Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Archive for June 2010

Some Proposals Just Don’t Fly

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WHEREAS this family of six shall depart this coming Wednesday evening for a transatlantic flight; and

WHEREAS said family features four children under the age of ten; and

WHEREAS the flight entails sharing the cabin of 747 with hundreds of other human beings; and

WHEREAS the interior of the cabin of a 747, for as-yet-inadequately explained reasons, causes changes in the sanity, tolerance and patience for others of many such human beings; and

WHEREAS children and their behavior attract inordinate focus during periods of intensified insanity, intolerance and impatience;

THEREFORE we, the family, undertake to exploit to the fullest our inherent and cultivated abilities to mete out intra-cabin justice, as follows:

Passengers who recline their seats without regard for the effect on the occupant of the seat immediately aft will find seated next to them a five-year-old whose favorite pastimes include poking, hitting, kicking and generally annoying the bejeezus out of adjacent strangers;

Passengers who monopolize the attention and time of the cabin crew will find themselves constantly asked the same questions again and again for as long as our three-year-old finds it entertaining;

Passengers who leave the lavatory any messier or less sanitary than they found it will find the seat pouch in front of them filling with the soiled diapers of a fourteen-month-old;

Passengers who verbally abuse, harass or otherwise demonstrate unacceptable behavior toward the flight attendants or toward other passengers will find the vicinity of their seats selected as prime real estate for standing or pacing with an inconsolable, airsick, overtired or generally cranky fourteen-month-old;

Passengers whose remarks, gestures, facial expressions or general attitude indicate disapproval of, or distaste for, occupying the same aircraft as said children will be forced to read the same books over and over to one or more of the children. And we don’t mean tolerable, even commendable books, such as anything by Dr. Seuss – we have specifically selected as part of our reserve arsenal such horrific creations as The Fire Cat, easily one of the most inane, pointless, meandering pieces of moralistic tripe ever to darken a bedroom shelf.

You have been duly advised. Oh, you’d like to switch seats? Lovely! We’ll take that pillow.

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Written by Thag

June 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A Little Ignorance

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It takes a genius of a certain caliber to create internet-compatible versions of popular games.

Scrabble┬«, for example, works optimally as a board game. Imagine trying to play with a remote opponent over the internet! It might be easier if each player had a separate set, but then each one would be choosing from a separate pool of letters. And even if you could share an image of the board on screen, how would you get the tiles to stay? And you’d just have to take your opponent’s word for which tiles he played and thus how much he scored.

So it must have taken a stroke of sheer genius to make the whole thing virtual. I would never have thought of that.

Space Invaders provides another good example. What computer is equipped with a coin slot to take the quarter? Then some brilliant mind came up with the idea of making it unnecessary to Insert Coin, and a whole genre of arcade games was thus preserved in the new medium. I stand in awe of the brain power.

Then, of course, comes the show stopper: card games. Solitaire, especially. I can’t begin to consider the mental calisthenics that overcame even the single obstacle of screens too small to fit the standard Hoyle cards. Just make them smaller! Amazing! And as if that weren’t enough, you don’t even have to shuffle between rounds – the computer does it for you! I wonder why the computer’s shuffling mechanism never gets jammed?

Written by Thag

June 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm

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The Skeptic Tank Needs Some Cleaning

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Considering the neighborhood and certain members of my extended family (you know who you are), mocking alternative medicine finds its nearest analog in poking a tiger with a stick.

Of course, in the case of the neighborhood, it would be a doped-up tiger, one who’d perform the feline equivalent of a shrug and roll over into the sun. And as far as the relatives go, if they still tolerate me after that incident with the sheep, well, a bit of bad-mouthing won’t make things much worse.

Well, I was lying in bed Saturday morning, relishing every moment of the fever and cough that had laid me low since the early part of the week, and my thoughts turned to various care providers who might have treatment to offer. A natural skeptic (read: cantankerous spoilsport), I take even some physicians’ words with a grain of salt (usually the cardiologists), so I began considering what it would be like if the various alternative practitioners were stripped of certain facades.

The homeopath

Patient: If I understand you correctly, doctor, this medicine is stronger because it’s been diluted with water even more than the other one over here.
Doctor: That’s the point, yes.
Patient: So may I refer to it as shark poop?
Doctor: Why?
Patient: Well, all the water in the world has been part of the ocean at some point, and in homeopathic terms, isn’t the ocean a huge dilution of shark poop? And that’s what you make your coffee with. You’re a brave man, sir.

Chiropractic

Patient: Last time I was here, I was in my 38th week.
Chiropractor: Well, any news?
Patient: Yes, we had a girl the following week.
Chiropractor: Oh, of course; an adjustment can have that effect.
Patient: It was a planned C-section.

Join us next time, when we debunk the germ theory of disease(I don’t see any germs here. Do you?). Or maybe not.

Written by Thag

June 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized