Cynical Synapse

Sat, 19 Nov 2011

PETA Is Out to Lunch

Filed under: Behavior, Congress, Deceit, Humor, Life, Opportunists, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 6:46 pm

food pyramid and pizza slice

So, pizza is considered a vegetable, by act of Congress, due to the tomato sauce. Minor detail that tomatoes are actually a fruit. Never mind pizza includes cheese, a dairy product, and, usually, pepperoni, a meat. Heck, even turkey bacon is part of vegetarian cuisine in some circles.

Apparently, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) didn’t get the memo. With Thanksgiving approaching, PETA requested Turkey, Texas, change its name to Tofurkey, a vegan alternative. Seriously? Change the name of a town because it was an animal some people consider vegetarian? But, wait! There’s more!

Mario savages tanooki

Lest you thought it couldn’t get any lamer, never underestimate the crusading pomposity of the lunatic fringe. With the changes in status for pizza and turkey, PETA must be running out of issues to champion that have any degree of significance. Not to be relegated to irrelevance, however, PETA began chastising Mario for his Tanuki suit. According to PETA, Nintendo’s popular video game encourages kids to wear fur or something. Get a life, you fruit cakes.

Tanooki [sic] may be just a “suit” in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur. By wearing Tanooki [sic], Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.


25 Nov 2011

Biden pardons a tofurkey

And the madness spreads, or so it would seem.


Mon, 31 Oct 2011

In Detroit, Pumpkins Decorate You

Filed under: Detroit, Driving, Good job, Helping others, holidays, Humor, Life, People, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 1:41 pm

pumpkins littering I-696

Detroit has a long-standing tradition of beginning Halloween celebrations early; not always in the best light. This year was no exception as the holiday period kicked off, not with a famous act, or even an act of vandalism. North suburban Farmington Hills saw the arrival of the smashing pumpkins on I-696 last Wednesday, just in time for the morning commute. Drivers had to carve their way through the bouncing gourds which shattered at least one windshield but caused no injuries. According to Pat Carmichael, who witnessed the mayhem:

There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of these pumpkins… There’s [sic] three lanes that are just covered with smashed pumpkins. I’m just now getting toward Telegraph and the truck’s been pulled over by a police officer. The back of the truck has been sheared off.

damaged I-696 pumpkin truck

Police said the driver, Brian Rose, could be cited for having an unstable load, which carries a $150 fine. But, Rose said he was cut off and struck a bridge pier. Excuse me? Why didn’t he stop to see if there was any damage? How about a ticket for fleeing the scene of an accident? How about restitution for the cost of clean up? As you can see at right, Rose’s hitting the bridge pier was more than just a little bump or scrape.

Later that same Wednesday, Detroit Zoo animals began their own Halloween festivities. In an effort to stimulate their natural behaviors, they were given pumpkins filled with appropriate treats. Some played with or guarded their treasure gourds while others enjoyed dismantling them in one manner or another. The Zoo was also decorated for Halloween, including zombies, which are not part of the Zoo’s regular exhibits.

During the mid-70s to mid-90s, Detroit’s early “celebrations” saw out-of-control arsons, approaching around 800 in later years. In 1995, then Mayor Archer countered Devils’ Night with Angels’ Night. Over the last 15 years, the Halloween holiday has become one of Detroit’s safest. The Angels’ Night mobilizations, which take place over about a 3 day period, are a model of a community taking back its streets. Kids can go trick-or-treating; adults can go on their zombie walks; everyone can have a good time. This is the real D and this is where we’re headed.


Sat, 01 Jan 2011

Word Czars Take Aim at Social Media

Filed under: Humor, Language, Life, Media, People, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 8:59 am


Michigan’s Lake Superior State University releases a list of banished words each year. The list started during a New Year’s Eve party in 1975. Since then it has been an annual effort to banish words and phrases from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse, and general uselessness.

This year, the list seems focused on how we communicate and use social networks.

In a busy U.S. election year, “the American People” told LSSU they were tired of not only “refudiate,” but also “mama grizzlies” who wanted their opponents to “man up.”

mama grizzly

The List of banished Words is developed from reader submissions. Here are the 2011 banished words and phrases.

  • Viral—something that has spread like wildfire on the Internet
  • Epic—”Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed.” Mike of Kettering, OH
  • Fail—pretty much any mistake someone could make, whether significant or not
  • Wow factor—a phrase used to highlight something that seems significantly appealing
  • A-ha moment—a point at which something becomes clear
  • Back story—and what is wrong with “history” instead of “back story”?
  • BFF—instead of BFF (Best Friends Forever), there’s BFFA (Best Friends For Awhile), which makes more sense
  • Man Up—another case of “verbing” a noun; a chest-thumping cultural regression fit for frat boys stacking beer glasses
  • Refudiate—a Palinism that doesn’t even warrant mainstream attention
  • Mama grizzlies—another Palinism
  • The American People—a political reference intended to include all citizens as if we all held the same opinion
  • I’m just saying—a phrase used to diffuse any ill feelings caused by a preceded remark
  • Facebook/Google as verbs—Excuse me? I’ve long held if you can’t find it on Google and can’t learn about it on Wikipedia, it’s not worth knowing about. And if I can’t Facebook with my friends, there’s no point in getting up in the morning.
  • Live life to the fullest—First, things are full or they’re not; there is no fullest. Second, ‘live life’ is redundant

Does this cause anyone else to wonder how we’re going to communicate with each other this year?

Fri, 24 Dec 2010

Driving With Hood Up Part 2

Filed under: Behavior, Driving, Duh, Humor, Safety, Stupid car tricks — cynicalsynapse @ 8:57 am

A year and a half ago, I saw a guy driving down the freeway with his hood laying against the windshield. I wondered how that happened. Now I may have the answer. Driving with the hood up at highway speeds, it’s likely the air pressure will force the hood beyond its normal stopping point.

In a scratch-your-head moment, apparently this is more common than anyone would imagine.

Sat, 13 Feb 2010

Snow on the Ground, Snow on the Ground

Filed under: Environment, Global warming, Humor, Life — cynicalsynapse @ 4:17 pm

US snowcover map 13 Feb 10

With the probability there is still snow on Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa peaks, today marks the rare occasion of snow on the ground in all 50 states. The 13,000-foot Hawaiian peaks typically see snow every winter and got a dumping a couple weeks ago.

University of Oklahoma meteorological graduate student Patrick Marsh hopes to get pictures of snow on the ground today from all 50 states. Not sure if he’ll make it, but Dewey from Detroit has posted a song to mark this unusual event. You probably know the tune.

Mon, 25 Jan 2010

Collapse of the Democratic Onslaught

Filed under: Congress, Humor, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 7:34 pm

There are dozens of parodies of the scene from the German movie Downfall about Hitler’s last 10 days in the bunker below the Reichs Chancellery. This one, however, has to come pretty close to summing up how the Democrats and Pres. Obama feel after Republican Scott Brown’s election to finish Sen. Ted Kennedy’s (D-MA) term.

Pundits are busy huffing and puffing about the meaning of Brown’s victory in staunchly Democratic Massachusetts. It seems to me the Democrats have been mad with power. Witness Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s handling of the healthcare bill. But polls suggest the people are tired of being ignored by their elected representatives. Incumbents of either party should fear if they’ve failed to faithfully represent the will of their constituents. Otherwise, come November, they face the same fate as those in the video.

HT: Dvorak Uncensored

Tue, 05 Jan 2010

Granholm’s New Year’s Resolution

Filed under: Government, Humor, Michigan, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 5:24 am
Gov. Granholm's New Year's resolution

The Freep‘s first cartoon contest of 2010. The point? Suggest what belongs in the bubble above Gov. Granholm.

Personally, I think it’s perfect just the way it is. This is her last year in office. There’s no reason to expect Granholm to be any more effective in 2010 than she was last year. She was virtually absent from the budget debate, except to blamethrow, exhibiting a total lack of leadership.

Sat, 02 Jan 2010

Word Czars Unfriend 15 Words and Phrases

Filed under: Bailout, Economy, Government, Humor, Language, Life, People, Politics, President, Society — cynicalsynapse @ 2:42 pm

Unfriend T-shirt

Lake Superior State University, located in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s upper penninsula, released its 35th annual list of banished words. The list started during a New Year’s Eve party in 1975. Since then it has been an annual effort to banish words and phrases from the Queen’s English for misuse, overuse, and general uselessness.

Said a word banishment spokesperson, “the list this year is a ‘teachable moment’ conducted free of ‘tweets. In these economic times’, purging our language of ‘toxic assets’ is a ‘stimulus’ effort that’s ‘too big to fail’.”

Just go away

The List of Banished Words is developed from reader submissions. Here are the 2010 banished words and phrases.

  • Shovel-ready—a project fully designed but waiting for work to begin
  • Transparent/transparency—easily understood and fully disclosed
  • Czar—a specialized, high authority appointment
  • Tweet—sending a message on Twitter; also banned are all tweet’s variations, such as tweetaholic, retweet, twitterhea, twitterature, and twittersphere
  • App—as in applets for the iPhone
  • Sexting—sending sexually explicit pictures and text messages by cell phone
  • Friend as a verb—adding someone to your network on social media sites; also banned are the related friending, unfriend, and unfriending
  • Teachable moment—how about just plain lesson?
  • In these economic times…—aren’t all times economic?
  • Stimulus—it’s just plain overused and has no clear boundaries (or effect, that I can see)
  • Toxic assets—a euphemism for bad investments and debt
  • Too big to fail—no one knows if anything’s too big to fail because we’ve never seen it happen
  • Bromance—a close relationship between two straight males
  • Chillaxin’—a combination chilling and relaxing; a multi-year nominee, it finally wore out its welcome
  • Obama-prefix or roots—such as Obamanomics, Obamanation, Obamafication, Obamacare, Obamalicious, and Obamaland; although it got no nominations, the Word Banishment Committee decided Obamanough already

HT: theblogprof

Thu, 26 Nov 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: holidays, Humor, Life — cynicalsynapse @ 7:06 am

Turkeys saying moo for blind farmer

Whether it seems like it or not, all of us have something to be thankful for. It might be family, friends, or maybe just freedom. With today’s technology and social networking, you can see what others are thankful for.

Take a moment to be thankful for our citizens in uniform. Thousands of them are not home for the holidays and there’s a feeling that few of us appreciate what they’re doing for us. They didn’t pick the fight, but they serve nonetheless. Maybe they’ll be recognized by a visit from the commander-in-chief.

I love my family and friends! Do what y’all enjoy doing on a holiday. And enjoy!

Thu, 24 Sep 2009

Think an Elipses is When the Moon Moves in Front of the Sun?

Filed under: Behavior, Duh, Humor, Language, Life, People, Rants — cynicalsynapse @ 9:22 pm

Who knew that today was National Punctuation Day?

In an era of instant messaging and texting, some may think punctuation almost irrelevant, except as elements of emoticons (which have been around since the 19th century, believe it or not). Others might argue there is a growing misuse—and misunderstanding—of punctuation. A number even consider the demise of proper punctuation as representative of the decline of civilization as we know it.

One of my pet peeves is apostrophe catastrophes. I think this is the leading punctuation faux pas in US English. I often wonder what the item is possessing when I see an apostrophe before an ending S that doesn’t belong there. Consider the sign in the opening picture: the baguette’s what? What does the baguette have? And who cares if Baker has a baguette? If Baker had a lot of baguettes, that might be worth a sign.

The misplaced apostrophe is a bigger deal than just the possessive. What about the difference between your and you’re? This not uncommon mistake has different meanings. Its corollary is even more insidious: there, they’re, their. How many times have you seen the wrong word in that context?

Although it doesn’t usually “bother” me, probably the next most common punctuation error is the unnecessary quotation marks—you know, when a word or phrase is place inside quotes for no good reason. While you have to see improper apostrophes, the unnecessary quotes can also occur in speach. Remember the last time you saw someone make the “quotes” gesture? If they’re making the gesture, it’s probably not proper use of quotation marks.

The sign at right is a nice sentiment, but it leaves me with two questions. Congrat’s what, or does Congrat own the Class of “2009”? Is it really the class of 2009 or are we “just saying” it’s the class of 2009?

So, is punctuation and language a big deal? I don’t know. Why not ask “Punctuation hero” Stefan Gatward?

Copyblogger has six common punctuation errors that bedevil bloggers. Whitesmoke has some other guidance on punctuation.

Think punctuation doesn’t really matter? Consider this. But, is it a big deal in the blogospere? Blogs can be corrected. Maybe the real concern is punctuation and usage based on millennia does matter.

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