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Monday, May 4, A.D. 2015
You’re the Expert

Behold a humorous but sad satire about the contemporary world:

It’s not that far off the mark. The herd requires drastic culling.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, May 4, Anno Domini 2015
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Wednesday, April 29, A.D. 2015
Everyone’s Upstairs Neighbors

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Here is some rather humorous consolation for those readers who suffer in apartment buildings (PG):

Good show.

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, April 29, Anno Domini 2015
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Tuesday, January 27, A.D. 2015
Chaise

I have often noted that I have a taste for the absurd. Perhaps, I am like the decadent dadaists who lost all faith in their civilization—or, more likely, I never quite matured from relishing an adolescent appreciation of bold idiocy. I usually find lowbrow entertainment annoying or distasteful—unless it is brazenly, unapologetically lowbrow. Then, I tend to love it—in all its campy, grade school level silly splendor.

I have recently discovered a television advertisement that drives my family bonkers. They despise it. By contrast, the ad excites much hilarity in my bosom. Courtesy of the beloved moron (or evil genius) who markets for Value City Furniture:

It’s a darling thing.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, January 27, Anno Domini 2015
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Monday, January 12, A.D. 2015
Paula Chang

Christ is born!

As I was reading my Dave’s Garden newsletter last year, I had to look up what a mandoline slicer was. I found an explanatory video by Paula Chang, and then I happened to follow the link to her page, Quite Curious. She is one cool chick. See, for instance, her Great Falafel Costume. Who wouldn’t want to dress as a falafel sandwich for Halloween? Or her bunny burger (“A Burger for Bunny,” for my fellow vegetarians who presume the worst). The post documents Chang’s creation of a deluxe burger meant for, and enjoyed by, her pet rabbit. Very clever.

When I sent the bunny burger link to my brother Aaron, he one-upped me, as he is wont to do, by responding with a hamster burrito (courtesy of HelloDenizen):

I used to think that my mother’s dogs were spoilt.

Anyway, I am glad to know that people like Paula Change exist. Many future successes to her for her quirky creativity!

Posted by Joseph on Monday, January 12, Anno Domini 2015
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Friday, January 2, A.D. 2015
Asian American Doll

Saturday Night Live has always been hit or miss, but some of my favorite pieces have been their commercials; e.g. “Jewess Jeans,” “MetroCard,” “Woomba,” “Taco Town,” and, most recently, “Jos. A. Bank.”

Steve Sailer has alerted his readers of the following brilliant addition:

明けましておめでとうございます

Posted by Joseph on Friday, January 2, Anno Domini 2015
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Thursday, October 2, A.D. 2014
Animated Diveyevo

Happy October! I hope that you are enjoying the beautiful autumn weather.

For today, I present another example of the Russkies’ brick by brick strategy to reinculturate their nation in its ancestral faith—a cartoon set during the Second World War about a girl who has some saintly help. The movie will come out next year, but a preview has been released:

Many Orthodox Christians will recognize the opening scene as Saint Seraphim’s cell, with his famous Умиление icon of the Theotokos shown prominently. A nice touch, as are the paschal eggs. For the saint always lived in Eastertide, no matter the season.

I like the little seraphim cum sprites—quite fitting, I suppose, given the subject matter. I imagine that seraphim would be terrifying, but I suppose that they would adapt their appearance to their audience, so to speak.

I also inwardly smiled at the little girl’s precarious footing sequences. Of course, children everywhere will find such thrilling, and it makes sense for it to be a small element in the film for that reason. However, the Russians never adopted the Nerf-ball approach to childhood danger, and the little girl’s actions are more indicative of what those folks over there do than an American Soccer Mom would expect—or tolerate (e.g. this and that).

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, October 2, Anno Domini 2014
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Tuesday, September 16, A.D. 2014
One Woman’s Crusade against Litter—Russkie style

My brother and fellow Russophile Aaron sent me the following video that tickled me кра́сный:

The video combines so many of my loves—Russians, just deserts, vigilantism, cleanliness, hard lessons, spunky women on bikes—how delightful!

Да здравствует революция—против мусора!

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, September 16, Anno Domini 2014
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Tuesday, May 13, A.D. 2014
Tuesday Funnies

Kristo leviĝis!

For today, I offer some humorous links that I have been saving:

Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer—the most entertaining product page on Amazon; read the comments

Modern Spirituality Generator—with the link to its hall of fame selections

(Which reminds me of “Pomofo Essays”)

“The Mostly German Philosophers Love Song”—selbsterklärend

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, May 13, Anno Domini 2014
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Friday, February 14, A.D. 2014
Sports Progress

The Winter Games continue, and I am pleased to report that Nick Goepper from Lawrenceburg, Indiana (over the state line just west of Cincinnati) won the bronze in the men’s slopestyle freestyle skiing event yesterday. Indeed, three Americans swept the competition, and we saw three American flags flying (well, sort of flying) during the medal ceremony, which has only happened twice before in Winter Olympic history. Kudos to him and to his teammates Joss Christensen (gold) and Gus Kenworthy (silver).

During the Summer Olympics in London, my brother sent me a link to a video that compares every Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meter dash. The featured graphic shows how far the gold medal winner from the year listed would have run by the time that Usain Bolt won the race in A.D. 2012 in 9.63 seconds.

It is a clear example of how an art (or sport) may progress over time as subsequent practitioners build upon the accomplishments of the past. Another example from history is the progress of building techniques during the medieval period. Later Gothic cathedrals during the High Middle Ages incorporated many technical and artistic innovations that builders had developed as they pushed the boundaries of the possible to glorify God—and their hometown. One may also look to high culture music to see such progression—until the mid-twentieth century, when the high brow musical world turned its back on the past with the rest of the West’s art scene to focus on “originality.” For a good summary about this sad revolution in the arts, I recommend an Intercollegiate Review essay that I read six years ago by Webster Young: “Can There Be Great Composers Anymore?”

Modernists seem to believe in progress in an inevitable Hegelian absolute manner, as if it were a constituent force in the world. They are chauvinists of the present, and they are mistaken. Rather, progress may occur within a community, discipline, or civilization with respect to certain things—especially when folks build upon the tried and true knowledge of their predecessors, but such is not inevitable. Men foolishly choose to take inferior paths at times, and disasters occur that force such decisions at other times. Pride, sin, stupidity, plague, war, and the cycle of human vanities ensure that progress is always a struggle against decay, and we are fortunate when we witness progress for as long as we can. The modern Olympic Games provide a bounty of progressive examples over the last 118 years. Let us rejoice in this marvel of our age.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, February 14, Anno Domini 2014
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Friday, January 17, A.D. 2014
Stereotype Confirmation

Hristos se naște—and a blessed synaxis of the Seventy Apostles!

Earlier this week, I posted on funny foreigners, in which I linked to Steve Sailer’s thoughts about ethnic humor. Sailer notes that we delight in recognizing patterns and in simplifying knowledge of human differences in stereotypes. I do not understand the common objections to stereotypes, as they are repeatedly substantiated—with every bus ride in D.C., every county festival in Ohio, every passing of a Starbucks in Dupont or on U Street, every shopping experience at a farmers’ market or organic grocery, every liturgy or mass,  and so on. Yet, it remains surprisingly droll when we witness the confirmation of less founded stereotypes. For instance, I recently watched the documentary Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, which focuses on the life of Siberian trappers. The main character is one such trapper—a real Russian Daniel Boone fellow who makes pretty much everything with his bare hands. During the course of the documentary, this man who lives in the freezing Russian boonies ruminates about the human condition like a Solovyov or Tolstoy on the frontier of civilization.

Speaking of Russkies and stereotype confirmation, I found the following image last month on English Russia:

The photograph captures my experience of Russian life remarkably well. The tank-built women work like horses, while the men drink, slouch, and play. Another thing that I noticed in Russia was feline ubiquity. There are cats everywhere, from the Hermitage to convents to churches under construction. So, when I read “Two Months Underwater: The Life of a Russian Submariner” in Russia: Beyond the Headlines, I laughed when I saw the picture of the sailor with his cats on the submarine. Are vermin really a problem in the great deep? The article also recounts a humorous story about miscommunication and crow eating men in authority:

The most colorful character among my commanders was Capt. First Rank Gaponenko. Once he came down from the bridge, looked at us, and asked: “What are you guys up to?” We replied that we were practising formation maneuvers, and were about to coordinate actions with the other boat, No 685.

Suddenly, the commander reached for the mike: “No. 681 to 685, please kill your engine.” The reply came instantly: “No. 685 to 681, unable, over.” Gaponenko didn’t like this at all. “Kill your engine now, it’s an order!”

An even more insistent reply came: “Repeat, unable to comply, over.” Gaponenko flew right off the handle: “I am ordering you to kill your engine, right now, do you hear me? It’s Capt. First Rank Gaponenko speaking! I’ll hang you out to dry when you return to base!” Uneasy silence fell.

Then the radioman, who was half dead with fear, whispered: “Comrade Captain 1st Rank, I am sorry, it was my mistake. We need to coordinate with No 683; No 685 is an aircraft.” Gaponenko broke the communications panel in wrath, stormed out, and stayed in his quarters until we surfaced.

This coming Sunday is Theophany on the old calendar, but most Greeks currently celebrate the feast according to the new calendar. The Orthodox bless their holy water on the feast, as the Lord sanctified the River Jordan upon his baptism, which Theophany celebrates. It is common to bless nearby bodies of water, as well, and such has led to another custom for Theophany where men and/or boys dive for a cross that is thrown into the river, lake, or sea. I have written about the practice in “Happy Theophany,” “Theophany, A.D. 2010,” and “As Many As Have Been Baptized into Christ.” Well, this year when I was reading about such celebrations in Australia in “True believers take the plunge,” I found yet another amusing example of stereotype confirmation in the article’s featured image:

Seriously? At least, the cross retriever wasn’t wrestling a crocodile. The Aussie’s fit fitting the stereotype reminds me of Russian spy Anna Chapman (Kushchyenko) in leather pants and with a pistol.

Among other stereotype confirmations recently experienced online (which is always representative of statistical normality) are the dancing hillbilly and his coon buddy

as well as Ann Coulter and a logos-challenged termagant on Dr. Drew:

Let us not forget the youth in our panoply of human predictability. Last summer, I read “Drunkest D.C. Intern Ever Loses Shoe While Stalking Paul Ryan.” Sad, but not really surprising. I followed a link in the comments to DC Interns, where I found this gem:

Our “new intern” has been incredibly helpful and professional, so my story fits more into the category of laughing with him rather than laughing at him. On his first day, our “old intern” took the new intern down to the supply store to show him around.  When they got to the flag section, the old intern explained that constituents could ask to have a flag flown over the Capital for special occasions. New intern proceeds to ask, “Do they just put them in a plane all together and fly them over the Capitol once a day?” Amazing.

Patterns continue. About a year ago, a local story made the Drudge Report: “Man in court after posting Facebook photo of baby & gun.” Sad, but not really surprising. Note that Wilson Dykes is Domonic Gaines’ father. At least, he did not name his child Shitavious.

Lastly, I leave you with this wonderful stereotype confirmation involving a Jewish flash mob. I sent it to my family with the caption, “When Hebes Plot.”

Enjoy the last days of the Yuletide.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, January 17, Anno Domini 2014
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