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Top Hat Meets Obelisk

Top Hat Meets Obelisk

A great one from Richard Mammana.

For about a century, proud and dead Americans imagined themselves to be Egyptians. Throwing away the simple, hopeful crosses of common grave-marking, and setting aside the robust traditions of soaring angels and death’s heads of Puritan or German decoration, we erected obelisks in our own memory. It doesn’t seem to have ever extended to mummification and canopic jars, but it was a fad of fads that grew up following the Napoleonic spoliation of Egypt—and the sudden appearance of Cleopatra’s needles in Paris, Rome, London, and New York. It ended as abruptly as it began. But…

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From the Onion: Picture Most Closely Resembling Actual Self Immediately Deleted

CORVALLIS, OR—Instantly repulsed by the startling image, local woman Monica Arquette immediately deleted a picture that, above all others ever taken of her, most closely resembled her actual self, sources reported Monday. “God, I hate this one,” said Arquette, promptly wiping from her phone’s memory the most authentic photo of her currently in existence, both in representing her physical form and in capturing her overall essence as a person. “I look so weird. Not a chance I’m showing this hideous thing to anyone.” At press time, Arquette was thrilled with a picture that vaguely approximated her actual self if squinted at long enough.

Oldie but a Goodie: “New Exercise App Just Tells Users They Ran 5 Miles a Day No Matter What”

Vintage find from America’s Most Trusted News Source (ht GP).

LOS ALTOS, CA—Having reached nearly 2 million downloads within its first month of release, the new smartphone app ProMiler has quickly become one of the nation’s most popular exercise tools by informing users that they ran five miles each day no matter what, the app’s creators told reporters Friday. “With ProMiler, achieving your exercise goals is as simple as turning on your device in the morning and being notified that you’ve already run five miles,” ProMiler spokesman John Lyons said while demonstrating the app, which uses advanced GPS technology to display a new, randomly generated five-mile running route near the user’s location every day. “The more you take advantage of ProMiler, the better runner you become, as the app automatically reduces your running time by several seconds per day. And with our ‘Calories Burned’ counter staying fixed at the number 1,000 each day, 100 percent of our users report hitting their fitness targets. The results speak for themselves.” Officials added that the app comes pre-synced with Facebook, allowing users to automatically post their time and running route on their feed for all their friends to see.

"Snarky Sox" on a Plane and Dragging the Lake for an Earring: First World Problems in Professional Sports

“Snarky Sox” on a Plane and Dragging the Lake for an Earring: First World Problems in Professional Sports

Well this is disturbing. My favorite current/active athlete in any sport (Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons), and my favorite all-time athlete from my high school (!) (MLB Hall-of-Famer Dennis Eckersley) are both in the news today for having excessively first-world problems. Ugh.

I love Julio. I’ve lived in Atlanta since 1990, and for the last 27 years, I’ve been hopelessly devoted to the Atlanta Falcons. I have consistently missed church events on Sunday afternoons in the Fall (some of which I was supposed to be leading) in order to just be left alone in front of my TV to watch the…

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Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There's Something Off About the Cake

Spider-Man: Homecoming … With Frosting So Good You Can Forget There’s Something Off About the Cake

Grateful for this look at Spider-Man: Homecoming, from our friend Jeremiah Lawson.

When I finished watching the new Spider-Man film with my brother, he told me he liked it, but he couldn’t help but think of a military joke—if you break the rules and you fail, you get a courtmartial, but if you succeed beyond everyone’s hopes and dreams, you get a medal. That doesn’t mean that what you decided to do was necessarily ever a good idea. There are other ways of expressing this kind of concern about Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general, but that joke…

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From the Onion: Poll Finds Majority of Americans Would Like Things to Go Right for Once

An oldie but a goodie (ht GP). 

UTICA, NY—A poll released Tuesday by Zogby International found that 72 percent of Americans would prefer it if things could go right, just this one time, without something inevitably coming along and screwing everything up. “For once in my life, it would be cool if things didn’t suddenly fall apart right when they started going my way,” said poll respondent Esther Lau, who listed finally catching a break as one of her personal goals. “Suppose, for example, that instead of turning into a total disaster in the end, events worked themselves out in a way that was favorable, or at least okay for the most part. That’s a situation I would be amenable to.” The remaining 28 percent of Americans agreed that everything was just fine, and why would this even be a question someone would ask in the first place?

Did It Have to Be Jesus? ~ Nicole Cliffe

One of the more vitalizing talks from our conference in NYC came from Nicole Cliffe, who co-founded of one our favorite humor sites, The Toast (may it now rest in peace). Be ready to laugh and cry as you hear this story of how a sarcastic Harvard grad found God.

Did It Have to Be Jesus? ~ Nicole Cliffe from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Old Ways and New Ways in Master of None Season 2

Old Ways and New Ways in Master of None Season 2

Bust out the Italo and pull out your pasta makers! Aziz Ansari’s Netflix project Master of None is back for season two, exploring the difficulties of love and relationships in 2017. The show continues with storytelling inspired by Aziz’s Modern Romance research project, a book we loved so much that we invited co-author Eric Klinenberg to #MbirdNYC16. Sadly, book deals prevented us from sharing the recording, so just trust me when I report that it was one of the best (funniest? most poignant?) talks at an Mbird gathering from someone “outside” the fold.

Season one, united by the theme of “fear…

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Defeat Even in Victory: Wonder Woman, Critical Response, and Modes of Low Anthropology

Defeat Even in Victory: Wonder Woman, Critical Response, and Modes of Low Anthropology

When it comes to writing about DC Comics’ theological inclinations, there’s no one better for the job than Jeremiah Lawson, aka Wenatchee the Hatchet. Very grateful for his take on the new Wonder Woman:

The new Wonder Woman movie is upon us, and the overall reception has been very positive. This is not just because, compared to Man of Steel or Batman vs Superman (let alone Suicide Squad), Patty Jenkins and company have given us a straightforward, charming superhero story where our heroine gets to be heroic; it’s also because you can go watch this Wonder Woman movie and never have to waste any…

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Pizza for Five Thousand

Pizza for Five Thousand

The following excerpt comes from our latest publication, The Man Who Met God in a Bar: The Gospel According to Marvin, by Robert Farrar Capon. As you’ll see, Father Capon has a knack for stirring up fresh ways to think about old, familiar stories.

Below, our narrator Marvin chronicles the spiritual revival led by Jerry, a short-order cook in 1990s Cleveland…who also claims to be God. This scene takes place in Chapter Eight, after Jerry has preached all day from a park bench.

By 3:30, when Jerry’s voice finally gave out, there had to be about five thousand people in the park. And since after that he just started talking to individuals…

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Cringe-Watching Catastrophe

Cringe-Watching Catastrophe

For the last few weeks at bedtime, my youngest son has requested that I read him a story out of a book called “Farmyard Tales.” These are innocuous little stories of Apple Tree Farm, and the family who lives there. They are sweet and lovely, and also criminally boring. They are perfect bedtime stories for a tired little kid, though, and I send him off to dreamland with pleasant little stories about goats and pigs and their little farmyard antics galloping through his head.

By contrast, my husband and I then go downstairs to our living room to fold piles of…

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"Ken M" and the Wisdom of Trolls

“Ken M” and the Wisdom of Trolls

It must have been Mockingbird that first introduced me to the “genius of Ken M.” Since then I’ve grown addicted to his commentary. Ken M (aka Kenneth McCarthy) is a 30something comedy writer masquerading as an opinionated 70something, dropping random comments on the internet. Flood Magazine called him “the world’s preeminent Internet troll,” only Ken M manages to use his superpowers for good. His comments, at times haughty-conservative, or faux-intellectual, or grumpy-everyman (but always ridiculous), are designed to draw the ire of fellow commenters.

When, for example, the Associated Press produces an article about “space junk” littering the orbit, Ken M responds:…

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