This video is in German, but you’ll enjoy it whether you speak German or not.

I hope you enjoy your time with the barber, barmaid, and barbarians at Barbara’s bar.

Getting old: a very brief anecdote


I overheard this conversation in a restaurant a while back. It is very brief, and pretty much perfect the way it is.

I was finishing my mixed-green salad with balsamic dressing when I overheard the waiter speaking to some older people at the next table. “I don’t need to write the orders down,” he said. “They just sort of soak into my head. I go over to the register, and they all come back to me like magic.”

“Good for you,” one of the women said. “Wait until you get older. Sometimes I walk into the kitchen and can’t remember what I wanted to do.”

“Big deal!” the man next to her said. “Sometimes I walk into the bathroom and can’t remember what I wanted to do.”


For Thanksgiving 2012: Adam Sandler sings “The Thanksgiving Song”


This is an old favorite. I think he sings it differently every time; I don’t remember the part about his brother and the baby oil. Also, the annotator here misspelled “Cheryl Tiegs.”

But who cares?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Church of the SubGenius


I am pleased to say that I own a tattered first-edition (paperback) copy of “The Book of the SubGenius.”



This is a bunch of stories / collages / imaginings created in the 1970s and 1980s by a group of creative nuts who made up their own religion using 1950s advertising iconography, UFO lore, some William Blake, some Star Trek, a dash of H. P. Lovecraft, and lots of memories of Sunday School.



It’s impossible to explain their theology. Let it suffice to say that their messiah is a grinning pipe-smoker named J. R. “Bob” Dobbs, who appears as the daddy in every 1950s print ad (see the above image for an example). “Bob” was sent to warn us against the coming Weird Times. According to SubGenius belief, the world is a bad experiment created by a renegade entity called Jehovah-1, or Ra, or Wotan; we’re expecting some aliens called the Xists anytime now (actually, they were supposed to arrive in 1998).



The creepy thing about this book is that some of their lunatic comedy prophecies actually came true. They predicted global warming, and the fall of the USSR. They also predicted that, in the early 1990s, teenagers would begin wearing broomsticks up their asses, so they didn’t get everything right.



One of my favorite SubGenius concepts was the ShorDurPerSav: the Short Duration Personal Savior. If you ever encounter someone (or something) you like, that person / thing becomes your ShorDurPerSav. It can be a bowl of ice cream; it can be a friendly dog. I feel no shame in telling you that I have adopted this concept into my life. The cute little UPS man can be my ShorDurPerSav for five minutes, before I move on to something else.



I also like the titles the SubGenii made up for themselves: HellSwami, Rev. Dr. Dr. Pope, BurnMartyr, Dominatrix. (And I haven’t even mentioned the magical drug Habafropzipulops, or the Fightin’ Jesus, or the plant-based Xist computer MWOWM.)



I’m not a SubGenius myself. But maybe I should convert.


No one thinks old people are funny


Apollonia and I were laughing ourselves sick the other day, trying to remember that stupid song that Strawberry Alarm Clock sang back in the 1960s.  “O god,” she croaked.  “I just thought of another one.  Remember Question Mark and the Mysterians?”



“O god,” I groaned.  “What did they sing?”



She Googled it quick as a flash. “’96 Tears,’” she said, and we began hooting with laughter again.  I started to sing: “’I’m gonna cry, cry-cry-cry – “



Suddenly Apollonia stopped laughing and became almost solemn.  “Have you noticed,” she said, “that we just kill one another?”



“No kidding,” I said, wiping tears of laughter from my eyes. “We’re both hysterical.”



“And have you noticed,” she said, “that no one else laughs when we tell our little amusing stories?  Everyone gets very quiet.  They wait for us to calm down.”



“So they don’t get the jokes,” I said. “To hell with them.”  (Actually I didn’t say “To hell with them.”  I was far ruder, if you see what I mean.)



She smiled.  “Yeah,” she said.  “To hell with them.”  (She also used the ruder expression.)



It’s a privilege you gain as you get older: the right to laugh yourself silly over stupid things that kids just don’t understand.  They just haven’t lived long enough.



They’ll figure it out, if they live long enough.



In the meantime: to hell with them!



For Sunday: a morose Danish take on Donald Duck (not for kids! NFSW!)


Maybe you’ve read some of the Stieg Larsson books about that tattooed girl who kills bad people. Maybe you’ve seen “The Killing,” with its quiet Danish take on murder.



So: do you picture Scandinavians as morose neo-Nazi drug-dealing murderers?



Okay.  Then this video is for you.



This video is by a Danish comedy group.  It’s Donald Duck and his nephews, and Daisy, and Goofy, and Uncle Scrooge, as you’ve never seen them.  Just so you know: it’s definitely not for kids, and NSFW.








For Sunday: “The Spring,” sung by Anna Russell


Yes, I know, I missed the Vernal Equinox the other day.  Don’t freak out!  Today (March 25) is the traditional New Year’s Day in England and Wales (until 1751, anyway).  And you Tolkien fans know that a certain hobbit and a certain Gollum were struggling on a precipice within the vaults of Mount Doom on March 25 too.  (Why do you think Tolkien chose that particular date? Duh!)



I don’t know if you’re familiar with Anna Russell.  She was a perfectly wonderful comedienne (she passed away, sadly, in 2006), a trained singer who did hysterical routines in which she sang and played the piano and commented on art and politics and society in this wonderful Margaret Dumont country-club voice. 



Here is one of her imitation-English folk songs: “Oh How I Love The Spring.”



Enjoy it.


04_I_Love_the_Spring_for_voice_&_piano_[Live].mp3 Listen on Posterous



For Presidents’ Day: “Mark Twain as a Presidential Candidate”


This little gem from the Library of America came along in my email yesterday morning, just in time for the Presidents’ Day holiday.  I have to admit that Mark Twain is not my favorite writer, but this piece is pretty funny; it is brief, and savage, and it has not aged a bit since it was written in 1879.




I have pretty much made up my mind to run for President. What the country wants is a candidate who cannot be injured by investigation of his past history, so that the enemies of the party will be unable to rake up anything against him that nobody ever heard of before. If you know the worst about a candidate, to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated. Now I am going to enter the field with an open record. I am going to own up in advance to all the wickedness I have done, and if any Congressional committee is disposed to prowl around my biography in the hope of discovering any dark and deadly deed that I have secreted, why—let it prowl.




In the first place, I admit that I treed a rheumatic grandfather of mine in the winter of 1850. He was old and inexpert in climbing trees, but with the heartless brutality that is char­acteristic of me I ran him out of the front door in his night-shirt at the point of a shotgun, and caused him to bowl up a maple tree, where he remained all night, while I emptied shot into his legs. I did this because he snored. I will do it again if I ever have another grandfather. I am as inhuman now as I was in 1850. I candidly acknowledge that I ran away at the battle of Gettysburg. My friends have tried to smooth over this fact by asserting that I did so for the purpose of imitating Wash­ington, who went into the woods at Valley Forge for the purpose of saying his prayers. It was a miserable subterfuge. I struck out in a straight line for the Tropic of Cancer because I was scared. I wanted my country saved, but I preferred to have somebody else save it. I entertain that preference yet. If the bubble reputation can be obtained only at the cannon’s mouth, I am willing to go there for it, provided the cannon is empty. If it is loaded my immortal and inflexible purpose is to get over the fence and go home. My invariable practice in war has been to bring out of every fight two-thirds more men than when I went in. This seems to me to be Napoleonic in its grandeur.



My financial views are of the most decided character, but they are not likely, perhaps, to increase my popularity with the advocates of inflation. I do not insist upon the special supremacy of rag money or hard money. The great funda­mental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get.



The rumor that I buried a dead aunt under my grapevine was correct. The vine needed fertilizing, my aunt had to be buried, and I dedicated her to this high purpose. Does that unfit me for the Presidency? The Constitution of our country does not say so. No other citizen was ever considered unworthy of this office because he enriched his grapevines with his dead relatives. Why should I be selected as the first victim of an absurd prejudice?



I admit also that I am not a friend of the poor man. I regard the poor man, in his present condition, as so much wasted raw material. Cut up and properly canned, he might be made useful to fatten the natives of the cannibal islands and to improve our export trade with that region. I shall recom­mend legislation upon the subject in my first message. My campaign cry will be: “Desiccate the poor workingman; stuff him into sausages.”



These are about the worst parts of my record. On them I come before the country. If my country don’t want me, I will go back again. But I recommend myself as a safe man—a man who starts from the basis of total depravity and proposes to be fiendish to the last.



Bloomsday blog: James Joyce and Samuel Beckett play pitch ‘n putt


My friend Bill Walsh, a real Joyce scholar, introduced me to this video. It never fails to give me a laugh and tear.



Joyce and Beckett!



“Yes.  I’ll play.”



Happy Bloomsday.







Flag Day blog: Flags Of The World


I really have nothing to add about the following video.



Except that it involves flags.



Happy Flag Day!







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