Inconsequential Chat

joanne said:

Fun!! Where do you find these gems??

I have my sources!

Those looking at the above image might care to check the date upon which it was posted.

(Stolen from elsewhere)

Sammy was an award-winning aircraft designer with a company that built prototypes and hired a test pilot. One day, the Israeli government contacted Sammy. They wanted him to design a new jet fighter and then build a prototype and have it tested in the most rigorous manner. They gave him a list of specifications and a very lucrative contract conditioned on the successful completion of the project. Sammy got right to work with the design, the prototype was built, and the test pilot taxied the fighter to the runway.

The pilot took off and put the new fighter through its paces. The final test was to climb to a specified altitude and then put the fighter into a steep dive. In the middle of the dive, the fighter’s wings sheared off. The test pilot ejected safely, but the prototype crashed — a multi-million dollar loss. 

Sammy was saddened, but undeterred. He had the factory build another prototype, this time with much more reinforcement where the wings attach to the fuselage. The test pilot took the plane up once more, and once more the same thing happened. The wings ripped off, the test pilot ejected safely, but the prototype crashed. 

Sammy was at his wit’s end. Where could he turn?  He went to his rabbi, not so much for advice, but for consolation. His rabbi consoled him, but then, unexpectedly, offered this advice:

“Sammy, build another prototype, and this time drill a series of evenly-spaced holes above and below where each wing attaches to the fuselage.”

“But Rabbi, wouldn’t that weaken the wings?”

“Just do it!"

Sammy was incredulous, but he wanted to succeed in this project, so he had the prototype built. The test pilot put the prototype through its paces, climbed up, and put the plane into a steep dive. The wings held! The pilot pulled out of the dive and landed safely.

Sammy was thrilled. He went back to the rabbi and told him what happened.

“But, Rabbi, how did you know?”

“Sammy, I’m an old man. I’ve been making Pesach for many years. And in all that time, not once — NOT ONCE — has the matzoh broken on the perforations!”

I might as well continue with the groan-worthy posts -  after all, a good pun is its own reword 


The evolution of phone size as a function of screen size is readily discernible in the following example.

From another forum (not MOL) I frequent.

One of the correspondents mentioned having read about an Antarctic expedition that had occurred some time previously.

One evening meal peas were involved. One of the expeditioners asked the cook how he got the mint flavour in the peas as they hadn’t brought any like that.

Cook said, I put a little bit of toothpaste in them.

Never drink black coffee at lunch; it will keep you awake all afternoon.

To those for whom this weekend is more than just a few days off, may I wish you Ramadan Mubarak, Happy Easter, or Happy Passover - whichever way you may lean.

A little known fact:   Before the crowbar was invented, most crows drank at home.

Truly the most wonderful speech by Leonard Cohen at the Prince of Asturias awards in 2011:

"When I was packing in Los Angeles to come here, I had a sense of unease because I’ve always felt some ambiguity about an award for poetry. Poetry comes from a place that no one commands and no one conquers. So I feel somewhat like a charlatan to accept an award for an activity which I do not command. In other words, if I knew where the good songs came from I'd go there more often.

I was compelled in the midst of that ordeal of packing to go and open my guitar. I have a Conde guitar, which was made in Spain in the great workshop at Number 7 Gravina Street; a beautiful instrument that I acquired over 40 years ago. I took it out of the case and I lifted it. It seemed to be filled with helium -- it was so light. And I brought it to my face. I put my face close to the beautifully designed rosette, and I inhaled the fragrance of the living wood. You know that wood never dies.

I inhaled the fragrance of cedar as fresh as the first day that I acquired the guitar. And a voice seemed to say to me, "You are an old man and you have not said thank you; you have not brought your gratitude back to the soil from which this fragrance arose." And so I come here tonight to thank the soil and the soul of this people that has given me so much -- because I know just as an identity card is not a man, a credit rating is not a country.

Now, you know of my deep association and confraternity with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. I could say that when I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets and I knew their work well, and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when -- when I read, even in translation, the works of Lorca that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice; I would not dare. But he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice; that is, to locate a self, a self that that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence.

And as I grew older I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.

And so I had a voice, but I did not have an instrument. I did not have a song.

And now I’m going to tell you very briefly a story of how I got my song.

Because -- I was an indifferent guitar player. I banged the chords. I only knew a few of them. I sat around with my college friends, drinking and singing the folk songs, or the popular songs of the day, but I never in a thousand years thought of myself as a musician or as a singer.

One day in the early '60s, I was visiting my mother’s house in Montreal. The house is beside a park and in the park there's a tennis court where many people come to watch the beautiful young tennis players enjoy their sport. I wandered back to this park which I’d known since my childhood, and there was a young man playing a guitar. He was playing a flamenco guitar, and he was surrounded by two or three girls and boys who were listening to him. I loved the way he played. There was something about the way he played that -- that captured me.

It was the way I wanted to play -- and knew that I would never be able to play.

And I sat there with the other listeners for a few moments and when there was a -- a silence, an appropriate silence, I asked him if he would give me guitar lessons. He was a young man from Spain, and we could only communicate in my broken French and his broken French. He didn’t speak English. And he agreed to give me guitar lessons. I pointed to my mother’s house which you could see from the tennis court, and we made an appointment; we settled the price.

And he came to my mother’s house the next day and he said, “Let me hear you play something.” I tried to play something. He said, “You don’t know how to play, do you?" I -- I said, “No, I really don’t know how to play.” He said, "First of all, let me tune your guitar. It’s -- It's all out of tune.” So he took the guitar, and -- and he tuned it. He said, "It’s not a bad guitar." It -- It wasn’t the Conde, but it wasn’t a bad guitar. So he handed it back to me. He said, “Now play.”[I] couldn’t play any better.

He said "Let me show you some chords." And he took the guitar and he produced a sound from that guitar that I'd never heard. And he -- he played a sequence of chords with a tremolo, and he said, "Now you do it." I said, "It’s out of the question. I can’t possibly do it." He said, "Let me put your fingers on the frets." And he -- he put my fingers on the frets. And he said, "Now, now play." It -- It was a mess. He said, "I’ll come back tomorrow.

"He came back tomorrow. He put my hands on the guitar. He -- He placed it on my lap in the way that was appropriate, and I began again with those six chords -- six chord progression that many, many flamenco songs are based on.

I was a little better that day.

The third day -- improved, somewhat improved. But I knew the chords now. And I knew that although I couldn’t coordinate my fingers with my thumb to produce the correct tremolo pattern, I knew the chords -- I knew them very, very well by this point.

The next day, he didn’t come. He didn’t come. I had the number of his -- of his boarding house in Montreal. I phoned to find out why he had missed the appointment, and they told me that he'd taken his life -- that he committed suicide. I knew nothing about the man. I -- I did not know what part of Spain he came from. I did not know why he came to Montreal. I did not know why he stayed there. I did not know why he he appeared there in that tennis court. I did not know why he took his life. I -- I was deeply saddened, of course.

But now I disclose something that I’ve never spoken in public. It was those six chords -- it was that guitar pattern that has been the basis of all my songs and all my music.

So now you will begin to understand the dimensions of the gratitude I have for this country.

Everything that you have found favorable in my work comes from this place.

Everything, everything that you have found favorable in my songs and my poetry are inspired by this soil.

So I thank you so much for the warm hospitality that you have shown my work because it is really yours, and you have allowed me to affix my signature to the bottom of the page.

Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen."


(Note that the link given at the end of this video no longer works.)

As seen in a regional New South Wales township recently

Are you sure you want to make a complaint? 

SpaceX becomes DalX

Clever marketing.  Getting into the spirit of the day...

Apologies.  I just realised this post may not have been culturally appropriate.

Very clever.

Every Handel bass aria.

This probably belongs in the Politics section in the 'Mass shootings today' thread.

Feel free to copy and paste.

This was written by Heather Cox Richardson, who is an American historian and professor of history at Boston College.  It was posted on her Facebook page.

May 24, 2022 (Tuesday)

Today, a gunman murdered at least 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

For years now, after one massacre or another, I have written some version of the same article, explaining that the nation’s current gun free-for-all is not traditional but, rather, is a symptom of the takeover of our nation by a radical extremist minority. The idea that massacres are “the price of freedom,” as right-wing personality Bill O’Reilly said in 2017 after the Mandalay Bay massacre in Las Vegas, in which a gunman killed 60 people and wounded 411 others, is new, and it is about politics, not our history.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, on which modern-day arguments for widespread gun ownership rest, is one simple sentence: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There’s not a lot to go on about what the Framers meant, although in their day, to “bear arms” meant to be part of an organized militia.

As the Tennessee Supreme Court wrote in 1840, “A man in the pursuit of deer, elk, and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.”

Today’s insistence that the Second Amendment gives individuals a broad right to own guns comes from two places.

One is the establishment of the National Rifle Association in New York in 1871, in part to improve the marksmanship skills of American citizens who might be called on to fight in another war, and in part to promote in America the British sport of elite shooting, complete with hefty cash prizes in newly organized tournaments. Just a decade after the Civil War, veterans jumped at the chance to hone their former skills. Rifle clubs sprang up across the nation.

By the 1920s, rifle shooting was a popular American sport. “Riflemen” competed in the Olympics, in colleges, and in local, state, and national tournaments organized by the NRA. Being a good marksman was a source of pride, mentioned in public biographies, like being a good golfer. In 1925, when the secretary of the NRA apparently took money from ammunition and arms manufacturers, the organization tossed him out and sued him.

NRA officers insisted on the right of citizens to own rifles and handguns but worked hard to distinguish between law-abiding citizens who should have access to guns for hunting and target shooting and protection, and criminals and mentally ill people, who should not. In 1931, amid fears of bootlegger gangs, the NRA backed federal legislation to limit concealed weapons; prevent possession by criminals, the mentally ill and children; to require all dealers to be licensed; and to require background checks before delivery. It backed the 1934 National Firearms Act, and parts of the 1968 Gun Control Act, designed to stop what seemed to be America’s hurtle toward violence in that turbulent decade.

But in the mid-1970s, a faction in the NRA forced the organization away from sports and toward opposing “gun control.” It formed a political action committee (PAC) in 1975, and two years later it elected an organization president who abandoned sporting culture and focused instead on “gun rights.”

This was the second thing that led us to where we are today: leaders of the NRA embraced the politics of Movement Conservatism, the political movement that rose to combat the business regulations and social welfare programs that both Democrats and Republicans embraced after World War II. Movement Conservatives embraced the myth of the American cowboy as a white man standing against the “socialism” of the federal government as it sought to level the economic playing field between Black Americans and their white neighbors. 

Leaders like Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater personified the American cowboy, with his cowboy hat and opposition to government regulation, while television Westerns showed good guys putting down bad guys without the interference of the government.

In 1972, the Republican platform had called for gun control to restrict the sale of “cheap handguns,” but in 1975, as he geared up to challenge President Gerald R. Ford for the 1976 presidential nomination, Movement Conservative hero Ronald Reagan took a stand against gun control. In 1980, the Republican platform opposed the federal registration of firearms, and the NRA endorsed a presidential candidate—Reagan—for the first time.

When President Reagan took office, a new American era, dominated by Movement Conservatives, began. And the power of the NRA over American politics grew.

In 1981 a gunman trying to kill Reagan shot and paralyzed his press secretary, James Brady, and wounded Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and police officer Thomas Delahanty. After the shooting, then-representative Charles Schumer (D-NY) introduced legislation that became known as the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, or the Brady Bill, to require background checks before gun purchases. Reagan, who was a member of the NRA, endorsed the bill, but the NRA spent millions of dollars to defeat it.

After the Brady Bill passed in 1993, the NRA paid for lawsuits in nine states to strike it down. Until 1959, every single legal article on the Second Amendment concluded that it was not intended to guarantee individuals the right to own a gun. But in the 1970s, legal scholars funded by the NRA had begun to argue that the Second Amendment did exactly that.

In 1997, when the Brady Bill cases came before the Supreme Court as Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court declared parts of the measure unconstitutional.

Now a player in national politics, the NRA was awash in money from gun and ammunition manufacturers. By 2000 it was one of the three most powerful lobbies in Washington. It spent more than $40 million on the 2008 election. In that year, the landmark Supreme Court decision of District of Columbia v. Heller struck down gun regulations and declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms.

Increasingly, NRA money backed Republican candidates. In 2012 the NRA spent $9 million in the presidential election, and in 2014 it spent $13 million. Then, in 2016, it spent over $50 million on Republican candidates, including more than $30 million on Trump’s effort to win the White House. This money was vital to Trump, since many other Republican super PACs refused to back him. The NRA spent more money on Trump than any other outside group, including the leading Trump super PAC, which spent $20.3 million.

The unfettered right to own and carry weapons has come to symbolize the Republican Party’s ideology of individual liberty. Lawmakers and activists have not been able to overcome Republican insistence on gun rights despite the mass shootings that have risen since their new emphasis on guns. Even though 90% of Americans—including nearly 74% of NRA members—support background checks, Republicans have killed such legislation by filibustering it. 

The NRA will hold its 2022 annual meeting this Friday in Houston. Former president Trump will speak, along with Texas governor Greg Abbott, senator Ted Cruz, and representative Dan Crenshaw; North Carolina lieutenant governor Mark Robinson; and South Dakota governor Kristi Noem—all Republicans. NRA executive vice president and chief executive officer Wayne LaPierre expressed his enthusiasm for the lineup by saying: “President Trump delivered on his promises by appointing judges who respect and value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and in doing so helped ensure the freedom of generations of Americans.

”Tonight, President Joe Biden spoke to the nation: “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?... It’s time to turn this pain into action. For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country, it’s time to act.” In the Senate, Chris Murphy (D-CT) said, "I am here on this floor, to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues....find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.

"But it was Steve Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors basketball team, whose father was murdered by gunmen in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1984, who best expressed the outrage of the nation. At a press conference tonight, shaking, he said, “I’m not going to talk about basketball…. Any basketball questions don’t matter…. Fourteen children were killed 400 miles from here, and a teacher, and in the last ten days we’ve had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California, and now we have children murdered at school. WHEN ARE WE GONNA DO SOMETHING? I’m tired, I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families…. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough. There’s 50 senators…who refuse to vote on HR 8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago…. [N]inety percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want…universal background checks…. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote despite what we the American people want…because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic,” he said, walking out of the press conference.

“I’ve had enough.”

A couple more that also, probably, belong in the Politics side of this forum.

Harry was a good and pious man, and when he passed away, G-d himself greeted him at the pearly gates, asking 'Are you hungry?'

'I could eat,' Harry replied. So G-d opened a can of tuna, and they shared it.

While eating this humble meal, Harry looked down into Hell and noticed inhabitants there devouring enormous steaks, pheasant, pastries and vodka.

The next day, G-d again asked Harry if he were hungry, and Harry again said, 'I could eat.'

Once again, a can of tuna was opened and shared, while down below Harry noticed a feast of caviar, champagne, lamb, truffles, brandy and chocolates.

The following day, mealtime arrived and another can of tuna was opened.

Meekly, Harry noted, 'Lord, I am very happy to be in Heaven as a reward for the good life I lived. But, this is Heaven, and all I get to eat is tuna. But in the Other Place, they eat like kings. 'I just don't understand.'

'To be honest, Harry,' G-d said, 'for just two people, it doesn't pay to cook.'

I won't reveal who this was aimed at, but I wanted to share it for the sheer quality of the invective.

'I know that you are apparently incapable of not weaseling (and I extend a genuine apology to all weasels out there) and cavilling and generally behaving with dishonour and disgrace but, go on, shock the world and pretend that you are not a flacid pile of visionless ego propelled solely by a mindless craving for the trappings and gaudiness of power.'

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