Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to Cut a Birthday Cake

If you've never thrown a child's birthday party, you've never learned how to cut a cake properly.  Oh, I know what you're thinking: "Oh, come on, I've cut a cake before."  No, no you don't.  There's a right way and a wrong way to cut a kid's.  Let's do a quick test.  How would you cut the cake above?

Did you imagine cutting it like this?
That would be logical; all the kids would have the same sized piece.  It's also completely wrong.

Did you imagine cutting it like this?
Also logical; you have a variety of sizes so kids can have big pieces and adults can have small ones.  It's also completely wrong.

The correct cutting pattern is this one.
Confused?  Here's an explanation:
  1. Piece for the birthday girl who insists on eating the purple circle.
  2. Piece for the birthday girl's sister, who has to have a piece that isn't touching anyone else's.
  3. Another piece for the sister who "accidentally" dropped her cake on the floor but was totally willing to eat it anyway.
  4. The head goes to birthday girl's "boyfriend" (God forbid), who likes to pretend it's screaming while he eats it.
  5. Pieces cut specially for the adults at the party.  (Will go uneaten.)
  6. Piece for parent of birthday girl so he can show other adults that they should be eating their cake becuase, goddamnit, you bought the friggin' thing and you cut it and got frosting all over your clothes so they damn well better eat.
Think I'm just making this whole cake cutting thing up?  Here's "after pictures" of the cakes at the last two birthday parties I went to.

Yeah, not making it up.
"Don't drop it this time!"

Monday, July 30, 2012

GOP Problems

When people come to my site, they're looking for one of two things:
  1. Nude pictures of fringe celebrities.
  2. Jokes making fun of Republicans.
I have number 1 covered pretty well.  I Can Write Funny has become the "go to site" for naked pictures of the relatively obscure Kardashians (Koka Kola, Katamaran, and Khamber of Komerce).  It's number 2 that I'm having trouble with.
 Insert joke about my dietary habits.
Since my daily hits have dipped below 100 again, I've decided to create a new meme.  Following in the heels of the First World Problems meme and the related 80s Problems meme, I am proud to announce the GOP Problems Meme!  Take it away right wingers!

Push forth dozens of abortion bills.  People keep screaming about jobs.

President is black...  Everything I say sounds racist.

Obama so centrist I have to be extremist just to stand out.

Need another Great Depression to kick him out of office.  Want to stay rich.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Business Sense

Above is a picture of Miranda's Hallmark in Mountain View, California.  It was a cute little shop, but I hardly ever went in because, well, it was a Hallmark store.  Who the heck needs paper cards and Christmas ornaments that look like smiling cats?

Eventually, the store owners realized nobody needed a Hallmark store and shut down.  The windows were papered over, and I wondered what would become of the space.  A restaurant?  Maybe a hair salon?  Nope.  Look at the picture more closely.
Opening Here Soon Steve's Hallmark
They shut down the Hallmark store and put up another Hallmark store.  It seemed stupid, but they were doing a lot of construction inside, so I figured they were going to put in an improved Hallmark store.  A few months passed and Steve's Hallmark opened.  Would you like a picture of the new place?

You don't need one.  Look at the first picture.  Steve's Hallmark is absolutely identical to Miranda's Hallmark.

The next time someone tells you that the government screws everything up, and we should privatize services to make them more efficient, show them the pictures above. 

Businesses aren't efficient.  Nobody is.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Creationism in the San Francisco Zoo

I took my youngest to the San Francisco Zoo this morning.  It was so cold, there were no animals out (except the polar bears) for the first hour.  After a while, we saw some amusing things.

There was this peacock totally barking up the wrong tree.
"You're the funniest looking Peahens I've ever seen, but I'm game."
A rug in a box the keepers insisted was an anteater.
Let's be honest, half the animals in the zoo could be dogs in funny outfits.  We'd never know.
Zebras proving they can do something horses never do willingly.
"Horses don't lie down?  Weird."
And then there were the giraffes.
Giraffes turn out to be a danger to young creationists.
My son had been looking forward to the giraffes so, when we saw a couple of volunteers posted at the exhibit to talk about them, we went over.  They showed us bones and skin, explained how giraffe tails are used to swat flies, and pointed out that humans and giraffes have the same number of vertebrae.

"Does that suggest a common ancestry?" I asked, trying out some new buzzwords I bought at a local Target.

"Well," one said, "they think that all mammals-"

"We're not allowed to talk about evolution!" her friend said.

"You're not allowed to talk about evolution?" I said, looking around nervously and hiding my shirt that makes fun of Intelligent Design.  "Why?"

"Some woman yelled at a docent for mentioning evolution.  Somebody defaced a sign."

I mentioned my dismay and we walked off to look at some disturbingly old turtles.

"When I was your age, we didn't have blogs.  We read the newspaper!"
Now, you are allowed to say anything you want without ridicule in this country, as long as it isn't fucking stupid.  Sure, all religion has some stupidity in it, but you can't go around forcing others to keep silent about those stupid parts.

Doctors aren't forbidden to talk about medicine because it would offend Christian Scientists (although, it's hard to know what doctors can say in Texas).  Butchers aren't forbidden to talk about pork because of Muslims and Jews.  Fox News anchors aren't forbidden from talking about politics or religion (although it'd improve their programming).  Why?  Because it's impossible to do their jobs without talking about those things.

Part of a zoo's job is education.  Children go to a zoo to learn about animals: what they eat, how big their poop is, where they live, how they can be protected, and where they came from.  If you can't learn, for example, that a bat is a mammal and not a bird, you've lost a huge chunk of what makes them interesting.  The same is true about Antartica, plate tectonics, and penguins.  The same is true about human and giraffe vertebrae.

I realize this is a blog with few readers, and my purview doesn't include rabble rousing.  However, this rabble really needs to get roused.  Please consider sending an email to the zoo and expressing your horror at their policy (Here's their contact webpage.  I'm emailing media relations.  You might want to try that or education.)  Encourage your friends to do the same.  Link to this post.  Seriously.  Do it.  Please.

Zoos are meant to be a place of knowledge and education.  Let's keep it that way.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eat Up, America!

Let's talk about the United States and our passion for food.  Some basic facts:
  • Americans have the most varied diet in the world.
    Honest!  We eat thousands of kinds of food from dozens of ethnic cuisines.  I don't understand why so many of us take vitamins; we got that covered.  I also don't understand why people think diet cures all diseases; with our diets, we should kill germs three feet from our bodies!
  • Americans are the fattest people in the world.
    We're 5% of the planet's population, but we carry 30% of the fat.  I'm surprised Japan (one of the skinniest populations) invented sumo wrestling.  Come to think of it, we should probably make sumo our new national pastime.  We'd totally kill Japan!
  • I'm five pounds overweight.
    This will become relevant in a few paragraphs.  I would also like to point out that I've been ten pounds overweight for three years, so I'm making progress.  I can barely see my chins anymore!  Well, unless I look in a mirror.
  • Beauty is, by definition, rare.
    You ever notice how, when you see a hot girl from the back, your heart will skip a beat until you realize she's Asian?  I mean, not you or me of course, but some racist.  Some awful racist who has nothing to do with us.  The point is, this racist might feel, because there is such a high population of gorgeous Asian women, the beautiful Caucasian was lovelier because they are so rare.  And then that racist would have a horrible life and die miserably in a concentration camp.  Move along.  Nothing to see here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Common Parlance

Common Parlance is a piece I tried to do regularly where I talk about words or phrases I made up that should enter the vernacular.  I haven't done a Common Parlance post for a long time, because it's hard to make a long post about just one term.  Seriously, you try and write a humorous article about use of missiles in Robotech or SUVs in compact spaces.

So, here's the ones I've saved up. 
  • Lose the Boat
    In the pilot to the Battlestar Galactica reboot, I thought I heard a character say that, if they don't do something that will kill a bunch of people, they'll "lose the boat" to fire.  I loved that he called their spaceship a boat and started using the expression "lose the boat" to mean a total failure.

    A while later, I found he had, in fact, said "lose the ship." 
"Blow the hull or I'll make the show end in a stupid way!"

Monday, July 23, 2012

That Kid You Bullied

I hate memes, we've established that.  This meme above is no exception for two reasons.
  1. It suggests that it's okay to bully some people, as this woman pointed out.
  2. Bullies think they're getting away with what they do.
A better meme would be showing bullies that their actions have consequences in a medium that everyone likes: movies.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Norton Sucks

Today, I will be continuing on in my series of popular products that have totally failed to work for me.  Last time we covered Fandango.  This time, we're going to talk about Norton Antivirus.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Save the Joe Paterno Statue

There's been a lot of controversy about the statue of Joe Paterno at Penn State.  Since the revelation that he did nothing to stop the rampant child molestation by Sandusky, and may have even helped, there have been cries to tear the statue down.

I say, nonsense!  Why rip down a priceless work of art?  He was still an excellent coach, just a terrible human being.  In any case, there's a much cheaper alternative that allows us to modify the statue to make it more accurate to the true spirit of the man.
What do you think?  Better?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Four-Year-Old Train Story

My four-year-old son wrote the following story.  I think it has a nice Dexter and Computress Get Mandark feel to it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FasTrack Madness

Last night, just after finishing my blog post, I started a classroom discussion and snuck out while they were arguing.

Suckers!  Good luck finding out what the homework is for next week.

I got in my car and started the long drive home. 

The school I teach at is right next to the Dumbarton Bridge, which has a toll going westbound.  Instead of shelling out my hard-earned cash for tolls, like most suckers, I got a FasTrack thingy.  FasTrack is this plastic box that beeps every time you go through a toll.  When it beeps, it sends out a signal that confuses toll workers so they wave you through instead of taking your money.  I guess the signal is a bunch of positive statements about your character, because the signs at the tollbooth say “VALID ETC” when it beeps.

I like to read that sign in the voice from Yul Brynner in The King And I.

Wait, what?  Oh, I’m told they don’t let you through for free; they bill your credit card.  Oops.

So, I’m rushing home, and I drive up to a cash/FasTrack lane.  Holding up my plastic box, I drive straight through, waving at the woman in the booth.

My FasTrack was silent.  No sign showing my validity.  I had driven through a toll booth without paying.  The police would be after me soon.  My only chance to avoid jail time and the regular sodomy that went with it was to change my identity and start a new life as a migrant coffee picker.  I would rename myself Juan Kaldez.
I only pick the richest, and least expensive coffee in the world.

Monday, July 16, 2012

What I Do When I Teach

When I teach a class, I have a lot of break time while the students do their "learning."  Right now, I'm teaching my students how to programming.  Well, they think I'm teaching them.  Mostly, I'm letting them argue with each other.  While they "discuss,"  I am "grading their participation."

Teaching is a lot easier than it looks.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Religious Pick-Up Lines

Recently a friend posted that there were a lot of women at his church, but he didn’t feel comfortable asking them out in that venue.  He insisted there’s no good pickup line you can use in a church.

Oh yeah?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Sea Rolls In

The sea rolls in.
Following the moon.
Rocks tumble in the foam.
Touches my feet.
I reach down and greet the water by name.
As I have every year.
Forty two years.

Rocks tumble in the foam.
Becoming sand.
Once they were boulders.
Once they were mountains.
Once they were dust in space.
Once they were stars.

I look up.
A monarch goes by.
Off to sign a treaty.
Or rest on a flower.

Young girls play in the foam.
Wearing tight bikinis.
Wishing for sixteen year old bodies.
Mothers watch the girls.
Wearing tight bikinis.
Wishing for sixteen year old bodies.

Rocks tumble in the foam.
Waiting for the sun to go red.
Expand and take them.
Blow them out as dust.
Make them mountains.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

San Francisco Guilt Trip 2012

My parents split their time between coasts.  While they're away, I make them a picture of San Francisco.  Partly, I make the picture as a way of thanking them for all their help when they're in town.  Mostly, I'm trying to make them feel guilty for leaving.
This year, I decided to skip on the usual paintings of landmarks and try something different.  I did the Transamerica Pyramid (which I keep calling "The Space Needle" for some reason), but I colored the drawing with quotes about San Francisco. 

To make it, I found a list of quotes online and edited them.  Then I wrote them out on graph paper.   I taped the text to a new paper and placed them on my laptop, which was displaying an image of the Space Needle (Transamerica Pyramid!).  I rewrote all the words in different colored pens and, realizing you couldn't see what the picture was supposed to be, drew the Transamerica Needle on top in pencil.

Next time, I'll just do watercolor.

The quotes are:
 If I go to heaven, I’ll look around and say “It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.” -Herb Caen

 San Francisco has only one drawback; ’tis hard to leave. -Rudyard Kipling
 If you’re alive, you can’t be bored in San Francisco. If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life. -William
 San Francisco is 49 square miles surrounded by reality. -Paul Kantner
 Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible. -Walter Kronkite
 I have never seen the hospitality of San Francisco equaled anywhere in the world. -Conrad Hilton
 It’s a good thing the early settlers landed on the East Coast; if they’d landed in San Francisco, the rest of the country would still be uninhabited. -Herbert Mye
 Every man should be allowed to love two cities, his own and San Francisco. -Gene Fowler
No city invites the heart to come to life as San Francisco does. -William Saroyan (oops, did I do Saroyan twice?)
 There is more grace per square foot in San Francisco than any place on earth! -Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
 San Francisco is Beautiful People wearing a bracelet of bridges. -Hal Lipset
 Now there’s a grown-up swinging town. -Frank Sinatra
 Two days in this city is worth two months in New York. -Robert Menzies
 It is like London and Paris stacked on top of each other. –Twiggy
 San Francisco is poetry. Even the hills rhyme. -Pat Montandon
 If I am elected, I’ll move the White House to San Francisco. -Robert Kennedy
 San Francisco is a city where people are never more abroad than when they are at home. -Benjamin F. Taylor
 If everyone acted as the San Franciscans did, there would be hope for settlement of the world’s difficulties. -Frol Zozlov
Your child and your grandchildren live in San Francisco and they miss you when you are gone –Matthew

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spoons Made Me Stupid

Here's another picture I'm sick of seeing.  I've adjusted it.

Arthur Kellermann was a researcher who showed in 1986 that you were more likely to die from gun violence if you owned a gun.  His study received so much criticism, he redid it three times to remove the perceived bias.  His results were the same.  If you have a gun in your home, you are 62% more likely to be murdered by a gun.

Monday, July 9, 2012

What's Wrong With This Country

This is the Provincetown, Massacuhusetts airport.

It's a tiny airport with a tiny parking lot filled with taxis who always arrive right before the airplanes land.  There are so few airplanes, they know exactly how many planes land by heart.  They also seem to have a good idea of how many people are in each plane, which isn't hard because the planes are all tiny.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Beach Day

Things to bring to the beach:
  • Hats
    Preferably with wide brims to keep your face from turning red and peeling.
  • Sunblock
    See above.
  • Umbrella
    Sunblock and hats are never enough.
  • Towels
    Two per person.  One to sit on.  One to dry off with.  You can't mix the two or you'll rub sand all over yourself.
  • Bug spray
    The beach has biting flies and mosquitoes who all want to cover you with itchy welts for the whole vacation.
  • Reading material
    When you get bored of swimming.
  • Writing/drawing material
    When you get bored of reading and swimming.
  • Video game
    When your kids get bored of swimming.
  • Swimsuit
    Swimming in your undies is frowned upon.
  • Swim shirt
    Officially, because the water is cold and to protect from the sun.  Secretly, because you look like a fat, hairy lump with your shirt off.
  • Sandals
    Closed shoes trap sand against your feet and trail sand through the whole house.
  • Kid toys
    Inflatables, sand shovels and buckets, molds, toy trucks, spinners, etc.  You can never have enough.
  • Sand chairs
    There's no good way to carry them, but it's nice to have something to sit on with a back.
  • Cell phone
    For emergencies (such as "I'm stuck on the beach!  I need an excuse to leave.").
  • Ice cream money
    For those trucks that come around.
  • Snacks for kids
    In case the trucks don't come around.
  • Snacks for grown-ups
    So they don't eat the kid's snacks or ice cream.
  • Watch
    So you know when you've pretended to have fun long enough and are allowed to go home.
  • Bags to hold everything
    See above.
Things not to bring to the beach:
  • Me

Pledge of Wheelchair

I'm sick of this cartoon. Really, really sick and tired of it. I'm not annoyed just beacause it keeps popping up, months after I figured everyone finished posting it to Facebook. It's because it's saying something different from what people think it is saying.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Justice League Restroom Signs

Okay, so I said that was the last time I did Triangle and Circle, but I'm intrigued by the theme.  Consider this an epilogue.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Origin of Restroom Signs

Very last one, I promise.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fast Title!

This may be the fastest blog post I have ever made.