Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

On Fox News

I recently completed reading two papers by Harry Frankfurt, a professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University. One passage in one of the papers struck me a curiously descriptive of something Professor Frankfurt was not directly describing. I quote the passage here with Professor Frankfurt's original subject replaced with the new subject in [brackets].
My claim was that [Fox News], although they represent themselves as being engaged simply in conveying information, are not engaged in that enterprise at all. Instead, and most essentially, they are fakers and phonies who are attempting by what they say to manipulate the opinions and the attitudes of those to whom they speak. What they care about primarily, therefore, is whether what they say is effective in accomplishing this manipulation. Correspondingly, they are more or less indifferent to whether what they say is true or false.
This passage is taken from the paper "On Truth" where Professor Frankfurter is describing the central theme of his previous paper "On Bullshit."  The subject in brackets that I replaced in the passage above?  Bullshitters.

This is a real thing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Political dialog litmus test.

[The following is adapted and revised from a previous blog.]

This shouldn't be necessary. But it has come to this.

Before engaging in any political discussion, you should acknowledge the following as truths beyond debate:

  • Global climate change is real.
  • The Theory of Evolution is a fact.
  • President Obama is not Hitler, a Fascist, a Muslim, a Communist or a Socialist.
  • No one in the US government has advocated anything resembling euthanasia as a part of health insurance reform.
  • The moon is not made of cheese.
  • Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11.
  • A Czar is a media-created name for a government official who has a legal job to do and reports through normal administrative organization structures.
  • Torture is wrong and is a violation of US and international laws.
  • The attacks of 9/11 were planned and carried out by foreign terrorists with no involvement by anyone connected to the US government.
  • Fascism is an extreme RIGHT-wing ideology.
  • The Nazi's, despite their party name (National Socialist Party), were right wing and fascists, not socialists or liberals.
  • Any use of the Confederate flag is incompatible with claims of patriotism.
  • Tax cuts do in fact reduce revenue for the government and therefor contribute to deficits unless offset by spending cuts.
If a person can't agree to these statements they have lost touch with reality and are not worthy of a debate. I think that should set the bare minimum for some sane discourse. Or at least it will weed out the true loons.

These are real things.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Big Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives

The Big Ten conference was not officially called the Big Ten until 1987.  Prior to that it was officially called the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives.

This is a real thing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Westboro pickets the San Diego Comic Con

The crazies from the Westboro Baptist Church are picketing the San Diego Comic Con because...well, because they are bat shit crazy.
This is a real thing.

(Thanks to Comics Alliance. And more at Bleeding Cool.)

[UPDATE, 23-Jul] - Just to clarify, these photos are of Comic Con participants ridiculing the Westboro protesters.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Slavery is close to marriage

In the new non-fiction section at my local library, the books on modern day slavery are filed very close to the books on marriage advice. Interesting.
This is a real thing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


In light of the thousands of barrels of oil per day that are spilling from a BP oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico...
This is a real thing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jack White

I have noticed that Jack White sometimes sings songs that were written in the first person by women but does not change the words to the masculine. This is true for Black Jack Davey and Jolene.

I have also noticed that he does change the lyrics of a first person song written by a man, to insert his name in the lyrics instead of the songwriter's.  He does this with “Talkin’ to Myself” by Blind Willie McTell.

I find this odd.

This is a real thing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

They've Buried The Lead

You know the old expression, you catch more customers with free beer than fried fish?  Neither do they.
This is a real thing.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Because of Bing? Seriously, Bing?

The following was printed in the police blotter section (TCPD Roll Call, by Sgt. J.J. Mauro) of the Tippecanoe Gazette on Wednesday April 28, 2010.  Sadly, there is no online version of the article to link to:

Night shift Officers Stephanie Black, Vaughn Atkinson and Adam Grubb had a resident going berserk and breaking items in his apartment. When the officers calmed him down, they learned the intoxicated man was upset because he could not find Bing on his computer.

Officer Black solved the man's dilemma by going to the computer, logging onto Bing, and saving it in the man's "Favorites."  Unfortunately, the man will have to access the search engine while standing, since he broke his computer chair.

This is a real thing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tattoos In Rear

This tattoo business is going after a very niche market.

This is a real thing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spelling FAIL

The 2007 NIT Champion West Virgina Mountaineers.

This is a real thing.

Never Obsolete

This is a real thing.

Snopes, Left vs. Right

A recent Salon article by J.L. Bell took a brief look at political Urban Legends documented on Snopes.com.  The article's conclusion is that there are more lies told (and spread via email and the web) about President Barack Obama (59) than there were about George W. Bush (17).  The fact is even more alarming when you consider that Bush was in office for 8 years and Obama has been in office for only 15 months.

I took the information a little further.  It seems that some of the lies told about each President are actually lies that make the man look good (e.g., a lie about some fictional good deed carried out by the President). I broke down the lies into the categories of A) a Right Wing Lie (i.e., a lie meant to favor the right and make the left look bad) or B) a Left Wing Lie (i.e., a lie meant to favor the left and make the right look bad).  Next I extrapolated the 15 months of Obama data into what it might look like over an 8 year administration. (I know this is not scientific, it's merely an exercise in curiosity.)

Here is the result:

This is a real thing.

Intellectually Honest Tea Party Protesters

Okay, maybe THIS isn't a real thing.

Creed Rocks! \m/

Creed Rocks!  No, not the schmaltzy 90s post-grunge band. The other Creed. Creed Bratton. From The Office. In a past life he was the lead guitarist of the Grass Roots. Check him out in this performance from the Jimmy Durante Show (there's a good shot at 1:50) .

This is a real thing.