Saturday, October 25, 2014

Twelve Days of Google

When you start typing into the Google search bar it autocompletes what it thinks you might be looking for. So you can use it to make your own version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas". The autocomplete list depends on your location, phase of the moon, or whatever else, so everyone's list is unique. Here's what I got (after logging out of Google so as not to bias the results with my own search history):

12 Years a Slave
11 Weeks Pregnant
10 Commandments
9 Movie
8 Tracks
6 p.m.
5 Seconds of Summer
3 Bean Salad
2 On Lyrics
1 Corinthians 13

Some of these don't make a whole lot of sense, but I do quite enjoy three bean salad. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Overheard at a Major International Airport

"Welcome to the department. As you know, you'll be responsible for implementing our passenger security policies."

"Glad to be here."

"We're worried that some of the people trying to board the airplanes may not be legitimate passengers at all, but rather terrorists who plan to wreak havoc on innocent travelers. So we have rigorous screening procedures that must be followed in every detail."

"I heard about the terrorism thing. Glad to know you all take it so seriously."

"Yes. First, all passengers must pass through a device that detects weapons and explosives. To even approach this area, the passenger must display a boarding pass and a photo ID. The slightest discrepancy between the ID and the boarding pass is grounds for denial of boarding. Passengers must remove their shoes and jackets, empty their pockets and pass their hand-carried items through an x-ray machine. They can't carry drinks or hand lotion unless it's a tiny amount in a bag we can see through. We also reserve the right to require them to be scanned by a machine that lets us see through their clothes."

"Even old ladies and little kids?"

"Yep. Even a one-in-a-trillion chance of terrorism is too high for us to tolerate."

"Awesome. But what if someone puts a time bomb in their luggage?"

"Got it covered. The luggage goes through a separate scanner that cost millions of dollars to develop, and once in a while, we'll pop the lock on a suitcase and rifle through it to find any contraband."

"Sounds like fun. But what if the guy is real sneaky and has some kind of advanced weapon we can't detect or recognize by sight?"

"We have a special, secret list of people who we think might do that, and if the passenger is on it, he goes nowhere. Nobody but us knows who's on the list or why, and once you're on it, you're not getting off it."

"Sweet. But what about concealment of weapons inside the body? You know, up the rear end? Am I allowed to take some kind of scope or something and cram it up there, looking for whatever?"

"We've proposed that several times, but our lawyers inform us that it might expose us to an assault and battery prosecution."


"Yes. it's been very disappointing. As you know, public safety is our absolute top priority. People need to be persuaded that inconvenience is a small price to pay for security."

"Speaking of public safety, what about Ebola? Do you check to see if a passenger is coming from an area where there is a known Ebola epidemic?"

"How would we know that?"

"Well, we make them show us a driver's license, so their address is right on it. We could just maintain a list of towns that have Ebola, and make sure anybody from there can't travel by air until the outbreak has passed."

"You mean, prevent someone from traveling just because he might be a little under the weather?"

"My understanding is that it's a fatal disease more often than not, and the scientific understanding of how it's transmitted is frighteningly uncertain. If even one Ebola victim got through, it could mean an agonizing death for thousands."

"Tell you what. If you see someone who looks a little peaked, ask him if he's been around any Ebola victims. If he says no, let him on through."

"So I should just take his word for it, then?"

"Yep. Now, please stand next to that conveyor belt and if any passengers forget to take their shoes off, remind them loudly, with a real annoyed look on your face."

"Got it. Check shoes. Forget about Ebola. See you at lunchtime."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Columbus Day Musings

Christopher Columbus always takes a beating around this time of year, In the last week I've heard that he was not only a rapist, but personally invented the concept of chattel slavery. It's hard to vouch for Columbus's character, yet I remain glad that he had the guns and ships and not, say, Tlacaelel of the Aztecs. Now that was a bad dude. He makes Columbus look like Michael Dukakis.

As 25% of an Italian-American, it is disappointing that our holiday has been hijacked into a forum not only for fair criticism, but also for people who sincerely believe Western civilization has on the whole been a bad thing --- a remarkably stupid position to take, yet millions do. Again, I'm no Columbus fan, but we should either get a "clean" holiday (may I suggest Fiorello LaGuardia Day?) or no holiday at all. Just give everyone a day off in the middle of October and don't get into the reasons. But we have to stand and watch our guy used as a punching bag.

It is ever thus for Italians. We have to put up with insulting caricatures like Vito Corleone, Father Guido Sarducci and Silvio Berlusconi. The National Italian-American Council tries to stop it, but they're the Washington Generals of advocacy groups. If a TV show has a black lawyer, he has to win every case or else the NAACP organizes an advertiser boycott. NIAC can't even stop Super Mario.

One Italian stereotype is especially hurtful. I refer, of course, to the Roman Moronie character from Johnny Dangerously. Not only is he a murderous gangster, he also mangles the English language. They never flat out say he's Italian, but come on, look at the mustache. He calls Johnny a "fargin sneaky bastige" and a "somanabatch" and accuses a Congressional panel on organized crime of   "violating [his] fargin civil rights."

The night I watched Johnny Dangerously, in which Moronie's conviction is followed by a newsboy handing out papers with the headline, "Moronie Deported to Sweden: Claims He's Not From There", I gently bedewed my pillow with tears and dedicated myself to a life of activism against 20th Century Fox and the Great Lakes Mall Cinema. The next morning, I came to my senses and laughed myself silly, and later watched Johnny Dangerously several times on video. It's a hilarious movie and Roman Moronie is the most memorable character. There are kids going around calling each other "fargin' iceholes" and they don't even realize where it's from.

Roman Moronie threatens to crush Johnny Dangerously's bells in a meat grinder 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

My Toilet Looks Like Butt-Head

Left: My toilet. Right: Butt-head

There really isn't anything more to say.