Loan Words 

Friday, May 26th, 2017

The impact of big data can be frightening, but at least it might help you get a loan.

Amazing Disgrace

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Because his awfulness can’t be contained by the porous borders of the United States, Donald Trump is on a world tour right now. In Israel, he visited the Western Wall, which resulted in this photo of a man attempting to look pensive while visions of Kentucky Fried Chicken danced in his head:


“Have I touched it long enough?”

It seems impossible to believe Trump is capable of either prayer to a higher power or the deep introspection which would be appropriate here. Of course, he doesn’t really seem capable of any introspection whatsoever, and his visit to Yad Vashem certainly provides no proof to the contrary.

Yad Vashem is Israel’s official memorial to victims of the Holocaust. For over 60 years, it’s honored the memory of the dead and taught millions about the atrocities of the past. They have a guestbook which visitors may sign. Have a gander at what Donald Trump wrote:

  • It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends – so amazing & will never forget!

It’s just jaw-dropping. I keep thinking we’ve hit rock bottom in terms of the embarrassment Trump can cause, but he just keeps digging. What can one even say about such imbecility? For the sake of stark comparison, here’s what Barack Obama wrote during his 2008 visit:

  • I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution. At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our own capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world. Let our children come here, and know their history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again.’ And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.

That’s incredibly eloquent. Of course, everyone knows former President Obama is an incredibly eloquent man, so that’s practically cheating. What about someone less blessed with rhetorical gifts? Let’s see what Hillary Clinton wrote in 2009:

  • Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and a reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten. God bless Israel and its future.

Ah heck, that’s quite good too. Maybe her husband (and former President) Bill Clinton flubbed it?

  • Today we have come one step closer to the time when the people of Israel will live in peace with all of their neighbors, when the awful events of death and destruction memorialized here will be banished to the past.

It’s been over twenty years since you wrote that, and we’re still awfully far from peace in the Middle East, Bill! Still though, we must admit that it’s well-written. We’re going to have to go deeper. George W. Bush, now no one would accuse him of being overly articulate! What did he write?

  • God bless Israel

Well, that’s not great, but it’s also not awful. Bush didn’t focus on himself or his “friends”, and he didn’t include the line “so amazing”. He kept it simple, and as a result, even his inscription was vastly superior to President Trump’s.

Of course, as we’ve seen time and time and time again, it could always have been worse. For instance, Trump could have scribbled down some state secrets for all to read.

“AnalTech” Is a Really Awful Name for a Company 

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Earlier this week, a pickup truck ran into a Delaware company’s building and literally tore it a new one. It just gets better from there.

Also, be sure to note the origins of the company’s name:

“In 1964, the company paid a marketing firm to come up with a different name. They said, ‘Well, you guys do Analytical Technology – why don’t you put the two words together and call it ‘AnalTech!’ ”

Something tells me these folks didn’t exactly hire Don Draper.

Sustainable Las Vegas 

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Las Vegas buffets produce a tremendous amount of excess food which never gets eaten. Well, not by humans, anyhow.

A Petty and Venal Regime 

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Stephen Colbert appeared at the Vulture Festival to discuss life as a comedian under Donald Trump. His appearance included this gem about Ted Cruz:

On Saturday, Colbert shared a bit of behind-the-scenes gossip from past interviews — like when, he said, Ted Cruz asked him to “humanize me.”

“I said, ‘Don’t go to the stump speech and you will be a human being,” Colbert recalled. “He said, ‘That’s hard.’ I said, ‘So is being human.’ ”

That’s especially true these days.

He Tried to Blend in With the Drapes 

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Benjamin Wittes has a fascinating piece detailing what he knows about former FBI director James Comey. Particularly absurd is a description of a meeting at the White House:

But as he told me the story, he tried hard to blend into the background and avoid any one-on-one interaction. He was wearing a blue blazer and noticed that the drapes were blue. So he stood in the back, right in front of the drapes, hoping Trump wouldn’t notice him camouflaged against the wall. If you look at the video, Comey is standing about as far from Trump as it is physically possible to be in that room.

One video can be seen here, and it’s clear as day that Comey really is attempting to blend in with the curtains. Sadly for him, his 6’8″ frame makes that tough.

Snails Are Weird 

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Jeremy is a simple garden snail with a rare condition where shis shell coils left instead of right, preventing shim from mating with normal snails.1 You may recall hearing about Jeremy last fall, as scientists publicly attempted to locate a second snail who shared the same physical orientation so they could mate. Ultimately, two other left-oriented snails were found, but they’ve thus far chosen to mate with one another instead of poor, forever alone Jeremy.


Footnotes:

  1. Snails are simultaneous hermaphrodites, so the concept of gender is a bit strange here. ↩︎

Deflating Pikachu 

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

Does anything capture the global zeitgeist better than deflating Pikachu? Also, the full five minute video is worth the watch. It starts out wonderful, and just gets amazing from there. The choreography! The perfectly-timed deflation! The assistant rushing the deflating Pikachu! The suited security guy, likely unclear on what’s happening, rushing the assistant! It’s all so good.

Her Fingers. His Heart. 

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

When Steve Goodwin’s mind began to succomb to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, it seemed that the music he’d composed over his lifetime might be lost forever. Fortunately, his family and professional musician Naomi LaViolette wouldn’t let that happen.

No Decency, Either 

Monday, May 15th, 2017

It’s tremendously clear that Republican legislators in North Carolina have no sense of shame whatsoever.

Previously in grotesque behavior by North Carolina Republicans: Alienating Their Own