New Ways to Approach Buffet Restaurants

If you follow or tolerate me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the titles of some of the articles I’ve written for a particular entity that clearly counts on SEO, not quality, for traffic. I don’t write the titles; I choose them from among a huge slag heap of computer-generated ones and then write stuff that more or less conforms to them. I was musing in an editor’s forum yesterday that I wouldn’t mind seeing the following titles: Continue reading “New Ways to Approach Buffet Restaurants”

The Internet, captured in an animated GIF

Whenever I’m in or observing an Internet melee, the “movie” below is precisely how I imagine every one of the combatants — except for me, of course. I’m the one calmly snickering and typing as deftly as anyone can while using only three fingers.

“Debate” about morality between Sam Harris and William Craig

I don’t usually watch these dog-and-pony shows between theists and atheists because there is little point, at least in terms of learning anything new or forming different ideas. I don’t need to listen to another traveling Christian circus to know that the idea that morals or anything else is God-given is a farce, for two simple reasons: The Christian god is a pitiful but ferociously persistent fiction, and moral behavior and frameworks are adequately explained in naturalistic terms.

But I like watching Sam Harris for the same reason I enjoy watching Christopher Hitchens — I just like his style (and Hitchens and Harris could scarcely be different). So I watched the April 7 “debate” between Harris and William Craig at Notre Dame (video below). My impressions are below the fold lest you prefer for some reason to watch the debate without the dubious benefit of my “spoilers.”

Continue reading ““Debate” about morality between Sam Harris and William Craig”

Silver lining?

I don’t know if this counts as a PSA, a cheap shot, or an expression of gratitude that I am not a frequent patron of fast-food restaurants. Regardless, it’s kind of funny, more so than most things, even.

Someone I know runs an HVAC business, which means he does repairs and maintenance on various types of heating and air-conditioning equipment that I have no idea how to fix. He has quite a few corporate clients, among them at least one Long John Silver’s. I don’t like seafood, if that is indeed what it served there, and have never been to one of these establishments for that reason alone. I am in no hurry to change this after hearing his account of his labors today.

Evidently he was starting to work on a small refrigerator at this restaurant and was reaching behind the unit to access whatever wasn’t working right when a small battalion of cockroaches emerged at high speed from what to this point had served as a well-concealed base of operations. The manager, who had been watching, without a word hunkered down and began squashing as many of these roaches as he could using only his thumbs. Why he did this instead of stomping on them is unclear, but he managed to exterminate a good many of them before they could take refuge behind another piece of equipment. Then the manager left. My friend continued working, and minutes later the manager returned with a vacuum cleaner and began sucking the corpses out of view.

I have never been associated with a public health entity of any sort and do not pretend to understand the complexities of their sundry regulations, but I am confident all the same that restaurants are expected to keep their premises relatively clear of roaches and other six-legged invaders, and pre-remptively at that, not by deploying thumbs and an industrial wet-vac only after their presence, in the form of colonies with memberships numbering in the double digits, is discovered.

I would tell you exactly where this restaurant is, but I figure that if I don’t you’ll think twice about eating at a Long John Silver’s whether you are reading this in Dead Pecker Ridge, Nebraska or Rangoon.


Someone’s pissed and staging a contest and giving something away for participating. Unlike those offers that promise a “free” iPod or Playstation 3 for filling out 78 surveys and signing up for 48 trial offers (meaning that you’d be better off working a few more hours and just buying the fucking thing), all you have do do is be concerned that Angryrunner is going to get knee-walking drunk on vodka and cokes after running the Boston Marathon in something like 3:15 to 3:17, tell her why you deserve to win what’s she’s giving away for free (no, not that, dudes…hands off, I saw her first), and send a “tweet” about it, and you may be the lucky recipient of one of eight prizes, plus an as-yet unspecified bonus prize that will be shipped to you along with a pack of Maverick cigarettes.

So have at it. To get started, click on the monkey below!!!

Picking the mind of an angry runner

Aimless souls who wander the Internet looking for interesting running-related blogs know that the process is like looking for a leftover candy bar on the set of The Biggest Loser. But despite the cringeworthy banality of the majority of weblogs as well as the limited range of topics runners typically explore, titillating examples do exist. One increasingly popular one–even if I am calling it that mainly because I just found it myself–is “Run Angry,” a wonderfully vulgar yet coherent set of essays assembled by a thirtysomething marathoner from the cold white north. She’s got a little something for everyone: She’s a lot faster than most women (and men) will ever be, yet pedestrian enough to have fun at faster runners’ expense; she drops f-bombs like a longshoreman, yet none of her coprolalia is gratuitous; she does indeed fuel herself on high-octane angst, but not on genuine bile–at least not yet. And her comic timing,such as it exists in this medium, is brilliant.

The moment I discovered the blog, it was inevitable that I would want to stain my own with her crass musings. Since I’m a narcissist to the core, or so I am told by people who inexplicably dismiss the value of solipsistic ranting, I knew I would very much enjoy this experience because I could count in it being like interviewing myself on a day when I was in rare form as a subject.

So, here she is, preparing to run the Boston Marathon on April 18th, looking to run under 3:20. Continue reading “Picking the mind of an angry runner”

Ambitious Finnish docs discuss “echophallography”

So a team of biomedical researchers at the University of Helsinki claim to have perfected a system for measuring the efficacy of medications used to treat erectile dysfunction using real-time imaging.

The process, seemingly conceived in a union of the Transportation Safety Authority’s new body-scanning equipment and a time-tested tool for assessing heart function, involves injecting radiocontrast dye into the blood vessels serving the penis and examining what occurs in specific areas of the corpora cavernosum and corpus spongiosum, the mesh-like regions of the organ where blood accumulates and is retained during tumescence. Experiments have involved the IV administration of vasodilators such as sildenafil (known in the U.S. as Viagra) near the base of the penis and assessing what occurs in the “downstream” microcirculation. Since most men with erectile dysfunction have localized rather than generalized circulatory compromise in the small vessels–common culprits are smoking and especially diabetes–this theoretically allows for the placement of small vasodilator patches on the penis in the 30 or so minutes prior to the initiation of sex play. Now that’s romance! And hey, even geometry enters the mix: Continue reading “Ambitious Finnish docs discuss “echophallography””