Humor from on High

Friday, June 30, 2006

Don't. Want. To Live Like a Refugee.

As Michael Rappaport purports in the movie Beautiful Girls about Matt Dillon's character, "It's classic Birdman. It's not funny, but it is true." Well this is the opposite -- it's not true, but it is funny. You'd think I'd be more sensitive with a friend interning in Kabul for the summer....like you do. Seriously, interning in Kabul. And with two more friends on their way to Kampala. But that's what happens when you go to a crazy liberal arts school during your formative years...

(via The Onion)

Somalia Defeats Rwanda To Win Third-World Cup

KHARTOUM, SUDAN—The host city of the 2006 Developing Nations Football Championship erupted in cheers that nearly drowned out the cries of the starving and wounded Tuesday when the underdog Somali side, playing four down due to injuries and landmines, outlasted the more experienced if disease-ridden Rwandans 1-0 to win the inaugural Third-World Cup.

Enlarge ImageSudan, Somalia

"This is a relatively great day for Somalia," said team captain Omar Bin-Shakur, the seasoned veteran whose rise from squalor in the violent ghettoes of Mogadishu to stardom in the squalid and violent ghettoes of the Sudan is already passing into legend. "It seemed like nothing could stop us in the title match—not the great Rwandan defender Bimenyimana, not the mortar strikes, not the rotting cow in midfield, not dysentery…nothing."

"They were simply the better team today," Rwandan star Calvin Bimenyimana said, speaking to reporters as the soccer stadium was transformed from a football pitch back to its usual function as an outdoor prison for Darfur refugees awaiting execution. "Yet I am extremely proud of my mates. They did well just to get here, especially after the Sierra Leone match in which Nicodemus was red-carded and shot, and our epic battle with Chad, in which they came at us with rocket-propelled grenades when our team bus attempted to cross the border into the Sudan."

Bimenyimana, whose youth coaches in Rwanda considered him a natural for the sport after his hands were chopped off with machetes in 1994, was chosen as the Nestlé Man Of The Match by fans, the first-ever Third-World Cup participant from the losing side to be chosen. However, some aficionados say that Bimenyimana played a lackluster game; at press time, FIFA-3 officials were investigating reports that armed gunmen had shot and killed hundreds at designated Nestlé Man Of The Match voting stations.

Somalia was only a fifth seed entering the Cup tournament, and while the Third-World Cup rankings are considered notoriously inaccurate, the nation's weak midfield, inexperienced goalkeeper, and devastatingly low rates of economic growth and standards of press freedom seemed to indicate that they would be eliminated in the early rounds.

"Certainly it did not look good for us going in to be placed with Afghanistan, host team Sudan, and the [Democratic Republic Of The] Congo," said Somali coach Abdi Qani. "But every other team was at the mercy of the same sporting and economic factors. In the Third-World Cup, every group is the Group Of Death."

After only surviving the first round due to inspired play, UN-supplied antibiotics, and a forfeit during the Sudan game when four Sudanese players seized control of their team and shot eight others during penalty time, Somalia assumed the unexpected status of the tournament's Team Of Destiny.

"Never have the words 'win or go home' provided such inspiration to any team," Bin-Shakur said. "I am overcome with joy, as well as hunger, and I look forward to bringing the Third-World Cup trophy home to my country."

The Third-World Cup trophy, an AK-47 coated with gold spray-paint and mounted on a pallet of United Nations staple foods, has already been seized by Somali troops and distributed amongst ranking military officers.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

Hey guys! What's up yo!? What have you been up to?

Sorry for the punctuated posting lately, but busy times abound. And speaking of busy times, a lot of mental energy not being taken up by Eddie Vedder and Tom Petty playing together on the same stage on the same night (awesome) has been allocated to a brand new blogging venture called Tuesdays With Torii. It's a play on words. Hopefully it will get the creative juices flowing over in this direction, as well.

I implore you to check it out on a semi-irregular basis, as it promises to be quite entertaining. But what's it all about, you ask? Well, fortunately our mission statement has just gone up. While it promises to be baseball-themed, it will by no means be baseball-intensive. At least....we think. It will be a work in progress -- much like the super slo-mo version of Leaving Las Vegas that I'm perpetrating on my liver.

Check it out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Science is Sacrilicious

As some readers know, I have rather geekish tendencies. Being employed as a scientist doesn't help. Sometimes when I hear myself tell people what I do, I can't even believe that I'm saying it. It sounds like I'm a 4-yr old kid who is talking about what they want to do when they grow up and the only options they have to choose from are those way over generalized job categories they saw in a Curious George or Clifford the Dog book. Such as:

Forensic Paleontologist

Anyhoo, once in awhile I'm proud of my fellow pocket-protectored, white tape on the glasses, differential equation solving, bretheren. And this is one of those moments.

"Drinking coffee cuts alcohol's harmful effects" -- Just a cup a day helps prevent cirrhosis of the liver, researchers say

Booyah. I knew it. I love when studies give me an excuse to continue all the behavior that I was already engaging in.

I also ran across this newsletter recently, which I may or may not be admitting to subscribing to and poring over each time I get it (see earlier geek comment). The third item down concerns scientists at Harvard, who are undertaking a huge project to try and successfully clone a human embryonic stem cell, which will have the potential to cure (read: not just TREAT, but CURE) countless human diseases. As an aside, we really are at a hugely important time in human history, where we can understand diseases at a level in which we can actually repair them at their root cause. That is so bitchin. Anyway, this part of the snippet (snippet-ette?) stood out to me:

"Science has to recognize that it has a huge power in our day and age, and that power, if it goes off the rails, will become a very exploitative and dangerous power in our midst," Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, told the Boston Globe. "This is an example of moving directly toward that end."

First of all, I totally agree with the good Reverend, advances in science sometimes come without careful thought for the ethics and morality involved. Even if you as a researcher don't personally agree that some things are sacred, a lot of people do. A lot of scientists have almost as much zeal for the religion of the scientific method as religious wacko types do about biting snakes or strapping dynamite to their midsections. But the humor of the existence of the National Catholic Bioethics Center has still not escaped my satirically inclined synaptic radars. I love that whenever a big science issue gets into more mainstream (read: clueless) press outlets, some crackpot organization is always given a chance to comment (I mean "crackpot" in the nicest possible way Reverend -- it's not that I don't question your knowledge of science issues -- but I think you might be somewhat biased -- not that I'm not -- too many digressions -- okay back to our regularly scheduled prose) Therefore, I have decided to form my own crackpot organization that will comment on all new church-related issues that come out, for example when those scrolls came out that showed that maybe Judas wasn't that bad of a dude after all. Who knew? Next thing you know they'll be telling us that Jonah was actually swallowed by a really big mackerel. Now all I need for my organization is a catchy name.

A few candidates:
Holy Cow Hindu Comission
Dead Sea Scroll Oversight Committee

You think you've got a better one?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Math Lesson

Well, I guess this is more like algebra.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

...Yet There Is Method In It

Tis madness, but this is kind of what I feel like lately. From The Onion:

Rogue Scientist Has Own Scientific Method

June 5, 2006 | Issue 42•23

TALLAHASSEE, FL—Only months after abandoning a tenured position at Lehigh University, maverick chemist Theodore Hapner managed to disprove two of the three laws of thermodynamics and show that gold is a noxious gas, turning the world of science—defined for centuries by exhaustive research, painstaking observation, and hard-won theories—completely on its head.

The brash chemist, who conducts independent research from his houseboat, has infuriated peers by refusing to "play by the rules of Socrates, Bacon, and Galileo," calling test results as he sees them, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

(read the rest for more hilarity-ensuing)