I don’t fucking care if this is some kind of advert for Burger King …


This viral video advocating standing up against bullies and for the bullied from Burger King is Gee to the R to the 8.

From Burger King:

Scrawny. Short. Ugly. Fat. Weird. 30% of school kids worldwide are bullied each year and bullying is the #1 act of violence against young people in America today (Source: nobully.org). The BURGER KING® brand is known for putting the crown on everyone’s head and allowing people to have it their way. Bullying is the exact opposite of that. So the BURGER KING® brand is speaking up against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month.

In the BURGER KING® brand Bullying Jr. experiment, more people stood up for a bullied WHOPPER JR.® than a bullied high school Jr. Visit NoBully.org to learn how you can take a stand against bullying.

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With the horror of last night’s Las Vegas shooting comes a flood of responses


I don’t have time to properly respond with a personal reaction to the horrible terror shooting last night in Las Vegas.

I can say that: I hate violence. This stuff weighs on me. Hard. It makes me angry. It makes me emotional. It makes me sick. I’m sure I’m not alone.

The variety of responses though is sometimes awful on its own.

David Duke blames the Jews.

Alex Jones is claiming a liberal conspiracy by the Democrats and their Islamic allies.

Pat Robertson is blaming disrespect for president, flag and God.

President Trump sent his warmest condolences to those affected.

I spent about a minute reading the conspiracy nut blow jobs over at Breitbart on their thread about the shooting.

If the above five resources are any indication of the future, man, we’re fucked.

On the flip, I’m particularly drawn to bright minds like Jason Kottke, who wrote this morning:

America is a stuck in a Groundhog Day loop of gun violence. We’ll keep waking up, stuck in the same reality of oppression, carnage, and ruined lives until we can figure out how to effect meaningful change. I’ve collected some articles here about America’s dysfunctional relationship with guns, most of which I’ve shared before. Change is possible — there are good reasons to control the ownership of guns and control has a high likelihood of success — but how will our country find the political will to make it happen?

The whole post is worth a look. Link above.

If you read/saw some worthy responses to the shooting, please share them in the comments. If you read some particularly disgusting ones, hell, post ’em too.

Thanks.

 

 

The impossibility of translating Bienvenue back


On Wednesdays, I take a French class downtown Chicago at Alliance Française.

It’s an advanced class with other eight students all speaking at a variety of skill levels.

I love taking the class. It’s invigorating and I’ve become more and more comfortable interjecting and pushing my own limits in terms of constructing sentences and expressing thoughts.

I spent a college semester in France 20 years ago, and my biggest regret is not finding a way to continue classes once I got back. I could be so much further along in bilingualism.

I’m not entirely sure how the students are placed in the class. There are people who can barely string a sentence together. There are people like me who make sentences, but I often have trouble making a paragraph.

There are people who speak in broken conjugations.

But the point isn’t necessarily a criticism of each others French. The experience is one of self motivation and courage. If you don’t have the courage to try and speak, I believe you’re wasting your money.

Truth be told, I have a tough time speaking English, and it’s my first language. My second language is non-verbal communication. My third is anger and my fourth language is French.

Often, when someone asks me a question (in English), a rush of thoughts bottleneck at the back of my throat and I end up stuttering a bit.

If someone asks me a tough question in English, I often have a tough start. So you can only imagine that a question in French causes even more of a bottleneck.

This French class is primarily a discussion session with a few grammar lessons balanced in here and there. So if we’re talking about how to define “Digital Identity” or how to determine the difference between the French Penal Code on Identity Theft compared to the lack of Swiss Identity Theft laws, I find myself at a loss of where to start in English, let alone goddamn French.

I find these French discussions invaluable, though. The exposure to other ideas in my own language is valuable. The exposure in French is even more, because attempting to speak in French, topics become more salient. I have to give ideas more thought.

I find myself rethinking topics over and over, even more than when I’m thinking in English. How do I think of this in English and how does that then translate into French. French doesn’t translate directly in many cases.

For example, yesterday we were walking into school and just before I went into my class, Tina asked me how to say, “Welcome back” to her teacher who was gone for two weeks in France. I turned my head into my class and interrupted my teacher and asked, “Comment dit-on ‘Welcome Back’ en Français? … Est-ce que c’est ‘Bienvenue back’?”

I laughed. He laughed. We all laughed.

My teacher tilted his head and said, “Il n’y a pas un façon de dire ‘Welcome back’ en français.” (There’s not a way to say welcome back in french).

That’s only a small example, but it might illustrate that there isn’t always a direct translation.

Last night, my teacher was explaining to another student — who tried to explain something in a direct English to French translation — that three out of four times, direct translations don’t work. It’s not bad to try, but it’s usually not the case.

 

My point is that to speak French, you have to really learn French. When I was there in college, I remember wanting to make French cooler — if only in my head. I found the rules to be restrictive. Even the vernacular used more words than I thought was necessary. I thought that if I applied slang concepts from my English into French, I could make French cooler.

Said and done, this was a stupid idea, because my french friends didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about. Just like almost everything in the world, the most effective approach to challenging situations is the long road. It’s taking the time to attack a goal with that seemingly Sisyphean chipping away at a HUGE task.

Anything worth a good goddamn takes time, practice, repetition, comprehension, agility, creativity and honesty. You know, everything that this current president has not done in his approach to “be” president of the United States of America.

When class finally started and we got started into last night’s lesson, my teacher noticed a student who wasn’t there the previous week. He looked at her and said, “Bienvenue back, Victoria!”

And we all laughed.

 

Today’s quote of the day comes from a recently dead fake news propagator. Who knew?


In a Washington Post interview last year, Fake News writer and now dead (at 38) Paul Horner explained the following about his ability to fool people on social media:

Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

My sites were picked up by Trump supporters all the time. I think Trump is in the White House because of me. His followers don’t fact-check anything — they’ll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist.

More below the fold.

Continue reading

I need a brain amputation. You need a brain transplant.


Last night, I dreamed that I was in need of a partial brain removal. The surgery was due to what seemed to be swelling in my brain.

In the dream, a man, I think it was the contractor we used to tile the floor in my bathroom, he told me that he could do the procedure and it wouldn’t be that intrusive. You know, because he has one of those machines to cut tile. He could use it (somehow) to cut through my skull.

He explained he would have to keep me awake, saw into my skull, start peeling off layers of brain with a scalpel, and he would know if he hit any necessary keeper tissue if I jolted from pain.

So he numbed some of the areas in my head, and went to work.

There he was sawing into my head, the sound was deafening. Like when you’re at the dentist and he or she is jamming into your teeth with a drill and the sound is excruciating because it’s in your mouth just inches from your eardrum.

He removed a large portion of skull, hair intact (not shaven). He placed it on the table. Then he started slicing brain, like it was sandwich meat and lying it on the table beside me. I could see the gray ripples of my brain guts in strips, kind of like what I would serve if I made steak tacos with flank steak.

He sewed me back up saying that he was able to remove about 1/16th of my brains.

I woke during the night several times, but every other dream seemed to harken back to that partial brain amputation. Like it was one continuous dream.

This one continuous dream thing has been happening for a couple weeks now. It’s got me thinking.

This brain amputation must be real. It seems that ±35% of the American population has had this procedure and the removal was upwards of 75% to 95% of their entire gray matter.

There’s this one guy in Washington DC who seems to have had an 85% brain amputation and if he knew better would encourage science to figure out brain transplants. But he can’t, because his skull is cobwebs and the most idiotic tweets I’ve ever read.

 

Finally! Someone with some brains has predicted Armageddon!


From a reputable news source:

A Christian numerologist claims that the world will end next Saturday when a planet will, supposedly, collide with Earth.

According to Christian numerologist David Meade, verses in Luke 21:25 to 26 are the sign that recent events, such as the recent solar eclipse and Hurricane Harvey, are signs of the apocalypse.

snip

Meade has built his theory on the so-called Planet X, which is also known as Nibiru, which he believes will pass Earth on Sept. 23, causing volcanic eruptions, tsunamis and earthquakes, according to British newspaper The Sun.

NASA has repeatedly said Planet X is a hoax.

Don’t make any plans past Sept 23, 2017, all ye breathren!

It’s time to meet your maker!

I was going to post this article without commentary, but apparently, I can’t keep my fingers still from typing a little response.

This article was given credence on a national “news” site. If you read the phenomenal journalistic writing, it just dives into biblical rational behind the prophecy. This assumes a lot, especially that everyone knows the bible and that everyone would be familiar with its predictions for the future.

There’s a part of the article describing this as being issued forth by the astrological sign of virgo. Ah, those pesky virgins! What with all their gifts of gods giving eternal life and taking all life away at the moment when planets ram into each other. Virgins are bitches!

At least the journalist behind this amazing story evens everything out by including a cautionary quote from a “rational” mind who is quoted as saying, “There is nothing to suggest that 23 September is a momentous date for biblical prophecy, and Christians need to be careful about being drawn into such sensationalist claims.”

That seems well and good. But if you go to the source of the quote, he also wrote: “We won’t know the day or the hour—so we should be prepared at all times!”

Phew, thanks for including an expert opinion on this matter!

We won’t know the day or the hour. 

Le sigh. Le humph. Le barf.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that line growing up. Yawn.

No really. The church and whoever said that kind of thing scared the shit out of me. They scare the shit out of any ol’ gullible dimbulb any chance they get. “Yeah, little Jeremy, you have the choice to follow Jesus or not. But just keep in mind, we don’t know the day or hour when Jesus is coming back so make sure you invite him into your heart and ask for forgiveness of all your sins that we made up or bam, Jesus could return. Then you’ll find yourself swimming in molten lava for ETERNITY! Sleep tight, little guy. This is the gospel. This is love. And it shows how much I love you by scaring you with telling you this!!

It’s your choice. 

What choice?

There may be some cataclysmic events in the world. And these ideas of apocalypse were certainly much greater back in the olden times when people didn’t know shit about the size of the earth or how to even remotely predict catastrophic events. When the earth and its place in the universe is a big fat mystery, of course the explanations that emerge will scare the shit out of people and inspire shit-scaring tactics of mind control.

Them there’s the best way to occupy a world without a 24-hour news cycle and a world in which 99% of the world population couldn’t read or write.