July 26, 2012

You verily did not build that

Letter sent from King George III of the United Kingdom and Ireland to United States President Thomas Jefferson on March 10, 1804.

To Mr. Thomas Jefferson,

I would like to extend congratulations to you on this most remarkable accomplishment marking the official transfer of what you're calling the "Louisiana Purchase," and I can quite imagine the pride you feel that accompanies the acquisition of such huge. . . tracts of land.

However, as I am king of your former colonial master nation, I feel I should remind you of something most crucial.

If your country has been successful, you didnít get there on your own. I'll say again, for unnecessary emphasis: you didnít get there on your own. Iím always tickled by countries who think, "well, it must be because we were just so smart." There are a lot of smart countries out there. "It must be because we worked harder than every other country." Let me admonish you as haughtily as is regally possible ó there are a whole bunch of hardworking countries out there.

If your country is successful, another country along the line gave you some help. There was a great preacher somewhere who convinced you to make a pilgrimage to the New World. Somebody helped to create the unbelievable American system that you have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody--the UNITED KINGDOM *hint, hint*--invested in roads and bridges. If youíve got a country ó you verily didnít build that. Some other country made that happen. Maritime travel and trade routes didnít get discovered on their own. His Majesty's fleet mapped and secured those routes so that all the colonies could travel and trade via those routes.

I'm just putting this out there for your consideration, and I would hope you'd show some due deference to the mother nation that made your little upstart country possible in the first place. If you don't, Great Britain very well may come knocking for a little respect in eight years or so.

Cordially and condescendingly yours,

King George III of the United Kingdom and Ireland

Posted by Ryan at 09:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 23, 2012

Begun, the Diaper Wars Have

Nowadays, I think about diapers A LOT. Even before babies entered my life, I probably thought about diapers more than an average person, but now that I have a one-year-old and a two-year-old in the house, it's safe to say diaper thoughts take up 75 percent of my day.

Of particular concern in our household is the best way to dispose of dirty diapers. You wouldn't think this would require much consideration, but when the kids are filling diapers back-and-forth like a disgusting game of fecal ping-pong, diapers tend to accumulate like magic. I'll notice two dirty diapers on the kitchen counter, for example, and my wife and I will have no recollection as to how they even got there. I've taken to blaming diaper elves, personally.

Lousy diaper elves.

Anyway, back in the days when we only had one child, we relied on a "Diaper Genie," which is basically a plastic tower that functions as a diaper garbage can. Despite its name, the Diaper Genie holds no magical properties and grants no wishes, even though I've wished it was empty several hundred times at least. Whatever its shortcomings, the Diaper Genie served as an acceptable diaper receptacle when we only had one child.

With two diaper-filling competitors in the house, we considered acquiring a second Diaper Genie, but instead my wife purchased a "Diaper Champ." What I liked about the Diaper Champ right away was that it made no false claims to any magical qualities, even though the "Champ" designation does imply some level of competitive advantage--as if it stands atop an awards podium made of diapers, with a golden diaper hanging from it via a lanyard.

The Diaper Genie and the Diaper Champ both have their strengths and weaknesses, which I suppose is the case with all diaper disposal solutions, at least until a "Diaper Ultra Overlord Dragon Slayer" is invented--which I'd totally buy, by the way, even if I didn't have children.

What I like about the Diaper Champ is that it can be loaded with simple garbage bags, as opposed to the Diaper Genie that requires special and fairly expensive Diaper Genie liners. The Diaper Champ also excels at preventing odor escapees due to its innovative up-and-down plunger diaper disposal design. The Diaper Genie, by comparison, issues forth a small vapor plume whenever I step on the foot pedal that opens the device's diaper maw. It's like a burp coming out of some vile creature that has a diet consisting entirely of raw sewage.

However, when it comes to emptying the devices, the Diaper Genie is far superior with its liner cut and tie system, which drastically reduces diaper stink. Emptying the Diaper Champ, by comparison, is like jamming my nose directly into a rhinoceros' buttocks. My two-year-old son loves watching me empty the Diaper Champ, because my loud retching and dry heaving amuses him to a rather disturbing degree.

Such is the diaper situation in our house at this time, and I see no end in sight, at least until my son successfully graduates from Potty Training University, or until I invent the "Diaper Ultra Overlord Dragon Slayer," which I'll equip with special darts specifically designed to target and kill those lousy diaper elves.

Posted by Ryan at 10:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2012

Today's Technology? AMAZING!

We live in an amazing age, once we factor out 8+ percent unemployment. After that, it's easy to see what an amazing age this is.

We can sit in coffee shops or restaurants and stare blankly into laptops and handheld devices--many ironically called "smart" phones--and argue endlessly and often stupidly on the Internet about all manner of pointless topics. That's how amazing this age is.

And we can take digital pictures and videos and post them instantly online, with almost 99 percent of the people uploading those files completely oblivious to the fact they're basically forfeiting all their copyrights to their "intellectual" property. That's AMAZING!

Media organizations around the world shamelessly and urgently ask people to send in their stories, images and videos online about breaking news stories, and millions upon millions of people do exactly that, and they never see a dime, while the media organizations do surprisingly well for themselves using all that freely donated content. AMAZING!

And people post incredibly embarrassing and sometimes incriminating--Anthony Wiener anyone?--images and videos of themselves, which would have been considered unthinkable just ten years ago. I'm somewhat guilty of this, I'll admit. Back in 2004, I posted a mostly anonymous image of my exposed posterior, which has since been Photoshopped in amusing ways a couple dozen times over the years and still pops up online in unexpected ways. I'll leave it up to you to find it if you're so inclined. Trust me, it's AMAZING!

Now, my bare behind picture is pretty tame by today's standards. People today can be downright stupid--yet AMAZING--when it comes to uploading images and videos. Consider a July 19 Associated Press article out of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, which said "Burger King says three workers were fired after a photo posted online appeared to show an employee stepping on lettuce in bins at a northwest Ohio restaurant."

The real AMAZING thing about the story, aside from the workers' complete stupidity, was that the photo itself would have been completely anonymous, except "GPS data embedded in the photo led to the restaurant." Am I the only person somewhat terrified to learn GPS data is embedded in digital images taken with smart phones?

So, remember, we live in an AMAZING age, even though we can apparently be accurately tracked to an astonishing degree thanks to all the AMAZING things we carry around with us.

Posted by Ryan at 12:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2012

So. . . white power is healthy?

White Power.jpg

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July 06, 2012

Science Break

This week, it was announced physicists had found the "strongest indication to date" to establish the existence of the particle known in scientific circles as the "Higgs Boson," and known in most Media outlets as "The God Particle."

Evidence for The God Particle follows about a year after discovery of "The Jesus Jot," "The Muhammad Morsel," and "The Ganesha Grain," all of which marked physics milestones when it comes to peeling back the onion of the subatomic world. Physicists also briefly thought they discovered "The Buddha Bean," but that particle suddenly disappeared after attaining pure enlightenment.

The very nature of The God Particle makes it very difficult to locate, requiring a huge machine called a Large Hadron Collider (LHC), not to be confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), although many physicists maintain ingesting THC actually helps them to better "understand" The God Particle, which they often describe as "a really trippy subatomic particle, man."

Even with the LHC and some of the most innovative technologies available today, The God Particle is extraordinarily difficult to isolate and locate. Physicists estimate the only thing more challenging to find than The God Particle is employment in today's economy.

So, what does discovery of The God Particle mean, exactly? Well, for one thing, it means scientists are becoming very good at finding very small things, so it's just a matter of time before they determine the number of men who maintain an active Pinterest account, or the number of people who think "The Matrix" sequels were genuinely good, or the chance a Tom Cruise marriage will actually last.

Further, discovery of The God Particle means news outlet personnel have to pretend to know something about subatomic particles and quantum physics, which has to amuse actual physicists to no end. If I were a theoretical physicist--and I could be, theoretically--and a journalist interviewed me about The God Particle, I'd have a hard time not having some fun with it.

JOURNALIST: So, could you tell me a little bit about The God Particle?

THEORETICAL PHYSICIST ME (TPM): Certainly. Well, as the name implies, The God Particle is a particle of God. We accelerate all the world's major religions to nearly the speed of light using the Large Hadron Collider, and smash the religions together to break them into their component particles.

JOURNALIST: Seriously?

TPM: Oh, absolutely. Now, faith particles are fairly common, as are dogma and ritual particles, but to actually slam religions together hard enough to shake loose a particle of God requires an immense amount of energy. To be perfectly honest, God isn't all that happy about losing His particles, either. Well, who would be, really?

JOURNALIST: *checking notes* But. . . I thought The God Particle had to do with quantum mechanics or. . . something.

TPM: That's why I'm the theoretical physicist and you're just a journalist, I guess. Trust me. It's science. You wouldn't understand.

Posted by Ryan at 12:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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