My friend Dan Conover made this 7-minute video some time back, but I only just found out about it. It’s genius.
My friend Dan Conover made this 7-minute video some time back, but I only just found out about it. It’s genius.
So: There once was this British TV comedy called “Allo, Allo.” It was about people in a town in occupied France during World War II. (Yes, I said “comedy.” Apparently it was a much better execution of the “Hogan’s Heroes” concept.) The show’s run ended in 1992 (although I hear you might be able to find it on Netflix), so it’s not of recent vintage. The characters included a French cafe owner, a German general and his gay adjutant, a Gestapo officer and a couple of other folks. And one of the recurring plotlines had to do with a painting that Hitler desperately wanted to own that the Resistance was trying hard to keep from him. The painting, which was never actually shown on the show except from behind, was by an artist named Van Klomp. It was officially called “The Fallen Madonna” and known to those who had actually seen it as “The Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies.”
Now, speaking of Nazis and art, this week we learned this:
A cache of 1,500 works of art — including masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse and Chagall — confiscated by the Nazis and missing for more than 70 years has been found in Germany, according to German media reports.
The huge haul of paintings, estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, was discovered in an apartment in Munich in the spring of 2011 during a raid by Bavarian tax authorities, but its existence has only just come to light with an article in the German news magazine Focus.
The collection is said to include works by Modernist masters Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Franz Marc, Max Beckmann, Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, many of which had been believed destroyed during World War II.
That’s the CNN version of the story, and obviously this was big news in Germany, but it was big news in England as well — not least because the topic of art purloined from other cultures is still a live and touchy subject there. So we have reports from the Telegraph …
… and from the Guardian:
There’ll always be an England.
… courtesy of Juanita Jean, who, if she keeps up, is going to start getting mentioned in the same breath with Molly Ivins:
With Jon Stewart gone for the summer, Fox News has stepped up to fill the humor void.
This week, they had on an “expert” doctor who explained that gender bias in health care costs is not only legitimate, it is fair. He said that women should have high health care costs because we have ta-tas, ovaries, and all manner of mysterious stuff going on inside us.
Men don’t have that messy stuff. Men “only have the prostate,” he said. Well, that does kinda explain why they are so freekin’ stupid. You know, lacking a brain and all. They are just one giant prostate walking around wearing socks with sandals.
I don’t know about you, but I find this notion even funnier than the giant, inflamed gall bladder walking around that I dreamed about last week while under the influence of Percocet and Trazadone after having my own gall bladder removed. And now that I’m healing up, that’s pretty damn funny.
At one point this morning, my cell-phone clock was five minutes behind my office computer clock, which in turn was six minutes behind my office phone clock. Each of these devices is part of an Internet-connected network, so they should, at least in theory, be running on more or less the same time. Certainly there shouldn’t be an 11-minute spread. That’s enough of a spread for mischief to happen. And I am not in the mood today for mischief (at least, not of my own making). So attention, all electronic devices: Get your lies straight. There is no room in my calendar this week for addressing a rift in the space-time continuum, even if I use that rift to try to do so.
A documentary, “Dear Mr. Watterson,” has been made about the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. C&H has to be among the top five comic strips ever drawn, and when Watterson quit, he, like Jim Brown and Barry Sanders in the NFL, went out prematurely and on top. Moreover, he never licensed his characters, meaning that the literally millions of Americans who would buy “Calvin & Hobbes” t-shirts, coffee mugs, whatever (and I’m one of them) never got to give Watterson their money.
Scheduled release date for “Dear Mr. Watterson,” theatrical and video-on-demand, is Nov. 15.
My friend and former co-worker Andy Duncan, about whom I’ve written a time or two, is what those of us who write for a living call a real writer. I mean, yeah, we’re good enough to put food on our tables with writing in some form or fashion, but we also stare at the work of Andy and writers like him, shake our heads, and mutter, “Daaaaaamn …” Writing is a craft, and a lot of people without any special gifts can become, like me, good, workmanlike writers. Lots of writing and rewriting for 30 years, with some decent editing along the way, can, indeed, allow you to wake up one day at the age of 50 and say to yourself, “Why, yes, I am a writer.” But as far as hard work can take you, you also need a gift to break the surly bonds of Earth and go out into space, where the stars and the nebulae lie.
Andy works as hard at his writing as anyone I know, and harder than most. So do I, for that matter. But Andy has the gift.
Andy’s fiction falls into the general area of sci-fi and fantasy, but much of it is as firmly rooted in the American South and its storytelling traditions as are the work of Faulkner or Agee or O’Connor. When he writes about a blues musician in Hell, Hell is the Mississippi Delta. When he writes a ghost story, it’s set in the Depression-era studios of WBT-AM in Charlotte, with painstaking details that match up with what that studio really was like then. And when an anthology editor got in touch with him once, wondering whether he might have a story on the shelf that involved someone having sex with a ghost, he reported, “I was both proud and ashamed to admit that I had three.”
Six times my friend has been nominated for a Nebula Award, the top prize given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for outstanding work. Six times he was the bridesmaid, not the bride. But 2012 was different: His story “Close Encounters” won the Nebula Award this past weekend for Best Novelette.* What kind of company does that put him in? Well, let’s just say you’ll recognize some of these names even if you’ve never read a sci-fi or fantasy work in your life (and although I’m generally not a fan of the genre, I freely admit that far too many people haven’t). I’ll let him explain the rest of it.
Congratulations, my friend. You are, now and forever, Nebula Award-winning writer Andy Duncan. You’re also a helluva great guy, although they don’t give out cool trophies with astronomical bodies embedded in them for that, more’s the pity.
*A novelette is between 7,500 and 17,499 words. A novella is between 17,500 and 39,999 words. Anything shorter than a novelette is a story. Anything longer than a novella is a novel. You’re welcome.
The Onion spills the beans on history’s greatest cultural fraud: ancient Greek “civilization.” Because these days, if it’s in the Onion, it’s got to be true, right?
Then, boy, have I got a gift for you to give her: The Official Southern Woman of a Certain Age Certificate:
Customizable, printable on a variety of papers or skins, and suitable for framing. You’re welcome.
… spelling version:
(h/t: Mom, who knows a little about grammar and spelling herself)
A little spring-break fun:
Now, in a few minutes, I’m going to sit down and, I hope, watch Davidson win the Southern Conference tournament. After that, I am taking down the Christmas tree. I only wish I were kidding.
ABL at Balloon Juice, back before the last time the world ended:
Why don’t we send all the right-wing, gay-hating, forced birthing, family values hypocrites—you know, the people who don’t deserve it—right on up with Jesus. Then for the genuinely Rapturable, can’t we have them stay here, but, like, give them extra bacon on their sandwiches and free HBO?
I’d be good with that.
Beethoven is (probably) 242 years old today.
Oh, and this, kids, is how you do a flash mob.
… and I might be going to hell for saying this, but this scene is funnier than anything that Andy Griffith and Don Knotts EVER did.
… but sometimes the levels of Stoopid demonstrated by people who REALLY OUGHT TO KNOW BETTER are just so off the charts that mockery is the only sane response.
Exhibit A: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and current irrelevance Victoria Jackson, whose behavior in recent years has been so off the charts that I even briefly suspected that it was the most sophisticated satire in history …
… joined by another fictional irrelevance, Star Wars’ Emperor Palpatine:
But wait! You say that’s not enough Republican butthurt? You say you want MORE?? Well, let Salon.com oblige you with “The 20 Biggest Sore Losers” from last night. And if you’re a real glutton for conservative punishment, you can always don hazmat gear and go wading through the miasma of FreeRepublic.com. (No, I ain’t linking there.)
One other thing: I’m seeing some cautionary communications from conservatives suggesting that Obama has no mandate to do anything. Hmm, well, let’s see. George Bush electoral votes, 2000: 271. George Bush electoral votes 2004: 286. Obama, 2012: 332.
I’d say that at the very least, Obama has a mandate to ignore the wingnut right’s bullshit, press an agenda of jobs, infrastructure investment (including global warming and related environmental issues) and health-care reform, and unleash hell on the obstructionists. That doesn’t come anywhere near the “shred the Constitution” mandate upon which Bush the Lesser embarked in his first term, but, gosh, Obama only got 16% more electoral votes. Inasmuch as he’s black and all, he’d've needed at least 600 electoral votes to claim that kind of mandate.
To probably no one’s surprise, I voted for Obama. But this ad from film director Joss Whedon makes me think maybe that wasn’t such a hot idea.
Don’t ask me how, but this blog is, at least at the moment, the 27th most authoritative on matters related to science out of 12,200 or so blogs registered on Technorati that actually deal with matters related to science.
Well played, Mayans. Well played.
It was a big day for Triangle ACC football yesterday. Carolina whomped Virginia Tech at home for the first time since 1938, Duke won in a blowout (how often so you hear THOSE words during football season), and, to top it off, my brothers’ alma mater, N.C. State, upset No. 3 Florida State 17-16. Naturally, all of Carter-Finley Stadium was rockin’, but there was one State fan who had become an Internet meme before midnight. Here he is, but I’ll warn you: You might want to keep eye bleach handy:
Micks walks president by president through our Commanders in Chief, assessing strengths and weaknesses. (He even gives FDR a motorized wheelchair to help make up for the disadvantage caused by polio.) And I suspect that his Final Three (he calls them the “Holy Trinity”) probably would be mine as well. Amusing aside, re the rather portly William Howard Taft: “Dead early, and his corpse might well be used as a low wall or some sort of artificial hill to lend advantage to his conquerors.”
In the cartoon show “Underdog,” which I watched as a kid, the title character’s alter ego, Shoeshine Boy, would be given a quarter for a shine at the beginning of every episode — and would bite it to make sure it was real.
Apparently, in the ongoing London festivities, this has become a thing.
… when it was far from clear that the Braves would repeat as NL champs, let alone go on to their amazing record of success during the ’90s, Otis Nixon made what might have been the greatest catch in the long history of one of baseball’s oldest franchises.
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. On her Facebook page she posted the following:
Email from conservative blogger, dated July 9, 2012:
Dear Ms. Shultz,
We are doing an expose on journalists in the elite media who socialize with elected officials they are assigned to cover. We have found numerous photos of you with Sen. Sherrod Brown. In one of them, you appear to be hugging him.
Care to comment?
Response, dated July 10, 2012:
Dear Mr. [Name Deleted]:
I am surprised you did not find a photo of me kissing U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown so hard he passes out from lack of oxygen. He’s really cute.
He’s also my husband.
You know that, right?
Schultz goes on to say in the comments on the Facebook post that she basically deleted the writer’s name and withheld the name of his publication because he’s an intern and she wants him to learn the right lessons from this without having his career prematurely ruined. Given the unprofessional tone of the correspondence, if it’d been me, I might not have been so forgiving.
The little old lady from
Pasadena Orlando is finally parking her car:
After 576,000 miles — more than a trip to the moon and back — in the same 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, Rachel Veitch is stepping on the brakes due to age-related macular degeneration in both eyes.
She realized her vision had completely failed her in early March after running a “bald-faced red light,” Veitch told FoxNews.com.
“I am legally blind, so I can no longer drive my lovely Chariot,” she said by phone. “They don’t have to take it away, I would not dream of driving that car again.” …
She credits her near-obsessive dedication to the car as the main reason why it’s spent nearly half a century in her care.
“When I buy gas, I write down the mileage, the date and how many miles per gallon I got,” she told FoxNews.com in 2009. “I’ve never been a destructive person and I’ve just taken care of everything, except my husbands.”
With all the genuinely sad news this week pertaining to race, at least we have some funny-sad news in that arena.
That’s apparently the only rational explanation for the Big Reveal: Obama hugging some guy more than 20 years ago in video that aired on PBS in 2008.
This was supposed to bring down a Presidency? Really?
Some stuff is so stupid that all one can rationally do is mock. I didn’t check, but I’m sure the Farkers were on the case. And before I went to bed, not only was Twitter joining in (@owillis, in particular, made a number of distinguished contributions), but a submeme also had arisen involving mashing up #HugGate with lines from movies. Forthwith, because Samuel L. Jackson is a badass, my humble contribution to the proceedings:
I’m honored that Angry Black Lady made this her Tweet of the Day.
My friend David has figured out a way to get rich the Romney way. I am in awe:
Based on the two main things I have learned from Mitt Romney as a bishop in the Mormon church and CEO of Bain Capital, I have stumbled on a sure fire, high profit business model. A paradigm shift in investment grade financial instruments which can make us all filthy rich, but will NOT damage the environment, or break any existing laws.
My plan is simple:
We sell Mormon souls to the devil.
Hey, I know what your first question is going to be, “But David, you can’t sell someone else’s soul to the Prince of Darkness.” Silly commie liberal, you don’t understand the business concept of “leverage” or other modern investment strategies like those used by Bain Capital.
You NEVER invest your OWN money in a business venture, you invest OTHER PEOPLE’S money.
In this case, why sell our own souls, when we can sell other people’s souls?
Of course, anything that can be monetized also can be collateralized, and such financial instruments must be rated for investors. David’s way ahead of you: “Obviously souls of politicians and Mormon Elders would not be investment grade.”
If S&P or Moody’s were rating them, I bet they would be treated as investment grade, but I think the regulatory authorities in this field have many more teeth than does the SEC. Not to mention claws.