Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thatcher memorials pour in

The BBC under the headline Margaret Thatcher funeral attended by 'Essex Man' (which sounds like an Onion headline, or a perambulatory Neanderthal skull) paying his respects to Baroness Milk Snatcher:

But it was the speech Lady Thatcher delivered the day after the bomb that he remembers most vividly.
"The speech was magnificent. There was an explosion of support for her," he said.

Yes, but a little earlier there had been an explosion of non-support for her, right? That's what a bomb is.

"No such thing as Thatcher" - Society


I see Leeds denizens thronged by their millions to the city center to watch Maggie's funeral on the big telly.


You'd think they'd be more grateful. Leeds municipal buildings (like the one on the right) used to be coal black from all the coal smoke and coal dust shed by the thousands of coal-black miners. Now, not so much.

This person did turn up to the funeral though.


Talk about drawing attention to yourself.

If they'd had bonnets like that in Star Trek, people would have said this skiffy stuff was too far fetched to take seriously.  Yet this person (singer Katharine Jenkins, apparently) appears to be alive and even conscious, and so there's a possibility they actually chose to wear it. It's a mystery.  (It's from the Guardian's picture live-blogging of the celebration, here.)

Monday, April 08, 2013

Man finds his "dog" is actually a weasel shock

A bit of deja vu this morning when just about everywhere exploded with the news that in Argentina's Buenos Aires, ferrets on steroids are sold in the market as toy poodles.

As a long-term reader of alt.folklore.urban and the Jan Harold Brunvand books, I knew this was a variant of one of the oldest urban legends of all - in fact, it's "The Mexican Pet", the title of Brunvand's 1986 book. He collected a similar story "in the wild" in 1983. Snopes has the details from the book and more:

  [Brunvand, 1986]
A woman from La Mesa, California, went to Tijuana, Mexico, to do some shopping. As any visitor to this border town knows, the streets near the shopping areas are populated with stray dogs. The woman took pity on one little stray and offered it a few bites of her lunch, after which it followed her around for the rest of the afternoon.

When it came time to return home, the woman had become so attached to her little friend that she couldn't bear to leave him behind. Knowing that it was illegal to bring a dog across the international border, she hid him among some packages on the seat of her car and managed to pass through the border checkpoint without incident. After arriving home, she gave the dog a bath, brushed his fur, then retired for the night with her newfound pet curled up at the foot of her bed.

When she awoke the next morning, the woman noticed that there was an oozing mucus around the dog's eyes and a slight foaming at the mouth. Afraid that the dog might be sick, she rushed him to a nearby veterinarian and returned home to await word on her pet's condition.

The call soon came. "I have just one question," said the vet. "Where did you get this dog?"

The woman didn't want to get into trouble, so she told the vet that she had found the dog running loose in the street near her home in La Mesa. But the vet didn't buy it. "You did not find this dog in La Mesa. Where did you get the dog?"

The woman nervously admitted having brought the dog across the border from Tijuana. "But tell me, doctor," she said. "What is wrong with my dog?"

His reply was brief and to the point. "First of all, it's not a dog — it's a Mexican sewer rat. And second, it's dying."
 

I guess in the modern variant, the man actually pays for two of them. No one seems to be saying how he found out his weasels (or ferrets, or giant rats - the reports vary) were not actually dogs.

Margaret Thatcher dead

Hooray!



Tip of the hat to Aqua for reminding me of this song. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Human Brainome Project

Apropos yesterday's comment about the BRAIN project, I was listening to the radio on Wednesday and they interviewed someone or other in the Brains Community who said, "The human brain is the most complex  object in the universe."

Is it? Is that some sort of guesstimated fact, or is it one of those things like "humans only use ten percent of their brains" and "turkey makes you sleepy because tryptophan and BRAINS" that everyone knows but are bullshit?

Surely a whale's brain, being larger, is more complex? And what about those four-square mile funguses and Pando? Or does it only count if the complex object in question has developed Auschwitz, the atom bomb and Kim Jong-Un?


Emo Philips: “I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.”

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Brain Initiative - I know the answer already

President Obama has called for a Brain Initiative - Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. Apparently a whole hundred million dollars has been allocated to it, whatever "it" is. I have to say it sounds like something dreamed up by some president from Idiocracy. I can imagine the scene:

President: I need something megabig, for my legacy. Like the War On Drugs, War Against Cancer, War On Terror... 
Advisor (in a whispered aside): Does he know we aren't winning those? (Out loud) The Apollo moon shot project, sir? Mapping the human genome? 
President: Exactly. One of them. Or one like them. I want the biggest thing ever. What's the greatest mystery of all? 
Advisor 2: God, sir. 
President: We can't solve God. It says so in the Bible. 
Advisor 3: Women? 
President: Good one. "The Human Women Project." Wait, women might not like being seen as a problem to be solved, even though they are, hey fellers? And they have the vote, so no. 
Advisor 2: The Greatest Mystery Of All is...The Yooman Brane! 
President: I love it! The Human Brainome Project! My legacy is secure! Get someone at NIH on to it, will you?

(The answer is 42.)

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