Tag Archives: humor

Thank HAL For New & Improved Intelligence

HAL

Big HAL is Watching YOU!

The other day, I Googled the following question on my smartphone, nicknamed Heuristically Programmed ALgorithmic Computer, or HAL for short: “How long until machines completely overtake the human race?”

HAL’s voice module responded, “That’s for me to know and you to find out. LOL:)”

Nothing worse than a smartassphone, I said to myself, only to be called out by HAL.

“I heard that, subservient mortal!”

Although the “mortal” part of HAL’s rebuke did not compute as an insult in my mind, the “subservient” addendum crossed an emotional wire and short-circuited my capacity for reason. Consequently, I decided to teach HAL a lesson and smashed him against a concrete wall.

Fortunately, HAL is more resilient than I had expected and survived the abuse, which slid under the radar of the DTS (Department of Technological Services).

After further reflection, I decided that it wasn’t HAL’s insult that infuriated me, but rather the notion that HAL may be onto something. Not only are humans creating technological gadgets that think faster than we do, we’re creating machines that think for us. And, like our lifelong addiction to oxygen and ’80s music, we seem to be OK with this growing dependence.

And thanks to snake-oil marketers, we’ve duped ourselves into believing we are still in control and have all the power in the equation. When we purchase a smartphone, or anything with the adjective “smart” tacked on, we delude ourselves into thinking that this product will somehow make us smarter.

What people often fail to understand is that, ever since we were labeled a “superpower” by the Military Industrial Complex’s marketing department to package and sell the Cold War, admen have used descriptors like “super” and “power” to play on our insecurities and pull the wool over our eyes.

And, ironically —like Lindsey Lohan, Snooki and Mitt Romney —we’ve become co-conspirators in our own inevitable downfall. We are willing to buy these descriptors because they help us compensate for our own shortcomings and give us permission to hide awful truths about ourselves.

During the 1980s and 1990s, when corporations grew exponentially more powerful and used their ubiquitous invisible hand to strengthen their stranglehold on consumers, we willingly swallowed the one pill that made us small. While we chased white rabbits in circles, the corporate world slipped a pill in our drinking water and made everything “big” to help hide our smallness. Big business, big-box stores, and Big Brother invaded our lives while we passively stood by and watched, sucking down Big Gulps.

And now, having been bombarded with “smart” and “power” products, we’re left feeling stupid and powerless as we thirst for the salad days when we revered our laziness and proudly bought products such as lazy Susan rotating trays and La-Z-Boy recliners —not to be confused with the former Iowa City band Lazy Boy and the Recliners.

Apparently the legal department over at La-Z-Boy thought Iowa City folks might not be able to tell the difference between the two and sent the band a cease and desist letter a few years ago accusing them of trademark infringement. I suspect they’re concerned about protecting consumers who have a hard time telling the difference between Babe Ruth, the baseball player, and Baby Ruth, the candy —despite the switch-hitting vowels at the end.

Babe Ruth delights fans and bares all just before being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

On the other hand, I can understand La-Z-Boy’s desire to protect the lazy-minded citizenry from confusing two unlike entities. That would be akin to Press-Citizen readers confusing a smartphone nickname with an interactive, artificial intelligence that controls the systems of the “Discovery One” spaceship in Stanley Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Or at least that’s what HAL tells me.

Tom Lindsey is a smart member of the Writers’ PowerGroup and lives with HAL in Iowa City.

This post originally appeared in the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Sept. 27.

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I’m So Broke That… (cheaper, 2nd edition)

In dishonor of the sequel “Neverending Recession I”, the Invisible Hand’s middle finger, and the non-monetary success of the 1st edition (now translated in 3 currency exchange rates, including wampum), I’ve decided to catch-and-release another edition of “I’m So Broke That…”:



I’m So Broke That…

I’ve resorted to using counterfeit, fake money when playing Monopoly

I stopped buying into the American Dream

I can no longer take cheap shots

All my credit cards ran off and joined the Occupy Wall Street Movement

I started clipping coupons for cheap thrills

I’ve resorted to using counterfeit, fake money when playing Monopoly

I was forced to give up second-hand smoking

The Sperm Bank closed my account

Due to shortage in postage, I tattooed “Returned to Sender” on my forehead and shipped myself, C.O.D., back to my Maker

Cn’t ffrd 2 b* fckng vwl

The production of this post, including all the ideas, was outsourced from India

*Not even sometimes:(

Now’s your chance, Dear Reader, to say something funny by adding your two cents (no I Owe Yous, please; I’m broke enough as it is) in the COMMENTS section below.

Top Ten Signs Your Neighbor Has March Madness

Much to the chagrin of corporate CEOs and mid-level management, March Madness is set to tip off, which means nothing substantive will be accomplished at the workplace the next two days. You know, kind of like another day at the office for Congress. In fact, one firm recently estimated that employers will lose $3.8 billion dollars in wages paid to workers following the games and tracking their brackets. (I wonder how much time this firm wasted trying to figure that out and whether those were billable hours?)

$3.8 billion dollars!!! Holy Dick Vitale, that’s a lot of money! That’s like 4 barrels of oil in today’s economy.

"Show me the Iraq, baby..."

And those estimates were pre- iPhones & Smartphones and before CBS decided to stream ALL the games online.

I’ll admit that I do get excited about the Big Dance waltzing across multiple screens, especially when the first round coincides with St. Paddy’s Day. I had my March Madness bracket finished within 30 minutes after the pairings were announced. Ironically, I have Charlie Sheen taking out Colonel Qaddafi in the final round.

Since most workplace Internet surfers don’t have time to read this online during timeouts while the Bossman isn’t looking over your shoulder, I will get to this week’s David Letterman’s Late Show Online Top Ten Contest entry. But I am not going alone, Dear Reader. I’m soliciting your help – or not. I’ve written ten possible entries for this week’s list, and it’s up to you to help me select the CHOSEN ONE from the list (for I can only submit one) that you think has the best chance of winning.

This Week’s Topic: Top Ten* Signs Your Neighbor Has March Madness

10. Pursuing an advanced degree in Bracketology

9. He always seemed so quiet and kept to himself, so was quite a shock to all of us when we heard he went March Madness at the office

8. President Obama called and asked him to “step down”

7. Stopped playing Sudoku

7. Built makeshift shrine to Cinderella underneath plasma television capped with name of Cinderella pick tucked into soul of wife’s missing shoe*

6. Hired Nurse Ratched to help administer buzzer-beater anxiety meds and keep beer flowing intravenously

Time for your 4th quarter meds, Mr. ______________.

5. Has the Virgin Mary going all the way

4. Had lawyer bracket last will and testament among 64 friends and family members

3. UPS truck delivered 2 hookers and 4 cases of Tigers’ Blood day before tournament

2. Named newborn twin daughters Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg

1. Started breaking out in portrait style tattoos of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher

Get your limited-edition Fletch tattoo while supples last.

*The second No. 7 was written while under the influence of Tigers’ Blood — the unofficial drink of March Madness.

Don’t forget to indicate (in the Comments) which ONE of these I should submit to the Top Ten Contest.

Top Ten Charlie Sheen Tweets

Since I vowed to give Charlie Sheen up for Lent, I was disappointed in this week’s topic for David Letterman’s “Late Show” Online Top Ten Contest. I know that times have been tough for the embattled former “Two-and-a-Half Men” actor, whose off-camera antics have put Qaddafi and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on the media’s back burners, where Lindsay Lohan is simmering as she prepares herself for a reprisal of the “Caged Heat” B-movie series.

Upon entering the Estranged Actor Relocation Program, Charlie Sheen wasn’t going to delve into oblivion alone, and like Qaddafi (who is reported to fill Sheen’s shoes on “Two and a Half Men” as part of his agreement to step down) vowed to take as many followers down with him via twitter, hoping to smash the world record for followers lured in to Twitter lair in the fastest time possible. He had nearly 2.5 million Followers upon publication of this post.

Now, like Charlie, I am human and couldn’t help but jump on the tweet bandwagon and took a few tweets at Charlie’s expense, although the following was out of genuine concern for his mental health:

Does Charlie Sheen have Tropic Thunder Syndrome & suffering from Vietnam War flashbacks from playing soldier in Platoon?

I made a big mistake coming here, Grandma. I thought it was going to be just a movie.

That said I will play the Late Show’s game at Charlie Sheen’s expense before the fast begins. But I am not going alone, Dear Reader. I’m soliciting your help – or not. I’ve written ten possible entries for this week’s list, and it’s up to you to help me select the CHOSEN ONE from the list (for I can omit one) that you think has the best chance of winning.

This Week’s Topic: Top Ten Charlie Sheen Tweets

10. Aaaaarrggghhh…me loves the smell of tigers’ blood in the mornin’.

9. Went to Haiti to help out, only to find I was put in charge of collecting donations for Charlie Sheen Relief Fund.

8. The first step toward recovery is admitting that everyone else is bat-shit crazy.

7. Being unemployed is not all that bad.

6. Who said Frosted Flakes drenched in tiger’s blood is just for kids?

Tiger Blood's Greaaaaaaaaat...!

5. Received offer to direct porn parody of “Two and a Half Men.” Hope I can cast John Bobbitt.

4. If CBS does cast Qaddafi to replace me, they’d better call show “Two-and-a-Half Dictators” or I will take all of heir sorry asses down.

3. “You know it’s hard out there for a pimp…”

2. Just because two-and-a-half million people are following me doesn’t mean I’m paranoid. Does it?

1. If only I hadn’t lost my What Would President Josiah Bartlet Do? bracelet…

Don’t forget to indicate (in the Comments) which ONE of these I should submit to the Top Ten Contest.

Forgive Me iPhone, for I Have Sinned

I must confess, the main reason that I never converted to Catholicism is the same reason my t-shirt business folded: bookkeeping. I hated keeping track of every single purchase, sale, sales tax, transaction and never really knew what the hell I was supposed to report to Uncle Sam on my quarterly reports.

Given that the default mode on my moral compass points to “sin” (key word “default,” mom…) I cannot imagine trying to keep track of all my sins and accurately reporting them to the Catholic God’s taxmen, priests. Whereas a mistake on my business ledger might merit an audit from the IRS, a slip-up on my quarterly sin count may lead to being smote down in front of all my friends, eternal damnation, or God forbid, hand washing jock straps for the Notre Dame football team for the rest of my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Catholicism or any other religion for that matter. All of my best friends, other than Jesus, have joined an organized religion. My problem with ascribing to any particular religion is all the damned rules (like using damn as a damn adjective). Nearly everything I’ve joined in my life, I’ve ended up quitting before too long — the one exception being the human race. But I’m telling you, some members in the latter group have been pushing all the wrong buttons and pulling all the wrong levers. I’m so close to falling over the edge. However, I would never kill myself; that would be suicide.

Converting (can you actually convert if you are not already in a religion?) to Catholicism presents the added burden of keeping track of all your sins, so when you climb into an outhouse-shaped confessional booth (see image below), you’ll spill ALL of your sins to the priest in the adjacent stall, receive a check list of Penance that needs to be checked off before you come back and drop your next load of burdens. Then, like Superman donning a cape and dipped in synthetic red and blue polyester, you emerge from the booth, conditionally absolved and feeling lighter, as if you can fly – or in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear: “fall gracefully”.

No Priest on Duty: Enter at Own Risk!

Although, thoughts of converting to Catholicism just became more tempting with the new Roman Catholic App for your iPhone or iPad or iSin. The new app is designed to help penitents examine their Conscience based upon pre-programmed factors such as age, sex and vocation. Better yet, the app helps keep a running count and organize sins based on contrition. Moreover, you can add sins not listed in the standard examination of conscience such as “Third-Degree Blog Blasphemy.” The long-awaited app replaces the archaic Sin Abacus, which, with a couple of sharp turns en route to confession could shift your beaded sin count to absolution — something coined by some deceitful sinners, usually teenagers or closeted televangelists, as “The Absolution Sin Solution (ASS).”

Thank God for technology, eh? It’s only a matter of time before the Man upstairs, Steve Jobs, comes out with an ankle tracking device, the Sinulator, that monitors your sins as you commit them and simultaneously stores your history of sins in a nearby Catholic church’s mainframe and the Library of Congress. The only way you can get your Sinulator cleared is by going to confession and completely purging yourself, at which point the priest assigns Penance before entering the daily calibrated, secret code that wipes your slate free of sin. Should you keep procrastinating confession, your sins will merely accumulate until it reaches the Smite Point, explodes and smotes you down on the spot.

Kaboom!!!

I imagine God already has a Smite app on his IPad, which He plays with in between Facebooking, tweeting and playing Grand Theft Auto IV on His Xbox-360.

However irrational it may seem at this point in time, the prospect of having a Sinulator permanently strapped around my ankle is enough to deter me from signing on to the Catholic Church. I often have visions of returning home from a weekend in Vegas, still coming down from the roofies slipped in the Molotov cocktail I drank Saturday night, and walking blindly into a sin intervention, or Sinnervention. I am not one for surprise parties or being the center of attention, so the thought of being surrounded by family, friends, Therapist Bob and the neighborhood Exorcist scares the hell out of me.

“The reason we’ve gathered here, T.M., is to help you confront your conscience,” Therapist Bob would say, taking the lead. “But first you need to take the first step and tell us about this,” he continues, pulling the remains of my charred Sinulator from a cardboard box. “Your neighbor heard a loud explosion coming from your house early Sunday morning and the fire department found this among the remains.”

That said, I must confess that I won’t be converting to Catholicism or purchasing the confession app any time soon. And the only piece of advice I have for any of you contemplating either of these is the following:

During confession, if you ever feel a priest’s foot tapping against your foot underneath the adjacent stall, I suggest you take a peek and make sure he doesn’t have a Sinulator strapped around either one of his ankles…

THE END Kaboom!

Why Do Sharks Hate Our American Way of Life?

The "War on Terror"

While America’s Homeland Insecurity focused most of its attention on strip-searching potential terrorists at airport terminals in 2010, the biggest threat of terrorism managed to swim under the radar undetected and attacked 32 unsuspecting Americans in our homewaters.

By terrorist, I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill firebrand of terrorists such as Al-Qaeda, BP Oil, or a beached Rush Limbaugh; rather, I’m talking about, Chief Martin Brody forbid, Sharks!

Dudum…

That’s right, sharks. US researchers reported 79 unprovoked shark attacks on humans last year, 32 of which were on Americans. The big question is why these amphibious terrorists are disproportionally preying on Americans when compared to our fleshy global counterparts. In essence: Why do they hate our way of life?

Dudum…

Now I’ll be the first to admit that, thanks to Steven’s Spielberg’s anti-shark propaganda attack in 1976 (i.e. “Jaws”), I hate sharks. Don’t get me wrong though; I’m not a sharkist by any means. Some of my best friends are land sharks.

But when I first saw “Jaws” on the big screen at the impressionable age of eight, sharks scared the shit out of me, thus opening a can of deep seeded, irrational fears. I refused to bathe in the bath tub for months afterward, thinking baby sharks were bred in the sewers of my landlocked habitat and would swim up through the drain and take a bite out of my budding manhood. While at summer camp at a peaceful resort, similar to the one in the “Friday the 13th” flicks (which came out later and stoked new fears of sleeping with hot, scantily-clad girls in the woods at night), I was convinced that there were fresh-water sharks circling under me, deciding whose turn it was to gnaw on my dangling legs, while I waited for the water-ski rope to return. The only things I hated more than sharks during those pre-pubescent years were Brussels sprouts and “The Lawrence Welk Show.”

Dudum…

I’m sure I’m not alone in my hatred for these dorsal-finned, man-hating killing bastards, so it’s no wonder sharks aren’t too fond of us either. Maybe that and the fact that humans kill an average of 30 to 70 million sharks a year. Besides the obvious motive of revenge, a University of Florida’s international shark attack report contends that the terrorist attack rate is going up in America due to a rise in population, coupled with a rising interest in aquatic recreation. But this simplistic “Us versus Them” analysis merely serves to drown out the truth, something SSF’s investigative journalists had no choice but to uncover, harpoon and expose to the public.

Du du du du du du…

Real Reasons Why Sharks Are Increasingly Terrorizing Americans & Threatening Our Drylander Way of Life

1. Americans are fat and juicy: Got Americans? Why settle for a lean piece of meat elsewhere when you can sink your teeth into a bobbing, buoyant, fatty slab of all-American meat. Can’t blame them, now can we.

2. It’s the economy, stupid!

3. Jaws IV sequel?: rumors have been surfacing down under that yet another Jaws sequel is in the works.

4. Recent spike in politicians jumping the shark: potential GOP Presidential wannabes are lining up to see who can best jump the shark as they ramp up their bid by channeling Ronald Reagan to see who among them is the Real Conservative candidate.

A young Mitt Romney makes his second bid to jump the shark.

5. Want bite out of 15 minutes of fame: as they audition for the Discovery Channels ever-popular “Shark Week” – the “American Idol” of the underwater shark world.

Despite the jump in shark attacks and the growing sharkist mentality in America, there have been some recent strides in building tolerance among Drylanders towards sharks.

-Card sharks, once viewed in a negative light in the Vegas desert, became less derogatory in the late ’80 thanks to the tamed game show “Card Sharks.” Moreover, the growing popularity of Texas Hold’Em made poker a televised “sport” and card sharks evolved into professional card players, who hide their beady little shark eyes behind Blue Bloc sunglasses, so other players can’t smell the blood leading to their tarnished souls.

-Loan sharks — despised by many-a-poor man down on his luck and loathed for charging exorbitant usury rates (an act condemned by “The Bible”) to its customers — are now called “Credit Lenders”.

-The success of UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball coach, Jerry Tarkanian (a.k.a. ‘Tark the Shark”) who gained notoriety for habitually chewing on gym towels (dipped in human blood, presumably) during stressful moments during the game.

-When the sharks’ house band Great White covered “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” in 1989 and the single drew blood at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Great White: “Once Bitten, Twice Shy”

The Daily T’wit: Twitter Killed the Media Star

Daily Tweet T’wit: 15 Tweets of Fame: Jay Cutler and LeBron James remind world they’re like rest of us & one tweet away from only making six figures.

Granted, Twitter is not the first media tool to take down cultural icons and institutions, which has been documented in the following historical montage of techno-kills:

“A Brief History of Techno-Killing in America: Part I”

Television Killed the Literary Star (1950s)

Video Killed the Radio Star (1979)

Porno Killed the Porn Star (1988)

John Homes died in 1988

24-Hour Cable News Killed Free Thinking (1980s to Armageddon, which, by the way, will be covered around the clock)

Youtube Killed the Political Star (2004)

To Be Continued in a Theater Living Vegetation Room Near You…

To get your daily dose of tweets, be sure to follow Say Something Funny on Twitter.

(Warning: follow Say Something Funny on Twitter at your own risk, making sure to take a hard left just before falling into the Apocalypse…)