Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at 7:17 am | Edit
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For much of my life, chocolate meant either Nestlé or Hershey. Nestlé tasted better, but Hershey gained points after I moved to Pennsylvania.

Eventually, Nestlé fell out of favor because of the way they push their infant formula, especially in third-world countries. Not to mention the fact that they suck massive amounts of water out of our Floridan Aquifer for their bottled water.

Hershey fell out of favor because, well, because Swiss chocolate is just better, period. And my chocolate budget grew bigger.

Now Hershey has given me more reasons to stick with my Toblerone, Ovomaltine (NOT the Americanized junk of similar name), and other amazing Swiss brands. I've also grown fond of Ghirardelli, though it doesn't pay to look too closely at their corporate values, either. I try to judge products by their quality rather than their politics, as long as the company's political views aren't shoved in my face.

Annoyed as I am with Hershey, which is doing just that, they've also, albeit indirectly, given me this comedy sketch, so I thank them. (And it's not even the Babylon Bee this time.)

However, I'm not going to be shopping at My chocolate budget isn't that big.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 6, 2023 at 12:00 pm | Edit
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If you're not a Babylon Bee fan, feel free to skip.  If you are, enjoy! The clip will look as if it's ending before the punch line, so watch till they start the ads.

I think the Bee produces the best comedic commentary on current events since That Was the Week that Was from the old Smothers Brothers show (for which, sadly, I did not find a representative clip).

(There are times when I could think the situation is the other way around: the earth has been taken over by space aliens, and we didn't even notice.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, March 3, 2023 at 5:37 am | Edit
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Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at 5:35 pm | Edit
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The Babylon Bee can be educational as well as funny. I'd never heard of "TLDR" until seeing this video, and even so had to look it up: "Too Long, Didn't Read." I'm sure there are many who mentally scrawl those letters on my blog posts, which makes me a little bit sad—but not repentant. If I'm not being paid by the word, neither am I being paid to be concise.  But here's a short one for you.

The Bee's TLDR version of the Bible (4.5 minutes) is both amusing and not all that inaccurate. Except that I think better of the Minor Prophets.


Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 8:13 am | Edit
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I didn't expect to like this Wall Street Journal article about the board game, Risk. Unlike nearly all the rest of my extended family, I am not a fan of most board games, especially if they involve intricate strategy and take a long time to complete. It's even worse if I'm playing with people who care whether they win or lose. If I ever played Risk, it wasn't more than once.

But I enjoyed the article, and I understood most of it because of having been surrounded by so many people who love to play the game. The author makes a good case that playing the game taught many of us "everything we know about geography and politics."

A certain kind of brainy kid will reach adulthood with a few general rules for foreign policy: Don’t mass your troops in Asia, stay out of New Guinea, never base an empire in Ukraine. It is the wisdom of Metternich condensed to a few phrases and taught by the game Risk.

The game could be played with up to six players, each representing their own would-be empire, and could last hours. The competition could turn ugly, stressing friendships, but we all came away with the same few lessons. ... In the end, no matter who you call an ally, there can only be one winner, meaning that every partnership is one of convenience. If you are not betraying someone, you are being betrayed. Also: No matter what the numbers suggest, you never know what will happen when the dice are rolled. ... Regardless of technological advances, America will always be protected by its oceans. It is a hard place to invade. What they say about avoiding a land war in Asia is true. It is too big and desolate to control. Ukraine is a riddle ... stupid to invade and tough to subdue because it can be attacked from so many directions, making it seem, to the player of Risk, like nothing but border.

Here's my favorite:

The best players ask themselves what they really want, which means seeing beyond the board. I learned this from my father in the course of an epic game that started on a Friday night and was still going when dawn broke on Saturday. His troops surrounded the last of my armies, crowded in Ukraine. I begged for a reprieve.

“What can I give you?” I asked.
He looked at the board, then at me, then said, “Your Snickers bar.”
“My Snickers bar? But that’s not part of the game.”
“Lesson one,” he said, reaching for the dice. “Everything is part of the game.”

And finally, one amazing side note. The man who invented Risk, French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, also created the award-winning short film, The Red Balloon.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 6:48 am | Edit
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No matter how addictive video games become, I doubt they will ever truly supplant the humble Lego building bricks for enduring value, educational potential, and popularity with both children and their parents. (It's no coincidence that Minecraft, the all-time most popular and best-selling video game, looks a lot like nth-degree Legos.)

So it is with much pleasure that I share this announcement from America's most reliable news source, the Babylon Bee. (It should begin at about the 1:37 mark.)

It's a big win in affordability for the Lego folks, but unfortunately does nothing to address the health hazards of their product. How many more cases of midnight parental foot injury will it take?

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 8:20 am | Edit
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WARNING: If you have a particular fondness for President Biden's policies, or for the Christmas song, "Mary, Did You Know?" — then skip this post. It's impossible to write a blog, let alone comedy, without offending people, so I have to trust my readers to take what works for them and ignore the rest.

But if you like song paradies, this Babylon Bee offering is a great one. Especially if, like me, you are a fan of neither the song nor the policies. As with most paradies, you'll appreciate it more if you know the original song.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 30, 2022 at 8:23 am | Edit
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One Thanksgiving, during a family trivia game, I discovered that I know the first and often the second lines of quite a number of books, stories, and poems. That doesn't mean I've read them all, but that some beginnings are memorable. For instance,

  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens)
  • Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. (Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy)
  • Call me Ishmael. (Moby Dick, Herman Melville)
  • As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. (Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka)
  • In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. (The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • Heather had invented the game, but Picket made it magic. (The Green Ember, S.D. Smith)

To this collection I must add a new one. It's certainly not a book I've read, though I know some engineers who might have. As opening sentences go, these are pretty memorable. Who says textbooks have to be boring? If every author thought as much about the potential consequences of his writings as this CalTech physics professor, the world just might be a better place.

Ludwig Boltzmann, who spent much of his life studying statistical mechanics, died in 1906 by his own hand. Paul Ehrenfest, carrying on his work, died similarly in 1933. Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics. Perhaps it will be wise to approach the subject cautiously. (States of Matter, David L. Goodstein)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, December 27, 2022 at 8:02 am | Edit
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"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" is a wonderful and ancient Eucharistic hymn particularly suited for this time of year. I love it in all of its verses. (See below)

However, there is a part of me that would really like to sing it this way:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ, our God, to earth descending,
comes our homage to command.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human likeness,
in the body and the blood
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heav’nly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way
as the Light from Light, descending
from the realms of endless day,
comes the pow’rs of hell to vanquish
as the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
“Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord Most High!”

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 8:06 pm | Edit
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I found this meme on a Viva Frei video. (The link is to give credit; I'm not asking anyone to watch the video, which is an hour and 40 minutes long.)

I'm leaving it as it is for now, for those who enjoy puzzles. What's going on here? (I'll explain later.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 29, 2022 at 11:44 am | Edit
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Sometimes you try to please everyone, sometimes you preach to the choir.  I'm enjoying the following video series so much I have to share it. Not everyone will like it. My Texan friends probably will (unless they're from Austin); my California friends maybe not so much. Both cultures are stereotyped, but the Texas culture is more positively portrayed. At least I think so—but then, I'm a pretty solid Floridian at this point.  If you get it, have fun!  If you don't, please just ignore it and move on.

This series of videos from the Babylon Bee is about a California couple who—like many Californians—has recently moved to Texas. There are five episodes so far, and I hope it has a long run. Despite the exaggerations, there's some serious truth here. I realize that judging California by its excesses is as unfair as when the rest of the world judges the United States by how we appear in the media, but neither judgement is without some reason.

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 1: Moving Day (4 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 2: The Cookout (6 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 3: The Church (5.5 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 4: The Gun Range (6 minutes)


The next one isn't the funniest, but I love it because of Buc-ee's. For the uninitiated, Buc-ee's is kind of like Wawa on steroids, and the same goes for its cult following. Texas-sized! Not to mention the best bathrooms by far on I-95. And yes, the jerky wall.

Californians Move to Texas | Episode 5: Buc-ee's (6 minutes)

Californians Move to Texas |  Episode 6: Return to California (Season Finale, 5.5 minutes)

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 26, 2022 at 9:56 am | Edit
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YouTube is not exactly reliable when it comes to recommending videos for me to watch, but look what showed up in my sidebar tonight:

As most of my readers know, I'm a huge fan of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings books, but not of the movies for a number of reasons. Even though I feel the film story line and characterization are a betrayal of the spirit Tolkien put into his world, I can't deny that there are parts of the movies that are excellent, from the New Zealand setting to the music, and of course I adore this version.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, November 12, 2022 at 8:05 pm | Edit
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When we visited the Netherlands with our overseas family, our trip to Madurodam was a hit with all of us. I can only imagine what a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany would be like. A friend posted this on Facebook, and I knew the family members who are entranced by minatures needed to see it.

Unbelievably, the airport is just one "small" part of Miniatur Wonderland. Here's the official video (English version) that shows a lot more. In fact, it shows A LOT more, as in: this realistic, exquisitly-crafted, miniature world is decidedly Not-Safe-For-Grandchildren in places, as you can see.

If we ever get to Hamburg, I'm going to visit it anyway.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 10:22 am | Edit
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Who says vegetables have no feelings? That's a hug if I ever saw one.

I thought "caduceus," but Siamese twins is another possiblity. All body parts were intact; unfortunately, I was unable to separate them without damage.

Heartless omnivore that I am, after my unsuccessful surgery, I ate them.

They were delicious.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 6:57 am | Edit
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