Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Squirrel's Nut Cache - 12/24/2010

The Nut Cache - a collection of recent things I found interesting, or amusing, or nutworthy.

In the "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" file, we find this headline: Men rescue trapped deer, get fined. One of the brightest things about humanity is the risks that people are willing to take for others, even for animals. I would never require public safety officials to put themselves at risk to save an animal, but when private individuals freely choose to put themselves at risk, I don't think they should be punished for it. Liberty must include the freedom to take risks, or it is not liberty at all.

Weather delays last weekend caused many passengers to become stranded in airports across Europe. German transportation officials chose to send in the clowns to help folks pass the time. I have two observations: First, while clowns are creepy, I applaud the Germans for taking steps to keep folks entertained. It has a practical side, since, by keeping folks busy, they probably cut down on incidents brought on by people's frustrations with the travel delays. Second, I don't think it would work here, as American airports have too many clowns working in them already...

Most of the time, one-car accidents don't make the national news. But, when you crash your car in the front yard of a former president, you're going to make the news. The driver claims that his accelerator became stuck. As far as I've been able to discover, there is no truth to the rumors that there was a Gore/Liberman2000 sticker on the bumper of the 1970's Cougar, but witnesses claim that "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac was blaring from the car's sound system...

Pareidolia strikes again. Not a grilled-cheese sandwich this time, but melted wax on a candle. Many shapes can be perceived in the random patterns caused by clouds in the sky, ripples on water, etc. People really need to be a lot less gullible, I think. (That applies to a lot more than just this issue...)

In the 1970's, the Soviets introduced the Zhiguli, a car that would come to typify the industrial backwardness of Soviet Russia for the next 20+ years. Known as the Lada in export markets, the Zhiguli was a knock-off of a 1970 Fiat design, but without the Fiat's... refinements (not that Fiat was known for fine automobiles in the 1970. Indeed, Mercedes and Lexus aren't looking over their shoulders today because of Fiat, either.) To give you some idea about people's attitude towards the Zhiguli, I recount to you these jokes that I heard in high school in the early 1980's: Q: Do you know what Zhiguli owners dream about? A: Getting a speeding ticket. || A man walks into an auto part store, and can't find what he's looking for, and goes up to the clerk, "Could I get a pair of wiper blades for my Zhiguli?" The clerk thinks a minute, then says, "Okay, it's a deal." || Q: What do you call a Zhiguli at the top of a hill? A: A miracle. Well, it seems like things have changed in the world of Russian automobiles! I think this car will set you back a bit more than a pair of wiper blades!

And the Nuttiness goes on and on...

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