Monday, January 21, 2013

The Horse: A Beginner's Tutorial

The Horse, Exhibit A: One (1) factory-standard horse.

To the outsider,1 caring for creatures whose primary goals are to eat and poop can be a perplexing and mystifying experience. Horse people, like most any other group of folks absorbed by a way of life, hobby, or obsession that they’ve grown to love—or were born to love—have developed a vocabulary that can be confusing to the uninitiated, and that (probably inadvertently) makes entry into the world of horse ownership daunting and maybe even a little scary.2

The Horse, Exhibit B: Food goes in here
(at front, below dual air intakes).

We are fortunate enough to have been allowed to gingerly dip a toe into the murky waters of the fascinating world of the horse—the Latin name for which is horsus horsiis and have gradually learned how some of its more basic terminology translates into proper English. If the following list is too much to follow, take a break partway through to catch your breath, collect yourself, and/or scribble down some notes:

  • mare = girl horse
  • stallion = boy horse
  • gelding = very sad boy horse
  • tractor = not a horse
  • cow = see tractor
  • brown = brown
  • chestnut = brown
  • sorrel = brownish
  • dun = brownish
  • dark bay = sort of like brownish
  • bay = shitty director (see: Transformers, or better yet, don’t)
  • grey = white (seriously!)
  • pinto = horse, or bean
  • draft = horse
  • pony = horse
  • quarterhorse = horse
  • half-Arabian, half-quarterhorse = one (1) horse, 5/8 of normal size
  • horse = crap factory
  • manure = crap (literal)
  • tack = crap (figurative): saddles, bridles, stirrups, horse blankets, and so forth 
  • horse blanket = sort of like a blanket, but for a horse
  • tack room = a place to put all your crap (figurative)  
  • pile = a place to put all your crap (literal)

The Horse, Exhibit C: Thermal Exhaust Port.

Horse people—that is, horse owners, not Houyhnhnms—have spent somewhere between ten and a bazillion years cataloging different breeds of horse, in the very same way that dog owners obsess over the infinitesimal differences between a teacup poodle and a Saint Bernard. Over time, this has generated a dazzling array of breeds with names that are often region-specific, descriptive, or suspiciously foreign-sounding.

Left: a dog. Right: The exact same dog.

Established breeds of horse include but are not limited to: Abtenauer, Aegidienberger, Albanian, American Paint Horse, American Quarter Horse, Andravida, Appaloosa, AraAppaloosa, Arappaloosa, Araloosa, Arabian, Ardennes, Asturcón, Augeron, Australian Stock Horse, Auvergne, Azerbaijan, Azteca, Baise, Baluchi, Ban'ei, Barb, Bardigiano, Belgian Warmblood, Blazer, Boulonnais, Breton, Brumby, Burguete, Calabrese, Camargue, Campolina, Canadian, Canadian Pacer, Caspian, Castillonnais, Catria, Choctaw Horse, Cleveland Bay, Clydesdale, Colorado Ranger, Coldblood trotter, Comtois, Cuban Criollo, Curly Horse, Danube Delta, Dutch harness, Dutch Warmblood, East Bulgarian, Estonian Draft, Estonian, Falabella, Finnhorse, Fjord, Florida Cracker Horse, Fouta, Frederiksborg, Freiberger, French Trotter, Friesian, Furioso-North Star, Gelderland, Giara Horse, Gidran, Groningen Horse, Gypsy Vanner, Haflinger, Hanoverian, Heck, Heihe, Hirzai, Hispano-Bretón, Holsteiner, Icelandic, Indian Half-Bred, Iomud, Irish Draught, Italian Heavy Draft, Italian Trotter, Jaca Navarra, Jutland, Kabarda, Kaimanawa horses, Karabair, Kathiawari, Kazakh Horse, Kiger Mustang, Kinsky, Kisber Felver, Kladruber, Knabstrupper, Konik, Kustanair, Latvian, Lipizzaner, Lokai, Losino, Lusitano, Malopolski, Mallorquín, Mangalarga, Maremmano, Marismeño, Marwari, Mecklenburger, Menorquín, Mérens, Messara, Monchina, Mongolian Horse, Monterufolino, Morab, Morgan, Moyle, Murakoz, Muräkozi, Murgese, Mustang, Nangchen, Nez Perce Horse, Nivernais, Nokota, Nonius, Norman Cob, Novokirghiz, Oldenburg, Oldenburger, Orlov trotter, Pampa, Paso Fino, Pentro, Percheron, Persano, Peruvian Paso, Pintabian, Pleven, Qatgani, Quarab, Racking, Retuerta, Rhinelander, Riwoche, Russian Don, Russian Trotter, Salerno, Samolaco, San Fratello, Sarcidano, Schleswig, Sella Italiano, Selle Français, Shagya Arabian, Shire, Silesian, Sorraia, Sokolsky, Soviet Heavy Draft, Spanish Mustang, Spanish-Norman, Spotted Saddle, Standardbred, Suffolk Punch, Svensk Kallblodstravare, Swedish Ardennes, Swiss Warmblood, Taishuh, Tawleed, Tersk, Thoroughbred, Tiger Horse, Tolfetano, Tori, Trait Du Nord, Trakehner, Unmol Horse, Uzunyayla, Vlaamperd, Waler, Walkaloosa, Warlander, Westphalian, Wielkopolski, Xilingol, Yakutian, Yili, Yonaguni, Zweibrücker, and Žemaitukas. This is far from a comprehensive list, but you presumably get the idea.

Horse owners thus have at their disposal a wide array of specific terminology that can be used to present themselves as a member of this select fraternity—a sort of verbal secret handshake to suggest that they’re in the know and that they belong.

Of course, a thoughtful, informed answer isn’t your only option:

Your horse-owning neighbor, who you’re meeting for the very first time: Oooh, your wife has a horse? What kind?
You: [after a pause lasting roughly eighty-three seconds] . . . brown?

Even if you almost immediately change your answer to the correct one,3 rest assured that you’ve given an embarrassing, albeit accurate, impression about your horse-related stupidity.

If it’s any consolation, though, when it comes to stupidity, you’re still well ahead of many members of the animal kingdom.

The Horse, Exhibit D: The brain at work.4


1. Or “city folk,” as they may not be called anywhere outside of movies and television.
2. It’s less scary if the horses aren’t panicked and running, and are paying attention to where your feet are. Or so we’ve been told.
3. “Brown and fat.” Also acceptable: “Arabian.”
4. Please note that we do not claim that this photo is funny in any way; we use it merely to illustrate that horses are not necessarily all that bright, at least compared to animals that don’t get their heads stuck in things. And if you happen to find it funny, well, there’s nothing we can do to stop you, but you’re probably a bad person.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bad Lip Reading: NFL

We don’t take any credit for this, but we wish we could. It’s best to watch this at full-screen size if you have the option.

Presumably these folks have other similar videos at their website. We recommend you go there and watch the crap out of a lot of their videos. This little recommendation is our way of justifying posting this video here as if we had anything to do with it at all.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Are You Stupid? A Conclusive Test

If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re stupid, don’t worry—you probably are. But if you refuse to be convinced without tangible proof, then today is your day! The following two-step test can prove, beyond a doubt, that you’re stupid.

Sadly, it cannot prove conclusively that you’re not stupid, but consider the source of the test—how on Earth would we know how to test for actual intelligence? What do we look like, Norman Einstein?1

We asked around, and have learned that no, we do not look like Norman Einstein. So without further ado, here’s the test:

The Test

Question 1

You are a new homeowner, and in the process of replacing burned-out lightbulbs, you discover that nearly all of the outdoor recessed light sockets are filled with large wasps’ nests. To get the wasps’ nest out of these sockets, do you:

(a) shut off the electricity to any and all sockets to be accessed
(b) shut off the what to the what?

Following step 1 (above), do you:

(a) remove the wasps’ nests using any one of dozens or even hundreds of common and easily accessible household items that conduct electricity poorly or not at all—including but not limited to dowels, pool cues, plunger handles, broomsticks, remote control devices, chopsticks, matches, bamboo knitting needles, wooden salad spoons, or basically anything that isn’t a big fat metal screwdriver.
(b) use a big fat metal screwdriver and start stabbing wildly overhead into an electrical socket while standing on a wobbly dining-room chair placed on an uneven surface. In the wind.

If you answered (a) to either or both of these questions, congratulations! It’s possible you’re not stupid, but further testing is necessary.

If you chose any other answers, congratulations! You are stupid.2 But don’t lose heart, dummy—even in these trying financial times, when banks are tight with their money and very picky about to whom they lend it, stupid people very much like you can and still do qualify to be homeowners. In other good news, you’re welcome to join us at our place; we have plenty of work to be done and many different kinds of screwdrivers.

Stay tuned to this space for tips on how to re-wire a GFCI outlet, and after that for tips on how to process a fire-insurance claim.

1. Special thanks to Joe Theismann, who may or may not have ever said “The word ‘genius’ isn't applicable in football. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”
2. This is all true, although we feel obligated to point out to our worried readers that that we did not, in fact, stab a screwdriver into a live electrical socket and electrocute ourselves to death, or even just a little. We’re stupid, not uncoordinated.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Signs of Hope from the Arab World

While this is definitely not news—the article below is almost eight months old—we’re posting it now because we’re starting off a brand new year, and for some reason we’re feeling optimistic about the state of the world at the moment.

In case your vision isn’t too good, or your browser doesn’t allow you to zoom in on (and you haven’t thought to click on the link above), the meat of the article is here:

Despite our differences and occasional mindless hatred, if people of different races and creeds really do agree that dick jokes are funny, then there’s hope that we can eventually sort the rest of it out.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Today we Salute an Unsung Hero of Typography

Thanks, unknown Comic Sans detractor, for your willingness to keep fighting what is almost certainly a losing battle. We salute you.