January 22, 2021

Saturday Ramblings, August 1, 2015

Hello, imonks, and welcome to the weekend. Gay emojis banned in Russia, Rambo turkeys, re-directed art and ricocheting armadillos. Ready to Ramble?

66 convertible

66 convertible

Marvel continued their amazing run: Antman was the 12th Marvel movie in a row to open at number 1. Yes, Antman. A movie about a superhero whose special power is…to shrink to ant size. Yeah…avengers3small

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods? NOAA announced this week that June, 2015 was the hottest month on record. Ever. And that the first six months of the year also set the record for the hottest beginning half of a year. Ever. This is after 2014 previously set the record for the hottest year. Ever. Man, it’s almost like we’re experiencing some kind of global warming or something. Eh, it’s probably nothing.

New Yorkers have already noticed a difference...

New Yorkers have already noticed a difference…

Oh, but this will help. Maybe. Hard to tell. But a new model of solar activity is predicting a cool-down period in the decades ahead. The models suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the ‘mini ice age’ that began in 1645, according to the results presented by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales. However, despite headlines this generated about the sun “going to sleep”, a 60 percent decrease in solar activity would only equal a decrease in solar output of roughly 0.1 percent, according to James Renwick, a professor at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. “If things played out as described in Zharkova’s paper, and we did see a decrease in solar output roughly as happened in the 1700s, there would be some cooling for 20 or 30 years,” according to Renwick. “But the levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are so much higher now (and will be even higher in 2030) that temperatures would not drop much below where they are today. And that drop would last only until 2050 or so. Then we’d have a bounce upwards again.”

 The Seattle Mariners pulled off a rare triple play last weekend. It went 3-6-2. Whatever that means. I told you I don’t watch baseball.

This, at least, gives me a segue-way into our weekly “tweaking Chaplain Mike picture”: b4fa48886c879cc04ae1c616f262272c

School is starting this week here in Indiana. If you have trouble getting your kids out of bed on school mornings, then this latest invention is for you:

An 18 year-old college student got two million hits on a video he posted on YouTube last week. What was the video of? A drone firing a handgun. No one was harmed, nor has the teenager been arrested or charged. Apparently no-one has thought to make a law about this, because whoever heard of attaching a weapon to a drone, right? Still, the video has stirred fresh debate about the use of, and dangers posed by, drones. “There would be no physical evidence. Perfect crime. This can turn into a video game for sick people,” said Mike Bouchard, former assistant director of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “They can play this out like a video game on their computer and just shoot people without ever looking them in the eye.” So, if they re-make West Side Story the Jets and Sharks can settle their differences in a more high-tech way…yoda-drone-wars

Have you ever wandered around Goodwill [what, you’re too good to wander around Goodwill???] and glanced at their “art” section? You know, the one filled with washed-out kitsch paintings? This guy buys them, and gives them a few creative “additions”. He calls it “redirected art.” Here are a few of my favorites:

1489199_10152890440298186_371168976301453844_n 10502128_10153319936588186_3323772470923037112_n 10615998_10152883988098186_7902722286276584157_n 11156357_10153213800693186_7917070100971409371_n 13372306_12190793_pm 19161766_10464351_pm 19452978_13616289_pm (1)11182104_10153258285293186_5570763601076097943_n13249258_15533397_pm
11025196_10153089053373186_1116599528426180434_n 11043090_10153121816583186_8758044291295608656_n 11401564_10153370267223186_35179900211187827_n 13373467_11429338_pm

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2015-07-29 20:54:15Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

The graph to the right is from Christianity Today, showing the percent of people in the world unfamiliar with the gospel. Why is the baby doing chin-ups? To illustrate the reason for the trend line has ceased to go down: Christians aren’t having as many babies (proportionally) as non-Christians (especially Muslims). In 1900, 45.7 percent of people everywhere were aware of the gospel, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. More than 100 years later, that number has grown to more than 70 percent. But by 2050, it predicts only another 2 percent of the world’s population will be evangelized, totaling 72 percent. This is mainly because of birthrates.

The effect of births eclipses conversions by far. Pew states that before 2050, about 9.4 million Muslims will leave Islam, while about 12.6 million will join, adding up to a 3.2 million increase—not much when considering the overall leap Islam will take from 1.6 billion adherents in 2010 to 2.76 billion in 2050.

At the same time, Christianity is set to gain 40 million adherents but lose 106 million to religious switching. Christianity’s much smaller overall growth, from 2.17 billion to 2.92 billion adherents, will also come primarily from babies.

The other factor here is that mission groups are now prioritizing discipleship over conversion:

In recent years, mission groups have focused on strengthening churches in countries that have already been introduced to the gospel, according to the CSGC. From 1974 to 2000, 9 out of 10 new missionaries were sent to plant churches or disciple new believers among reached people groups.

Hulk Hogan has been banned from the WWE after a recording surfaced of his racist rant. “In the storm I release control, God and his Universe will sail me where he wants me to be, one love. HH,” he tweeted on Friday. Hogan is a professing Christian and closely follows Joel Osteen. He has offered praise to the megachurch pastor on his Twitter account in the past. “Joel Osteen always has God’s perfect words to help you have a perfect vibrational match with God’s universe,” said Hogan on Twitter in 2012. “Much love.”

Caption contest in the comments!

Caption contest in the comments!

Did you know there have been 29 cases of church arson so far this year, according to Pew Research? This is actually a decline. Arsonists love churches. In 2013, only about one in ten nonresidential fires—and one in twenty residential fires—were caused by arson. The rate for churches: well over half.

Only in America…

download (24)Amnesty International is finding itself opposed by an unusual coalition: prominent faith leaders and A-list Hollywood stars. AI is drafting a policy advocating the legalization of prostitution, which will be voted on next month.  The coalition sent an impassioned letter to Amnesty.

Growing evidence shows the catastrophic effects of decriminalization of the sex trade. The German government, for example, which deregulated the industry of prostitution in 2002, has found that the sex industry was not made safer for women after the enactment of its law. Instead, the explosive growth of legal brothels in Germany has triggered an increase in sex trafficking.

Decriminalization of the sex trade renders brothel owners “businessmen” who with impunity facilitate the trafficking of very young women predominantly from the poorest countries of Eastern Europe and the Global South to meet the increased demand for prostitution.  Last year, leading trauma experts in Germany petitioned their government to repeal the 2002 law, underlining the extensive psychological harm that serial, unwanted sexual invasion and violence, which are among the hallmarks of prostitution, inflicts on women. Harm reduction is not enough, they explain; governments and civil society must invest in harm elimination.

The primary goals of UNAIDS and other agencies that support limited harm reduction policies in the sex industry seem far more concerned with the health of sex buyers than the lives of prostituted and sex trafficked women. On the other hand, medical professionals, including gynecologists and mental health providers, confirm that regardless of how a woman ends up in the sex trade, the abuse, sexual violence and pervasive injuries these women endure at the hands of their pimps and “clients,” lead to life-long physical and psychological harm — and, too often, death.

Amnesty International has heard the coalition, but says it has not made up its mind on its stance on the issue.

Russia may ban “gay emojis” from social media if an investigation by the state media watchdog rules that they infringe laws against “gay propaganda”. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from Mikhail Marchenko, a Russian senator. Mr Marchenko claims the symbols – which depict smiley-faced same-sex couples – violate a controversial 2013 law which prohibits promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships.

Russia last week also became the first country to ban the main website of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Imonk readers with a great memory may recall a story printed here last April about strange incident: Larry McElroy, of Georgia, fired his 9 mm pistol at an armadillo  and the bullet bounced off the animal’s armored skin and went through a fence, a door and a chair to strike mother-in-law Carol Johnson in the back. At least, that’s how Larry said his mother-in-law got shot. Well, we have another armadillo ricochet incident to report, this one in Texas: The Cass County Sheriff’s Office said a man told deputies he was shooting at an armadillo just before 3 a.m. Thursday when his bullet ricocheted off the animal and hit him in the head. The man was wounded, but will survive. The armadillo, like armadillos often do, washed away his trouble with booze. Funny-Armadillos-ZooOdd headline of the week: ‘Very aggressive’ turkey terrorizes University of Michigan campus. The deputy chief of police warned students and faculty to steer clear of the turkey. “Do not try to approach the turkey,” Overton said. “We’ve gotten calls from people who have been trapped and unable to move because he’s cornered them.” Really? You’re telling me 40,000 Wolverines can’t handle one turkey? Is this some type of avian Rambo or something?


Well, that’s it for this week. Let’s end with a music video (as always, blame this on Robert F.). We try to be culturally inclusive at imonk, so I give you, from the early Telugu (Tollywood) film ‘Adavidonga’, this excellent dance scene with bizarre animal masks…enjoy!



  1. Somebody needs to call the International Criminal Court, because I’m pretty sure a “fried bologna velveeta biscuit” qualifies as a crime against humanity…

  2. LOVE the statue of Liberty and the repurposed art pics! And I only eat fried bologna if it is fried in real butter.

    Lets try to keep it light this Saturday, iMomks. OK?

  3. Dan form Georgia says

    Darn 4th!

    Beaker and a drunk armadillo!

    Just. Wow.

  4. Dan form Georgia says

    BTW, wife and I have been living in Georgia since 2010 and neither of us have seen a live Armadillo. Only dead/roadkill ones.

    Save the armadillos!

  5. That bed is straight out of Wallace and Gromit. Also, the rubber ducky painting was my favorite. Thanks for make us smile, Daniel.

  6. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    This guy buys them, and gives them a few creative “additions”. He calls it “redirected art.”

    Some guys I used to know in Tucson called it “Evil-izing”.

    One of these guys used to do it to hotel rooms he stayed in; ease the picture out of the frame, “Evil-ize it”, and re-insert it in the frame for the next room guest to find. His “redirecting” was a bit more subtle than the examples here — glowing red eyes in the shadows, monstrous silhouettes in the distance, a severed body part in the beak of a distant bird, tentacles rising out of the lake.

    Another one (with a REAL sicko sense of humor) used to Evil-ize old children’s books he found at thrift stores. The Berenstein Bears visit Dr Kevorkian, Curious George Goes to Hell, that sort of thing. Called them “Evil Books”.

  7. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Well, we have another armadillo ricochet incident to report, this one in Texas: The Cass County Sheriff’s Office said a man told deputies he was shooting at an armadillo just before 3 a.m. Thursday when his bullet ricocheted off the animal and hit him in the head.

    The Doubtful News website is calling them “ARMOR-dillos”.

  8. I’ve seen turkeys around my local university’s business school, but, I’ve not heard of any attacks on MBAs (or vice versa). The humming birds are a bit more aggressive.

    • That Other Jean says

      I remember being terrified of the turkeys on my aunt’s farm, because they would chase and peck at anybody who came too close. Then again, I was four years old. . .

    • Turkeys can be aggressive, especially if they’re exploited on Thanksgiving day, released from a helicopter for an advertising gimmick. The survivors (those that don’t splat to the pavement like sacks of wet cement) have been known to stage a “counter-attack.”

      “It was almost as if they were…organized!


  9. Behind the treetops
    the full moon almost unseen
    peeking through branches

  10. “That turkey’s got a vicious streak a mile wide!”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      You laugh… have you ever dealt with wild turkeys? They are big, aggressive, and crazy freakin’ fast. The dogs live in terror of the turkeys and give them a very generous right-of-way.

    • I bet that turkey is a Spartan!

  11. The artwork is reminiscent of this Deviant Art guy who has mashed up Thomas Kinkade with Star Wars. http://alienartisan.deviantart.com/gallery/

    And in the venue of animal-themed music videos from overseas, I find this one hard to beat.

  12. That first “repurposed painting” really caught my eye. She’s got a Type V demon in front of her, and a gazebo behind her. If she’s not at least 18th level, she’s toast.

  13. Richard Hershberger says

    At the risk of being pedantic, because that’s how I roll, triple plays aren’t particularly rare. SABR has a database of them. The one shown was the third this year and the 702nd in major league history, going back to 1876. That works out to between four and five a year on average, but there are more teams playing more games nowadays, so really it is higher. By way of comparison, no-hitters historically run about one and a half per season.

    It is the *unassisted* triple play that is rare. This has only occurred 15 times in major league history, most recently in 2009. By way of comparison, there have been 23 perfect games, so the two feats are roughly comparable in rarity.

    The difference is that an unassisted triple play flies by. I have never seen one, but I was listening on the radio to the 2009 game where the last one happened. It is a bang-bang play, and it dawns on you afterwards what just happened. A perfect game develops slowly. In around the seventh inning you start thinking seriously about what is happening. (Though if you respect tradition, you of course don’t say it out loud.) In the modern age, if you are watching a different game on TV or on MLB.com, they will start cutting to each out in the ninth inning. You have time to call your buddies and tell them to tune in. There is building tension, climaxing in the final out.

    So while the unassisted triple play and the perfect game are roughly comparable in rarity, the two experiences are very different.

    • Richard Hershberger says

      Also by way of comparison, the Cubs have (under various names) won the National League pennant sixteen times, making this only slightly more common than unassisted triple plays. If sixteen seems high, keep in mind that they were really good in the 1880s. They have only won the World Series twice. The Phillies, on the other hand, have only won the NL pennant seven times since they entered the league in 1883, also winning the World Series twice. For all that Cubs fans whine about it, the Phillies’ are historically far worse, for about the same length of time. In fact, the Phillies have lost more games than any other team in any sport in the history of the world: pretty impressive, in a perverse sort of way.

    • A 3-6-2 triple play has to be rare, though. I couldn’t even imagine what it would look like until I saw it! I mean, first baseman to shortstop to catcher?

      • Richard Hershberger says

        OK, you made me look. I hadn’t actually watched the video before. The commentators got it wrong. The runner from third wasn’t called out on interference. If he had, the runner from first would be safe on third. Both runners ended up on third, and so the catcher quite sensibly tagged them both. You don’t have to know which one is entitled to base to know to tag them both.

        The general rule is that the lead runner is entitled to the base. Therefore, the runner from first was the one would was out on that tag. Then the runner from third fell off the bag, and was tagged. Very embarrassing.

        Had the commentators been right, and the runner from third called out for interference, then the runner from first would have been entitled to the base. He managed to stay on the bag, so it would merely have been a double play. Notice how the third base coach is telling the trailing runner to go back. The coach also touches the leading runner when the runner is off balance. I’m not sure, but this looks like why the runner fell.

        This is made clear in the SABR triple plays data base, which scored this 3*-6-2*-2*. The asterisks denote the actual putouts, while a number without an asterisk

        So yeah, that was a peculiar one.

    • “It is a bang-bang play..”

      Bang-bang-bang, might be more accurate? Also, on the topic of unassisted triple plays, I’m to lazy to double-check, but I think former Braves SS Rafael Furcal actually had TWO of these in his career!

      I like your comparison with perfect games. I happened to have turned on the Braves-Brewers game back in 2004 when Randy Johnson was perfect through 6 and so actually got to watch the end of a perfect game. Up there with the lunar landing for me (well, if I’d been alive in 1969). I’ve never seen a triple play live, though.

    • I’d still call them rare. If there are 10 a year in all of the majors most people could go to every home game of a team for a season and never see one. Multiple teams really.

  14. Where did you find a picture of a hipster Armadillo?
    The drone thing is disturbing. At some point we have to come to terms with the fact that the proliferation of guns in America is a problem. When teenagers start flying armed drones around the neighborhood it is probably too late.

    • Daniel Jepsen says

      If you google “drunk armadillo” you will be amazed how many results you can choose from.

    • “The drone thing is disturbing. At some point we have to come to terms with the fact that the proliferation of guns in America is a problem. When teenagers start flying armed drones around the neighborhood it is probably too late.”


  15. I’ve never tried the fried bologna and Velveeta biscuit (but we do fry bologna and Spam at home, both are good in biscuits). But I did have a go at the El Diablo Thickburger. This thing has deep-fried stuffed jalapeno’s inside the sandwich!


    All for only 1,170 calories and 75 grams of fat.

  16. “Do not try to approach the turkey,” Overton said. “We’ve gotten calls from people who have been trapped and unable to move because he’s cornered them.”

    This is a story you would never see at an SEC school.

  17. A guy in Louisville just shot a drone down from his backyard this week and got arrested. Personally I’m on his side

    • Someone could fill a major untapped market niche by inventing an anti-drone weapon that could be safely fired in an urban setting – say, an air gun that launches a net or something else that could muck up the drone’s propellers.

    • I was “buzzed” by a drone this week while at the beach. It was out there for maybe a half hour. I couldn’t tell who was flying it, but I spent the entire time in thought about how to shoot something like that down if it were attacking me. Then I saw this story.

    • Well, I don’t think it is ok to discharge a firearm in a residential area. I mean, that lead has to go somewhere, so I understand the arrest. On the other hand, I completely understand the guy’s actions.

  18. When you consider that his teenage daughters were sunbathing at the time, and the drone was hovering over their backyard…

  19. Yeah go ahead and mock ANTMAN. I grant he’s not one of your top tier Marvel guys. Buuut…you know what folks, it actually turns out to be a terrific movie. A lot better than those turgid and frankly, boring AVENGERS movies. It’s a lot lighter in tone, like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and better for it. I’ve come to detest the whole “Dark Knight” concept. Not specifically BATMAN but the idea that you have to make your heroes tortured driven edgy maniacs to have the requisite gravitas to entertain a modern audience. I think Comic Books are essentially children’s literature and I miss the sheer loopy joy of the comics I read as a child. Of course I grew up in the 60s reading Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and you won’t ever be able to do that on the screen but the only people who seem to not have missed the whole point are the PIXAR folks. If you want to see it done right go rent THE INCREDIBLES.

    The only negative comment I have about ANTMAN is that while it’s being projected in 3D it was NOT filmed in 3D but was processed afterward. If you’ve seen this kind of thing before yourself you’ll know it can be migraine inducing on the big screen. Go see the movie but save your cash and just see it in 2D. You won’t miss anything.

  20. Another modest proposal: I think that if I’m going to get blamed for the music video selection every week, I should be the one who actually makes the music video selection every week.

  21. Dana Ames says

    I like Rock God(zilla) in Venice – speaks to the Italian in me.


  22. Aaron O'Kelley says

    I know exactly where that armadillo incident happened. It’s a few miles from my childhood home. But this is the first I’ve heard about it. It does seem that Cass County, Texas, is the appropriate venue for an armadillo bullet ricochet story.

  23. Randy Thompson says

    I liked the modified art work. It is to fine arts what “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is to literature. Probably not needed, but I’m glad it’s there.

    • Brianthedad says

      I read that book. Only way this guy could choke down reading pride and prejudice. Well, at least a version of it. I mean, zombies AND ninjas?! How is that not an automatic classic? And I should admit that I also read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. Much better than the book, btw.

  24. I guess you can’t win, Daniel. IMHO, this week’s ramblings are entirely TOO light — plus aren’t they supposed to have something to do with Christianity???

    Better luck next time.

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