Sep 29, 2013

Defcom, defcom (Maud)

This chainmail joke has made the rounds at least three times --- that's the number of times we received it, Maud was the last to send it. It's perhaps a bit dated now with the tension over Syria easing, but was composed by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. It's not necessarily his best joke but Cleese's so good, even his routine jokes are still worth it. So lets kill it, the joke, by trying to explain.


John Cleese

It starts thus:

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent events in Syria and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.” The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

Why is this paragraph funny? Well, because, (a) it reinforces common prejudice about the English as understated and stiff-upperlipped people (most jokes derive their fun from prejudice), (b) it reaches its aim by displacing the hierarchy of defcoms alert levels with a more fundamental ordering on the (purported) English character. 

We've created a schema for fun. Whom else is around to apply it to? Let's start nearby, one step at a time. The Scots, right:

Sep 28, 2013

"Always the same" --- reblogged (Lokfire)

From Lokfire's brilliant site Hollywood hates me, here's another reblog:

Lately, I've noticed a local business has a sign on their marquee that says: "Always the Same." I think it's supposed to be reassuring, but I find it rather depressing.

Look, I know nothing wonderful is ever going to happen to me, but do you have to rub it in?
Look, I know nothing wonderful is ever going to happen to me, but do you have to rub it in?

Sep 27, 2013

Freedom Fries --- Chapter 4, Part I ("We didn't keep America safe")

Previously, George W. Bush has retired, and a change of heart. Events ensue, involving John Yoo, professor at Berkeley law school and author of the infamous torture memos of the Bush administration, Pamela Nachtrieb Timbers, dean of said law school, George Lukacs, who was Pamela's lover in the distant past and has invented hedge funds in the meantime, a certain President Hu, another of Pamela's (very former) lovers, and Samuel Fisher, Founder of LYNX, a TV network of fair and balanced repute (who was never Pamela's lover and possibly never will be because he's gay). Fisher isn't happy with the ratings and experiments with new people meters that measure a TV-audience's reaction by telepathic means. 

Pamela wants to get rid of Yoo, and Lukacs has promised to help. But for now, we are back at Chapel Hill, Bush's farm, where the change of heart continues. 


Laura studies the mirror next to the fridge. She had just dismissed George for getting into another tussle with the silverware. He had offered to help with the dishes, and she had turned him down again, but he had insisted this time and followed her to the kitchen and started to load the dishwasher. She persisted, he persisted. She had won, however.

Chapel Hill, G.W. Bush's  farm in Crawford, Texas
Ninety percent of Americans marry at least once, and twenty percent of all marriages are distressed at any point in time, statistically. Ours isn’t distressed, statistically, she thinks. Not at all, it’s not going downhill. Texas is flat.

What are the signs? You know what the signs are. Well, she had always corrected his malapropisms and his grammar, even during their engagement period, and Doubya had always gleefully accepted her advice — not that it made any difference, but still. Yes, she has monitored his email correspondence lately, and Doubya had, in fact, ordered a luxury edition of Darwin’s Origin of Species, and, yes, she was concerned. Not that she has any problem with evolution herself, but why Darwin now? Well, it’s only a luxury edition, perhaps it’s meant as a practical joke for the coffee table. Doubya’s grin, it could be so sweet. Darwin as a pocket book would be more serious. But he had also ordered a set of magnetic poetry for the fridge. He had always been proud of not being a poet. Leaving messages on the fridge? What kind of messages?

Sep 24, 2013

Poolside visit

Not a walking stick (around 15:30 today)

Update: we sent the link of this post to a few friends with a mistaken allsion to walking sticks. Our friend Jacki (last post) from Arizona reacted vividly, pointing out in various ways, eg. by sending the pictures below, that ours is really, really, a praying mantis, and nothing else.

praying mantis

walking stick
You see how the walking stick looks much more like a walking stick than a praying mantis (could ever look like a walking stick)?

We apologize for any offense caused, or taken.

Sep 22, 2013

Libber-Ace

The book “Behind the candelabra: My life with Liberace” appeared in 1988 and had a good title and a co-author. The movie-idea came to Steven Häagen-Dasz in 2000 during the production of his best movie, Traffic, which also uses Michael Douglas. It took Soderbergh (right, that’s the name), it took him so long because he couldn’t quite figure out “an angle that would differentiate it from a traditional biopic” (according to his own testimony (Wikipedia)). Well, he didn't, or hasn't. This is a traditional biopic with a very traditional story of a very young man being picked up by a very famous one. There is love of some kind (also sex, at one point 4 times per day); there are euphoria, disappointments, drugs, rock-n-roll --- no, actually not, there’s no rock-n-roll because the very famous man is an entertainment pianist from the lounge-lizard school of entertainment pianists --- but there is strife and separation, followed by animosity and reconciliation right before Lee (that’s apparently Liberace’s first name, I always wondered) is carried off by AIDS. AIDS's a kikker for this story, the pianist's HIV-induced death rounds out the plot nicely.

Liberace and Scott Thorson (Damon's character)