happy birthday gary larson

The creator of The Far Side turns 63 today!  Besides Calvin and Hobbes this has got to be my favorite comic.  Both of these can make me laugh out loud, especially when I flip through comic after comic in an anthology.

I was going to post a few of my favorite The Far Side comics below, but then I found this open letter from Larson himself.

I am not actually quite sure how I feel about it, so I think I am going to mull it over for a bit and not publish anything of his.

If for some reason you are not familiar with The Far Side you should remedy this immediately by going to the closest book store/library and checking out some of his books.  Really really good stuff!

Happy Birthday Gary Larson!

 

source: geekosystem.com

 

silly post alert

Just this week I discovered something wonderful called “Tumblr Gets Deep” on Pleated-Jeans.com.  Basically this is a series of posts that are a collection of screen grabs of various conversations on Tumblr.  I posted a whole bunch below because I think they are all funny and I didn’t want to make the decision about which ones I saved to not include.

Here goes….get ready to laugh.

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ok this is great

Well we all know that Jay-Z has 99 problems (but a b#^@h ain’t one).  But what ARE the major problems of this multimillionaire star?  Check out Ali Graham’s tumblr to see daily postings.

Because even though he is famous and has money, let’s not forget that rappers still have feelings.

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that time with the cat

I recently remembered this event from my childhood and thought I would share it with you all.

When I was still living in Belarus I spent a lot of my time with one friend in particular (I can’t even remember her name now) and our favorite activity was roamin’ around our neighborhood.  We would go to different playgrounds, parks, the nearby woods, and generally completely disobey the boundaries set out by our parents of where we were allowed to go.   I remember we would even sometimes take the bus a few stops without paying (it was an honor system at the time), which I am pretty sure I also wasn’t allowed to do.  I would have been seven or eight at the time and Minsk is a very big city but from what I remember I almost always felt safe.

Anyway, one day on one of our outings we spotted a cat that was also probably just roaming around and minding its own business.  We didn’t see a collar on it so we naturally came to the following two conclusions.  One, it didn’t have a home.  Two, we were the perfect people to take this cat in. Despite the fact that we lived in different apartment buildings I think we had a plan to own this cat together, the details of which I am sure we were planning to figure out later.  We carried this cat to my friend’s apartment, gave it a bath (!), blew dry its fur (!!), and, having decided that we wanted to go back outside to play some more, stuck the cat into a cupboard under some bookshelves, closed the doors, and left.  What still surprises me to this day is how complacent this cat was.  I don’t remember how much of a fight it put up, but when I think about how  my current cat gets when I even hold him for too long, I am quite surprised my friend and I lived through the experience and still kept our eyes.

A few hours later we returned to the previously empty apartment to realize that my friend’s mother had come home.  I am pretty sure that at this point we also assumed that we could have a secret pet cat.  We nonchalantly said hello and made our way into the room with the hidden cat only to discover that the cat was nowhere to be found.  Had it fled?

It was at this point that my friend’s mother came into the room and with the vaguest trace of a smile across her face asked what we were looking for.  I believe we weren’t too quick on giving up the truth about our feline friend, but when the mother said she came home to find an empty apartment with a well-groomed cat hanging about, we knew the jig was up.  She also told us that she had taken the cat outside and let it go.

I can’t remember what happened at this point.  I am not sure if my friend got into any trouble and I also can’t remember if I said anything about this to my parents.  I have a vague recollection of trying to find this cat on our next few adventures in the neighborhood but I could be wrong about that as well.

What really interests me now is how the rest of that cat’s day went.  Did it actually have a home to go back to at which it later presented itself smelling of shampoo, its fur now slightly puffier than it had been when it left?  Did it spend a few hours contemplating what had happened and trying to find some sort of rationale for the events of the day?  Did it actually spot us first at a later date and ran for the hills?  Or, did it try to find us the next time it wanted a free meal and a wash and blow out?

I will never know.  All I really hope is that we didn’t traumatize that poor animal.  We were just trying to give it a good home.

source: whiteeecrow.wordpress.com

out of context

When I was in university a number of my professors warned their students of the dangers of reading (and believing) “pop” publications regarding any sort of scientific findings.  I studied Psychology and Anthropology, both of which are fairly popular in the general population and therefore often new findings in both disciplines get write ups in major national and international publications.  The problem however is that many journalists writing for such newspapers, magazines, and websites do not have the proper background to fully understand the content of academic papers, in which the original findings are generally printed.  In addition, many are taxed with the role of making these new discoveries or research findings interesting to the common reader, which often leads to over the top simplification and/or sensationalizing of facts.

Out of Context Science is a tumblr blog that pokes fun at this very idea.

Good science, badly quoted. Removing knowledge from context and leaving something that’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes strange, and, hopefully, completely absurd.

In order for quotes to be posted the submission must follow the rules, which include that they must come from a peer-reviewed journal (or another respected source), the original source cannot be behind a paywall, and technical science terminology is to be avoided.

And what remains is a whole lotta fun!  I particularly like that you can click on the links to read the original articles.

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cats + t. s. eliot + edward gorey = <3

In 1939 a book called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot was published.  Its content based on poems about cats that Eliot wrote for his godchildren.  In 1982 the book was re-published with illustrations from none other than the wonderful Edward Gorey.  Here are some of those illustrations along with one of the poems which I find to be incredibly endearing.

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THE AD-DRESSING OF CATS

You’ve read of several kinds of Cat,
And my opinion now is that
You should need no interpreter
To understand their character.
You now have learned enough to see
That Cats are much like you and me
And other people whom we find
Possessed of various types of mind.
For some are sane and some are mad
And some are good and some are bad
And some are better, some are worse –
But all may be described in verse.
You’ve seen them both at work and games,
And learnt about their proper names,
Their habits and their habitat:
But

How would you ad-dress a Cat?

So first, your memory I’ll jog,
And say: A CAT IS NOT A DOG.

Now Dogs pretend they like to fight;
They often bark, more seldom bite;
But yet a Dog is, on the whole,
What you would call a simple soul.
Of course I’m not including Pekes,
And such fantastic canine freaks.
The usual Dog about the Town
Is much inclined to play the clown,
And far from showing too much pride
Is frequently undignified.
He’s very easily taken in –
Just chuck him underneath the chin
Or slap his back or shake his paw,
And he will gambol and guffaw.
He’s such an easy-going lout,
He’ll answer any hail or shout.

Again I must remind you that
A Dog’s a Dog — A CAT’S A CAT.

With Cats, some say, one rule is true:
Don’t speak till you are spoken to.
Myself, I do not hold with that –
I say, you should ad-dress a Cat.
But always keep in mind that he
Resents familiarity.
I bow, and taking off my hat,
Ad-dress him in this form: O CAT!
But if he is the Cat next door,
Whom I have often met before
(He comes to see me in my flat)
I greet him with an OOPSA CAT!
I’ve heard them call him James Buz-James –
But we’ve not got so far as names.
Before a Cat will condescend
To treat you as a trusted friend,
Some little token of esteem
Is needed, like a dish of cream;
And you might now and then supply
Some caviare, or Strassburg Pie,
Some potted grouse, or salmon paste –
He’s sure to have his personal taste.
(I know a Cat, who makes a habit
Of eating nothing else but rabbit,
And when he’s finished, licks his paws
So’s not to waste the onion sauce.)
A Cat’s entitled to expect
These evidences of respect.
And so in time you reach your aim,
And finally call him by his NAME.

So this is this, and that is that:
And there’s how you AD-DRESS A CAT.

phil hartman

Yesterday was the anniversary of Phil Hartman’s death who was killed by his wife on May 28, 1998 before she committed suicide a few hours later.  Talking to a friend we realized that unfortunately at the time there was very little conversation around mental illness (Brynn Hartman suffered from symptoms of depression and was taking Zoloft at the time of the murder) and the story was unfortunately spun mostly with the “crazy jealous wife” angle.

No matter the reasons behind this tragedy, it was a very sad day for the entertainment industry and fans alike.  I think my appreciation for his talent has only grown over time and I was reminded of it today while I browsed for pictures and videos for this post.  For those who may not be aware, aside from his roles on Saturday Night Live and NewsRadio, he appeared regularly on The Simpsons, most often as the voices of Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz (both characters were retired after Hartman’s death).  He was also slated to be do the voice of Zapp Brannigan on Futurama, which, if you are a fan of the show, you know would have been amazing!

There are so many amazing clips I would love to post that highlight his hilarity but I will refrain from a bombardment of them and limit myself to two.

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!

 

You may remember me from…

 

Also this, from one of my all time favorite movies.

RIP Phil.