You don’t run across this kind of stuff every day (anymore)

It used to be that the web was nothing but sites like this: rambling, semi-coherent… well, webs of absurdist humor with no interest in or consideration of making money or doing anything other than amusing an inner circle and confusing everyone else. Speaking of inner circles, there’s a fair amount of stuff on here devoted to Ayn Rand, but not as a genuine disciple of her grandiose quasi-philosophizing; rather, in parody and/or mockery of it.

I was particularly intrigued when I read the microprint at the bottom of the page and saw a passing thanks to someone who, while surely not the singular worldwide owner of his particular name, is nonetheless unique enough that I suspect he is in fact the same person I went to high school with, but who now lives in Sweden. I’m not sure what he’s up to these days, but seeing as his greatest claim to fame in the early ’90s was having screen printed a number of t-shirts featuring a blow-up of a frame from Bloom County, wherein a generic “Liberal” — who happened to bear an uncanny resemblance to our band director — is popping prairie dog-like out of a hole in the ground* and shouting “No nukes!”, the connection would not surprise me.

And if you’re able to make any sense out of that last sentence, then you might enjoy reading on…

*OK, it’s not a hole in the ground; it’s a bush. But I was describing it from memory prior to my excessive amount of searching for the image finally bearing fruit, and afterwards I didn’t feel like rewriting the sentence.

Ready to vomit? Here you go…

On most days I spend a little time perusing Wired for random and interesting articles. Random and interesting doesn’t always mean “pleasant” or “not-utterly-repulsive” however, and so it was today.

Gallery: The Most Curious Canned Goods Found Online

Yes, they’re pretty nasty. Especially the boiled duck embryos. But if you’re not retching yet, be sure to check out the shocking cholesterol content in a can of Pork Brains in Milk Gravy. Just don’t tell your cardiologist! I think even reading about the stuff might give you a heart attack.

Nietzsche Family Circus

It wasn’t my idea, and I didn’t find it on my own. Even the clever quip about it isn’t mine, but it’s just so good, I have to quote it verbatim from Wired: “What do you get when you pair random Family Circus cartoons with random Nietzsche quotes? I don’t know, but it’s a lot funnier than The Family Circus.”

And here it is.

The Political Compass

For some time, I’ve had my web browser configured with its start page set to the random article link on Wikipedia:

The effect is that every time I open my browser, a new, random article on Wikipedia loads, which can often be severely distracting (so I make sure not to use this configuration at work!), but it’s almost always very interesting.

For instance, today the random link led me to this site:

Despite my skeptical view of questionnaires designed to pigeonhole your identity (think Myers-Briggs), I was immediately fascinated with the idea of the political compass, because it addresses a dimension (literally) of political viewpoints that the typical left/right dichotomy completely misses. It acknowledges that the traditional left/right spectrum is primarily (but not entirely) an economic scale, and it adds a second scale for social issues, with extremes it labels “authoritarian” and “libertarian.” I think the terminology is a bit muddled, since left/right would be better described as liberal/conservative or perhaps socialist/free market, but all of those terms have baggage. (Of course, in the United States, at least, so does “libertarian,” and the characteristics of “libertarianism” as described on the site are not entirely consistent with the Libertarian Party in the U.S.) Nonetheless, the terms are familiar enough to give a clear picture.

I was not too surprised to see where I ended up on the chart, although I did find it interesting that I was even farther down in the lower-left corner than the likes of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai-Lama!

(On a side note, writing this led me to another topic: the confusion of similar words. In my particular case, it was the old thorn in my side, farther vs. further. Luckily it seems I got it right. And writing the first sentence in this paragraph reminded me of yet another similar word problem: lead vs. led. I’ve noticed more and more lately, often coming even from respected sources, careless use of the word “lead” when in fact the intention was to use “led” — the past-tense of “lead” as pronounced “LEED.” But I digress [yet again].)