Just a commercial, but one with meaning. First, it's a pretty good one. Second, I've known the scarecrow since he was barely school age, when he regularly served as an usher at church. All decked out in his suit and tie, he took his job with the utmost seriousness, and knew more about what needed to be done than many of the adults.

All those years he was (and still is) active in our church's theatre program: acting, stage management, even directing. This was (I believe) his first commercial. I'm sure it won't be his last.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 6:29 pm | Edit
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As we prepared for our annual Lessons & Carols service a weekago, a fellow chorister shared this reminder from Allan Sherman, one of my favorite commedians from the past.

Because it's sometimes hard to understand the words, here's a visual aid.

We would now like to salute all of the beautiful singing groups all over the world.

When the Norman Luboff Chorus
Sings a song like this (like this, like this, like this),
Every single note is gorgeous,
But they sometimes miss.

No one's perfect, no one's perfect, no one's perfect, and
That includes Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians, and The Ray Charles Singers who were made famous by their frequent appearances on The Perry Como Show, and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and The Robert Shaw Chorale.

When the chorus sings behind you,
All they do is hum (hum).
Every hum is like an angel,
Then one hum goes bumm!

Far above the other singers,
In the treble clef,
A soprano sings in B flat,
But the key is F.

No one's perfect, no one's perfect,
We have learned tonight.
So you'll be astounded
When we hit this last note right.

For the record, it's not easy to sing so beautifully discordantly.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, December 15, 2023 at 3:18 pm | Edit
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I've put this post in the Just for Fun category, though those who hated math in school might not think so. I'm one of those weird folks who loved both mathematics and taking SAT-type tests. Admittedly, they aren't as much fun today as they used to be, ever since they took out the analogy and quantitative comparison questions. (A pity, since they replaced questions that test your general ability to think (scholastic aptitude) with ones more related to coursework (making it easier to "teach to the test").

Be that as it may, there's no test here, but a fascinating mathematical deep dive, at a layman's level, inspired by a question that everyone, including the test-makers, got wrong on a Scholastic Aptitude Test given back in 1982. (18.5 minutes at 1x speed, no language warning—unless math sounds offensive to you)

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, December 11, 2023 at 1:19 pm | Edit
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There may be something particularly potent about giving blood on Hallowe'en; I've never before been quite as exhausted after donation as today's session left me. Of course, that might have had something to do with our water aerobics class a couple of hours before donation. Note to self: next time, take it easy before as well as after; you're not as young as you once were.

Anyway, OneBlood, our local vampires blood donation organization, usually gives donors some sort of swag, like a t-shirt. This time, they missed a bet: Hallowe'en donors should have received something like this:

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, October 31, 2023 at 6:39 pm | Edit
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Here's a fun RobWords episode (17.5 minutes) on what makes languages sound beautiful or ugly to our ears. And why German is given such a hard time. (Rob obviously loves the language and tries to figure out why others don't.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 at 6:16 am | Edit
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Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, July 27, 2023 at 7:41 am | Edit
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If you want to be a local guide for the Viking cruise line, one of the most important things to remember is that a large number of your clients will be retired folks. That is, on the elderly side. When you are walking them through your beautiful city, with its Gothic churches, scenic views, and cute little shops, and ask, "Does anyone have any questions?" there's a high probability that the first inquiry will be, "Where's the nearest bathroom?"

Having returned just a few days ago from one of those lovely cruises, my mind was perhaps primed for that question.

Three times a week we take advantage of the therapeutic pool at our neighborhood park. It's a fantastic opportunity and we miss it when we are away, but there's one thing about their water aerobics classes that annoys us: all of the instructors insist on playing music during the workouts. I don't mind that when the music is instrumental and at low volume, but most of the instructors apparently assume that because our bodies aren't working as well as they used to, the same applies to our ears. And anything with lyrics tends to leave me with one or more earworms for the rest of the day.

Yesterday the music was not too loud, but the songs had words and were more than usually annoying.  (Have I mentioned my 60-year aversion to the Beatles and all they engendered?)

But then....

What was that? What did he just say?

"There's a bathroom on the right."

Nah, couldn't be. Then he sang it again. Yep. "There's a bathroom on the right."

Clearly this guy was a Viking cruise guide before turning songwriter.

Turns out, I'm not the only one to have heard that. Google "bathroom on the right" and you find a large number of people who made the same mistake I did, and they can't all have recently been on a cruise with fellow senior citizens.

You'll also find that the real lyrics are, "There's a bad moon on the rise."

Frankly, I think the bathroom version makes more sense.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, June 19, 2023 at 5:25 am | Edit
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Oh, Facebook, when am I going to totally give up on you?

It's the people who keep me going there, albeit in a much-reduced state. People for whom Facebook is the best way to keep in touch. They're worth it.

Then again, maybe I stay there for the amusement, too.

First, Facebook took down my 9/11 tribute post on the grounds that my image of Osama bin Laden violated their community standards. Now, I've done it again.

They didn't actually remove my comment (at least not yet), but they did give me this warning:

(I made the comment to the post of a friend, a very knowledgeable gun-collector, in which he expressed his annoyance at TV shows and movies that "portray firearms with unlimited capacity and no reloads.")

So tell me, Facebook—where in my comment is anything resembling "hate speech"? Do you think it's hateful to call Americans ignorant? Or to imply that Hollywood takes liberties with the truth?

That was my ironic laugh for the day. Good night all. Sweet dreams.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 5, 2023 at 8:59 pm | Edit
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One advantage to having aligned myself with the more "high church" denominations is that the major holidays. Twelve days of Christmas and 50 days of Easter! Therefore I get to post this Babylon Bee Easter skit. The background is this passage from the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, describing the situation a few days after Jesus was crucified and buried in a rock tomb.

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead....”

While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed.

It must have been a goodly sum of money to get the guards to confess to having fallen asleep on duty. I'm sure the penalties for that were severe—not to mention the shame. And the story about Jesus' disciples stealing his body and pretending that he had risen from the dead could easily have had credibility in the early days. But given what they later went through because of their insistence on the truth of Jesus' resurrection, I don't see how it could have held up.  (five-minute video)

Sure, people throughout history have given themselves over to torture and death for things they believed to be true and important, even if they were wrong. But how long could you maintain that attitude about a lie that you knew to be a lie because you orchestrated it yourself?

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 at 11:16 am | Edit
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One of my favorite Easter cartoons, fitting for Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 8, 2023 at 10:44 am | Edit
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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 ihatehersheys.com. 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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