Why Those 25 Things About You Aren’t “Random”

The Phrase FreakThis is one that has been festering for some time, so please forgive the Phrase Freak if he goes “off the Bale” a bit. Like many changes to the English language, the meaning of this word has become twisted. Once, it defined something that was done without a method or choice, something determined by chance.

It did not mean something unexpected, strange, improvised, capricious, absurd, and cheese-eating monkeys flying out of my butt. (See that last one was absurd, a non sequitur for sure, but it was not random, even if it might have seemed that way to you.)

Now the Great Beast (Facebook) has slouched its way into the Bethlehem of my daily routine with an epidemic of lists (which by their nature tend to be the opposite of random) giving me supposedly “random” facts about the people I love and admire. Many of these people are incredibly literate. Way smarter than me. Yet they have fallen under the sway of the googly-eyed siren that spawned the phrase, “that’s, like, so totally random.”

It is easy to mistake great complexity or subtlety for randomness. I’d be willing to bet that most of those lists are:

  • carefully chosen
  • written to achieve a specific effect
  • tomato paste.

I’m afraid this usage gets eight gobsmacks out of ten. We’re on full alert now people!

Eight gobsmaks out of ten

Other freakish phrases:

Shovel Ready | specific timetable | full patch | IED | on the ground

You can check the definition of random yourself. Yardsitck! Alltop’s lack of coherence should not be considered random either. This was originally published in 2009, and I’m only repeating it now because I have heard it used by students so much recently.

Ask General Kang: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving on your home world?

Ask General KangNo, we have several holidays that are somewhat similar, but essentially we break your celebration into two components. And then we have one “thanksgiving” day which is totally alien to your world.

In the late months of the harvest time on Planet Neecknaw, we have a holiday that is probably closest to your Thanksgiving (which is really just a North American holiday, not a global phenomenon.)

Cram It!

This harvest festival is called Cram It! The name really explains it all. The focus is on the cramming or stuffing of things: delicate fruits and nuts into the hollowed-out abdominal cavities of tasty and unsuspecting foul; this and other foods crammed into the gullets of a glutinous simian horde; and for those monkeys who haven’t overdone the gastronomical cramming, there is a special “evening” cramming that happens when the little macaques are in bed, if you get my drift.

Famanguish

We then let the hangover from our Saturnalia-like Cram It! become a distant memory, before we celebrate Famanguish Day, which is when we force ourselves to spend the day with our extended family (whom we usually never see) and ask them to revive all of our crippling emotional traumas. Sometimes families are creative and come up with new traumas especially for that day. Sometimes many. Nobody looks forward to Famanguish, but everyone participates because, “you only have one family.”

Kangsgiving

Then when I was Overlord, I instituted Kangsgiving Day, which followed the day after Famanguish. Kangsgiving is a day of rest, in which you are supposed to sit at home and quietly thank me for not forcing you to go to work after the horrors of Famanguish. Also, you can drink as much coconut or banana liqueur as you’d like, as long as you agree to do a tour of duty in my crack Gorilloid Toilet Cleaning Service. This is a non-combat unit whose sole duty is to clean up after the Gorilloid Army. They can be messy — oh, let’s not mince words, the Gorilloid Army makes the Savage Pooflinging Brigade look fastidious — but hey, all the banana liqueur you want … and I send it to your house.

Next time: Last year you mentioned something about dark matter being a figment of my imagination. How do you explain the rotational speed of our galaxy then?

Other turkeys are being served at alltop. Originally published 2007.

Rejected names for the London Rippers

the London Rippers - logoSometimes it’s a bit embarrassing, living here in London, Ontario.

In the last week, we’ve got the dubious honor of being the first city to forcibly remove the tents of the Occupy protests here in town. (There’s been relatively little outcry.) And now, we’ve got a new baseball team causing problems.

Yay, right? Well, it turns out they’ve decided to call themselves the London Rippers. The president of the club has made the weak excuse that it’s about “ripping” a ball’s cover off, because they hit so hard, but all you have to do is look at their logo, and it’s pretty clear the name is a reference to Jack the Ripper. Everyone’s upset about it, and the mayor has even asked the owner to change the name. (This is the same genius that had the peaceful Occupy protesters removed from Victoria Park in a late-night raid.)

The thing is, the Rippers is not even the worst name the new baseball team came up with. Here’s a short list of the names they rejected:

  • The London Bridges
  • The London Hoodlums
  • The London Fog
  • The London Droogs
  • The London (The Other One) Westminster Abbeys
  • The London Intestinal Blockages
  • The London Big Bens
  • The London Aggressive Cancers
  • The London Buzz-Bombs
  • The London Hackneys
  • The London Arterial Spurts
  • The London Bat Buffers
  • The London Ball Bobbies
  • The London Hitlers

I’m sure our research-monkeys have missed a few, so feel free to add others in the comments.

Alltop used to play for the Lincoln Unabombers.

Ask General Kang: Do you enjoy daylight savings time?

Ask General KangYes, of course. There’s nothing I enjoy more than having to reset my body’s circadian rhythms because of your human delusion that you control things. Most of you can barely operate your own crude technologies properly (put up your hands if you know how to stop your PC from launching Outlook), so I love the farce that is daylight savings time.

Ooo, look at us humans, we’re the masters of time and space. We can set the clock back. We can set it forward. We call the shots.

I haven’t seen a species as delusional since I conquered the Do These Pants Make Me Look Fat Confederation. (And yes, they did, and easily overrun by a phalanx of orangutans with particle rifles and whiffle bats.) So yes, you humans are deluded. The sun doesn’t change what it’s doing. All that happens is you either lose or gain an hour of sleep. And neither are very good. At least when I travel the circadian reset has some purpose. (Sitting on a beach or ogling Parisian women, for example.)

My understanding is that daylight savings time saves us energy

Stupid human! Studies can show whatever they want. Its origins are a freakin’ bug-collecting Kiwi, and, of course, some British twit who wanted to play golf longer into the evening. But energy use now is so distributed that it’s impossible to make that claim.

Now I’m going to go have a nap. My cat was up at its usual time — an hour before I wake for my daily calisthenics and fresh fruit enema — so I may be a little cranky.

Next time: I’m currently travelling at very close to the speed of light — does that mean I don’t have to set my clocks back?

Alltop and humor-blogs.com don’t ever sleep. Originally published November, 2009.