Cosmic Quote #28

“The meaning of life is a rutabaga.”–Garrison Kiellor Used with permission
Used with permission

Here is an existential dilemma if ever there was one.  I cannot stand Garrison Kiellor, but I cannot resist jokes about rutabaga.  The word rutabaga itself is just too funny; I guess funny won out.  Maybe ‘ol Garrison drank some rutabaga-ade before making that terrible movie a few years ago.  It must have tasted like-er–well…rutabaga.  😀   For more on rutabaga, including information on national rutabaga month, check out this crazy site…  The Rutabagan

Signature  @MarkSackler


Sicnarf Loopstok, Stryker Trahan and Minor League Moniker Madness–Down the Stretch They Come! (VOTE)

My monthly post on “The Blog of Funny Names” is an update on Moniker Madness with an opportunity to vote on the best name.

The Blog of Funny Names

“Who’s on first.”–Bud Abbott

“Opera in English makes about as much sense as baseball in Italian”–H.L. Mencken

A common ongoing discussion, in baseball, involves the comparison of the players of one era with those of another.  Who was better? Is there really a difference?  Can you make a comparison based on statistics alone?  Here at The Blog of Funny Names, we have a two word answer for these questions.

Who cares?

What matters here is, who has the edge in funny names?  This is not so easily answered.  We’ve profiled many of the great baseball funny names from the past and a few from the present, but nowhere can you find more funny baseball names in one place than the annul Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness, now coming into its final days on the web site.  A selection of 75 wild and crazy names are up for this…

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Google This! Search Term Haiku #3

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”–Gilbert K. Chesterton

While poems about cheese may be few and far between, there is no shortage of cheesy poetry, especially on the web.  Far be it for me to not to jump on that band wagon.  So, until some cheese-related phrases start turning up in my search terms, I’ll have to settle for cheesy.  You, like the chickens at left, are more than free to ignore me. The rules, once again, for search term haiku, are as follows:

  1. Every phrase must come from search terms actually used to find this blog, per my WordPress stats page.
  2. The poems must follow the accepted Anglicized format of the traditional Japanese art form: three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables respectively.
  3. Each line must constitute an actual individual search term phrase, verbatim.  The only changes allowed are punctuation and truncation.  (Phrases may be taken from within search terms).
  4. Words may not be changed or rearranged. Typos and misspellings must not be corrected.
  5. Phrases may be combined or extended to multiple lines, as long as the previous four conditions are met.

When you are done ignoring the haiku below, you can ignore more of them here.  These were a bit harder to construct, folks.  Cheesy search term haiku requires cheesy search terms queries;  get out there and throw me some Gouda.

Tacky Education

Vinyl lettering

education wallpaper

of Mark Twain quotes


Three Course Meal

Dog swallowed brillo,

a veterinarian

and Schrödinger’s Cat


Meow vs. Woof

How to count like cat?

My schipperke is clever

physics equation.


Existential Stench

I am alone in

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub blog

with Pepe Le Pou*


Equation #2

Real life example

of Lindsay Lohan cup size

celebrity meme.




Signature   @MarkSackler


Cosmic Quote #27

“Photons have mass?  I didn’t even know they were Catholic.”–Woody Allen

photonI’m pretty sure they aren’t Catholic even if they do have mass.  Einstein was right anyway, no mass moves at the speed of light.  Stay tuned, you might even see some real science soon.  (If you don’t get the gag to the left, go back and review the entire Quantum Weirdness series.)


Time Out: Moniker Madness

“Who’s on first.”–Bud Abbott

Note: If you have never seen Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on first?” routine, one can only draw one of three possible conclusions.  You’re from a country that does not play baseball, you can’t speak English, or you’ve been living under a rock your entire life.  Maybe all three.  For your benefit (and I assume you speak English if you’re reading this blog) and for anyone who needs a refresher, the video link to that classic appears at the end of this article.

Hu's on FirstStorm Throne…Rougned Odor…Sicnarf Loopstok…these are only three of the 75 names entered in minor league baseball’s seventh annual Moniker Madness competition, to chose the best name (read: most ridiculous) in the game.  The contest began Monday and will run through  August 29.  You can see the whole list, and vote for your favorites, here.

No purging of my hopelessly cluttered mind would be complete without a discussion of baseball names.  Or–more specifically–funny baseball names.  Abbott and Costello famously lampooned funny baseball names as far back as the early 1930’s.  Back in middle school in the 1960’s, my best friend and I cataloged a list of what we called the 50 wackiest names in (up to then) Baseball history.  The list included such beauts as Clyde Kluttz, Van Lingle Mungo, Orval Overall and Christian Frederick Albert John Henry David Betzel.   More recently, I have profiled some of these guys as a guest correspondent on The Blog of Funny NamesBut let’s get back to Moniker Madness.

Sicnarf Loopstok?  Really?  Is that a name or the result of an explosion in an Alpha Bits factory?  Yes, it is real, and Loopstok is currently leading on the list of this year’s nominees.  Some of my personal favorites on this year’s list, besides Loopstok, include Jose Jose, Storm Throne and the aforementioned Mr. Odor.  (What were his parents thinking?  Can you imagine the schoolyard taunts when he was a kid?).

Here’s a fun little game to play with these names.  If one saw the name, and didn’t know it was of a professional ballplayer, who might you take them for instead?  Here’s a few of my suggestions from this year’s MM list:

Duke Von Schamman–Baron von Richthofen’s younger step-brother.

Sicnarf Loopstok–the prime minister of Croatia.  (Oops, turns out he is from Aruba, so how about the governor of Aruba?)

Storm Throne–a female porn star

Damien Magnifico–goalie for the Brazilian World Cup soccer team.

Jett Bandy–see Storm Throne

Sammie Star–see Storm Throne and Jett Bandy

Zech Zinicola–councilman from the third ward, Bayone, NJ

Delta Cleary, Jr.–a used car dealer with annoying TV and radio ads

Jose Jose–a character from a Saturday Night Live or other TV show sketch.  (Can’t you just hear Bill Dana** saying “my name, Jose Jose?”)

Mookie Betts–a professional gambler

Rougned Odor–maybe a…or…er…help me out, I have no idea here.  (It’s pronounced roog-ned oh-dor, accents on the first syllables)

The full current leader board can be found on the site.   If you can come up with additions to the list above, please share them with us.

Have a great day, and don’t even think of naming any of your kids after these guys.  😀

**Like me, Bill Dana is an Emerson College grad.  He went there centuries before I did, though. 😛

Signature    @MarkSackler


Quantum Weirdness 107: Bell’s Inequality

Note:  I said in Quantum Weirdness 106 that I was done with this series for now.  There are two possibilities here.  Either my definition of “for now” is a very short time, or I have branched off into an alternate universe where the term “done for now” has no meaning.**  Then again, I could have branched off into an alternative universe where, instead of writing this post, I would be lying on a Mediterranean beach next to a super-model in a string bikini.   I wish.

**Okay, I might just have have lied.

“God does not play dice.”–Albert Einstein

“Quit telling god what to do.”–Niels Bohr

It’s complicated.  And this just about reaches the limit of my own understanding.

The whole point of Einstein’s comment is that he could not accept the random nature of the quantum world.  He could not accept that quanta of matter and energy, and all their itinerant properties, only exist as probabilities until we observe  them.  He felt that there must be hidden variables that gave them these properties whether anyone was watching or not.  “I’d like to think the moon is there whether I am looking or not,” he said.

He was wrong.  Well, I don’t know about the moon, as that invokes the infamous Schrödinger’s Cat problem and it’s obfuscation of the Copenhagen Interpretation.  But for those tiny little quantum bits of stuff, it seems as if he blew it.

It all boils down to two papers.  The first was a 1935 paper by Einstein, along with colleagues Nathan Rosen and Boris Podalsky that proposed a thought experiment to demonstrate that there are only two possible explanations for certain properties of quantum mechanics: either there are hidden variables governing the quantum world, or else, as Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance.”  This has become known as the EPR paradox.

The second was a 1964 paper by John S. Bell, proposing an equation and related experiment that could be used to determine which of the alternatives is correct.  This became known as Bell’s inequality.

The technology did not yet exist, though, to make the measurements required to determine the solution to Bell’s equation. That did not occur until Alain Aspect, et al, performed an experiment in 1981 that proved, finally, that Einstein was wrong: no hidden variables exist; it’s spooky action at a distance.  At least, that is,  until further notice.

A  fairly facile explanation of the concepts and history is available here (including a brief touching on their relationship to Schrödinger’s Cat) and some subsequent contrary opinions here.  Or for those who can’t (or prefer not to) read, see the video that follows.  Confused?  One of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century, Richard Feynman, said that nobody understand quantum mechanics.  Boy, does that give me free rein to get crazy with conjecture #5: Quantum Solipsism.   There may actually be a universe where I finally write and post it.



Tales of a Veterinary Spouse #6: Say what!?

“I got a big mouth.”–Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Note: This material is rated PG-13.  My wife should have realized that before she retold this story to a bunch of Catholic middle-schoolers at a career night.  Have you heard the phrase “he (or she) has a mouth that could make a sailor blush?”  Cheryl could make Larry Flint blush.

blah blah blahIt was the late night for office hours at the clinic–a Thursday to be specific.  It was a few minutes before 8 PM closing, and the doctor undoubtedly was tired and ready to go home.  But she had just come back from a seminar that focused on bonding new customers to the practice, and wouldn’t you know it, the last appointment of the day was a newbie.

The woman was in her mid 20’s or so, and the kitty she had just adopted was her first pet ever.  Despite the fatigue of a long day, Cheryl was determined to execute a perfect “bonding” experience.  She launched in her “new kitten” spiel,  and  all was going well for the first few minutes.  But then the office manager stuck her head in the exam room and interrupted.

“Pat D. is on the phone, Cheryl,” she reported matter-of-factly, “he wants to know if he can bring his dog in for a semen sample.”

“What?  You’re kidding me.  The lab has already picked up today and I am out of gas.  Tell him to bring the dog in tomorrow morning.”

So much for that, or so she thought, and immediately pushed the “kitten spiel” button and resumed the pitch.

But something had changed.  The customer seemed distracted, even a bit perturbed.

“How do you do that?” The young woman asked, two minutes into the resumed talk.

“Huh, do what?”

“How do you get a semen sample from a dog.”

Cheryl is never one to mince words or be diplomatically indirect under any circumstances.  At 8 PM after a 12 hour day of appointments, this was certainly not going to be an exception.   Making the appropriate gesture, she curtly replied, “hand job!”

Thinking that would be the last of it, she forgot about it and resumed the kitten spiel.  But the woman was still not paying attention, and two minutes later interrupted Cheryl again.

This really is how it's done.

This really is how it’s done.

“C’mon how do you really do it?’

“Huh, do what?”

“How do you really get a semen sample from a dog?’

“Well,” she replied impatiently, “really, you get a cup and you stimulate the dog manually and, well, I can show it to you in a text book if you want.”

The woman frowned and Cheryl resumed the kitten talk, but it was readily apparent that the client was still not satisfied with the answer.  In fact, she appeared downright angry. Within a couple of minutes, she abruptly changed the topic for a third and most emphatic time.

“You’re just goofing on me,” and by now she was almost yelling, “HOW DO YOU REALLY GET A SEMEN SAMPLE FROM A DOG?”

Cheryl had had enough.

“Look at it this way lady, I’m not gonna give him a blow job!”

That ended that.  Permanently.  She never saw that customer again, and to this day she reckons it was worth sacrificing one client just to have the story.

Oh, and she really did tell that story at a Catholic middle school career night.  The students loved it; the nuns were horrified. She never got asked back, and I’m guessing she thinks that was worth it as well.

If you enjoyed this story, just wait for the next Tales of a Veterinary Spouse, which will deal with extracting semen from a rather larger species.


Signature    On twitter @MarkSackler

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