Tag Archives: Laugh

ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge: An Imperfect Place

The devil hides down amongst the cubes*.

You’d have to have not paid your Internet bill over the last couple of months to miss out on knowing about the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge thing.

It started with some professional athletes, not — as myth would have it — an ALS patient. The challenge was to either be filmed dumping a bucket of ice over your head or give money to a charity of your choice. It morphed from there.

And promptly went viral.

Which led to thousands of people filming themselves while having a bucket of ice dumped on their heads while challenging others to do the same. In fact, my dad and I even watched one of those happen poolside at Chabil Mar, a resort in the Central American country of Belize. It was a few weeks ago, before this really hit big so we had no idea what it was about.

Those last four words there. . . That’s what this is about.

So far this post, I’ve written a lot of words about the Ice-Bucket Challenge and mentioned ALS only twice. And never said what ALS really is.

Better known as Lou Gherig’s Disease, named for the New York Yankees baseball player who contracted the disease and thereby showed the bits of the country that liked baseball and were paying attention that the disease existed, ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a progressive, degenerative disease that gradually destroy neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and spinal column. Over time, the disease annihilates voluntary control over the body’s muscles, robbing the person with the disease of the ability to move, to speak, to breathe. For some patients, the end point of the disease is total paralysis of the body. And the worst part is that their mind still is active and aware and trapped in a decayed body incapable of responding to anything.

ALS is, to put it mildly, a horrifying disease. Donating money to help fund research into a cure or a way to slow the progression of the disease is definitely a worthy cause. (Those who want to donate without resorting to dumping ice water on their heads can do so at the ALSA gift page.)

So, given all that, I should be all for the ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge, right, dudes?. After all, as of Friday, the challenges have resulted in the ALS Association receiving more than $41 million in donations.

My issue is with all the challengers who do nothing but dump ice on their own heads, laugh, record it and then post it to some social media site, daring others to follow suit. They don’t know what ALS is. They don’t donate to any sort of charitable institution, including the ALS Association, and only do it because everyone else is doing it. 

After all, the challenge is donate to the ALSA OR dump a bucket of ice on their heads.

I talked about this on Facebook and was called out by several of my friends there (actual friends who I actually know) for dumping (no pun intended) on the whole idea. They focused on the positives, on the donations that were raised, which are substantial.

I thought about it and talked it over with Zippy the Travelin’ Boy, who has some similar issues with the challenge. While Zippy the Travelin’ Boy still takes issue with it (mostly, I think, because it’s popular and he likes to be a contrarian) and, to be honest, so do I, it all led to the realization that I was focusing too much on the negative.

I’ll pause now for your shocked intake of breath.

This was brought home to me — literally — when Hyper Lad walked up to me with a hang-dog look, holding a bucket of ice and a video camera.

Before I would participate, he and I had a long talk about what amyotrophic lateral sclerosis actually does and agreed that he would donate money to the ALS Association.

Only then could I laugh at him when his oldest brother, Sarcasmo, poured cube-filled, ice-cold water over the young dude’s head.

Yes, in a perfect world, Hyper Lad’s fellow shiverers would be donating to worthy charitable causes on a regular basis and also donating their time, sweat and effort. They’d already know what ALS really is, why we should support research toward a cure, and be doing the ice thing only to help raise awareness and get more people to donate money to worthy charities.

But, as the estimable John Bender once said: “Screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.”

And it’s true.

Screws do fall out all the time.

I guess I’ll just have to live with the idea that people are dumping ice on their heads just because everybody else is doing it. And also some of them might actually understand that this is being used to help raise money to combat an appalling disease.

It’s not perfect, but that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

As if the world were waiting for my approval anyway.

*Yes, this was an imperfect metaphor. I was trying to evoke the whole thing about the devil being in the detail and then conflating that with the ice-bucket challenge. Don’t judge me. I was . . . stretching.


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Sunday Show: Community

I don’t binge.

I’m not one of those types of people who will find a show on Netflix or HuluPlus and then watch years worth of episodes in a matter of days.

Well, mostly I’m not.David Tennant is the Tenth Doctor Who and one of his most famous episodes concerned him lecturing people from a television set. Here, he's warning people against binge watching television shows.

Okay. It turns out I am just that kind of obsessive person. I only needed to find the right show to trigger the urge to watch and keep watching until I can’t watch any more.

That show, dudes, is Community. It’s a half-hour ensemble comedy that takes place in the decidedly lesser-tier Greendale Community College and is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen.

I managed to watch the first season in a matter of days and now I need more. I heartily recommend this to any dude or dudette over, say, 14. Not because there’s anything racy or profane, but only because younger than that and they wouldn’t get the jokes.

This is a comedy for adults, but not one that falls for the easy laugh based around defecatory functions or cheap titillation.

Here’s a clip.

Community‘s paintball war episode from the first season. Enjoy.


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Replay The Day But Be Smart About It

Today is the annual Bill Murray Appreciation Day.

Otherwise known as Groundhog Day. Murray stars in the wonderfully daft and philosophic movie of the same name and today being the actual Groundhog Day, I use it as an excuse to rewatch the movie again and again.Bill Murray, Groundhog Day and the movies. Also predestination and fate.

To get into the spirit, mind.

So, Happy Groundhog Day to all of you who actually care about that sort of thing.

Personally, I think if there were any chance that a groundhog seeing or not seeing his/her shadow had any sort of effect on long-term global weather patterns, we’d be living in a much stranger place indeed.

So, instead, let’s talk about idiots.

Some computer boffins decided to do a little sifting through the detritus of bad computer acts. That is, with all the recent information thefts (Target, etc) lately, we have access to a lot of information about a lot of people.

And that includes the passwords these people use when they want to secure something on their computer. Which is what the computer wallas went looking for. And, dudes, you’ll never guess what they found. Or maybe you will considering I actually started this bit talking about idiots.

The most popular password, according to the folks at SplashData, and the worst on the internet is a new one. It unseated “password,” which was the top baddest last year.

Drumroll, please. . . .

The most popular password and the worst on the internet is. . . “123456”. I kid you not.

Here’s where you may feel free to point and laugh.

It’s not that hard, dudes. All you’ve got to do is have a place where you can keep the passwords and the sites to which they belong. Heck, any halfway decent web browser will come equipped with software already installed to create difficult-to-guess passwords and then store them for you.

And yet. . . And yet. . .

Anyway, I’m going to leave you today with SplashData’s top (bottom) 25 worst passwords on the internet for 2013.

Presenting SplashData’s “Worst Passwords of 2013”:

Rank Password Change from 2012

1

123456

Up 1

2

password

Down 1

3

12345678

Unchanged

4

qwerty

Up 1

5

abc123

Down 1

6

123456789

New

7

111111

Up 2

8

1234567

Up 5

9

iloveyou

Up 2

10

adobe123

New

11

123123

Up 5

12

admin

New

13

1234567890

New

14

letmein

Down 7

15

photoshop

New

16

1234

New

17

monkey

Down 11

18

shadow

Unchanged

19

sunshine

Down 5

20

12345

New

21

password1

Up 4

22

princess

New

23

azerty

New

24

trustno1

Down 12

25

000000

New


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