Friday, April 14, 2006


STILL waiting to hear from the Culinary Arts Program regarding my application. Sure, feel free to borrow my mind, I'm about to lose it anyway.

Virtually From the Horse's Ass's Mouth

Thanks for the Memory to Emily at It Comes in Pints? (Boy, they're just EN FUEGO today!), who links to this cool chatbot, Ask Chomsky. I did, and just couldn't resist asking:

Me: How does an advanced degree in linguistics make one an expert in diplomacy?
Chomsky: How should I know how it does.

Just "Plane" Stupid

Thanks for the Memory to Emily at It Comes in Pints?

When one views the modern mainstream media from a certain political perspective, and one notices the omission of certain stories or details of stories, it is easy to reach the conclusion that said media have an agenda: that they hold to a certain political and philosophical viewpoint; and that they select the stories and images to be presented to their audience in such a way as to paint their own beliefs in a positive light, and that of their opponents in a negative.

But Hanlon's Razor dictates that we never presume malice in an individual's actions if those actions can simply be attributed to stupidity. And while I am firmly of the belief that the media have been self-incrimination to the point where simple stupidity cannot explain their actions, and said action seem convincingly evident of malice AND stupidity combined, on occasion, they do present me with anecdotal evidence in support of a pure stupidity theory.

Case in point:

Emily points us in the comments to her entry to this fawning article from People, an interview with Tom "Caligula" Cruise and Katie "Deer in Headlights" Holmes. In the first sentence of the article, the writer, Clint Brewer, writes, "It was a scene straight out of a Tom Cruise blockbuster: the hero in the cockpit of a 1944 P-51 Mustang fighter plane, a beautiful girl on the tarmac, and the roar of the jet's engines as it tore across a Mojave Desert sky."

Most of my beloved readers are well-versed in the history of the US Military and its more famous weapons, and will catch the error in that sentence right away, but for the few of you who aren't and don't, I commend to you this URL about the North American P-51 Mustang, including photo.

If you'll take a look at that photo, a couple of things become clear right away: First of all, the Mustang is a single-engine aircraft. Second of all, it is propeller-driven. And that propeller is driven not by a turbofan (which is, technically, a form of jet engine), oh no, but by a piston engine, like the one in your car (well, nominally like the one in your car, in the same way that a Ferrari Enzo is a car, like my Ford Focus) an Allison F-series V-12 in early models, and a Rolls Merlin V-12 (yes, built by Rolls Royce, and under license by Packard) in the later, more successful models.

The point being that to refer to the P-51's roar as being that of a "jet's engines" is doubly incorrect. Had Mr. Brewer bothered, a simple Google search could have provided him with the information. Do I think that Mr. Brewer hates the military, or P-51 Mustangs, or the memory of the North American Aircraft Company? No. But it is obvious that he is uninformed, and furthermore, lazy. Unfamiliar with the simple nuances of aircraft design (nuances that seem frighteningly obvious), he chose to simply equate "airplane" and "jet", and either missed the distinction himself, or trusted that his readers would do so. In either case, this is irresponsible and stupid, but not malicious.

However, I would offer one caveat to any journalist who might stumble upon my humble blog: falling back on Hanlon's Razor may exhonorate you regarding your motives, but it doesn't exactly commend you regarding your skills.

Your Weekly Dose of Steve Taylor Lyrics: Installment #1

A couple of weeks ago, I reminisced on being a fan of Steve Taylor, a Christian pop musician from the 80's and early 90's with a satyrical twist to his lyrics. I also commented on how those lyrics from two decades ago seem even more germaine today. So I decided I'd start sharing them with you, one song at a time, in whatever order seems most appropriate. I hope to make this a regular feature.

This week I was struck by how many of my fellow bloggers have been registering their annoyance with the owners of hybrid cars -- particularly Prius'. It brought to my mind a recent, hilarious episode of South Park in which the "Smug" of too many hybrid owners threatens South Park and, in fact, the country. This in turn led me to ponder the lyrics to Steve's song "Smug", from his 1993 album Squint:

Strike this little pose
Chin up in the air
Lips together tightly
Nostrils in a flare
Now look like you care
Very nice!

Practice in the mirror
Brushing back a tear
Very sincere
A promising career could begin right here at home
If you've got that smug...
That smug...

Hey mama hey mama lookee what your little babies all have become
Hey mama hey mama don't it ever make you wish you'd been a nun?
Vain and fickle, were we weaned on a pickle?
Is it in our blood?
Rome is burning
We're here turning smug

Strike another pose
Power politics
Swallow their conventions
Get your power fix
We love to mud wrestle
We love to be politically Koreshed

Practice that smug
Post it like a man
One part Master Limbaugh
Two parts Madame Streisand
Now pretend you're in a band
My, my, we're looking smug
Very very very very


All you smug-starved millions in the thick of the search
Welcome to our church
Whatcha wanna solve?
We can help you evolve from merely self-righteous
To perfectly smug

Strike the proud pose of our country club brethren
Friendly as a tomb
Fragrant as the bottom of a locker-room broom
Now what's the matter?
Hey...get off your knees...that part don't come 'til later...
God will not be pleased...

Hey mama hey mama lookee what your little babies all have become...
Rome is cooking
My, we're looking smug

Birthday Meme

Thanks for the Memory (and the meme) to Ken S. at It Comes in Pints?

This is the latest Meme going around, and it's a cool one. Go to Wikipedia, and look up your birth date (excluding the year). Then list three interesting historical events that occurred on that day, two births, and one death.

Here's what I learned about my birthday, June 5th:


70 - Titus and his Roman legions breach the middle wall of Jerusalem.
1783 - The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their montgolfière (hot air balloon).
1968 - U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California by Sirhan Sirhan. (He dies on June 6). (This one I knew, since it's the same year as well -- my dad heard the news in the hospital waiting room.)

1723 - Adam Smith, Scottish economist and philosopher (d. 1790)
1850 - Pat Garrett, American Western lawman (d. 1908) (For those who don't know and don't care to follow the link, Pat Garret killed Jesse James Billy the Kid. I knew that, duh. Thanks to Ken S. for pointing out the goof.)

2004 - Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States (b. 1911)