Friday, Jan. 11, 42 A.B.
The following items ought to have been included in yesterday's entry but, for one reason or another, never made it there.
Maybe my aim was a bit off when I tossed them in the general direction of my last entry and they hit the floor instead. Maybe I tossed them a bit too hard and they smacked into the filthy little journal that exists next to this one. Maybe my cat Jester even mistook one or two for dead mice and it wasn't until today that I got around to pulling their stinking remains out from under the fridge, dusting them off a bit, and deciding that it probably takes less energy to get rid of them here than it would take to toss them down my garbage disposal. Whatever the various circumstances responsible for their absence from yesterday's smorgasblatherbord may be, the bottom line is that they're all here now, ready and willing to help the hungriest of minds stave off starvation for another day or so.
The Horror, The Horror: Scientists tell me that hydrogen and helium make up 99.99999% of all the matter in the universe. Until that changes, don't expect to find anything good on TV no matter how many new channels they add.
The Humor, The Humor: So it seems Dr. Richard Wiseman of the
University of Hertfordshire wanted to find out what the funniest joke of all time was. In the course of discovering what that joke was, Dr. Wiseman inadvertently discovered what the second funniest joke of all time was as well. Turns out it goes something like this:
"Two hunters from New Jersey are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing. The other whips out his cell phone and dials 911. When the operator answers, he gasps out, 'My friend is dead! What can I do?!' The operator replies in a calm, soothing voice, 'Just take it easy. First let's make sure he IS dead.' There's a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy comes back on the line and says, 'Ok, now what?'"
How did Dr. Wiseman decide this was the second funniest joke of all time? He posted 10,000 different jokes on the Web and had people vote for their favorite. This one came in second.
Oddly enough, however, a variation of this joke in which "Alabama" was substituted for "New Jersey" came in dead last.
Apparently everyone mistook it for a news story.
Fun Fact Of The Day: "Jingle Bells" was actually written for Thanksgiving.
And - although I can't prove it - personal experience leads me to believe that it only became associated with Christmas after its publisher did his best to sell it to the American public as an Independence Day carol.
From Our "Ask Not For Whom The Helicopter Hovers" Dept.: Dave Thomas died a few days ago. Dave, as you might know, was the founder of the Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant chain. And the inventor of the modern drive-thru window concept!
What you might not know is that he started this chain in Columbus. In fact, the world headquarters for its 6000+ stores is just a few minutes from my current home. Because Dave was a much-beloved figure, both here and (thanks to the 800 TV commercials he appeared in) across the country, Wendy's decided to hold a public viewing yesterday in its main lobby. Thousands of people waited in line for up to an hour to pay their last respects. (There's actually a funeral home in Toledo with a drive-thru window, but if anyone at corporate headquarters had the wit to make arrangements with them to handle things, they wisely kept it to themselves.)
I didn't go to the viewing. I didn't think my going would make Dave feel any better, and I know from experience that being in the presence of dead guys tends to make me feel much worse, so... I just didn't see what the point would be.
As luck would have it, I ended up feeling worse anyway. Why? Because I happened to turn the TV on at just the wrong moment and - no, I didn't see hydrogen or helium. What I saw was live helicopter coverage of the hearse carrying Dave to his final resting spot. I'm not sure why, but this depressed me more than I can say.
Maybe because I can't even tell you the name of the founder of Burger King even though it's a bigger chain?
Maybe because it's hard for me to square Kind Old Dave and the outpouring of grief over his passing with the fact that he was responsible for the deaths of thousands of harmless bovines every day for decades?
Maybe because live helicopter coverage of his hearse's every move was the most tasteless thing I'd seen since McDonald's buried its founder, Ray Kroc, in a special styrofoam container designed to keep him warm longer than the typical box?
Maybe because I now realize that either that Kroc story or the helicopter one is merely a bad dream I once had, but I'm suddenly unable to tell you which one it was?
Hello? Hello? Is this speaker even working?
Random Explanation Of The Week: "There is a smallest flame defined by the balance between the volume of combustible material available and the surface area over which oxygen can fuel the combustion reaction. As the volume of combustible material gets smaller, the surface becomes too small for the flame to persist, and it dies. Ants could not use fire because they would find the smallest flames too large for them to approach safely and feed the fire." - John D. Barrow, Impossibility: The Limits of Science and the Science of Limits (Oxford University Press: 1998), p. 124.
If you sent your favorite ant a candle for Christmas and have yet to receive a thank you card, this is probably why.
Oddest Thing I've Overheard In A Non-Wendy's Restaurant This Month: "I used to take my dog with me when I went for my evening walk around the neighborhood. But eventually he outgrew his shopping bag."
Last Home Next
(©Now by DJ Birtcher after garnishing it with lots of onions
to hide its rancid odor, then absent-mindedly leaving it
under a heat lamp for hours - DOH!)
Astronomy Photo of the Day!
"Damn... I thought it was MY turn to be
Astronomy Photo of the Day!"