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More on the above further down. But first … hokay!

So the new year kicks off with this January 1st headline at the Drudge Report:

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Taking that as our cue, we begin 2016’s Surfin’ Safari column with a look at some political fun in this presidential election year.

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A group calling themselves “Bad Lip Reading” have assembled some hilarious videos of earlier Presidential Candidate debates, synching up the candidates’ answers with some very funny nonsensical verbiage. Ummm, might be hard to tell it from the real thing, eh?

As a blogger at WRSA described it, “Bad Lip Reading is one of the few good aspects of an election year.” He’s right. To wit, here are the “highlights” of the first Republican debate:

The Democrat candidates weren’t spared from bad lip reading either.

Free, mighty and beautiful

“America the Free, America the Mighty, America the Beautiful!”

As long as we’re focused on national affairs, let’s take a look at this tribute to America from the Charlie Daniels Band. Settle back for a blissful four minutes of heart-welling Americana featured in Charlie’s song/recitation “My Beautiful America.”

See more of America’s glorious “sea to shining sea” sights from the air with this video, “Flying Over America,” created by Yessian, a global collective of producers, composers, music supervisors and recording artists.

Sunrise, sunset

Here in Florida, we often have some pretty fabulous sunrises and sunsets. In fact, there’s a Facebook page that features a plethora of pix featuring sunrises and sunsets photographed by local amateurs. Here’s one that was recently snapped at dawn in Cape Canaveral.

But you don’t have to live in Florida to catch some fabulous shots because no matter where you are, you can simply check in with SunsetWx.

It’s the brainchild of three enterprising young men from Penn State who figured out how to predict where the best sunsets will be based on computerized meteorological algorithms. No, really!

The three guys who created the SunsetWx computer model: Steve Hallett, Jacob DeFlitch and Ben Reppert (courtesy of SunsetWx)

The three guys who created the SunsetWx computer model: Steve Hallett, Jacob DeFlitch and Ben Reppert
(courtesy of SunsetWx)

According to a report, Steve Hallett developed the program that pulls in atmospheric data from an existing weather forecasting model (the North American Model used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and runs the data through a special algorithm.

He explains, “Our algorithm predicts higher clouds, and higher clouds usually result in nicer sunsets. It takes a weather model’s guess of what the atmospheric conditions will be. We take that data and we form our forecast from that data, using several variables,” including cloud height and atmospheric moisture.

Visit the SunsetWX website. You can also find SunsetWX on Facebook and Twitter.

Watch those subordinate clauses

“What do you call Santa’s elves? Subordinate clauses.” – Grammarly

I love Grammarly, the website that uses humor, puns, wit and irony to help us become better grammarians. Loaded with tips and quizzes, the education website is a great place for writers, and just folks who want to properly express themselves.

For example, in case you weren’t sure:

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Simple spelling errors, misused grammar and more can be found on Grammarly’s website and companion Facebook page.

Did you know …

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Too true. And believe it or not, this sentence makes sense.

If you’ve read this far, good for you! Now you get to know more about this:

From Grammarly:

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“The Oxford Dictionaries word of the year for 2015 is Emojis-1. It’s an emoji. The reaction to this news has varied from Emojis-2 (it’s the death of language!) to Emojis-3 (it’s a lame publicity stunt). Emojis are not words. That’s something Oxford itself agrees on, defining the word as “a single distinct element of speech or writing.” We don’t speak in emojis or write in emojis, at least not the old pen-in-hand way. But in real-world conversation, we don’t rely solely on words; body language is said to make up 55% of communication . So perhaps the emoji is the digital equivalent, enhancing the tone of our message beyond words. If so, is it possible to distill the huge gamut of complex human emotion into a series of comic faces?

“It’s strange that these emojis, which have been around since 1999, have surged in popularity in 2015. This year, we have seen global political upheavals and threats, a huge migrant crisis, and the effects of climate change. But, as in any time of trouble or war, escapism is sought through art and culture. During World War II, musical films surged in popularity; Hollywood produced seventy-five musicals in 1944. So perhaps it’s not surprising that we are adopting this universal discourse in an effort to lighten the mood. The language of emojis allows us a certain tone that we cannot grasp through words or other imagery. And what’s more, in its transcending of cultures, emojis are a unifying language. This digital expression can fuse together cracks in failing traditional systems: a reincarnated Esperanto.”

That’s it for now. So, until next week:

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