29 April 2007

News of this World

Worrisome news from West Bengal, India, where a “modern day Buddha” is “acting like Hitler with his gang of thugs”, and nothing is being done to stop it. This tragic situation calls to mind the recent orations of none other than Barry Obama, who said: “We cannot hope to shape a world where opportunity outweighs danger unless we ensure that every child, everywhere, is taught to build and not to destroy.” It should be obvious to everyone by now that today’s untaught child is tomorrow’s Hitlerian modern day Buddha. Note too there’s no midnight basketball in West Bengal, which can hardly be a coincidence.

Good news from Guyana: in the tiny village of Bare Root a rare type of vampire known as an Ole Higue was beaten to death “with mythical objects” (whatever those are) before it could suck anyone’s blood. As lazy Caribbean Net News Guyana Correspondent B. Gordon French explains, an Ole Higue “lives during the day among other villagers, but at night this seemingly harmless old woman removes her skin, places it gently in a calabash and travel across the sky as a ball of fire heading to the home of her intended victim. To enter the home she shrinks herself and enters through the keyhole.” It should be obvious to everyone by now that we cannot hope to shape a world where opportunity outweighs danger unless we ensure that every child, everywhere, is taught to recognize all kinds of vampires and to destroy them. I don’t think there’s any midnight basketball in Guyana, either. Will we ever learn?

26 April 2007

On the education of youth

Classrooms without walls, learning circles, constructivism, learner or child centered teaching, discovery learning, computer-aided learning, new math, new-new math, conceptual math, afrocentric math, new-new-new-new math, portfolios, group study, team teaching – there's no pedagogical fad the American educational establishment can resist. So when I read teachers in India were sprinkling cow piss on students I immediately alerted my local school board. As the Mangolorean reports:
"Upper-caste headteacher Sharad Kaithade ordered the ritual after taking over from a lower-caste predecessor at a school in a remote village in the western state of Maharashtra earlier this month, the Times of India reported.

He told an upper-caste colleague to spray cow urine in a cleansing ceremony as the students were taking an examination, wetting their faces and their answer sheets, the newspaper said.

"She said you'll study well after getting purified," student Rajat Washnik was quoted as saying."
Expect this innovation (100% organic innovation) to be fully incorporated into standard teaching methodologies by fall of next year at the latest.

18 April 2007

What was left of the day went away

Embarassing news for anti-smoking fanatics, a South Carolina woman escaped being killed by a tree because she was taking a cigarette break. So not only is smoking a relaxing and contemplative pastime, it can save your life.

Trees, on the other hand, are a menace. Unlike secondhand smoke, which no one has ever died from, trees cause the deaths of innocent people every day.

17 April 2007

Daytona

I’ve become so inured to vehicular assaults perpetrated by oldies I hardly paused after reading of the septuagenarian who fights “illegal drug use, out of her car” that slammed into an apartment building yesterday in Florida. And then an hour later I had one of those flashes of insight only great minds are capable of: with war in Mesopotamia and the Hindu Kush having left our troops stretched thin, couldn’t we deploy our oldies overseas? Imagine thousands of horrendously bad elderly drivers, off our streets and behind the wheels of armor plated vehicles, rolling in erratic zigzag fashion across the plains of Afghanistan, turning unpridictably to crush suprised Talibani hiding in the weeds or in apartment buildings.

Many oldies are so bored they would happily volunteer for such a mission. There are many more so addled they wouldn’t notice any difference between driving a Buick from the retirement home to the IHOP and driving a Humvee from the barracks to a Taliban encampment. The rest will just have to get used to it.

15 April 2007

Theidiocy

Enviro-Christians are asking ‘What would Jesus drive?’ The Bible tells us what Jesus did drive: an ass. I’m no theologian, but Jesus doesn’t strike me as someone who accommodates himself to the times. So I have little doubt if around today Jesus would once again drive an ass. He wouldn't pay to park it, either.

Next question?

14 April 2007

Leophilos

We all know the saying “words can never hurt me”. New Jersey Governor John Corzine being severely injured in a car crash en route to attending the Rutgers Lady Basketball/Shock Jock Contrition Summit shows while words themselves may not hurt, they can, indirectly, lead to a man almost being killed. Surely an apology from Imus to Corzine is imminent.

It's unclear what Corzine’s specific motivation was for attending the Summit was. While ‘facilitating the healing process’ can never be discounted, politicians as a breed will seize any opportunity to insert themselves into the news. It’s always been so. As the 7th century BC Greek poet and mercenary Archilochos observed:
Now that Leophilos is the governor,
Leophilos meddles in everybody’s business,
And everybody falls down before Leophilos,
And all you hear is Leophilos, Leophilos.*
All too true, though as far as I know Leophilos never crashed his chariot rushing to the scene of some media contrived pseudo-scandal.

*Translation by Guy Davenport

11 April 2007

Goodbye, Whitby, goodbye

The bodies of dead seals found bludgeoned, battered, and bloody on Whitby Beach.

Whitby Beach scene fit for a holiday horror show, a seafront strewn with “shards of splintered timber and glass sticking out” and “youngsters playing in the sand with wood riddled with nails”.

Naked body of a middle-aged woman washes up on Whitby beach.

Finally, some good news, as Whitby Beaches named as some of nation's best to visit.

08 April 2007

Naive?

“This new art is geometrical in character, while the art we are accustomed to is vital and organic. It so happens there have been many other geometric arts in the past.”

“You have these two different kinds of art. You have first the art which is natural to you, Greek art and modern art since the Renaissance. In these arts the lines are soft and vital. You have other arts like Egyptian, Indian, and Byzantine, where everything tends to be angular, where curves tend to be hard and geometrical, where the representation of the human body, for example, is often entirely non-vital, and distorted to fit into stiff lines and cubical shapes of various kinds.”

“When we turn to Egyptian art, we find in the endeavour to escape from anything that might suggest the relative and impermanent there is always the same tendency to make all the surfaces as flat as possible.”

“...a new geometrical art is emerging which may be considered as different in kind from the art that proceeded it, and more akin to the geometrical arts of the past...”
- T. E. Hulme, 'Modern Art and its Philosophy', Speculations.

"You and I," said Henri Rousseau, sincerely addressing his host Pablo Picasso, "are the two most important artists of the age - you in the Egyptian style, and I in the modern one."


The Merry Jesters

02 April 2007

A trip to Seaside

A pleasant family vacation for Douglas Willy ended abruptly with the Oregon man’s arrest after authorities received a tip he’d been traveling with two of his four children in the trunk of his car.

According to police “the automobile they were driving did not fit all six passengers”, so “Willy decided two of the children would ride in the trunk to avoid taking a second vehicle.”

The media and environmentalists incessantly bombard us with the message global warming poses a dire threat to humanity. We’re told global warming is caused by auto emissions, we’re told we all must sacrifice to prevent it from happening.

Obviously poor Mr. Willey succumbed to this hysteria, but instead of being praised for saving energy and reducing pollution by devising a creative way to car-pool he’s been charged with two counts of reckless endangerment. At the very least Al Gore and Greenpeace should pay his legal fees.

01 April 2007

Elsewhere

Ectrodactyly, or the Startling Secrets of the Ostrich People (via The Anomalist).

Hot news from the Malay Mail Hotline:
ANN, of Gombak, is upset with her neighbour because she refused to trim her bougainvillaea shrub which is growing bigger with its branches encroaching into her compound. “I am scared because the shrub has sharp thorns and can be hazardous.”
These troubling allegations regarding the encroaching bougainvillea (someone should start a blog called The Encroaching Bougainvillaea) were revealed by the famous trio of investigative reporters, Wan Sakinah A. Saburi, Nisrin Othman, and Kalbana Perimbanayagam, who as you may recall previously combined to rock the establishment with the sordid story Voucher for facial not valid.

Finally, a small step in the right direction in Whitby, as one of that town’s notorious maniacs has been sentenced to jail at long last.

Like a drunken insect

In Seattle a new form of bias has been discovered: summer breakism. While not specifically racist, according to Caprice Hollins, the Director for the Office of Equity and Race Relations for the Seattle Schools, summer break is an example of a “systemic problem” which verges on racism because “summer break serves no educational purpose” and “puts struggling [i.e. black and Latino] students further behind.” I don’t know what Ms. Hollins wants, but voluntary summer school could be created. If it were, I’m sure a lot of Asian parents would force their kids to attend.

Another unusual type of prejudice that’s rarely discussed is Intergalactic Racism. Most people think extraterrestrials only abduct white people, but that’s only true of the grey extraterrestrials. As this story from Canada’s finest newspaper recounts, white skinned aliens (including one sporting red pubic-hair) have been coming to this planet and targeting blacks for harassment. Potential abductees take note, there seems to be a convenient and effective means of self defense against these beings:
“I urinated straight into the chest of the creature which had pulled the thing out of my organ.

And if I had shot the creature, it would never have reacted as it did. It jerked away and nearly fell, and then it recovered and staggered away like a drunken insect, and left the room. I don't know whether my urine did it; I don't know. But that is what happened.”