“If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”–Will Rogers
You can check out my lame attempts to make the world a little less “stupider” on my futurist blog (and accompanying podcast) Seeking Delphi.
“If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?”–Will Rogers
You can check out my lame attempts to make the world a little less “stupider” on my futurist blog (and accompanying podcast) Seeking Delphi.
“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”–Carl Reiner
Call me freezing. A few minutes ago–never mind how many exactly–having no life at home and little to keep me in the house, I thought I would set out and see the snowy part of the world. That lasted exactly 15 seconds. Home Sweet (and warm) Home. This weather sucks. Stay inside, my friends.
“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”–Winston Churchill
Warning: this post contains tacky pig cliches.
Meet Huey. He’s an eighty pound mini-pig and he lives at the Beacon Falls Animal Hospital, my wife’s practice. The employees love him, the clients love him. The client’s pets? I’m not so sure, but maybe we’ll take a survey.
And me? I love him as long as he stays right where he is. Cheryl wanted to keep him at home–in the house–but I put my foot down on that one. One weekend was enough. We have two dogs in the house, a barn cat, appropriately named Barney, and a backyard full of four horses and over 20 assorted birds (chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl). Enough is enough. So I love Huey as long as he is the office mascot. If Cheryl brings him home again, he’s bacon.
As for pig stories, Cheryl has just this one really good one from her distant past days in mixed practice (meaning both large and small animals). The patient’s name was William, and he lived in a pen on his owner’s property–a Yale cardiologist who lived in a big house on a very small lot in Hamden, CT. It was not exactly a farm community. Oh, and William was not exactly a mini-pig; he was a 600 pound Yorkshire porker. Wow.
The cardiologist called Cheryl and reported that William, who had been adopted as a pet after having been used for research purposes, had an abscess. OK, easy enough. But the address somewhat spelled trouble as she knew it to be in a neighborhood near the New Haven line that has very large houses on very small lots. Out of curiosity, she inquired if William–a boar–had been neutered. The client answered in the negative.
“You really ought to castrate him…male pigs smell terrible and, in your residential area, the neighbors may not be too happy about it.” The client answered in the affirmative.
Easy peasy, right?
Wrong. There would be no story if it was.
Cheryl set out with her intrepid junior associate, Sue Farmer (nee Cole) to tackle William. On arrival, they found William in a small backyard pen on spotless shavings, being attended to by the Cardiologist’s wife. She had a martini in one hand and was feeding the pig cannolis with the other. Beautiful cannolis. Cheryl and Sue looked enviously at the cannolis, but weren’t offered any.
Cheryl immediately took charge. Figuring she was the senior of the two docs, and had seen and heard and done plenty of pig medicine in vet school at Purdue, why not? She calculated the dosage for a 600 lb pig…and administered Rompun™ and ketamine intramuscular. Down went William. No problem.
“OK, you get the abscess, I’ll get the balls,” she instructed Sue.
No problem with the abscess, but then, after prepping, came the balls.
YEOWEE! Pigs fly–at least this one did. William jumped up and scrambled around the pen, while blurting out the most godawful squeals imaginable.
Ok. Going back to the drawing board she administered another 300 lbs dosage of the two anesthetics, again intramuscular.
Down went William again. Scalpel wielded.
SHRIEK!! William jumped up and this time landed straight down on the knife and severed his saphenous vein. Too say he bled like a stuck pig is…well…there never was a truer cliche. He doubled his pace of laps around the pen, the formerly white shavings now only needing some blue dye to be truly patriotic. They tackled William, bandaged the wound, and Cheryl then mainlined who knows how much drug into a vein in his ear.
This finally worked, and William was successfully neutered; by this time in front of a crowd of neighbors who had assembled to watch the commotion.
Cheryl and Sue departed, as the cardiologist’s wife sat hugging the poor pig and crying, “Oh William, I’m so sorry William.” And she still had that martini in her hand.
Upon follow up discussion with the Yale doc, he casually mentioned that, oh yeah, William is difficult to anesthetize. Maybe the next time she’ll be told that before pigs fly.
Follow my other, more serious blog and podcast on Seeking Delphi.
“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”–Vincent Van Gogh
“All’s well that ends well.”–William Shakespeare
But here is a story that ended well, though with an unexpected twist that makes it one of my all time favorite veterinary vignettes.
This happened some 30 years ago, when Cheryl was working her last job as an employee before starting her own clinic. Her partner in crime in this particular case was the junior associate in the group, one Susan Cole, a pretty and vivacious young blond just a few months out veterinary school.
It started one typical Monday morning, when in came a panicked old lady, Mrs. P, with a pearly white cat.
The cat was struggling to breath.
Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!!”
Dr. C: “When did this start?”
Mrs. P: “Save my kitty!!”
Cat: “[cough] [choke] [wheeze]”
Dr. C: “How did this start?”
Mrs P: “Puhleeeaaase save my kitty!!”
Cat: “[gasp] [gasp]”
It was obvious that Mrs. P was not going to be any help. Enter my intrepid Cheryl to consult.
“This seems to be some sort of respiratory distress, we’d better take an X-Ray.” She advised.
Dr. Cole thought otherwise, and suggested drawing a blood sample first. Cheryl was skeptical, but realized it couldn’t hurt, so that’s what they did.
The cat’s blood was brown. Freaking brown.
The two of them scratched their heads in puzzlement. What could turn a cat’s blood brown? Cheryl observed that if they saw this in a cow they would diagnose it as methemoglobinemia, a condition that bovines get from eating cherry leaves. You guessed it, cherry leaves are toxic to cows. But cats? How would this indoor feline even have access to cherry leaves, whether or not they are toxic to cats?
At any rate, regardless of the cause, the diagnosis was confirmed. But, then, how to treat it?
“Well” Cheryl posited,”we use methylene blue to treat this in cows. Let’s try it.”
Methylene blue is a dye that also has some medicinal purposes. But the cat’s wheezing and gasping for breath was rapidly worsening, so Sue and Cheryl frantically calculated the appropriate dosing. Let’s see. Bovine dose, 60cc. Feline dose…hmm…. 6cc.
They administered 6cc of methylene blue, and by golly, that cat rapidly improved and its blood and breathing were back to normal in no time.
End of story? You know me better than that–there’s a little kicker. Of course there is, there always is. You see, there was a slight miscalculation in the dosage. The feline dose should not have been 6 cc, it should have been 0.6cc. But hey, what’s a silly little order of magnitude among friends. After all, the cat got better.
And that, of course, is still not the end of the story. The denouement came the next morning, when Mrs. P. phoned to find out the condition of her kitty.
Dr. Cole took the call, and she answered with a straight face, within ear shot of just about every employee in the clinic.
“Oh, she’s doing much better, but she’s feeling a little blue right now!”
Crash! Bang! Thud! All over the hospital employees dropped whatever they were holding as peals of laughter erupted. They say that in comedy, timing is everything. I guess that goes for veterinary medicine, too.
Anyway, the cat’s normal color soon returned, and it turned out that Mrs. P had given it Tylenol. Tylenol, you may surmise, is toxic to cats. So don’t give your cat Tylenol. This goes doubly if you have a yellow cat, as the antidote could turn the poor thing an ungodly shade of green.
Is there a moral to this story? Yes. The next time you are feeling blue, be thankful it is only a metaphorical, and not a literal, blue.
If you are feeling blue, try my other blog, Seeking Delphi.™ That will really get you down. 😛
“I sincerely believe blogging can save America.”– John Jay Hooker
Uh, I don’t think so. Not only is blogging not saving America, but social media might actually be destroying it. And promoting my blog on social media? We won’t even discuss that. But what I will discuss–and pound my chest about–is that just a few weeks after Millennium Conjecture’s 4th anniversary, it has passed the 100,000 hit mark. Wow. I know you didn’t see that coming, and I sure as hell didn’t. And I’m willing to bet that not more than 97,000 of those views have come from immediate family and close friends. After all, how many close friends and family do you think I could have?
In honor of this hallowed event, here a is blast from the past. It was by far my most viewed post. Thanks to being “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress, this post brought in over 1700 views and garnered 230 blogger “likes” on September 23, 2012–exactly four months to the day after my inaugural post. And yes, it has been all downhill since then.
Anyway, thanks for all the views and likes–and if you are really a masochist, check out my new blog on futurist topics, Seeking Delphi™
“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno
(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did. Aren’t you unimpressed?)
Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age. What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.
How do we quantify this vacuous tripe? Quite obviously with:
Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer. This process requires not one step, but three.
This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math. In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating. This, however, does not compute. You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators. You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.
Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be. Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.
Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not). Probable rating=0 (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).
Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation. Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness. Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)
Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what. Absolute rating of 1.0. This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future. (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).
Computing the Virality Index
Here comes the fun.
ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.
Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.
F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page
T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.
µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro. How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)
To sum it up:
The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).
Classify the Virality
For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative. This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above. If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.
The classifications of virality are as follows
If ξ ≤ -100,000 minimally contagious
If ξ ≤ -500,000 highly contagious
If ξ ≤ -1 million immutably viral
If ξ ≤ -10 million globally pandemic
If ξ ≤ -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.
Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.
So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above, we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10. This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ. This yields a score of -105 million. If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle, the Index plunges much lower. The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.
This leaves one unanswered question, however. We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on. But what determines how they are turned off? As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant. I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.
Images credit: Meme Center All text in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler
“The trouble with a kitten is that it eventually becomes a cat.”–Ogden Nash
Pet doors are a wonderful thing. They allow your pets the joy of repeatedly going in and out without having to constantly bug you to accommodate them.
Pet doors are an awful thing. They allow all manner of unwanted vermin to come in (mostly) and out along with your pets. Or in many cases, to be dragged in by your pets. Here are some examples.
Awful thing example #1: While you expect cats and dogs to freely use the pet door, you don’t really think a pet chicken would use the pet door. Think again. We had one that did, and it not only came in the house quite unexpectedly, but it joined Cheryl in the shower. That’s a horror story even Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t have imagined. Eat your heart out, Norman Bates.
Awful thing example #2: While our cats have frequently brought dead mice or chipmunks into the house and disemboweled them in the dining room (ick!), that is not the worst of it. They bring live ones in and let them go. The most notable example? We had a living room full of guests for a tea for a local political candidate. Just as the proceedings were about to begin, our cat, Velcro, dropped a live mouse by the side of a rather full couch. The critter ran across the feet of about three people and hid under the coffee table as everyone scattered. Cheryl caught it as the cat looked on with amusement. The dogs were worthless.
Awful thing example #3: While we are on the subject of the cat sitting back and watching in amusement as we and the dogs chased a live rodent, I present you with the case of the chipmunk in the laundry room. Did you ever watch one of those Donald Duck cartoons where he tries to catch Chip and Dale? Where he winds up destroying his house, his R.V., his camp site, or whatever? It felt like we were in a Donald Duck cartoon. The chipmunk was behind the washing machine. The dogs went nuts; but the chip was gone by the time we pulled the washing machine out from the wall. By then, the chip was behind a pile of laundry. Then it was in the pile of laundry. Then it was behind the drier. Then it was under the washing machine. The dogs were always one hiding place behind it. Cheryl finally caught the thing–I swear she must have been a cat in a previous lifetime. And our laundry room? It looked like Donald Duck’s living room after a few minutes of chasing Chip and Dale.
Awful thing example #4: This one takes the cake. Cheryl and I were sitting in our home office late one evening, clicking away at our computers. Why, it was the very room I am sitting in as I write this tale. I glanced in back of me. Our three dogs were all lying there contented to be in the same room with us. And sitting right in the middle of them was what I, for a split second, took to be a rather large stuffed animal doggy toy. For a split second. But it wasn’t a toy. Good grief, it was a live possum, apparently playing possum! We have no idea how it could have gotten in there without the dogs going nuts. We can only guess that the one dog large enough to drag it in, must have done so. Cheryl picked it up by the tail, dropped it outside the front door, and it sprung to life and dashed off.
Which finally brings us to Awful thing example #5: There is a rodent in this office, right now, as I write this post. I saw it dash off the top of my desk and hide behind the file cabinet just as I walked in. The fleeting glance I got of it was too brief to tell if it was a mouse or a chipmunk. But it has eluded me. Don’t worry though, Cheryl will be home from the clinic with the dogs (they go to work with her every day.) The dogs will, of course be useless, and the cat will sit back and watch in amusement as Cheryl, as always, catches the thing.
Oh, and this one didn’t happen to us, but Awful thing example#6, below, illustrates the further dangers of pet doors in the wild. Stay safe, my friends.
Be sure to check out my new (second) blog, Seeking Delphi.
‘Longshoremen walked off the docks today. Rescue operations are continuing around the clock.”–George Carlin
A gaggle of geese…a pod of walruses….a murmuration of starlings…a pride of lions. It seem that interest in collective nouns, the colorful, if mostly archaic ones that define a specific group of the animal kingdom, is on a comeback. One article I read suggested some tongue in cheek, punny new monikers for specific groups of us humanoids. These included “an absence of waiters,” “an attitude of teenagers,” and “a brace of orthodontists.” So of course, the light bulb in my brain, dull as it is, flashed on. There are any number of people packs that deserve their own special sobriquet. Here are a few suggestions.
- A prevarication of politicians–pretty obvious
- A Trump of narcissists–also obvious
- A Cruz of theocrats–sadly obvious
- A neuter of veterinarians–considering I’ve been living with one for 40 years, it’s a miracle I’m still in tact.
- An enhancement of athletes–but this works only for those that don’t live with veterinarians
- A babble of talk show hosts–and it certainly seems there are a babble of them.
- An angst of existentialists–I resemble that
- A Xerox® of Copycats–Note the ®, no I.P. issues, please.
- A largess of lawyers–NOT!! (just wanted to see if you were paying attention)
- A regurgitation of acid reflux sufferers–Ewwww!
- A rash of dermatologists–It is, after all, allergy season
- A drowning of longshoremen–You should have seen that one coming.
Any suggestions for more? Join the vituperation of posters in the comments below.
Note, this post occurs concurrently on The Blog of Funny Names. I also blog and podcast on futurist topics at Seeking Delphi.
“If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead”–Erma Bombeck”
“Rats, suspended again,” said Tom, deflated.**
**If you’re too young to remember Tom Swifties, check out the history here.
It’s that magical time of the year, the flowers are blooming, the weather is warming, and we at BoFN are guffawing at the this year’s crop of outrageous monikers in the annual NFL draft. So move over, deflategate, there is far more important news on the NFL front. It’s time for our 4th annual poll of the funniest names in the NFL draft. The big event starts tomorrow evening, so there’s no time to lose.
Let’s start with a bit of nostalgia as we review the past winners.
2013–Barkevious Mingo–An outside linebacker out of LSU, Mingo was a runaway winner of our first poll, and a first round draft choice of the Cleveland Browns. So far his NFL performance has been less than stellar, but hey, it’s Cleveland. We at BoFN names just wish his brother Hughtevious would also get drafted.
2014–Ha’Sean “HaHa” Clinton-Dix–Another first round choice–I just love how thebest names go near the top of the draft. Do you think the NFL scouts read this blog? Clinton-Dix has had a solid, if not spectacular first two years at safety with the Green Bay Packers. He won a close battle for funniest names with Jadaveon Clowney. When you have a clown and a haha in the same year, you know you have a bumper crop.
2015–Jaquiski Tartt–Tartt came out of nowhere–in more ways than one–to win last year’s vote. He was the highest player ever drafted out of Samford (you mean there were others?) and won the poll on a write-in vote. That second t in his name really put an exclamation point on it. By the way, this safety got his first ever NFL interception in week 14 last year off of Johnny Manziel. I hope he kept the ball, as Manziel is not likely to be throwing any more.
OK, enough of the red carpet preliminaries. Let’s get down to brass tacks. Here are this year’s nominees, including, as always, my take on what their names sound like if they weren’t football players.
Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss–Offensive line is a boring position, at least in the eyes of the casual fan. But this year’s funny names are just teaming with these behemoths. Tunsil is one of the early favorites in the poll, and also a likely top 10 first round pick. What I think his name sounds like: The sheriff of Tucson, Arizona c. 1879.
Eli Apple,CB, Ohio State–Formerly known as Eli Woodard, and we just had to have a “formerly known as” in honor of the late musician formerly known as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” Apple made some less than happy news when he complained to the NFL back in March that an Atlanta assistant coach asked him if he was gay. Maybe it was that “formerly known as” that threw the guy off? What I think his name sounds like: Prince’s former road manager.
Halapoulivaati Vitai–Wow. I mean, wow. Say this name five times fast and you might hyperventilate and pass out. That’s even if you can say it right once. For the record, it’s pronounced hal-lah-poo-li-VAH-tee VIE-tie. It’s no surprise he is used to hearing it wrong: “It happens every day,” says offensive tackle from the TCU Horned Frogs, “even I mess up my name.” You read that right, a guy who can’t even pronounce his own name who played for the college with the funniest team nickname in the entire NCAA. This guy is a force to be reckoned with. His parents have funny names, too. Takilivi and Shirley. (Shirley! Really!?) What I think his name sounds like: um…er…any suggestions? I can hardly hear it, let alone pronounce it.
Leonte Caroo–WR, Rutgers. We had to get a player in there from the offense side of the ball. But a player from New Jersey? I’m not so sure. Seeing as it’s the state that gave us both Bruce Springsteen and Chris Christie, this guy could go either way. What I think his name sounds like: An animal character in The Jungle Book.
Cody Whitehair–OG Kansas State. Another offensive lineman, and at 6’4″, 310lbs, he won’t need his white hair to ward off opposing defensive ends. What I think his name sounds like: chief of the Iroquois nation.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun–a running back who played for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, he comes from only the second funniest college team name, but he definitely has the best hyphenated name in the draft since Blidi Wreh-Wilson in 2013. What I think his name sounds like: a Victoria’s Secret model.
As usual there are plenty of write-in candidates, including, but not limited to, Charone Peake, Germain Ifidi, Bronson Kafusi, Pharoh Cooper, Fhan Cooper, Rees Odhiambo and Romeo Okwara. The rules are simple. The voting starts now. Vote as often as you like, and though the draft ends Saturday, we’ll keep this open through noon Monday. Look for results in the next Funny Names in the News, which might even be next Friday.
[Note: Be sure to check out my futurist blog and podcast at Seeking Delphi.]
“To you, I’m an atheist. To god, I’m the loyal opposition.”–Woody Allen
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”–George Carlin
“I do not think you can name many great inventions that have been made by married men.”–Nicola Tesla
I can name at least three. Golf, poker and selective hearing. OK, I can’t prove the first two, but I shouldn’t need to prove the last one. 😛
I'm not the most interesting man in the world, but I might have the most cluttered mind.