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Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
|Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing since 1954.
Recent late-night political jokes, from Daniel Kurtzman's Political Humor Blog on About.com.
One of Sarah Palin's supporters is about to release a documentary about
her called The Undefeated. That's like a documentary about Arnold
Schwarzenegger called The Faithful.
Donald Trump now says he may run for president as an independent. And
when Donald Trump says he's going do something, Donald Trump... says
he's going to do something.
Rudy Giuliani says he may run for President. So now we're up to seven
candidates and 35 ex-wives.
The average couple fights about sex 87 times a year. And even more if
the maid is pregnant.
A new Facebook app is coming out that will remind users exactly what
they were doing a year ago from that day. Nine times out of 10, the
answer will be "wasting your time on Facebook."
Kirstie Alley did a cartwheel on Dancing With the Stars. But President
Obama is refusing to release the pictures.
Now the pastor guy says the Apocalypse will be October 21. I know some
people are saying, "What if I had tickets for Saturday's Apocalypse?"
Those tickets will still be good for October.
On this date 19 years ago, Jay Leno took over 'The Tonight Show.' And it
wouldn't be the last time.
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy tasked our nation to develop the technology necessary to send humans to the moon and return them safely to earth. A mere eight years later, the goal was achieved.
Fifty years later, we're one shuttle mission away from losing our manned spaceflight capability. We won the "space race," but soon we'll be reduced to hitching rides on Russian rockets.
In eight years, we haven't been able to decisively win the wars in the mideast. In ten years, we haven't even been able to replace the buildings destroyed on September 11, 2001.
Some think the space race was a total waste of money, a nationalistic orgy of spending aimed at intimidating our enemies. Perhaps; but at least it didn't involve sending hundreds of thousands of our best people to fight wars in distant lands.
Can we ever regain our technological superiority? Or are we now merely spectators, watching from the sidelines as China and other countries take our place in manned space exploration?
As my friend Jason Togyer of The Tube City Almanac notes, "Well, then- someone needs to strike oil on the moon."
(Video: The Times They Are A Changin', Bob Dylan, 1963.
Robert Allen Zimmerman (Bob Dylan) is 70 today. The protest songs written early in his career set the tone for much of the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 60s.
Jackie "Moms" Mabley
(born Loretta Mary Aiken)
March 19, 1894 - May 23, 1975
At one time the most successful woman standup comic in America- she remains the highest-charting comedienne in Billboard history- social satirist Jackie "Moms" Mabley is largely unknown to contemporary audiences, but her impact on successive generations of both female and African-American comics remains estimable.
Born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard, NC on March 19, 1894, her early life was marred by tragedy- one of a dozen children, when she was 11 her father, a volunteer fire fighter, was killed when his fire truck overturned and exploded, and her mother was later fatally struck by a mail truck. Before the age of 13, Aiken was also raped twice- once by an older black man, then by Brevard's white sheriff. Both violations resulted in pregnancy, and she ultimately left her children in her grandmother's care and relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, living with a minister's family. There she began singing and dancing in local shows, befriending local entertainers including Jack Mabley, who became her boyfriend. Their relationship proved ill-fated, and when Aiken's brother expressed embarrassment over his sister's stage career, she adopted Mabley's name for her own: "He took a lot off me," she told Ebony in 1974, "so the least I could do was take his name."
The newly christened Jackie Mabley- the sobriquet "Moms" was later bestowed as a nod to her maternal understanding and compassion for younger performers- was soon touring vaudeville on the so-called "chitlin' circuit" of African-American venues. The cancerous racism she encountered on the road would later inform her standup comedy. In 1921 she began touring with the husband-and-wife team Butterbeans & Susie, soon making her debut at Harlem's legendary Cotton Club. Mabley was also a fixture of New York City's emerging black theater, and in 1931 collaborated with writer Zora Neale Hurston on the Broadway production Fast and Furious: A Colored Revue in 37 Scenes. Two years later, she made her film debut in Emperor Jones. But it was Mabley's forays into comedy that proved most enduring. Appearing on-stage in house dresses and oversized hats (a wardrobe inspired by her own grandmother), her matronly image belied her saucy routines, which were laden with sexual innuendo as well as cutting observations on the state of race relations in the U.S. As several observers pointed out, her no-frills, little-old-lady appearance not only endeared Mabley to fans, but made it that much easier for audiences of all races to swallow her more biting material. Even few male comedians of the time were as pointedly topical or as salacious, and most of them were white on top of it.
From 1939 into the '60s, Moms Mabley was a fixture at Harlem's famed Apollo Theater, appearing on its stage more than any other performer. In 1947, she co-starred in the film Killer Diller, followed a year later by Boarding House Blues. But her national fame didn't truly ascend until she began cutting comedy LPs on the Chess label. Her 1960 debut On Stage (Funniest Woman in the World)Moms Mabley at the "UN" cracked the Billboard Top 20. Subsequent chart entries include Moms Mabley at the Playboy Club; Young Men, Si- Old Men, No; Moms Mabley at the White House; and Moms Mabley Breaks It Up. She made her television debut in 1967 on A Time for Laughter, and was later a regular guest on the television variety shows of Harry Belafonte, Mike Douglas, and Merv Griffin. In 1969, Mabley unexpectedly cracked the pop and R&B charts with a straight-faced, even maudlin rendition of the Dion hit Abraham, Martin and John, becoming the only woman over the age of 70 to have a Billboard Top 40 hit.
After starring in the 1974 film Amazing Grace- her first
big-screen appearance in over a quarter century- Mabley died May 23,
1975 at the age of 78. In the years following her death, she has been
the subject of a number of off-Broadway productions, including the
Clarice Taylor-headlined Moms and 1999's Moms Mabley: The
-Jason Ankeny, Rovi
The most obvious situation is the slow transmogrification of western Pennsylvania into a rain forest. My back yard is now almost impenetrable and on the verge of being declared a wildlife refuge. A hike to the storage shed at the back of the property was accompanied by the sounds of wee beasties scurrying through the grass, and I'm not talking about the shelties. Who, by the way, won't venture past the swing set at the partially cleared top half of the yard, probably because the vegetation is now taller than they are. There's stuff back there straight out of a Star Trek episode. And it's adapting to the marsh-like conditions. I think I saw a stink bug wearing scuba gear.
The other problem with the above Weather Channel prediction is that their ten-day forecast contains only nine days. I'm going to attribute that to an HTML/database extraction error. Unless TWC knows something about the Rapture that Harold and his gang have missed.
It looked like a photo from an actual newspaper, smudged newsprint and all, but it was just too good.
Sigh. Snoped again. But if there ever was a textbook example of "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story..."
From the James Randi Educational Foundation's Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural:
Divine prophecies being of the nature of their Author, with whom a
thousand years are but as one day, are not therefore fulfilled
punctually at once, but have springing and germinant accomplishment,
though the heightfulness of them may refer to some one age.
-Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
A favorite subject of prophets has always been the end of mankind and/or the demise of our planet and/or the collapse of the entire universe. Part of the technique, for some, is to place the date far enough ahead that when The End fails to arrive, the oracle is no longer around to have to explain why. Others, often to encourage the surrender of property and other worldly chattels by the Believers, prepare excuses well in advance and manage to survive the great disappointment that often follows a failed prediction. In any case, the resilient fans never discredit the notion; they merely redesign the details and settle back once more to confidently await doom. Here is a short list of some rather interesting end-of-the-world prognostications, beginning with biblical references and ending with some contemporary seers and their doomsayings. Judging from the record earned by the soothsayers in this matter, we may safely assume that our planet will continue very much the same as it is for some considerable period into the future.
B.C.-A.D.: According to the New Testament, The End should have occurred before the death of the last Apostle. In Matthew 16:28, it says: Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. One by one, all the apostles died. And the world rolled on for everyone else...
A.D. 992: In the year 960, scholar Bernard of Thuringia caused great alarm in Europe when he confidently announced that his calculations gave the world only thirty-two more years before The End. His own end, fortunately for him, occurred before that event was to have taken place.
December 31, A.D. 999: The biblical Apocrypha says that the Last Judgment (and therefore, one supposes, the end of the world) would occur one thousand years after the birth of Jesus Christ. When the day arrived, though it is doubtful that there was all the panic that was reported by later accounts, a certain degree of apprehension was probably experienced. It was said that land was left uncultivated in that final year, since there would obviously be no need for crops. According to the Encyclopedia of Superstitions, public documents of that era began, "As the world is now drawing to a close..." Modern authorities suspect that historians Voltaire and Gibbon may have created or at least embellished this tale to prove the credulous nature of medieval Christians. Significantly, Pope Sylvester II and Emperor Otto III momentarily mended their considerable political differences in anticipation of a certain leveling of those matters.
A.D. 1033: Theorists pressed to explain the A.D. 999 bust decided that the 1,000 years should have been figured from the death of Christ rather than from his birth. Bust number two followed.
September 1186: An astrologer known as John of Toledo in 1179 circulated pamphlets advertising the world's end when all the (known) planets were in Libra. (If the sun was included in this requirement, this should have occurred on September 23 at 16:15 GMT, or at that same hour on October 3 in the new calendar.) In Constantinople, the Byzantine Emperor walled up his windows, and in England the Archbishop of Canterbury called for a day of atonement. Though the alignment of planets took place, The End did not.
A.D. 1260: Joaquim of Flore worked out a splendid calculation that definitely pinpointed A.D. 1260 as The Date. Joaquim had a bent pin.
February 1, 1524: This was one of the most pervasive Doomsday-by-Flood expectations ever recorded. In June of 1523, astrologers in London predicted that The End would begin in London with a deluge. Some 20,000 persons left their homes, and the Prior of St. Bartholomew's built a fortress in which he stocked enough food and water for a two-month wait. When the dreaded date failed to provide even a rain shower in a city where precipitation is very much to be expected, the astrologers recalculated and discovered they'd been a mere one hundred years off. (On the same day in 1624, astrologers were again disappointed to discover that they were still dry and alive.) The year 1524 was full of predicted disaster. Belief in this date was very strong throughout Europe. An astrologer impressively named Nicolaus Peranzonus de Monte Sancte Marie, found that a coming conjunction of major planets would occur in Pisces (a water sign) that year, and this strengthened the general belief in a universal final deluge. George Tannstetter, another astrologer/mathematician at the University of Vienna, was one of very few at that time who denied The End would occur as predicted. He drew up his own horoscope, discovered that he would live beyond 1524, and denied the other calculations were correct. But George was considered a spoilsport, and was ignored. A "giant flood" was prophesied for February 20 (some say February 2) of 1524 by astrologer Johannes Stoeffler, who employed his skill to establish that date in 1499. Such was the belief in his ability that more than one hundred pamphlets were written and published on his prediction. The planets involved in this dire conjunction were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, along with the sun. Neptune, unknown then, was also in the sign Pisces. Other major influences, Uranus and the moon, were not. Nor was Pluto, also unknown then. But the date of this conjunction was February 23 (old calendar), not the twentieth. In response to the 1524 prophecies, in Germany, people set about building boats, while one Count von Iggleheim, obviously a devout believer in Stoeffler's ability, built a three-story ark. In Toulouse, French President Aurial also built himself a huge ark. In some European port cities, the populace took refuge on boats at anchor. When it only rained lightly on the predicted date where von Iggleheim had his ark, the crowd awaiting the deluge ran amok and, with little better to do, stoned the count to death. Hundreds were killed in the resultant stampede. Stoeffler, who had survived the angry mob, re-examined his data and came up with a new date of 1528. This time there was no reaction to his declaration. Sometimes people actually get smart. Incidentally, the 1878 Encyclopaedia Britannica described 1524 as "a year, as it turned out, distinguished for drought."
1532.: A bishop of Vienna, Frederick Nausea, decided a major disaster was "near" when various strange events were reported to him. He was told that bloody crosses had been seen in the skies along with a comet, that black bread had fallen from midair, and that three suns and a flaming castle had been discerned in the heavens. The story of an eight-year-old girl of Rome whose breasts, he was told, spouted warm water, finally convinced this scholar that the world was due to end, and he so declared to the faithful.
October 3, 1533, at Eight A.M.: Mathematician and Bible student Michael Stifel (known as Stifelius) had calculated an exact date and time for Doomsday from scholarly perusal of the Book of Revelation. When they did not vaporize, the curiously ungrateful citizens of the German town of Lochau, where Stifel had announced the dreaded day, rewarded him with a thorough flogging. He also lost his ecclesiastical living as a result of his prophetic failure.
1533: Anabaptist Melchior Hoffmann announced in Strasbourg, France, a city which had been chosen by him as the New Jerusalem, that the world would be consumed by flames in 1533. He believed that in New Jerusalem exactly 144,000 persons would live on while two characters named Enoch and Elias would blast flames from their mouths over the rest of the world. The rich and pious who hoped to be included in that number saved destroyed their rent records, forgave their debtors, and gave away their money and goods to the poor. How those commodities were to be used among the flames was not explained, nor did anyone point out that such sacrifices so near The End were hardly meritorious. The time of cataclysm by fire came and went, and a new apostle named Matthysz arose to encourage those who now expressed slight doubts, telling them it had been slightly postponed. Thus, in February 1534, more than one hundred persons were baptized in Amsterdam in anticipation of the still-expected event. As it turned out, the years 1533 and 1534 were noted for their lack of conflagrations, a fact that might be explained by the public's suddenly increased awareness of danger from fire.
1537 (And also in 1544, 1801, and 1814): In Dijon, France, a list of prophecies by astrologer Pierre Turrel was published posthumously. His predictions of The End were spread over a period of 277 years, but all were fortunately wrong. He had used four different methods of computation to arrive at the four dates, while assuring his readers that he had strictly orthodox religious beliefs- a very wise move in his day.
1544: See 1537.
1572: In Britain, a total solar eclipse and a few impressive novas seemed to signal something important. Considerable panic ensued, to no avail.
1584: Astrologer Cyprian Leowitz, who had the distinction in 1559 of being included in the official Index of prohibited writers by Pope Paul IV, predicted the end of the world for 1584. Taking no chances, however, he then issued a set of astronomical tables covering celestial events all the way to the year 1614, in the unlikely event that the world would survive. It did.
1588: The sage Regiomontanus (Johann Müller, 1436-1476), posthumously a victim of enthusiastic crackpots who delighted in attributing occult and magical powers to him, was said to have predicted The End for the year 1588 in an obscure quatrain, but in 1587 Norfolk physician John Harvey reassured his readers that the calculations ascribed to the master were faulty, and the resulting prophecy false. Harvey was right.
1624: See 1524.
1648: Rabbi Sabbati Zevi, in Smyrna, interpreted the kabala to show that he was the promised Messiah and that his advent, accompanied by spectacular miracles, was due in 1648. By 1665, regardless of the failure of the wonders to appear, Zevi had a huge following, and his date was now changed to 1666. Citizens of Smyrna abandoned their work and prepared to return to Jerusalem, all on the strength of reported miracles by Zevi. Meeting a sharp reversal when arrested by the Sultan for an attempted coup and brought in fetters to Constantinople, the new Messiah sat in prison while followers as far away as Holland, Germany and Hungary began packing up in anticipation of Armageddon. Unfortunately for these faithful, the Sultan converted the capricious Zevi to Islam, and the movement ended.
1654: Consulting his ephemeris and considering the nova of 1572, physician Helisaeus Roeslin of Alsace decided in 1578 that the world would surely terminate in flames in another seventy-six years. He did not survive to see his prophecy fail. That should have been an evil year indeed. An eclipse of the sun was predicted for August 12 (it actually occurred on the 11th) and that was also widely believed to bring about The End. Many conversions to the True Faith took place, physicians prescribed staying indoors, and the churches were filled.
1665: With the Black Plague in full force, Quaker Solomon Eccles terrorized the citizens of London yet further with his declaration that the resident pestilence was merely the beginning of The End. He was arrested and jailed when the plague began to abate rather than increasing. Eccles fled to the West Indies upon his release from prison, whereupon he once again exercised his zeal for agitation by inciting the slaves there to revolt. The Crown fetched him back home as a troublemaker, and he died shortly thereafter.
1666: See 1648.
1704: Cardinal Nicholas de Cusa, without Vatican endorsement, declared The End was to arrive in 1704.
May 19, 1719: Jacques (also Jakob I) Bernoulli, the first of a famous line of Swiss mathematicians who made their home in Berne, predicted the return of the comet of 1680 and earth-rending results therefrom. The comet did not come back, perhaps for astronomical reasons, but Bernoulli went on to discover a mathematical series now called the Bernoulli Numbers. He is renowned for this and for the eight exceptional mathematicians his line produced in three generations, but not for Doomsday nor for his astronomical calculations.
October 13, 1736: London was once again targeted for the "beginning of the end," this time by William Whiston. The Thames filled with waiting boatloads of citizens, but it didn't even rain. Another setback.
1757: Mystic/theologian/spiritist and supreme egocentric Emmanuel Swedenborg, ever willing to be a center of attention for one reason or another, decided after one of his frequent consultations with angels that 1757 was the terminating date of the world. To his chagrin, he was not taken too seriously by anyone, including the angels.
April 5, 1761: When religious fanatic and soldier William Bell noticed that exactly twenty-eight days had elapsed between a February 8 and a March 8 earthquake in 1761, he naturally concluded that the entire world would crumble in another twenty-eight days, that is, on April 5th. Most suggested that the date should have been four days earlier, in tune with the probability, but many credulous Londoners believed him and snapped up every available boat, taking to the Thames or scurrying out of town as if those actions would save them. History records nothing more of Bell after April 6, when he was tossed into London's madhouse, Bedlam, by a disappointed public.
1774: English sect leader Joanna Southcott (1750-1814) had the notion that she was pregnant with the New Messiah, whom she proposed to name Shiloh. History records that her pregnancy "came to nothing," nor did the world end as she had prophesied. She left behind a box of mystical notes that were to be opened only after her death with twenty-four bishops present. Perhaps because of a failure to interest that many ecclesiastics of high rank to attend the occasion, the box was not opened and vanished somewhere. She was succeeded by several minor would-be prophets, all of whom tried other End-of-the-World predictions, with the same result. One successor, John Turner, we will meet up ahead.
1801: Astrologer Pierre Turrel (see 1537) chose this date, along with three others, for The End. His first two had already failed by this time. Again, no luck.
1814: Astrologer Pierre Turrel (remember him?) chose this last date for The End. His three others had already failed, and, again no luck! As author Charles Mackay wryly noted, "the world wagged as merrily as before."
October 14, 1820: Prophet John Turner was leader of the Southcottian movement in Bradford, England. The specialty of this sect was End-of-the-World prophecies, the first one having been made by the founder of the group, Joanna Southcott, whom we have already met back in 1774. His failed prediction turned his congregation against him, and John Wroe (see 1977, up ahead) took over the movement.
April 3, 1843 (And also July 7, 1843, March 21 and October 22, 1844): William Miller, founder of the Millerite church, spent fifteen years in careful study of the scriptures and determined that the world would conclude sometime in 1843. He announced this discovery of what he called "the midnight cry" in 1831. When there was a spectacular meteor shower in 1833, it seemed to his followers that his prediction was close to being fulfilled, and they celebrated their imminent demise. Then, as each date he named failed to produce Armageddon, Miller moved it up a bit. The faithful continued to gather by the thousands on hilltops all over America each time one of the new dates would dawn. Finally, on October 22, 1844, the last day that Miller had calculated for The End, the Millerites relaxed their vigils. Five years later, Miller died, still revered and not at all concerned at his failed prophecies. The movement eventually changed its name and broke up into a number of modern-day churches, among them the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, which today has over three million members.
1874: A date calculated by Charles Taze Russell of the Jehovah's Witnesses, (which see) for The End.
1881: Those who delighted in measuring the various passages of the Great Pyramid of Giza, presumed to be the tomb of Cheops, calculated that all would be over in 1881. Careful remeasuring and some imagination gave a better (but not much better) date of 1936. That was improved upon by other students who decided upon 1953 as the terminal year. Further refinements and improvements of technique are still being made. If we get a new date, we'll let you know.
Shipton is supposed to have written:
The world to an end will come
In eighteen hundred and eighty-one.
The prediction, as well as the rhyme, are faulted. A book titled, The Life and Death of Mother Shipton, written in 1684 by Richard Head, was reprinted in a garbled and freely "improved" version in 1862 by Charles Hindley. In 1873 Hindley admitted having forged that rhyme and many others, but his confession caused no lessening of the great alarm in rural England when 1881 arrived. The world not having ended in that year, the above spurious verse has since been published in a refreshed version which substitutes "nineteen" for "eighteen" and "ninety" for "eighty." The world, according to most authorities, did not end then, either.
1936: One set of Great Pyramid measurers came up with this date.
1914: One of three dates the Jehovah's Witnesses promised The End. The others were 1874 and 1975.
1947: In 1889, "America's Greatest Prophet," John Ballou Newbrough, said that for sure in 1947: all the present governments, religions and all monied monopolies are to be overthrown and go out of existence... Our present form of so-called Christian religion will overrun America, tear down the American flag, and trample it underfoot. In Europe the disaster will be even more terrible... Hundreds of thousands of people will be killed... All nations will be demolished and the earth be thrown open to all people to go and come as they please. It wasn't a great year, but it wasn't all that bad.
1953: Again, a group of Great Pyramid nuts with their tape-measures figured out this year as the last. Back to the King's Chamber, guys.
1974: Interestingly enough, the conjunction of heavenly bodies that occurred back in 1524 was far, far more powerful than the more recent one described in a silly book titled The Jupiter Effect, written by two otherwise sensible astronomers who, in 1974, predicted dreadful effects on our planet as a result of a March 10, 1982, "alignment" of planets. Other astronomers denied that any effect would be felt, and when the date came and went, as you may have noticed, no one noticed. One of the authors reported that some earthquakes which had occurred in 1980 had been the "premature result of The Jupiter Effect," and the public yawned in amazement.
1975: One of the several dates promised by the Jehovah's Witnesses as The Date. Wrong.
1977: John Wroe, who is described by the kindliest historian we can find as a "foul-mouthed, ugly, dirty lecher," in 1823 inherited the leadership of the Southcottian sect in England when an End-of-the-World prophecy by John Turner failed. Learning from the example, Wroe took no chances. He made his Armageddon prophecy for 1977. A 1971 book, Prophets Without Honor, says of Wroe: At a time when thermo-nuclear powers face each other across the Iron and Bamboo Curtains, it is well to remember that- as far as can be judged from the scanty records- John Wroe, indeed, was a true prophet!
1980: A very old Arabic astrological presage of doom specified that when the planets Saturn and Jupiter would be in conjunction in the sign Libra at 9 degrees, 29 minutes of that sign, we could kiss a big bye-bye to everything- camels, sand, mosques, the whole bag. That astronomical configuration almost took place at midnight of December 31 (new calendar), 1980, a date calculated by astrologers many years ago as the one spoken of. Jupiter was at 9 degrees, 24 minutes, and Saturn was at 9 degrees, 42 minutes, so the calculation was close to correct. However, nary a camel blinked an eye.
1980s: The unsinkable Jeane Dixon, ever optimistic and daring, predicted in 1970 that a comet would strike the earth in the "mid-80's" at a place that she knew, but did not deign to tell. That information was to be held until a "future date." Perhaps she is now prepared to tell us? She said of this event that it "may well become known as one of the worst disasters of the 20th century." But then Jeane also said that, "I feel it will surely be in the 1980's that [an un-named person] will become the first woman president in the United States." Back to that ephemeris, Jeane.
1996: It has been reasoned by biblical scholars that since one day with God equals one thousand years for Man, and that God labored at the creation of the universe for six days, Man should labor for six thousand years and then take a rest. Thus, using other scripturally derived numbers, the world should end sometime in 1996. It didn't.
July 1999: In Quatrain X-72, Nostradamus
L'an mil neuf cens nonante neuf sept mois
Du ciel viendra grand Roy deffraieur
Resusciter le grand Roy d'Angolmois.
Auant apres Mars regner par bon heur.
The year 1999, seven months,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror:
To bring back to life the great King of the Mongols,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.
Categories: Signs of the Apocalypse
God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if
it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there.
-Rev. Billy Graham
Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your
dog would go in.
If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is certain dogs I have known
will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there
long before any of us.
-Robert Louis Stevenson
So, if you wake up tomorrow and all the dogs are missing, take some comfort in knowing that God actually exists, and he is indeed a fine judge of character.
What's the twenty-first of May?
Mankind's final Saturday!
That's the Doomsday Polka
If you're planning weekend trips
Make one the Apocalypse
That's the Doomsday Polka
There're lots of things we must get ready
In our final haste
Just don't buy any green bananas
They'll just go to waste
Looks like this is it, my friend
Welcome to the Bitter End
And the Doomsday Polka!
Some head to their house of worship
Others go to bars;
But Judgment Day comes every week
On Dancing With The Stars
One thing's doomed, and that's real plain
Donald Trump's White House campaign
That's the Doomsday Polka
We're all sinners, we're depraved
And that's why we must pay;
But Charlie Sheen is still around,
So I'd say we're okay.
The Mayan calendar I fear
Says the end will come next year
That's the World End Polka
Ah, see you Monday.
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and
causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations
have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow,
and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by
working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated
in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
-Abraham Lincoln (Nov. 21, 1864 letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Categories: Quotes of the day
I've always found the hallmark of an honest conversation is one that begins with "If you quote me directly using videotape of my comments, in context- you're lying."
The United States has no purpose. That is perhaps its greatest achievement. America's founding document, its Declaration of Independence, allows that a state exists only to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
That's it. There's a curious lack of ambition in those words. The United States was not founded for the greater glory of anything, or as the necessary outcome of history, but for the freedom to collect figurines, to join a clogging troupe, to take a road trip. Yet these words, which carry no ideology whatsoever, are the ones that keep winning. This is the lesson of the past ten years, and one Osama bin Laden, a man animated by a grandiose vision of restoring a seventh century Muslim empire, never grasped. The most successful organizing principle the world has ever known is a simple guarantee that we can buy and do things that have no point greater than the satisfaction of our own happiness.
There's been much discussion, since the evening his death was announced, of the appropriate way to celebrate the end of Osama bin Laden. You might consider embracing what defeated him. Do something private and ridiculous, something that answers to no creed.
-Brendan Greeley, excerpted from "Why bin Laden Lost," Businessweek, May 4, 2011.
(h/t to "The Sanity Inspector" on the Usenet alt.quotations newsgroup)
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But remember,
any sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.
Categories: Quotes of the day
The sign posted above the "continental breakfast" counter at the Travelodge in Williamsburg, VA:
Please do not
put the buttered
bread into the
toaster or the
Why would I?
And the holes in the doughnuts aren't large enough, anyway.
It's also a sobering thought to realize this sign was posted because some idjits didshove buttered toast and doughnuts into the toaster. We'll give the grammar a pass due to extenuating circumstances.
Recent late-night political jokes, from Daniel Kurtzman's Political Humor Blog on About.com.
Newt Gingrich is running for President. Every six months we'd have a
different First Lady. Newt's slogan is, 'At least I'm not Trump.'
Bristol Palin just announced she had corrective surgery on her mouth.
It's being called the right procedure on the wrong Palin.
President Obama's approval rating has hit 60 percent, its highest in two
years. So he can pretty much count on reelection if he can just kill bin
Laden two more times in the next 12 months.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver might be splitting up. Arnold's
friends say he is doing everything he can to win his wife back. He just
burned every single copy of 'Jingle All the Way.'
Donald Trump says he uses Head & Shoulders on his hair. As a result,
Head & Shoulders is suing Donald Trump for slander.
Newt Gingrich announced that he's running for president on Twitter and
Facebook. I think his concession speech will be on YouTube.
Bristol Palin said she had corrective surgery to fix her jaw, not
cosmetic surgery. She must have gone to the same surgeon who corrected
Victoria Beckham's breasts.
A TSA screener in Kansas City is facing criticism for giving a pat-down
to an 8-month-old baby. You don't pat down a baby! You stick him in a
tray and run him through the X-ray machine.
The White House announced that the $50 million reward for Osama bin
Laden's whereabouts won't be going to anyone. Then China was like,
Gaddafi hasn't been seen since April 30. Are you thinking what I'm
thinking? Nose job.
I don't know if you've ever tasted Godfather's Pizza, but if he can keep
that place from going bankrupt, he is an economic genius.
-Stephen Colbert on GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain
When your campaign folk register the domain name for your spiffy website, it's best not to be pennywise but pound foolish.
Republican New York congressional candidate Jane Corwin registered the domain www.janecorwin.com, which contains typical political fund-raising, Democrat-bashing hoohah.
She didn't register www.janecorwin.org.
Go ahead. Click on it. I'll wait.
"Protecting the Status Quo & Taking Your Tax Dollars," indeed.
The phony site is actually an offshoot of www.buffalobeast.com. Not for the easily offended.
Still, one of the best parody sites I've seen.
(Hat tip to Steven Otte.)
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart yet again reveals Fox News' faux outrage as the naked hypocrisy it is.
"Oh, if we only had the tape..."
Happy birthday, Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 - February 15, 1988)
[I]f you've got to add the word "science" to the name of the field then it ain't one.
[Y]ou cannot prove a vague theory wrong.
A great deal more is known than has been proved.
But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose- which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand.
How can a man of integrity get along in Washington?
I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.
I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.
I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.
If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn't have been worth the Nobel Prize.
Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.
My life changed forever the day I realized I was not responsible for how others see me.
Our imagination is stretched to the utmost, not, as in fiction, to imagine things which are not really there, but just to comprehend those things which are there.
Physics is to math what sex is to masturbation.
Science is a lot like sex. Sometimes something useful comes of it, but that's not the reason we're doing it.
Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself- and you are the easiest person to fool.
The real question of government versus private enterprise is argued on too philosophical and abstract a basis. Theoretically, planning may be good. But nobody has ever figured out the cause of government stupidity and until they do (and find the cure) all ideal plans will fall into quicksand.
The theoretical broadening which comes from having many humanities subjects on the campus is offset by the general dopiness of the people who study these things...
The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought.
There are 1011 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.
There is a computer disease that anybody who works with computers knows about. It's a very serious disease and it interferes completely with the work. The trouble with computers is that you play with them.
We've learned from experience that the truth will come out.
What I cannot create, I do not understand.
What one fool can do, another can too.
The summer blockbuster "Thor" is about a warrior from another dimension.
But one third of Americans believe he was born in Kenya.
Categories: Quotes of the day
When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.
Categories: Quotes of the day
Here's Ms. Zadora's best performance, from Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.
And-- it includes O.J. Simpson, which is why it squeaks past her other noteworthy cinematic achievement, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing
evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but
you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you
may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence
merely increases hate. So it goes. ... Returning hate for hate
multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of
stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate
cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
-Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Excerpts from Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers killer routine at the White House correspondents dinner:
Just look at the options the Republicans are kicking around: Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich, Trump... that doesn't sound like a field of candidates, it sounds like season 13 of Dancing With The Stars. And not the stars, the dancers.
Both Rand Paul and Ron Paul have been talking about a run in 2012, so they have something in common with my father and I, which is we're also not going to get elected President.
Tim Pawlenty makes Al Gore look like RuPaul.
Donald Trump has been saying he will run for President as a Republican, which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke.
Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic, because a fox often appears on Donald Trump's head.
Gary Busey said recently that Donald Trump would make a great President. Of course he said the same thing about an old, rusty bird cage he found.
Donald Trump owns the Miss USA Pageant, which is great for Republicans because it will streamline their search for a Vice President.
Donald Trump said recently he has a great relationship with "the blacks", though unless the Blacks are a family of white people, I bet he's mistaken.
President Obama showed his "birth video," the opening sequence from Disney's The Lion King, where the lion cub Simba is anointed and held aloft by Rafiki the mandrill. "Oh well," Obama said, "Back to square one." The President then added, "I wanted to make clear to the Fox News table, that was a joke. That was not my real birth video. That was a children's cartoon. Call Disney if you don't believe me. They have the original 'long form' version."
Underscoring the inherent lunacy of Trump's candidacy, Obama referred to the former's decision to fire Gary Busey from Celebrity Apprentice. "These are the types of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir."
What makes his performance even more remarkable is the knowledge that as the dinner was being held, the noose was tightening at last on Osama bin Laden. Watch his reaction in the Seth Meyers video to the joke about the terrorist hosting a daily show on CSPAN.
The full videos follow. They're worth the time.