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2011 October

The Periodic Table of the Elements-and You!

Periodic Table of TablesWith the recent discovery concerning neutrino particles, it is clear that science is changing and advancing at a rapid speed (faster than light, one might say).

For those of you who are just joining us on the Internet, neutrinos particles were ‘witnessed’ travelling about 0.[lot of zeros][# that isn’t a zero] seconds faster than the speed of light, meaning that not only is time travel now more feasible, but that you could, if you are lucky, actually travel back in time and tell Einstein that his theory of relativity is wrong.

Which means he would probably come up with a new theory and we would never question it, meaning we would never discover the neutrinos to go back in time in the first place; but I’ll let you wrap your head around that paradox. (Myself, well, I hear the price of neutrinos per ounce is still pretty low-I’d look into investing in those).

In all honesty, though, I don’t have time to worry about the neutrinos and other faster-than-light possibly radioactive cancer-causing brain-damaging particles that are probably shooting through my body fast enough to rip my liver to shreds if they so choose as I write this, because- sorry, just ran off to put on a lead-insulated jacket -because I need to worry about the periodic table of the elements.

This periodic table is very useful.

For example, when I want to know something basic about one of the elements I look to the periodic table, on which I’ve scrawled in big black permanent marker: “Just use Google.” Thus, Google is helpful too, but not as much as the periodic table, without which I’d be lost (I don’t want to even think about accidentally going to Yahoo, or, God forbid, Bing).  Google has shown me useful information over the years, including that there is something called ‘lead poisoning’ and now I’m stuck debating whether or not to risk those particles or the lead jacket (caught between a ‘rock’ and invisible particles).

But don’t let that worry you! Gosh, I’m sure if I sacrifice my old lemon torture science kit (the one that has the alligator clips and the light that you can power with a lemon) (and the one that used to be used to make the lemons confess to eating my homework) to the science gods, those particles will miss me-right?

It’s too Periodic

The thing about the periodic table that really bothers me is, well, the periodic-ness of it.  Periodic, for those that don’t know, means “occasional” or “regular”, which is why it is so boring to use.  I think that those scientists could really benefit from putting some random elements inside, such as ‘Mb’ (Monopoly board), ‘Dd’ (Doggy-doo), and ‘Ab’ ($29.99-and you only need to exercise that six-pack for four minutes a day!).

This could lead to some really groundbreaking discoveries and new compounds.  A compound is something like salt (sodium and chloride, or NaCl), so scientists could now discover the compounds crying children (Dd and Mb) and Crap (Dd and Ab).

The Symbols Make No Sense

While we’re thinking about it, you ought to examine the letter symbols that are used.  Some make sense, such as O for Oxygen, but others seem to have been thought up when a scientist spent too much time experimenting on himself.  For instance, ‘K’ stands for potassium, which means that conversations often go like this, in today’s shorthand communications:

“Meet me at the party @ 5, potassium?”
“Potassium, can do.”

When you consider Uranium is ‘U’, you would think that the federal government would be a lot more worried about today’s youth coordinating the development of weapons of mass destruction on Facebook and by text:

“ill pic uranium up at the bac of the gym”
“uranium’ll be there at 5, rite?”

And, when you consider that these jokes are easy to make using the hundred some abbreviations on the table and get old really fast, you end up with a bunch of angry readers who are not above sneaking into your house and changing your alphabet noodle soup to all “As” (symbol for arsenic).


So, before I make the mistake of including one-too-many bad jokes (with bad jokes, literally, one is too many) I want to mention the numbers in the boxes of the periodic table as well.  Actually, I don’t want to, but I feel I am morally obligated to, because how would you feel if you got stuck on a chart next to 117 other people with your weight and name clearly displayed?

Thus, I advocate that somebody needs to start a PETE (People for the Ethical Treatment of Elements) organization, or at least get some guy named Pete to join another equally important cause like the Occupy Wall Street cause or the LIP-ART cause (Legally Insane People Advocating for Regulation of Tyrannosaurus-rex’s).

With that, I must leave you, because in all seriousness, I should really just do my periodic table of the elements homework already.

Also, apparently the neighbor’s dog chewed my lead jacket up (and my neighbor won’t be too happy when he finds out), so not only am I very vulnerable right now to neutrino damage, but I also need to make a quick trip to REI and pick up some T-Rex repellent.  Apparently, my state still doesn’t regulate who is allowed to own those beasts, and, as fate would have it, my neighbor’s got three.

3 Reasons Me and You Need To Talk-In a Dark Alley

A punctuation pizzaThis is a touchy subject I’m about to, well, touch on, because there are basically two sides of this issue: those with regard to proper grammar and those who wear their baseball caps backwards.  Or, in more realistic terms, the complete losers who tuck their shirts and haven’t had friends since 1938 or the super-cool teens who will manage to make you feel old and inferior even though they don’t have a brain.

Now, with that I’m mind, I think you know which side I’m going to take.  Obviously, the side of the grammar sticklers, because stickler sounds like a pretty darn rebellious word, as in, “I’m going to stickler up this bank,” or “I’ll stickler you so hard in the kidney that your spleen blows up.”

You see, even I have noticed a recent problem that is spreading in our civilization; namely, teens can’t list subjects correctly.

So, you wonder, what is the rule of subject listing? This: put yourself last.  So, this is wrong, “me and my friends went to the pizza place”, and this is right, “my friends and I went to the pizza place”.  There are a few other ways to know what is correct, but, if you look up to the top of this page, you’ll see that this blog is a humor blog, not a grammar blog

Why, then, am I bringing this up? Because there are some reasons for this rule that much of civilization does not realize, reasons so important that if they were ignored, the world would come to an end.  Well, actually, I guess the reasons aren’t that important, so they probably wouldn’t end the world, but they are definitely important enough to call for another radio priest to predict the end of the world.

See, the first problem with something like “Me and my friends went to the pizza place” is pretty obvious if you write it down: your friends are closer to the pizza place, right now, than you.  Heck, your friends are practically going for pizza without you! See, look-there is a big ‘and’ the size of three blocks between you and your friends, not to mention how far away the pizza place is.

In an emergency, then, you wouldn’t be able to get to the pizza place in time to hoard the scant supply of food.  Which means you’d starve to death.  So, reason #1 for fixing this sentence is “Self Preservation/Don’t Let Your Friends Have All The Pizza”.

The second issue with this sentence is that it is selfish.  It makes you sound like a snob.  Oh, they’re your friends, are they?  And I suppose that you’ll tell me that you’re breathing using your lungs? And that I just punched you and broke your nose? Do you even know whose lungs you are using? Don’t be so selfish.

Thirdly, this sentence has a terrible acronym: MAMFWTTPP.  This is also the acronym, in case you didn’t know, of Madly-political Aardvark Mothers For World Trade Treaties and Private Property.  And that, my friend, is an organization you shouldn’t even mention in mixed company (or in any company, frankly, unless everyone is drunk and won’t remember you made a fool of yourself).

Compare that to the correct acronym, of the sentence, “My friends and I went to the pizza place”: MFAIWTTPP.  This is also the accepted abbreviation for the demographic group of “Martians, Fireants, And Interbred Whales That Take Perfect Photographs.”  You can definitely mention that in any company, even to a four-yea-old or ant-eater.

I’d love to give you more reasons, of course, but me and my “bros” are going to go stickler some pizza for dinner.

The English Language has Too Many Words-But I’ve Got Solutions

A dictionary with a biteOr should that be “to” many words? See what I mean? A simple 2 (pun not intended) letter word has three spellings! That’s more spellings than letters.

Obviously, this is the reason teens can’t be bothered two no the difference between words and they’re homophones.

But let me step back (into the world of proper conventions, because it gives me a headache just to re-read that last sentence), and analyze this from a scientific point of view.  Yes, it makes much more sense now.

From a “scientific viewpoint” (that means my “point of view” is purely “scientific”), these words all appear to be very similar-in fact, they appear to all be made up of the same “microscopic” (that means “there’s no way for the average person to disprove this theory without a $500,000 dollar microscope”) particles called atoms.  Now, if you’ll give me a particle collider/accelerator, I’m sure I’ll come up with a solution (or at least have fun breaking the laws of physics).

But I should stop making fun of scientists and re-visit the problem at hand: namely, there are numerous words in the English language that mean pretty much the same thing.  For instance, I use antagonistic, propagandistic, and agnostic interchangeably, mostly because they sound similar and I’ve no idea what any one of those words means.

In fact, that whole concept could save us millions of pages of dictionary paper instantly: “If they don’t know what it means, throw it out.”  That ought to pare down the dictionary to a reasonable 4,000 pages (assuming “they” don’t have an overly large vocabulary, such as English teachers).

Actually, that’s really not that reasonable at all-if I had to cram that much (4,000 pages) for a test, I’d probably make it through 14 pages before I gave up and started praying for a good grade.

So, to further pare down the dictionary, I propose we start utilizing modern language techniques (I’ll take the lead by promising not to use utilize, or should I say, utilize the word utilize, again for this post).  This means that you don’t need the extra “search it in” in ‘search it in google’, but can rather say, “I’m gonna google it.”  No, I didn’t write this sentence in Microsoft word, I MS W’ed it.  LOL, right?

And let’s not forget the ‘saviors of awkward pauses’ in modern language: ‘like’, ‘you know’, and ‘um’.  That alone should remove about half of the remaining words; for instance, long words such as anguished can be thrown out-all you need to say is that, “Dude, he was, like, sad.”  The same goes for words such as anachronism, which can simply become, “Remember that one long word? It meant, um, you know.”

Heck, not only does this method have benefits in modern application, such as shortening dictionaries and conversations, but it can also be applied to those classics such as “Romeo and Juliet.” (“Um, like, why are you, Romeo?”).

The only thing you need to watch out for is taking the ‘purge’ of language too far.  I mean, just based on the enthusiasm I personally have for this idea, I can easily see how you might get carried away.

So then, if that happens, I just ask that you please leave exactly enough words to communicate basic needs.  I’m not even asking that you leave enough words to communicate all needs, because that’s impossible (for those of you who know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, ‘self-actualization’ got tossed out back at the “If they don’t know what it means, throw it out” stage).

This way, you can still communicate the vital things, such as: “I hungry,” “I thirsty,” “I sleepy,” and “The squared length of each leg of a right triangle is congruent to the length of the hypotenuse squared.”  Otherwise, we might end up with this:

A: “OOooOh! Ughghnm!” (I hungry)

B: “OooUOueeh Menwehl!” (“TOUCHDOWN!”)

A: “Heweslk Grwogbwski, OGHGH! (I very hungry!)

B: “Oalkdf Grewbo, aslkdj aret.” (Oh no, there’s a flag on the play).

A: “Oadfsk selewew…” (Much better…)

B: “GOWiebLEL MicsrehweQ! (What happened to my Goldfish!?)

Actually, evaluating that situation, I think it is pretty clear we do need words in order to communicate.  Since it is too easy to get excited using my previous offered methods, I suggest that we simply use this formula: if a word appears in the reading section of the SAT, toss it out.

Beloit College Makes You Feel Old?

I’ve got some exciting news…the humor blogger over at Erik Deckers’ Laughing Stalk, (whose name is, for those of you who are sleep-deprived teens, coincidentally Erik Deckers) has published a guest post Ted and I (Phil) wrote for him as a followup to his post, “Beloit College Makes Me Feel Old“. (Basically, Beloit College publishes a ‘mindset’ list each year of which cultural aspects the freshmen at the college can or can’t relate to-read his post and then our guest post for more info.  Our post is our humorous version of this list).

Essentially, our post is a bunch of words that are funny, following his post, which was the same thing.  So you should definitely read both (or at least one of them).  You can find our guest post here.

And, of course, like all the other guest post announcements, a critic’s view:

“Wow! That’s amazing-wow is spelled the same forwards and backward! And in a upside, it spells ‘mom’! Crazy! Outstanding” [Critic is re-directed, by way of electric shock, to the pre-written script he was supposed to say.] “…And that’s almost as amazing as this new guest post by Ted and Phil, which is…um..[bzzzzap!]…Hilarious!”