The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 28th, 2015: Geek Grins & Groaners

A friend ‘from at work’, as we say in our families, provided the topic for today’s thread – which was particularly nice and thoughtful of her, as she was home recovering from surgery. As she put it, “Thought you might find these entertaining. Or I just found them funnier then normal because they gave me the good drugs!”

So today we present: GEEK JOKES, or, more properly titled, “26 Jokes That Only Intellectuals Will Get.” Here’s a couple of my favorites:

HOW MANY SURREALISTS DOES IT TAKE TO SCREW IN A LIGHT BULB?   A FISH.

and,

SODIUM, SODIUM, SODIUM, SODIUM, SODIUM, SODIUM, SODIUM, SODIUM, BATMAN!

or how about,

WHAT DO YOU GET WHEN YOU PUT ROOT BEER IN A SQUARE GLASS?   BEER.

Okay, so they’re mostly groaners, but I found them amusing. Enjoy!

This is our daily Open Thread. Go ahead and grin, groan, grimace, gripe, or, sadly, grieve.

Rest In Peace, Leonard Nimoy. Now that your soul has “slipped the surly bonds of Earth”, may it travel among the stars and galaxies unencumbered, your immortality ensured.

Sunday Roast: Road Trip!

idaho

I’ve been feeling antsy lately, and winter isn’t making an appearance in the northwest this year, so I decided yesterday that I’m taking a road trip.  I’d love to finally take that trip to the Grand Canyon, but the time of year is still too iffy, so it’s a trip to Idaho to see my baby boy and friends — the few people who aren’t…um, odd…well…kinda sorta…er, nevermind.

All y’all try not to miss me too much, and I’ll see you next weekend — possibly in time to post my next Sunday Roast.  Maybe.  ;)

This is our daily open thread — I’m off to the Gem State (it’s not all potatoes, ya know).

The Frozen Hole, Saturday, February 21st, 2015: M-m-m-more S-s-s-snow?!

It seems like more than half the country is getting hit by more snow, ice, and other nasty cold stuff through this weekend.

We humans are just not designed for this. So, everyone stay warm inside and have a look at lots of animals who were much better designed for snow than we are. As usual, thanks to The Weather Channel for gathering the pics in this slideshow. While they do include some of my favorite ‘snow’ animals, such as the snow leopard:
snow-leopard-normalI think they were a bit remiss in not including others of my favorite snow-loving animals, like the Arctic Fox:
Arctic-fox-Wallpaper-arctic-fox-muzzle-eyes-snowAnd not a single one of Arctic Hares, either:

Arctic Hares High-Fiving

Arctic Hares High-Fiving

But I have to say that my favorite ‘wildlife-in-snow’ themed photo that ISN’T in the slideshow is this one:

"Hey, maybe one of you two cubs is small enough to reach in there..."

“Hey, maybe one of you two cubs is small enough to reach in there…”

This is our daily Open Thread – if you’re reading this from somewhere with no snow, please think warm thoughts towards the rest of us!

Sunday Roast: Happy Birthday, Pale Blue Dot!

I’m only a day late, but it’s been 25 years (yesterday) since the famous photo was taken by Voyager 1.

I don’t know about all y’all, but every time I hear Carl Sagan talking about “the only home we’ve ever known,” I weep like a baby.  It’s so hopeful, but, at the same time, it’s a severe reality check.

This is our daily open thread — Remember, we’re all in this together.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 14th, 2015: Intelligence

happy_valentines_day_by_plusonedead cupid

And with that tribute to Saint Valentine out of the way, let’s move on…

Last night on Bill Maher, David Duchovny was the second interview guest, promoting his new novel, “Holy Cow!” The book, according to USA Today, is “…about a talking cow, pig and turkey that go on the lam when they discover they’re destined for the dinner table.” During the interview, Duchovny discussed (in part) animal rights, and briefly mentioned that cases were being brought to court regarding captive chimpanzees.

His mention of the chimpanzee cases coincided with an article from BuzzFeed that I was in the middle of reading just before Real Time started. The article, “People Are Animals, Too” by Peter Aldhous, opens with a couple of paragraphs about the Nonhuman Rights Project’s Steven Wise, who is arguing for “personhood” under New York State law for a chimpanzee called ‘Tommy.’ Here’s an excerpt:

“Central to Wise’s arguments in Tommy’s case, and to similar suits his organization has filed on behalf of other captive chimpanzees, is the assertion that apes are highly intelligent and self-aware beings with complex emotional lives. “The uncontroverted facts demonstrate that chimpanzees possess the autonomy and self-determination that are supreme common law values,” Wise told the five judges hearing the case.”

The article discusses aspects of various studies on animal intelligence, touching on crows, scrub jays, wolves, even octopi and cuttlefish. And, of course, no article on animal intelligence would be complete without a mention, however brief, of my co-worker’s friends’ son, Josh Plotnik, whose college studies and subsequent career I have been made aware of, and have been jealous of because he gets to study elephants. From the article:

“Some researchers working on vertebrate cognition, meanwhile, are starting to reject the field’s anthropocentric biases. In Thailand’s Golden Triangle, Josh Plotnik of the University of Cambridge works at a luxury resort that is home to a group of elephants, which, when not giving rides to tourists, take part in his research. Plotnik started with the usual roster of experiments tried on young children and chimps, including the mirror test. But he now realizes that he needs to better understand the elephants’ sensory world — dominated by odors and low-frequency sounds — before he can work out how to explore the full scope of their cognitive abilities.

“It would be very unethical of me to take all of the chimp experiments and just run them on the elephants,” Plotnik says. “I’d be publishing all these negative results, saying: ‘Elephants can’t do this. Elephants can’t do that.’ When in fact, they probably could, if we asked the questions the right way.”

Speaking of elephants, it was on a Valentine’s Day, maybe 35 years ago, when an Indian elephant wrapped its trunk around my arm to pull me closer, and a tiger thoroughly washed my hand – certainly the most unusual Valentine’s Day I’ve ever experienced. So I guess this turned out to be a sort of Valentine’s Day thread after all. Oh, well!
Happy Valentines Day Wallpaper

This is our daily Open Thread, so, open up!

Sunday Roast: Ohhhhh, the poor poor widdle Christians

Seriously, how many ways is this just SO wrong?

These morons are giving “teh gay” so much power in their pitiful little lives, and it’s just pathetic.

OMG, allowing gay people the same human rights that the rest us so precariously enjoy will ruin EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!  If anyone voices an opinion or belief contrary to our own, we won’t be allowed to be “Christians” anymore!!!

drama-queen-i9063

Here’s your damn crown.  *eyes rolling*

This is our daily open thread –No I’m not dignifying the stupid film with commentary.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, February 7th, 2015: Infrastructure!

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Tappan Zee Bridge (photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org)

The Tappan Zee Bridge, which connects southern New York’s Westchester County on the east bank of the Hudson River with Rockland County on the west bank, was ceremoniously opened to traffic on December 15th, 1955, the day before I was born.

NY "Daily News" special Tappan Zee Bridge Edition, Wednesday, December 14, 1955

NY “Daily News” special Tappan Zee Bridge Edition, Wednesday, December 14, 1955

Like millions of others, I’ve crossed that bridge many, many times, and each time I’ve marveled at how the western end of the bridge seems to dip down so close to the river. In photos from the eastern side, more than three miles away, it almost looks like it’s descending into a tunnel. At its highest point, if one has a chance to look up and down this section of the river, one can – even with today’s manmade clutter – understand why the awesome Hudson River inspired its own art genre.

While not a widely renowned bridge – after all, New York has the infinitely more famous and familiar George Washington Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge – a lot more Americans are likely to become aware of its existence in the near future. And I have a feeling that a lot of Republicans will soon loathe the sight of it, simply because President Obama has put an image of the bridge on the front cover of his proposed 2016 budget.

President Obama's 2016 budget proposal cover

President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal cover (photo courtesy of the White House)

The Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement is one of the infrastructure projects now under construction thanks to President Obama’s Stimulus Plan. According to the Tarrytown, NY, online Patch newspaper, in a statement issued by the White House, the reason why an image of the Tappan Zee Bridge made the 2016 Budget cover is actually pretty obvious:

“If a budget is a reflection of our priorities as a nation, why shouldn’t the cover be the same? One of the President’s key priorities in his 2016 budget is to modernize our public infrastructure — something our roads, bridges, and ports desperately need. So instead of the plain blue budget cover that administrations typically affix to the budget, this year’s cover features the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York — one of the bridges that has benefited from the President’s previous investments in infrastructure upgrades.”

As a New Yorker and a Liberal, it pleases me no end that, when Boehner and other prominent stimulus-deniers do their usual routines of waving a copy of the President’s proposed budget while decrying the contents, they’ll be displaying not only one of the President’s successful stimulus projects, but one of the Empire State’s iconic bridges. So this is, to me, a great big New York “Fuck you, Pal!” to conservatives – sweeeeeeet!

This is our daily Open Thread. Feel free to talk about infrastructure, budgets, or whatever else you wish.