Cheerful Interlude (with flying fish)
Posted 2 Days Ago
No, let us NOT discuss last night's 'debate'. I mean it.
Let's not worry about global warming, or the nuclear arsenal, or whether there are aliens hiding on the moon.
Let us forget about the fact that Doglet is banned from Main Street until next Tuesday.
Let us instead enjoy this exuberant bit from John Oliver, the most welcome British import since...well, ever. Oliver does a brilliant job of deconstructing life in these United States. I just stumbled across this bravura performance involving a salmon cannon, which apparently is really a Thing.
Wait until your boss is out of earshot. And kids: Oliver is British, so of course he cusses. A lot. It's all in fun, but it makes him unsafe for US schoolkids. (We don't want to encourage them, they do it enough already.)
An interesting titbit I learned about John Oliver last week: his wife is a US Army Iraq veteran, a medic. They met at the Republican National Convention a few elections back. Republican security people were hot on the tail of Oliver and other mischief-makers from 'The Daily Show', and the veterans' group hid them. That paints a picture.
Presidential Election Info: A List of ALL the Candidates
Posted 5 Days Ago
Are you interested in the US presidential election? No? You aren't alone. It's too painful to think about, kind of like when the Whig Party collapsed back in the 1840s...
Anyway, you might enjoy this. Stephen Colbert pointed out last night that so far, 1928 candidates for president are registered. Not all of them will appear on your ballots if you're a US voter. You can see a list of the write-in candidates at the link below. (I searched hard for it.)
As you can see, there are five Smiths and five Joneses, and three Williamses. There are candidates who are left-wing, right-wing, and somewhere outside the solar system. They are black, white, Eastern European, Jewish (two Schwartzes, though no guess as to Jew or Gentile), Hispanic, French, German, Hungarian, Irish...in short, quite a representative sample of the North American population. None has a chance of election, of course, but participation is probably the point.
If you click on the Socialist Party (Emidio Soltysik), you'll find really productive suggestions for improving things. Who knew the Netherlands were clever enough to solve the problem of finding helpers at old age homes? They just offer students free housing in return for companion chores...brilliant. (Would any of these Netherlands planners like to come and work on US domestic policy?)
The extra links are cool, too. You want to see some old TV adverts for presidential candidates? This website has them archived all the way back to 1952.
'I Like Ike' is pretty funny. Jimmy Carter in a peanut field is also highly entertaining. Watch the professional actor telling us all why nobody should vote for Barry Goldwater (Johnson, 1964). That is the least strident attack ad you've ever seen. And a good acting exercise. I recall how worried some people were back then about giving that candidate a 'nuclear football'. Where is that actor now? We need him...
Share and enjoy. Never say I don't have your best interests at heart.
This has been an unpaid, apolitical announcement. No candidate approves this message.
Joy on My Youtube: Slavoj Zizek Explains Donald Trump
Posted 4 Weeks Ago
No, this isn't normal discourse. You want normal, go help Pastey find a film to show at the brewery. Normality won't help us this year.
This is abnormal wit and insight, from the genius cultural critic from Ljubljana with the permanently itchy nose - the brilliant Slavoj Zizek.
His t-shirt says, 'I would prefer not to.' Is he advocating the Bartleby approach to the current set of crises? 'Just say no' to the dissolution of Western Civilisation by democratic means?
As usual, he's unique. Only Slavoj Zizek would look at Donald Trump and immediately think of Luis Bunuel....
His notion that the Left now owns civilised discourse is an interesting one. Zizek invokes Hegel (who else?) and his concept of 'Sittlichkeit', the idea that an ethical order holds society together at one level. Zizek thinks the radical Right threaten that. He points out that in contrast to the 1960s, when radical progressives would often shock people by their speech and actions, today the shock comes from the speech and behaviour of those who fight against social progress.
As always, Slavoj Zizek is a joy to listen to. It's like finding the only sane person in the room - and I love the t-shirt.
Freebie Tip: Funny People in Canada, Mocking the US
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
I've just watched a quite good show hosted by John Oliver a few years ago, called 'Decline of the American Empire'. Rather sensibly, they filmed it in Montreal for a Canadian audience. It was probably safer than doing it in New York City.
That's the first segment. If Youtube behaves itself, you should get the other four segments naturally.
The jokes are funny, and won't insult your intelligence. Some of the Brit jokes are pretty good, too - like the Irish American comic's explanation of the British Empire. That comes near the end.
Political humour should do two things, in my opinion: make you laugh, and make you think. This does both without making you want to go out and start an argument with anyone else.
Oh, and by the way: we thank the UK for sending us John Oliver. He's a blessing these days, and I'm counting on him to explain such complex international figures as Erdogan:
Stay to the end of that one - Oliver refuses ever to discuss Turkish politics without showing that rodeo clip.
Anyway, enjoy your weekend!
Have You Listened to Any Time Travellers Today?
Posted 5 Weeks Ago
Remember, Robbie's on the radio today with Douglas Adams in the series 'Unforgettable'. Here's the link:
It's a kind of magical time-travel act in which Robbie has a conversation with DNA via recordings in the BBC archives. I am in awe, and a little sad that the two friends can't have that conversation, right now, for real.
Since we watched the movie 'Dimensions' last night, I've been thinking of time travel a lot... That movie's a must-watch, by the way. A different (and philosophically intriguing) take on the idea of time travel.
Warning: the 'time machine' probably didn't break the budget.)
If you have any time travel experiences this week, let us know. (And take pics, like FWR's doing. He's already done two crazy things with a hat I knitted.)