Category Archives: Random Amusements

Entries that don’t really contain a lot of information but are just reports on things that amused me for whatever reason.

Funny stuff

I swear that soon I will write up a blog post that isn’t just a funny video. In the meantime, please enjoy this one. You’ve probably already seen if it you’re on Twitter or Facebook, but even if you have, it’s worth another viewing.

The only thing that threw me was “let’s try it on Orange”. Fortunately, Wikipedia came to the rescue, and informed me that Orange, in this case, is the ISP and mobile network brand of a telecommunications company based in France, which provides services all over Europe, including the UK. Here’s the Wikipedia page for Orange.

There. Now you know.


With all the Harry Potter spoiler paranoia (heck, I’m disconnecting for the weekend!), I figured I’d post a few spoilers for you that aren’t necessarily related.  Here they are:

  • The ship sinks.
  • Anakin turns into Darth Vader.
  • Rosebud was his sled.
  • He was dead the whole time.
  • The aliens are killed by the common cold.
  • Gollum bites the ring off Frodo’s finger and falls into Mount Doom.
  • They blow up the second meteor and it never hits the earth.

And now, the ultimate spoiler of all time, below the fold: Continue reading Spoilers!

A blip of no consequence

Thanks to Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy, I’ve discovered a new web comic:  Home on the Strange.  You should check it out.  It speaks to my heart because it is about a thirty-something married nerd couple.  Granted, the lead male character, Tom, is a former punk rocker while I have never listened to a complete Sex Pistols album, but it’s still a great comic.

Among my favorites:

  • Child Free, Free as the Wind Blows.  Because I think it would be cool to have kids for pretty much exactly the same reasons, which probably contributes to Jennifer’s determination not to have any.  (Of course, the comic doesn’t touch on the possibility of kids as minions.)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.  Because yeah, it would be funny.  Well, it would be sad.  Very, very sad.  And kind of funny.
  • Who is Your Savior?  Because I’d love to do this sometime myself.

Go forth and check it out now.

And yep, the final Harry Potter book comes out at midnight.  We’ve already made arrangements to pick up our copy, and I will be avoiding the Internet for a couple of days for fear of encountering spoilers.  I know that some people will hate the ending, because it’s quite hip to dislike the later stages of a story’s evolution (I was among the few who thought that season six of Buffy was actually pretty good).

More Joy

Via the Panda’s Thumb, I found this video of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, "edited for rednecks".  It’s lifted straight from last night’s episode of Family Guy, which I’m afraid I missed.

Occasionally people ask me how I can be a Christian and still believe in things like evolution, the big bang, and so on.  Putting aside for a moment the fact that the majority of Christians in the world actually have no problem reconciling their faith with these concepts (the official position of most mainstream Christian denominations in America, such as the Methodists, the Catholics, and Episcopalians, and so on) is that the theory of evolution poses no threat at all to the faith), I usually try to explain that these scientific theories actually help me understand my own faith.  The idea of sin, for example, is easier for me to understand as a set of selfish and self-driven behaviors that are left over as baggage from our evolutionary heritage and that we hang on to because they’re easier than following the Christian ethic (of course, the Christian ethic is twisted far too often to justify these behaviors — people like to hate, and they’ll use any excuse, including religion, to do so).

In writing news, I’m falling behind in NaNoEdMo with Solitude of the Tentacled Space Monster.  Hopefully I can catch up tonight.

Let's Break Your Brain

Via David Brin’s blog (have you not read anything by David Brin? No? What the hell’s wrong with you?) I found this article regarding another idea about the ultimate fate of our universe; rather than the ultimate heat death as has been occasionally predicted, or the Big Crunch as has alternately predicted, this new model suggests that if there’s enough "dark energy", then the universe will eventually rip apart into little shards that become new universes themselves.  Our own universe may have begun as a shard of a previously exploded universe; this would explain how it was that our universe, at the very beginning, started out in a state of high order instead of disorder, since as the shards rip apart from the exploded universe, they take along with them high states of order.  As the universe transitions from the state of high order to disorder, all kinds of neat things happen: galaxies, stars, planets, life, and so on.  Everything we know, see, etc., it’s all the universe just running down from its original highly ordered state.  Until the universe explodes, creating new daughter universes that will begin their own processes of entropy.  And so on.

The problem with this model, as Brin explains it, is that it requires an actual empty space for universes to explode into.  No big deal, except that standard models of the universe and of the Big Bang over the past fifty years or so have all suggested that the Big Bang did not explode into empty space, because empty space came into being as part of the Big Bang itself.  In a way, the new model of universes exploding into empty space makes a little more sense, because it’s easier to think of empty space rather than… well, than nothing, not even space.  Although I imagine that the empty space into which these daughter universes explode is very different from the empty space that we think of as existing between the galaxies or between President Bush’s ears.  The spacetime into which a universe comes into being is flat, rather than curved as the empty space in our own universe is.

Damn cosmologists.  Just when we get used to one counter-intuitive, paradoxical idea of how the universe works, they come up with another.  I swear, they do this to us on purpose.

Now, if pondering the Big Bang and the nature of the universe, hasn’t broken your brain, perhaps this video — which my younger sister first clued me in to — will do the job. Below the fold and through the cut. Enjoy.
Continue reading Let's Break Your Brain

Braiding the Monkey

On Monday, a bunch of us piled into our office manager’s van for the fifteen mile drive from our office to the main division office where the Halloween party was. Climbing into the passenger seat behind the office manager’s, I noticed that she has a stuffed monkey attached to the headrest on her seat. It’s one of those long toy plush monkeys with really long arms, legs, and tail, which you can stretch, tie into knots, and so on. When I sat, I saw that the monkey’s two rear legs and tail had all been braided.

“Hey, R–“, I told the office manager, “someone braided your monkey.”

“Yeah,” she replied. “My daughter likes to braid the monkey.”

“Well,” I said, impressed. “That’s not something you hear every day.”

At that moment, J1 was just climbing into the van. “Huh, Richard? What don’t you hear every day?”

I quoted R–: “‘My daughter likes to braid the monkey.'”

“Braiding the monkey.” He nodded gravely. “No, that isn’t something you hear every day.”

The subject was dropped, then, for about five minutes. When we hit the highway, J1 repeated, “Braiding the monkey. Hmmm.”

“It sounds like a euphemism,” I said. “I can imagine it: Yeah, Bob, I had a real hard night braiding the monkey last night.”

After that, things pretty much just got worse, as we kept imagining other ways to use the phrase. When, during the awards ceremony part of the program, I received my own, J1 congratulated me. I replied smugly, “Yeah, there’s a lot of hard time braiding the monkey represented here.”

We made a pact, then, J1 and I, that we would find ways to incorporate that phrase into as much casual conversation as possible. I personally would like to see it become part of the standard American slang lexicon: “Braiding the monkey”.

So, my friends, I challenge you: find ways to use the phrase, “Braiding the monkey” or “Braid the monkey” in casual conversation. You get more points if everyone pretends that they know what the phrase means and don’t call you out on it.

When we hear it in Congressional speeches, we’ll know that we’ve really braided that monkey.