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Monday, June 30, 2008
Remember Emo Philips? 
"When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised, the Lord doesn't work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me ... and I got it!" The seldom-funny comedian has a few chuckle-worthy jokes in this column.

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Stuffed rodent of the day 
We Make Money Not Art has a report on an art exhibit with stuffed, mounted mousey heads. The horror!

Twenty-five Signs You Have Grown Up 
Sad but true. I guess I'm older than dirt now.

Saturday, June 28, 2008
Mice and Me 
So what is it about me and mice?

In order to answer this question, I need to explain the concept of a totem. A totem represents your essential self. With what other living things do you most readily identify? A totem is not about physical resemblance -- instead, it is a useful metaphor for aspects of your personality. Are you a small-group or a large-group animal? What are your parental attachments? What kind of life do you lead? These are the questions that should lead you to your totem, which may be any non-human living thing. Some people are strong and steady like the oak, some are ferocious and protective like the bear, and some are fuzzy and sweet on the outside but bitter on the inside like the peach. With any luck, talking and thinking about your totem will help you summarize important parts of your personality in a single metaphor.

Why is the mouse my totem? I really feel like I share a kinship with mice. I'm a mouse with a human-sized brain and body. I am mouse-like in word, thought, and deed. Squeak, squeak.

1. Mice are small-group animals. They have their immediate families and they take care of their young, but they are not herd animals.

2. Mice are messy, disorganized creatures that reveal themselves primarily through the messes they leave behind.

3. Mice are nocturnal. If left to my own devices, I naturally adopt a sleeping time of 8AM-4PM. Nothing worth doing happens in the morning anyway.

4. Mice have THEIR space. They love to pile away all sorts of interesting things in their holes. They think more stuff is the natural order of things. It never occurs to a mouse to clean out its hole.

5. Mice don't like conflict. Have you ever seen a mouse fight? Of course not. Sure, in the middle of the night it will bring some horrible disease into your house, but it will run from you when you confront it.

6. Mice are loyal. Ever try to convince mice to leave your house? It's because we love you!

7. Mice love food. Mice die because of their love of a good meal.
SNAP! (shudder, shudder)

8. No one really likes mice in the abstract, but once they get to know a particular mouse they see the virtues. (And sometimes they feed us!)

Corrolary: Let's face it, mice are truly pitiful in person.

9. Mice do their own thing. Mice go where they want, forage for food, and stay where they want to stay.

10. Mice make use of the space no one else can use. What were YOU doing with that space between your walls anyway? We make a home of it!

11. Mice are annoying conversationalists:

"Hi, how are you?"
<squeak, squeak>
"Come here often?"
<squeak, squeak>

...and so forth. Don't expect skilled social interaction from a rodent.

12. Mice are small, like me! They never get taller, just rounder!

That's me -- a mouse with a human-sized brain and body. Mice are messy, nocturnal, annoying, disease-ridden creatures -- but we never go away. And sometimes (rarely) people like us.

I even have my own smiley face, complete with mousey ears:     8:)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Annals of Medicine: The Itch 
This essay at the New Yorker makes me itch. But I'd better not scratch too hard: "Only in the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the doctors started swarming, and one told her she needed surgery now, did M. learn what had happened. She had scratched through her skull during the night—and all the way into her brain."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Soviet Winnie the Pooh cartoon 
This post on the always-interesting Boing Boing includes an episode of Winnie the Pooh from the Soviet Union. The animation is crude, but the figures are really cute. Actually, I like their version of the character Pooh better than Disney's. If you remember Pooh's quest to scam the bees out of their "hunny" you'll be amused. It's a testament to the charm of the underlying story that it's still fun to watch even when you can't understand the language.

It's Hard Out There for a Bus Spotter 
This guy takes pictures of buses -- 30,000 of them: "I can deal with the fact someone might think I'm a terrorist, but when they start saying you're a paedophile it really hurts."

Neave Television ...telly without context 
Seriously surreal video clips. This is worth the 10 minutes of your time that it takes to watch them all. It is very, very strange. I love it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008
Pity the poor supremacists 
This hilarious post at Edge of the American West reveals the travails of single Nazis looking for their white supremacist soul mates. It has all the awkwardness of regular dating plus the occasional breakup because your beloved bought Hebrew National hot dogs. No, really.

Thursday, June 19, 2008
The flying car dream, circa 1930 
Will Autogiro Banish Present Plane?: "The windmill overhead slowed down. The rotor tachometer hand touched ninety, then sixty, then forty. As they lost speed, the tips of the vanes began to drop. Finally, with the blades held up by the droop wires, the windmill came to a stop. I pulled back the rotor brake lever, locking it in place, and looked over at Ray. He grinned broadly and said: “Well, now you are one of the first twenty-five pilots in America to fly an autogiro.” “That,” I told him, “will be something to tell the grandchildren—when autogiros are everywhere!”"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Slow Motion Baby Laugh 
This is just disturbing but somehow I can't look away.

Teach the Controversy 
Teach the Controversy sells funny shirts. My favorite is the "controversy" over the Periodic Table of Elements. Their shirt demands that we give equal time to a somewhat simpler table -- Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and (for giggles) Aether. Other themes include the "controversies" over UFOs, Atlantis, geocentrism, and a flat earth (carried by elephants on a giant tortoise, no less).

Friday, June 06, 2008
The Origins of Republicans' Race Strategy in 1966 
The Meaning of Box 722 is a well-sourced essay examining the rise of racial fear among Northern blue-collar workers. It was this fear that was exploited by the Republican Party from 1968 (Nixon's "Southern Strategy") until the present (although most of the hot-button issues declined in importance during the 1990s).

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