The 2012 Olympic Logo Conspiracy

I can’t stop giggling.  This is much too good to keep to myself.  From the Gruniad:

Iran has threatened to boycott the London Olympics unless the organisers replace the official logo, which Tehran claims spells out the word “Zion”.

The logo, a jagged representation of the year 2012, has been said by its critics to resemble many things, from a swastika to a sexual act, but the Iranian government argues it represents a veiled pro-Israeli conspiracy.

A little googling on Youtube quickly turns up tin-foil worthy animations showing how to rearrange the shapes to get the first two results: above is the swastika, zion is to the left, and here is the video that explains it, complete with illuminati.

Others say it represents Bart and Lisa Simpson.

But this one has all the others beat hands down.

This video is a tour de force combining the reason the Gregorian calendar changed the dates, 3D glasses, and either aliens or Nephilim returning to earth.


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Tunisia, Egypt,…NYT is next

Yes, I’m talking about Ben Zimmer’s On Language column in the New York Times–the column that was started by William Safire some 30 years ago, and continued by Language Log’s Ben Zimmer after Safire’s demise. And unlike Safire, Zimmer actually knows what he’s doing. So why is the NYT magazine’s new editor getting rid of it?

Language Log wrote about it here. The Economist wrote about it here. Enough writing, time for doing.

Go to Facebook’s “Keep ‘On Language’ in the New York Times” page and click “like”.

If you don’t have a Facebook account already, you probably have to create one in order to “like” this group. I did this years ago for some cause or another, and it was worth the aggravation. They did ask my age, and it’s none of their business. I usually tell people like that I’m sixteen, but if you tell internet entities you are a minor, they might want to restrict the content they show you, so I told them I was 80 or 90 something. For the rest of the questions, I tell them as little as possible. Who knows what they will do with the information. Facebook does not have a good track record with privacy issues.

You can also write to the editor, but let’s face it, if the guy dropped Zimmer, he’s obviously not the sharpest tack in the box. It would probably be better to get someone else’s attention. Here is his twitter thingy. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind if they retired Safire’s number–he had his own unique conservative political thing going anyhow–as long as we get Zimmer, but this editor guy doesn’t look like he knows what he’s doing.

Bonus link: A lot of people can express ideas well if they have time to write them out and polish them, but how many people can think on their feet?  Here’s Zimmer on video (and what a fresh-faced young pup he is) with John McWhorter discussing the State of the Union address. As they used to say in the Whole Earth Catalog, cream rises.

UPDATE: Yes, write to the paper. The Facebook page now lists these email addresses:

NYT Magazine letters to the editor <>

NYT Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren <>

NYT public editor Arthur Brisbane <>

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Where in the world is myiq2xu?

When I read today that Google had tweaked their search algorithms, right away I googled political blogger myiq2xu to see if they finally got him right.  They didn’t.

For the record, myiq2xu’s home blog is Klownhaus.  Currently myiq2xu is a front pager–and the main attraction–at The Crawdad Hole. Previously,  myiq2xu blogged with Riverdaughter et al at the Confluence, and before that, a few other places.

Myiq2xu, affectionately known as “myiq” or “the clown”, is an internet legend. He says he is a lawyer from California.  He is a political progressive and a veteran campaigner against internet trolls and bullies.  He is frequently irreverent, and his ironic brand of humor is frequently misunderstood.  He frequently makes me laugh.  He also has been known to wade fearlessly into blogs teeming with misandrists and make political common cause with those willing to keep an open mind. I don’t always agree with him politically, but I will defend him any time.

So it annoyed me, but did not surprise me, when googled him today and found that although his own website comes up first in a google search, the website of his political enemies comes up second.  Now how did they manage that?  Maybe this line from their website has something to do with it:

My attention was directed to myiq2xu (full name for the Googlebots)…

I know as much as I want to know about these bloggers at “Buttburger”–they impersonated me on another blog and they  filled up my blog’s comments with all manner of rudeness and profanity. But clearly they know something about search engine optimization and how to manipulate it.

So here are a few links of my own for the google bots–and the full name of myiq2xu, typed a few extra times for good measure.

And if you have a weird sense of humor and want quick smile, go over to the Crawdad Hole where myiq2xu likes to fish, and mouse over the icons of the featured writers.


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Happy Australia Day

Happy Birthday Oz.

So, how to celebrate the day? Last week I discovered that in one Australian town they pass out free “wavers”. Merriam-Webster won’t tell me what Aussies think a “waver” is, but I’m going to stick my neck out and says it means “flag”. Now, which flag? Apparently in Oz they are deeply conflicted about flags.

Frequent polls showed the percentage of Australians wanting a new flag increasing from 27% in 1979 to 42% in 1992, to a majority of 52% in 1998.

The Australian government likes this one:

[Image credits: Wikipedia. First Fleet Bicentennial Reenactment, Sydney Harbor, 1988; Australian flag identity crisis]

This is just wrong

Back before the election, when someone thought it was cute to put up an image of Sarah Palin with a noose, I said there was no excuse for it.

Now that Gabrielle Giffords has been shot, and everyone has seen her earlier statement objecting to Palin’s “crosshairs” map, I’ll say the same about this:

There is no excuse.
In case anyone thinks this is just a political map, to give it a little context here is a sampling of the kind of political merchandise available on You can get a “liberal hunting permit”–“valid at school board meetings, polling places, and city council meetings”–, a “terrorist hunting license”, and in case anyone has missed the point of conflating liberals with terrorists, you can also get a “liberal terrorist hunting license”.

And while it’s not hard to find these images for liberals or for the donkey symbols of the democratic party, there are no corresponding “target” images for republicans, conservatives, or elephants.

You should be able to find most of the below items by doing a site search for “liberal” and “hunting license”.

There’s no excuse.

(In case anyone still has not seen Jon Stewart’s take on the tragedy, it’s worth watching. Sorry, can’t link to it directly, streaming content is blocked on my computer.)

Gay bullying: the dead

Last week I heard of a number of young gay men who had committed suicide lately as a result of cyber-bullying, but the only name I could google up was that of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. Now the other names have emerged.

Tyler Clementi
Seth Walsh
Justin Aaberg
Raymond Chase
Asher Brown
Billy Lucas

[Thanks, Jason Derrick of  Wear Purple Day on Oct 20 –but careful, site may be NSFW as it keeps filling up with hate comments]


More names of the dead from the Facebook page:

“Please add Victoria Carmen White to your thoughts/prayers. Victoria was a transgender woman that was murdered last week. Her gender was then disrespected by the police reports and her death was largely ignored by the media.”


“I think the worst part is that this didn’t just stem from school bullying… RIP
A week after attending a Norman City Council meeting where a heated debate played out in public, 19-year-old Zach Harrington took own life after week of ‘toxic’ comments…

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The last word on the Shirley Sherrod tempest goes to the insightful Zogby, who observes:

Something is fundamentally rotten in our political culture — where groups seeking political advantage can so easily make victims of innocents and cowards will let good people pay a price rather than defend their rights to a fair hearing.

But of course that’s not how the politics plays out.  If she had not been fired, the teabaggers and right-wing pundits would have made her name a by-word for continuous attack on the liberals, by shear repetition of lies.  This way she gets to sue Breitbart, making headlines that advance the liberal cause as the case plays out in court, and more headlines when she ultimately accepts a new position somewhere.

Today the church bells in the neighborhood were playing

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind…

and I thought, not gonna happen.

Unilever goes postal on redheads

Redheads (or should I say “rangas”?) are not faring well in Australia these days.  Back in April, this soup ad for Continental, a subsidiary of Unilever, invited viewers to ridicule a character called Ginger Ninja, as well other characters deemed strange-looking (short, bald, glasses, big ears).

The Australian Advertising Standards Board found the ad “humorous”.

I find that I have lost my enthusiasm for Unilever’s products.

    Personal care products:

  • Dove
  • Impulse
  • Lifebuoy
  • Lux
  • Lynx
  • Pears
  • Rexona
  • SunSilk
  • Vaseline
  • Home care products:

  • Domestos
  • Drive
  • Jif
  • Omo
  • Persil
  • Surf
  • Food Products:

  • Bertolli
  • Bushells
  • Choysa
  • Continental
  • Flora pro-activ
  • Flora
  • Lanchoo
  • Lipton
  • Raguletto
  • Streets

Lipton Tea!!!

They make Lipton tea. Imagine if all the people who like redheads stopped drinking Lipton tea.


If that wasn’t bad enough, there is also an anti-redhead public safety message that, while it’s hard to figure out exactly who was responsible for it, appears to have been sponsored by the Australian government.  This “red head gets its wings” ad features a particularly robotic and malevolent redhead.

The board’s conclusion? “…they would be considered by most people not to be a serious suggestion that red headed people are undesirable.”  It is not clear whether in this context, “redheads” are considered to be a subset of “people”.

Comments disabled, huh.

Fake anti-Muslim video identified

Over a year ago, I posted a link to a fairly obvious anti-Muslim (and anti-Obama) video of some children reciting something, titled “School Children Sing Praises of Obama”. The video “translation” subtitles claimed the children were saying:

The Kenyan Muslim
Will soon destroy the great Satan from within
He will speak of hope and change.
but the greedy Americans will be defeated!
Yes we can…


The video echoed around the blogosphere for a while and even got as far as Snopes without ever being identified.

Thanks to someone who left an anonymous comment, the content of the video has now been identified. Both children are reciting from the Koran. The first child is reciting the beginning of Surah al Mulk and the second child is reciting the beginning of Surah al-Tariq.  Here are the two verses in transliteration (pronunciation of the Arabic written in the Latin alphabet), in Arabic, and in an English translation by Pickthall.

Thanks, anonymous.


Sura al-Mulk 67:1-3 Sovereignty الملك

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi

1. Tabaraka allathee biyadihi almulku wahuwa AAala kulli shayin qadeerun

2. Allathee khalaqa almawta waalhayata liyabluwakum ayyukum ahsanu AAamalan wahuwa alAAazeezu alghafooru

3. Allathee khalaqa sabAAa samawatin tibaqan ma tara fee khalqi alrrahmani min tafawutin fairjiAAi albasara hal tara min futoorin

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

تَبَٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلْمُلْكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍۢ قَدِيرٌ ﴿١﴾

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلْمَوْتَ وَٱلْحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًۭا ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْغَفُورُ ﴿٢﴾

ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبْعَ سَمَٰوَٰتٍۢ طِبَاقًۭا ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِى خَلْقِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ مِن تَفَٰوُتٍۢ ۖ فَٱرْجِعِ ٱلْبَصَرَ هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍۢ ﴿٣﴾


Sura al-Tariq The Nightly Visitor الطارق

Bismi Allahi alrrahmani alrraheemi
1. Waalssamai waalttariqi
2. Wama adraka ma alttariqu
3. Alnnajmu alththaqibu
4. In kullu nafsin lamma AAalayha hafithun
5. Falyanthuri alinsanu mimma khuliqa
6. Khuliqa min main dafiqin

بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
وَٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلطَّارِقِ ﴿١﴾
ٱلنَّجْمُ ٱلثَّاقِبُ ﴿٣﴾
إِن كُلُّ نَفْسٍۢ لَّمَّا عَلَيْهَا حَافِظٌۭ ﴿٤﴾
فَلْيَنظُرِ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ مِمَّ خُلِقَ ﴿٥﴾
خُلِقَ مِن مَّآءٍۢ دَافِقٍۢ ﴿٦﴾

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
1. By the heaven and the Morning Star
2. - Ah, what will tell thee what the Morning Star is!
3. - The piercing Star!
4. No human soul but hath a guardian over it.
5. So let man consider from what he is created.
6. He is created from a gushing fluid


New avatar

A new government website from the FTC,, teaches kids about advertising. There is already an older website for that, Youarehere, but this one is a little better, since you can get an avatar.  I don’t have the patience to wade through either of these, or to listen to the intro over and over just to enter the “game” area of the site.  I’m just in it for the avatar.

Admongo registration page:

Everything I know about kids and the internet I learned from the kids downstairs, but I can tell you these websites are no competition for social networking sites like Wee World. First of all, kids want to “get” stuff. The avatars on Wee World have a fashionable clothes with plenty of color selections.  You’re not stuck with pink if you don’t like it, plus you can make the tops and bottoms actually match without expending a lot of effort.  You can even outfit yourself with toys and pets.  With the government website, I can’t even see the shoe selections on my 10″ screen.

Wee World registration page:

The other thing kids want to collect is points.  They want to see their point totals when they log in, or maybe some icons for prizes they’ve won, and they want the other kids to see how many points they have.  But do they get points for correct answers on Admongo?  No.  But you better believe they get beaucoup points for answering the Wee World marketing questions.  And the irony is that they probably don’t even recognize it as marketing.

Via Slate.

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