracted to beer and tattoos.”

— Poison Control Center worker overheard at a party a few years ago commenting on the fact that guys in their teens and twenties account for most rattlesnake bites and that — how did you ever guess? — alcohol is often involved. Not coincidentally, almost all Gila Monster bites involve the same demographic.

(Just in case you’re wondering, the above is a Western Diamondback, the most common type of rattler here in the Sonoran Desert.)


Here’s the latest installment in our ever-popular Internet Crap series, which mixes links to sick and absurd but amusing crap with links to useful crap. Enjoy!

  • Feeling a bit down, a bit left out, like you just don’t fit in? You might be a psychopath. Then again, you might not. Find out now with Channel 4‘s  Psychopathic Traits test. Their Spot The Psychopath game is also good, clean fun.
  • If you’re a writer, you’ll want to check out Ralan.com. It has by far the best collection of useful links for writers that we’ve ever seen. (Thanks to Ted Weber, author of Sleep State Interrupt, for this one.)
  • We hear a lot lately about Donald Trump and fascism. For a good, short dissection of the topic, check out Chris Hedges’ “Trump and the Christian Fascists.” (If the title of the piece aroused your curiosity, no, veteran journalist Hedges is not a militant atheist — he’s an ordained Presbyterian minister.)
  • If you’ve ever wondered why so many MLM and other scams target conservative religious believers, wonder no more. Mette Harrison does a good job of explaining it in “10 reasons Mormons dominate multi-level marketing companies” on the Religion News Service site.
  • The Guardian reports that earlier this year, a 21-year-old Spanish student, Cassandra Vera from the Murcia region, was convicted of “glorifying terrorism” and sentenced to a year in jail for a series of jokes she posted on Twitter in 2013. The funniest one concerned the 1973 assassination of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, the Spanish prime minister during the last years of the Franco dictatorship.  Carrero Blanco was killed when the Basque terrorist group ETA detonated a huge bomb beneath a street as Carrero Blanco’s car passed over it, with the explosion hurling the vehicle nearly 70 feet into the air. That’s a long set-up for Vera’s joke, but necessary to understanding it. Here’s the joke, and it’s worth the wait: “ETA launched a policy against official cars combined with a space program.”
  • In these days of “fake news” and deliberate muddying of the waters by the president and his enablers, how do you tell what’s real from conspiracy theories? Hero whistleblower John Kiriakou, who was viciously persecuted by the Obama administration and spent nearly two years in jail as a result, tells us how in “How to Challenge Media Narratives Without Being Called a Conspiracy Theorist.”
  • Ever wonder what’s the most effective thing individuals can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Environmental Research Letters reports that, as should be blindingly obvious by now, the most effective individual action by far is to have fewer kids. (Of course, organized crime — the Catholic Church, LDS church, et al. — will never admit this, because they don’t care about the environment nor the common good; they just want more money and more blindly believing foot soldiers.)
  • We seem to constantly hear about the “civilizing effects” of religion. Here’s a prime example from a deeply devout area, in this case a deeply devout Islamic area. The title says it all in the CNN report, “Pakistani village elders order retaliatory rape of 17-year-old girl.” One can only imagine what these people would be up to without the “civilizing effects” of their “great religion.”
  • Since no Internet Crap post would be complete without at least one link to a cybersecurity how-to story, here you go. The Intercept has an enlightening piece in comic-book format titled “How to protect yourself against spearfishing: A comic explanation.”
  • If you were puzzled as to why so many Alabama “values voters” were ready and willing to vote for an alleged (have to get that in there) pedophile, Kathryn Brightbill does a good job of explaining it in her Los Angeles Times op ed, “Roy Moore’s alleged pursuit of a young girl is the symptom of a larger problem in evangelical circles.”
  • Finally, in still more religion news, the AP reports that “a woman shot her boyfriend in the head after he asked her to kill him because he thought the leader of a cult they belonged to was a reptile posing as a human.”

And . . . Th . . . Th . . . Th . . . Th . . . Th . . . Th . . . That’s all folks!

Porky Pig


REFORM, n. 1) Formerly, a measure designed to improve something already in existence, as in “The reform broadened Medicare coverage”; 2) Currently, a measure designed to worsen or eliminate something already in existence, as in “Tax Reform” and “A shotgun blast to the head reformed the recipient’s life expectancy.”

* * *

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

 


(This one doesn’t reflect well on me, but it’s funny enough to post nonetheless.)

Several years ago, on a Sunday afternoon, telemarketers were bugging me — several irritating calls came in, all from anonymous or out-of-area-code numbers I didn’t recognize.

Since it was Sunday afternoon, chances of getting a business call were almost nil. So, when another out-of-area-code unidentified number came up, I thought to myself, “Self, let’s screw with ’em.”

I picked up the receiver, immediately shouted as loud as I could, “Oh my god! There’s blood everywhere!”, hung up, and then didn’t answer when the caller rang again almost immediately.

Well, it turned out my caller i.d. wasn’t working as advertised, and I would have recognized the caller’s number if it had come up correctly.

The following day the caller i.d. was working again, and I discovered the identity of the caller I’d pranked: it was my brother. He wasn’t amused.

 

Aphorism of the Day 12-11-17

Posted: December 11, 2017 in Humor, Quotations
Tags: ,

“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get.”

— Anonymous


A week or so ago I wrote to two friends (let’s call them Bob and Kathy, who have been married for 40 years) out in the Tucson Mountains foothills about hosting a star party, where I’d bring my 10″ ‘scope and others would bring their mostly smaller telescopes and whatever they’d want to drink.

They both said they’d be up for it.

Shortly after that, after throwing out my back and before sending out a general announcement, I wrote to them two nights ago around 2:00 am asking if it’d work to put off the star party until the 16th because I was in pain.

The next morning I checked my e-mail and found a message from Bob:

“Sure, no problem, the 16th works fine.”

Then I found an e-mail dated an hour later from Kathy:

“The 16th is our anniversary. We’ve already made plans to go out of town for the weekend.”

Need I say more about male/female differences?