Monday, July 21, 2014

The Middle East Friendship Chart

Obviously it's reductive and imperfect (where is Jordan?  I didn't see Lebanon either), but this chart is an interesting attempt to begin to think about the complexity of relationships in the Middle East.  I kind of want to add "Frenemies" as another relationship option and "Kurds/Kurdistan" as another player.  Note, though, how ISIS is pretty much hated by everybody.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Awesome: The First Space Selfie!

Cakes In Spaaaaaaaaaace!

On this 45th anniversary of the lunar landing, Cake Wrecks is celebrating with a gallery of cakes that are out of this world!

Cartoon Commentary on Hamas in Gaza

As Israel-bashing in the media and commentariat reaches new heights (or depths?), maybe we can remember just how the current Gaza situation started.  Palestinian civilians are suffering for it, but I'm pretty sure Hamas doesn't care about civilians.

Wuv, Twue Wuv, Will Fowow You Foweva

Brilliant.

Lowe's Does Customer Service Right

A wonderful story. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

In Russia, Beach Hits You!

Just another day in paradise as the temperature suddenly plummets 40 degrees and the sky hurls golfball-sized hailstones at fleeing vacationers.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Drone Surveillance of China's Coast: Made In Taiwan?

The apparent goal is to keep tabs on the 2000+ coastal missiles that China currently has aimed at Taiwan.

I am also bemused by this related note: "the U.S. has expressed concern to Taiwan over how its drones are being deployed."

O RLY?  Last I heard Taiwan hadn't used any of its drones to kill people and prompt a barnstorming filibuster by Rand Paul.

Quote of the Day as Israel Hits Hamas

Around the 8:30 mark: "Sometimes you just have to fight against people who want to murder you."

World Cup 2014: Germany Wins It All!

Die Mannschaft beat Argentina 1-0 and the Germans are now the Weltmeister.  I was also amused by the various sartorial antics of the fans, not to mention this comment on the president of the hilariously corrupt FIFA and his companions:
Since this IS 2014 and no event is complete without a selfie or two, here you go. The selfie game is strong with this one.

Congratulations to the Germans! And I'll say that if I want to. I've already been disowned by several furious Latin American friends. Whatever, man! I've been a fan of Die Mannschaft for years. They play a beautiful game beautifully!  Besides, isn't it poor social skills and bad sportsmanship to disown a friend who happens to support a team other than your own?  Even if that team crushes yours?  Come on.

UPDATE: The Onion comments hilariously.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Letter From 1944

Extraordinary letter to Mom and Dad from a son shipping out to war.  Here's a piece of it: "Do not pray only that I shall return, but that I will have the power to do my duty."

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Laughing All The Way To The Potato Salad

Here's the tale of hilarious Kickstarter hijinks.  Even funnier might be the waves of disapproval from humorless observers and commentators.  Also: why do they keep wanting to tell the guy what to do with the money that he's been given by people willing to give it to him?  It's his money now.  It's none of their freaking business.  Sounding all pietistic and moralistic about it doesn't change that basic fact.

World Cup LOL: What If We All Behaved Like Soccer Players?

World Cup 2014: Brazil Was Die Mannschaft-ed 7-1

You don't have to like soccer to appreciate the historic moment in sports history.  You don't even have to like sports to appreciate the epic quality of the German victory.  The match happened yesterday, but it's taken this long for the results to sink in.  At the time, all that my buddies and I felt was shock and disbelief ... and we were cheering for Germany!  Even the great Beckenbauer tweeted, "What was that? Hard to believe."
I thought the match was going to be a tough fight that Brazil would barely win in the end given the absence of injured Neymar.  I wasn't expecting a brutal 7-1 beatdown that looked as if the Brazilians were a Little League team going up against the New York Yankees.  As the demoralized Brazilians completely collapsed in appalling fashion, the rampant Germans scored 5 times in the first half hour, and there are no words for this:

UPDATE: I had linked to a Vine of the first 5 goals, but that's been taken down since this post went online.  As a consolation prize, let me give you another Vine.  The French sports publication L'Equipe just made this Vine of a LEGO version of the poor Brazilian goalie. Aw, just look at his expressions:




The sports commentary in the aftermath of the match has been wild.  How do you describe such an epic performance?  It's World Cup history being made in front of you.  My crew and I ended up feeling bad for the Brazilians being destroyed on their own turf even as we marveled at the impeccable Germans.  You almost wanted a mercy rule to kick in and put Brazil out of its misery.  How the mighty have fallen indeed.  

Up in the ESPN booth, former German team captain Michael Ballack was over the moon, and who could blame him?  (Lookin' goooooood there, Mike!)
The Netherlands take on Argentina today for the other spot in the final.  I like the Dutch very much, but I think a Germany-Argentina final would be just brilliant ... especially if (when?) the Germans crush the Argentines into dust.

Oh, and the German team is being classy in victory.  Good for them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Can You Dig It: Archaeological Discoveries in Northern Iraq

For once here's some good news out of Iraq.  Check out some fascinating discoveries including statues and the remains of a temple dedicated to the ancient god Haldi.  More here.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

If You Can't Stand The Dissent, Get Out Of The Kitchen

Dinner wasn't the only thing cooking in Soviet kitchens.

Tour de France 2014: Suggested Reading

Three books on the iconic sporting event that has this year claimed its first victim on the first day.

Nerd Notes: An Interview With the Cartoonist of PhD Comics

Poking fun at grad school is a fantastic defense mechanism.

National Archives To Put Entire Collection On Wikimedia Commons

Access!

George Takei on the WWII Internment of Japanese Americans

Takei was 5 years old when he and his family were sent to the camps.  Here is Takei's story.  He also talks about the incredible 442nd Infantry Regiment composed of Japanese Americans.  Do take a listen to his thoughtful take on being American and on the ideals of democracy.