Welcome to "Random facts of no particular relevance." In this series I will regale you with…random facts of no particular relevance. If, however, you ever rely upon one of these facts to win money on a game show I am entitled to 10% off the top. That's pre-tax. On the other hand, you may use these to achieve mastery of bar trivia free of charge.

The peace symbol is based on semaphore. Yes, that thing with the flags. The symbol combines the semaphore letters "N" and "D" which is an abbreviation of "Nuclear disarmament."

You're welcome.


One of the good things about traveling is being exposed to the inevitable Fox News broadcast in the lobby during breakfast. I'm convinced that about a third of Fox's ratings "audience" is derived from bars, hotels, and retail establishments required, either by contract or courtesy of the ideological biases of the proprietor, to broadcast its unique brand of reality to helpless customers. Given that I was in South Carolina, the odds of watching something other than Fox and Friends during breakfast were about as good as my odds of winning Powerball.

Fox and Friends is special. If you've ever wanted to watch three spray-tan mannequins with gummy worm lips exchange "witty" "banter" about Hannity's talking points for the day, this is as close as you're going to get. Unsurprisingly, their deep concern for free speech and the tone of our public discourse was piqued by the recent incident at UC-Irvine in which Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was shouted down by the Muslim Student Union. What a bunch of uncivilized brown people. Can you imagine such behavior in a public forum?

I mean, aside from the people Fox has been hailing as the Great Patriots of America for the last year.

The best job in Rupert Murdoch's media empire has to be the Guy Who Rationalizes Obvious Hypocrisy. I mean, even the average shit-for-brains who watches Fox and Friends and listens to Neal Boortz is going to have some cognitive dissonance (despite being unable to spell or define either of those words). Either interrupting a public speaker by screaming at them is Patriotic or it is undemocratic and reprehensible. Can someone please rationalize how this is acceptable behavior among some (white) people and not among other (dark) people?

Hellz yeah we can.

"In the past year, Ambassador, we've seen a lot of, 'vocal' meetings with the town halls and the Tea Parties and stuff like that. That, that's spontaneous. You know. Whereas this, it appears as if…the Muslim Student Union out there, they had coordinated it."

So that's it. If it's "spontaneous" – i.e. if you have absolutely no control over your emotions and can't help lashing out in murderously uninformed rage at anyone who says something with which you disagree – you're golden. If said interruption is planned or coordinated in advance you're the enemy of free speech. Good thing teabagger meetings are neither planned nor coordinated in advance, nor are any agreed-upon talking points disseminated among a group of people who couldn't possibly construct their own ideas.

Thanks, Fox and Friends. You made what passes for breakfast at a Hampton Inn in Conway, SC downright nutritious, at least for my brain. No word yet from the Friends on that other "controversy" from the UC system. Funny, that.