Shun me, I am beneath contempt

Cycling in to work today, with a gentle mist falling and a gale force wind trying to blow me back home, I was party to an abomination the like of which I have not known since the horrible Ladybird Slaughter of ’76. I hang my head in shame, yet feel the need to unburden myself. You see, this morning I committed wormicide.

Hundreds of worms had arranged themselves like discarded g-strings along the bike path, and using the little-known law of cycling physics known as ‘sucking’, my wheels were, shamingly, drawn to almost all of them. In my defence it wasn’t all my fault; many of the bewildered Lumbricidae, driven insane by the seemingly endless tarmac (crawl across, across, not along!) hurled themselves into my path like strands of segmented pasta abandoning a baby’s fork. Yet the guilt, it weighs heavy upon me, and so I must sneak into the office Mother’s Room for a quick lie down. I shall return.

Side note: I salute the author of the following snippet:

It is a commonly held belief that if you chop a worm in half you will end up with two live worms. This is not true. If you chop a worm in half it is possible that one half may recover and heal but you are most likely to end up with two halves of a dead worm.

Video Headlines

Not sure if this counts as a headline, but let’s go with it. Last week Fox cable news reported that the Pope was dead 26 hours before his actual death. Oops. But the part I liked was this follow up comment correcting their mistake:

The Pope is by all accounts now alive

Not *is alive*, but is *now* alive. As in didn’t used to be.

Quick bonus – a nice image from the Daily Show:
[[image:popevote.jpg:Vote for Pope:center:0]]

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Blog of the Year

I rarely agree with Powerline, what Time magazine called ‘The Blog of the Year’, because, well, I think they’re generally wrong. But this recent post surprised me more than most:

…supporters presented former player Kevin Campbell, a black who was quite unproductive for us during his last few years at Everton, with a trophy and DVD

Now it’s been a few years since I lived in the UK, but the last I heard people weren’t described as ‘a black’. Some variant of ‘a black man’, or ‘a black player’ (i.e. as an adjective) would be pretty common, but in the noun form of ‘a black’? That sounds more like a nineteenth century southern US term, similar to another one that springs readily to mind but my prudishness prevents me from using.

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Double Whammy

Something of a treat from CNN this morning; not one but two bad headlines – one of the normal overly-shortened type, the other just, well, crap.
[[image:cnn_mammoth.gif:Mammoth remains unearthed:center:0]]
In other news: Pope remains dead.

I’m afraid I didn’t get a shot of the other headline, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Over a shot representing the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla Windsor (as I assume she is now known) was the banner ‘Breaking News’. Apparently CNN’s standard for breaking news is a wedding that has been planned for months, is based on a 35 year relationship, and is running according to plan. Perhaps they’d like to report the breaking news that I’m about to go out for a bit of a bike ride.

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Fuzzy Math

Let’s immediately get past why I’m reading an article by Linda Chavez and move straight on to her impressive inability with numbers:

Since 1978 when Pope John Paul II became pontiff, the Catholic Church has nearly doubled in membership from 757 million to some 1.1 billion, keeping rough pace with the growth in world population.

Well, the growth in the world population in that time is a hair under 50%, which is more than the growth in the Catholic Church (around 46% percent). So growth in membership hasn’t even kept up with growth in population, never mind the fact that an increase of 46% falls quite a long way short of ‘nearly doubled’. In fact it’s closer to having stayed exactly the same than it is to doubling.

Now if you’re trying to argue that the growth in the Catholic congregation shows that the late Pope was, to borrow a phrase ‘a uniter, not a divider’, the fact that in relative terms the church has shrunk just might be seen as a bad statistic to quote. I’d actually consider it largely irrelevant; there are enough pressures on traditional Christianity out there that such a small shrinkage is quite impressive. But flat-out lying to make your point is, well, it’s downright un-Christian.

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