Bring me the head of Charlie Brown!

Image credit: Grooch (January 7, 2015).  Did you know that European Court of Human Rights in June of 2014 upheld France's ban on wearing full-face veils in public, rejecting arguments that the ban undermines freedoms of religion and expression. Ironically, it did so, because the Court concluded that banning Burkas promoted social cohesion in France. How's that for satire.

Image credit: Grooch (January 7, 2015).

Did you know that the European Court of Human Rights in June of 2014 upheld France’s ban on wearing full-face veils in public, rejecting arguments that the ban undermined freedoms of religion and expression? It did so because the Court concluded that banning the hijab promoted social cohesion in France. So much for France’s commitment to free expression (or the slightest understanding of irony).

On a more fundamental level, I have always thought that Charlie Brown was a whiny little bitch. Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown, a 1986 short film, perfectly captures my sentiments.

Take a look:

Je ne suis pas charlie, and pass the Freedom Fries!


iPhone irony

The Washington Post is carrying two stores of interest to iPhone users. All the federal judges in Nebraska are provided with iPhones (4s) for work and, in my case, play. The first story recounts that the FBI Director went wacko about the new Apple operating system (iOS 8.0 plus subsequent iterations) because it is encrypted in such a way that law enforcement officers can’t easily get into Apple products. The second Washington Post article recounts that if you downloaded iOS 8.0 or 8.1 to your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus the phone no longer works as a phone–it becomes a really expensive reminder that Steve Jobs is dead.* We judges have been told not to download the new operating system until our IT people give the OK.

Do any of you see the same amusing irony that I see? Delicioso.**


*Apparently, iOS 8.2 issued a day or so ago fixes these problems. See here.

**If you find references to oral sex disconcerting, do not look up this word in the Urban Dictionary. Substitute “schadenfreude” instead–Germans are far more repressed. Trust me, I know.




Image credit: Classic FM.

Image credit: Classic FM.

Think Igor Stravinsky. Now read the following:

Reporters are agog  about a solar plant in the Mojave Desert. The plant has more than 300,000 mirrors. It seems that when birds fly through the concentrated rays of the mirrors our feathered friends ignite in midair.* Workers at the plant call them “streamers.” For more, see here and here.**


*I don’t know why, but the image of flaming birds reminds me of one of my favorite poems:

Little bird out in the snow, with busted wing, and broken toe. First I will lure thee with a piece of bread, and then I will crush your tiny head.

Anonymous student at lower middle class high school in Maumee, Ohio.

**Do you think this post requires a trigger warning for people who suffer from environmental schizophrenia?

Is “irony” the right word?

About the time my cousin George, who converted to Judaism (יהדות) upon his retirement from the State Department, was sending me (and others) an e-mail update about his rich experiences teaching and living in Haifa, Israel, a former “Grand Dragon” was going on a shooting spree at the Jewish Community Center and nearby retirement village in Kansas City.* The shooter killed three people.** Two were Methodists and one was Catholic.

The oldest victim was a physician and a grandfather who was taking his grandson, the second victim and a 14-year-old singing sensation, to an audition at the Center. The third victim was a Catholic woman who worked as an occupational therapist assisting the visually impaired. She was visiting her mother at Village Shalom. Thankfully, no Jews were killed or injured.

To any sane person, that the shooter set out to slaughter Jews but mistakenly ended up mowing down Christians stretches the meaning of irony to the breaking point. And that is a good thing.


*According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the shooter had gone to prison in the past on weapons charges after plotting robberies and the assassination of SPLC founder Morris Dees.

**It appears likely that the shooter will be charged federally under 18 U.S. Code § 249.

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