Tag Archives: Humor

Something Siberian this way Steamrolls

It probably makes me a pompous ass, but I don’t care: I still chuckle every time I see an annual announcement like this one.

TSO fan?

One thing you learn from semi-anonymous blogging for your friends and family and random silent stalkers: Choose the wrong topic, and it will bring out the crusaders for said topic. I guess I always expected that, but what I learned is that you have no idea what that topic will be.

Three years ago, I wrote an innocent (though admittedly pompous) post marking my surprise that the Steamroller of Mannheim and the Orchestra of the Trans Siberians were actually two different brands acts. Boy, did that bring out the comments from TSO defenders in bushels.

Why seek out dark online corners to set straight those who don’t like your already popular favorite music? I don’t know. I can only think of the above xkcd classic, “Duty Calls.”

Meanwhile, this is Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Canon Rock”:

And here is der Mannheim Steamroller, doing “Carol of the Bells” (a title TSO also does):

Heavens, how could I ever confuse them? (Side note: My confusion is only intensified by the “related videos” on YouTube, which are a constant mix of the two.)

Seriously, while they are certainly “different,” it is hardly unfathomable that I once thought them the same. To explain, I’ll just repost a late edit to that original post, after the shitstorm of passionate and hilarious comments had died down:

[post-post-post edit 9/21] I had dinner with three women from my 30-straddling generation last night, and I asked them what they knew of Steamroller and TSO. One said, “Oh, I didn’t realize they were different.”

The second said, “AWK, my mother listens to Steamroller, it’s awful, and aren’t the Trans-Siberians just a knock-off?” and the third said, “I went to a [TSO] concert once. It was okay. I think they play the same set each year.”

Which may reflect misinterpretations, perhaps, but definitely reflects my original point that they may have a branding issue for those who try not to pay attention to either. (But, as we all agree below, they sell out just fine without trying to convert the rest of us, so they shouldn’t worry.)

Sometimes ignorance is sweet, sweet cheesy-guitar-solo-free bliss.

I wait in joyful hope to learn that the Trans Siberians will likewise be headed my way this coming holiday season.


What’s behind that shower curtain? What’s in that wall?

The Shining hotel
The bathtub scene from "The Shining" is too creepy for me to look at for long, so this will do.

Thanks to a really, really inconvenient water main break — offices flooded, personal stuff soaked and lost, important departments relocated — we’re working in some makeshift surroundings.

Thankfully, my department isn’t on the ground floor so we were spared damage, but we are hosting other departments’ refugees (who are all taking this pain like a champ, incidentally).

Also, we have no plumbing. Which means using the bathroom, for both the natives and the Water Main Diaspora, involves following a series of “Unisex Bathroom ——->” signs to an unoccupied dorm room in an adjoining building.

I’ve noticed each time I use it: Sometimes the shower curtain is open, sometimes it’s closed. It changes multiple times within the day. I think I’ve figured out why.

It’s not a dirty bathroom by any means, but there is a small shampoo stain on the shower floor. I bet that turns some people off while they’re sitting on the porcelain. So they close the curtain. Except… Continue reading What’s behind that shower curtain? What’s in that wall?

Texting and chewing gum

Ahhhh-hahaha, this was a nice nearly SNL-type bit on the streets of (I think) Chicago. The reporter expertly displays all the behaviors that make you want to rip a mobile device out of someone’s hand/ear and replace it with a rabid squirrel.

Mad squirrel
Mad squirrel is Bluetooth-enabled

(Query: Can squirrels really get rabies? Then consider it a metaphorical rabid nature … in this case, to fit this crime my judicial prudence prefers the persistent gnaw of a squirrel to the vicious bite of a dog or the haunting screech of a bat.)

The past two days I have walked toward the office entrance behind the same headphone-addled, non-stop thumbs-on-the-screen “youth.”

The awful part is that he ACTUALLY WADDLES while he walks, so getting around him requires both agility and guessing when his next random horizontal move will be. He easily could have inspired this video.

News: Some bullshit somewhere

How in the hell does the Onion nail stuff like this so well, so consistently? The language may not be safe for your work, but there’s not a semi-conscious American who wouldn’t find this hilarious. Well worth the two minutes.

I love that the inherent truths are accessorized with little Onion-esque accessories such as a bar chart tracking the yearly change in:



20 Years of Photoshop

Don’t visit this list — I’m warning you now — you’ll spend all day there.

The “ranking” itself is pretty random and meaningless, but as Photoshop is now 20 years old, this is a nice sampling of some of the crazy, the stupid, the hilarious, and the unforgettable uses of the program over the last two decades, and particularly in the last 10 years or so when a lot of this has ended up in our inbox or on our … blogs.

My favorite was probably the “Iranian Missile Crisis” one — it’s not just an example of Photoshop foolishly handled by the wrong hands (and spread without question through the media), but then in our Web age there’s a “bounce” to the story, where the initial failure leads to hilarious off-shoots. (Click on the yellow arrows to see multiple images within a given posting.)

This street “art” in Berlin was also pretty cool because — I mean, what worse offshoot of Photoshop is there than the creepy airbrushing and girl-body-image-warping done by every. single. supermarket. magazine? Those images don’t even look “hot” to me; they look fake. And fake just ain’t hot.

Women’s Interfail Group

If you hear them young folk on the Interwebs using “fail” in ungrammatical ways that sound foreign to your traditional ears … I cannot explain where it started. (Huh huh, lede fail.)

But the “fail” meme (to use another word in the Webby parlance of our times) undoubtedly reached new levels — a level where even I heard about it — via FAIL Blog, a site The New York Times probably featured at some point in a 2008 trend story whose fourth paragraph began, “This turn toward ‘snark’ comes at a time when younger Americans are increasingly…” or something like that.

Anyway, Fail Blog’s simple collections of official or amateur, um, “failure” is good for a quick laugh or horror. But I wonder, could it have entered the collective subconscious to a dangerous degree?

This here post should really be its own FAIL Blog photo, but the inspiration was something I saw in a public bathroom. And me still being the traditional pre-FAIL meme sort, I’m still reluctant to bust out my camera phone in that setting. Seems like there’s an ordinance in play there.

So I have to write this out rather than present a photo of the bulletin fail in question (yeah, as if I know how to work my phone’s camera … and as if I’d bother to figure out how to unload the photo file):

We’re on campus, I go to the bathroom where they have a monthly flyer of upcoming events posted over every urinal, and one of the events listed for this month is:


I do a double-take. This is college, so maybe there’s a student joke my suddenly dated ass isn’t getting. I read on: “Women gather to discuss intercultural topics such as religion, theology…” — say no more! This is a legit “fail.” It’s on each flyer. And better yet, it’s a fail with “fail” in it!

If I were the type to not worry about being caught taking a picture in a public restroom at my place of employment, I do declare I’d send that in. Hopefully a student already beat me to it.

The Sumerian incident

Jeebus, it hurts. The Onion, of course:

Members of the earth’s earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, looked on in shock and confusion some 6,000 years ago as God, the Lord Almighty, created Heaven and Earth.

It’s all good from The Onion’s “Top 10 stories of the last 4.5 billion years,” but the final two paragraphs, about Sumerian reaction to Adam and Eve, are a nice kicker:

According to the cuneiform tablets, Sumerians found God’s most puzzling act to be the creation from dust of the first two human beings.

“These two people made in his image do not know how to communicate, lack skills in both mathematics and farming, and have the intellectual capacity of an infant,” one Sumerian philosopher wrote. “They must be the creation of a complete idiot.”

*looks in mirror* Oh, I see what they did there.

More Muppets, because it still makes me smile

The last post about The Muppets’ version of “Bohemian Rhapsody” was quite popular — I think we broke a traffic record here! (unless it was the religion rant) — so why not have some more?

Once again, I’m almost embarrassed how happy this makes me. Is it because the characters were well developed at the time? Or childhood nostalgia? Or both? The lyrical “mi-mi-mi” and “durn-durghy-durgh” that fits so well, and is so identifiable when you’re singing a song you don’t know the words to? Somehow it’s perfect.

There was some article explaining this “taking the Internet by storm” deal, as apparently whoever owns the Muppets now is resurrecting them — the right way, they claim — in advance of a movie or something next year.

Whatever, I don’t care. This stuff just rocks.

They never made Clooney deal with this

Three people who are very, very dear to me are ER doctors. (One of them calls it “the ED,” not “ER,” — department rather than room. But sorry, Viagra has stiffly wrested ownership of those letters.)

Anyway, these are their stories, sad but true:

That site that is pimped at the end — http://www.xtranormal.com — is pretty cool if you have an hour to waste and the desire to make an animation like the above. It looks simple: Just type in a script and laugh away! But there are actually a lot of subtle features that will burn your time up. So on second thought: Don’t go there! Your productivity will go down the drain.

*About the title: I don’t actually know if they made Clooney’s character deal with this or not, because I never watched ER. For my realistic medical drama, I prefer the true-to-life Grey’s Anatomy.