Content-Type: text/shitpost

Subject: Worst Letter
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!triffid​!grey-area​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T21:20:34
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.worst-letter
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The worst letter of the English alphabet is clearly “V”. (In second place, unfortunately, is my own initial, “D”.)

Subject: Daw?
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T17:42:15
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.daw
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

“Hob” used to be a common nickname for “Robert”, but unlike “Rob” and “Bob” it is no longer common. But it lives on in patronymics like “Hobson” and “Hobbs”. Similarly “Watt”, “Watts”, and “Watson” attest to the widespread use of “Wat” as a nickname for “Walter”.

I want to infer from the surnames “Daw”, “Daws”, “Dawes”, “Dawson”, etc., that “Daw” used to be a common name in northern or western europe. But I've never heard of any such person and Wikipedia doesn't list anyone relevant.

Subject: Cautionary advice
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T17:21:19
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

From Wikipedia's summary of the plot of Don't Change Your Husband (1919, starred Gloria Swanson):

Leila Porter has grown tired of her husband James Denby Porter the glue king, as she is romantic but he is prosaic. Moreover, he is careless of his personal appearance, gets cigar ash in the carpet, and eats green onions before he tries to kiss her.

Subject: Worst programming language
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T02:51:30
Newsgroup: alt.binaries.worst-programming-language
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

All of them.

Yes, I have heard of your favorite, and I am including it.

Subject: Worst Bible story
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T02:46:46
Newsgroup: talk.mjd.worst-bible-story
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Hard to say, there are so many to choose from. My first thought is for Judges 19, the story of the Levite's concubine.

(Content warning: extreme violence, rape, mass murder.)

But Genesis 34, the story of Dinah, is definitely in the running.

(Content warning: extreme violence, rape, mass murder.)

Subject: Worst Nobel Peace Prize recipient
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!glados​!extro​!forbin​!berserker​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T02:35:17
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Not so easy, this one. Obama? Arafat? F.W. de Klerk?

Without actually looking at the list, I'd guess it was Kissinger, the honorary Harlem Globetrotter. But there is certainly room for argument. And I suspect that if I did look at the list I would have some chance of finding someone worse.

Subject: Worst bean
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!brain-in-a-vat​!am​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T02:31:20
Newsgroup: sci.math.worst-bean
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Bookbinder's was on my mind today because, going up the stairs, I asked myself “what is the worst bean?” And then instantly the answer appeared: the lima.

Thinking on it now, I have to admit, I do like the big beige kind. But on the stairs I was thinking about the smaller green starchy kind, and I stand by my choice.

Subject: Worst restaurant in Philadelphia
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!am​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-15T02:28:11
Newsgroup: comp.lang.haskell.worst-restaurant-in-philadelphia
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

One day I wondered: what is the worst restaurant in Philadelphia? Not all such questions admit a definitive answer, and you might scoff and say it is a matter of opinion. But sometimes there is one pre-eminent candidate that recives overwhelming support. As in this case. A quick web search revealed the inarguable answer: Bookbinder's. “Oh, of course it is,” I said.

I could go on at length, but the 1999 review by Craig LaBan, the food critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, sums it up nicely: “a tourist trap with lackluster food and outrageous prices”. I won't quote from the rest. It's not funny, just sad.

The restaurant closed in March 2009, denied bankruptcy protection. What Philadelphia's currently worst restaurant is, I could not say.

Subject: Quack
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-13T17:00:23
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Suppose you are sitting in a room and there is a flock of ducks outside. You hear the ducks quacking and you can count the rate of quacking !!r_q!! in quacks per minute.

Maybe you also know how much a typical duck will quack. Let's called that !!v_q!!, measured in quacks per duck.

Then you can find the quotient $$\frac{r_q}{v_q}$$ which is in ducks per minute.

More things should be measured in ducks per minute.

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!computer​!grey-area​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-11T15:36:16
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Almanzo Wilder had a third sister. His oldest sibling, Laura, was born in 1844. At the time of the events of Farmer Boy, Almanzo was nine and Laura was 22. She is not mentioned in the book, perhaps to prevent young readerrs from confusing her with Laura Ingalls.

Subject: Oh! it's a lovely war!
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-11T14:51:36
Newsgroup: sci.math.oh-its-a-lovely-war
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

This masterpiece of sarcasm was written in 1917 by J.P. Long and Maurice Scott.

1918 audio recording by “Courtland and Jeffries”. I have not been able to find much information about Jeffries or Courtland. Courtland may have been one of the many pseudonyms of Mr. Herbert Pike. About Jeffries I can learn nothing.

Up to your waist in water,
Up to your eyes in slush,
Using the kind of language
That makes the sergeants blush;
Who wouldn't join the army,
That's what we all enquire,
Don't we pity the poor civilians
Sitting beside the fire?

Oh! Oh! Oh! It's a lovely war,
Who wouldn't be a soldier, eh?
Oh, it's a shame to take the pay.

As soon as reveille has gone
We feel just as heavy as lead,
But we never get up till the sergeant
Brings our breakfast up to bed.
What do you want with eggs and ham
When you've got plum and apple jam?
Form fours! Right turn!
How shall we spend the money we earn?

When does a soldier grumble?
When does a soldier make a fuss?
No one is more contented
In all the world than us.
Oh, it's a cushy life, boys,
Really, we love it so;
Once a fellow was sent on leave
And simply refused to go.

Come to the cook-house door, boys,
Sniff at the lovely stew,
Who is it says the colonel
Gets better grub than you?
Any complaints this morning?
Do we complain? Not we.
What's the matter with lumps of onion
Floating around the tea?

Subject: But who could have seen that coming?
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!mechanical-turk​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-10T19:08:45
Newsgroup: sci.math.who-could-have-seen-that-coming
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

In 1669, the Jewels went on public display for the first time in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. The Deputy Keeper of the Jewel House took the regalia out of a cupboard and showed it to visitors for a small fee. This informal arrangement was ended two years later when

(Wikipedia, Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.)

Subject: Browne on Nature
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!triffid​!colossus​!kremvax​!grey-area​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-09T17:39:57
Newsgroup: news.groups.browne-on-nature
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Thus there are two bookes from whence I collect my Divinity; besides that written one of God, another of his servant Nature, that universall and publik Manuscript, that lies expans'd unto the eyes of all; those that never saw him in the one, have discovered him in the other.

— Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1643

Subject: Philadelphia SSA efficiency
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!xyzzy​!the-matrix​!mechanical-turk​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-08T18:32:28
Newsgroup: misc.misc.ssa
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

This week I had a government bureaucracy experience that stunned me. On Wednesday 3 July, I went into the Social Security Administration offices at 1500 JFK Boulevard to get the spelling of Toph's name corrected and to replace her social security card. (This must be done in person, as it requires that our identity documents be examined directly.)

When I got there I was given number 281 and when I sat down they were calling customer #245. The clerk dealt with me politely and told me that I would receive the new card in five to seven business days. I was there around an hour, so the mean processing time per customer was under 97 seconds. I consider this all quite satisfactory.

But, Gentle Readers, the new card arrived today, 8 July.

They must have dealt with it in not five to seven days but in one business day, and put it in the mail no later than July 5. Then the Philadelphia postal service delivered it the following business day, which is today.

Stunned, I tell you. Five stars A+++++ would visit again.

(None of this is sarcasm. I've generally found that government offices in Philadelphia are much better-run than their New York counterparts. Next-day mail delivery is quite typical for the Philadelphia postal service.)

Subject: Largest flag dealer
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-04T20:43:05
Newsgroup: talk.bizarre.scope-joke
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

A man stands
in a museum gallery.  On the walls are many framed political posters and
U.S. flags.  The caption reads “Jeff Bridgman, the largest American
flag dealer in the country, stands among his rare collection of 13
star flags on display.”

I dunno, he doesn't look all that large to me.

(Original source: Hidden City Philadelphia)

Subject: Five simple ingredients
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!computer​!ihnp4​!hal9000​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-07-01T01:38:39
Newsgroup: sci.math.cream-cheese
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The box from a half-pound of
Philadelphia brand cream cheese, which boasts “5 SIMPLE INGREDIENTS”.

I found this this slogan lot more impressive before I found out that one of the “five simple ingredients” is carob bean gum.

Carob bean gum, just like just like my Grandma used to use!

Subject: Philadelphia hotel, 1910
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!triffid​!gormenghast​!extro​!forbin​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-30T03:19:22
Newsgroup: misc.misc.hotel
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

This is from the Philadelphia Atlas, of G. W. Bromley, published 1910. The location is currently occupied by the Cira Centre, just north 30th Street Pennsylvania Station (opened 1933).

A portion of a map, with buildings
marked in yellow and pink.  Several large yellow buildings, surrounded
and cut through with rail lines, are labeled CATTLE PENS.  Pink
buildings on the left and right are SLAUGHTER HOUSE and ABBATOIR.  In
between is a smaller pink building labeled HOTEL.  Just north of the
hotel are the HOG PENS.

Wow, that hotel. Location, location, location.

[ Addendum 2019-07-01: Chas. Owens found a picture of the hotel! ]

Subject: Today I learned…
Path: you​!your-host​!warthog​!gormenghast​!hal9000​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-26T11:12:30
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Noted mathematician Solomon Lefschetz had no hands. He had lost them in an accident at the age of 23.

Subject: Lyme disease
Path: you​!your-host​!ultron​!uunet​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-25T22:38:09
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

There's no point in reading an article titled “Lyme disease cases are exploding”, I know I'll just be disappointed.

Subject: Inside an Amazon AWS data center
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!epicac​!thermostellar-bomb-20​!twirlip​!batcomputer​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-25T15:31:55
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

A still from the movie _The Matrix_
showing endless ranked columns of translucent pods, each containing an
inert human body.

Subject: Four people in a train
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!wikipedia​!uunet​!asr33​!skynet​!m5​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-21T15:02:26
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

This is one of my favorite jokes.

Four people are riding in a train carriage in Czechosolvakia in 1974: an old Czech woman, a young Czech woman, a Russian soldier, and a Czech worker.

The train goes into a dark tunnel. There is the sound of a loud kiss, and then a louder smack. When the train emerges from the tunnel, the soldier is nursing the side of his face, and the Czech has a big grin.

The old woman thinks “That girl is well brought-up! The soldier tried to steal a kiss, and she gave him what he deserved.”

The young woman thinks “What a funny soldier! He tried to kiss the old lady instead of me.”

The soldier thinks ruefully “What a clever Czech guy! He stole the kiss, but I was the one to get slapped.”

The Czech thinks “What a day! I got to smack a Russian soldier in the face, and all I had to do was kiss the back of my hand.”

I like it because the way all the pieces fit together is so perfect and ingenious. Everyone thinks something different that is consistent with the different information they have. It's like a tiny farce in a box.

I also like it because it looks at first like it's going to be about sexual assault, but then the sexual assault evaporates at the last moment. (Yes, it's about regular assault instead.)

Subject: The Disco Ball
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!glados​!extro​!goatrectum​!plovergw​!plovervax​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-07T15:10:01
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

Wikipedia informs me that the disco ball was invented in the 1920s. This is surprising. Certainly the technology to manufacture it was available much earlier. I think a disco ball would not be out of place at Versailles.

Subject: P.L. Kapitsa on lightning rods
Path: you​!your-host​!wintermute​!hardees​!triffid​!gormenghast​!qwerty​!fpuzhpx​!plovergw​!plover​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-06-07T14:47:58
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

…each English citizen who provided his lightning conductor with a spike and not with a blunt end was considered as politically suspect.

Subject: Good advice from Georgius Agricola
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!uunet​!asr33​!hardees​!m5​!plovergw​!ploverhub​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-05-24T11:47:41
Newsgroup: rec.pets.good-advice-from-johann-agricola
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The miner should not start mining operations in a district which is oppressed by a tyrant.

De re metallica, 1556

Subject: Asking the wrong question
Path: you​!your-host​!walldrug​!prime-radiant​!berserker​!plovergw​!shitpost​!mjd
Date: 2019-05-21T18:37:55
Newsgroup: rec.pets.wrong-question
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/shitpost

The New York Python conference PyGotham is trying an experiment: they're letting the community vote on the (suitably anonymized) talk proposals. Interesting idea!

But I think they're asking the wrong question:

Screenshot from
the PyGotham voting site that asks “Should this talk be presented at
PyGotham?” with answers “Definitely yes!”, “I'm impartial.”,
“Definitely not.”

I think it should say instead:

If this talk were presented at PyGotham, would you attend?

⭘ Yes
⭘ Maybe
⭘ No

If I were running a conference, I would care deeply about what people wanted to see, and very little about what they imagined that other people might want to see.