On May 25, 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.
Thank heavens all that foolishness is behind us now.
Observations by and for the vaguely disenchanted.
Risking the wrath of the whatever
from high atop the thing.
On May 25, 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted in Tennessee for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution.
Thank heavens all that foolishness is behind us now.
...225 years ago, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting.
At least they chose an appropriate date on which to begin.
When I was a little boy, I was called a nerd all the time because I didn't like sports, I loved to read, I liked math and science, I thought school was really cool, and... it hurt. A lot. Because it's never ok when a person makes fun of you for something like you didn't choose... we don't choose to be nerds. We can't help it that we like these things, and we shouldn't apologize for liking these things.
I wish that I could tell you that there is a really easy way to just... not care. But the truth is it hurts. But here's the thing that you might be able to understand- as a matter of fact, I'm confident you'll be able to understand this, because you asked this question.
When a person makes fun of you, when a person is cruel to you... it has nothing to do with you. It's not about what you said, it's not about what you did, it's not about what you love. It's about them feeling bad about themselves. They feel sad. They don't get positive attention from their parents. They don't feel as smart as you. They don't understand the things that you understand.
Maybe one of their parents is really pushing them to be a cheerleader, or a baseball player, or an engineer, or something that they just don't want to do. So they take that out on you, because they can't go and be mean to the person who's actually hurting them.
So, when a person's cruel to you like that- I know that this is hard- but honestly, the kind and best reaction is to pity them. And don't let them make you feel bad because you love a thing. Maybe find out what they love, and talk about it- how they love it. I bet you'll find out that a person who loves tetherball loves tetherball exactly the same way you love Doctor Who. But you just love different things.
And I will tell you this: it absolutely gets better as you get older. I know it's really hard when you're in school and you're surrounded by the same 400 people a day that pick on you and make you feel bad about yourself. But there's fifty thousand people here this weekend who went through the exact same thing- and we're all doing really well.
Don't you ever let persons make you feel bad because you love something
they decided is only for nerds. You're loving a thing that's for you.
-Wil Wheaton, responding to a question from a young girl at the 2013 Denver Comic Con.
"A lot of people I know believe in positive thinking, and so do I. I believe everything positively stinks."
"I was going to buy a copy of 'The Power of Positive Thinking,' and then I thought: what the hell good would that do?"
As a card-carrying cynical curmudgeon, I have little patience for those cheerful "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" pieces of delusional inanity. That said, there are some grains of wheat in the following chaff. Pick away, but use common sense. Don't get "brightsided."
(See the original article here.)
A few years ago, The Onion ran a piece entitled "Area Man Passionate Defender Of What He Imagines Constitution To Be." While satire, it underscored an important point: there are many good, sincere people who base their beliefs and principles on what they've been told by persons in positions of false or perceived authority. The problem is the information they're getting is incomplete at best, or, at worst, just plain wrong.
Don't blindly accept what you're told. Read the Constitution. Read the Bible. Read the Tanakh. Read The Book of Mormon. They're all available online.
(Don't bother with Dianetics. Trust me.)
And when someone throws a chapter and verse in your face, go the chapter and read the verse. Then read the verse before and the verse after. Better yet, read the whole chapter. Then read the whole book.
Then think for yourself.
So we're dealing with the "free speech" stuff again.
The First Amendment says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment guarantees that the government can't control your speech.
It doesn't guarantee you freedom from the consequences of your speech.
The government won't punish you for posting on Facebook that your wife's new Christmas dress makes her ass look fat.
It doesn't have to.
"I'll tell you who I feel sorry for, folks... A&E. With this
controversy, they may have just lost Duck Dynasty's massive black and
Social media on the shutdown:
Andy Borowitz (Facebook):
BREAKING: Most Hated People in U.S. Deciding Fate of World.
Let's put this shutdown behind us so the trials for treason can begin.
Michele Bachmann: "My Health Plan is Rapture."
As the Republicans go from Abraham Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt to Ted Cruz, it's no wonder they don't believe in evolution.
Say what you will about America, it's a place where any child, if he's stupid enough, can grow up to wreck the world economy.
If we default on our debt Miley Cyrus will no longer be the most embarrassing thing about America.
Call me an optimist, but I believe our government will come up with a totally unsatisfactory solution to a completely unnecessary crisis.
The behavior of the Tea Party congressmen is the most glaring indictment of our nation's failure to teach math.
Congress has wasted two weeks on a totally unnecessary crisis of its own creation. It's a good thing our schools and roads are in great shape or I'd be mad.
There are people in Congress I would not trust to look after my plants.
WASHINGTON - After a poll showed 50% of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown and 30% blame Obama, Rep. Michele Bachmann said, "That means we're winning by 20 percent."
Boehner: "The time has come to end this crisis so we can start planning the next one."
BREAKING: GOP Accuse Obama of Acting Like He Won Election
BREAKING: NRA Defends GOP's Right to Use Metaphorical Gun
Basically, the Republicans want a reward for calling in a bomb threat and then retracting it.
Just bought health insurance online. For some weird reason, the country was not destroyed. Anyone else have this problem?
It bothers me that our country may be pushed into default by people who cannot spell default.
Boehner: "We will continue this shutdown until we find out the reason for it."
WASHINGTON - In an escalation of the stalemate gripping the Capitol, House Republicans voted today to shut down the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls reasoning and impulses
The shutdown could last awhile since the Tea Party is demanding the President not be black anymore.
I wasn't happy about the country being controlled by the richest one percent, but I really hate it being controlled by the dumbest one percent
Boehner: "The President is stubbornly refusing to end this crisis I created."
WASHINGTON - House Republicans reassured the nation today that during the government shutdown they would continue to work hard to cut benefits for the poor and hungry.
A lot of people are asking when this kind of madness in Washington will end. I believe that can be arranged in 2014.
I'm impressed that no one has made the analogy between Ted Cruz and McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.
REMINDER: Michele Bachmann's favorite Founding Father is George Jefferson.
FYI: A nuclear bomb is about to blow up the world's economy and the House GOP will let it go off unless we give a tax break to a corporation.
Political party that pretends Donald Trump is a serious candidate for anything isn't a political party anymore, it's a cry for help.
House Republicans. Willing to destroy what's left of the global economy to avoid a primary challenge.
BREAKING: Ted Cruz and House Republicans meet in private to write open letter to Miley Cyrus, plot a global financial crisis.
Columbus discovered America the same way Republicans discovered the deficit when Obama became president.
Republicans waited to wage war on birth control until 50 years after it was invented. Next: Stop the miniskirt!
Schoolhouse Rock is working on a new "How A Bill Becomes Law" but it's taking a while because not much rhymes with "hostage."
Boehner should just show up in a Hawaiian shirt chomping a cigar and say "whatever" to everything.
The real victim in this is legitimate Kabuki theater.
Maybe if the History Channel showed history instead of pawn shops and alligators less people would carry Confederate flags.
Hi, we're the most powerful nation in all of recorded history, may we please have our allowance?
Congress is going to wait until the very last minute and look up budget deals in Wikipedia.
Ted Cruz: Mr. Obama, tear down these barricades!**
(** Put up because of my 21-hour speech directly leading to this outcome.)
Don't tread on me, except getting me to donate money and vote against my own interests, you can tread on me that way.
I don't think Spock could handle mind-melding with John Boehner, even for a moment. The madness. The sorrow. It would break a mind.
Sarah Reese Jones (Twitter)
John McCain warns Dems not to humiliate GOP as the VP he picked stands near Confederate Flag in front of WH accusing Obama of being Muslim.
A non-native English speaking friend of my was complaining about the behavior of relatives whose loyalty was questionable when situations threatened their perceived well-being.
"I can't trust them," he said. "They're playing both sides of the chicken."
My mind decoded the mixed metaphor as a combination of playing chicken and being on both sides of the fence. But I also started giggling, trying to imagine how one would play both sides of a chicken and, more precisely, why you would want to do so.
Giggling still, waiting for a chance to use that phrase during a conversation and see the reaction...
News Headline: “Is social media ruining our grammar?”
No. Not at all.
Social media are ruining our grammar.
-Zay N. Smith, Quick Takes
The Science Is Awesome page on Facebook noted in a post that the Curiosity rover has been on Mars for one year. It's measured radiation there, found dried up stream beds which shows Mars once had flowing water, became the first machine to drill into the surface of another planet, and has discovered some of the elements that are essential for life.
Meanwhile on Earth, the US House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal Obamacare.
Rehab is a failure if you come out of it and you're still a politician.
Regarding the Boy Scouts, I'm very suspicious of any organization that
has a handbook.
First, we cannot enhance our own security if we place in jeopardy what
is most precious to us, namely, the centrality of human rights in our
daily lives and in global affairs. Second, we cannot maintain our
historic self-confidence as a people if we generate public panic. Third,
we cannot do our duty as citizens and patriots if we pursue an agenda
that polarizes and divides our country. Next, we cannot be true to
ourselves if we mistreat others. And finally, in the world at large, we
cannot lead if our leaders mislead.
Jeff Haden: These Speech Patterns Irritate the $#@* Out of Everyone Around You (from Linked In)
Years ago I worked for the poster child of buzzwords. He loved using terms like "cones of precision" and "silos" and "drill down" and... let's just stop there. (He also bought one of the first Palm Pilots, which meant a roomful of people often sat waiting while he laboriously entered stuff on his calendar. Yep, he was that guy.)
One of my colleagues maintained a running list of this guy's buzzwords. Whenever he whipped out his pad to jot down a new one two things happened: 1) our manager looked smug because he thought he d just said something so insightful my colleague wanted to capture it for posterity, and 2) the rest of us tried not to laugh because we knew what was really going on.
Unfortunately, Palm Pilot aside, we all have a little of that guy in us. We use the same words too often. Or we use irritating speech patterns. Or we simply fall in love with certain expressions (I once conducted an all-too-public affair with the phrase, "That's neither here nor there.") When we do, whatever we hoped to say gets lost in the noise of cliche or extreme repetition.
See if you're guilty of any of these:
1. The Double Name: Using a person's name twice (worst case using your own name twice) in the same sentence as a way to justify unusual or unacceptable behavior.
Typical usage: "What can I say?" Shrug. "That's just Joe being Joe." (Worse, "Hey, that's just me being me.")
Whenever you use the double name you're actually excusing behavior you would not tolerate from someone else.
And everyone knows it.
2. The Fake Agreement: Pretending to agree while expressing the opposite point of view.
Typical usage: "I'm with you... but I just don't think we should take on that project."
In reality you aren't really with me because then you would agree with what I'm saying. (Plus beginning a sentence with something like, "I hear you..." is like a condescending pat on the head.)
Don't try to couch a different opinion inside a warm and fuzzy Fake Agreement. If you disagree, just say so professionally.
3. The Unsupported Closure: Ending a discussion or a decision without backup or solid justification.
Typical usage: "At the end of the day, we're here to sell products."
Really? I had no idea we're supposed to sell products!
The Unsupported Closure is the go-to move for people who want something a certain way and cannot or do not feel like explaining why. Whenever you feel one coming on, take a deep breath and start over; otherwise you'll spout inane platitudes instead of objective reasons that may actually help your employees get behind your decision.
Quick note: A Fake Agreement combines nicely with an Unjustified Closure: "I hear what you're saying, but at the end of the day revenue concerns must come first." Win-win!
4. The False Uncertainty: Pretending you're not sure when in fact you really are.
Typical usage: "You know, when I think about it... I'm not so sure shutting down that facility isn't the best option after all."
Oh, you're sure; you're just trying to create buy-in or a sense of inclusion by pretending you still have an open mind... or you're planting seeds for something you know you will eventually do.
Never say you aren't sure unless you really aren't sure... and are truly willing to consider other viewpoints.
5. The First Person Theoretical: Pretending to be another person in order to explore different points of view.
Typical usage: "Let's say I'm the average customer and I walk in
your store and want to buy a shirt..."
You can get away with this one occasionally, but more than that is really irritating.
Don't believe me? Let's say I'm the average reader and I know someone who uses the First Person Theoretical to pretend he's putting himself in another person's shoes. And let's say I'm thinking it's really irritating. And let's say I'm...
Let's just say I'm thinking we should move on.
6. The Favorite Phrase: Using a phrase so often that word is all anyone can hear.
Typical usage: Any phrase that gets hammered to death. Here's an
I knew someone who never met a sentence he couldn't find a way to shoehorn in a random "in other words," "as it relates to," or "in general." Often he could cram all three into the same sentence multiple times.
Fall in love with a word or expression and not only do other people hear it, they start to hear nothing else. Then whatever you hoped to get across gets lost as they think, "Oh jeez, for once could he leave out the 'that's neither here nor there'?"
Ask someone if you overuse a word, phrase, or figure of speech. At first they'll look uncomfortable and try to avoid answering. Insist.
Eventually they'll tell you, and I guarantee you'll never do it again. Trust me: Been there, been told that.
(Mr. Haden also writes for Inc.com.)
We live in a country where voting rights get gutted but Sharknado
gets a sequel.
"Sharknader" - via Late Night With David Letterman
Suppose a small group of extremely wealthy people sought to systematically destroy the U.S. government by:
Would you call this treason?