Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Odd Case Of The Sleepy Candidate

New Theory On Republican Candidate’s Peculiarities Draws Interest, Scorn, Yawns From Candidate

Washington (AP) He was once a neurosurgeon. Now he is running for the Republican nomination to vie for the presidency. He also has a tendency to drone on and on, and to sometimes come across as if he’s dozing. An unlikely candidate to say the least, Ben Carson has been suggested in some circles to also be, among other things, certifiably insane. His many remarks on a wealth of subjects suggest that the lights aren’t all on at home, so to speak. Carson suggested that the pyramids were built by Joseph to store grain. He’s put forward the notion that things wouldn’t have been as devastating during the Holocaust if only people in Nazi Germany had been armed.

He’s told tall tales about his history with violent people. Carson has advocated that people should gang up on gunmen in active shooter matters. He’s been stumped on the matter of Cuban immigration. His historical take on the Declaration of Independence, the issue of slavery being as bad as Obamacare, and D-Day have been met by eye rolls and sighs of dismay. His attitudes towards transgender people, gay people, Muslims, the Supreme Court, and calling certain segments of the population stupid have made onlookers wonder... is he crazy? Stupid? Did he do a lobotomy on himself?

Now a new theory is making the rounds. Albert Perkins is a doctor at Johns Hopkins, specializing in sleep disorders. He has never met the candidate, but has made a suggestion based on his work with other patients. “Some patients have a disrupted sleep cycle,” he explained. “They have what we would term micro-sleeps. They close their eyes for ten to thirty seconds, and in that time, they’re asleep. Then they wake up and blurt out something really strange. I mean batshit crazy strange. Come to think of it, I’m a doctor, so I should be using something more clinical than batshit crazy.”

Perkins went on. “I’ve seen patients come out of these micro-sleeps, people who are otherwise completely rational, and blurt out things like ‘lizard people run Con Edison’ or ‘sideways is upside down to the fifth dimension’. These are things that sound like complete nonsense, right? And yet these people are by and large perfectly sane and rational. They just blurt these things out after a micro-sleep. Now think about it. Our dreams are where our minds run wild and where the rules get thrown out the window. When we dream, our imaginations are set loose, and sometimes that imagination will not be rational.” He shrugged at this point.

“My current working theory is that people falling into micro-sleep end up in a dream state. Yes, it’s for mere seconds, but their emergence from it is just as sudden as falling into it. Therefore their minds are still caught up in the aspects of that dream upon waking. And feeling foolish about saying something nonsensical, they rather not address the issue with others. This is my theory with Mr. Carson. I know, I should be calling him Doctor Carson, but between me, you, and your readers, the man’s totally unfit for public office, let alone a medical practice, sleep disorder or not.”

“It’s an interesting theory,” psychologist Rachel Ellison concedes. The esteemed Boston therapist has not sat down with the candidate, but has her own feeling on the issue. “Sleep disorders or not, though, I would have to say he’s insane. I mean, honestly, he doesn’t have the sheepish look of someone who knows he’s said something nonsensical and hopes no one was paying attention. He looks, every single time when he says these things, like he believes it. I mean, honestly, have you ever seen the Great Pyramids of Egypt? Storing grain? How can a rational human being even suggest that? What’s he going to come up with next?”

The candidate himself sighed with dismay when asked if he has any sleep disorders. Then he closed his eyes for a time. “You know,” Carson told reporters in that droning, boring, barely audible tone of his. “This is rubbish. A smear campaign. This is just a liberal attempt to discredit me from serving in the capacity that I was.... that I was...” He closed his eyes again. No one said a word. Reporters looked at each other, wondering if Carson was asleep. This reporter wondered if his boring droning voice would end up putting world leaders to sleep during a speech to the UN General Assembly. Not that it would get that far- Ben Carson, after all, will never win the White House.

Finally after twenty seconds, Carson’s head rose up suddenly and his eyes opened. He blurted out, “Devil’s Tower was the scratching post for Daniel’s lions!”

A collective groan of exasperation rose up from the reporters. “You can’t be serious,” a Reuters correspondent told him.

Carson looked confused. “Serious about what? What did I say?”

An aide ushered Carson off stage, with the candidate yelling, “What you all need to know is if we all gang up on Bigfoot, he can’t run away and we can finally get a good photo of him!”

With that, Carson was gone. Reporters talked it all over, placing bets on how long it would take before Carson would say yet another stupid nonsensical thing.* Sleep disorder, insanity, or just plain old fashioned stupidity, one thing was clear: Ben Carson is unfit for office. One must wonder how he ever pulled off being a neurosurgeon.

*As it turns out, last night in a speech to Iowa Republicans, Carson mused that Noah’s Ark is hidden in a cave in France. “They claim they sealed it off to protect some thirty thousand year old cave paintings from exposure to human interference, but that’s nonsense,” Carson told loyal supporters. “After all, we all know the world’s no older than six or seven thousand years old.”

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Beware The Vengeance Of Angry Villagers

Small Village Holds Onto Centuries Old Grudge, Refuses To Listen To Reason

Edinburgh (Reuters) It has been three years since the death of actor Larry Hagman, whose iconic character J.R. Ewing caused trouble, stabbed people in the back, and generally made life hell for everyone on two incarnations of the series Dallas. The actor, who passed away from leukemia in 2012, was well liked personally, despite playing one of the small screen’s more vindictive, conniving, and compelling sort of villains- it depends on how you define a villain, after all; Dallas pretty much revolved around the character.

In 1980, the world seemingly was occupied with the mystery of who shot J.R., something that seems unthinkable now in a 500 channel fragmented television world where no single show will ever see those kind of ratings again. Seemingly, that is, because one village in the heart of the Scottish highlands went out of their way to express their disdain by ignoring the series entirely.

The village of MacDubh, with an estimated current population of 1200, is in a sleepy corner of the picturesque Scottish highlands. It’s not quite Brigadoon, but it would fit the stereotype- tartans, thick Scottish brogues, and haggis eaten every Robert Burns Day. Tourists often visit while in the area, finding welcoming Scottish pubs, old fashioned sensibilities, and stories of encounters with the Loch Ness monster.

There is one exception to their hospitality. Any single person who’s ever visited going by the initials of their first and middle names as J.R. is seen as an object of scorn, hostility, and derision. It doesn’t matter if one is Jonathan Ryan or June Rose. The hostility extends to a Joseph Roger or a Jane Roxanne. The antagonism remains the same. Hence in 1980, the villagers completely ignored a mystery unfolding on television that even enthralled the Queen Mother, to the point where she asked Hagman who had shot his character.

“Admittedly, to an outsider, it might seem ridiculous,” Colleen McTavish, a local Presbyterian minister admitted to this reporter. “Holding a grudge for centuries against anyone bearing the same initials as that.... that.... that... oh, hell with it! That underhanded cheating demonic conniving bastard Jack Robert McCullough!!!! A curse on him and his kin!”

Jack Robert McCullough, otherwise known as J.R. McCullough, lived in MacDubh in the late 1750s. A brigand, thief, scoundrel, cheater at card games, and occasional barrister, McCullough disappeared in 1759 after cheating the villagers out of their savings. After a few minutes of ranting and roaring about the “McCullough scum”, McTavish explained the story. “It was a prosperous village for the time. Now imagine a whole village losing nearly every spare cent they had. Taken by a swindling sneaky snake of a.... I’m getting worked up again, aren’t I? Anyway, as I said, taken by a swindler who lined his pockets and conned them all. The villagers were furious, as you can imagine.”

Furious enough to have torches and pitchforks at the ready in a village meeting, as it turns out. On the night of October 30th, 1759, the villagers assembled, the truth about McCullough exposed, venting their fury and deciding to string McCullough up. As the story goes, they found no trace of him at his home- an open front door, signs of bags being packed, and no trace of the swindler. “It was as if he’d vanished in the night,” McTavish admitted with a sigh. “There were rumours in the weeks afterwards, sightings here and there in the Highlands. His family was questioned, but as far as we know, none of them ever heard from him again.”

This reporter posted the obvious question- could we, centuries later, just take the word of the villagers that McCullough had just vanished? What if one of them had killed him and hidden the body?

McTavish had to concede the point. “It’s a fair argument. That much anger from so many people. I mean, they were all ready to kill him anyway. I suppose it’s possible that one of them might have killed him instead of him escaping into the night. The problem is that the money he stole never turned up afterwards, so...”

But why hold onto a grudge all this time? It’s a perplexing question, particularly when the grudge is applied to people, real and fictional, who have no connection to McCullough. McTavish put that into context. “When it was apparent to the villagers that McCullough was gone, two things happened. First, they vented by burning his house down. Second, a blood oath of vengeance was taken, a Highland oath that no matter how long it would last, for the rest of time, J.R. McCullough and all who shared his initials would bear the contempt and scorn of the village. It’s a contempt and a hatred that has been passed down from generation to generation. From fathers to sons, mothers to daughters. No J.R. can ever, ever be trusted. All J.R.s must be treated as suspect. All J.R.s must be confronted with antagonism. And we’ve lived by that oath ever since.”

This explains at least one story from the late Hagman, who in an interview with Time in 1998 spoke about a vacation he took several years earlier in the Scottish Highlands. “My wife and I turned up in this village,” Hagman said at the time. “Lovely spot, really, beautiful mountains, rolling hills, idyllic. I walked into a crowded pub, looked around, and suddenly the conversation and music and everything else just stopped. Everyone stared at us. Stared at me, really. And it wasn’t the sort of stare of recognition you get from the fans who realize that hey, it’s that actor. It’s the kind of stare that it’s like daggers. I mean, I saw so much hostility in those eyes... I’ve never seen that in anyone. Long story short, my wife and I were running for our lives back to our car, with villagers on our heels screaming kill the bastard right behind us. The local police in the next village over apologized to us, said it was a cultural thing with that village. They just hated all J.R.s. I don’t know why... I mean, for one thing, it was just a character I played, and for another, who could possibly hate J.R. Ewing?”

McTavish nodded when asked about that. “Yes, okay, it wasn’t our finest hour. It happened. We got carried away with ourselves. We chased this American actor out of the village, screamed bloody murder, all because we recognized him for playing a character named J.R. years ago. These things happen when you involve Highland curses. But there’s one thing I’d like to add. I never said kill the bastard while I was chasing Mr. Hagman.” She paused for a moment, looking grave.

“I might have said kill the mother****er. Wait, don’t quote me on that, I’m a minister.”

Monday, November 23, 2015

The South African Millionaire Scam

While I get no end of spam in my blog spam folders, fortunately almost all of them automatically get caught and dumped into the purgatory otherwise known as the spam folder. It has been awhile since the despicable vermin that are internet scammers sent along any junk email trying to get me to believe that they are the secretary/ wife/ daughter/ concubine/ bookie of the late and dear general/ dictator/ reverend/ feared overlord/ cult leader what's-his-face. Until a few days ago when this gem turned up in my junk email folder.


I am Alan Reid, personal assistant to late Mr. Abe Krok, a South African gambling tycoon and one of the country's richest men in South African.

I will like you to help me in receiving fund $19.300 million into your Bank Account please Contact me for more details

Thank you very much.

Alan Reid.

Where do we begin? Well, for starters, our totally lying liar times infinity plus one got his name misspelled in his email address- instead of Alan Reid, it was Alad Rein. And instead of being based out of South Africa as such a real person would be, his country's internet country code marks him as being from Malaysia. Which of course is fertile ground for the accursed internet scammers.

There are of course the other tell-tales. Misspellings, capitalized words that don't need capitalization, and punctuation issues are always hallmarks of the internet scammers. The fact that our hapless twit writes it as "...personal assistant to late Mr. Abe Krok" instead of "personal assistant to the late Mr. Abe Krok" speaks volumes. Hey, it might be just one small word, but the actual assistant to an actual millionaire would have the education to write it properly. And our worthless pile of crap... oh, I mean, Mr. Reid... no, wait, I got it right the first time. Anyway, the resident scammer gets the rest of that sentence wrong too- "a South African gambling tycoon and one of the country's richest men in South African". In South African? Drop the n at the end of Africa, moron. In fact, if you were real, which you are not, you'd simply end that sentence at richest men.

As it turns out there was a South African millionaire by that name who died a couple of years back. Apparently he and his brother made a great deal of money on skin lightening products, football clubs, and gambling interests (and getting themselves into legal troubles of their own). And as it turns out, the Alan Reid scammer (or whatever his real name is) has been circulating a variation on the above message since the old bastard kicked the bucket.

One wonders how the real Abe Krok would feel about his name being misused by scammers after his death. Let's face it, real millionaires don't have their real personal assistants email countless people trying to convince them this too good to be true scam is true. Real personal assistants, on the other hand, might spend some of their time figuring out ways to siphon off the boss's fortune, but that's a different story. And our resident scammer wants me to believe there's 19.3 million dollars out there just for me. 

Uh huh, sure. Right. Whatever.

Nice try, dimwit, but most of us aren't blithering idiots dumb enough to buy into your con. You'll just have to hope that someone in the thousands upon thousands of other people you've sent this email to might be. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this particular warning. I highly recommend you take it seriously, because you wouldn't like Fluffy when he's angry.