Point 1: What is the good of euphemisms? They enable us to express something without resorting to offensive words (whatever the offense may be). That's better for the ears and hearts of the listeners, certainly. But does it do anything for the speakers? If I say "darn" instead of "damn," what do I gain? Is the attitude of my heart any better for it? I think that's a good question to ponder.

Point 2: As I've said many times, of presidents from both parties: our chief executive deserves respectful treatment by virtue of the office he holds—not to mention as a human being. Chanting "F--- Joe Biden" like a football cheer is puerile at best. Moreover, it's probably worse than useless, venting people's frustrations without driving them to work toward changing the policies they hate. If I were President Biden, I would hear those chants and think, "As long as they're shouting and not actively working for my opponents, I'm okay with that."

That said, I have to admit that I find the whole "Let's Go, Brandon!" story hilarious. And maybe even a little useful.

Good humor can be an effective antidote to hate, and it's hard to say, "Let's Go, Brandon!" without smiling.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 9:21 am | Edit
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Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

I ran into this quote, called Hanlon's Razor, in an episode of the detective series New Tricks. It was new to me: as far as I can remember I'd never heard it before. However, it is sufficiently like one of my own favorite sayings that either (1) I heard it somewhere and filed it away subconsciously, or (2) it's so obvious that there must be dozens of variations on the same theme, or (3) I'm just brilliant.

Wikipedia attributes this form to Robert J. Hanlon, from about 1980, though, as I suspected, the idea's been around a long time. If I did pick up the idea subconsiously, I suspect it would have come from the Robert A. Heinlein story referenced in that article.

Here is one of my variations on the idea:

Most so-called conspiracies can be more readily explained by simple human stupidity.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 6:43 am | Edit
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It would make a somewhat confusing hand-me-down, but I think this is a great t-shirt. You can see where a black cloth marker has been used for updates.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 6:05 am | Edit
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Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.

Perfectly Good Cookie Dough Ruined By Putting It in Oven

As a friend of ours expressed, "I thought the [Babylon] Bee was satire."

Three generations of raw cookie dough fans here!

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 23, 2021 at 7:06 am | Edit
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Did you know that landlocked Switzerland has a navy? Or at least they did in World War II; I saw some of their boats in a museum. Here's a short Wikipedia article about what they have now. (Do not, for the sake of not having to see things you can't unsee, google "Swiss Navy," which is apparently a brand name of something you'd rather not know about.)

The much more pleasant purpose of this post is to alert you to other maritime news: apparently Switzerland also has pirates!

Armed forces, indeed.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at 10:19 am | Edit
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Despite My Rocky Relationship with Penzeys Spices, I hold no grudge against the Penzey's mugs I've acquired over the years.

Until one turned out to be an IED, that is. (Click to enlarge.)

It had given me no trouble whatsoever for years.  Then one day I noticed the cup seemed exceptionally hot when I took it from the microwave.  That should have been a clue.  The next time I tried to warm up my tea was more exciting: Pieces of the cup exploded off with loud bangs, revealing rusty metal underneath.

The odd thing is, there had been no previous evidence of a problem.  No worn spots, no places that looked thin. And who knew there was metal around the rim of the mug?

You never know what might be lurking in your cupboard.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 9:01 am | Edit
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Since it changed hands, I haven't found the Babylon Bee as interesting as it used to be. Or maybe Facebook has only been showing me their worst efforts recently; sometimes I think Facebook is a conspiracy theory dream all by itself.

In any case, this one is funny on more than one level.  Be sure to watch to the end; it's only two minutes long.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 10:14 am | Edit
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This may explain a few marital frustrations. (Credit to someone on Facebook but I can't find it again to share it.)

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 6:04 am | Edit
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I realize that for very few of my readers is the question of whether or not a pregnant woman should get a COVID-19 vaccine of any importance. Nonetheless this is worth a post just because it is one of those laugh-or-cry articles.

The source is the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, which I generally respect. Here's a link to the whole article for those of you who seriously want the information. It's a serious business and an important decision to make.

For everyone else, however, here are a few snippets that caught my eye and inspired me to write. The bolded emphasis is my own.

Globally, over 200 million people are pregnant each year. Whether they should be offered the new COVID vaccines as they become available is an important public health policy decision. Whether pregnant people should seek vaccination is a deeply personal decision.

Note the term "pregnant people." The article goes out of its way, to the point of being very annoying, to avoid the term, "pregnant women." Exactly how many pregnant men have there been in the history of the world? I do, however, appreciate the acknowledgement that it's a personal decision, although later on the article seems to find a problem with that.

Evidence to date suggests that people who are pregnant face a higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID compared to people who are not pregnant. For instance, pregnant people are three times more likely to require admission to intensive care and to need invasive ventilation. The overall risk of death among pregnant people is low, but it is elevated compared to similar people who are not pregnant. Some studies suggest that COVID in pregnancy might be associated with increased rates of preterm birth.

There are still significant unknowns: How do risks vary by trimester? What are the risks of asymptomatic infection? Further, most current information about COVID and pregnancy comes from high-income countries, limiting its global generalizability.

Although there is not yet pregnancy-specific data about COVID vaccines from clinical trials, the vaccines have been studied in pregnant laboratory animals. Called developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) studies, research with pregnant animals can provide reassurance about moving forward with vaccine research in pregnant people. 

All three of these vaccines offer a very high level of protection against severe COVID. There is little reason to believe these vaccines will be less effective in pregnant people than they are in people of comparable age who are not pregnant.

The next sentence is the one that made me sure I had to write about this. It's the kind of thing I would have shared on Facebook, except that I'm trying to reduce my Facebook presence, so it goes here instead. With more words, naturally.

Professional societies, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal-Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, all support COVID vaccination in pregnancy when the benefits outweigh the risks.

What, pray tell, does that say that has any usefulness? Who in his right mind would support something when the risks outweigh the benefits? So how is this a meaningful statement at all?

The absence of pregnancy-specific data around COVID vaccines continues an unfair pattern in which evidence about safety of new vaccines for pregnant people lags behind. This unfairness is ethically problematic in at least two important ways.

So, it's unfair because we don't have enough data on the effects of the vaccines in pregnancy? Would they have held back the vaccines until sufficient data had been gathered so that the information was "equal" for everyone? That would truly have been unfair to pregnant women, because letting the rest of the population get vaccinated helps them whether or not they feel safe getting the vaccine for themselves.

First, people may be denied vaccine, or may face barriers in accessing vaccine, because they are pregnant.

I agree that's a problem. Because the data is insufficient, in absence of a clear danger to mother and/or child in getting the vaccine, it should not be withheld from a woman who feels comfortable with it.

Second, even when pregnant people are eligible for vaccination, because public health authorities have not explicitly recommended COVID vaccines in pregnancy, the burden of making decisions about vaccination has shifted to pregnant people. 

And where else should it be? Medical advice should not be handed down like commandments from heaven. People need the best information available, and the freedom to make their own decisions—even wrong ones.

Come to think of it, even commandments from heaven come with the free will to ignore them.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 5:12 pm | Edit
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I've mentioned before situations in which fear has led to unreasonable responses to the COVID-19 threat. Whether by governments or by private citizens, that's a bad thing. However, this is still funny.

For those who are wondering, HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, March 15, 2021 at 3:44 am | Edit
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Is this poking the bear? It's not original; I found it and it made me laugh. We need some laughs!

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 6:22 am | Edit
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With the Fifth Amendment to our Constitution now joining the First and Second under attack, it's time for a brief review of the first ten, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights.

Amendment I

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.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

That's the bare bones; I leave analysis of these amendments as an exercise for the reader.

Just for fun, here are a few Sporcle games (roughly in order of diffculty) to help keep the bones of these amendments (and more) fresh in our minds. 

Click Your Rights

Bill of Rights 1

Bill of Rights 2

Constitutional Amendments 1

Constitutional Amendments 2

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 8:25 am | Edit
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This is from the BBC, perhaps more trustworthy than some news sites? Pretty funny, anyway.

Scientists studied more than 1,000 foods, assigning each a nutritional score. The higher the score, the more likely each food would meet, but not exceed your daily nutritional needs, when eaten in combination with others.

Of course, "scientists" is a meaningless designation, and it's not clear how the foods tested were chosen, but they later add,

Food selection, ranking and cost based on the scientific study “Uncovering the Nutritional Landscape of Food”, published in the journal PLoS ONE.

So presumably one could find out more details. Below are their top 100, followed by the designated nutritional scores. Note that 99 of the foods are from plant or fish sources—but take a good look at the food ranked #8. Food for thought.

  1. almonds: 97
  2. cherimoya: 96
  3. ocean perch: 89
  4. flatfish: 88
  5. chia seeds: 85
  6. pumpkin seeds: 84
  7. swiss chard: 78
  8. pork fat: 73
  9. beet greens: 70
  10. snapper: 69
  11. dried parsley: 69
  12. celery flakes: 68
  13. watercress: 68
  14. tangerines: 67
  15. green peas: 67
  16. pike: 65
  17. alaskan pollock: 65
  18. green onion: 65
  19. red cabbage: 65
  20. pacific cod: 64
  21. scallops: 64
  22. pink grapefruit: 64
  23. dandelion greens: 64
  24. frozen spinach: 64
  25. chili powder: 63
  26. basil: 63
  27. collards: 63
  28. clams: 62
  29. chili peppers: 62
  30. broccoli raab: 62
  31. kale: 62
  32. whiting: 61
  33. atlantic cod: 61
  34. mustard leaves: 61
  35. romaine lettuce: 61
  36. coriander: 61
  37. whitefish: 60
  38. fish roe: 60
  39. apricots: 60
  40. cress: 60
  41. chinese cabbage: 60
  42. sea bass: 59
  43. herring: 59
  44. parsley: 59
  45. fresh spinach: 59
  46. walnuts: 58
  47. red cherries: 58
  48. butter lettuce: 58
  49. cow peas: 58
  50. podded peas: 58
  51. plantain: 57
  52. navy beans: 57
  53. summer squash: 57
  54. coho salmon: 56
  55. blue fin tuna: 56
  56. eel: 56
  57. lima beans: 56
  58. taro leaves: 56
  59. green lettuce: 56
  60. green tomatoes: 56
  61. red tomatoes: 56
  62. paprika: 55
  63. chives: 55
  64. arugula: 55
  65. sockeye salmon: 54
  66. mackerel: 54
  67. grapefruit: 54
  68. golden kiwi fruit: 54
  69. green kiwi fruit: 54
  70. cayenne pepper: 54
  71. leeks: 54
  72. red leaf lettuce: 54
  73. green beans: 54
  74. perch: 53
  75. rainbow trout: 53
  76. sour cherries: 53
  77. pink salmon: 52
  78. pompano: 52
  79. kumquats: 52
  80. hubbard squash: 52
  81. carp: 51
  82. oranges: 51
  83. red currants: 51
  84. pomegranates: 51
  85. rhubarb: 51
  86. jalapeno peppers: 51
  87. winter squash: 51
  88. carrots: 51
  89. octopus: 50
  90. prunes: 50
  91. cantaloupe: 50
  92. water chestnuts: 50
  93. cauliflower: 50
  94. broccoli: 50
  95. brussels sprouts: 50
  96. burdock root : 50
  97. pumpkin: 50
  98. ginger: 49
  99. figs: 49
  100. sweet potato: 49
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 10:22 am | Edit
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Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 8:17 am | Edit
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Found on Facebook and enjoyed.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 10:21 pm | Edit
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