Quotulatiousness

July 25, 2016

QotD: The Nac Mac Feegle

Filed under: Humour, Law, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

“They think written words are even more powerful,” whispered the toad. “They think all writing is magic. Words worry them. See their swords? They glow blue in the presence of lawyers.”

Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men, 2003.

July 24, 2016

Rubber Duckies – The Return of Angel and Snake I OUTTAKES

Filed under: History, Humour — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 23 Jul 2016

Time for another glimpse into the mind of Indy Neidell.

July 20, 2016

QotD: Translating the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Filed under: Humour, India, Quotations, Religion — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Flashman […] describes a scene where an English vicar preached to the sepoys (native Indian soldiers) on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, through a native (Muslim) NCO interpreter, who made fun of the story:

    “There was a zamindar, with two sons. He was a mad zamindar, for while he yet a lived he gave to the younger his portion of the inheritance. Doubtless he raised it from moneylender. And the younger spent it all whoring in the bazaar, and drinking sherab. And when his money was gone he returned home, and his father ran to meet him, for he was pleased — God alone knows why. And in his foolishness, the father slew his only cow — he was evidently not a Hindoo — and they feasted on it. And the older son, who had been dutiful and stayed at home, was jealous, I cannot tell for what reason, unless the cow was to have been part of his inheritance. But his father, who did not like him, rebuked the older son. This story was told by Jesus the Jew, and if you believe it you will not go to Paradise, but instead will sit on the right-hand side of the English Lord God Sahib who lives in Calcutta. And there you will play musical instruments, by order of the Sirkar. Parade — dismiss!”

Flashman said he had never felt so embarrassed for his church and country in his life.

John Derbyshire, “A Reader Proposes An Anti-Cuckservative Reading List–Starting With FLASHMAN”, VDARE, 2016-07-05.

July 18, 2016

QotD: Mediocrity

Filed under: Humour, Quotations — Tags: — Nicholas @ 01:00

Moreover, as Somerset Maugham said, only a mediocre writer is always at his best, to which one might add that mediocrity is necessary for us to know what the best actually is. Mediocrities therefore perform a valuable service; they also serve who only stand and act routinely.

Some are born mediocre, some achieve mediocrity, and some have mediocrity thrust upon them. I don’t want to boast, but whenever I have sat on a committee, which I have always tried to avoid, my mind suddenly runs to unaccustomed platitudes, and I hear myself saying the most obvious and self-evident things as if they were revelations. There is something about a committee that fosters mediocrity; on a committee, one becomes as individual as a lemming and as colorful as Pravda.

Theodore Dalrymple, “Rise of the Middling”, Taki’s Magazine, 2016-07-09.

July 15, 2016

Even the Laundry have to scramble with the new UK government coming in

Filed under: Britain, Humour — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

The Laundry, of course, is the unofficial name of the British occult secret intelligence service. Here, “Bob Howard” recounts the sudden organizational panic triggered by the unexpected change of government after the Brexit vote in CASE NIGHTMARE BLOND.

July 14, 2016

QotD: Anti-semitism

Filed under: Humour, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

I have to admit, I’ve never minded being the only Jew in a room full of anti-Semites. To be surrounded by people who sincerely believe you have preternatural inborn powers and abilities is actually quite the ego boost. When dealing with the segment of the alt-right that isn’t terribly fond of folks of the Jewish persuasion, I take absolutely no offense at any barbs thrown my way. Frankly, I can’t understand why that sawed-off pip-squeak egotist Ben Shapiro doesn’t join me. He was always the type to pick and choose his friends for maximum ego-stroking. He ought to migrate to the alt-right; you’ve never been verbally fellated until you’ve been accused of being an evil, all-powerful, world-controlling demigod.

Hell, the alt-right won’t even let me cop to mistakes. When I tell some of my “fans” that, as a neocon, I supported the invasion of Iraq under a very mistaken belief that the outcome would be much better than it was, I’m always told, “Save them lies for the sheeple. You know damn well you Jews planned this whole thing — ISIS, anarchy, the refugee crisis, all so’s you can flood the West with mud people and build your damn ‘Greater Israel.’ Jews don’t make mistakes; they always know what they’re doing.”

Well, you got me there, crackerbarrel. Can’t put anything past you. We Jews are way too smart to ever make a clumsy misjudgment of such massive significance.

David Cole, “Prom Night Trumpster Babies”, Taki’s Magazine, 2016-06-30.

July 5, 2016

QotD: A government reform proposal

Filed under: Government, Humour, Law, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

I propose that it shall be no longer malum in se for a citizen to pummel, cowhide, kick, gouge, cut, wound, bruise, maim, burn, club, bastinado, flay, or even lynch a [government] jobholder, and that it shall be malum prohibitum only to the extent that the punishment exceeds the jobholder’s deserts. The amount of this excess, if any, may be determined very conveniently by a petit jury, as other questions of guilt are now determined. The flogged judge, or Congressman, or other jobholder, on being discharged from hospital — or his chief heir, in case he has perished — goes before a grand jury and makes a complaint, and, if a true bill is found, a petit jury is empaneled and all the evidence is put before it. If it decides that the jobholder deserves the punishment inflicted upon him, the citizen who inflicted it is acquitted with honor. If, on the contrary, it decides that this punishment was excessive, then the citizen is adjudged guilty of assault, mayhem, murder, or whatever it is, in a degree apportioned to the difference between what the jobholder deserved and what he got, and punishment for that excess follows in the usual course.

H.L. Mencken, “The Malevolent Jobholder”, The American Mercury, 1924-06.

July 1, 2016

QotD: The USA is finally over the War of 1812

Filed under: Cancon, History, Humour, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

On behalf of the United States of America and the Department of Defense, I wish our partners in North American defense a very Happy Canada Day.

We have long stood on the same team, as allies, except for the War of 1812, which was 200 years ago and no one really remembers that anymore. I certainly don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how insane it would be to ever trust a Canadian, and definitely never think about how fast and easy it would be to grow the United States from 50 states to 60.

This day celebrates over 148 years of a united Canada, one of the most peaceful, democratic and stable nations on Earth. You are an example to the world, and we as Americans celebrate alongside you, not to keep an eye on what you’re doing to make sure you don’t start building a coalition to say, bombard Baltimore Harbor again, but because the lessons of the past make us stronger together. And really, we should be even closer together.

Canada Day recognizes the day in which three independent colonies united as one Canada. America, too, is a nation of independent colonies, united under a shared vision of liberty and justice for all. If one were to really think about it, it would make a lot of sense to have a larger America, from sea to shining Arctic sea, and really it probably would have happened a century ago if some of the colonies wouldn’t have started backing the British, even after they interfered with Atlantic shipping.

We could have called it, I don’t know, “Amerida” for a while, but honestly United States of America is a great name so I think we’d just go for that. Occasionally I toy around with thinking about how we could have solved that bi-lingualism burden Canada has. Like Montreal, Atlanta was a beautiful, old world city too — until November 16, 1864. I think we’d get rid of that quirky metric system, too. If you ask me, freedom isn’t divisible by ten. But that’s certainly not the kind of thing that I’d think about on Canada Day. Canada Day is a joyful day for celebration.

“Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter”, “SECDEF: This Canada Day, We Are Totally Over War Of 1812”, Duffelblog, 2015-07-01.

June 17, 2016

QotD: That time that Jeremy Clarkson sabotaged a Reliant Robin for a Top Gear segment

Filed under: Britain, Humour, Media, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Here’s what Clarkson confessed to the Sunday Times:

    TO JUDGE from the letters I get and the remarks in the street, it seems the most memorable thing I did on Top Gear was a short segment about the Reliant Robin. You may remember: I drove it around Sheffield and it kept falling over.

    Well, now’s the time to come clean. A normal Reliant Robin will not roll unless a drunken rugby team is on hand. Or it’s windy. But in a headlong drive to amuse and entertain, I’d asked the backroom boys to play around with the differential so that the poor little thing rolled over every time I turned the steering wheel.

    Naturally, the health and safety department was very worried about this and insisted that the car be fitted with a small hammer that I could use, in case I was trapped after the roll, to break what was left of the glass.

Reliant sold plenty of cheap, usable little three-wheelers, and somehow managed to never be charged for crimes against humanity. The cars weren’t the most stable things in the world (no pointy-fronted three-wheeler is) but they certainly didn’t tumble around like a roofie’d Mary Lou Retton at every turn.

Jason Torchinsky, “Clarkson Reveals Bombshell: Top Gear Modified Reliant Robins To Make Them Roll”, Jalopnik, 2016-01-13.

June 15, 2016

QotD: American secular puritanism

Filed under: Humour, Politics, Quotations, USA — Tags: — Nicholas @ 01:00

If there is one mental vice, indeed, which sets off the American people from all other folks who walk the earth … it is that of assuming that every human act must be either right or wrong, and that ninety-nine percent of them are wrong.

H.L. Mencken, “The American: His New Puritanism”, The Smart Set, 1914-02.

June 12, 2016

QotD: Women and men

Filed under: Humour, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Women have a hard time of it in this world. They are oppressed by man-made laws, man-made social customs, masculine egoism, the delusion of masculine superiority. Their one comfort is the assurance that, even though it may be impossible to prevail against man, it is always possible to enslave and torture a man.

H.L. Mencken, “Duty Before Security”, The Smart Set, 1919-06.

June 7, 2016

QotD: The 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo

Filed under: Humour, Quotations, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

1977 was nearing the nadir (what a fortunate homonym!) of American automotive performance.

The base Monte Carlo of Jimmy Carter’s inaugural year shipped with a 2-bbl 305 cubic inch V8 that wheezed out an underwhelming 140 net horsepower. This gasping iron-block lungfish was plopped in a “midsize” car so big that the average NFL team would probably need two running plays to get from the hood ornament to the trunk latch.

But it sure looked good, and any Cletus with a wrench and a SuperShop in the neighborhood strip mall could unlock a lot more power out of that motor…

Tamara Keel, “Automotif CXXVI…”, View from the porch, 2016-05-28.

June 4, 2016

The tale of the Good Samaritan, updated for modern times

Filed under: Humour, Religion — Tags: — Nicholas @ 02:00

James Bryant assures me that this isn’t original to him, but he doesn’t recall where he first encountered it. I thought it was a very appropriate re-telling of the old story:

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

But then two social workers, as they journeyed, came where he was: and when they saw him, were moved by a deep compassion.

And as they passed by on the other side one said unto the other “Whoever did that needs our help.”

May 17, 2016

Charles Stross updates a classic WW2 field guide – a dot-com sabotage manual

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Business, Humour — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Many people have noted that the sabotage techniques listed in a Second World War espionage manual seem to have somehow migrated into a lot of management texts in the last few decades. Here he imagines what an updated version of the manual might look like:

In 1944, the Office of Strategic Services — the predecessor of the post-war CIA — was concerned with sabotage directed against enemies of the US military. Among their ephemera, declassified and published today by the CIA, is a fascinating document called the Simple Sabotage Field Manual (PDF). It’s not just about blowing things up; a lot of its tips are concerned with how sympathizers with the allied cause can impair enemy material production and morale […]

So it occurred to me a week or two ago to ask (on twitter) the question, “what would a modern-day version of this manual look like if it was intended to sabotage a rival dot-com or high tech startup company”? And the obvious answer is “send your best bad managers over to join in admin roles and run their hapless enemy into the ground”. But what actual policies should they impose for best effect?

  1. Obviously, engineers and software developers (who require deep focus time) need to be kept in touch with the beating heart of the enterprise. So open-plan offices are mandatory for all.
  2. Teams are better than individuals and everyone has to be aware of the valuable contributions of employees in other roles. So let’s team every programmer with a sales person — preferably working the phones at the same desk — and stack-rank them on the basis of each pair’s combined quarterly contribution to the corporate bottom line.
  3. It is the job of Human Resources to ensure that nobody rocks the boat. Anyone attempting to blow whistles or complain of harassment is a boat-rocker. You know what needs to be done.
  4. Senior managers should all be “A” Players (per Jack Welch’s vitality model — see “stack ranking” above) so we should promote managers who are energetic, inspirational, and charismatic risk-takers.
  5. The company must have a strong sense of intense focus. So we must have a clean desk policy — any personal possessions left on the desk or cubicle walls at the end of the day go in the trash. In fact, we can go a step further and institute hot desking — we will establish an average developer’s workstation requirements and provide it for everyone at every desk.

This would explain some of the management policies at a few places I’ve worked at over the years…including the software company where I first met Charlie.

May 15, 2016

Confirmed: Brexit would mean human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Filed under: Britain, Europe, Humour — Tags: — Nicholas @ 03:00

Published on 11 May 2016

Midlands News lays out the unbiased facts on Brexit, including its devastating effect on Americans, polar bears and old people who can’t swim. For more details visit www.doreen.tv, or better still just vote the way you’re told.

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