one hundred ninety-seven things tagged “funny”

Cowsay! 🐮

I love me my cowsay. It’s a lovely amusement that greets me every time I open a terminal session.

Example of cowsay in action

People typically use it with the fortune command but my cow moos a random developer excuse. I generate that using this bash function and this invocation:

command -v cowsay >/dev/null 2>&1 && {
    # shellcheck source=/dev/null
    random_excuse | cowsay -s
    echo ""
}

I was looking for more cowsay templates and found this giant list. You’d use echo "Moomoo" | cowsay -f some_template.cow. If you need color, there’s Charc0al’s list which doubles as a converter in case you want to use your own images. Since I don’t trust things on the internet to continue to be where they are, I saved that repo here.

On Knowing Everything When One is Young

When he was young he had prided himself on being clever. Walking down the street, not even thinking anything, just walking along like every other moron, he’d had a distinct sense of how clever he was. He’d never done anything with that cleverness except write stupid articles and make occasionally clever remarks, most of them not even clever. He just felt clever, and it was a good feeling, feeling clever. Now he felt, with equal conviction (and rather more evidence), that he was entering the stupid years. The stupid years complemented the vague years. They went together. The vague years and the stupid years were the same years and they had already started. Well, bring them on. Forgetting everyone’s names - as those adverts in the newspapers were always reminding you - was embarrassing, but apart from that, being stupid was fine, like a premonition of enlightenment.

Geoff Dyer, Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi: A Novel

On Mullets

People ask me why in 2023 I’m still rocking a mullet. Easy answer. Without the lettuce I’m just a guy that says dumb shit all the time. When I say dumb shit with the mullet, it’s like my face is saying one thing out front, and my mullet is apologizing out back. My mullet is “Dumb shit out front, I’m sorry but I grew up in Oklahoma out back” Getting mad at something someone said with a mullet is like getting mad at a person with no arms for not waving at you at the mall.

Fake Quote by Mike Gundy

On Convenience in 2022

Definitely the future of television I had in mind was me having to google every movie I want to watch to see if it’s currently in one of its one-month windows on any of the seven streaming services I pay for. This is way easier than buying a DVD. I love it.

@chasemit

The Very Stable Genius by smiama6 More Pasta

McMaster: called him a dope with the intelligence of a kindergartner

Mattis: called him a 5th grader.

Mnuchin: called him an idiot.

Graham: called him a complete idiot.

Priebus: called him an idiot.

John Kelly: called him a f***ing idiot.

Tillerson: called him a f***ing moron.

Cohn: called him dumb as sh*t.

McRaven: called him the biggest threat to our democracy.

Bannon: called him a f***ing moron.

John Dowd: called him a f****ing liar and too dumb to testify.

Rupert Murdoch: called him a f***ing idiot.

John Bolton: “Trump has the attention span of a fruit fly.

William T. Kelley: (Professor at Penn) called him the dumbest goddamn student he ever had.

Fran Lebowitz (author): “Everyone says he is crazy – which maybe he is – but the scarier thing about him is that he is stupid. You do not know anyone as stupid as Donald Trump. You just don’t.

Tony Schwartz: (the ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal”) called him a man with a stunning level of superficial knowledge and plain ignorance.

John Kelly: “He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.”

Anonymous GOP Congressman in a Safeway Rant: called him an evil, really f***ing stupid Forrest Gump.

Mueller: called him Individual 1

And the rest of the world just laughs at him.

A List of Patriotic Groups for Old Mouthbreathing Ultra-Conservative Chickenshits by Unknown More Pasta

Like the badass below 🔥🔥🔥

Got this off Reddit. Unsure of the OP. Too lovely to vanish off the internet. We have a few of these in Des Moines and I swear I quiver in my immigrant slippers every time I see them 😰

  • 101st Chairborne
  • 1st Methanized Infantile Division
  • Al-Kabob
  • Army National Lard
  • Battle of The Bulging Stomach
  • Bozo Haram
  • Branch Covidians
  • Buffet Brigade
  • Bundesmeal
  • Call of Foodie
  • Chowed Boys
  • Cosplaytriots
  • Country Bombkins
  • Coup Klutz Clan
  • CroMAGAnons
  • Cult 45
  • Delta Farce
  • Delta Forks
  • Fryatollahs
  • G.I. Jokes
  • G.I. Jugs
  • Ghost bacon
  • GI Jugs
  • GI Sloppy Joe
  • Gravy Seals
  • Green Beignets
  • Green Buffets
  • Griller Warfare
  • Hamburger Harkonnen
  • Hez-bubba
  • Hezba-la-mode
  • Hogan’s Zeroes
  • Insulin Insurgents
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Irrational Guar
  • Kommando Soup Kräfte
  • Kool-Aid Brigade
  • Luftwaffle
  • MAGAhideen
  • Mayonnaise Militia
  • Meal Team Six
  • MephamphetaMarines
  • Mid-life ISIS
  • National Lard
  • Natty ISIS
  • Oaf Creepers
  • Operation Dessert Storm
  • Prone Boys
  • Q Cucks Klan
  • Seal Team Snacks
  • Semper Fries
  • Semper Fudge
  • Shock & Olive Garden
  • Slaw and Order
  • Snack Ops
  • Special Courses
  • Special Farces
  • Special Portions
  • Special Weapons And Toppings
  • Sporktroopers
  • Stormscooters
  • Supper Fidelis
  • TactiTools
  • Taking up Space Force
  • Tali-Born Again
  • Talibangelicals
  • Talibanjos
  • Talibubba
  • The Califat
  • The Double Chinfantry
  • The Eatstern Front
  • The Expandables
  • The Mandalardians
  • The Queens Lard
  • The Secret Circus
  • Traitor Tots
  • Traitor Trash
  • Traitortots
  • Trumpanzees
  • U.S Marshmallows
  • Vanilla Isis
  • Vietnom-nom-nom Veterans
  • Wal-Martyrs
  • Well-fedayeen
  • Whiskey tango food truck
  • Wide Supremacist
  • Yeehawwdists
  • Yokel Haram
  • Y’all Qaeda
  • Y’alliban

On Doing Nothing At All

As far as Indian Gurus go, I find this guy more illumined and full of practical, actionable advice than, say, this guy, less full of shit than this one, and definitely less batshit crazy than this one.

Via LT 🙏

Update

The creator of the video is Masood Boomgaard. Here’s his YouTube channel. And here’s the Balm your Soul needs in its entirety 🙏 🌸

Check Everything and Twice

A couple from snowy Minnesota decided to take a winter vacation back in the simple Florida resort where they had stayed for a honeymoon twenty-five years before. Because of his wife’s delayed work schedule, the husband went first, and then when he got there he received a message that she would meet him soon. So he sent her this e-mail in reply. But because he typed one letter wrong in the e-mail address, it went by mistake to an old woman in Oklahoma, whose minister husband had died the day before. Here is what she read:

“Dearest,

Well the journey is over and I have finally arrived. I was surprised to find they have e-mail here now. They tell me you’ll be coming soon. It will be good to be together again.

Love as always.

P.S. Be prepared. It’s quite hot down here.”

Source Unknown

On Sitting on your Arse

I like nothing more in the world than sitting on my ass doing nothing. And it’s not my fault I have this attitude, because I happen to have an amazingly comfortable ass. It may not look like much, but if you could sit on this baby for two minutes, you’d realize that getting off this ass would be a crime against nature.

Lori Chapman

Dan Brown is Renowned

These articles are from a while ago. I love them a lot. By Michael Deacon.

That’s true, mused the accomplished composer of thrillers that combined religion, high culture and conspiracy theories. His books were read by everyone from renowned politician President Obama to renowned musician Britney Spears. It was said that a copy of The Da Vinci Code had even found its way into the hands of renowned monarch the Queen. He was grateful for his good fortune, and gave thanks every night in his prayers to renowned deity God.

Michael Deacon, “Don’t make fun of renowned Dan Brown”, The Telegraph

And the renowned encore:

His imagination was racing like a racecar made of brains. Picking up his personal copy of acclaimed tome The Da Vinci Code, he reread its exquisite opening paragraph.

“Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, a Caravaggio. Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece towards himself until it tore from the wall and Saunière collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas.”

Hmm, meditated the 5’9” caucasian male. There is no doubting the magnificence of the prose, from the effortless elegance of its syntax to the way it brings characters vividly to life through evocative details like “the seventy-six-year-old man”. But the young people of today wouldn’t know about museums or Caravaggio. I must start again from scratch – and bring the story right up to date.

Michael Deacon, “Look Out, Kids! It’s The Return Of Renowned Dan Brown”, The Telegraph

I read The Da Vinci Code when it was all the rage a long while ago1, and so much of what’s being ridiculed here reminds me of submissions to the Bulwer Lytton Fiction Contest2.

Update

Here’s John Oliver on the phenonemon that was The Da Vinci Code. 19-year old Nikhil was absolutely mesmerized. His reaction at 5:45 is chef’s kiss

  1. My roommate at the time bought me the illustrated version for my birthday! ↩︎

  2. On my bucket list: Have a submission mentioned honorably 🙏 ↩︎

Oracle

Here’s Bryan Cantrill’s classic assessment of Oracle Corporation (taken from this talk.)

On Twitter, a year after that video:

If you were an enterprise database customer who hadn’t heard of the Nazis, might it be easiest to explain them with Oracle allegory?

@bcantrill

I know people who’ve worked there (none of whom are with the company, mercifully) and have heard nothing but fascinating tales of dysfunction, fiefdoms, sinecures, overwork, and bureaucracy. One engineer told me that, of all the bad places he’d worked at, he felt his “soul dying slowly” at Oracle. It’s a generic and very real Evil Corporation™, and probably the company the protagonists in Office Space work at.

And this wouldn’t be too far-fetched a thought. Consider that the producers of Terminator: Genisys, who are an Oracle Co-Founders’s own children, based “Cyberdyne Systems, the fictional defense company responsible for the creation of the evil AI Skynet” on their dad’s company. Amazing.

Akhanda (2021) IMDb D

REALLY 📢 LOUD 📢 NOISES 📢 with a good dose of Hindutva1. It’s really, really loud.

This is Boyapati Srinu’s third movie with Balakrishna after Simha (loud) and Legend (louder.) Akhanda is the loudest and shittiest collaboration yet. The story is a complete afterthought and, very loosely, holds together punch dialogues, fight scenes, and forgettable shit songs featuring Balakrishna’s embarrassing and dismaying calisthenic attempts at joint health and mobility2. Meat for the most hardcore of Balayya fans. At this rate, he could just put out a two-hour plot-free smorgasbord of Balayya belting us with nothing but punch dialogues and still have a hit on his hands.

Diarrhea with kernels of punch dialogues. Please make sure you protect your hearing if you decide to watch this disaster. Here’s a review via NN. 0:09 to 0:24 is accurate.

Update

When I said the first few seconds of the review above were accurate, I wasn’t fucking around.

Those histrionics are marginally better than the movie.

Update

The music director thinks it’s wrong to call his shit loud. “You don’t ask the priests at the temple to turn down the volume of the bells ringing do you?” He submits that the ear-splitting volume induces a “trance” state. Otolaryngologists might call it “trauma” but OK Bro.

  1. It’s just what the market wants you know? ↩︎

  2. Tho truth be told, I’d be very happy if I could move like that at sixty-one 🤷‍♂️ ↩︎

On Stupid Questions

Journalist David Walsh recounting a story about his late son John in the context of his work uncovering Lance Armstrong and the USPS Pro Cycling Team’s “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful”1 doping program.

One story stood out. One of John’s teachers at [inaudible] National School in the Midlands of Ireland said to me that she remembered John for something that happened when John was six or seven, and she was reading this story of the Nativity.

You know, Mary and Joseph had come to Bethlehem and sought a place in the inn but all the inns were full and they ended up in a stable. And it was there that Baby Jesus was born. And the shepherds came and then the Three Wise Men came and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And then Mary and Joseph came back to where they came from and they lived a very modest life because Joseph was just a humble carpenter and they didn’t have very much.

And John’s hand went up. And Mrs. Toomey, his teacher, said “Yes John.” And he said “Miss, you said Mary and Joseph didn’t have very much. What did they do with the gold that the Three Wise Men brought?”

And she said “John, I’ve been reading this story for thirty-three years and nobody has ever asked me that question. And the honest answer is: I don’t know.”

And I said Mrs. Toomey that’s the most beautiful story. Because it is the most pertinent question, in that, journalism, which is my profession, that’s it! In a nutshell! “What did Mary and Joseph do with the gold?” You ask the obvious question. People may laugh at you. People may think you’re an idiot. But that doesn’t deter you. If you’re unsure, you ask.

David Walsh, “Extraordinary Proof”, The Moth (cached)
  1. Lance Armstrong: Usada report labels him ‘a serial cheat’, BBC Sport ↩︎

Our Crazy Calendar by @foone More Pasta

Someday aliens are going to land their saucers in a field somewhere in New Jersey and everything is going to go just fine right up until we try to explain our calendar to them

“yeah we divide our year into a number of sub units called ‘months’ made up a number of days, and they’re not all the same length”
“I guess that’s unavoidable, if your rotations-count per orbit is a prime number”
“yeah, our’s isn’t prime”
“but surely you have most of these ‘months’ the same length and just make the last one shorter or longer?”
“No… They’re different lengths following no logical pattern”
“what”
“and we further subdivide the months into ‘weeks’, which is 7 days.”
“ahh, so each month is an integer multiple of weeks?”
“that would make sense, but no. Only one is, sometimes”
“SOMETIMES?!”
“yeah our orbit around the sun isn’t an integer number of days, so we have to change the number of days to in a year from time to time”
“oh yes, a similar thing happens on Epsilon Indi 7, where they have to add an extra day every 39 years to keep holidays on track”
“yeah that’s how ours work! Although the ratio doesn’t work out cleanly, so we just do every 4 years, except every 100 years, except except every 400 years”
“oh, you number your years? What’s the epoch?”
“uh, it’s supposed to be the birth of a religious leader, but they got the math wrong so it’s off by 4 years, if he existed at all.”
“if? You based your calendar off the birth date of someone you’re not sure exists?”
“yeah. He’s written about in a famous book but historical records are spotty.”
“interesting. I didn’t realize your planet was one of the ones with a single universal religion, that usually only happens in partial or complete hive minds.”
“uhh, we’re not.”
“You’re not?!”
“yeah we have multiple religions.”
“oh but they all have a common ancestor, which agrees on the existence of that leader, right?”
“uh, no. Two of the big ones do, but most of the others don’t believe in him”
“YOUR CALENDAR IS BASED ON A RELIGIOUS LEADER THAT NOT EVERYONE BELIEVES IN?”
“well, on his birth. And yeah, we got it wrong by a couple years.”
“OK, fine. So, you have somewhat complicated rules about when you change the length of your years, and I’m scared to ask this, but… You definitely just add or subtract that extra day at the end, right?”
“… Nope.”
"At the start of the year? "
“nah. The end of the second month”
“WHY WOULD IT BE THE SECOND MONTH?”
“I’m not sure, really.”
“huh. So at this point I’m dreading asking this, but how do you measure time within each day?”
“oh that’s much simpler. Each day is divided into hours, each hour has minutes, and each minute has seconds.”
“ok. And 10 of each?”
“10 hours? No. There’s 24 hours, 60 minutes, 60 seconds”
“… I thought you said you used a base-10 counting system”
“we do! Mostly. But our time system came from some long gone civilization that liked base-60 like 5000 years ago”
“and you haven’t changed it since?”
“No.”
“huh. Okay, so why 24? That’s not a divisor of 60”
“oh because it’s actually 12!”
“what”
“yeah each day is 24 hours but they are divided into two sets of 12.”
“and that’s 5 12s, right, I see the logic here, almost. So like, after hour 12, it becomes the second half, which is 1?”
“No, after 11.”
“oh, you zero-index them! So it’s hours 0-11 in the first half, then 12-23 in the second half?”
“No. 12 to 11 in the first half, and again in the second half”
“please explain that before my brain melts out my mouth”
“the first hour is 12. Then the next one is 1, then it goes back up to 11, then 12 again”
“that is not how numbers work. And how do you tell first 12 apart from second 12?”
“oh we don’t use numbers for that!”
“you don’t number the two halves of your day?”
“nah, we call them AM and PM”
“WHAT DOES THAT MEAN”
“I think it’s ante-meridian and post-meridian? But I’m not sure, I dont know much Latin”
“Latin?”
“yeah it’s an ancient language from an old empire which controlled a lot of the world and we still use some of their terms”
“oh, and that was the civilization that liked base-60 and set up your time system?”
“that would make sense, but… No, completely different one.”
“okay, and what do you do to if you want to measure very short times, shorter than a second?”
“oh we use milliseconds and microseconds”
“ahh, those are a 60th of a second and then 60th of the other?”
“No. Thousandths.”
“so you switch to base-10 at last, but only for subdivisions of the second?”
“yeah.”
“but at thousands, ie, ten tens tens”
“yeah. Technically we have deciseconds and centiseconds, which are 1/10 of a second, and 1/100 of a second, but no one really uses them. We just use milli.”
“that seems more like a base-1000 system than a base-10 system.”
“it kinda is? We do a similar thing with measures of volume and distance and mass.”
“but you still call it base-10?”
“yeah”
“so let me see if I get this right: Your years are divided in 10 months, each of which is some variable number of days, the SECOND of which varies based on a complex formula… and each day is divided into two halves of 12 hours, of 60 minutes, 60 seconds, 1000 milliseconds?”
“12 months, actually.”
“right, because of the ancient civilization that liked base-60, and 12 is a divisor of 60.”
“No, actually, that came from the civilization that used latin. Previously there were 10.”
“what”
“yeah the Latin guys added two months part of the way through their rule, adding two more months. That’s why some are named after the wrong numbers”
“you just said two things I am having trouble understanding. 1. Your months are named, not numbered? 2. THE NAMES ARE WRONG?”
“yep! Our 9th month is named after the number 7, and so on for 10, 11, and 12.”
“your 12th month is named… 10?”
“yeah.”
“what are the other ones named after?!”
“various things. Mainly Gods or rulers”
“oh, from that same religion that your epoch is from?”
“uh… No. Different one.”
“so you have an epoch based on one religion, but name your months based on a different one?”
“yeah! Just wait until you hear about days of the week.”
“WHAT”
“so yeah we group days into 7-day periods-”
“which aren’t an even divisor of your months lengths or year lengths?”
“right. Don’t interrupt”
“sorry”
“but we name the days of the week, rather than numbering them. Funny story with that, actually: there’s disagreement about which day starts the week.”
“you have a period that repeats every 7 days and you don’t agree when it starts?”
“yeah, it’s Monday or Sunday.”
“and those names come from…”
“celestial bodies and gods! The sun and moon are Sunday and Monday, for example”
“but… I looked at your planet’s orbit parameters. Doesn’t the sun come up every day?”
“yeah.”
“oh, do you have one of those odd orbits where your natural satellite is closer or eclipsed every 7 days, like Quagnar 4?”
“no, the sun and moon are the same then as every other day, we just had to name them something.”
“and the other days, those are named after gods?”
“yep!”
“from your largest religion, I imagine?”
“nah. That one (and the second largest, actually) only has one god, and he doesn’t really have a name.”
“huh. So what religion are they from? The Latin one again?”
“nah, they only named one of the God-days”
“only on… SO THE OTHER DAYS ARE FROM A DIFFERENT RELIGON ENTIRELY?”
“Yep!”
“the third or forth biggest, I assume?”
“nah, it’s one that… Kinda doesn’t exist anymore? It mostly died out like 800 years ago, though there are some modern small revivals, of course”
“so, let me get confirm I am understanding this correctly. Your days and hours and seconds and smaller are numbered, in a repeating pattern. But your years are numbered based on a religious epoch, despite it being only one religion amongst several.”
“correct so far”
“and your months and days of the week are instead named, although some are named after numbers, and it’s the wrong numbers”
“exactly”
“and the ones that aren’t numbers or rulers or celestial objects are named after gods, right?”
“yup!”
“but the months and the days of the week are named after gods from different religons from the epoch religion, and indeed, each other?”
“yeah! Except Saturday. That’s the same religion as the month religion”
“and the month/Saturday religion is also from the same culture who gave you the 12 months system, and the names for the two halves of the day, which are also named?”
“right! Well, kinda.”
“please explain, slowly and carefully”
“yeah so cultures before then had a 12 month system, because of the moon. But they had been using a 10 month system, before switching to 12 and giving them the modern names”
“the… Moon? Your celestial body?”
“yeah, it completes an orbit about every 27 days, so which is about 12 times a year, so it is only natural to divide the year into 12 periods, which eventually got called months”
“ok, that makes sense. Wait, no. Your orbital period is approximately 365.25 days, right?”
“yeah. That’s why we do 365 or 366 based on the formula”
“but that doesn’t work. 365 divided by 27 is ~13.5, not 12”
“yeah I’m not sure why 12 was so common then. Maybe it goes back to the base 60 people?”
“okay so one final check before I file this report: Years are numbered based on a religious leader. Years always have 12 months, but the lengths of those months is not consistent between each other or between years.”
“don’t forget the epoch we number our years from is wrong!”
“right, yes. And your months are named, some after a different religion, and some after numbers, but not the number the month is in the year.”
“right. And when we change the month lengths, it’s the second one we change”
“how could I forget? After months you have a repeating ‘week’ of 7 days, which is named after gods from two religons, one of which is the month-naming one, and a nearly extinct one. And you don’t agree when the week starts.”
“nope! My money is on Monday.”
“that’s the Monday that’s named after your moon, which supposedly influenced the commonality of the 12 months in a year cycle, despite it orbiting 13 times in a year?”
“correct!”
“and as for your days, they split into two halves, named after a phrase you don’t really understand in the long dead language of the same culture that named the months and Saturday.”
“Yep. I took some in college but all I remember is like, ‘boy’, ‘girl’, ‘stinky’, ‘cocksucker’”
“charming. And then each half is divided into 12 hours, but you start at 12, then go to 1, and up to 11”
“all I can say is that it makes more sense on analog clocks.”
“i don’t know what that is and at this point I would prefer you not elaborate. So each of those hours is divided into 60 minutes and then 60 seconds, and this comes from an ancient civilization, but not the one that gave you the month names”
“yep. Different guys. Different part of the world.”
“ok. And then after seconds, you switch to a ‘base-10’ system, but you only really use multiples of a thousand? Milliseconds and microseconds?”
“right. And there’s smaller ones beyond that, but they all use thousands”
“right. Got it. All written down here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just gotta go make sure I didn’t leave my interociter on, I’ll be right back.”

The tall alien walks back into their saucer without a wave. The landing ramp closes.

The ship gently lifts off as gangly landing legs retract. There’s a beat, then a sudden whooshing sound as air rushes back into the space that previously held the craft, now suddenly vacuum.

NORAD alarms go off briefly as an object is detected leaving the earth’s atmosphere at a significant fraction of the speed of light.

In the years to come, many technological advances are made from what was left behind, a small tablet shaped object made of some kind of artifical stone/neutrino composite material.

The alien message left on screen is eventually translated to read “Untitled Document 1 has not been saved, are you sure you wish to quit? (yes) (no) (cancel)”

Many years have passed, and we await the day the aliens return. They have not.

With our new advancements, we build space-radar systems and can see the many species flying around the galaxy. It’s not long before we realize they’re intentionally giving earth a wide berth.

Drone ships criss-cross the galaxy, but when they get within a lightyear of earth they detour around it.

We finally get a subspace radio working, and start working to decode the noisy traffic of a thousand civilizations talking to each other. We broadcast a message of greetings and peace

Less than a week later, the subspace net goes quiet. Our space radar reports the solar system is now surrounded by small vessels, suspected to be some kind of automated probe, and they’re blocking all radio traffic in or out. Even the pulsars go quiet, all radio waves are gone.

We focus on cracking the secret of FTL travel. The first prototype never makes it off the ground, as before the rocket can even ignite, it’s crushed by a small meteor

Forensic reconstruction suggests it was a sundial, carved from rock dug out of the far side of the moon.

Anyway if anyone wants to, like, draw or animate this or film this (or something inspired by it)? That’d be sweet, you don’t need permission from me, go ahead. I’d do it but I don’t have the time or skills. Just put like “based on a story by Foone” somewhere in the credits.

It’s always weird saying that because it kinda sounds like I’m implying I think this is like A MOVIE SCRIPT THAT’S GOING TO HOLLYWOOD! or something. I don’t, I just want to make sure everyone knows it’s free to adapt and remix and all that.

It amused me to type, I hope it amused you to read, and if it amuses you to make something based on it, go right ahead. I’d love to see it.

On Unorthodox Marx

He leads the existence of a real bohemian intellectual. Washing, grooming and changing his linen are things he does rarely, and he likes to get drunk. Though he is often idle for days on end, he will work day and night with tireless endurance when he has a great deal of work to do. He has no fixed times for going to sleep or waking up. He often stays up all night, and then lies down fully clothed on the sofa at midday and sleeps till evening, untroubled by the comings and goings of the whole world.

Purported account Karl Marx’s work habits from a Prussian spy

Sounds lovely, really.

“A plus-sized Jewish lady redneck died in El Paso on Saturday.”

Renay Mandel Corren passed away at 84 a week ago (RIP 🙏). Her son wrote what is one of the best obituaries I’ve read in a while. A small excerpt:

Here’s what Renay was great at: dyeing her red roots, weekly manicures, dirty jokes, pier fishing, rolling joints and buying dirty magazines. She said she read them for the articles, but filthy free speech was really Renay’s thing. Hers was a bawdy, rowdy life lived large, broke and loud. We thought Renay could not be killed. God knows, people tried.

Please enjoy the whole thing. I cached it here because it is too important to lose. Via PLG.

On Nicholas Cage

Yeah, Nic Cage brings the same intensity to almost every role he does. If it’s not a very good role, it’s gonna stand out as being bad.

To put it another way, imagine a boxer that is very good at knocking people out. That’s impressive. Now imagine he accepts fights against children as well, and he is still good at knocking those people out. Now it’s less impressive and more horrifying. He could be an amazing boxer, but he keeps accepting fights against children and knocking them out.

That’s Nic Cage’s acting.

Aarekk on /r/NoStupidQuestions

You either get Nic Cage or you don’t. Via CM.

The Pithy Wisdom of Stephen Crowley

Stephen Crowley is a product designer who maintains @ShitUserStory, my favorite new Twitter account1 (via Deepu). He also maintains a Medium blog with gems like these:

Lovely stuff.

  1. Given the amount of rage I’ve had with awful product design and really, really shitty websites of late. The madness doesn’t stop with the web. On $250 Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, which are comfortable and have lovely sound and the best active noise-canceling I’ve ever experienced, opting to “Disable Voice Guidance” still means that the nice lady inside your headphones will tell you when you dis/connect your Bluetooth device. You gotta toggle a feature in the app to prevent iTunes from launching every time it pairs with your Mac (the Sony folk think this “feature” is “unfortunate” so there’s that at least.) Your headphones can just choose to turn off the moment you turn them on unless you update the firmware. Would you like to share your location? Do you want the Sony app to send you notifications? We’ll need the last four digits of your SSN so we can create a tailor-made listening profile for you. Is that OK? ↩︎

Some Laws of Software Engineering by GlobalNerdy More Pasta

Amdahl’s Law

The speedup gained from running a program on a parallel computer is greatly limited by the fraction of that program that can’t be parallelized.

Augustine’s Second Law of Socioscience

For every scientific (or engineering) action, there is an equal and opposite social reaction.

Brooks’ Law

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Clarke’s First Law

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

Clarke’s Second Law

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

Clarke’s Third Law

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Conway’s Law

Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it.

Cope’s Rule

There is a general tendency toward size increase in evolution.

Dilbert Principle

The most ineffective workers are systematically moved to the place where they can do the least damage: management.

Ellison’s Law of Cryptography and Usability

The userbase for strong cryptography declines by half with every additional keystroke or mouseclick required to make it work.

Ellison’s Law of Data

Once the business data have been centralized and integrated, the value of the database is greater than the sum of the preexisting parts.

The Law of False Alerts

As the rate of erroneous alerts increases, operator reliance, or belief, in subsequent warnings decreases.

Fisher’s Fundamental Theorem

The more highly adapted an organism becomes, the less adaptable it is to any new change.

Fitts’ Law

The time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and the size of the target.

Flon’s Axiom

There does not now, nor will there ever, exist a programming language in which it is the least bit hard to write bad programs.

Gilder’s Law

Bandwidth grows at least three times faster than computer power.

Godwin’s Law

As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Grosch’s Law

The cost of computing systems increases as the square root of the computational power of the systems.

Hartree’s Law
Whatever the state of a project, the time a project-leader will estimate for completion is constant.

Heisenbug Uncertainty Principle

Most production software bugs are soft: they go away when you look at them.

Hick’s Law

The time to make a decision is a function of the possible choices he or she has.

Hoare’s Law of Large Programs

Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.

Hofstadter’s Law

A task always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law.

Jakob’s Law of the Internet User Experience

Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.

Joy’s Law

smart(employees) = log(employees), or “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.”

Kerckhoffs’ Principle

In cryptography, a system should be secure even if everything about the system, except for a small piece of information — the key — is public knowledge.

Linus Torvalds

Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.

Lister’s Law

People under time pressure don’t think faster.

Metcalfe’s Law

In network theory, the value of a system grows as approximately the square of the number of users of the system.

Moore’s Law

The number of transistors on an integrated circuit will double in about 18 months.

Murphy’s Law

If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.

Nathan’s First Law

Software is a gas; it expands to fill its container.

Ninety-ninety Law

The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.

Occam’s Razor

The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct.

Osborn’s Law

Variables won’t; constants aren’t.

Postel’s Law (the second clause of the Robustness Principle)

Be conservative in what you send, liberal in what you accept.

Pareto Principle (a.k.a. “The 80-20 Rule”)

For many phenomena, 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

Pesticide Paradox

Every method you use to prevent or find bugs leaves a residue of subtler bugs against which those methods are ineffectual.

The Peter Principle

In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.

Reed’s Law

The utility of large networks, particularly social networks, scales exponentially with the size of the network.

Rock’s Law

The cost of a semiconductor chip fabrication plant doubles every four years.

Sixty-sixty Rule

Sixty percent of software’s dollar is spent on maintenance, and sixty percent of that maintenance is enhancement.

Spector’s Law

The time it takes your favorite application to complete a given task doubles with each new revision.

Spafford’s Adoption Rule

For just about any technology, be it an operating system, application or network, when a sufficient level of adoption is reached, that technology then becomes a threat vector.

Sturgeon’s Revelation

Ninety percent of everything is crud.

Tesler’s Law of Conservation as Complexity

You cannot reduce the complexity of a given task beyond a certain point. Once you’ve reached that point, you can only shift the burden around.

Weibull’s Power Law

The logarithm of failure rates increases linearly with the logarithm of age.

Wirth’s Law

Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.

Zawinski’s Law

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

On Luxury

Danny Pudi keeping it real.

“Uh… a luxury you can’t live without.”
“A luxury I can’t live without… Coffee. I really like it.”
“Luxury… you can get it anywhere.”
“Ah I guess, yeah. Like good coffee…”
“I love coffee too.”
“I like nice socks.”
“Socks. Your socks you would put in your shoes.”
“Yeah. I really love them. I like kind of like you know, cozy feet.”
“You’re attracted to your socks.”
“I’m attracted to really nice running socks. Like I’m always looking for good running…”
“That’s not a luxury, though. Coffee and socks are not a luxury all.”
“Alright give me a luxury. What luxury should I have?”
“Private plane.”
“Larry. I’m on Duck Tales.”

The Freedom Phone

Just some quick notes about a piece of shit from the hit machine that is Conservative Tech.

The Freedom Phone is another grift for those inside the Sphere of Shit who are upset that their Orange Daddy got censored by Facebook (that mighty ethical paragon of Silicon Valley) and Twitter (they aight.) It’s about empowering Conservatives, and is a fine device for Newsmax-lobotomized patriots who proactively disregard their own digital safety and well-being in the interest of sticking it to the Libs as much as possible.

Hardware

It’s a skinned Umdigi A9 Pro you can pick up from AliExpress for $120 but which is sold through the website for $500 (plus $20 shipping because the grift never stops.)

It’s manufactured in Shenzhen, China, although you can totally ignore this like the good Conservative you are and lie about how it’s actually made in Hong Kong (which is a part of China) and hence supports the good democratic anti-China people there with zero fucking evidence.

Software

It runs FreedomOS, of course, which is a “blend of AOSP, LineageOS, GrapheneOS, and our personal development.” Because you have total and complete Freedom of Choice, it has preloaded Conservative-friendly apps like MeWe, Parler, Newsmax, and Rumble (a YouTube competitor that will definitely be around two years from now.)

Need more Conservative-friendly apps? You can get them from the uncensorable “PatriApp Store.” Yes, that’s the actual name. Who needs Liberal creatives when you can just ask your Aunt Sally to smush some shit together? And no more Big Tech censoring you! ‘Uncensorable’ also absolves the PatriApp store of any responsibility apropos terrible exploitative or neo-Nazi content. Freedom is freedom is freedom.

Security

It’s a fucking nightmare. But it’s not a problem if you’re willing to give up on personal liberty, safety, ethics, humanity, and data if you’ve just had it with anyone who hurts your Daddy’s fee-fees and doesn’t love him as much as you do.

Founder

It’s Erik Finman. He has, in his own words, “made it in Silicon Valley and accomplished a lot in my life already.” How, you ask? He invested in BitCoin when he was a wee lad and his investment is now worth some millions.

That’s it.

But winning the lottery makes this Discount Bin Steve Jobs completely trustworthy and eminently capable of dealing with supply-chains, ISPs, regulatory bodies, software and hardware engineering, and the few thousand moving parts needed to create a modern phone and ecosystem worth a shit. It’s not his fault though. As Conservatives like to say, the problem isn’t tech oligopolies… it’s regulation bro 🧐😡

Product Pitch

Enjoy. Plucking MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech out of its context is totally appropriate here.

People Using It

Absolute fucking morons aside, a few Conservative people with large followings did express a lot of interest in this horror but appear to still spew their bile onto the internet with their iPhones and Androids.

Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One’s Books by Georges Perec B+

'Brief Notes on the Art and Manner of Arranging One''s Books' by Georges Perec

I remember complaining about having too many books to read at The Mill (RIP) in Iowa City, and getting a weary “We know” to my “Did you know the Japanese have a word for this?”

I remember telling them I’d resolved to have no more than, say, a hundred books on my shelves at any given time, and them telling me about an essay (or at least I think it’s an essay) in this book.

I’ve never come by anything by him before. Reading him is like watching a bee bob and weave and float around and just be and have fun. Words1 and ideas, lists and taxonomies: It’s a lot of serious whimsy.

Even if Georges Perec had not written a novel without the letter “E”—“La disparition,” later rendered into “E”-less English as “A Void”—he would still be one of the most unusual writers of the twentieth century. Among his works are a treatise on the board game Go, a radio play about a machine that analyzes poetry, an autobiography cast in the form of a novel about a city of athletes, an approximately twelve-hundred-word palindrome, a crypto-Marxist anatomy of consumerist Paris, a scrupulously researched history of a wholly fictional painting, a deeply eccentric bucket list (“buy a number of domestic appliances” and “travel by submarine” are among the entries), a memoir composed of four hundred and eighty stand-alone sentences that all begin “I remember,” a novella in which the only vowel used is “E,” a lyric study of Ellis Island, and, from 1976 until his death from cancer, in 1982, a weekly crossword puzzle for the newspaper Le Point. It would be hard to disagree with Italo Calvino that Perec “bears absolutely no resemblance to anyone else,” or with Perec himself, who said, in an interview a few years before his death, that he had never written the same thing twice.

Paul Grimstad, The Absolute Originality of Georges Perec, The New Yorker
  1. Translated from French but still. ↩︎

The Bieber of Comic Sans

From an interview with Vincent Connare, creator of Comic Sans:

Q. What do you think of comic sans’ detractors?

A. I think most of them secretly like Comic Sans — or at least wish they had made it. Interesting fact: the main designer at Twitter tweeted that the most server space is used by complaints about: first, airlines; second, Comic Sans; and third, Justin Bieber. So not even The Bieber can beat Comic Sans!

Here’s the tweet he’s talking about (it’s from 2010.) Also:

Regular people who are not typographers or graphic designers choose Comic Sans because they like it, it’s as simple as that. Comic Sans isn’t complicated, it isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t the same old text typeface like in a newspaper. It’s just fun — and that ‘s why people like it.

I tend to ignore gatekeeping bullshit when it comes my typographical loves 😛 And from that NYTimes article, emphasis mine:

“It’s like, ‘Not only am I going to refuse to submit these documents, but I’m going to use a typeface that doesn’t submit to the solemnity of the law, and Congress and public institutions,” said Michael Bierut, a partner at the design firm Pentagram. “Or maybe he just likes Comic Sans. It’s hard to say. Few typefaces are this freighted with public opinion.”

I think these are the final words on the matter from the creator himself:

If you love Comic Sans you don’t know much about typography. And if you hate Comic Sans you need a new hobby.

How To Be A Snob: Drinking Alcohol by theferrett More Pasta

Once a year, I spend $75 on a good bottle of Scotch Whisky and bring it to Karla’s birthday party. Last year, I brought Talliskers; this year, I brought Cragganmore. I break open the bottle, and ask everyone to take a taste. In this way, we can slowly get an idea of the difference between the various kinds of whiskies. And so it came to pass that I was sitting there with Nate and Genevieve, snobbing it up.

“It’s not as peaty as the Talliskers,” Nate noted, sipping the Cragganmore with relish.

“And it has a really quick drop off the back end,” Geneveive sighed, swishing it around in his mouth.

Bill was standing there, looking confused and envious. “I don’t taste any of that,” he said, looking down in his glass as though he might be able to see the peat if he squinted hard enough. “I don’t have a really good palate. You guys all taste these zillions of things, but I don’t get anything.”

“Who says we do?” I asked. “We could be faking it. It’s really easy, and you can look all cultured without tasting a damn thing. Want me to show you how?”

Step 1: Smell the Drink.

Stick your nose into the glass. Sniff deeply, then close your eyes as though you’re processing a lot of things simultaneously. Even if you smell nothing, act as though this drink is a cornucopia of sensations and you’re sorting through all of them.

Do not speak. Scent is pretty easy to verify, so if you guess wrong then everyone will know what a yutz you are. If someone ventures their own review as to what it smells like, frown as though you’re too busy concentrating on this intense bouquet to interrupt it with stupid words. This automatically gives you the edge, since as a conneisseur you know enough not to discuss anything until the full tasting is over.

Step 2: Drink the Drink.

Take a mid-sized sip, then roll it around in your mouth. Don’t swish - that’s for chumps - but kind of splash it around on your tongue.

Then - and this is the most important part - hold the glass away from you at an angle. Freeze as though your entire body is concentrated upon analyzing this taste in your mouth. Narrow your eyes and look upwards as you pretend to process this beverage, taking your time as you give every impression of savoring the flavor.

After a minute, bob your head just a little, as though coming to a conclusion.

Step 3: Finish the Drink.

Swallow it and then open your mouth, breathing in. Some people claim they can feel the drink mutate upon their palate as the air rushes over their tongue; they are liars, but convincing ones. And now you can be one of them.

Nod again.

Step 4: Decide Upon Your Pronouncement.

Now, to understand how to be a proper snob, you must understand two things about taste:

  1. Taste is a bell curve.
  2. Nobody fucking knows what they’re talking about.

The first point is easy; you don’t taste everything all at once. There’s actually a rise and flow to the taste process, starting from when the food touches your tongue, building to the intense mid-section, and then dropping off into an aftertaste. In the case of a McDonald’s hamburger, what you’d taste first would be the squishiness of the bread and the oversalted burger, rising to the chewy dog food of the burger itself as you mash it around, ending with that greasy oil slick that coats your throat at the end.

You may never experience this yourself, but trust me when I say that it does happen. You just gulped some whisky, but the foodies experienced a three-act play in their tastebuds. So you must be aware of this flow.

The second part involves understanding that taste is an intensely personal experience, which is to say that you can say pretty much anything and nobody knows any better. In fact, unless you’re drinking with a sommelier who knows what she’s doing - in which case let her tell you what’s in it and nod a lot - then everyone is afraid that maybe they’re the ones who don’t know what they’re doing.

If you say, “I taste a faint hint of paprika,” they don’t go, “Wow, what a liar” - they become paranoid because they don’t taste it. Maybe you’re the guy with the super taste buds who catches everything. There they are, sipping this drink and only getting a third of its full bouquet, and if they really had the genetics to appreciate it the way that you do they would taste paprika.

You can say anything. You think people taste oak in a wine? Fuck no. Who the hell eats oak? These fuckers want you to think they’re walking around taking bites out of dogwood trees so they can tell what kind of barrel the wine came from - they’re awful, awful fakers. And if they can tell you what country the oak came from, the first note you should mark in their aroma is a seething, overwhelming bullshit.

So fake away! But there are guidelines.

First, if you’re faking it, everything is faint - you want to talk in terms of hints, notes, and shades. Give the impression that you only barely caught this delicate wisp of a flavor because you were concentrating so intensely back in Step 2. You want to let them tell you what the overwhelming taste of the drink is; it’s your job to bat clean-up and talk about shit they might have missed.

Second, some flavors are better than others. Paprika is actually a bad example, since that’s a spice. Generally, you want to only talk about flowers and fruits, with maybe some hints of leafy spices when you want to show off. (“Mint” is bad, but “oregano” can be gotten away with if you’re an expert.) The only exception is beer, where you want to talk about breads and chocolate flavors; starches are good for beers.

And remember: natural is better than fake.

GOOD: “I taste a hint of blackberry.”
BAD: “The tang of Fruit Roll-Ups.”

So pick a taste, and pick a place - which is to say it’s at the beginning or the end of the curve. (You never want to taste anything in the middle, where the intense flavors are. Remember, you’re picking up the transmissions from Alpha Tau.)

When in doubt, go with blackberry. It shows up everywhere.

Step 5: Making Your Pronouncement

When you speak, speak slowly, as though you’re coming to a conclusion. Then break out with it.

“I taste a hint of blackberry just at the finish.”

Either people will agree with you, or they won’t. If they agree with you, great! They don’t taste shit, either. You can now tell them you’re catching a splash of Strawberry Go-Gurt in the fourth and down, and they’ll just nod and stare. You have bolloxed a bunch of clueless snobs; take a bow!

If they don’t agree, then frown a little. They won’t ever say, “Bullshit! You fucker!” Instead, they’ll say, “Really? I don’t taste that…”

Stick to your guns. You caught it. Take another sip as though to confirm, repeat the process and say, “No. Still there for me. Not for you, though?” Then laugh about how weird taste is, that some folks catch things that others do. Then spend the rest of the evening nodding and agreeing with the other snobs, only occasionally venturing a guess, because if you spend the entire evening contradicting them then the game is up.

And that’s it! By the end of the evening, Bill had learned his lessons, and now he can stare quietly at the ceiling and then talk about the bouquet along with the rest of us awful, awful liars.

Now you, too, can fake anyone out. Remember: use this power only for good, never evil. Or to get laid, whichever comes first.

45 Jokes from The Laughter Lover by John T. Quinn More Pasta

Translation copyright 2001 John T. Quinn; all rights reserved.

Introduction

Philogelos (The Laughter Lover) is a collection of some 265 jokes1 likely made in the fourth or fifth century CE. Some manuscripts give the names of the compilers as the otherwise-unknown Hierocles and Philagrios. Other manuscripts drop the name of one or other or both.

Although The Laugher Lover is the oldest surviving example, joke-books already had a long pedigree. According to Athenaeus 614d-e, Philip the Great of Macedon had paid handsomely for a social club in Athens to write down its members’ witticisms. At the dawn of the second century BCE, Plautus twice has a character refer to joke-books (Persa 392; Stichus 400).

Modern scholars such as Rapp and Baldwin have noted how women are infrequent targets of the humor - earning, in fact, attack under only one category of their own, “Horny Women”, a category containing just two jokes. Yet one may wonder, for instance, whether the jokes under “Misogynistic Men” have as their primary target the female sex rather than the men who hate them. Baldwin also remarks on the virtual absence of homosexual themes in the collection.

I have included in this selection all jokes in which women are mentioned or appear as characters. Also included are jokes that seemed particularly relevant for gender studies. I follow the Greek text edited by R.D. Dawe (Bibliotheca Teubneriana, 2000). All the headings, except the last one (“Miscellaneous”), have some manuscript warrant. I decided to translate the alternate versions of the same joke to underscore the fact that these jokes represent primarily an oral rather than a written tradition; the humor lies in the conceit and not in a canonical text.

Select Bibliography

  • Baldwin, Barry, trans. with commentary, The Philogelos or Laughter-Lover (Amsterdam, 1983)
  • Jennings, Victoria, review of R.D. Dawe’s text, BMCR 01.04.05
    [http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2001/2001-04-05.html]
  • Rapp, Albert, “A Greek Joe Miller” Classical Journal 46 (1951), pp.286-290 & 318
  • Thierfelder, Andreas, German trans. with commentary, Philogelos, Der Lachfreund (Munich, 1968)

Translation

Intellectuals

#27. An intellectual, falling sick, had promised to pay the doctor if he recovered. When his wife nagged at him for drinking wine while he had a fever, he said: “Do you want me to get healthy and be forced to pay the doctor?”

#43. When an intellectual was told by someone, “Your beard is now coming in,” he went to the rear-entrance and waited for it. Another intellectual asked what he was doing. Once he heard the whole story, he said: “I’m not surprised that people say we lack common sense. How do you know that it’s not coming in by the other gate?”2

#45. An intellectual during the night ravished his grandmother and for this got a beating from his father. He complained: “You’ve been mounting my mother for a long time, without suffering any consequences from me. And now you’re mad that you found me screwing your mother for the first time ever!”

#51A. An intellectual caught sight of a deep well on his country-estate, and asked if the water was any good. The farmhands assured him that it was good, and that his own parents used to drink from that well. The intellectual expressed his amazement: “How long were their necks, if they could drink from something so deep!”

#51B. An intellectual visiting his country-estate asked if the water in a well there was good to drink. He was told that it was good, and that his own parents used to drink from the well. The intellectual was amazed: “How long were their necks, that they could drink from something so deep!”

#53. An intellectual was eating dinner with his father. On the table was a large lettuce with many succulent shoots. The intellectual suggested: “Father, you eat the children; I’ll take mother.”3

#57. An intellectual got a slave pregnant. At the birth, his father suggested that the child be killed. The intellectual replied: “First murder your own children and then tell me to kill mine.”4

#64. An intellectual bought a pair of pants. But he could hardly put them on because they were too tight. So he got rid of the hair around his legs.5

#69. An intellectual checked in on the parents of a dead classmate. The father was wailing: “O son, you have left me a cripple!” The mother was crying: “O son, you have taken the light from my eyes!” Later, the intellectual suggested to his friends: “If he were guilty of all that, he should have been cremated while still alive.”

#70. An intellectual came to check in on a friend who was seriously ill. When the man’s wife said that he had ‘departed’, the intellectual replied: “When he arrives back, will you tell him that I stopped by?”

#72. An intellectual had been at a wedding-reception. As he was leaving, he said: “I pray that you two keep getting married so well.”

#73. The same intellectual said that the tomb of Scribonia was handsome and lavish, but that it had been built on an unhealthy site.6

#97. Upon the death of his wife, an intellectual was out shopping for a coffin and got into a big fight over the price. When the salesman swore that he couldn’t sell it for less than fifty thousand, the intellectual said: “Since you’re under an oath, here’s the fifty thousand. But throw in for free a small casket, in case I need it for my son.”

#98. A friend met an intellectual, and said: “Congratulations! You’ve got a baby boy!” The intellectual replied: “Thanks to buddies like you!”7

Men on the Make

#106. A professional beggar had been letting his girlfriend think that he was rich and of noble birth. Once, when he was getting a handout at the neighbor’s house, he suddenly saw her. He turned around and said: “Have my dinner-clothes sent here.”

#107. There was another man, just like the last one - a big talker, but in fact impoverished. By chance he got sick, and his girlfriend, coming into his place without warning, found him lying on a humble mat made of reeds. Turning over, he claimed that the doctors were responsible: “The best and most famous doctors in the city ordered me to sleep on a mat like this.”

Abderites8

#114. An Abderite saw a eunuch and asked him how many kids he had. When that guy said that he didn’t have the balls, so as to be able to have children, the Abderite asked 9

#115. An Abderite saw a eunuch talking with a woman and asked him if she was his wife. When he replied that eunuchs can’t have wives, the Abderite asked: “So is she your daughter?”

#116. An Abderite who was a eunuch had the misfortune to develop a hernia.10

#252. An unlucky eunuch developed a hernia.

#117. An Abderite shared a mattress with a man who suffered from a hernia. In the night, he got up to relieve himself. When he returned, he accidentally (since it was still dark) stepped right on the spot of the hernia. When the man let out a howl, the Abderite asked: “Why weren’t you lying down heads-up?”11

#123. An Abderite followed custom and cremated his dead father. He ran home and said to his ailing mother: “There are a few fire-logs still left. If you want to stop suffering, get yourself cremated on them.”

Jokesters

#145. When a jokester who was a shopkeeper found a policeman screwing his wife, he said: “I got something I wasn’t bargaining for.”

#151. When a jokester saw a pimp renting the services of a black prostitute, he said: "What’s your rate for the night?12

#151 (bis) A. When a jokester saw an ophthalmologist busy rubbing away on a girl, he said: “Watch out, young man, that you don’t, in healing her sight, ruin her ‘I’”.13
#151 (bis) B & #260. When a jokester saw an ophthalmologist busy rubbing away on a girl in her prime, he said: “Don’t, in healing her sight, ruin her depths.”

#262. A jokester went abroad; there, he developed a hernia. Coming home, he was asked if he had brought a present back. “Nothing for you - just a headrest for my thighs.” 14

#263. Someone needled a jokester: “I had your wife, without paying a dime.” He replied: "It’s my duty as a husband to couple with such a monstrosity. What made you do it?’

Kymeans15

#159. A Kymean constructed a huge threshing-floor and stationed his wife on the opposite end. He asked her if she could see him. When she replied that it was hard for her to see him, he snapped: “The time will come when I’ll build a threshing-floor so big that I won’t be able to see you and you won’t be able to see me.”16

Rude People

#187A. A rude astrologer cast a sick boy’s horoscope. After promising the mother that the child had many years ahead of him, he demanded payment. When she said, “Come tomorrow and I’ll pay you,” he objected: “But what if the boy dies during the night and I lose my fee?”

#187B. A rude star-gazer cast a sick boy’s horoscope. After promising the mother that the child had many years ahead of him, he demanded payment. When the mother said, "I’ll pay tomorrow, " he objected: “But what if the boy dies during the night? Do I lose my fee?”

Incompetents

#197. An incompetent schoolteacher was asked who the mother of Priam was. Not knowing the answer, he said: “It’s polite to call her Ma’am.”."17

#201. A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller. He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: “Everyone is fine, especially your father.” When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: “You have no clue who your real father is.”

#202. An incompetent astrologer cast a boy’s horoscope and said: “He will be a lawyer, then a city-official, then a governor.” But when this child died, the mother confronted the astrologer: “He’s dead – the one you said was going to be a lawyer and an official and a governor.” “By his holy memory,” he replied, “if he had lived, he would have been all of those things!”

#204. An incompetent astrologer cast a man’s horoscope and said: “You are unable to father children.” When the man objected that he had seven kids, the astrologer replied: “Look after them well.”18

Gluttons

#219. A glutton betrothed his daughter to another glutton. Asked what he was giving her as a dowry, he replied: “A house whose windows face the bakery.”

Drunkards

#227A. While a drunkard was imbibing in a tavern, someone approached and told him: “Your wife is dead.” Taking this in, he said to the bartender: “Time, sir, to mix a drink up from your dark stuff.”19

#227B. While an intellectual was imbibing in a tavern, someone approached and told him: “Your wife is dead.” The intellectual said: “Time, my good man, to mix me some dark wine.”

People with Bad Breath

#232. A man with bad breath, kissing his wife over and over, said: “My Lady, my Hera, my Aphrodite.” And she said, turning away: “My - o Zeus an ozeus!”20

#234. A man with bad breath asked his wife: “Madame, why do you hate me?” And she said in reply: “Because you love me.”

#239A. A young actor was loved by two women, one with bad breath and the other with reeking armpits. The first woman said: “Give me a kiss, master.” And the second: “Give me a hug, master.” But he declaimed: "Alas, what shall I do? I am torn betwixt two evils!’21

#239B. An actor who was a jokester was loved by two women, one with bad breath and the other with reeking armpits. One said: “Give me a kiss.” And one said: “Give me a hug.” But he declaimed: “Alas, what shall I do? I am torn betwixt two evils!”

Horny Women

#244A. A young man said to his libido-driven wife: “What should we do, darling? Eat or have sex?” And she replied: “You can choose. But there’s not a crumb in the house.”

#244B. A young man said to his libido-driven wife: “What should we do, darling? Eat or have sex?” And she said: “You can choose. But we don’t have a crumb.”

#245A. A young man invited into his home frisky old women. He said to his servants: “Mix a drink for one, and have sex with the other, if she wants to.” The women spoke up as one: “I’m not thirsty.”
#245B. A young man was hosting frisky old women. He said to his slaves: “Mix a drink for the one that wants it and have sex with the one who wants that.” And the women said: “I’m not thirsty.”

Misogynistic Men

#246. A misogynist stood in the marketplace and announced: “I’m putting my wife up for sale, tax-free!” When people asked him why, he said: “So the authorities will impound her.”22

#247A. A misogynist paid his last respects at the tomb of his dead wife. When someone asked him, “Who has gone to rest?,” he replied: “Me, now that I’m alone.”

#247B. While a misogynist was paying his last respects to his wife, someone asked him: “Who has gone to rest?” He replied: “Me, now that I’m alone.”

#248A. A misogynist was sick, at death’s door. When his wife said to him, “If anything bad happens to you, I’ll hang myself,” he looked up at her and said: “Do me the favor while I’m still alive.”

#248B. When a misogynist took sick and his wife said to him, “If you die, I’ll hang myself,” he looked up at her and said: “Do me the favor while I’m still alive.”

#249. A misogynist had a wife who never stopped talking or arguing. When she died, he had her body carried on a shield to the cemetery. When someone noticed this and asked him why, he replied: “She was a fighter.”23

Miscellaneous

#250. A young man was asked whether he took orders from his wife or if she obeyed his every command. He boasted: “My wife is so afraid of me that if I so much as yawn she shits.”

#251. The lady of a house had a simple-minded slave. But when she got a peek at just how thick his other head was also, she lusted after him. She put a mask over her face so that he wouldn’t recognize her, and played around with him. Joining her game, he had sex with her. Then, grinning as he usually did, he reported to his master: “Sir, sir, I fucked the dancer and the mistress was inside!”24

Other Ancient Jokes On the WWW


Permission is hereby granted to distribute for classroom use, provided that both the translator and Diotima are identified in any such use. Other uses not authorized in writing by the translator or in accord with fair use policy are expressly prohibited.

  1. An exact count is elusive because some jokes appear twice in the collection, often with minor modifications. ↩︎

  2. This is the only joke with homoerotic undertones. It was a common trope that a boy lost his desirability as a “beloved” when his beard filled in. I have adopted Baldwin’s suggestion of reading a further joke here in a play on the Greek word that means both “anus” and “gate”. ↩︎

  3. The main stalk of the lettuce is the “mother” and its shoots are the “children.” Mythological background helps color the black humor: Cronus swallowed his own children; Oedipus married his mother. ↩︎

  4. The father’s suggestion was likely the “common sense” attitude. Fathers in the classical world could indeed reject their infant children and have them killed. ↩︎

  5. Originally barbarian garb, trousers became fashionable in late antiquity. The intellectual here adopts this he-man style – but proceeds to pluck out the hair on his legs & groin in the manner of an effeminate. ↩︎

  6. The same jest appears in the collection as #26, but without the name “Scribonia.” The most famous Scribonia was the second wife of the emperor Augustus, whom he divorced on the alleged grounds of moral turpitude. Baldwin doubts the identification, conjecturing that the Augustan Scribonia would not have had a notable tomb. But reality hardly needs to intrude on a joke. Thierfelder noticed that in Philogelos the initial formula “The same” links two jokes with similar content – but thought #73 an exception to the pattern. However, if the joke’s Scribonia is indeed the famous one, the use of “The same” in #73 is not an exception, for both #72 and #73 allude to divorce and remarriage. Perhaps even we are to understand that the remark in #73 was made at the wedding-reception which is the setting of #72, where mention of tombs, and of Scribonia, would have been ill-omened. ↩︎

  7. The intellectual gives thanks for the congratulations, but the rest of us understand the thanks as a comment on how his wife got pregnant. ↩︎

  8. Abdera was a city in Thrace, whose inhabitants bore the brunt of dumb-ethnic jokes since at least the days of Cicero in the first century BCE. ↩︎

  9. The joke is missing its punchline in the manuscripts. “But do you at least have some grandchildren?” has been suggested as a possibility. It seems to me, rather, that the jest should hinge on the otherwise more-explicit-than-necessary mention of the missing balls, and I have completed the joke accordingly. ↩︎

  10. In the most common type of hernia suffered by men, some of the lower intestine enters the scrotum (which, of course, a eunuch lacks), distending it. For a joke on that swelling, see #262. ↩︎

  11. Part of the joke plays on “head” as “tip of the penis”. The collection plays on the obscene meaning of the word also in #251 & #262. Brushing up against an erect penis would have been a warning sign to the Abderite not to step down on the man. ↩︎

  12. In Greco-Roman antiquity, black-skinned people were often compared to the night. ↩︎

  13. The doctor is rubbing ointment into her eye, but the jokester foresees a more sexual sort of friction. My use of “I” aims to capture some of the pun in the Greek word which means both “eye” and “girl”. ↩︎

  14. A play on the obscene meaning of the word “head”, as in #117. ↩︎

  15. The people of Kyme, a coastal city of Asia Minor, are made the butt of more jokes in the Philogelos than even the people of Abdera. Strabo, at the start of the first century CE, remarks on the proverbial stupidity of the Kymeans. ↩︎

  16. Commentators have puzzled over the joke. I take it that the humor is quite simple, and hinges on the expression “it was hard for her” – the wife means only that she can just barely see him, but the husband misconstrues it to mean that she doesn’t like looking at him. ↩︎

  17. No wonder the schoolteacher was at a loss: there were six different names current for the mother of the king of Troy. ↩︎

  18. “Look after them well”: the astrologer insinuates that his client won’t be able to have another child, if one that he already has were to die. ↩︎

  19. The drunkard wants wine that is dark-colored as a sign of mourning – to the extent that imbibing after hearing such news is a sign of mourning at all! ↩︎

  20. Unable to find a suitable English equivalent, I have reproduced the Greek, in which “ozeus” is a word for “person with bad breath.” ↩︎

  21. The declamation is a line in tragic diction; however, no known Greek tragedy contains this line. ↩︎

  22. The joke depends on the fact that black-market goods, sold without the proper tax assessment, were subject to confiscation. ↩︎

  23. The bodies of war-heroes in archaic Greece were sometimes honored by being carried on a shield. ↩︎

  24. Dancing-girls often wore masks as part of their outfit. The “straight meaning” against which the punchline plays is this: the slave worries that the lady was unexpectedly inside the house, and so had caught him having unauthorized sex. In the middle of this joke, Dawe emends the text slightly and indicates a lacuna. I follow Jennings in preferring to ignore these changes. ↩︎

The Universal Estimation Table

Estimate Actual Time
Very Easy 1 Hour
Easy 2 Hours
Quite Easy 4 Hours
Looks Quite Easy 6 Hours
Average 8 Hours
Looks Average 12 Hours
No Clue 16 Hours
Seems Complex 24 Hours
Complex 30 Hours
Very Complex 40 Hours
Can Take Some Time 48 Hours
Fuck 60 Hours
Yeah Looks Pretty Easy 80 Hours

Combine: “No Clue. Can take some time, but yeah… looks pretty easy” = 16 + 48 + 80 = 144 hours.

Source Unknown. See also: “Midwest Distances

Some Horoscopes by Unknown More Pasta

Aquarius (Jan 23 - Feb 22)
You have an inventive mind and are inclined to be progressive. You lie a great deal. You make the same mistakes repeatedly because you are stupid. Everyone thinks you are a fucking jerk.

Pisces (Feb 23 - Mar 22)
You are a pioneer type and think most people are dickheads. You are quick to reprimand, impatient and full of advice. You do nothing but piss-off everyone you come in contact with. You are a prick.

Aries (Mar 23 - April 22)
You have a wild imagination and often think you are being followed by the FBI or CIA. You have minor influence on your friends and people resent you for flaunting your power. You lack confidence and are a general dipshit.

Taurus (April 23 - May 22)
You are practical and persistent. You have a dogged determination and work like hell. Most people think your are stubborn and bullheaded. You are nothing but a goddamed communist.

Gemini (May 23 - June 22)
You are a quick and intelligent thinker. People like you because you are bisexual. You are inclined to expect too much for too little. This means your are a cheap bastard. Geminis are notorious for thriving on incest.

Cancer (June 23 - July 22)
You are sympathetic and understanding to other people’s problems, which makes you a sucker. You are always putting things off. That is why you will always be on welfare and won’t be worth a shit. Everyone in prison is a Cancer.

Leo (July 23 - Aug 22)
You consider yourself a born leader. Others think you are an idiot. Most Leos are bullies. You are vain and cannot tolerate criticism. Your arrogance is disgusting. Leo people are thieving motherfuckers and enjoy masturbation more than sex.

Virgo (Aug 23 - Sept 22)
You are the logical type and hate disorder. Your shit-picking attitude is sickening to your friends and co-workers. You are cold and unemotional and often fall asleep while fucking. Virgos make good bus drivers and pimps.

Libra (Sept 23 - Oct 22)
You are the artistic type and have a difficult time dealing with reality. If you are a male you are probably queer. Chances for employment and monetary gain are nill. Most Libra women are whores. All Libras die of venereal disease.

Scorpio (Oct 23 - Nov 22)
You are the worst of the lot. You are shrewd in business and cannot be trusted. You shall achieve the pinnacle of success because of your total lack of ethics. You are the perfect son-of-a-bitch. Most Scorpios are murdered.

Sagittarius (Nov 23 - Dec 22)
You are optimistic and enthusiastic. You have a reckless tendency to rely on your luck since you have no talent. The majority of Sagittarians are drunks. You are a worthless piece of shit.

Capricorn (Dec 23 - Jan 22)
You are conservative and afraid of taking risks. You are basically chickenshit. There has never been a Capricorn of any importance. You should kill yourself.

Friendly’s Staff Fails To Live Up To Restaurant Name, Writes “100% Sh*t Show” On Receipt by Chris Morran More Pasta

I read this story a long while ago and have been searching for it since. I have related increasingly exaggerated variants of it from memory every few years to friends who laugh nervously when I lose my damn mind to the “She just went home I guess” part.

To me, few things are funnier than stories of the wittingly incompetent and their inadvertent courage in this boring, rigged dystopia we live in.

A New Hampshire family says that after a night out to eat at Friendly’s didn’t go so well, a restaurant staffer decided to express their inner feelings through the increasingly preferred medium of the restaurant’s billing system, dropping the phrase “100% sh*t show” at the bottom of the dinner bill.

However, judging by the family’s recollection of the night, that phrase might be an accurate description of the service they received.

After waiting for about 30 minutes without service, they thought they finally located a waitress to take their order. But over the 45 minutes that followed, they were twice served other diners’ food, while theirs was missing in action.

“Come to find out, the waitress that had taken our order never submitted it she just left,” one of the customers tells WHDH-TV, “She went home I guess.”

The restaurant apologized and offered to pay for the family’s meal. And while this comp was reflected on the final check, so was the “sh*t show” remark.

“They had to have had it either entered into the cash register or they had a [expletive] show button,” says the diner, adding that she and her family aren’t offended or boycotting the restaurant and that they will go back to that Friendly’s in the future.

For what it’s worth, Friendly’s HQ released a statement to WHDH:

“[T]his type of behavior is completely unacceptable. We are investigating this with the restaurant and will take swift action. We hope we get the opportunity to rectify this directly with the guest.”

Thanks to Craig for the tip!

Two Messages for Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to the fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, and father figures who enrich our character, love us unconditionally, and give so much of themselves every day so we can live lives worthy of their dreams and sacrifices.

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

And, this is real (as much as you hope it isn’t but know deep-down that it is):

Happy Father’s Day to all, including the Radical Left, RINOs, and other Losers of the world. Hopefully, eventually, everyone will come together!

A soon to be ‘reinstated’, former President

I do love the capitalized “Losers”.

We Are Mark Wood

Reddit user and evident Mark Wood fan @kanyay-west put together this list of England’s All-Time Cricketing Best when asked “What’s your country’s all time ODI XI?” I’ve reproduced it here and formatted it for clarity. I laughed a lot to this and am a rather silly person 🙏♥️


  1. Mark Wood
  2. Mark Wood
  3. Mark Wood
  4. Mark Wood (Captain)
  5. Mark Wood
  6. Mark Wood
  7. Mark Wood (Wicket-Keeper)
  8. Mark Wood
  9. Mark Wood
  10. Mark Wood
  11. Mark Wood

Role Assignee
12th Man Mark Wood
On field umpires Mark Wood and Mark Wood
3rd umpire Mark Wood
Pitch Curator Mark Wood
Team Sponsor Mark Wood
Director of ECB Mark Wood
Head Coach of Men’s ODI team Mark Wood
Fielding Coach Mark Wood
Bowling Coach Mark Wood
Batting Coach Mark Wood
Spin bowling Coach Mark Wood
Physio Mark Wood
Team Analyst Mark Wood
Team Fitness Coach Mark Wood
Team Massuse Mark Wood
Team Bus Driver Mark Wood
Team Manager Mark Wood
Team Babysitter Mark Wood
Team Bat Crafter Mark Wood
Stadium Supporters Mark Wood x100,000
Stumps and Nails Material Marked Wood
Team Mark Wood Mark Wood

On Never Giving Up

Whenever I get discouraged and want to quit something, I remember the words of my then 3 year-old after she puked carrots all over the living room floor: “I’m gonna need more carrots.”

Jessica Valenti

Now write down “You’re gonna need more carrots” on a sticky and look at it from time to time ♥️

“Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of Political Intercourse”

Somoza called himself “president”. The Sandinistas called him a “dictator”. They called themselves “freedom fighters”. He called them “Commie terrorists”. So they kicked him out then they were in charge. Ronald Reagan called them “Commie oppressors” and he sent in the Contras, whom he called “freedom fighters” and they called “mercenary terrorists.”

So basically, what you’re called depends largely on who’s doing the talking because hypocrisy is the vaseline of political intercourse. They didn’t like what they saw, so they changed it to make it sound better. Just like in these personal ads. It sounds great; but it’s all lies.

Billy Connolly

The Diabetic Racist

Matt Rowan is a family man, a Christian, and a former youth pastor (so we’re off to a fantastic start.) At a high school basketball game, this pillar of the community called children “f****** n******s” for that grave sin of actually kneeling during the national anthem.

On the video, Rowan is heard to refer to the players as “f****** n******.” He added, "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked,” and then "I hope they lose. C’mon Midwest City. They’re gonna kneel like that? Hell no.”

Brian D. King, “Local man apologizes for racist remarks caught on hot mic at basketball game”, Tahlequah Daily Press

Now in what has to be the most shameless excuse for reprehensible behaviour I’ve read to date, he blames his MAGA1 outburst on his blood sugar!

I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes, and during the game, my sugar was spiking. While not excusing my remarks, it is not unusual when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate, as well as hurtful. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.

He helpfully adds:

While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am racist, I am not, I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made these comments.

I think most reasonable people would have a simple one-word explanation. And to quote Conservative Hannibal Lecter: “While the body parts in the fridge would certainly seem to indicate that I am a psychopathic murderer, I have never considered myself to be one.”

No word has been issued as far as repercussions for the Hulbert employee.

In Rowan’s statement, he said he believed the microphone to be off, but “that is no excuse; such comments should have never been uttered.”

Like almost all this-is-really-not-who-I-am people, he’s only sorry he got caught.

  1. One guess as to who Mr. Rowan voted for. ↩︎

Real Programmers Don’t Use PASCAL by Ed Post, Copyright (c) 1982 More Pasta

Back in the good old days – the “Golden Era” of computers, it was easy to separate the men from the boys (sometimes called “Real Men” and “Quiche Eaters” in the literature). During this period, the Real Men were the ones that understood computer programming, and the Quiche Eaters were the ones that didn’t. A real computer programmer said things like “DO 10 I=1,10” and “ABEND” (they actually talked in capital letters, you understand), and the rest of the world said things like “computers are too complicated for me” and “I can’t relate to computers – they’re so impersonal”. (A previous work [1] points out that Real Men don’t “relate” to anything, and aren’t afraid of being impersonal.)

But, as usual, times change. We are faced today with a world in which little old ladies can get computerized microwave ovens, 12 year old kids can blow Real Men out of the water playing Asteroids and Pac-Man, and anyone can buy and even understand their very own Personal Computer. The Real Programmer is in danger of becoming extinct, of being replaced by high-school students with TRASH-80s!

There is a clear need to point out the differences between the typical high-school junior Pac-Man player and a Real Programmer. Understanding these differences will give these kids something to aspire to – a role model, a Father Figure. It will also help employers of Real Programmers to realize why it would be a mistake to replace the Real Programmers on their staff with 12 year old Pac-Man players (at a considerable salary savings).

LANGUAGES

The easiest way to tell a Real Programmer from the crowd is by the programming language he (or she) uses. Real Programmers use FORTRAN. Quiche Eaters use PASCAL. Nicklaus Wirth, the designer of PASCAL, was once asked, “How do you pronounce your name?”. He replied “You can either call me by name, pronouncing it ‘Veert’, or call me by value, ‘Worth’.” One can tell immediately from this comment that Nicklaus Wirth is a Quiche Eater. The only parameter passing mechanism endorsed by Real Programmers is call-by-value-return, as implemented in the IBM/370 FORTRAN G and H compilers. Real programmers don’t need abstract concepts to get their jobs done: they are perfectly happy with a keypunch, a FORTRAN IV compiler, and a beer.

  • Real Programmers do List Processing in FORTRAN.
  • Real Programmers do String Manipulation in FORTRAN.
  • Real Programmers do Accounting (if they do it at all) in FORTRAN.
  • Real Programmers do Artificial Intelligence programs in FORTRAN.

If you can’t do it in FORTRAN, do it in assembly language. If you can’t do it in assembly language, it isn’t worth doing.

STRUCTURED PROGRAMMING

Computer science academicians have gotten into the “structured programming” rut over the past several years. They claim that programs are more easily understood if the programmer uses some special language constructs and techniques. They don’t all agree on exactly which constructs, of course, and the examples they use to show their particular point of view invariably fit on a single page of some obscure journal or another – clearly not enough of an example to convince anyone. When I got out of school, I thought I was the best programmer in the world. I could write an unbeatable tic-tac-toe program, use five different computer languages, and create 1000 line programs that WORKED. (Really!) Then I got out into the Real World. My first task in the Real World was to read and understand a 200,000 line FORTRAN program, then speed it up by a factor of two. Any Real Programmer will tell you that all the Structured Coding in the world won’t help you solve a problem like that – it takes actual talent. Some quick observations on Real Programmers and Structured Programming:

  • Real Programmers aren’t afraid to use GOTOs.
  • Real Programmers can write five page long DO loops without getting confused.
  • Real Programmers enjoy Arithmetic IF statements because they make the code more interesting.
  • Real Programmers write self-modifying code, especially if it saves them 20 nanoseconds in the middle of a tight loop.
  • Programmers don’t need comments: the code is obvious.
  • Since FORTRAN doesn’t have a structured IF, REPEAT … UNTIL, or CASE statement, Real Programmers don’t have to worry about not using them. Besides, they can be simulated when necessary using assigned GOTOs.

Data structures have also gotten a lot of press lately. Abstract Data Types, Structures, Pointers, Lists, and Strings have become popular in certain circles. Wirth (the above-mentioned Quiche Eater) actually wrote an entire book [2] contending that you could write a program based on data structures, instead of the other way around. As all Real Programmers know, the only useful data structure is the array. Strings, lists, structures, sets – these are all special cases of arrays and and can be treated that way just as easily without messing up your programing language with all sorts of complications. The worst thing about fancy data types is that you have to declare them, and Real Programming Languages, as we all know, have implicit typing based on the first letter of the (six character) variable name.

OPERATING SYSTEMS

What kind of operating system is used by a Real Programmer? CP/M? God forbid – CP/M, after all, is basically a toy operating system. Even little old ladies and grade school students can understand and use CP/M.

Unix is a lot more complicated of course – the typical Unix hacker never can remember what the PRINT command is called this week – but when it gets right down to it, Unix is a glorified video game. People don’t do Serious Work on Unix systems: they send jokes around the world on USENET and write adventure games and research papers.

No, your Real Programmer uses OS/370. A good programmer can find and understand the description of the IJK305I error he just got in his JCL manual. A great programmer can write JCL without referring to the manual at all. A truly outstanding programmer can find bugs buried in a 6 megabyte core dump without using a hex calculator. (I have actually seen this done.)

OS/370 is a truly remarkable operating system. It’s possible to destroy days of work with a single misplaced space, so alertness in the programming staff is encouraged. The best way to approach the system is through a keypunch. Some people claim there is a Time Sharing system that runs on OS/370, but after careful study I have come to the conclusion that they are mistaken.

PROGRAMMING TOOLS

What kind of tools does a Real Programmer use? In theory, a Real Programmer could run his programs by keying them into the front panel of the computer. Back in the days when computers had front panels, this was actually done occasionally. Your typical Real Programmer knew the entire bootstrap loader by memory in hex, and toggled it in whenever it got destroyed by his program. (Back then, memory was memory – it didn’t go away when the power went off. Today, memory either forgets things when you don’t want it to, or remembers things long after they’re better forgotten.) Legend has it that Seymour Cray, inventor of the Cray I supercomputer and most of Control Data’s computers, actually toggled the first operating system for the CDC7600 in on the front panel from memory when it was first powered on. Seymour, needless to say, is a Real Programmer.

One of my favorite Real Programmers was a systems programmer for Texas Instruments. One day, he got a long distance call from a user whose system had crashed in the middle of some important work. Jim was able to repair the damage over the phone, getting the user to toggle in disk I/O instructions at the front panel, repairing system tables in hex, reading register contents back over the phone. The moral of this story: while a Real Programmer usually includes a keypunch and lineprinter in his toolkit, he can get along with just a front panel and a telephone in emergencies.

In some companies, text editing no longer consists of ten engineers standing in line to use an 029 keypunch. In fact, the building I work in doesn’t contain a single keypunch. The Real Programmer in this situation has to do his work with a text editor program. Most systems supply several text editors to select from, and the Real Programmer must be careful to pick one that reflects his personal style. Many people believe that the best text editors in the world were written at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center for use on their Alto and Dorado computers [3]. Unfortunately, no Real Programmer would ever use a computer whose operating system is called SmallTalk, and would certainly not talk to the computer with a mouse.

Some of the concepts in these Xerox editors have been incorporated into editors running on more reasonably named operating systems. EMACS and VI are probably the most well known of this class of editors. The problem with these editors is that Real Programmers consider “what you see is what you get” to be just as bad a concept in text editors as it is in women. No, the Real Programmer wants a “you asked for it, you got it” text editor – complicated, cryptic, powerful, unforgiving, dangerous. TECO, to be precise.

It has been observed that a TECO command sequence more closely resembles transmission line noise than readable text [4]. One of the more entertaining games to play with TECO is to type your name in as a command line and try to guess what it does. Just about any possible typing error while talking with TECO will probably destroy your program, or even worse – introduce subtle and mysterious bugs in a once working subroutine.

For this reason, Real Programmers are reluctant to actually edit a program that is close to working. They find it much easier to just patch the binary object code directly, using a wonderful program called SUPERZAP (or its equivalent on non-IBM machines). This works so well that many working programs on IBM systems bear no relation to the original FORTRAN code. In many cases, the original source code is no longer available. When it comes time to fix a program like this, no manager would even think of sending anything less than a Real Programmer to do the job – no Quiche Eating structured programmer would even know where to start. This is called “job security”.

Some programming tools NOT used by Real Programmers:

  • FORTRAN preprocessors like MORTRAN and RATFOR. The Cuisinarts of programming – great for making Quiche. See comments above on structured programming.
  • Source language debuggers. Real Programmers can read core dumps.
  • Compilers with array bounds checking. They stifle creativity, destroy most of the interesting uses for EQUIVALENCE, and make it impossible to modify the operating system code with negative subscripts. Worst of all, bounds checking is inefficient.
  • Source code maintainance systems. A Real Programmer keeps his code locked up in a card file, because it implies that its owner cannot leave his important programs unguarded [5].

THE REAL PROGRAMMER AT WORK

Where does the typical Real Programmer work? What kind of programs are worthy of the efforts of so talented an individual? You can be sure that no real Programmer would be caught dead writing accounts-receivable programs in COBOL, or sorting mailing lists for People magazine. A Real Programmer wants tasks of earth-shaking importance (literally!):

  • Real Programmers work for Los Alamos National Laboratory, writing atomic bomb simulations to run on Cray I supercomputers.
  • Real Programmers work for the National Security Agency, decoding Russian transmissions.
  • It was largely due to the efforts of thousands of Real Programmers working for NASA that our boys got to the moon and back before the cosmonauts.
  • The computers in the Space Shuttle were programmed by Real Programmers.
  • Programmers are at work for Boeing designing the operating systems for cruise missiles.

Some of the most awesome Real Programmers of all work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Many of them know the entire operating system of the Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft by heart. With a combination of large ground-based FORTRAN programs and small spacecraft-based assembly language programs, they can to do incredible feats of navigation and improvisation, such as hitting ten-kilometer wide windows at Saturn after six years in space, and repairing or bypassing damaged sensor platforms, radios, and batteries. Allegedly, one Real Programmer managed to tuck a pattern-matching program into a few hundred bytes of unused memory in a Voyager spacecraft that searched for, located, and photographed a new moon of Jupiter.

One plan for the upcoming Galileo spacecraft mission is to use a gravity assist trajectory past Mars on the way to Jupiter. This trajectory passes within 80 +/- 3 kilometers of the surface of Mars. Nobody is going to trust a PASCAL program (or PASCAL programmer) for navigation to these tolerances.

As you can tell, many of the world’s Real Programmers work for the U.S. Government, mainly the Defense Department. This is as it should be. Recently, however, a black cloud has formed on the Real Programmer horizon.

It seems that some highly placed Quiche Eaters at the Defense Department decided that all Defense programs should be written in some grand unified language called “ADA” (registered trademark, DoD). For a while, it seemed that ADA was destined to become a language that went against all the precepts of Real Programming – a language with structure, a language with data types, strong typing, and semicolons. In short, a language designed to cripple the creativity of the typical Real Programmer. Fortunately, the language adopted by DoD has enough interesting features to make it approachable: it’s incredibly complex, includes methods for messing with the operating system and rearranging memory, and Edsgar Dijkstra doesn’t like it [6]. (Dijkstra, as I’m sure you know, was the author of “GoTos Considered Harmful” – a landmark work in programming methodology, applauded by Pascal Programmers and Quiche Eaters alike.) Besides, the determined Real Programmer can write FORTRAN programs in any language.

The real programmer might compromise his principles and work on something slightly more trivial than the destruction of life as we know it, providing there’s enough money in it. There are several Real Programmers building video games at Atari, for example. (But not playing them. A Real Programmer knows how to beat the machine every time: no challange in that.) Everyone working at LucasFilm is a Real Programmer. (It would be crazy to turn down the money of 50 million Star Wars fans.) The proportion of Real Programmers in Computer Graphics is somewhat lower than the norm, mostly because nobody has found a use for Computer Graphics yet. On the other hand, all Computer Graphics is done in FORTRAN, so there are a fair number people doing Graphics in order to avoid having to write COBOL programs.

THE REAL PROGRAMMER AT PLAY

Generally, the Real Programmer plays the same way he works – with computers. He is constantly amazed that his employer actually pays him to do what he would be doing for fun anyway, although he is careful not to express this opinion out loud. Occasionally, the Real Programmer does step out of the office for a breath of fresh air and a beer or two. Some tips on recognizing real programmers away from the computer room:

  • At a party, the Real Programmers are the ones in the corner talking about operating system security and how to get around it.
  • At a football game, the Real Programmer is the one comparing the plays against his simulations printed on 11 by 14 fanfold paper.
  • At the beach, the Real Programmer is the one drawing flowcharts in the sand.
  • A Real Programmer goes to a disco to watch the light show.
  • At a funeral, the Real Programmer is the one saying “Poor George. And he almost had the sort routine working before the coronary.”
  • In a grocery store, the Real Programmer is the one who insists on running the cans past the laser checkout scanner himself, because he never could trust keypunch operators to get it right the first time.

THE REAL PROGRAMMER’S NATURAL HABITAT

What sort of environment does the Real Programmer function best in? This is an important question for the managers of Real Programmers. Considering the amount of money it costs to keep one on the staff, it’s best to put him (or her) in an environment where he can get his work done.

The typical Real Programmer lives in front of a computer terminal. Surrounding this terminal are:

  • Listings of all programs the Real Programmer has ever worked on, piled in roughly chronological order on every flat surface in the office.
  • Some half-dozen or so partly filled cups of cold coffee. Occasionally, there will be cigarette butts floating in the coffee. In some cases, the cups will contain Orange Crush.
  • Unless he is very good, there will be copies of the OS JCL manual and the Principles of Operation open to some particularly interesting pages.
  • Taped to the wall is a line-printer Snoopy calender for the year 1969.
  • Strewn about the floor are several wrappers for peanut butter filled cheese bars (the type that are made stale at the bakery so they can’t get any worse while waiting in the vending machine).
  • Hiding in the top left-hand drawer of the desk is a stash of double stuff Oreos for special occasions.
  • Underneath the Oreos is a flow-charting template, left there by the previous occupant of the office. (Real Programmers write programs, not documentation. Leave that to the maintainence people.)

The Real Programmer is capable of working 30, 40, even 50 hours at a stretch, under intense pressure. In fact, he prefers it that way. Bad response time doesn’t bother the Real Programmer – it gives him a chance to catch a little sleep between compiles. If there is not enough schedule pressure on the Real Programmer, he tends to make things more challenging by working on some small but interesting part of the problem for the first nine weeks, then finishing the rest in the last week, in two or three 50-hour marathons. This not only inpresses his manager, who was despairing of ever getting the project done on time, but creates a convenient excuse for not doing the documentation. In general:

  • No Real Programmer works 9 to 5. (Unless it’s 9 in the evening to 5 in the morning.)
  • Real Programmers don’t wear neckties.
  • Real Programmers don’t wear high heeled shoes.
  • Real Programmers arrive at work in time for lunch. [9]
  • A Real Programmer might or might not know his wife’s name. He does, however, know the entire ASCII (or EBCDIC) code table.
  • Real Programmers don’t know how to cook. Grocery stores aren’t often open at 3 a.m., so they survive on Twinkies and coffee.

THE FUTURE

What of the future? It is a matter of some concern to Real Programmers that the latest generation of computer programmers are not being brought up with the same outlook on life as their elders. Many of them have never seen a computer with a front panel. Hardly anyone graduating from school these days can do hex arithmetic without a calculator. College graduates these days are soft – protected from the realities of programming by source level debuggers, text editors that count parentheses, and user friendly operating systems. Worst of all, some of these alleged computer scientists manage to get degrees without ever learning FORTRAN! Are we destined to become an industry of Unix hackers and Pascal programmers?

On the contrary. From my experience, I can only report that the future is bright for Real Programmers everywhere. Neither OS/370 nor FORTRAN show any signs of dying out, despite all the efforts of Pascal programmers the world over. Even more subtle tricks, like adding structured coding constructs to FORTRAN have failed. Oh sure, some computer vendors have come out with FORTRAN 77 compilers, but every one of them has a way of converting itself back into a FORTRAN 66 compiler at the drop of an option card – to compile DO loops like God meant them to be.

Even Unix might not be as bad on Real Programmers as it once was. The latest release of Unix has the potential of an operating system worthy of any Real Programmer. It has two different and subtly incompatible user interfaces, an arcane and complicated terminal driver, virtual memory. If you ignore the fact that it’s structured, even C programming can be appreciated by the Real Programmer: after all, there’s no type checking, variable names are seven (ten? eight?) characters long, and the added bonus of the Pointer data type is thrown in. It’s like having the best parts of FORTRAN and assembly language in one place. (Not to mention some of the more creative uses for #define.)

No, the future isn’t all that bad. Why, in the past few years, the popular press has even commented on the bright new crop of computer nerds and hackers ([7] and [8]) leaving places like Stanford and M.I.T. for the Real World. From all evidence, the spirit of Real Programming lives on in these young men and women. As long as there are ill-defined goals, bizarre bugs, and unrealistic schedules, there will be Real Programmers willing to jump in and Solve The Problem, saving the documentation for later. Long live FORTRAN!

ACKNOWLEGEMENT

I would like to thank Jan E., Dave S., Rich G., Rich E. for their help in characterizing the Real Programmer, Heather B. for the illustration, Kathy E. for putting up with it, and atd!avsdS:mark for the initial inspriration.

REFERENCES

  1. Feirstein, B., Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, New York, Pocket Books, 1982.
  2. Wirth, N., Algorithms + Datastructures = Programs, Prentice Hall, 1976.
  3. Xerox PARC editors . . .
  4. Finseth, C., Theory and Practice of Text Editors - or - a Cookbook for an EMACS, B.S. Thesis, MIT/LCS/TM-165, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, May 1980.
  5. Weinberg, G., The Psychology of Computer Programming, New York, Van Nostrabd Reinhold, 1971, page 110.
  6. Dijkstra, E., On the GREEN Language Submitted to the DoD, Sigplan notices, Volume 3, Number 10, October 1978.
  7. Rose, Frank, Joy of Hacking, Science 82, Volume 3, Number 9, November 1982, pages 58 - 66.
  8. The Hacker Papers, Psychology Today, August 1980.
  9. Datamation, July, 1983, pp. 263-265.

“The Water’s So Great That It Won Awards”

Was discussing water quality in Des Moines with DL. Told her that our city couldn’t hold a candle to Ames, that their water was the “cleanest around.” Wanted to prove this but couldn’t find the 2014 viral hit “Hooray for Ames” video anywhere on the internet. GN, blessed datahoarder that he is, luckily had a copy ❤️🚰

Whatever. 🤘 Go Hawks 🤘

On A Good Burrito

I remember the very first burrito I had in the Mission District in San Francisco. My friend warned me that it would be “around the size of your forearm” and that, if I tried to finish it in a single sitting, I would be an idiot. It was, I did, I am 🙏

i do not fuck with any burrito without heft. if your shit is convenient and portable, take it elsewhere. i want a burrito that is burdensome. unwieldy. when i raise it to my mouth, i should feel the weight of the mistake i am about to make. no child should be able to eat this.

if your burrito doesn’t make me hate myself both physically and spiritually, what’s the point? grow up. don’t waste my time.

@mnateshyamalan

Bernie Being Wholesomely On-Brand at the Inauguration

Wait, is Bernie is wearing the same jacket from his meme at the inauguration?

@thealanjohnson

Bernie at the Inauguration
Bernie at the Inauguration


The pose. The mittens. The social distance.

@vulture

Bernie dressed like the inauguration is on his to do list today but ain’t his whole day.

@MsReeezy

Bernie at the Inauguration


And about those mittens:

Bernie’s mittens are made by Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, Vt. She gave them to him 2+ years ago and was surprised when he began wearing them on the campaign trail. They are made from repurposed wool sweaters and lined with fleece made from recycled plastic bottles.

@rubycramer

A little more backstory:

Jen Ellis, a teacher from Essex Junction, made the mittens and gave them to Sanders. She used repurposed wool from sweaters and lined them with fleece. She generally sells mittens at craft fairs or gives them to friends. Sanders’ daughter-in-law, Liza Driscoll, runs Ellis’ daughter’s daycare, so one holiday season, Ellis made mittens for all the teachers — plus Bernie.

“I just put in a little note that was like, ‘I believe in you, I’ve always believed in you and I hope you run again,’” Ellis said. “And now he is running again, and he apparently is wearing the mittens that I made for him!”

Sasha Goldstein, Those Mittens Bernie Sanders Wears Campaigning Are Made in Vermont

And finally (via KP):

Bernie

Update

This is the best one I’ve seen so far (via JK):

There’s also a collection (via CK) and another called “The approximate size of various ocean animals with a Bernie for scale” (via Deepu), and a Zillow listing.

2021 Things

Wasted 2020

2021

New Years resolutions for 2021 are gonna be like:

  • travel to the other side of the room
  • wear a different shirt
  • cut screen time from 12 hours a day to 11
  • eat a vegetable
  • bathe
@alyssalimp

A Conservative Plan

By Amii James (Instagram). Context was the Tories but applies to our fine people stateside as well.

The Compassionate Conservative Plan

Tory ministers saying “we owe it to children to keep schools open” might want to explain to me why they closed my youth centre, cut mental health services, underfunded my secondary school, stripped free school meals from my peers, tripled uni fees, demonised climate strikers…

Hasan Patel

The Human Flamethrower by Unknown More Pasta

Surprising in many ways!

A dinner at REDACTED is an unforgettable experience, not to be missed. It’s a beautiful restaurant, the food is fantastic, and you’ll be thinking about it long after the meal is over.

We started with the Date & Almond Naan, which was sweet and delicious.

The Butter Chicken, known in some places as Makhni, was tender, moist pieces of dark meat chicken, smothered in a delicious sauce with tomatoes, honey, cardamom, and what I’m assuming was a pound of laxatives.

The Three Greens Saag was wonderful, and not loaded with butter or cream – just fresh and delicious kale, spinach and mustard greens. Hearty, bold and certainly capable of demolishing even the stiffest of constipation.

White dude working the tandoors: you go, sir. The Tandoori Prawns were cooked beautifully, seasoned to perfection, and tore through me with the awesome fury of the horsemen of the apocalypse, Bravo.

The Duck Biryani, a special not on the menu, I would say, is not worth it. It’s two cups of rice and a duck thigh, and we were surprised to discover later that it cost $28. My wife thought it was going to be around $8. My sense of remorse doubled this morning as it ripped its way out of me in a raging fiery whirlwind of poopy terror.

This meal was delectable, exotic, and incinerated everything in my intestines. My morning was an unforgettable thrill ride.

The exotic flavors and aromas of India came flooding back to me as I literally peed out of my butt.

4 stars for the truly delicious food and unimpeachable service, minus one star for expensive biryani, and for turning me into a human flamethrower.

“I have to do this.”

I made a bet at work that involved me eating my Crocs (if I lost, of course), prompting my co-worker to send me this story about Eric Taylor, a “former Magic: The Gathering player and highly regarded Magic columnist, especially during the earlier days of the game” (MTG Wiki), who made a similarly hasty bet and honored its terms:

He went so far as to guarantee Kai couldn’t emerge victorious again, promising to eat his hat should he be proven wrong.

[…] By now a sizeable crowd had gathered to watch the spectacle. EDT began by biting into the rim, but couldn’t tear the material with his teeth. In a quick burst of speed, he reached into his bag, and pulled out a full bottle of Heinz Ketchup and a pair of scissors. Deftly slicing a swatch of material from the top of the hat, he masticated on the felt but found the taste to be offensive.

“This is terrible!”, he exclaimed, unleashing a destructive stream of ketchup all over the table and his headwear. He resumed devouring his hat, making chewing faces akin to Popeye the Sailor eating rotten spinach.

[…] Around the third mouthful, EDT began to wish he had a nacho hat. “This is terrible”, he screamed, banging his jaw against the table to force the hat down. This attracted the attention of Rob Dougherty, from the Boston. “You’re crazy!”, he admonished in the typical Your Move Games tone. Eric just shook his head, gritted his teeth, and said, “I have to do this.

Ben Bleiweiss, ERIC TAYLOR EATS HIS HAT! (emphasis mine)

On Winters

Taken completely out of context, for the letter itself is a lot of bro-y “locker room talk.”

My mind is dried up, exhausted. I’m disgusted to be back in this damned country where you see the sun in the sky about as often as a diamond in a pig’s asshole.

Gustave Flaubert, Letter to Ernest Chevalier, 14th November 1840

And especially when you simply don’t have any say in the matter:

THIS is America

Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.

These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.

Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.

You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.

Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.

Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name, amen.

Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain of the Senate, CBS News (emphases mine)

And please get off this gentleman’s lawn and out of his city.

Scottish Sass

Asked about speculation that Mr Trump could travel to Scotland in order to avoid the inauguration, Ms Sturgeon said: "I have no idea what Donald Trump’s travel plans are, you’ll be glad to know.

"I hope and expect that – as everybody expects, not everybody necessarily will hope – that the travel plan immediately that he has is to exit the White House.

Nicola Sturgeon, as quoted by Chiara Giordano, “Trump not allowed into Scotland to escape Biden inauguration, Sturgeon warns” (emphasis mine.)

Saving America is No Menial Task, Sir

I hope Dominion’s lawyers don’t underestimate the Elite Strike-Force Team’s Star Witness’ What-Do-You-Mean-I-Have-To-Make-An-Appointment-Online Energy 😬

“You gained international infamy earlier this month as Rudy Giuliani’s so-called ‘star witness’ who could supposedly corroborate outlandish accusations that Dominion has somehow rigged or otherwise improperly influenced the outcome of the Nov. 2020 U.S. presidential election,” attorneys Thomas Clare and Megan Meier wrote. “Without a shred of corroborating evidence, you have claimed that you witnessed several different versions of voter fraud—ranging from one story involving a van, to other accusations that votes were counted multiple times. You published these statements even though you knew all along that your attacks on Dominion have no basis in reality.”

[…] “We write to you now because you have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign by pretending to have some sort of ‘insider’s knowledge’ regarding Dominion’s business activities, when in reality you were hired through a staffing agency for one day to clean glass on machines and complete other menial tasks,” the letter stated.

Dominion Attorneys Send Brutal Letter to Trump Campaign’s ‘So-Called Star Witness’ Mellissa Carone

Corpsing

Corpsing is British theatrical slang for unintentionally laughing during a non-humorous performance or when a role in a humorous performance is intended to be played “straight”. In North American TV and film, this is considered a variation of breaking character or simply “breaking”.

Wikipedia

Here’s some further examination by Ricky Gervais and crew. Features Sir Ian McKellen and Daniel Radcliffe.

How to Drive in Iowan Winters

If you rarely drive on snow, just pretend you’re taking your grandma to church. There’s a platter of biscuits and 2 gallons of sweet tea in glass jars in the back seat. She’s wearing a new dress and holding a crock pot full of gravy.

@Chadsu42

Mister Babcock is Just Fine

When conservative activist Meshawn Maddock obtained a list of allegedly dead Michigan voters, she didn’t report it to law enforcement.

[…]

The list of 150 or so names was part of a larger file of more than 2,000 people who “voted in Wayne County by absentee ballot that are CONFIRMED deceased,” claimed Maddock, a prominent Republican who is seeking to become the party’s state vice chair.

It would appear that the only way to make it in the party is by embracing batshit crazy. But there are pesky little ‘facts’ to contend with:

“I am certainly not dead!” wrote one woman […], including holiday photos of her family she had recently posted.

“Two people in my neighborhood are on this list,” wrote another man. “They’re very much alive. Hell, their boys play baseball with my sons.”

Mr. Babcock speaks for Sane America that’s bewildered by the post-election tantrums like these. Emphases mine:

Among the alleged dead was Bill Babcock, a Grosse Pointe Woods voter who said Tuesday he is “doing fine,” aside from the grueling year-end inventory he was performing in his job as a swimming pool salesman.

I think it sucks,” he told Bridge Michigan on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Maddock posted his name and home address in an attempt to prove voter fraud that state officials have not found.

Can’t we just move on? There are bigger problems out there, like getting this vaccine thing situated,” Babcock said.

‘I am certainly not dead!’ Living voters contradict Michigan GOP fraud claims, Bridge Michigan

A Kraken of Shit

To the surprise of no one (well, normal people), “The Kraken”, authored by an ex-member of the “Elite Strike-Force Team”, turned out to be a “truly awful” and unmistakably QAnon-laced lawsuit full of basic formatting, spelling, and grammatical errors that would “drive a proofreader to drink.”

From a must-read via PLG:

This is all batshit crazy. It is as stupid an elections lawsuit as I’ve ever seen. And there’s no guarantee that it’s the worst case we’re going to see, because even though their legal arguments are being dismissed with extreme prejudice, when it comes to the political/propaganda aims of the litigants—this stuff works. Once the true believers are on board, it’s hard to get them off.

[…] The Kraken is the stupidest election fraud lawsuit in history today. But who knows what next week will bring.

Mike Dunford, “The ‘Kraken’ Lawsuit Was Released And It’s Way Dumber Than You Realize”, The Bulwark (cached)

Amazing. It’s almost as if The Best People don’t really care about the substance of the lawsuits1 but want to seen as filing them in the courts of “activist” judges who swat them away, quite unfairly of course, for the sophomoric and baseless crocks of shit they are. Conservative, Republican, Trump-appointed activist judges, that is.

  1. And as if they ‘wrote’ it using a 1999 version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. ↩︎

Highly Informed Outrage

A lovely Techbro aside from the ongoing #shitkraken.

Greg Stenstrom, another poll watcher, said that in Delaware County, 47 USB cards were missing.

As a computer scientist, an American and a patriot, it doesn’t matter who those votes were for. It was shocking to me that that could even happen,” he said.

“There is no cure for this, no remedy for this. I don’t believe as a citizen and an observer to this, anyone can certify this with a good conscience.”

Harriet Alexander, “‘Your election is a sham’: Giuliani tells Pennsylvania ‘I know crooks really well’ as he appears in Gettysburg”, The Independent

(Emphasis mine.) Indeed, Gregory. When USB cards go missing, one needs formal training in Algorithms, Data Structures, the Theories of Computation and Complexity, Formal Logic (of course), and more, to express appropriate outrage at an election that’s fraudulent only in your head and only because your guy didn’t win.

The Continuing Saga of an A+ Elite Strike-Force Team Saving Our Imperiled Democracy

Will tag updates as I read them with amusement and disbelief. Armando Ianucci must be weeping right now. All emphases are mine.

In a court filing signed by Rudy Giuliani and Marc Scaringi1 — the two remaining attorneys on the case after everyone else quit — the campaign asked for the judge to hand over Pennsylvania’s electors.

[…] “You’re asking this court to invalidate more than 6.8 million votes, thereby disenfranchising every single voter in the commonwealth,” Brann said at the hearing. “Can you tell me how this result can possibly be justified?”

Jacob Shamsian, “Rudy Giuliani straight up asked a federal judge to ignore Pennsylvania voters and declare Trump won the state.”, Business Insider India

And:

Before Tuesday, Rudy Giuliani last registered an appearance in the U.S. federal judiciary in 1992, and in the view of many legal observers, it showed. The former mayor of New York flubbed basic concepts of law and, in at least one instance, displayed a poor command of the English language.

Giuliani confessed that he did not know the word “opacity,” applying the Bizarro World definition that it “probably means you can see.”

“It means you can’t,” U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann corrected2.

[…] When pressed by the judge on what standard of scrutiny should be applied to Pennsylvania government’s action, Giuliani replied: “The normal one.”

Adam Klasfield, “When Applying ‘Normal’ Scrutiny, Rudy Giuliani’s Court Appearance Was a Total Flop”, Law & Crime

And because IANAL, some helpful context:

At one point, he even appeared ignorant of the concept of strict scrutiny, a basic and fundamental concept for a practicing lawyer to know when arguing a case on Fourteenth Amendment grounds. Imagine if you were lying in an operating room, about to go under general anesthesia, and heard your surgeon ask, “Hey, what are all these knives for?” Now you are in general orbit around whatever planet on which the former New York mayor happens to be residing.

Matt Ford, “The Unpardonable Sins of Lindsey Graham”, The New Republic

Onward:

At one point he referred to president-elect Joe Biden as a “crook” and chastised the press for reporting that he has no evidence of fraud. Mr Giuliani has offered no evidence in court of fraud.

[…] He compared election observers being corralled away from the votes counts to a moment in the movie in which the eponymous character asks a witness in court how many fingers he is holding up, claiming that they could not see a thing.

[…] As what appeared to be hair dye dripped down both sides of his face

[…] Ellis described the assembled lawyers as “an elite strike-force team” working on behalf of the president.

Oliver O’Connell, “Giuliani quotes ‘My Cousin Vinny’ as he sets out conspiracy theories at bizarre press conference”, The Independent

And finally:

President Donald Trump’s campaign says it’s dropping its Michigan election lawsuit because it succeeded in halting certification of election results in Detroit and surrounding Wayne County, despite the outcome already having been certified in favor of President-elect Joe Biden.

Eric Larson and David Voreacos, “Trump Campaign Drops Michigan Election Suit, Claims Victory”, Bloomberg

An “Absolutely Brilliant” Elite Mercurial Powerhouse Leader of the Best Legal Team3 one could assemble given the seriousness of the charges against our democratic systems, folks. So unbelievably competent, Snopes had to publish an entry about his performance in court 💯


Update 20 Nov 2020.

But his attorneys have repeatedly made elementary errors in those high-profile cases: misspelling “poll watcher” as “pole watcher,” forgetting the name of the presiding judge during a hearing, inadvertently filing a Michigan lawsuit before an obscure court in Washington and having to refile complaints after erasing entire arguments they’re using to challenge results.

“The sloppiness just serves to underscore the lack of seriousness with which these claims are being brought,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.

[…] “I know crimes. I can smell them,” Giuliani said as streaks of sweat and what appeared to be hair dye ran down the sides of his face. “You don’t have to smell this one. I can prove it to you 18 different ways.”

[…] “Part of the reason he doesn’t have good lawyers is he doesn’t have good claims to bring.”

Colleen Long, Jill Colvin, and Alanna Durkin Richer, Trump’s lawsuits plagued by spelling errors: ‘I’ve never seen an election lawyer handle a case as poorly as Giuliani has’, The Independent

Huh.

Charlie Kelly


Update 21 Nov 2020

The painful monologue screeched to a halt whenever Rudy hit the guardrails of judicial questioning. Asked the most important question in nearly any election lawsuit, what standard of review should apply, he was caught completely off guard. For non-lawyers, it’s hard to explain just how appalling this is. Standard of review is the sort of thing that every first-year law student learns. But rather than agreeing with the judge that the case demanded “strict scrutiny,” or arguing that it called for rational basis review, he simply advocated for “the normal one.” If legal Twitter had a voice in that moment, the scream would have been heard around the world.

[…] But what Rudy did next crossed a line: he lied. He didn’t spin, argue, or put his best take on the evidence, he flat-out lied to a judge in open court.

[…] Actually, Rudy’s first lie came before he ever set foot in the Pennsylvania courthouse. On Tuesday morning, Rudy petitioned to represent the Trump campaign, which is a routine step for lawyers appearing out of state. If you aren’t licensed to practice in a court, you have to request permission to argue. Sadly, Rudy couldn’t complete this two-page form without committing perjury. Rudy claimed to be licensed in the District of Columbia, where in fact he’s currently suspended for not paying his dues.

Albert Fox Cahn, “It’s Time to Take Away Rudy’s Law License”, The Daily Beast

Update 25 Nov 2020

The only place maybe worse is Michigan, and particularly the city of Detroit. The city of Detroit probably had more voters than it had citizens. I’m exaggerating a bit, but all you have to do is look at statistical data and you can see that the fraud was rampant and out of control.

Ian Schwartz, “Giuliani: We’re Pursuing a Supreme Court Challenge Due To ‘Misconduct Of The Election’”, RealClearPolitics

Update 26 Nov 2020

It keeps getting more divorced from reality.

I think we may actually have won Virginia, but that’s another battle,” Mr Giuliani said.

The comments were made during a meeting of Republican state lawmakers in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Mr Biden defeated Mr Trump in Virginia by 451,138 votes.

Graig Graziosi, “Giuliani thinks Trump ‘may have won Virginia’ despite Biden winning state by nearly half a million votes”, The Independent

As for Pennsylvania, where the plaintiff literally phoned it in at Gettysburg:

Despite having told a federal judge that theirs was “not a fraud case”, the 76-year-old former mayor of New York introduced a series of Pennsylvania residents to complain about fraud, to cheers and whoops, and the occasional audible sharp intake of breath from the staunchly pro-Trump crowd.

[…] On Monday Pennsylvania certified the vote, meaning that the process is concluded. Mr Biden won the state by 80,555 votes.

[…] He claimed that 682,770 mail-in ballots entered in Allegheny County and Philadelphia were “not observed by any single Republican.”

They could have been from the same person,” he said. “There could have been multiples, there was no name on them”.

There’s more, of course.

“The mail-in ballots that were received were not inspected at all by any Republicans. They were hidden from Republicans,” he said.

He said he “couldn’t be entirely sure,” though.

And arithmetic, compounded with the passage of time can lead to undemocratic effects:

He expressed surprise, once again, that when he went to sleep Mr Trump was in the lead but that lead evaporated.

What are the odds that they all switched, overnight? They switched, by the next day.

The lead evaporated because more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail, and as their votes were slowly counted, the pendulum swung in Mr Biden’s favour.

Harriet Alexander, “‘Your election is a sham’: Giuliani tells Pennsylvania ‘I know crooks really well’ as he appears in Gettysburg”, The Independent
  1. "The day before a major argument in Pennsylvania, three lawyers for Trump withdrew and were replaced in part by Marc Scaringi, an attorney and talk show host who wrote a blog post after the election referring to ‘President-elect Joe Biden.’ Scaringi himself had told listeners on his radio show days after the election that ‘there are really no bombshells’ about to drop ‘that will derail a Biden presidency,’ and noting that several of the lawsuits ‘don’t seem to have much evidence to substantiate their claims.’ - The Independent ↩︎

  2. “Big words, your honor,” Giuliani said. ↩︎

  3. Screenshot is from the Facebook page of a True Believer. This person and the commenter are not trying to be funny. They cannot be, even if they tried. “Believe me.” ↩︎

Raj on Hell’s Kitchen

Tapped this YouTube suggestion on a lazy Sunday. This man pushed my capacities for sympathy and empathy to their breaking points in this 20-minute highlight reel. I don’t know what to type here other than quote the very first sentence of his Fandom wiki page:

Raj is widely regarded as one of the worst and most useless chefs in Hell’s Kitchen history.

I don’t watch the show and don’t have a full context. But the most charitable assessment I can offer after sitting through the highlight reel below is this: The man is wired very, very differently, which I suppose makes for engaging (cruel?) television 🤷‍♂️

On Masks

Bill Burr on The Joe Rogan Experience:

BURR: I don’t want to start this bullshit. I’m not gonna sit here with no medical degree, listening to you with no medical degree, with an American flag behind you smoking a cigar, acting like we know what’s up, better than the CDC. All I do, is I watch the news once every two weeks - I’m like, “Mask or no mask? Still mask? Alright, mask!” That’s all I give a fuck about. I don’t care. I just love how wearing a mask became like this fucking like soft thing that you were doing… like being courteous…”

ROGAN: It’s for bitches1.

BURR: Why is it for bitches? That’s just so stupid.

ROGAN: (Fakes weak cough)

BURR: Oh God you’re so tough with your fucking open nose and throat and your five o’clock shadow. This is a man right here! A man doesn’t wear a mask.

Rogan’s immediate response somehow reminded me of the “infantile phallocentric Nietzscheanism that is destroying modern human culture” from one of my favorite articles.

  1. Here’s something of a guide to his podcasts. ↩︎

Two Levels of Not Giving a Fuck

No Code is the best way to write secure and reliable applications. Write nothing; deploy nowhere.

Start by not writing any code.

Brilliant. I love both the presence and contents of the Dockerfile in that repo. As is always the case with such projects, the issues and pull requests are 💯

And if one is tempted to go against the tenets of No Code, there’s always my beloved fuckitpy, a (strangely well-thought-out) “Python error steamroller”1:

@fuckit
def buggy_function():
    problem_solved

@fuckit
class BuggyClass(object):
    def __init__(self):
        everything_works_now

And:

This module is like violence: if it doesn’t work, you just need more of it.

See also: The Fuck, another Python-based utility that addresses CLI frustrations.

  1. Inspired by FuckitJS. ↩︎

Pisces People by Aleister Crowley More Pasta

THE influence of Pisces upon the Sun does not make specially for strength, except in the last decanate, which is ruled by Mars. Otherwise, there is a certain softness and placidity which diminish the vitality. The Pisces type is extraordinarily psychic, more so than is the case with that of any other sign, but this manifests itself in an entirely passive way. The native depends upon intuition and impressions generally, and the active qualities of the soul which make the great mystic are rarely present. Rudolph Steiner is fortunate enough to have aspects of Uranus, Saturn and Mars, which increase his practical power. Picus de Mirandola is a more typical example of this sign. Unless the dignities of the planets concerned in this matter are extremely good, the native may suffer from illusions and be led constantly astray. There is in him a notable lack of correlation in practical details, and he is apt to leave things at loose ends. His constructions power being psychic does not exactly translate itself into the objective. In spite of this, however, there is a great deal of practical good sense in the composition, but sometimes the native will be accused of hypocrisy, owing to the extreme contrast between the idealism expressed and the course of action undertaken, and people not similarly constituted may take it into their heads to “read them a lesson.” The native is inclined to self-indulgence in emotional experience, and this in the undeveloped type very often takes the form of the abuse of alcoholic liquors or even occasionally of noxious drugs. This is partly due to the watery nature of the sign, and its ruler, Neptune, and partly to the soft {31} and seductive influence of Venus, who is exalted in the sign, and to its connection with the Moon.

There is a good deal of discontent in this sign, naturally caused by such conflict between the aspirations and the expression of the life. This often manifests itself in restlessness and in inattentiveness, and in attaching far too much importance to trifles, the least of which often appears to them highly significant. Even in external manner, the native, thought seemingly calm upon the surface, is full of tremor within, like the sea. The native is very fond of others and may be so solicitous as to their well-being that the result will often be trying to the recipient of his extreme devotion.

The constitution is, generally speaking, not particularly robust; the general health is good, but there is a lack of power to resist disease. The native is more susceptible than in almost any other sign. Michael Angelo and Sir Richard Burton had magnificent constitutions, but the Sun being in the last decanate of Pisces, the influence of Mars is able to correct the general weakness.

In the human body, Pisces rules primarily the feet, but his action extends throughout the whole body, over the lymph and all watery secretions of an excretory character, such as mucus. The principal diseases characteristic of this sign are oedema, ascitis, and dropsies in general. Another very common disease associated with Pisces is gout. In the consideration of Pisces as a rising sign, there is also danger of tuberculosis if the system is allowed to become depleted.

The following well known persons were also born with the Sun in the sing Pisces:

  • George Washington
  • Grover Cleveland
  • Victor Hugo
  • Ludwig II of Bavaria
  • Brander Mathews
  • William Jennings Bryan
  • William Dean Howells
  • Henry W. Savage
  • Enrico Caruso
  • Amelia Bingham
  • Rose Coghlan
  • Edward Stotesbury
  • Adolph S. Ochs
  • Margaret Deland
  • Percy A. Rockefeller
  • Isabel Irving
  • George H. Swift
  • Joseph E. Otis
  • Thomas Hastings
  • Oswald G. Villard
  • Van Hoogstraaten
  • Robert W. Goelet
  • Geraldine Farrar
  • Penrhyn Stanlaws
  • Mary Garden

Penny Flip Tip

Whenever you’re called on to make up your mind,

   and you’re hampered by not having any,

the best way to solve the dilemma, you’ll find,

   is simply by spinning a penny.

No—not so that chance shall decide the affair

   while you’re passively standing there moping;

but the moment the penny is up in the air,

   you suddenly know what you’re hoping.

Persi Diaconis, The Problem of Thinking Too
Much

Gandhi the Annihilator

At least in Civilization:

[. . .] Gandhi tends to be the first to use nuclear weapons, and spares no expense on wiping your civilization off the map. You probably always thought you were crazy — how could a series that prides itself on historical accuracy portray Gandhi so wrong? Well, you’ll be happy to know that both your sanity and Civilization’s historical integrity aren’t at fault. Instead, a bug’s to blame.

In the earlier Civs, leaders are given a set of attributes that dictate their behavior. One such attribute is a number scale associated with aggressiveness. Gandhi was given the lowest number possible, a rating of 1. However, when a civilization adopted democracy, it granted a civilization -2 to opponent aggression levels. This sent Gandhi’s rating of 1 into the negative, which swung it back around to 255 — the highest possible rating available, and thus, the infamous warmonger Gandhi was born.

Geek.com, What caused Gandhi’s insatiable bloodlust in Civilization

And they just left it in there as an homage:

This cyclical aggression scale was fixed in later versions of the game, but Gandhi wasn’t totally cured of his bloodlust. The team fixed Gandhi’s aggression rating, but as an Easter egg paying homage to the earlier aggressive versions of Gandhi, ramped his nuke rating through the roof. So, while it may be difficult to push Gandhi over the edge, he goes from zero to nuclear option once you do.

Via MS.

Midwest Distances

Expression Real Distance
Next door 1 - 2 miles
Right up the road 5 - 10 miles
Up North 15 - 100 miles
A couple miles 10 - 20 miles
Not too far 20 - 50 minutes
A little ways Over an hour
A pretty good drive 2 hours+
Drive down there Literally any direction

Can attest 😆. Via.

Medieval Fun Land

As the final season of HBO’s blockbuster television series Game of Thrones hits screens around the world today, audiences in China are begging for the explicit scenes of sex and violence not to be censored.
[. . .]
Disgruntled viewers in China have previously compared the significantly edited version to a “medieval castle documentary”.

Which natually leads to (which won’t embed for some reason so here)

David Mitchell on Taxation

Oh how I love a good David Mitchell rant. This one’s on avoiding taxation via pension contributions:

[. . . ] what we’re essentially saying is that people get to choose, if they’re rich, how much they reckon they out to pay. Where on this moral scale do they place themselves, what can they square with their greed and their conscience.

And that’s an insane system because ultimately, that is a tax on conscience. That means that the conscience you’ve got, the better person you are, the more you pay in tax. So we’re taxing being nice.

Now any economist will tell you that what you do in government is you tax the thing you discourage and you don’t tax the thing you want to encourage. So we tax nicotine, because we want to discourage smoking. We tax alcohol, we want to discourage drinking. But we don’t tax pension contributions because we want to encourage people to put things into their pensions.

So what we’re doing is we’re discouraging people from being nice and having a conscience by taxing it. And that is the most fucking bonkers system that we could’ve possibly come across.

via DH.

Racism and Astrology

Via co-worker DH. Dara Ó Briain on how Racism is better than Astrology:

Racism is one of the worst social evils they can imagine. “How dare you do that?” they say. "How dare you ascribe to me personality traits? You don’t even know me, but you tell me that you know me, and you know these things about me, and you say I share these personality traits with this huge group of people, and I don’t know them, you don’t know them, and you say not only do we have the same character traits, but we have some sort of common history and some common destiny, and you make all of these horrible presumptions on the back of what? On the back of a fluke of birth. How dare you do that?

What? Ooh, Capricorn.

Sans Bullshit Sans

Roel Nieskens “leveraged the synergy of ligatures” to create a free typeface called Sans Bullshit Sans.

It turns this

The value proposition of our agile mindset and scrum methodology is to enable the emergence of disruptive, convergent, crowdsourced platforms that allow our clients to lean in and engage in collective mindshare on established design patterns using the latest usercentric technologies empowered by the cloud.

into this

Bullshit Sans by Roel Nieskens

Here’s how he made it. Fucking brilliant. I saved a list of the terms and phrases that cause the ligatures. On a related note, I’d be bullshitting myself if maintain any hope of finishing this tiny book at some point.

Ankeny & Saudi Arabia

Ankeny or Saudi Arabia? If you had to choose one to live in, which would you pick?

Depends. One is full of religious wackos, and the other one is in a desert.

/r/desmoines

A Frenchwoman in America

SM, reminiscing

I was 15 when I first came to the United States. Detroit. There was nothing worth eating in Detroit. Except fudge. And White Castle. And Cheetos.

Child Endangerment

A mother in suburban Chicago breathes a huge sigh of relief this week, as she was reunited with her 8-year-old son Kevin, who was accidentally left at home alone as the family went on vacation to Paris. Apparently no one had noticed the boy was missing on their drive to the airport and through airport security and while boarding the plane.

Only once when they were in flight did the mother sense that a cherished family member may not have been present. She then shrieked, Kevin. She would rush home where she, along with police, found the boy unharmed physically, though he may deal with abandonment issues for years to come.

In addition to the boy, the police also found two career criminals who appeared to have suffered great bodily damage while attempting to rob the house. One man had been shot in the groin with a BB gun and had his hands severely burned by a hot doorknob. The other man had a nail and pieces of glass Christmas ornaments lodged in his foot. Both men also miraculously survived being hit in the head with a paint can that was apparently swung from a rope at high speeds, something which would normally crush a human skull.

Child Protective Services say they will not remove the child from the family since they believe it to be only a one-time occurrence, and certainly not something that could happen again the next year.

– Hari Kondabolu on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!