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July 1, 2013

Repeal the Internet: The MadLibs version

Here’s the MadLibs version of the Robert Samuelson paragraph about repealing the Internet. Have fun!

If I could, I would repeal                . It is the       adj          marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities:        trivial example        ,      trivial example          ,     wrong example          , and much more. But the                ’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous transformative technologies, and it brings with it a terrifying danger:                . Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

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I give up. Repeal everything.

Robert Samuelson has an apparently serious op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that we should “repeal the Internet.”

He says:

If I could, I would repeal the Internet. It is the technological marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the instant access to vast amounts of information, the pleasures of YouTube and iTunes, the convenience of GPS and much more. But the Internet’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous transformative technologies, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: cyberwar. Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

Excellent idea! Really well-argued! In fact, why stop there?

If I could, I would repeal the First Amendment. It is the governmental marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the TV talking heads, the bumperstickers, the op-eds that have to overstate their case to get published, and much more. But First Amendment’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous speech rights, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: free thinking. Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

Indeed,

If I could, I would repeal oxygen. It is the chemical marvel of the age, but it is not — as most people imagine — a symbol of progress. Just the opposite. We would be better off without it. I grant its astonishing capabilities: the way it’s used by cigarette lighters, the buoyancy of kiddie swim fins, the infomercials that entertain us with how it helps remove cranberry juice from table cloths. But oxygen’s benefits are relatively modest compared with previous chemicals, and it brings with it a terrifying danger: life on Earth Amid the controversy over leaks from the National Security Agency, this looms as an even bigger downside.

 


Here’s the MadLibs version of the paragraph. Create your own!

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June 30, 2013

Things to Worry About #645

See also: First World Problems

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June 23, 2013

Top, oh, 14 ways to tell you’re in a hip hotel

  1. It’s named a letter, a number, a letter or number spelled out as a word, or has some completely generic name, like “Hotel.”

  2. The entire staff at the reception desk put together weighs less than one standard American.

  3. Color in the lobby is taken as an affront to style.

  4. The minibar only has liquors you’ve never heard of, except for the beer which is Bud.

  5. Your room’s waste basket is so well-hidden that you don’t discover it until Day Three.

  6. They would rather let the shower flood the bathroom floor than put in a shower curtain or frosted door.

  7. There’s a full-length mirror in the shower.

  8. There’s a window to the outside in the shower. (Not only have I been in that hotel, but the window was frosted up to waist level. Holy sexist voyeurism, Batman!)

  9. Irregular furniture has sharp, shin-barking edges that are invisible at night.

  10. The pad of paper on the nightstand is made out of hemp and is accompanied by an old-fashioned pencil to encourage you to be authentic.

  11. The hotel restaurant (if there is one) only serves tiny, tiny food.

  12. If there is a concierge, and there probably isn’t, that person is called “city coach” or “wrangler,” or anything except “concierge.”

  13. If there is room service, the menu offers only kiddie food, but at adult prices: PB&J for $14, grilled American cheese on white bread for $18, and the mac ‘n’ cheese requires a credit check.

  14. The TV only gets ironic channels.

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May 20, 2013

The New Yorker Caption Contest is making me an embittered, broken man

My offering has once again been passed over by the cruel gods that rule the New Yorker Caption contest.

The cartoon shows Noah’s ark filled with giraffes. Noah is talking to what seems to be a young woman. (I describe it because I can’t find a unique url for it.) The selected entries are:

  1. “I wouldn’t say ‘favorite’ animal.”

  2. “Mistakes were made.”

  3. “I have trouble saying no.”

Here’s my rejected caption:

“That’s ok. Everyone has trouble with Excel at first.”

Ok, it’s not so great. But head to head against number 2 above, no?

Someday, Caption Contest, someday…!

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April 23, 2013

Game of Friends

Hat tip to Reddit.

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January 30, 2013

I wuz robbed by The New Yorker!

The current finalist punchlines for the New Yorkers’ Cartoon Caption Contest have been announced, and mine was not among them. The only possible explanation is that Big Money — you know, the Boss Men, the Ward Heelers, the Gang of 50, the Backstreet Boys — have wielded their influence to lock me out once again.

For this week only you can see the cartoon in question here. For the sake of posterity and in the name of eternal justice, allow me to describe the set-up comic: A mob boss, Godfather-style, is sitting with three henchmen at a table. Standing right behind them, more or less also at the table, is a horse dressed in a suit, ridden by a NYC-style mounted policeman. All are facing forward and all seem to be listening to the boss. High-larious just by itself!

The three finalists are:

  1. I smell a horse

  2. I hope they don’t crack. The cops are riding him pretty hard.

  3. Because PETA said we can’t whack him.

As the quality of the finalists show, this was not a fecund cartoon. Indeed, there is, of course, only one correct punchline, which I courteously supplied:

“And the last item on the agenda: We have to look into this new Preakness Protection Program we’ve been hearing about.”

Look, I’m not saying that The New Yorker owes me anything. No, it’s Justice, Truth, and Science that are saying so.

In any event, I’m voting for #3.

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December 29, 2012

Excellent PSA. Bad Algorithm.

This is a terrific public service announcement about the Special Olympics.

youtubescreencapt

Unfortunately, take a look at the upper right at what YouTube thinks is a related video you might enjoy:

Retarded Elephant Running

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December 15, 2012

An app idea

Sure, laugh, but what an opportunity! We need an app that lets you adjust the size of an on-screen grid in order to guide your knife cuts. Everyone becomes a master chef! Million dollar idea! I give it to you for free!

(Hat tip to Bob Morris and Gregor Hagedorn.)

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November 24, 2012

What hath Curiosity discovered on Mars?

NASA, getting all sciency on us, is apparently sitting on a potentially historic discovery by the Curiosity rover on Mars until further tests can confirm it.

Confirm shmonfirm! This is the Internet! What do you think Curiosity has discovered on Mars?

    An AOL CD offering 500 free hours?

  • OJ’s footprint?

  • A copy of Ray Bradbury’s “The Earthling Chronicles”?

  • A black slab with “BRB” written on it?

  • ….?

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