The power of crazy

Have you ever been followed on the street by a crazy person shouting things at you? In a big city with crowded sidewalks?

It happened to my son – fortunately – when he was thirteen. He didn’t look thirteen, but he also didn’t look old enough to drive. Say fifteen or so. This was the fortunate part. Our family went for a walk downtown. A normal looking man (until you looked at his eyes) middle aged, in a suit, took a look at Robert and started following us shouting “You ran over my little girl, you bastard. How dare you walk around free? Are you going to run over more people?” etc, etc, ad nauseum.

It was obvious he was yelling at Robert, because if we shifted formation, he would change to be within about two feet of Robert and looking at him.

It was also obvious to anyone watching he was crazy. At least I hope so, since my kid didn’t even look old enough to drive.

BUT our entire family was cringing and Robert looked like he wanted to hide. ALL eight blocks back to where we’d parked. Then he stood there and shook his fist at us while we took off.

That wasn’t precisely a new experience for me. It says something about the texture of life in the Portugal I grew up in (that caveat is needed, as I know nothing or next to about Portugal now) that a romantic song promised to protect the girl “when a madman follows you on the street shouting things.” This happened fairly routinely when I was going to college and taking a train to downtown Porto and then a bus to my campus. Madmen would follow calling me a whore, (because someone in a black skirt suit and a black medieval cloak is self evidently selling her wares?) or saying I stole something, or sometimes just shouting the equivalent of “millennium hand in shrimp.”

It’s so common that passersby would grin at my embarrassed face. BUT there’s the point. No matter how common, no matter how unjustified, you always feel like SOMEHOW you did SOMETHING to bring this episode on.

I was reminded of this yesterday – yes, on Facebook. You know… — when I posted a somewhat tasteless, but not overly so meme on the Titanic. I might not have posted it, not being interested in either of the topics, but my son made it and it was cutish. It was the titanic, sinking and it said “The Ice Bucket Challenge/On expert mode.” Okay, I have nothing against the ice-bucket challenge, but it’s been all over and the Titanic sank because of striking ice, so, you know, it was kind of sort of chuckle worthy. And it took you unawares while drinking tea (me) spray worthy, because of the juxtaposition of ideas.

My first comment was from someone who has written a book about the Titanic “Just.not.funny.” Well, okay. I know what it’s like to be close to your subject. I’ve been known to put a cutting remark when an Oxfordian posts something about not having enough evidence of Shakespeare’s life. But that’s usually on serious memes. I think I pass on raining on someone’s parade in politics or history at least once a day.

Why? Because it’s a facebook meme. People are having fun. Do you really want to stand at the edge of the crowd screaming “Not funny.”

But fine, he was close to it, knew the details of the tragedy, etc, so I put in “Well, maybe you’re too close to it, but it’s been used as a joke in Ghost Busters, so this is not even the real titanic, it’s the “meme Titanic”” – and also the drawing showed the ship, not the people.

What I expected was the he’d absent himself from the rest of the thread.

Oh, boy, was I wrong. Next, he posted pictures of the remains in the Titanic, and what looked like someone’s leg bone. We tried to explain to him that, er, no, we weren’t making fun of the death of people, it was just the weird idea of a ship deciding to take the challenge.

AND THEN he decided that he would make “funny memes” of Nazi cold water immersion torture and post them, because, you know, no one told him not to.

Now you guys have known me long enough, so when I said, “No one told you not to dance in traffic, either, does that mean you feel compelled to” you know exactly how far I’d been pushed. I don’t think I’ve lost my cool to that point here, except with overt trolls.

BUT he kept coming back, and defending his outrage, and saying we were making fun of the horrible death of hundreds (which I hope it’s understood in the meme was not part of it) and on and on, until he called Kate Paulk (!) two swear words. And then I blocked him and banned him.

I went to bed still confused about this. You see, it’s the first time I blocked anyone on Facebook.

And he’s been my friend for a while, and what’s more, he wrote a book I enjoyed on the Titanic. So I thought “he can’t be that crazy. What did I do wrong? It can’t be just the meme. Consider that there are titanic tea infusers for sale, and titanic inflatable lawn toys, and…” I mean, the Titanic, 102 years after its sinking is, yes, a horrible disaster. (We went through the Titanic exhibit at the museum, and while not as powerful as the one on Pompeii (no, trust me) it was heart-rending) but from the disaster enough gallows humor has emerged to make it a meme for “sinking ship” – not the real Titanic but sort of a cultural cartoon. Or even a meme for “engineering failure.” I mean, if you’re talking about someone designing a spaceship with obvious flaws, saying “remember the titanic” doesn’t mean “remember everyone who died. It means “remember the massive engineering failure.”

But anyway I went to bed torturing myself over his rather public implosion – a friend said it sounds like a manic episode – and wondering if I should have defused it earlier.

And this morning I realized that half of my flist seems to have blocked him BEFORE that incident, so I feel a little better.

But at the same time the incident and its aftermath, like the incident with people following us on the street showed me the power of crazy and how the left has deployed it in elections.

Look, if you’re A LITTLE crazy, people wonder what is wrong with you. Say the person on my thread had kept insisting that it wasn’t funny, in a mournful tone. I’d have gone “Dude, what’s wrong with you?”

But once he started posting Nazi memes, I was going “Dude, what have I done wrong?”

Now compare it to the things Romney was accused of in the election: not paying taxes for 10 years; causing someone’s wife to get cancer…

He was probably ready for “when have you stopped beating your wife?” but he wasn’t prepared for “When did you stop eating babies?” Craziness on that level leaves you bereft and open-jawed and wondering what YOU could have done wrong to bring it on.

In the same way tea partiers were prepared (probably) to be accused of wanting to starve the poor – but who is prepared to be accused of being racist, when half of your gatherings have more people of color than white ones? (The one in town had a whole tribe who took a bus from a reservation, in full regalia.) Or a white supremacist? Or Nazis?

And it goes on and on at all levels. It’s like the left reaches into the bucket of crazy and flings the crazier non-sequiturs they can find at people’s heads. This is for instance why I have been accused of being fascist (because I want to take over the world and leave you ruthlessly alone!) or a white (!) Supremacist. It’s a bucket of crazy, and how do you defend yourself from that, and what have you done to bring it on?

And when our side tries similar crazy things (not even as crazy) – say the birth question or whether Mr. Obama might just perhaps be hiding a gay side (notthatthereisanythingwrongwiththat, but it would be a blatant lie to pretend otherwise) — our own side starts mumbling “Don’t say that. That’s just wrong.”

The other side, otoh, the party of people whose representative is afraid Guam will tip over, has no qualms.  But we do.


Look, take it from someone who’s been followed by crazies on the street. Sometimes turning around and saying in the most dramatic tone you can conjure “It was you Mr. Wiggins. It was you who stole the turtle. Millenium hand in shrimp. I’ll have three brown ones.” In fact, I’ve found it’s the only thing that DOES work. It gets this weird look to come to their eyes, and then they slink off.

But that is not something our candidates can do, of course. However, WE can. And we need to stop slamming down on people who do.

Beyond that, our candidates – and ourselves – need to be prepared for those questions and ready to laugh and point and make duck noises, instead of cringing and looking embarrassed at their insanity. “When did I stop eating babies? What kind of crazy asks that question? Or do you mean eggs? I had eggs just this morning. Do you, Mr. Wiggins, also devour the unborn?”

Because the low information voters see the cringe, and being liv’s think “No smoke without fire.”

Toss the crazy ball right at them. Use GIFs if needed. Stop feeling guilty because they’re crazy. Their problem is not your problem. And you shouldn’t feel sorry for them. They are, at this point, doing it deliberately.

Laugh, point, and be ready to make fun, just like medieval people did when confronted with madmen.

Sometimes, it’s the only sane answer.



368 thoughts on “The power of crazy

        1. Yeah. How dare a straight woman like Sarah appropriate the work of a gay man like that? For shame!

        2. And what was it with Shakespeare and dogs? Hamlet was a Great Dane, Lady Macbeth cursing her dog (out damned Spot), and so on.

          1. A Melon Collie Dane, technically. They were famous for herding watermelons, cantaloupes, and other cucurbits, but due to the march of technology they’ve become an endangered breed. You only see them nowadays at special exhibitions (such as Squash Rodeos).

      1. Ah, but when you make fun of Titanic, you make fun of him.

        Directly and intentionally.

        And you don’t deserve Titanic’s love like he does.

        1. On the FB thread, someone posted a picture of the 9/11 terrorist whose name I can’t remember, with the caption, “Took the Ice Bucket challenge 163 times”.

      1. You’d have to explain it. How many people know who or what Unit 731 was and where/when they operated. Explaining always ruins the joke.

            1. And amazingly almost forgotten by us. I guess the Chinese are just not as vocal as the Jews. I have no other explanation.

              1. Ah… no…

                Every few years the Chinese government tries to guilt-trip the modern-day Japanese government over stuff that happened in World War 2. The issue isn’t that they haven’t been as vocal about it. The issue is that there’s just so *much*.

                You’ve probably heard about the Rape of Nanking.
                You’ve probably heard about the Comfort Women.
                You’ve probably heard about the mistreatment of prisoners.

                The problem is that there’s just so much horrific stuff that the Japanese did during World War 2 that it’s easy to miss some of the specifics.

                Incidentally, the Japanese haven’t helped matters much. From what I’ve heard, their school textbooks tend to ignore the atrocities they committed. My understanding is that many Japanese have never heard of the Rape of Nanking. Or if they have, they think it was overblown.

                1. I’m pretty certain that the reason that the Japanese never caught half the flack that the Germans did, over maltreatment and murder of POWS of all nations was that there was just universally so much of it. At ever level, from the high command on down to the lowest guard. There were so many dead POWs, so much brutality from just about every Japanese who ever had any authority at all in a POW or civilian internment camp that at the end of the war, the Allies just threw up their hands and focused their prosecutorial energies on the worst of the worst. They let the lessor monsters slide out of sheer war-weariness, and because the trials would have gone on for decades, just when everyone wanted to go back to having a normal life.
                  In some ways, it’s hard to blame them. The world had supped full on horrors, from the mid-1930s to 1945. I also have a feeling that perhaps the Allies felt that dropping the atomic bombs on Japan might have squared accounts, in some way.

                  1. There’s something of a world-view thing to it, too– arguably the Japanese didn’t consider others to be really people, and you can build a case from history.
                    The Germans, on the other hand, were systematically killing off their neighbors and relatives.

                    There’s a difference between a violent thug that kills strangers and a violent thug that kills his household, even when everything else is the same.

                    1. Or we didn’t hold the little brown guys to the same civilized standard. Quite possible considering the time and place.

                    2. Or only Europe is “real.” (I kind of favor that one because I still see it around, although if they live in the US we might get honorary secondclass real status.)

                2. I vaguely recall that we made a deal to harvest the data developed by Unit 731 and ignoring its provenance. Add to that the fact that the Germans had been pulling similar pranks and then some AND the fact that we had not accidentally dropped a couple thermonuclear devices in what were technically civilian areas and maybe the shining moral armor we were wearing began looking a little grayish.

                  Since we were the sole occupying power in Japan it probably was decided there were enough charges for war crime trials and Unit 731 and “Comfort Women” were a little beyond where we wanted to go. Likely especially so once China turned on the red light.

                3. I’ve heard of all those things but I’m atypical as I was studying history to be my profession.
                  I rebut with “kindly direct me to the Rape of Nanking Memorial, as I have just come from the Holocaust Memorial and would like to see the Pacific side.”

                4. Well, it no doubt doesn’t help their case that between the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, there is the little question of who was worse to the Chinese overall. . . and the Chinese government does not seem to guilt trip itself over Chinese atrocities.

            1. What? Larry didn’t make that up? Next you’ll be telling me Mengele wasn’t actually some latter day Flo Nightingale! Ruiner of childhood.

            2. Eh, I once ate lunch with a friend and another friend of his and surprised his friend by mentioning Marcus Aurelius as a real person and not just a character in Gladiator.

              At least Oyster isn’t startled by its reality after Hard Magic.

  1. If he was offended by the Titanic, he would’ve died from apoplexy if he saw the James Foley ice-water challenge image.

  2. Ah, yes. Crazy on the street. Some guy came up to me once while I was waiting on the bus. He started out badly by getting inside my personal space. I don’t like that at all. Then he starts asking things like whether I’m honest. After a bunch of things that he talked about having to do with freedom and laws and such, he worked it around so that I answered with something he could claim was different from what I had said before, then he got up in my face and started calling me a liar.

    Now, I was at least 4 inches taller than him and outweighed him by about 180lbs. I had to hold back very hard to keep from body slamming him into the brick wall behind him to get him out of my grill.

    1. Some people seem to just attract the crazies; my dad, for one. My mom used to assume he was meeting their gaze or somehow inviting their attention until the day some fellow came up from behind us on the street and started raving at him. (Nothing angry or accusatory. They just seem to think he’s exactly the right person with whom to share their Theory of Everything, or their breakfast menu for the last month. o_O )

  3. The Titanic idea is pretty funny. That kind of dark humor was SOP on the web circa 1998.

    Maybe your friend was just having a bad day. My brother posted a comment that could be taken as insensitive about something to something I put on FB, and a friend of mine went off on him. It all soon passed. To his credit my brother did not back down.

      1. No, he didn’t…
        And yet he still lives. Will wonders never cease?
        You both under the weather, or is this some lenten penance act of kindness? You both know you have friends who would gladly hide the body. In fact I know of a BBQ joint just down the road a piece.
        I have only had to defriend one person on FB. A dear sweet kind grade school teacher who swallowed the Obama line whole hog and started posting all his committee’s talking points on a daily basis. Ignored it as long as I could, but keeping silent just ain’t my thing, so started pointing out the most egregious factual errors in her posts. What I got in return was ad hominem attacks on me personally and diatribes on how wrong headed I was and how much I’d hurt her feelings. No profit and no solution there, so thankfully FB makes defriending easy. Still see her in person on occasion, but we limit our conversations to discussions about the weather.

        1. ” how much I’d hurt her feelings. ”

          argumentum ad misericordiam. Their favorite fallacy.

            1. (Ducks head) Yes, I was a big meanie. I disagreed with them about their favorite Libtard meme-o’-the-week. I’m a horrible person.

              1. I once had a commenter who had vapors at the thought that making a big fuss about Women In Refrigators was no way to stop it. (Really. All the fuss does is reinforce the notion that it’s women’s deaths, not men’s, that are important in themselves.) She got steadily less substantive and more insulting until I screened the comments. Her screened comment got even worse, so I didn’t unscreen.

                Then I followed the pingback to her LJ where she had posted huffily about insecure I was, to want the last word on my LJ.

      2. Yep, at that point he was entering into full meltdown. Reasonable answers had no effect only the Millennium Shrimp–or the banhammer–could save us once we’d achieved the mouth-froth.

    1. It’s still SOP on the web.

      At least for those of us who remember the beginnings of the Eternal September and why it’s bad.

  4. Followed on the street by crazy? That’s over and done with soon, as unsettling as it is. My parents lived for nearly eight years in a neighborhood with a malevolent crazy man in it. No kidding – he was convinced that all the neighbors were cooking drugs in their houses, and sending them all over the place through pipes. He’d hide in the bushes and spy on them (He was lurking in the bushes when my sister had her first wedding reception at that house, writing down the license numbers of all the guests’ cars.)

    And he would call law enforcement and complain. He usually sounded pretty convincing … at first. Until he was established as seriously delusional and vicious with it. Eventually, though – he wore out his welcome with all the law enforcement agencies. Didn’t stop him from calling Child Protective Services on one family, who had small children. It took them six months to get their children back.

    My parents moved out – not because of him, though – and I was glad, because he was just crazy enough to cut loose with weapons and fertilizer bombs. He was THAT malevolent. He had an injunction filed against him – the one and only person in California never permitted to call 911.

    Street crazy is unsettling – but neighborhood crazy is an ongoing horror.

    1. Yes, we lived across the street from an old woman who called police two or three times a week. It says a lot about Akron Ohio police that they took her seriously and never stopped responding.
      They were the sort who had a perfect lawn and would turn the hose on kids and keep their ball if it went in the yard.
      They would run out and sweep the snow from their sidewalk with a broom as fast as it fell – never a shovel – even if it was three in the morning.
      They called if kids played in the street. They called if people were sitting on their porch. They called if you had a BBQ. They called if a kid left their bicycle parked on the sidewalk.
      It was also bad because it generated hostility to the police. They always declined to say who called. But the old bat holding back the drapes and staring made it sort of obvious.
      I once went out to get my aunt and uncle’s luggage when they came to visit – they were late because they’d had car trouble. She had obviously called them because a strange new out of state car was parked in front of our house. As I was getting their luggage out of the car the police pulled up and the idiot cop asked me if that was my luggage? ‘No sir, it is not.’ I told him and walked in carrying it. Fortunately he didn’t stop me because when I got to the door I found my mom standing inside with her .38 in her hand, my uncle with his .44 Colt and my dad with a rifle. If the police had grabbed me they’d have been dead. Police tried to rape my mom as a teenager and shall we say they had trust issues?
      At 14 I couldn’t see the difference between nuts and just plain mean. Now at 67 I’d be asking why the family didn’t ask for a mental health evaluation. She was obviously paranoid.

      1. Glad I made it out.

        Amen. My folks are on their way out with a moving truck as I type this. After that I’ll have one brother left to extract from the Peoples Democratic Republic of California, and then the Oyster Clan can shake the dust of that place from our feet.

        1. Well, they closed all the mental institutions – where else are we going to lock them up but up in Sacramento?

      2. The worst we had in our neighborhood was a fellow whose boast on first meeting a new neighbor in the block was that he’d taken x number of people to court. For whatever.

        They left the neighborhood several years ago, and now we’ve moved to another state. So we dodged that one… So far.

    2. We just had the garden-variety crazy lady next door. She’d keep balls that landed on her lawn, she’d yell at people and call the cops to complain about the neighbors (they basically did the “yes ma’am”, hang up, and ignore protocol with her), and let her backyard foliage grow up about thirty feet tall so that nobody could see in her backyard. And then one day we got a knock on our door from her daughter, asking if we’d seen her in the last week.

      The first thought that went through my head was, I bet she’s dead. The second was, Maybe now we can get real neighbors.

      Turns out that she had died, she *was* actually somewhat demented, and her children had been keeping tabs on her, but apparently not on a daily basis. My brother laughed from sheer disbelief when he heard this, then broke his collarbone in a game of football with his friends that evening. He always called that injury “Mrs. Rooney’s revenge.”

  5. A lot of supposedly SANE people not only don’t get humor – they also don’t get fiction at all. The people who have a hard set schedule in their head of what MUST happen according to their favorite scripture or prophet ( Nostradamus is a biggie. ) They feel you are a false prophet and doing the Devil’s work to speak of another possible future than what they are sure is foreordained.

  6. Sarah, thank you for not taking down the conversation. Too often we let the crazy/most offended decided the bounds of discourse.

  7. There used to be a serious linguistics journal dedicated to nothing but expletives and gross humor. They had a fair number of studies (most prominently a space shuttle joke study) that showed that kids’ joke cycles (even more than those of adults) were directly tied to unsettling news items and disasters, and that tasteless, super-dark-black humor about disasters was one way that humans coped with deep sadness and worry.

    I went to the Titanic museum exhibit, and it was very educational and moving, and I learned a lot. And then they played the old-timey warning hymn about the Titanic.

    This immediately triggered me to start singing the campfire parody song under my breath, which made me feel a lot better. Especially the bit where sharks come and eat the captain, and they built another ship and they called it Mary Lou.

    People need dark humor to stay sane. Admittedly, if you’re Irish you probably use more dark humor at funerals than some regions of Italians do. (Witness the infamous JAG episode where Harm just can’t stop making jokes at a funeral, which the actor, writer, and producer thought was natural funeral behavior among family and friends. Alas, it turned out Mr. Bellisario didn’t think so. Divisive, divisive episode among the fandom, and much more along tradition lines than personality ones.) This is one of those important things you need to find out about your friends, if you don’t want to hurt their feelings.

    OTOH, people also need to be able to step back and accept that senses of humor differ, which this society tends not to accept at the moment by rewarding the right people for throwing the right fits. (Or the left ones, although often that’s not the point either.)

    1. singing the campfire parody song

      I do not know to which parody song you are referring. I would like to amend this deficiency in my parodic awareness.

        1. Yep, that’s it! Finally somebody has a lot of the verses we had, and there’s even a new movie verse on there which me likey!

          But it doesn’t have the full chorus ending….
          It sunk, kerplunk.
          Splish splash, o help.
          Gurgle-gurgle, glug glug.

        2. I still haven’t heard Bob Dylan’s latest album. Word was, he did a roughly fourteen minute song about the Titanic.

          1. That’s impressive… I think Harry Chapin only did five, and he wasn’t known for his brevity.

        3. With a few minor lyric changes (oral history is grand), that’s the one that we sang at summer camp (the one I worked at, not the various ones I attended.) The great part is that we’d added verses as various minor boating disasters took place at camp, and there’s a verse in our version that I wrote.

    2. This is probably not the version of the song to play for your unfriend:

      A minute less than Dylan and a world funnier. Please place all food and drink in a secured position before listening.

      Words can be found at leoslyrics[dot]com/jamie-brockett/legend-of-the-u-s-s-titanic-lyrics/ … but don’t go there before listening because it will make’a no the sense.

      Oh, and BTW: is Maledicta, The International Journal of Verbal Aggression no longer being published? That was a favorite of the Daughtorial Unit when she was semi-adolescent.

      Web search indicates it exists at sonic[dot]net/~maledicta/journal.html

      1. It restores my faith in humanity to know that the journal still exists.

        I couldn’t remember the name, and I guess the library where I used to read it when it came in stopped carrying it. Or possibly started concealing it from students and casual passersby.

        1. The editor of Maledicta is still alive and kicking (and swearing, according to some YouTube prank call video), but I’m not finding much evidence of Maledicta still being published since Maledicta issue 13 in 2005.

  8. “When did you stop eating babies?”
    Right after Charleton Heston told me that Soylent Green was people. When did you stop?

    1. I’m pretty sure Jonathan Swift endorsed baby-eating. And if a celebrity says it, it must be so!

      1. You mean Jonathan Swift was wrong? I guess I’ll stop next week. Got four in the freezer, you know.

          1. Great. Now all those dead baby jokes I learned from the infantry guys in Afghanistan are back in my head again. I’m blaming all of you if my wife overhears another one… 😀

            1. dead baby jokes are a military thing? I thought it was a NY thing. dead baby jokes and knock knock jokes.

                1. Despite being in NY I always assumed it was a HS thing. Though my HS friends and I occasionally start doing them again when we get toghther.

                2. If I remember correctly, according to the folklore literature, Dead Baby jokes first appeared in the 1970s. It may be that they were a folk response to the legalization of abortion (but this is uncertain). Mommy Mommy jokes appeared slightly later, but I have not read any study which theorizes why they became popular.

                  1. We always told “Little Johnny” jokes when I was in elementary school.

                    Why, yes, I was edumacated in public school, why do you ask? 😀

                1. In 1986 it was about six weeks after Challenger that I heard the Need Another Seven Astronauts joke

                  1. We used to play a card game called Nuclear War (yes, it’s a real game, with several expansions), and at the time we had homemade “Space Shuttle” cards in the deck.

                    Normally, when you launched, you had to roll a die and on a “1” the shuttle blew up on launch. On the anniversary of Challenger, though, it blew up on a 2 through 6 instead.

                    1. Yup, I played that. Still have a copy of it, too.

                      My favorite recollection is being on the ropes when my opponent launches a 100 megaton warhead. And hits the nuclear stockpile, which destroys the entire solar system, ending the game.


                  2. There was a variant a few years later regarding Princess Diana’s death:
                    What does Diana stand for? Died In A Nasty Accident.

                    1. No, that’s just a white tyrant getting their comeuppance. Now, if you had asked what was red and black….that’s racist.

        1. Of course not. Free range people are tough and gamey. Creche to government school to cube farm produces the tenderest, juiciest low info voter fresh packed and flash frozen

            1. The communists er democrats seem to think so. They’re doing their absolute best to end free people anywhere.

  9. I’m reminded of a literary reference, which I cannot fully recall, about the devil as a proud imp and not appreciating humor at his expense. Anyone recall the actual?

    1. IIRC, There was a line similar to that in the preface to C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape letters. But I expect Lewis stole it from someone else.

      1. C. S. Lewis referred to the sources of those lines.


        The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.

        The devil…the prowde spirite…cannot endure to be mocked.

        End Quote

      1. Well, there’s Galatians 6:7 – “Be not deceived. God is not mocked.” But sheesh, there’s no percentage mocking God. He’s seen you in your underwear. 🙂

    2. I keep parsing that as “devil as a proud imap”.

      This is I’m comfortable with describing imap as “devil”, it’s the “proud” that is causing some dissonance.

        1. It’s better than most of the alternatives, that’s as far as I’ll go 🙂

  10. Yeah, he’s crazy. I saw what he did and I was surprised you let him go on as long as you did. There is nothing for you to feel bad about, he’s insane. Oh I can understand that he could have written a book about it, he’s obviously obsessed and mental over the whole subject. I can even imagine what his living space must look like.
    But you see, for a lot of crazy people, it’s the yelling and asserting themselves over the norms who will shy away that encourages them to keep yelling. He’s trying to alpha dog everyone around him, probably every chance he gets, just looking for the right thing to go bug-nuts over.
    The only thing ever to do about these people is to shut them down immediately. Ban them online, get in their face if necessary in public and send them after weaker prey. (Many of them will scream ‘you’re crazy!’ and run away if you get back in their face and yell at them – odd I know).

    1. “When did you stop eating babies?”
      “Who says I’ve stopped?” [EVIL GRIN]

      1. which is the equivalent of Romney saying “Yep. I can give people cancer with my mind.” Of course, HE couldn’t do that, but the right wing bloggers SHOULD have piled on.

        1. No, but he could have put two fingers to his temple and stared hard at Obama during a debate, so people could use that statement.

          1. …I don’t think the Dems could survive Aussie politics – they’d die from sheer apoplexy. I can imagine Paul Keating doing the ‘give people cancer with my mind’ gesture, because it’s ridiculous enough that he would have probably appropriated it and turned it into a big hilarious joke.

  11. It’s so common that passersby would grin at my embarrassed face. BUT there’s the point. No matter how common, no matter how unjustified, you always feel like SOMEHOW you did SOMETHING to bring this episode on.

    Well, you did.

    *dramatic pause*

    Totally different from it being justified or your fault or anything like that, but if your son hadn’t looked like himself, it wouldn’t have triggered the crazy guy. If you hadn’t been female and/or alone or whatever made them pick you, it wouldn’t have happened.

    It’s a misapplied survival thing– like walking under ladders being bad luck. “This situation resulted in Something Bad, so I dislike it and will avoid it.”

    Trick is not letting it get out of hand– Twain and his cat that wouldn’t sit on a cold stove.

    1. Actually, if the guy was having hallucinations, it probably didn’t get triggered by how her son looked. Possible, but more likely that it was just the guy’s brain photoshopping looks onto the kid, or maybe even him just having a conviction that this was the person, or even having a delusion that he’d had a daughter who’d been killed. There are all different levels of crazy (or badly medicated, or bad side effects of normal medication) out there.

      1. *nod* It still has to be hooked to something about her son– even if that “something” was “located in my view when the funky neuron fired.”

        Crazies are scary for many reasons, but the “it’s impossible to know what the heck is up” thing that seems to be the biggest problem. (Hm. I wonder how much of that issue is because of our scientific mindset? If you don’t think, gross exaggeration alert, that the wind blows because the wind spirit is pushing it… disordered, irrational, not-reacting-to-the-same-world free will is a lot scarier.)

  12. And when our side tries similar crazy things (not even as crazy) – say the birth question or whether Mr. Obama might just perhaps be hiding a gay side (notthatthereisanythingwrongwiththat, but it would be a blatant lie to pretend otherwise) — our own side starts mumbling “Don’t say that. That’s just wrong.”

    Part of it is that the media has a bully pulpit, and is not afraid to use it. When elements of the media treat something seriously (i.e. Rosie O’Donnel on TV saying, “Fire doesn’t melt steel!”), then there’s pressure on the public to take it seriously. When the media mocks something (i.e. Obama’s birth certificate), then there’s pressure on the public to mock it as well. A certain level of authoritativeness can push the absurd into respectable conversations, and push the respectable down to the level of absurdity.

    For what it’s worth, I’m of the opinion that Obama intentionally stoked the birth certificate thing for all that it was worth. He figured that he could use it to make his opponents look ridiculous, and to fire up his base with contempt for the other side of the aisle (sort of like what he’s now doing with claims that he’s under threat of impeachment). Trump finally forced Obama to produce the certificate by providing the necessary authoritativeness needed to force people to start thinking of it in a serious fashion.

    On the other hand, I suspect that if Romney had brought it up, then his demands would have been used as yet another example of how obviously demented and out of touch Romney was.

    1. We have been almost obsessively polite and apologetic. Ah, those wonderful days leading up to the 2008 election.

      “But he doesn’t have any exp-”
      “No leadership exp-”
      “He’s lacking in management skills…”
      “He’s hidden his grades…”
      “What’d he ever accomplish?”
      “STFU, you RAAAACIST!”

      After a while you stop and go… well, WTF? I couldn’t get a word in edgewise with my sister-in-law on that. Made me think that maybe there was something I was missing – but I really couldn’t find where he’d had anything but a couple of very well-paying sinecure jobs, and quit as a community organizer before he got elected into the Illinois senate. That’s pretty thin stuff to write two biographies on – especially considering how the press was digging through Palin’s garbage to try to find something on her.

      Crazy years indeed…

      1. but I really couldn’t find where he’d had anything but a couple of very well-paying sinecure jobs

        As did his wife. It’s been noted that her job at the hospital didn’t exist until she was hired, and was eliminated after she left.

      2. Ah, those wonderful days leading up to the 2008 election.

        ….and beyond. O_o;;

      3. “But he doesn’t have any exp-”

        We were told Obama’s lack of experience was just fine, because Biden was there to handle things for him.

        Simultaneously, we were told that electing John McCain was *bad* because he was old and might die in office, leaving the inexperienced Sarah Palin as president.

  13. My first comment was from someone who has written a book about the Titanic “Just.not.funny.” Well, okay. I know what it’s like to be close to your subject. I’ve been known to put a cutting remark when an Oxfordian posts something about not having enough evidence of Shakespeare’s life. But that’s usually on serious memes. I think I pass on raining on someone’s parade in politics or history at least once a day.

    Why? Because it’s a facebook meme. People are having fun. Do you really want to stand at the edge of the crowd screaming “Not funny.”

    I’ll dice it closer– I can see objecting to memes because they’re trying to make a point under cover of humor. Say, if the Titanic had been sunk by a rock in Bermuda, I can see objecting to that. Making a joke of stuff to get through folks’ rational and irrational defenses against the idea is a traditional way to promote a notion. (Example: the joke about how fire can’t melt steel, but what about the stuff that’s in the mind control contrails in jets? Who knows how hot that burns….)

    If it’s just tasteless? Object and leave it– preferably object in a productive way, something like “…somehow I can’t find something where thousands died in icy water all that funny; I wrote a book on that, and I can see the faces of some of those who never made it back.” Then you get guilt-tripping, are understated, can promote your book and don’t seem like you’re attacking the person, with bonus “I am so good at empathy” points.

    1. My take:
      I thought her meme was making fun of the ice-bucket fad by putting it in perspective with a tragic moment from history.
      It’s not making light of the Titanic. It’s showing how silly little passing fads are inconsequential when compared to historic events.

      I’m willing to bet that a lot of people who claim to be offended are not — they’re just seizing the opportunity for moral oneupmanship/grandstanding/power play/dick moves.

  14. Yeah, that was amazingly insane. What struck me upon reading the thread was how he kept on pouring the crazy. Okay, he didn’t find it funny, you replied in a very reasonable manner and invited him to agree to disagree, which is what normal people should do. Instead, his outrage only grew stronger and more personal. And unfortunately it’s not an isolated incident.
    There’s hordes of Outrage Crusaders out there (oh, sorry, is ‘Crusader’ offensive? How about Outrage Jihadist? Umm, or maybe Outrage Inquisitor?). As an example, last year, I posted some samples of my first novel, and a wannabe Outrage Inquisitor jumped all over it because none of the characters in the sample chapters had *brown eyes*. The OI went on to accuse me of marginalizing brown-eyed people, because apparently I believed heroes should have blue and green eyes.
    That insanity was compounded by the fact that I’d only described the eye color for two of the half dozen or so characters (one of whom had no eyes at all). Or that I myself have brown eyes (guess I’m a self-hating Person of Brown-Eye-Color – PBEC, the latest protected class).
    I chose to ignore the drooling imbecile altogether, but I sometimes wonder if mocking the Outrage Inquistors relentlessly wouldn’t be a better way to deal with them.

    1. I sometimes wonder if mocking the Outrage Inquistors relentlessly wouldn’t be a better way to deal with them.

      Not only are none of the characters identified as having brown eyes, there is nothing about the number of toes on their feet! You probably discriminated against twelve-toed people, you phalangial-normist!

      1. Well, Face-Off *could’ve* had brown eyes. Or green. Or purple. Or maybe even polka-dotted!

        1. And the faceless bastard wasn’t even 100% percent hispanic, he was half Puerto Rican half Italian, which makes him a “white hispanic” and clearly a metaphor for cisgendered heteronormative white privilege. I don’t know how I can live with myself.

      2. There were also no amputees, deaf or otherwise-able, non-cis-gendered non-heteronormative (well, a bisexual, but it doesn’t become apparent until later) characters. The whole thing should clearly be consigned to the flames.

  15. Reminds me of one obsessive-compulsive friend who wanted more than I was prepared to give her, and got into stalker mode. I had to get pretty firm with her about that . . .

    However, my warped sense of humor eventually settled it. She was going on one day about how her ‘guru’ (whoever he was) had told her that in a previous life, she’d been a priestess of Anubis in Ancient Egypt. I interrupted to say that yes, that was true, and I’d been a priest of Anubis at the same time; and she’d borrowed a gold ring from me and never returned it; and at compound interest over two and a half thousand years, she now owed me something close to the US national debt, and when could I expect payment?

    She accused me of not taking her seriously (whatever could have given her that idea?), and walked away in a huff.


  16. Two things…

    1. The Titanic sank? Spoiler alert! I guess there’s no point to seeing that movie now.

    2. There are crazy people on the internet? Surely you jest!

    1. On the up-side, Leo DiCaprio dies, so for that reason, it’s worth viewing the last couple of minutes. On the other hand, his one-night-stand is apparently “still in love with Jack” after apparently having a 50-some-odd decade marriage, so the socialite he “rescues” turned out to be a waste of protein. I’d call it a wash.

      1. Sorry, that was a “five-some-odd” decade marriage. Freudian slip. Watching the movie in its entirety FELT like 50-some-odd decades.

          1. Dang it! I tried to suppress the song from my memory, and it’s all coming back to me now. Gaaaah!

          2. I can NEVER watch the Titanic movie. NEVER. Imagine practically EVERY. SINGLE. RADIO STATION. EVER. playing that (insert string of expletives here) song FIVE TIMES AN HOUR. at least. And then having parts of the movie’s dialogue inserted into breaks in the lines. I bought a walkman, carried batteries around in my pockets, and earphones were nearly always in my ears. They played that damned movie in the theatres for months.

            1. Heh … you never lived through the “You Light Up My Life” debacle of 1977-78! That ghastly song was everywhere, since it squatted like a deadly toad atop the Top-100 charts for what seemed like decades.

              Everyone I knew hated that bloody song. We ran out of the studio, covered our ears, called down imprecations on Debby Boone … and I worked at a military radio station, so we couldn’t get away from it. It was in all the pre-recorded programs that we broadcast.

              I’ve always wondered if there wasn’t some hanky-payola-panky going on with that wretched song. If everyone hated it, and was tired of it – why was the bloody thing selling!

              1. I him that tune when I see an incendiary strike on the news or in a movie. I just can’t help it

                    1. I prefer the filk version.

                      “There was chanting in the air that night,
                      The stars were right, Cthulhu!
                      You were dreaming of your destiny,
                      Beneath the sea, Cthulhu!
                      Though the Elder Gods have cast you down,
                      have no regrets…”

                      It’s really quite excellent.

                    1. The (socialist/communist) residents association held a party every Saturday night in Summer. You heard the music ALL over the village. In my memory, they always play Fernando.
                      100 million plus dead? PFUI. The real reason I hate communism is that d*mn song. 😉

                  1. I just looked up that song on Wiki. The Swedish version is a completely different story than the English/Spanish one.

                    Of course I still doubt very much it has the profound brilliance or poignant longing of Midnight at the Oasis. The English language version certainly doesn’t.

                  2. Oh, God, Abba. It was the same in Venezuela in the early 80s. I actually experienced flashbacks when I watched Mama Mia on Netflix (Trigger Warning: Late 70s Music).

                  3. I laugh at Fernando. I counter with eight simple words:

                    Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl.

                    I thought about linking a video, but that would be too cruel.

                    1. From the lyrics, I’m guessing friction? It is burning since the world was turning, and that could be a “because” instead of a “starting at the point when” use.

                1. A reminder to bring back nightmares – “Midnight At The Oasis”.

                  What’s wrong with that? Did you ever actually listen to the lyrics? They are profound. Shakespeare, himself, would have been proud to have written it!!!!!

                2. Just ignore the singing till Amos Garrett’s guitar comes in. One of the best guitar solos I’ve ever heard.

              2. Yes, yes, I lived through that too. I think I survived due to Lynyrd Skynyrd playing on the radio–I think I still like “Give Me Three Steps” more than “Sweet Home Alabama.”

                But, do you remember the one that became a Gong Show special, a meme really: “Feelings, nothing more than feelings….”

            2. Sitting in the theater waiting for said movie to start, watching a preview for Deep Impact. Person with says “I couldn’t watch a movie like that, I don’t like disaster movies.” Me – ???????????????????

                1. After I give away the ending as a reminder, “Oh, yeah.” What’s with the romance movies at that time? Titanic & Ghost….guys – watch out for those women, they’re out to get you.

                2. By the way, did you see that photoshopped picture from Hogan’s Heroes, with the triple facepalm?

                    1. If you cannot find a good copy doing a search on: Hogan’s Heroes triple facepalm – I could try sending the copy I found, via email. The wording added has “TRIPLE FACEPALM Sometimes a facepalm can’t completely describe the amount of fail”

                    2. Sorry for the delay getting it to you – the real world keeps intruding on the virtual one……
                      I guess recognizing that puts me ahead of certain political critters 🙂

                  1. Yes, and I want to find a way to have it, and the drama llama, on two sides of a sign, kinda like a small version of the golf “quiet/applause” signs to use at the school some days.

              1. A friend of mine reported something that he overheard at the end of the Leo Di Caprio/Claire Danes version of Romeo and Juliet – “I can’t believe they both died!”

            3. I worked in an office supply store at the time. It was *constantly* being played over the store’s loudspeakers.

                1. Sadly, no sabotage. Given the age of most of the employees, I suspect that most of them *enjoyed* it.


                2. You want Bad Working Conditions? Work at a convenience store that’s selling these Halloween declarations that “Scream” or Give an “Evil Laugh” whenever somebody walks by them. Some idiot on an earlier shift had turned them on so people were setting them off with some doing it deliberately. I had to turn them off.

                  1. My office used to have one of those in the candy bowl that they set out when Halloween approached.

                    I think they actually still use the same bowl. But thankfully, the noisemaker no longer works.

                  2. When I was a stupid teenager, a friend and I went through the electronics area of a local department store and set the display alarm clocks to go off at full volume. The first one in five minutes, then ten, then fifteen…

                    Yeah, we all do things that could get us killed when we’re young, dumb and inconsiderate.

                    1. @Wayne, I think it is called the ‘Age of Stupid’. Some people handle it better than others… others never get out on the other side of the age of stupid. (Not that they don’t survive, they just don’t move on to the ‘Age of starting to get it’.)

  17. There was a fellow in my neighborhood we named “Shell Shock” and what he would do is approach strangers, say “how ya doing” and want to shake their hand. He was a kind soul and was treated kindly.

    Anyway, I had a friend who was a pretty hardcore druggie and one day at high school I got permission to leave campus to get something to eat because I had missed lunch for some noble reason. My friend who was totally flying on something and was cutting class wanted to come with me so I let him.

    So we get in my car and I drove to this deli near my house and I park — wisely leaving my friend in the car.

    Well, Shell Shock is out and he approaches me. I through the routine and then I go get my lunch. As I’m getting it, it dawns on me that something really interesting might be happening at my car.

    And there was.

    I return and find my friend huddling on the floor in abject terror with all the door locked and Shell Shock tapping on the window.

    I thought it was pretty funny. I guess the guy upset with the Titanic joke would really hate me.

  18. and quite a few people are only crazy wrt their particular hot button(s) — perfectly fine otherwise. Which I presume is why Sarah called him ‘friend’ and was so surprised at the outbreak of the crazy.

    1. Yes. Well, he was a facebook friend, not a friend-friend, but one that always seemed fairly normal before. Though day before yesterday there was an attack of mildly nuts over pov in books, but…

  19. Once you deal with it enough, you start threatening to burn them and their village to the ground at the first provocation. Metaphorically speaking. 😀

    1. The trouble with metaphors is they are soggy and hard to light.
      What astounds me is that there are so many of these stories of paranoid antisocial troublemakers that do not end in “and then one day they mysteriously vanished.” Or, “there was this terrible house fire and it burned to the ground. Must have been bad wiring and a gas leak.”
      But then again there was this case a few years back where the town bully was shot dead on main street in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people. Strangely, no one got a good look at the shooter.

      1. No wonder my wife always feels cold at night! I’m switching from a metaphor stove to a natural gas central furnace.

        That’s a funny story about the town bully. Sometimes bad eyesight just happens with a sudden onset. And it helps correct a community problem without government (red tape) involvement. I knew of a similar situation back on the mountain a decade or more back in which a child molester had to crawl through the brush for three days so he could find and turn himself in to law enforcement, rather than being dealt with by… we’ll call them “forces of nature.” 😀

        1. That reminds me of one of the few episodes of Quincy, M.E. that REALLY turned me off (there were things that he did that irritated me, but usually I could ignore them): The time he went to this small town and investigated the death of some guy who turned out to be the town bully. Everyone in the town agreed the guy was better dead, and no one seemed to have seen anything, but he insisted on finding out who killed him, no matter what. Sometimes, a guy like that really does, “just need killin'”.

              1. That’s why it’s a defense. The jury must agree that said SOB did, in fact, need killin’. If not; “You shall be taken from here to a place of execution and there hanged by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead. May God have mercy on your soul.”
                Homicide is not always murder

                  1. Pesticide, danger vermin control, biological garbage disposal. Call it what you want, just get the jury to agree

                1. But…No matter what it sounds like…suicide is not the attempt to kill the Swiss.

                  (this is funnier either spoken or in Spanish.)

                2. There are four types of homicide:

                  Premeditated, negligent, justifiable and laudable.

                  1. Let’s see if I got this straight:
                    Premeditated = murder
                    Negligent = Oops
                    Justified = It was him or me
                    Laudable = please accept the grateful thanks of the city.

                    That sound about right?

                    1. So where would “I caught him in bed with my wife and completely lost it” fall?

                      Earlier today, I noticed a headline for a similar case. A guy was found “Not Guilty” by a jury for attacking (and possibly killing – I don’t remember) a guy who hit and killed the defendant’s two sons. I didn’t read the article, though, so I don’t know whether the jury sympathized with him, or didn’t think there was enough evidence for a conviction.

                    2. Ah, yes. While there was apparently some testimony that suggested he might not have shot the guy, there was also this –

                      “Investigators testified that a bullet fragment found in Banda’s car could have come from a .357-caliber gun, and that ammunition for such a gun was found in Barajas’ home, along with a holster. Cammack said his client never owned a gun…”

                      Uh huh…



            1. It sort of is. It’s typically the other side that argues for Jury Nullification, and for spurious reasons (“If the defendant is black, then the jury should nullify the verdict!”). But if you’ve got a small community, and everyone agrees that the victim in question needed to be put down for the good of the community…

              … then what happens when the jury gets their hands on it?

              The defense can move to have a trial moved due to a potentially biased jury. But I don’t think prosecutors can do the same thing.

              1. That was part of Bernie (a true story) in which the prosecutor got a change of venue (very unusual for the prosecution) because everybody in town knew the accused and the deceased.

              2. Yeah, what happens when the jury decides the victim was a stuck-up snob for reading too much and had it coming?

                  1. Part of why the questions need to be asked.

                    Otherwise, folks will wind themselves up into thinking of an idealized form of justice– without any of the messy practical bits, like “do I trust human nature this much?”

              1. I am given to understand* that it was one of the three defenses recognized by Roman Law:
                1. I am innocent
                2. It wasn’t murder
                3. He needed killing.

                I await SPQR’s galling commentary correcting my impression.

      2. Actually, most of the town claimed to be hiding under the pool table in the bar. It has the world’s largest pool table, something like 170 people will fit under it at one time, apparently. And the FBI still occasionally stop through to see if they can find out who did it.

      3. I recall one like that in GA. Guy found dead by the side of a county highway, shot in the back, his pickup and possessions untouched, and everybody in the county had an alibi. IIRC the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and sheriff didn’t push matters too hard.

        1. There was a shooting of a guy in broad daylight on a main street in a small Missouri town circa 1980. The guy was a thug, criminal and general low life. Nobody “saw” a thing.

          It’s been said it was the inspiration for the movie Road House.

          1. I also used that incident for a scene in one of my own books – where a notorious Civil War vigilante leader suddenly returns to a little town in the Texas Hill Country two or three years after the war – a town where his gang had murdered some local residents.
            One of the next of kin shoots him – in broad daylight and in front of witnesses, all of whom say they did not see a thing.

            (The real Civil War vigilante leader was shot, when he returned to town – but to men confessed to the deed long afterwards.)

              1. Hi, Bill – it’s Adelsverein: Book 3 The Harvesting, but the villain is established in Book One, and the Civil War episodes are in Book Two.

                I am going up to Fredericksburg next month, for a book talk (one of the local book clubs picked The Harvesting for their Book o’ The Month) and to give a walking tour of Fredericksburg, pointing out all the original sites where scenes in the books took place.

          2. Oh yes, the notorious Ken McElroy killing in 1981. It remains unsolved to this day, despite one of the alleged shooters being publicly identified by McElroy’s wife (who witnessed the shooting).

            I recall reading somewhere – I think it was a postscript to an updated version of Harry N. MacLean’s “In Broad Daylight,” which was his nonfiction account of the McElroy shooting – that when a subsequent prosecutor decided to take another look at the McElroy case in the early oughts, he found that a bunch of the case files had mysteriously gone missing.

      4. On the same vein: Chopper Read. Criminal who targeted drug dealers. Supposedly, the only reason he got caught was because he refused to open fire on a cop. When asked in court ‘Why were you killing drug dealers?” he famously responded “Because drug dealers don’t kill themselves!”

        Later in life he needed a liver transplant when he found out that one of the other recipient candidates was an 11 year old girl. He’s supposed to have said, ‘give her the liver.’

  20. During one of the huge snow storms in Chicago, I was on a packed bus, SRO, heading downtown on Clark St. A crazy guy, perhaps homeless, started berating a woman who was seated, and eventually started threatening her. At the next stop, when the side doors opened, two guys in business suits, grabbed the guy and threw him off the bus… for me.

  21. I saw that image. I think I liked it (I forget, I’ve seen more than one Titanic / ice bucket meme thing in the last few days), but then I’m all about tasteless jokes. English people usually are – I believe it causes near terminal apoplexy in the SJW crowd and amongst “Religion of Peace” people – and we joke about all sorts of tragedies. I’ve seen jokes about the London bombings, the space shuttle disaster(s), 9/11, the Zeebrugge ferry capsize, the Boston Marathon bombs (I told everyone I had a blast and would give my right leg to qualify for next year) etc. I’m pretty sure people in the UK were making Titanic jokes in 1912.

    I think that had I seen this maroon commenting my response would have been:
    “Dude it’s a tasteless joke, on the Internet where there are uncounted numbers of such. Take a chill pill and ignore it.”

    Should I ever (shudder) run for some office, I’m sure the moonbats would come after me. If they were competent they’d find evidence of me doing stupid things or telling sick jokes or both. I’m sure my response to journalists asking about them would range (depending on the truth of the accusation) from “So what, and by the way when did you stop beating your spouse?” to “Did you ask what drugs they were on at the time?”. If it were something about bad taste jokes I might even follow up with a question “so what group or event would you like a sick joke about?”

    1. Both in NYNY after 9/11 and in NOLA after Katrina professional comedians were very careful to make no jokes about those events for weeks. In both cases someone finally broke the ice and there was an almost palpable sigh of relief from the public, an “OK, now we can start to heal” feeling.
      I harken back to that passage in Stranger in a Strange Land where Mike finally understands human laughter by watching monkeys in a zoo. We laugh to ease the hurt.

        1. Funny stories and NSFW ones ruled at my father’s funeral during the farewell celebration his fellow friends and journalists threw the night before his cremation.

          I think my relatives from the US were quite unhappy. I think my dad would have loved it.

          1. When my wife died I HAD to tell jokes. It was the only thing keeping me from having a complete emotional breakdown right there in the hospital waiting room.

            1. My mother and I did something similar on and off a few hours after my dad died. I think we disturbed a few people that way. It doesn’t really help that we were constantly getting called up by various news outlets* and our sense of duty would kick in, shove aside the grief and let us answer coherently, or this odd feeling we had that it was as if he’d just left on a plane going back to Israel. That ‘sense of duty and responsibility’ thing was so strong I don’t think my youngest brother and I really grieved till some years afterward.

              If people thought it was surreal from the outside, it was pretty surreal for us.

              *For people who are wondering why that was happening – Dad was our incumbent Ambassador to Israel at the time of his death. We had to handle everything with grace under pressure.

              1. My family seems to treat visitations/funerals as family reunions. We all get together, talk, trade hugs, swing by the casket to say goodbye, and then go somewhere (usually someone’s house, but for my dad, the Church had the community center put out a spread) and eat and talk some more. One time, some of the guys decided to go fishing* after.

                * I never have caught any fish when I go fishing with those cousins, funeral or otherwise, but it’s still fun.

        2. Yeah, I remember when one of my great-uncles died. I wasn’t close to him, and wasn’t grieving to be honest. He was a very colorful character from what I’ve always been told, although the only story I can remember is the one about, well, never mind. One of his granddaughters was very troubled by the amount of mirth displayed; I can understand that. To me, it was just my sort of crazy-acting (great) uncle who died, but it was her grandfather that had passed away.

          1. We can combine two themes here:

            The most hated man in an Irish village finally died. No one even showed up to the wake. This distressed the parish priest so at Mass the next Sunday he allowed as how that was after being a shameful thing and asked his congregation to stand up and say one decent thing about the departed.

            Dead silence. Now the priest is angry. “Look, we’re not leaving this Church until someone says something good about the old bastard and that’s all there is to it!”

            A hand goes up in the back of the congregation. A little old man stands up, looks around nervously, clears his throat a couple of times and says…

            “His brother was worse.”

      1. In Australia the proof that 9/11 was a shocking event was that the bad-taste jokes took more than 24 hours to start up.

        Some of them were pretty damn funny, too.

      2. The satirical paper The Onion (published in dead-tree format at the time) took two weeks off after 9/11 and then returned with a devastatingly funny paper that somehow managed to stay on the side of good taste. More or less. You can probably access the whole thing online; it’s one of their classic issues.

  22. Went to a Jeff Dunham concert, open air venue in SoCal, where he talked about doing a show at Penn right after the Sandusky trial, and how he tried so hard not to let it into his act and failed so badly… and he’s telling us the jokes he told, and the audience was convulsed with laughter. I mean weeping, coughing, banging your forehead on the chairback in front of you but it’s OK because they’re doubled over too laughter.

    And when we finally straightened up in our seats, wiping our eyes and getting our breath back, and Dunham looked at and said, “And they only laughed a little bit louder than you just did.”

    Because sometimes you have to find some way to let it out…

    On the other hand, I was working the graveyard shift at a Kinko’s in my wild youth and this lunatic comes in, dressed in what looks like an overcoat made from outdoor carpet seconds, his arms full of stained papers yellowing with age, sharing the mildew odor with the coat.

    He drops this pile of woodpulp and failure on my counter and announces we are going to print his meticulously researched exposé of the assassination of RFK.

    I said, “No problem, sir, and the second one will be free because that’s the copy we have to file with the government.” — and he grabbed up his papers and ran out into the night. Never saw him again.

    Some hold onto things just a little too seriously.

      1. But I wouldn’t bother to correct again, because usually, it just goes downhill if the first correction doesn’t do it.

    1. We’ll add your request to the pile. That lament comes in about once a week.

      Now *I* neber need the edti function. 🙂

  23. They must’ve missed the Titanic/Ice bucket meme with Leo di Caprio freezing to death in the movie. I giggled. Giggled at the other Titanic one, too. But like I tell my husband – I’m a horrible person. And then we both laugh because I’m so not.

    Somebody somewhere will find outrage in everything. Personally, I think it’s better to try and find humor in some things instead.

  24. Oh boy. This is reminding me of a certain uber-troll (no, not THAT one) in Battlestar Galactica fandom. I don’t even want to write his name. This guy is seriously disturbed. He maintains at least three blogs and several message boards. He’s the only person who posts at these message boards, probably because every other board he’s visited has banned him. He’s written entire self-published books about how much he hates the new Galactica and NBC Universal. I almost hate to think what he’d do if he didn’t have the internet as an outlet.

      1. I’ve heard his real name from one of his frequent targets. Dude needs help.

  25. When TITANIC was in theatres I was working for Suncoast (the video retail arm of Sam Goody). Every single freakingweek we got at least one brinless little teeniebopper wanting to know if we had the VHS.

    While the movie was still playng, first run, at the other end of the mall.


    It got so bad that I was given permission by my manager to celebrate the VHS release by wearing a shirt with the legend “The boat sank; get over it.”

    Sadly, I needed to move before that could happen.

  26. “remember the massive engineering failure.”

    Point of order – Titanic’s sinking was NOT caused by a failure of engineering, but by a failure of seamanship.

    The ship’s watertight bulkheads and doors worked precisely as designed and built. But the Officer of the Deck on watch at the time did not adequately understand the design and handling characteristics of his ship, and (improperly) tried to steer around the iceberg. Had he simply put on a backing bell and ran straight into it, the first couple bulkheads would probably have given way, but the ship would have remained afloat. As designed. But by attempting to turn at that speed and that range, the Officer of the Deck extended the damage down length of the hull so that more compartments flooded than the reserve buoyancy of the ship could make up for, and she sank to the bottom.

    1. The physical makeup of the ship has been analyzed again and again, and the truth of the matter is that the real engineering failure was years in coming, with compromise after compromise in the specs making for a perfect storm of problems. If the rudder had been larger; if the rivets had been better; if the watertight bulkheads had been higher; if there had been enough lifeboats… the list just goes on and on. Add to that the human failure: if the crew had been adequately trained for an emergency; if the passengers had been asked to do lifeboat drills; if the radio operator had been given some code to know that the ice warning was critical; if the captain hadn’t wanted to arrive ahead of schedule; if the nearest ship had turned its radio on to hear the distress signal… so many ways that there could have been minimal loss of life.

      1. They stupidly reversed the propellers. The center propeller was like a turbocharger, it was propelled by exhaust from the other two propellers and did not work when the other two were in reverse. And it was the center propeller that shot water over the rudder and helped it to turn fast. with the center propeller stopped, the ship turned much less sharply than it would have if the other propellers would have been on.

  27. Because the low information voters see the cringe, and being liv’s think “No smoke without fire.”

    Regarding low info Voters:

    Looking just at the first question, which Pew has used to determine whether people who say they are libertarians actually know what the term means, 57% correctly identified the definition of “libertarian” with the proper corresponding ideological label. Looking at the other answers, an astonishing 20% say that someone who emphasizes freedom and less government is a progressive, 6% say that is the definition of an authoritarian and 6% say that is the definition of a communist.

    The total number of people who say that the emphasis on individual freedom by limiting the role of government [coresponds] with a label that involves more government regulation and greater involvement (which only comes at the expense of individual freedom) is 32% or 1 out of 3 adults.

    Those are not low information voters, those are mis- information voters. Those are don’t know arse from elbow voters.

    Those are the “Florida 2000” voters who voted for Buchannan when they “intended” to vote Gore. (Admittedly, subsequent events have shown remarkable similarity between the two.)

    I don’t think crazy will work with those folk. I know sanity won’t work — it is like making an argument in English to an Esperanto speaker: no matter how eloquently you reason, it ain’t gonna get through.

    Sigh. Insert Far Side cartoon contrasting “what you say” with “what dogs hear.”

  28. Someone known to my family was once eating at a McDonalds. He went to get some ketchup, and returned to find a homeless guy eating his burger. He was somewhat annoyed, and told the guy that if he wanted food, he should ask for it – that’s his lunch. The homeless guy glared at him and asked “Is your name McDonald?”


    “Well, then, I guess it ain’t yours either.”

    Then our acquaintance looked around and found the homeless guy’s cart. He started wheeling the cart by the McDonalds. The homeless guy jumped up and shouted “Hey! You’re stealing my cart!”

    “It’s not your cart, unless you’re Elder Beerman!”, he shouts, and starts jogging down the street with the HG in hot pursuit.

    After he returned to McDonalds, the manager gave him a free meal – it was the most hilarious way of dealing with the nuisance he had seen.

    1. Ehh, a little off topic. I suppose neither party in this anecdote is crazy. Clinically, anyway. 😛

    1. “I don’t want to f[***]ing test my drink when I’m at the bar,”

      Well, who does? That’s entirely beside the point.

    2. These are also people who don’t believe in self-defense.

      Wholly off-topic, I have been wondering why nobody has warned ISIS that such extreme acts as beheading prisoners, crucifying captives and destroying world cultural landmarks is just going to help our recruitment?

      1. Why waste one’s breath? I mean all their atrocities over the last few years has yielded no reaction from ‘anyone important’ never mind the ‘Western Public’ … besides, it’s not as if responding has had them lessen their insanity, but actually behave as if there had been a hostile response…

        1. Why? Because to fail to mock their hypocrisy is to participate in it.

          They slew their albatross fair and square, so let’s hang it around their collective neck.

          Else-wise they will surely hang it around ours.

          1. o_O I thought I’d replied.

            I mock their hypocrisy a lot – mostly on my own blog though, out of consideration to our hostess and largely because I don’t know if such is acceptable here.

            I snorted at a news article I skimmed that was hand-wringing about how wealthy and organized ISIS is, but it’s not as if the whining journos will look into the Islamic charities, mosques and people who are openly supportive of them – or where the money goes.

            1. Someone posted something (might have been here) not all that long ago that was basically the Saudis saying, “Yes, we have plans to put these upstart Shi’ites back in their places.” If the info was correct, then I think it’s a pretty big hint that ISIS was a Saudi stunt that blew up in their faces (as such stunts all too often do).

              1. Yeaaaaaaaah, that idea has some plausibility. I was chatting with my mom last night and she mentioned that a lot of Filipino Muslims from Mindanao are getting recruited – because a LOT of money is getting thrown around. Essentially, buying lives so that the family can live better, while sending the menfolk off to be cannon fodder.

                Also the Saudi Arabians have been interestingly quiet about what’s been going on… very much so…

                1. Ugh…

                  That’s *just* what the Philipines needs right now – returning Mindanao Muslim veterans.


                  1. Black Jack Pershing had a cure for Muslim issues in the Philippines.

                    “Under the starry flag, civilize ’em with a Krag!”

                    1. In fairness, the change in trend was, according to my mother, who lived in Mindanao for some years back in the 60s or 70s, very tribal. The majority of the Muslim tribes were rather peaceful, had no problems getting along with the Christians, easy going, law abiding. There was a large tribe (The Maranaw) which has very strong ties to Malaysia and Indonesia, and absorbed the many unsavory cultural attitudes Muslims display towards non-Muslims. The bullying, the ‘we’re better than you’, the extreme laziness and jealousy of other people’s fortune, the pushing around of other tribes they felt weren’t being ‘good Muslims’… that quietly turned violent over time. They were the group that had the ‘feelings’ of “We aren’t really Filipino and should be Malaysian/Sulu/separate’… ‘Should not be ruled over by Christians because we’re MUSLIM!!!!!!!!!’ aaaaand it went from there.

                  2. Yeah, we really don’t need that. I mean, the current administration over there I believe handed them even more ‘autonomous homeland’ and then ran into this little problem of a very profitable town/city/province that’s predominantly Christian and doesn’t want to be ruled by Sharia and Islamic religious belief…

                    I’m hugely cynical about the political and security situation over in the Philippines – and have been for years. It’s one of the reasons why I’m seen as ‘anti-Filipino’ and ‘nation-traitor’ – I don’t play the game of ‘everything is okay’. My people refused to build up their military for self defense reasons, and we have China poaching territory and mining resources like black sand without a care of how it affects local environment or people – and the Chinese are protected with military weaponry. They don’t look at the strong religious influence in the terror down in the South, so they are largely unaware with how strong these links are to international terror groups and refuse to profile based on that to see the Muslim drug gangs and crime syndicates which fuel money back to the ‘separatist groups’ while wringing their hands over the spread of drugs and crime and miniature armies and fiefdoms springing up around Manila and the nearby surrounds. For decades there’s been a refusal to look at history, study nation building, or our literature because there’s a sense of ‘shame’ that ‘we don’t compare’ in terms of ‘national pride’ and refuse to encourage that understanding while snarling at anyone who does and points out the flaws and gives solutions that aren’t exactly a quick fix ego boost as ‘anti-Filipino’ and ‘pro-American’. They treat the ones who DO try to fix things (like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) as ‘corrupt and traitorous’ because the fixes are not fast, nor are they easy, and they require sacrifice and effort. The current government is petty, vengeful, and has been blatantly violating the Constitution left and right and functionally has become more corrupt than the Marcos regime. (Yes, I went there.) Yet nobody can seem to explain why Gloria is popular in her own province and why the place is flourishing (because they don’t want to acknowledge that the people THERE decided “We’ll do it her way.” and are looking very long term.)

                    Why yes, I’m angry and sick and tired of the ‘but… but there’s no solution!’ whining and ‘it’s all (someone else’s) fault!’. At the same time, I understand that the ones who do have the capability to do more either tend to get assassinated for the most ridiculously petty of reasons, and thus the urge to keep one’s head down and just work hard to have one’s family survive the morass is overwhelmingly strong.

                    So faced with either a Chinese or a Muslim takeover, the potential lesser of two evils is China, because I don’t see the Philippines getting militarily strong enough to counter both internal and external threats at the same time.

                    1. One of the mecha-related mailing lists I was subscribed to (iirc, it was the now-defunct Gundam Mailing List) had a couple of guys from the Phillipines on it. One of them came across as a fairly nice guy in his posts. The other hated the US, and was quite happy to say as much in his posts. He liked to bring up what Pershing did, among other things. I suspect that he thought everything bad in the Phillipines could be traced back to Pershing.

                      He also had a bad habit of making his entire post one huge paragraph. And he never used punctuation. I don’t remember if he ever corrected that problem. But when it was first pointed out to him that reading his posts was difficult due to the lack of punctuation, he automatically assumed that it was just the US members upset about his anti-US views.

            2. In fairness, ISIS’s wealth is not particularly based on charities — which is not to deny the “charities” (let’s toss in UNRWA ((UNWRA? It sounds sorta like what you say when passing a particularly uncomfortable stool)) while we’re at it) are a major problem.

              ISIS was getting helped by Assad, as reported in the Wall Street Journal (and other venues, but the Journal is where I read about it) in order for ISIS to destroy the moderate Syrian opposition and leave Assad as “the Devil we knew” as opposed to the more extreme threat of ISIS (aka: The Lesser Evil Strategy … not to be confused with the Lessor Evil strategy which car buyers are frequently subject … uh, where were we?)

              ISIS was also reportedly a big player in the “Let’s have a bake sale” strategy (more commonly called ransoming Westerners back to their governments, although the current administration does not pay ransom to terrorists … we pay ransom to agents, such as Qatar, who then encourage the terrorists to give up the prisoners whose heads remain attached.)

              No, the reason ISIS is called well-financed is when they captured Mosul they also captured the (IIRC) $600 BILLion of gold reserves we had stashed in the local bank. That’s the problem with safety deposit boxes, of course — you’re always forgetting where they are.

              1. Don’t forget the oil – ISIS have to sell oil on the “undocumented oil” market and thus at a significant discount rate, but even at around 1/5th of the market price the ouput of the fields they’ve grabbed represent a not-insubstantial income stream.

              2. Ah. I mean, the MILF and it’s various spin-off ‘breakaway’ groups were big on the kidnap for ransom thing and hooked up with the New People’s Army (yeah we still have ‘communist rebels’) further up north (Part of why I never ever brought Rhys to my mother’s home province) is because of the ransoming. The Philippines has much in common with Afghanistan where you have lots of little villages and places which are largely ruled by our local equivalents of the Taliban, and are given very little in the way of options when it comes to support – it’s ‘support our ‘freedom fighters’ or die’. And because there’s not much in the way of military or police, because our government has bought into the ‘disarmament = more peace’ lie, there’s no way to really reclaim and permanently secure those areas. Those areas are essentially ruled by warlord fiefdoms.

                And our idiot of a president, who prefers Counter-Strike games to actual military keeps giving away land to the Muslims…

                Y’all in the US still have hope.

                1. ??? There’s a militant group identifying itself as Mothers I’d Like to F… that’s just sick.

                  1. Moro Islamic Liberation Front. *chuckle* Yeah, I know.

                    I realized that I went on a tangent and didn’t finish my original point. They – the NRA and the MILF – were huge on kidnap for ransom, making them really no better than a pack of bandits, and their hooking up with Al Qaida gave them a ‘stain of respectability’ as well as a jump in armament. But they still couldn’t really do more than scrape by on that tactic. So I agree that the oil and gold put ISIS light years ahead of any other Islamic terror group and here we are.

                    By the by, y’all may have Obama, but dear god Aquino has even less business being a President. The only reason why he’s there is because of his family political connections pushed him to be the most ignored and ineffectual Senator in history (and he didnt’ seem to care either) and then his vaunted mother died (I hold her in contempt and blame her for the political crapheap we’re in – she made what Marcos did WORSE) right before the elections, which brought the Aquino name to the YAY HOPE AND DREAAAAAAAAMS category… but he still lagged behind Estrada. And the only reason why Estrada lost was because people freaked out when they saw that he was close on to being a President again… and nobody wanted to have the corrupt, womanizing drunk again… so they threw their vote to the Aquino instead of the candidates they REALLY wanted…

                    I talk to those friends on occasion. They mutter that they should have elected Estrada instead of Aquino. ‘At least we know he’d screw with the economy and still defend the Philippines. Aquino screws with EVERYTHING.’

                2. GREAT… here we go again with the MILF campaign slogans. “Join the Rangers, and get all the MILFs you can nail!” Etc.

                  1. Would have to be the Filipino Rangers (do they have those?), though.

                    iirc, foreigners – including US military advisors – are prohibited from carrying weapons within the country.

                    1. There are exercises regularly.

                      And every couple of years there’s an embarrassing situation where our Marines “accidentally” find (and sometimes kill) terrorists in an embarrassing places, because they haven’t figured out “Oh, dozens of ships and stuff. Let’s not do meetings with people who need to have plausible deniability, or try to attack the big guys with guns.”

                      The way I heard it– and this is utterly unofficial rumor based stuff– that’s why any of our groups in country are required to have one member of the local military with them.

                      That way, when…oh… a MILF does something dumb and is caught in the living room of someone with local importance, they were apprehended by the local military.

                      (And, of course, this gives cover to the local officials because “everyone knows” that you can’t get a Marine to listen.)

      1. You’re welcome, then.

        I mean, I could understand objecting on say, hygienic reasons (“finger/fingernail in drink? Uhhh, ew…?!” – that reaction I could understand) but “IT MAKES US DO SOMETHING SO WE ARE WARNED AGAINST SOMEONE TRYING TO DRUG US WAAAH RAPE CULTURE THAT’S PRO RAPE CULTUUUURE!”…. really, I got nothing.

        1. What they are demanding is the right to remain infants.

          Who else doesn’t have to pay for what they need? Who else expects to charge through life as if there are no dangers, and feels betrayed when they get a boo-boo?

          Actual infants, of course, try to grow up.

          1. You know the funny thing is, infants actually develop a sense of self-preservation pretty early on. Since both my eldest ones (I still want more kids) were babies in a two story house, I wanted to teach them how to crawl up and down stairs when they started crawling.

            Neither of them could reach the first step down with their foot on their first tentative tries. So they scootched back up to the topmost landing and sat there, looking at me. Crawling up the stairs? No problem. But for the next few months afterward till they could safely reach that first step with their probing toes and wriggle backward on their belly till they were kneeling on that step, the method of going back down was

            baby sits on top of stair and calls “Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmm~!!!!!!!!!” at the top of his or her lungs.

            …of course there’s a few babies who don’t seem to have that sense of self preservation… I know a few now-grownups who were like that as children.

            but overall? Babies seem smarter than the average SJW.

            1. I read a thing about being overprotective when my first child was about nine months old, just on the verge of crawling. I decided to (safely) experiment when he crawled towards the edge of the bed—rather than scooping him off, I just got my hands ready to catch and watched to see what he would do. He turned around, grabbed the cover, and slid off the bed feet-first, landing safely on the ground.

              Pretty astonishing, that.

              1. Heh, that’s a lot like my son when he was five months. The bed was elevated quite high off the floor, so when he started scootching around on his belly I worried. But he rarely fell off the side (and I’d taken to lining the way down with thick pillows.)

                Of course, all that self-preservation seems to go away when he’s sleeping. He’d crawl over my body* when he got older, roll off the bed, bounce off the plastic clothes chests I’d lined with cushions and roll onto a floor lined with more pillows and a comforter. I’d wake up from the sudden lack of baby next to me and find him still happily asleep on the floor.

                *yeah, we co-sleep with our babies. This is not uncommon in the Philippines, and the cot tends to hold a kiddly only while Mommy’s busy. When we finally did move Vincent to a cot to sleep in, he was unhappy (and teething) and wanted someone to cuddle to sleep. Daddy would sleep in the cot with him, legs poking out of the cot, and move back into bed sometime in the night. Some nights, I’d do that. The things we do for our kids…! *grin*

                Of course, when he started being a little escape artist, we had a little bed made for him, which he loved.

                1. Now, me — my mother once heard the distinctive thud of me rolling out of bed and hurried up the stairs — to find I was crawling back into bed without having woken up.

                  Still an awful thrasher around in bed.

                  1. After the third time I fell out of the top bunk without waking up, my mom decided that I wasn’t going to stop and we got rails….
                    (I think there was some question in her mind about if I was falling or just got scared and slept on the floor instead until they heard a thump.)

                    1. I routinely fell off the bed and hit my head on the marble bedside on the way down (there was no other way to fall) and finished the night on the rug… But I was six to fourteen.

                    2. No top bunks for me! I was still a little girl when I realized my sleeping activity precluded it. . . .

                      It was usually the teddy bear that left the bed — seriously, for years the first thing I did in the morning was discover where I had thrown the bear — but I took precautions because the bear took it a lot better than I would.

                    3. I spent summer with a friend/distant cousin, and we shared a queen size bed. (We were nineteen, I think.)
                      In the middle of the night, she’d sit up, pick up her pillow and fling it as far as possible.
                      Imagine my shock when number one son did the same.

                  2. Yeah; in this case these days the thump is the sound of my kids rolling into the wall. Every so often, while working at night, Housemate will hear thumps from Vincent’s room. He’ll peek in to make sure nothing’s wrong, and find the boy with his head toward the footboard, pillow kicked off the bed, tangled up in blankets, half off the bed in the most uncomfortable looking position EVER. If I’m awake Housemate will call me over to show me the chaos and boggle “How in the world can he sleep like that?!”, then untangle boy and blankets, settle him gently back in bed, everything nice and neat and comfy… and is in the process of closing the door and there goes Vincent, kicking everything into a mess again in less than two seconds.

                    Housemate: *narrow eyes* *sigh* *patiently untangle boy and then burrito-wrap him into the blankets before settling him into bed*

                    Me: *laughing at grumbly adoptive uncle’s baffled expressions and muttering*

                    Vincent’s been undergoing some serious growth spurts and I can’t lift him any more. And I think Housemate’s given up on the nightly tangle, and just makes sure the boy stays in bed and nobody’s broken into the house when he hears that thump of feet on the wall…

                    Daughter hits the wall harder and startles Housemate more, because it really sounds like someone trying to break the window in. Cue housemate rushing in with hard object in hand (large flashlight, screwdriver kit, hard drive…) ready to defend the house, to find nothing wrong. Poor guy.

                2. My wife and I have slept with each of the kids in the bed in turn when they were little as a matter of survival. It’s just easier to take care of them that way, rather than go stumbling around the house to get the baby, then the diaper bag, then the bottle… For some reason, most of our kids hated being covered by blankets. To keep warm, they’d always snuggle up right against me. Then they’d learn that if you kick daddy over, there’s a nice warm spot where he was. After several years, I learned to sleep carefully balanced on the last six inches of mattress space, waking up several times per night because they’d still be kicking me, but I had nowhere else to go, and I still had to try to keep at least a corner of the blankets that my wife always ends up stealing (“Oh, NO!” she protests every morning. “You always kick them off onto ME!” Right. Which is why I wake HER up as I have to de-cocoon the blankets that are wrapped around her. Didn’t know I kicked them so hard that they would flip her up into the air and spiral around her body. She must be one sound sleeper.).

                  Our first daughter was the WORST. At six weeks old, she took no naps, and slept a maximum of eight hours per night, waking up about five times for feedings, which generally took 45 minutes minimum. By the time she was a year old, she was trying to get by on three 20-minute catnaps per night with no naps during the day. My wife drove the pediatrician crazy trying to find out why the child WOULDN’T SLEEP. We made sure she got plenty of exercise (play) during the day, gave her a healthy diet, wasn’t getting High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or red, yellow and blue dye in her food, had a strict routine, etc. After about six months, the doctor simply said, exasperated, “You know, about one percent of kids just DON’T NEED SLEEP.” My wife only survived this period because we lived close to her parents, and her father had back injuries that made him unemployable, but he could watch the baby. My wife would go over there every day, and grandpa would play with the baby for a few hours while my wife collapsed on the couch. By the time our daughter was two, we got her to sleep in her own bed, but I had to lay next to her and hold her down in her bed until she’d fight you for an hour (kicking and screaming) and then collapse from sheer exhaustion. Then she’d sleep for an hour or two and crawl in with mom and dad and kick me all night again. By the time she was three, she’d FINALLY sleep for six hours at a stretch if I laid down next to her and sang to her for an hour (she had a little sister at this point; I’d put her to bed while mommy got quiet time downstairs with the baby). Oh, and I was working full-time, going to school full-time and in the National Guard at this point. Then I got a year-long break with the Infantry in Afghanistan. By the time I got back from my combat tour, we could kiss her goodnight and she’d go to sleep on her own, after an hour of tossing and turning. I finally made my big break when I discovered melatonin (the hormone that regulates sleep). Her brain doesn’t really produce it because she has ADD (just like dad). We haven’t medicated her for the ADD (yet), but I started giving her a 3-mg melatonin tablet about 40 minutes before bedtime, and now she actually goes to sleep like a regular child and will sleep for about 7 hours.

                  Luckily, none of our other kids have been that bad. If I had to do it again, I’d be crushing the melatonin and putting it in her formula at age one. It’s a good thing we had her in our twenties. I think if I had to go through that again, I’d just lay down and die. As it is, if it’s five AM, at least two of our kids are usually up. By six, they’re almost always all out of bed.

                  What’s that? The Army wants me to sleep in the field? In the snow? Or in the rain? And they’ll give me eight hours to rest? COUNT ME IN. 😀

                  1. There was a nice riff on this in one of the Stargate SG-1 eps where Adam Baldwin plays a team leader and he’s walking along with O’Neill and he says, “I love my wife. I love my kids. But after a few months off deployment I start saying, ‘Get me off this planet….!'”

                  2. For some reason, most of our kids hated being covered by blankets. To keep warm, they’d always snuggle up right against me. Then they’d learn that if you kick daddy over, there’s a nice warm spot where he was. After several years, I learned to sleep carefully balanced on the last six inches of mattress space, waking up several times per night because they’d still be kicking me, but I had nowhere else to go

                    Rhys puts out more body heat than I do, so he manfully puts up with my cold feet (even sandwiching them between his own calves, or even thighs, to warm them up) for a proper snuggle.

                    Since we’ve always co-slept (and in the Philippines, for the most part it was a necessity because the kiddlies will sleep whereever they wish) Rhys learned how to rotate on 6 inches of bedspace. He credits this with how easy it was for him to sleep relatively comfortably on narrow spaces after enlisting. He says that sleeping on a workbench or atop gear chests is preferable to sleeping on the ground and discovering a number of foot-long venomous centipedes under one’s sleeping bag…

                    From eldest daughter onward, we both were light sleepers when it came to the kiddlies and tend not to move if they’re in bed with us. I can’t sleep while they’re babies unless I have a hand on their chests, feeling their breathing and heartbeat. The terror of SIDS (and the knowledge that sometimes, for reasons nobody can discern, babies will randomly stop breathing) will always keep the kiddlywink in my arms until they’re three. Fortunately for us, they take well to having their own bed (and are proud enough that they’re ‘big enough’ to warrant it.)

                    Happily, they’re also cuddlers. I’m trying to save up enough cuddles so that when they’re grown… ah, who am I kidding? There’s no such thing as too much cuddles.

                    1. Lack of cuddling was one of my wife’s biggest complaints about oldest son. Once he closed in on 3 years old, he pretty much gave them up.

                      On the subject of SIDS (and no, I am NOT telling you that you’re crazy to do that), did you know that the reports back in the 70s, when it became the thing to be afraid of for babies, were drastically exaggerated? I read something about that a year or two ago, and it really made me agitated that some idiot would unnecessarily worry new mothers that way.

                    2. SIDs is the reason why they encourage not co sleeping, putting in a crib, on their backs, no cushy cot-liners, etc.

                      My brothers are all adult. Brother after me still goes “Mu-mmy~” and goes for a huggle. We have no problems about physical displays of familial affection in all but the most restrained and formal of settings. Because darn it all, if you can’t show you love your family, there’s something WRONG in the world.

              2. I saw my daughter do the same – twice, although I darned near had a heart attack the second time. The first was dismounting from one of those playground horses – the ones in pairs on springs. She was about three years old, and she slipped as she got off. She just very casually reached out with her other hand, caught the handle on the other, dangled for a moment from her hands, and then just let go and dropped to the ground. This was about the time that I noticed that the little kidlets didn’t really make all that much of a fuss if they fell, or banged an elbow or something in a fall. No, it was Mummy rushing forward and coming all unglued which set off the crying fit. If no one took any particular notice, they would pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and go on playing, quite unruffled.

                The second time was epic, though. She was nine or ten, at the base swimming pool. I was there with a camera crew from the station – we were getting footage of the kids playing in the pool for a safety spot. The kids were lined up, going off the high dive. (Gasp – the f**king HIGH DIVE!) She was taking her turn, and looking down before she went to the end of the board to make sure the kid ahead of her was clear. I am fairly certain that everyone was excited and showing off for the camera. She slipped and went sideways off the board, just past the safety rails. Twenty feet above the concrete side of the pool.

                We had it all on tape, so when we played it back in slow-mo, we could see what she did. As she went off the board, she reached out and caught the rail, one-handed, swung gracefully around in a half-circle, caught the rail with her other hand … and found a purchase for her feet on the structure that held the high-dive. It looked like a carefully-planned movie stunt. She shinnied down the tower before I had even got halfway down the long side of the pool. Even before the lifeguard could get out of his chair.

                It made a heck of an effective pool-safety spot, but I was still hyperventilating, hours later. This was one reason i didn’t have all kinds of nervous breakdown when she enlisted in the Marines. I knew she had excellent instincts.

                1. Is this where, after a while, you give up and just start saying, “It’s OK, he landed on his head!”? 😉
                  It’s probably good prep for when they’re about 10-14 years old and they’re worshiping at the altar of Evel Knievel.

                  1. he has a size 9 head and I’m going to guess it’s hard as rock? And probably always was harder.
                    Younger son fell in bathtub at age 4 — I turned away for a second and he thought it was a good idea to dance on the edge of a claw foot in socks. Yes, it’s my fault. I turned away. This is the kid who was acquainted with emergency room docs by name. He’s — and has always been — all boy — and forgot his alphabet and we don’t know if his sensory issues are from that or innate. In either case he’s almost normal now, but it was a heavy price for a few minutes distraction.
                    Robert never showed any (however slight) effects from hitting his head. Honestly, he looks like a neanderthal. Brilliant but he looks like he should be carrying a stone club. If he gets into medschool, the family joke is that patients will try to crawl away from him with “Not the caveman, not the caveman.”

                    1. Ah, I saw him at Liberty, he’s not that bad.

                      Regarding brains and looks – one of my college friends said that when he first saw me, when I walked into the first day of Physics class, he thought I was lost, because, he said, I looked too dumb to play football. Now, I may not be the sharpest bowling ball in the garage, but I AM smarter than that.

                    2. You haven’t seen him with the murder-hobo beard he’s growing in imitation of Larry’s.
                      Robert — in honors, perfect GPA was once followed home from football training by little guy screaming that at least he was “smarter than you, you dumb jock.” Robert was rather puzzled by the whole thing, as he’d never seen the guy before. He was also charitable, and refrained from correcting him on the likelihood of that.

          2. They also don’t want to lose their fantasy of being so desirable that men constantly try to drug them. It might mean they have to admit they get falling-down drunk and sleep with guys they barely know, then blame “Rape Culture” for it in the morning.

        2. Too bad we can’t apply that logic to other situations.

          “Making me close and lock my car door to keep from having people steal things from it is just SO UNFAIR! I decry this theft culture that makes us close and lock our car doors!”

          /insert comment about patriarchy

      2. “If the world isn’t perfect then you’re an evil person for trying to make it better because that just encourages the bad people.” That kind of “thinking” really, really makes me wonder how the individuals espousing it got there. As in, what they heard/read/experienced/absorbed to send them plunging off that edge of the planet.

  29. Here’s one guaranteed to piss off someone.

    “Knock, knock.”
    “Who’s there?”
    “F*ck you.”
    “F*ck you who?”
    “I’m Vietnamese, not Chinese, you racist bastard!”

    As for Teh Crazies… I can almost guarantee I can beat anyone in the “crazy comments” stakes. just from the responses I got to a certain essay wot I done wrote.

      1. Have you ever tried to wrap your head around how many articles were written simply to attack that post? I think Kim nearly brought the Internet to its knees that year.

        1. I did crash my host’s server for four days… had to find a new home because they refused to keep me as a client.

          And BTW: thank you all for not mentioning it by name.

  30. I had that happen just recently from a long-time … I thought she was a friend… We were joking around and then she took umbrage for no reason that I could see and said “So you and your Nazi friends want to put Jews and children in ovens.” That pushed my button of course– but she walked off before I could say anything. She is now in my handle with care and don’t talk to– in short, off my small list of friends.

  31. Our area (a few small towns) just had their first Cardboard Boat Regatta at a local lake. Awarded prizes for speed, creativity, etc. And a “Titanic” prize for the most spectacular sinking.

    1. The thing is, I’m a bit of a Titanic-fan in the sense I read everything I can find about the disaster and I DO too feel the tragedy. BUT one can still make jokes, right? I mean, I’m the first one to make jokes about Marlowe and depending on what I’ve been writing, I might feel he died yesterday.

    2. BTW, just looked you up and I’m now going to have to buy a bunch of your books. CURSE YOU. (Shakes fist in air.) Oh, and we’re the same age. That year… it was a good vintage.

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