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'A little weirdness' doesn't cover it

Posted By Michael Ackley On 11/25/2012 @ 2:43 pm In Commentary | No Comments

Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.

San Francisco has banned public nudity – barely.

The city/county supervisors voted 6-5 to strip the nudist community of its “freedom of expression.”

The supes went for the outright ban after first considering such halfway measures as requiring nudists to carry a towel. You know, to scrub such public surfaces they might light upon, like bus benches or the chairs of sidewalk cafes. In the City by the Bay, this sort of thing is regarded as a reasonable compromise.

But at last they decided this would amount to little more than a fig leaf and voted for complete prohibition. And they showed a degree of sagacity in holding off the issue until the winter breezes washed over the city’s seven hills.

Supervisor John Avalos was among the dissenters from this exercise of naked government power, saying, “Sometimes there’s a little weirdness about how we express ourselves, but that’s a great thing about San Francisco.”

Still, the supervisors tried to cover all bases by approving unclothed “expression” in events like certain street fairs and the Bay to Breakers foot race.

“I’m going to be happy when this is over. It’s important, it’s a real issue, but it’s never been the issue I’ve wanted to work on,” the SF Chronicle quoted pro-clothing Supervisor Scott Wiener (his real name).

Nudists will pursue their grievance in court, arguing that epidermal exposure warrants First Amendment protection. And they hope to find a swing vote to reverse the ban when the ordinance has its second reading.

After the supervisors voted, a number of ecdysiasts disrobed in protest.

“A little weirdness” indeed.


The new math: I knew educators and assorted civic leaders were calling for better mathematics education, but I didn’t know how serious the situation was until I examined the “nutritional information” on a package of granola bars.

Under “calories,” it said, “One bar, 90 calories. Two bars 190 calories.” Further, the package revealed that one bar had zero grams of saturated fat, while two bars had .5 grams.

The bars come wrapped in pairs, and no matter how closely you examine them, there’s no way to tell which bar is the less fattening.


Semantics: Maybe we should take the math problem to James Clapper, our director of national intelligence. On the other hand, maybe not.

Clapper explained last week that the false (let’s not call them “erroneous”) Benghazi “talking points” given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice were composed by the “intelligence community.” This sent us to the Blind Partisan’s Dictionary to look up “community.” It said:

Community: n., any aggregation of persons with a common interest in diffusing responsibility. Thus, when a community is responsible for some act or omission, all its members are responsible. And when all are responsible, nobody is responsible.


Mushrooming problem: Certain poisonous fungi are endemic to California, as a Fresno-area senior care facility discovered. Its cook gathered some wild mushrooms and fed them to the residents, three of whom died.

Yearly in the Golden State, somebody gets sick or succumbs from ingesting toadstools like amanita phalloides, the “death cap,” or amanita ocreata, the “death angel.” These reportedly are delicious, though frequently fatal.

(Put this in your fund of etymological knowledge: “Toadstool” derives from the German “todestuhl,” literally, “death chair.”)

Expect such mortality to become a national phenomenon, as huge numbers of Americans swallow the rapidly spreading amanita bueraucratica, the “death panel.”


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