"Elias Nebula is practicing Japanese but no one knows."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

"Two Score of Jests" / "Vale"

My Final "Jests"

1. "Entertainment Crackers"

Crackers that are so nice they are called "entertainment crackers." 

Perhaps you have heard of them. 
I think that their reputation rather proceeds them. 
They are opposed to their confreres in the biscuit tin, the miserable "water cracker" -- so named because it tastes like water. 
"Bread and water." 
They should call them prisonhouse crackers. 
Poorhouse crackers.
Penitentiary crackers. 

2. I misremembered the name of the dog from Downton Abbey. I called her "Ibis" ("Ibex") when her name is "Isis". 


Here endeth my excellent run of jests, which ran rather like that peculiar figure Emerson describes in "Experience" - that "train of moods like a string of beads, and, as we pass through them, they prove to be many-colored lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus."

I do not believe I am being grandiloquent when I make the comparison.
I do not believe I am being pretentious when I make the allusion.
The better-loved, more beautiful beads, it seems, were the least-loved among ye. 
You my readers who it seems pine for chintz and paste trinkets!
Ye came to me to read of Storage Wars, of Market Warriors, even of Dog the Bounty Hunter
My own humble prattle about the daily goings-on in my days when I reflected amicably on life in a district of Brooklyn town seem to have amused few among ye. 
Shall you recoil from me once more if I draw on another figure from the American Renaissance, now recalling the words of Longfellow as I describe my actions?

And the night shall be filled with music,

    And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
    And as silently steal away.

When I published my squibs exclusively in pamphlet form, in the previous century, I used to round off each volume with a vow that the next volume should not be offered to the former subscription list; that I would leave copies only in hedgerows, in huckleberry bushes, in ditches, in dead letter boxes, in drop-points, secreted in the almshouses of Abingdon and the charity shops of Norwich's St. Benedict's Street. The municipal hutches for cats at the top of Long Island; Commercial Street between Box and Clay?

These threats were empty vessels and I'd routinely return, like a drinker from LETHE's waters, to the fray of publishing my own jokes and tirades.

These days I have had the petulance scoured out of me, and instead withdraw my gaming pieces with that sort of playful misanthropy that has become my signature on this site. 

I say, I -- who so gamely threw myself into the "great game" -- I withdraw my dies and counters respectfully from that humiliated bandshell the public arena, and fold myself up, mummy-like, in the shroud of my former showman's tent.

Got metaphors if you want 'em. 

The next time I feel compelled to write a new rumination on the subject of Market Warriors or Top Chef or Chef Race, I might conceivably resume posting my findings somewhere "online" where the mysterious hundreds who read those posts will easily find me again. 

Under what name I shall discourse, I do not say. 

I prefer to ask, what name did Achilles travel under when he went among the women? 

As for the more personal ("bitter, dreary") entries, these shall return to the printed page eventually (sold on the streets of Brooklyn) or they shall perish - as they should - in an old-fashioned diary I have.

That said, I might equally exit, folding my puptent like the Arabs as I goe, with the winking recommendation that you regularly check your local lychgate for chapbooks and "little magazines". 

You never know what you might find in the hawthorn among the huckleberries!

[Unctuous smile.  Exeunt.]

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"George Lucas Says He's Retiring."

George Lucas has announced that he is retiring.

Retiring from what?

"I am retiring from golf and scuba diving and the cocktail hour and thumb-twiddling and also from orchestrating pointless, mindless, endless orgies. I am going to take up the cello."


Maybe George Lucas should retire from trimming his beard in his wonted eccentric style. The combination of the fat multiple chins with that precisely-kept beard creates a dispiriting effect.

"Other People's Favourite TV Shows."

I was watching an old episode of Parking Wars as I ate my lunch. It was an episode I'd seen before but that's okay because Parking Wars rewards the repeat viewer. It's like re-reading Herman Melville.

In the commercial break they had an advert for CSI Miami on DVD.

I thought, "Hard to believe some people sit around like schmucks watching old episodes of CSI Miami -- and yet they do!"

It is quite incredible what people sit around watching on TV after hours.


Speaking of Parking Wars, I asked wife last night, "What do you think the lyrics are to the Parking Wars theme song?" It's an unusual choice for a theme song, but a good one.

I think the lyrics are, "That ain't gonna make it right / That ain't gonna make it all right / That ain't gonna make it all right now." These are the sum of the lyrics.  It is also the only song I can think of that manages to credibly incorporate a "large van or truck-reversing" alarm into the music itself.

The new episodes of Parking Wars have mysteriously moved away from Philadelphia and are now featuring scenes in Staten Island and the Bronx.

The guy from the Bronx who drives a tow-truck that removes cars from private car parks. He said: "Dis tha hood so people think they can park where they like. They wrong today."

He stopped off at his toddler's pre-school and went over to peer into the playground to look for his son. When his son scrambled over, dad started baby-talking at him, "You gonna play Playstation tonight?, gonna play Batman Lego tonight?" He kissed his son through the mesh fencing. Then he turned away and said to the camera cold-blooded: "Next generation of car-towing right there."


Cody on Chef Race: "I am literally walking into a lion's den."

Another episode Cody became tearful and said to his team-mates: "I'm really impressed. Right now you
guys have got so much respect for me." 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fast And Expensive Comments

Last night, on Person of Interest, John Rees dispatched the perp by driving his car into the guy's SUV & knocking it into him.

On Jeopardy, the two new contestants were named Walkenhorst and Lowmaster. Both females. The blonde woman who had dominated for the last week was toppled from her throne. There wasn't anything offensive about her per se, but I was greatly relieved that she was deposed. She seemed to get cockier every day in her little interviews with Alex, after the first break. She was getting to sort of like being on the television. She was kind of adapting horribly to it. Alex, of course, hates it when the contestants try to outshine him and he jealously, peevishly squashes their repartee when it sprouts. He tries to kill their jokes in the very act of birth. It's in his professional interest for the contestants to be stammering dullards with nothing worth saying. Usually they are. So he was happy to see the blonde go too I think.

Lowmaster won. How her reign shall be remembered by future generations, we cannot say.

On Life After Top Chef Mike Isabella shows up each week even though he is not one of the four featured chefs. I presume he was "put out" that he wasn't invited to be one of the featured chefs, so he furiously contrives to turn up at the filming of every episode as if by happenstance, and perfectly naturally wanders into shot.
This week he happened to turn up at Spike Mendelsohn's place on his moped while the cameras were there. "Oh, are you filming? I'll come back. I can go. You want me to stay? Okay I'll stay."
By the way, the title to this show must be ironic, because the overriding message behind this show is that there is no life after Top Chef. These fuckers are just diddling about while life goes past!
One day they'll be dead!

Idea for TV Show. Colicchio Versus Colameco: Who'd Win.

The pitch: "Who'd win in the crude, ugly slugfest that would obviously ensue when these two eminent chefs met."

On Chef Race: UK Versus US   Johnnie Mountain continues his inevitable apotheosis into Walter White.

Incidentally, did I not make the point several months ago that Mitt Romney looks like Don Draper? "Katty Kay" made the same point, belatedly, on Charlie Rose the other night, after the debate. I wish you could copyright little super-recognitions like that. There must be a way to make money out of super-recognition but I haven't figured it out yet if there is.

Boring Comics. Anything with the Savage Land or the Shi'Ar in it. That is to say, the X-Men. When Sauron (half-man, half-pteranosaur) flies into the shot it is time for us to retire discreetly. When the Starjammers come running dynamically into a room pointing their ray-guns (as they invariably do) it is time to respectfully retire from that same room -- by a different door -- methinks.

I was re-reading some old issues of Uncanny X-Men from about 1990 and you could almost see, as if  in "real time," the collapse and utter demise of Chris Claremont's writing style into incoherence. It's shocking to behold. He developed this sort of be-bopping free-association stream-of-consciousness that was alarming to the sensitive reader. By the end of his run, when I presume he was forcibly removed from the Marvel offices, he was writing sheer gibberish, talking in tongues. Like Pound with the so-called "China Cantos."

I was listening to Bonny Prince Billy's last album the other day, Wolfroy Goes to Town, hearing it meander blandly into little pockets of awfulness, and I remember thinking, "He's another one." Like Emerson to the Sphinx.

Also boring, the Wolverine story, "Weapon X." What actually happens in this story? It's a protracted surgical procedure with, so far as I can tell, bickering staff. I'd as lief watch Grey's Anatomy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Chef Races Are Here, Who Will Join?"... "Snoopy Tennis"... "Unused Jokers"

"Chef Races Are Here, Who Will Join?"

BBC America has graced us with an "exclusive" show that is on here before it is on in England (or at the same time) (or it ain't even on in England). The program is Chef Race. It has two magic words in it. "Chef" and "Race". How can a TV show with these two words in it fail?

Hard to say -- but they are doing their level best to test the question.

One character on it is Rebecca. Her infectious catchphrase that she says with conviction and undaunted regularity is this: "My name's Rebecca and I'm nineteen years old. There's so many people that fink I'm nineteen and I don't know what I'm doing."
They "fink" she is nineteen -- and they are apparently right.
She is nineteen.

Another character is Johnnie Mountain who you might remember disgraced himself so manfully on The Great British Menu. He has distinguished himself as a madman here already. He seems to be delicately balanced and yet he has thrown himself wholesale into this crass, crude scramble across the United States. I wonder why they don't call it "Authentic Meltdown of a Madman" instead. I wonder why they don't call it "Egg and Spoon Race Across This Fine Republic Of Ours Where The Egg Is a Man And His Head Is Going To Get Hard-Boiled and Cracked Quite Asunder." Suppose Mister MOUNTAIN aims to out-Gordon Gordon in this, the country where Gordon is on television almost constantly.

When Gordon is not on TV it is only because Top Gear or Doctor Who is on instead.

Doctor Who, or as I know it, What The Fuck?

I have known two men in my travels who actually wrote Doctor Who novels. Neither man impressed me with their, let us say, Goethe-like genius.

I must point out that I am not tediously following British reality shows from New York.  I am not yet quite that pathetic. I saw Great British Menu while I was in England earlier this year.

(Incidentally read an online review of this show where the reviewer explained his sole reason for watching the show: "It's on after Eggheads and I watch Eggheads while I have tea. Dreadful admission I know." This says more about the British psyche than perhaps any single sentence yet written.)

Nevertheless there is a peculiar specimen of humanoid in the world that indeed does do this strange thing -- following foreign reality shows by tedious often illegal means. People watch TV shows from across the world (or indeed they don't even watch them, just "follow" and "like" them) and enter into heated discussions of those shows with pen-pals abroad in "chatroom threads".

I was looking online to see what the vox populi said about Gallery Girls one time and I was astonished to find, among the hundreds of vituperative statements calling for the destruction by hanging of the odious CHANTAL CHADWICK, people from Australia were pitching in saying "I haven't actually seen the show but I know the type and I hate them. We have them in the Bungle Bungles too." A mad world, my masters, when people take the time out of their day to pitch in on a television program they haven't even seen.

Similarly there are people from all over the world pitching in their "two penn'orth" on the minutiae of The Amazing Race -- and they live in the unsullied magnificence of rural England. Nevertheless they seem to love to be accepted in the worldwide community.

These people are unusual and unwell and should go far.

"Words With Friends" -- or as I know it, "Mind-Games Against My Enemies."

"Vicious, Conniving Machinations In Abject Opposition to My Foemen"


"Snoopy Tennis"

After the Paralympics ("The Paranormal Laff-A-Lympics") ("Paranoid Olympics"), what is to follow from the English, those champions of the challenged? The English have enjoyed expressing their benevolence as a nation and they don't want to let up now the "Games" are done with. Perhaps now can come a contest between middling and indifferent sportsmen and women. Perhaps I can humbly throw my hat in the ring and enter the Games.
I would like to play Olympic tennis please.
My tennis "game" is poor, even abhorrent, but I want to play Olympic tennis.
Can I please do it.

After this, what.
A sexual tournament in which unpleasant, unattractive men are allowed by the beneficent English public to get laid, with the beautiful women of their choice. The English after all love to be seen to cheer on those who have been shall we say compromised by the Fates who in their cruelty are said to be undaunted.

It's funny because it is said that I grew up in this country England and in my day I don't quite remember it being that way.

"Latest Annoying Trend"

I have noticed recently a worrying trend in etiquette. People are ostentatiously being thankful and humble by  clasping their hands together as if in prayer and waving the praying hands up and down to denote gratitude, heads lowered the while.

I saw cheftestants on Top Chef Masters doing it a lot. Then when GUS FRENG from Breaking Bad was on the Emmys he did it and in an instant ruined a stellar career. (He has only compounded this loathsome gesture and this headlong decline by appearing in the risible new show Revolution). Designers are doing it on the catwalk ("A Comeback Jil Sander's Way," New York Times, 27 September 2012).

Reading it semiotically, it looks as if they are saying "Like me. Accept me in your inner heart as a benevolent person. Let me goe through the tabernacle of your Christianly inner sanctum as an one untrammeled. I love the Paralymoics [sic] and flashmobs and I am humble. Please 'like' and 'follow' me in all my banal misadventures."

This is a new generation for whom Facebook and Twitter are de rigeur -- my generation I regretfully suppose -- and for whom it is perfectly natural and not in the least bit pathetic to actually plead with strangers (or whole communities) to like them. People are concerned with being above all well-liked. They beg: "Like me. Be nice to me. Please don't hit me."

That will be the next thing you can do in social networking. Click a button that says "Please don't hurt me."

"Don't be mean to me."
"Honour my frailties and let me bide in my shortcomings on this day called the Feast of St. Crispian."

FOOLS THEY MAKE ME LIKE TO LAUGH. I for my part have four "followers" and I am quite confident that not one of those four is actually "following" a blessed thing I say.

Me neither.


"Unused Jokers"

A humiliating feature of the host site to this mess ("Blogger") is that it allows me to see the statistics of this weblog. That is, to gauge in ungentle figures just how well-liked I am. Vexing. Humiliating. How many people have looked at which entry. Demoralizing. I feel like the characters on Market Warriors: why don't the public (-- like the uncultured, cheap attendees at an auction in Columbus, Ohio --) appreciate the deserving squibs? Why do so many people read that one entry about Storage Wars which is read by the hundreds? Why are certain Dog the Bounty Hunter entries so popular when others are completely neglected? And why does that flip entry about Sleepy Eyes of Death fare so well?

I shall say nothing here of the poverty of the online criticism of chanbara jidai-geki.

Nobody has looked at the following entries -- or only one or two people, which is pathetic when you see that I ostensibly have a full four people "following" my feuilletons.

FINDINGS OF THE ACADEMY FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR 2012-2013. The texts listed below are underrated and need reevaluation ("reinvigoration") by future scholars. Get 'em while you can because I might just remove them and ritually delete them in a childish purple snit:

"Mysterious Can" (2 September)
"Alain De Boton is Not James Franco" (2 September)
"Stay-At-Home Moms -- And Corpse Mutilation" (30 July)
"Samberg" (30 July)
"Twelve Against Thebes" (25 July)
"Knee Jerk" (15 August 2010).


My new single album. To be sung in the inimitable style of Lou Barlow:

"I Am Not Going to Share My Mac and Cheese With You."


"TV Show Review -- Including a Good Insult To One's Wife"

Wife and I were watching the new crop of shows, trying them out. This required Christianly good patience and right Christly tolerance hitherto unseen. But you see I went among ye as a penitent this day. I had been wrong before; I had written off Hell On Wheels prematurely after seeing one episode of the first season only to discover that the second season was a beaut. So as penance I was trying out the new shows Vegas and Revolution.

Vegas is silly and fatuous and poor but it's okay viewing. "I'd watch it if it was on after Eggheads." Vic Mackey is back, playing himself. (Who else can he play, after all? Hamlet?!) Vic is not convincing as an Italian-American gangster however, which is somewhat regrettable because that's what he is meant to be in this program. Almost as poor as -- well -- almost as poor as casting poor Steve Buscemi as a cut-throat gangster kingpin!

Revolution, meanwhile, is ill-conceived post-apocalyptic cobblers and simply can't be done. The actors are generic (Gus Freng excepted) and the story is cribbed from any number of Marvel or DC titles (Kamandi... Hex...) and from David Mamet's Wilson (id est, my own favourite fantasy: that the internet would crash and the power go out and never be regained.) If this show makes it to the end of the first season without its being pulled, then Pan-Am was Shakespearean must-watch teevee. I was watching it in misery with wife. I said "It's so bad it's revolutionary."

I was perversely insisting on seeing it through to its natural terminus.
Wife goes, "Come on, turn it off. It's an insult to your intelligence."
I shot back, "It's so bad it's an insult to your intelligence."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Werner Herzog Comes Through."

We went back to the scene of our last auto-da-fe, Bryant Park, to once again witness Werner Herzog in fevered conversation with an unknown property, this time a so-called geographer and artist name of Trevor Paglen.

I'd been in the library since before two, working in the Jewish Division. It was freezing in there, since they had the AC cranked up high as it'd go. I emerged into what was probably a balmy evening shivering. Met wife on the steps -- in fact, by the lion who is called "Patience" - and shrilly remarked "Christ - let's go to H&M and buy a jumper."

We went to get a seat in Bryant Park for this free event "under the stars" and there were no good seats close to the stage, although there was everywhere evidence of that dastardly practice of seat saving.

Here is a sight of humanity as it really is rather than how it loves to think it is; craven , vicious, sneaking, conniving. In a word: seat-saving. It is like this when you alight on a bus and everybody it seems is sat on the aisle seat, jealously keeping the window seat vacant. And these are nominally "grown adults". There used to be one bloke on the coach to college, the Wallingford to Henley route,  who did this every morning . We made fun of him.

This day I got in protracted arguments with two people on the subject of seat-saving. I said, "It can't be done." They said, "It can. It is." My first combatant was a leering, jaundiced-looking Spanish female to whom I said, "You cannot save seats in these United States. This land is your land; this land is my land. From California to the New York islands. From the redwood forests--"  She laid out across the seats and defied me to move her. She was full of Zuccotti Park green bile and defiance. I had a great urge to tip her off the seat. She would have me call the police. Shouldn't leave unless it were in chains. I said I would find a friendly gendarme presently and went off, fuming, looking for a higher authority with whom to plead my case.

In Bryant Park you might as well plead with the granite face of the squatting statue of Gertrude Stein for all the good it'll do you.

I shall say little of this undignified to and fro that after all diminishes me.  I got into a further, more protracted ruck with a liberal-arts wealthy hip grandmother-type, Blythe Danner with a colourless pencil-line moustache and bobby-soxer's pony-tail, who was sitting with pursed lips (sucking pensively on her bleached moustache) tapping away at her laptop as I berated her. Pretending to ignore me as I hectored her, sounding for all the world like my father.

"I almost hate to interrupt your blogging," I said. "It seems a genuine shame. It's a loss to the Western Canon. But I know you," I said. "I know you of old." (I resisted the urge here to sing "You Jack of Diamonds") "I say that I know you and I do. You pledge faithfully to NPR and Channel Thirteen. It's sort of a principle with you. You subscribe to the New Yorker and you are a regular at the 92nd Street Y. You simply cannot wait to see Zadie Smith in conversation with Chris Ware. You really are the life-blood of the arts in New York City, and I say that without exaggeration." I don't think I could have been much crueler if I tried (short of mentioning her moustache.)  I saw that I was nevertheless veering off my subject by broadening the critique somewhat.  I ended up perching like a leprechaun on top of the paperback that she had pedantically laid down to save the seat. I said, "There I have sat on your little paperback; now what for us, you and I, grandmother?"

Ha. It all worked out because the person she was saving the seat for phoned her even while I was sitting on the book that stood in so manfully for that person, and said they couldn't make it. There is a moral lesson embedded in this somewhere but it escapes me.

After a while of that gig-goer's delight, the sight of roadies bumbling about the stage while the pre-show tape blares loudly (this time playing Harry Smith-style old-timey backwater plunder), and after an award-winning female poet suffered us to sit through her humdrum Weltanschauung, Trevor Paglen mounted the stage and explained to us with humility and brio and unctuous charm how he was sending a sort of platinum-plated Viewmaster reel of photos up into the satellite ring around the earth, where it is supposed it will represent the Earth's culture to anybody who chances upon it for the rest of eternity.

It was interesting, if inevitably rather willfully Quixotic, but then Werner Herzog loped onto stage and disabused this man Trevor of all confidence he might have ever had in his project.

"Treffor, I don't believe in it," he rumbled, seconds after beginning. "It will never be discovered by aliens." With Teutonic logic he quite briskly proved conclusively that Trevor's project, years in the making, was folly. "It would take a spacecraft from the nearest galaxy hondreds of thousandts hoff yeahrs to penetrate our solar system; they would have to have generation after generation continuing the flight through space, inbreeding each time to produce a new generation of idiots..."

It was a convincing argument, even if I was meekly thinking (a keen reader of Fantastic Four comics) "What if the aliens can teleport by the use of an elementary wormhole?" (Herzog dealt with wormholes later.)

Herzog was on form. I was chary, not only after my last set-to with him at the Library (see previous post), but also having recently seen the extras on the Grizzly Man DVD which includes a deadly-dull documentary about the making of the film's soundtrack, which has such exciting figures as Richard Thompson, Henry Kaiser and Jim O'Rourke twiddling and noodling in a studio.

We see Herzog "sitting in" on the session, getting all sentimental over the female cello player. It even has Herzog wishing aloud that he could play the cello: "I vould giff ten years off my life to master the cello."

"Has this man never read Turgenev's Fathers and Sons?" I thought, in which excellent novel the nihilist Bazarov sneers at "a paterfamilias learning the cello."

On this evening in Bryant Park, however, Herzog was in a refreshingly pithy frame of mind. 

They were having problems with the microphones. As much as they talked, street hubbub from the restaurant nearby and the streets beyond us kept carrying on to the microphones. Herzog had a microphone on his lapel which he could only be heard on if he held his lapel up and lowered his head to it. Moderator Paul Holdengräber kept fretting about Werner's microphone, but Herzog was pithy about it. "I am fine in this strange position, Paul."

After freewheeling through an array of whimsical images that said next to nothing about life on this planet they showed a slide of a Paul Klee daub of an angel which had been ridiculously over-interpreted in purple prose by Walter Benjamin. When Herzog quite rightly laughed savagely at the Benjamin paean ( -- such laughter a blasphemy in Old New York --), the moderator, Paul Holdengräber, blurted out with weird animation that he had spent ten years of his life in the study of Walter Benjamin and his works, during which years he was an active participant in a menage a trois.

I couldn't see the relevance of this unprovoked revelation at all. 

Didn't want to picture the squalor in my young mind. 

Indeed, the audience could be heard to recoil as one, at this unnecessary nugget of "T.M.I.". 

The audience could be heard to think it would be a very good thing if the future alien visitors (but they can never exist!) are spared this particular piece of information about the sex life of  "The Libertine Holdengräber".

Then it was, I think, that we all thought as one: "Isn't it time for this night beneath the stars to pack up and go home? Isn't it time for the stars to go out and the universe to discreetly end?"

On the way home my wife said to me, "Do you think the menage a trois was with two men or two women?"
I said, "I think it was him, the cat and a houseplant."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Righteous Chagrin of the Market Warriors"; Or, "Miller Gaffney Is Unimpressed."

Of all the colourless range of emotions visible everywhere on the many-headed Hydra that is the TEE-VEE, the one perhaps least often evidenced is that of chagrin. This is too refined, too classical, too ubi sunt a feeling for the age.

Shall we see Bruce Jenner or Kim Kardashian look back in sorrowful chagrin before "our" cameras any time soon? Shall we see that ruefulness, that bitter yet intelligent regret pass across the faces of the conniving characters on Gallery Girls? No, chagrin, neo-classical regret and ruefulness are antithetical to the usual crop of reality-teevee shows, whether they are documentary in intent or competitive. Even when the characters on The Amazing Race lose out on the million dollars, when they are cheated and betrayed and fucked over and humiliated at a "detour",  they do not show chagrin. They froth and they seethe and rally their online offensives.

I saw some rare chagrin once on an episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter, when Dog was saying "I have fathered lo these my many children and God said it was right good and I have had to me in my times all these sons, and verily God took me down a notch or several." He was regretting, in Biblical tones, the loss of several of his children.

Dog is a bit like a nineteenth-century rural minister, or even a Colonial type, the Cotton Mather sort for whom the loss of six or seven of your children is simply the norm. That said, Dog's chagrin was sentimental in root, and it inevitably tipped over into broad bathos almost as quickly as it materialised.

An intellectual chagrin, however, of the type expressed by the last cultured denizens of a ransacked culture, I rarely see. This is funny, because the present culture is pretty fucking ransacked! However, on last night's episode of Market Warriors, there was a beautiful and quite stunning record of the culture in pieces and of a modest yet elevated coterie among the ruins, staring gloomily and in awe at the shards about them.

"These my fragments which I have shored against my ruin..."

Market Warriors is a superior (in both senses) reality show along the lines of Storage Wars. You will note the passing resemblance in the titles even. However while Storage Wars in its title and its outlook emphasises the wars themselves, the crude bellicosity, the skirmishing and the cutthroat machinating, the whirr of the axe, the musick of the cudgel, Market Warriors places a more humanistic emphasis on the Warriors themselves -- the mortal participants. It is not a paean to the slavering and unsophisticated god of War.

Perhaps that's cock and bull. Rather, Market Warriors is on Channel Thirteen, and so naturally has a more refined air and tenor. As my mother-in-law said when I naively asked her if she watches Storage Wars, "My dear dear man, I watch Antiques Roadshow. Pass me my snuffbox for I fain would lie doon." It is the difference between the Jacksonian log cabin and the hard cider misspelt Davy Crockett culture and the precious, patrician, John Harvard book-larnt culture of John Quincy Adams.

Market Warriors is made by the same artisanal yeoman-philosopher craftsmen that fashioned the U.S. version of the Antiques Roadshow and so naturally accommodates and indulges the genteel sensiibilities and sensitivities of those patricians who prefer that show. It also features [Antiques Roadshow compere] Mark Walberg as the disembodied voice narrating the goings-on, and in this capacity he gets off some real zingers. I mean boy. His sarcasm, as a disembodied voice, is remarkable to behold. It's as though because he is not visible he can be more cutting and droll than he would be if visible in the throng of an antiques show.

I should note, for foreign readers, that the Mark Walberg I refer to is not the similar-soundingly-named Hollywood film star and former purveyor of white rap Wahlberg, but another man of, incredibly, virtually the same name.

How can such things be?
You'll believe a man can fly.
"Which was the lie?"
"Does the race of man love a lord?"

Mark Walberg nearly made the leap from Channel Thirteen to prime-time teevee ("the very eye of history") a few years back in a show based around members of the public confessing tawdry secrets on live TV to the horror and bemusement of their loved ones. It was a miserable sight to see him crudely whoring for the prime-time greenback. Walberg had betrayed the cause of intellectual television in pursuit of the Hollywood dollar. It was like seeing Thomas Jefferson splayed out in a low bawdy-house. It backfired on him quite badly and the show was cancelled even in these savage times for being too much the inhumane Grand Guignol. Walberg returned, whupped and chastised and neutered and humbled and reformed to the Antiques Roadshow. Yet the disembodied Walberg we hear on Market Warriors happily retains some of that tart, barbed, annihilating negative energy that characterised him on his axed cage-match-hell-show.

To return to my first subject, which was that emotion seen so rarely on teevee (since it involves reflection and regret and quiet sadness and after all intelligence and remorse and humility), chagrin. On Market Warriors the same four characters go around an antique show or flea market or a bazaar and they have a set time and a set "purse" to acquire objects from the fayre. These, the distinguished objects eventually chosen according to the application of the contestants' superior experience and their celebrated breeding, are then auctioned off in another State. The profit, or the loss, is counted up and the winners derived from this totting-up.

Every episode I have seen of this show involves the contestants making massive losses. They pay too much in the first antique shop or flea market and then at the auction (in Cleveland, or Cincinnatti, or Madison Wisconsin) their refined tastes are as unto so many pearls before swine as the ignorant pigs of these rural towns bid mere pennies for they know not what. These grubbing swine are the likes of Mark on Baggage Battles or that swaggering, scrabbling grubber Dave on Storage Wars.  They are the profiters from chaos. They are the riverboatmen on the Styx. They shall prevail as the old men with delicate manners go down, swept under. 

It's a real barbarians-at-the-gate scenario, and it was pronounced this week. They bought in Old Mass and they sold in Ohio. They did fucking poorly. The four contestants are seen in the attached images with this very weblog so you can behold that what I say is verily true. I laughed to see them. There was nothing for them to say; they had complained on previous episodes about the crassness and the obliviousness of the auction attendees. There was no point in repeating themselves. All they could do now was to sit with these unfeigned expressions of despair and wait for Death to come  -- as it will.

I have never seen such expressions on television ever. They are so pure and unadulterated! The soul is still alive and well and can be seen in the faces of these well-named warriors.

I can't help but love and sympathise with these faces. I spend much of my day with the same expression on my face, and not just when I am trying to sell off some books or CDs or comic books and getting fuck all for them from ignoramuses. The misery of the Market Warriors wasn't just that they had lost -- the money, after all, wasn't even theirs -- nor was it even at the repeated public loss of face they have undergone in the course of this well-meaning program. Their horror and chagrin is, finally, at the decline of a civilization entire.


One funny thing on a recent episode of Market Warriors, which I have to recall, was when the one character - the so-called "Professor," John Bruno - was walking through an antiques fair and he saw one dealer, with a long white beard, and said, "Hey guy" or something to him. The dealer responded with amazing wistfulness, "John... it's me..."

John Bruno looked closer at the man and recognised, through the cruel masque of reduced circumstances and that rude veil of hoary aging, an old and well-loved old bondsman. He said, in unfeigned shock and horror and yet tenderness too I believe, yes I believe there was tenderness in it, "My God... how long's it been..." or words like those.

Again, as above, here were real human exchanges and emotions usually too raw and vivid for the televsion to see or allow. Again, at the sheer candour of the showing of the raw human nerve system, I laughed out loud in delight and regret.

Monday, August 6, 2012

This was from a Yelp review of Da Kine Bail Bonds Company. I don't know whether it is authentic but it sounds it. After all wouldn't you shoot some dude in the face if he stole your purple drank... brah...? 

I did not have a good bail bonds exp. with this company. I am not sure if they are only worried about their tv show, and not their customers but this seemed to be the case.
I had to bail my mother out of jail because she shot some dude in the face for stealing her purple drank.
Worst interest rates eva
How bout that one, brah?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Jor-El: What's Wrong With a Prison?

It's very easy to become bored --- disheartened --- actually depressed -- when you are reading about the planet Krypton before it blew up. It's such dull stuff. And at the crux of this energetic maelstrom of dishwater, the eye of this vortex of dullness, is none other than Jor-El, the father of Superman.

Partially it is because we have read the origin story of Superman so many times that we would as lief eat a pincushion as read it once more. We wish these superficial marionettes conjured up before us like so much trivial vapour would vanish. And this is,  indeed, what generation after generation of writers has been striving -- and failing -- to accomplish, and will do so from now til time immemorial -- until, no doubt, the Earth itself blows up in a manner very like the planet Krypton.

Got to try to re-invest the Superman origin story with intrigue. Doomed to fail miserably.

That said, I was reading with, if not pleasure, then a sort of degree-zero lack of boredom, the DC limited series, World of Krypton (1979). This has some surprisingly nice art by Howard Chaykin -- nothing like his later, more characteristic style. It's unusual for an artist to wane as he develops, but that's what Howard Chaykin seems to have done. Mr. Damian Morgan of Brixton Town, England, tenderly loves Mr. Chaykin and has all his copies of American Flagg preserved in a shoebox decorated with ribbons and rosettes and Mr. Morgan will probably read these words with tears in his eyes. That is to be regretted.

In World of Krypton, anyway, all Jor-El's well-trod scientific endeavours and breakthroughs are explored in "loving detail" - the Phantom Zone, anti-gravity thrusters, etc.  One of his "brainwaves" however is in the field of shall we say criminal rehabilitation. It doesn't make sense to me.

Jor-El recommends that criminals should henceforth be placed in suspended animation and launched in bubbles into orbit in the planet Krypton's immediate atmosphere, where they can float above the planet until they have served out their time.

I fail to see the advantage in this. How exactly does it benefit the polis, sage Socrates? It seems downright eccentric to me -- perverse -- unwholesome. Need I point out what is obvious to the followers of one FRANK CASTLE's many adventures, that the essence of capital punishment is that it is punishing -- even if it is not always capital. If the malfeasant miscreants are in suspended animation (being brainwashed by rehabilitating subliminal mind-control tapes, incidentally -- but I shan't even pursue that rather tedious course of leftist media critique here) then they are not actually awake to appreciate the wrong that they have done. What's the point of time passing if you're asleep? It makes of the prisoners mere Rip Van Winkles. They're put in the bubbles and then they wake up and come out of the bubbles. It's like having your wisdom teeth extracted.

Also, floating about unconscious in solitary bubbles above Krypton's surface they are under no threat whatsoever from grisly prison rape, which is -- I naively thought -- a cornerstone of civilized society's deterrents against breaking the law. The threat of prison rape is, in fact, the single greatest deterrent against wrongdoing. Without it, the world will be in anarchy.

 The reason why Jor-El's crackpot scheme prevails is because of the alternative that is even more outre.  The solution offered by Jor-El's competitor, one "Tron-Et" (his real name, apparently), is the ingenious "Matter-Dissolver". This -- as you might imagine -- succinctly "eliminates the problem of the criminal." If Frank Castle was a denizen of Krypton ( -- idea for a Marvel/DC crossover event -- ) he would be a keen supporter of Tron-Et.

Or not: unfortunately this canny device is discredited in the end when it turns out that "Tron-Et" is a master criminal himself who wanted to kill all the criminal lackeys who worked for him, before they could be put in Jor-El's rehabilitator-capsules. He was frightened -- reasonably enough -- that they would emerge from Jor-El's bubbles older, wiser and rehabilitated, and that on emerging from the bubbles, and after only a rudimentary snack, they would go directly to the criminal courts and tell the judge that Tron-Et was a criminal kingpin.

Hence the "Matter-Dissolver."

Hence the success of Jor-El's prison-capsules.

I see that I have taken up quite enough of your time. And I can see from your faces, having read this far, that you agree with me entirely -- Krypton and Jor-El are very boring.



[This afterthought is really only for you comics twerps. It occurs to me now, as I write this, that the origin story of Superman has some resemblances to the origin story of Galactus. Superman is the last survivor of a dying planet -- for Galactus it is a dying multiverse -- but the "core myth" (pardon the dreadful pun) is the same. It'd be like that story where it was intimated that the Phantom Stranger is actually the son of Superman and Wonder Woman.

As I said, dull dry stuff really which I very much regret having to say, but sometimes -- as an academic -- or as a lapsed academic I should say --  I have to "publish" my findings, dry and loathsome as they are, to add them to that infinitely expanding, pulsing pool of knowledge we call HUMAN CIVILIZATION! This pool of knowledge is, as Jor-El would no doubt agree, our only hope for the endurance of a sensitive society.

That and the vile spectre of the ever-present threat of prison rape.]

Friday, July 13, 2012

"Storage Wars Redivivus."

I feel like Rip Van Winkle.
I got fed up setting the DVR to record every episode of Storage Wars and then having to wade neck-deep through re-runs.
By that I only mean that I grew weary of having to delete episodes from "My Playlist": the plight and plaint of the 21st-Century man.

Nevertheless I tuned in to a recent episode and Dave is gone and there's some plantpot named JEFF in his stead. I saw JEFF and I naturally thought, "What the funk---?"
Then I thought, "Have they made an unpopular transplant from Storage Wars Texas, that show that literally nobody watches? This guy has all the personality of a character off Storage Wars Texas -- or Duck Dynasty."

Dave is -- peculiarly -- reduced to "live tweeting" his infantile comments at the bottom of the screen (gems like "I would of bidded more for that locker. I would of. I would of won it.")

The camera seems to really love "Jeff." It's odd because he can't be accused of exuding charisma. In fact what he seems to exude is the power to make his audience want to die.

I looked online to try to dig up information on this strange situation, but of course if you want information the last place you should go to is that notorious, scurrilous House of Lies THE INTERNET. You should go to the library. Go to your local library and get out some dusty old bibliographies. Blow the dust off the old Dewey Index drawers and get elbow deep in it. Blow the dust in the librarian's face. Do the research damn you. Get out the microfiches for goodness' sake. Get the New York Times Index drat you or  Who's Who 2012 and look up "FAT JEFF from Storage Wars."

Is he in there.

No he's not in there.

Jeff's not even in the phone book.

Reason is he lives out of a car.

So maybe some information ("information about such people as JEFF") is post-library, or that should be sub-library.



I looked up the sitch online, anyway, and what I learnt is that the consensus among the Storage Wars fans it seems is that Jeff is a "lying and complaining fool."

"Jeff is ajerk." [sic]

"Jeff is a namy pamby waste of valuable human oxygen."[sic]

Meanwhile Dan Dotson and his wife Laura were really growling unpleasant things at each other in low voices in the drive to the storage facility. It's their new feature in the show, this cockpit-view of the drive to the auction, and it is unsettling. It's quite unusual to see. Quite unseemly. Like witnessing your parents fight -- but only if your father called your mother "a vulgar, brazen high-stepping slattern about town."

Mine never did.

It isn't like that sort of tipsy Housewives of Backwater, Wisconsin Andy Cohen-induced sort of "argufying," where they limply throw champagne flutes at each other -- underarm. It is pretty genuine and heartfelt name-calling and low-blowing and flesh-eating.

Dan Dotson don't say much on that show, when he does he's saying it too fast to be comprehended, and then when he slows down it's to call his wife an unchristian name. It's like he's simmering with rage and the only way he can burn off that rage is by speaking fast.

This season seems to be darker than the last. They've exhausted all their good will in this game and now they're just getting peevish. It's like the last episodes of the Monkees. Or, it's like the last few games of Words With Friends I played when everyone was obviously sick of playing but they were carrying on for reasons unclear to them.

In this episode Barry is reduced to prattle. It's like the light has gone out of his eyes. He turned up on the lot riding this big space-age 1950s bus and he stuck around a while, bid half-heartedly on a couple of lockers, and then he said -- audibly -- Fuck this and went home in his bus. He couldn't give a shit.

When Barry is not buying something asinine like a pair of goggles for chickens or jars for catching flies in then you know the lifeblood has gone out of the dray-horse.  Brandi too. She is glazed over. Are they feeding these people horse tranquilizers? Brandon and Darrel seem to be having a father-and-son primal scene in front of the cameras. Darrel berates Brandon mercilessly. It's like an Arthur Miller play with these two. And Dave, as I said, has disappeared after his peculiar confession on the last episode I saw where he said that he had "been in a bad place for a while now and needed to clear his soul of some bad chakras." He retired to a Zen Trappist community in Palo Alto run by Gary Snyder.

Anyway Jeff, it turns out, is not even "ajerk". He is a dreary boor and worse he's a philosopher to boot. You can imagine him droning on in the postgraduate bar about the nature of reality and truth and Derrida and Wittgenstein til the barstaff want to go home. He said: "Some things, you see them from ten feet away, and you see them from three feet away and it changes the entire complexion of 'em."

That is true.

Jeff also said, with a bowling ball in his hand, "Everyone thinks if it's heavy it's better, right?"


Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Schmendricks Anonymous"

Jeopardy Brought Up-To-Date.  Alex Trebek had a heart attack recently, which was sad news, and I am sorry about that, but the thing also threw up a puzzling remark from the news agencies. They said that the heart attack "came at the end of the current season of Jeopardy." I thought: Jeopardy is filmed in seasons? It's an unceasing, ineradicable ("inalienable") and eternal flow of intelligent ("meaningless") questions. Seasons are as nothing to this trans-temporal juggernaut.

You might as well say that life occurs in seasons.

If that's so, my life must really be close to cancellation by the Network!


It's hard to work out when exactly Alex's coronary occurs in the televisual continuity. Alex occasionally drops in hints and allusions for future scholars that place the particular episode you are watching in a specific locus on the time-space continuum ("Thanks, Johnny. Hope you had a good President's Day Weekend") but he has said nothing on air about his recent "episode".

Guy's that rare thing a professional. He never lets his personality overwhelm him or the audience - keeps it cryptic. I wish that more people on TV -- and in life -- were like Alex Trebek in this respect. Small, light allusions to their private sphere. I hope that you my reader might conceivably insert here the thought, "Well as it happens, M. Nebula, you yourself fit this description almost exactly."

As a consequence of Alex's willful obscurity, I wasn't sure if I was watching pre- or post-coronary Alex. His references to major United States holidays, as noted above, could after all be pre-recorded. We do not expect veracity from our televisual entertainers.

The contestants yesterday were full of classic stuff and nonsense. "Susan" said that she had twice withdrawn her application to appear on Jeopardy because she "didn't have an interesting anecdote to tell after the first commercial break."

Here, on cue, I had the crystal clear thought: "That has never stopped anybody before."

Alex, meanwhile, was even more caustic. He said, "What kind of a mean, uneventful, humdrum existence must you have had that you couldn't come up with some facile dross for this segment?"

The next contestant along was a fat man in a suit jacket called Henry. His story really proved conclusively that Jeopardy contestants have nothing to report of a well-lived, eventful existence.

He prfaced his "story" by rambling on about Andy Warhol's remark about fifteen minutes of fame. He then revealed that he had been sat in a group at a table at a public event when Andy Warhol came and sat at their table and took Polaroid pictures "with his Polaroid camera". This piece of name-dropping of itself wasn't really an anecdote, so Henry rounded it off with a short and expensive comment from the hip on the talent in the room. He said: "After fifteen minutes in Andy Warhol's presence I can report that the man had no personality."

Alex twinkled wordlessly for a moment and then, crushing his microphone under a curled fist, rumbled: "Then what kind of lower pond-specimen does that make you?I merely wonder aloud."


Oedipus Schmendrick Rex.

Across the channel wavelengths, on Hip-Hop Squares, the contestants were waxing even more asinine.

This "tic-tac-toe"-based show usually features a male and a female competing for surprisingly meagre cash prizes, and nearly every episode you have to side with the girls  because the so-called males are such "Summer Break" M.O.R. collegiate gang-rapist bottom-feeders that you have no alternative. Anything else would amount to an alliance with Evil.

I watch the show chiefly to see what Ghostface Killah will say, but when he appears he is invariably in the bottom middle square (where they also put Biz Markie) which for some reason nobody uses. So he spends the whole episode in stoned silence or hollering something inaudible off-mic. They oftentimes put J.B. Smoove in the middle square and by God he drones on.

The people in the bottom line always make the same joke, that they are in the "projects." There usually also follows from this a joke essentially about close apartment living when the person upstairs makes too much noise. Lil Duval remarked that he was going to "snitch to the landlord" about the celebrity above him.

All the collegiate scumbags seem to like DJ Khaled the most. Fat Joe shines as the resident wit more or less by default; as I said in a private letter to an interested party, "the Algonquin Roundtable it ain't."

This week's contestant, "Kevin," unwisely revealed to the assembled Hip-Hop celebrities and the "studio audience at home" that he had his mother's nickname tattooed on the inside of his bottom lip.

You could hear everybody in the studio recoil in revulsion. Not only did he say this but this was indeed reckoned by Kevin himself the sum of what was worth knowing about him.

He should have shown the modesty of Susan on Jeopardy. Instead he actually pulled down his lip and showed his tattoo off to the cameras.

Potential snappy comebacks abounded and I counted them off in my head:

1. "You must really get laid a lot after you pull out your bottom lip in clubs."
2. "You must be really well-liked by girls you meet. Do you show them the tattoo before or after you tell them you prefer chicks with dicks?"
3. "Are you by any chance related to that guy on Jeopardy who baked cookies for each first-night date he had?"
4. "In other words, you're gay."

Even Mariah Carey's househusband-cum-butler, the greazy Nick Cannon, made a crack at Kevin's expense ("You got your mother in your mouth"). Kevin lamely grinned and pointed at him. What the fuck else could he do in those circumstances I suppose.

The upshot of this moral fable is that Kevin lost and that was that and I suppose he went back to his college dorm and folded up his underwear and put it carefully in the socks drawer and then he quietly committed suicide.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Lost Chef Jokes" Or, "Chef with an Hatchet," Alias "A Figge for my Sous-Chef"; Or, "Crack Me This Nut" Or, "A Countrie Cuffe", etc.

1. Pathetic: Me lying on the couch tapping my leg in time to the Top Chef theme. Then: me realizing that I am doing this.

2. Book: We Always Treat Our Chefs Too Well.

3. The male chefs after Restaurant Wars. They were acting like it had been a real war, as if they were the "combat veterans" of real "campaigns". They staggered bleary-eyed into the green room as if fresh out of My Lai. "One of the hardest parts of your career, ever," said one. "There's nothing like Restaurant Wars that's for God damn sure."

Chimed in his wingman, "The best thing that we can hope for now is that the girls all blow up at each other and screw up worse than we did."

Didn't MONTGOMERY say the same exact thing at El Alamein.

4. The appeal of chef shows. The illusion that chefs are closer to the quick of life, because they handle food. Because everybody has to eat and everybody has to shit and everybody has to piss and somebody around here has to cook so we can eat and shit and piss.

Hence the popularity of chef shows.

Blue Cheese.

This English spy who was curious about the niceties of obscure knots and who was also it seems a cycling enthusiast (a-ha) has been famously described as being like a "Swiss clock". That is meant to indicate his punctuality I assume. Not his resemblance to a clock. I wonder, will somebody close to me come up with a colourful metaphor about me when I am found dead and bound in a duffelbag?

No matter. When I first heard the "Swiss clock" line on the radio I thought for sure they were going to say, "Now he is more like a Swiss cheese."

They didn't say it, and this rather elementary and yet highly pleasing joke has been siting there now for weeks waiting to be claimed.

This is me formally claiming it. I am not sure what the satire community has been up to that they missed this delightful yet essentially innocent joke. Perhaps that was the trouble: it was too innocent. They were too distracted by the possibilities of sexual jokes about bondage. They were too busy wracking their brains thinking of jokes about sex. Satirists love blue material. They love to advertise to the world that against extraordinary odds and obvious physical shortcomings they have a throughgoing familiarity with the obscuranta of the boudoir. Perhaps they should think more about innocent things and less about lascivious, salacious stuff because mark me when I say that God hath a pickaxe for the vile crawling snake that crawls on its belly in low places.


Although I suppose that they might not have made the joke because it doesn't strictly make sense. Commercial satirists are wary of humour that doesn't make obvious sense. That's why they always make jokes about sex. Any fucking moron gets a joke about sex.

People who have been shot with a machine-gun are more apt to be compared to Swiss cheese than people who have been squeezed into a duffel-bag and "expired of natural causes".

Like you might say, "You lousy fink, called the fuzz on me, now you're so full of lead you look like a Swiss cheese." 

That could be confusing too, since there are not customarily lead deposits in Swiss cheese either, unless it is some sort of Williamsburg artisanal gimmick. Cheese with bits of lead in it with a gold-leaf garnish and a truffle foam.

Of course I took all this into account when I made the joke and again when I claimed the joke legally. My thinking is that Swiss cheese, like all cheeses, has a rich and revolting aroma, as the corpse of the dead English spy had. Also Swiss cheese has holes in it and the dead English spy presumably had holes in his corpse because he had started to decompose.

Some of my critics might argue that the decomposition process does not entail the appearance of holes in the corpse. My critics might cite, in their defence, the quite beautifully well-preserved corpses dug out of peat bogs in Scandanavia. These were people who died in the Neolithic era! and they do not have holes in them.

Yes, but those corpses are, for one thing, not typical as corpses. They are an anomaly. That is why they are so infinitely interesting to us. That is why we love to read books about Sutton Hoo. The average corpse, however, will no doubt be leaking pus from sores and the flies and worms will have infiltrated his outer dermis using their drill-like appendages and will have diligently forged many little wormholes and nooks and crannies into his ripening disgusting flesh.

In invoking this imagery of grotesque corpse violation, of the network of holes bored into the corpse's flesh by industrious insects, I apologise of course to the close female friends of the corpse. Of the spy. Neither of these women was apparently his girlfriend, but that is hardly worth noting. He was one of those men whose close friends are all women. That is all. I don't know why I even mention it. I do not say this fact with a crafty smirk on my face and a wink "for the knowing ones".

It is furthermore reported that he had a great fondness for the acquisition of women's clothing, and this eccentric fetisch is regretably the fact that has distracted the satirists from the better joke to be had.

It is to be noted, simply in passing, that transvestism and homosexuality are not by any means one and the same. Apparently there are a number of transvestites who fancy women. Their ways are mysterious and not easily fathomed. I consider these men both brave and unusual.

My critics might also point out rather pedantically that Swiss cheeses are not famous either for their odour or for their rottenness, unlike say a blue cheese which is in fact in a stage of decay for all to see, even while it sits on your plate all innocent-seeming. I am speaking now about a Stilton or a Gorgonzola. I will concede that this might have been a more apt comparison - that in death he (THE DEAD ENGLISH SPY) more closely resembled a Gorgonzola cheese - but had I said that in my joke, it crucially would not have had any comic resonance with the line about the Swiss clock.

"He was like a Swiss clock. Now he is like some Gorgonzola cheese." No - it can't be done. And it needn't be done. It shan't be done.

There must be lots of Swiss cheeses after all. There might be some Swiss blue cheeses that have holes in them even.

After all what do they do in Switzerland all day.


To summarise: Solely in the interests of the public reception my joke, and I cannot stress those words enough, it is to be regretted that the English spy was not shot multiple times with a machine gun before he was placed (or crawled into) his duffel-bag.

"There's bread in the oven and cheese on the shelf,
So if you want anymore you can sing it yourself."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Living It Up at The Cockfights." Or, "Custer's Last Stand."

"He peered sideways up and gave a long low whistle of call, then paused awhile in rapt attention, his even white teeth glistening here and there with gold points. Chrysostomos."

I was watching a Dog the Bounty Hunter episode which I knew I'd already seen, which is - as I said yesterday - not far different from giving up altogether and freely, deliberately, frittering away your God-given life. It is not far different, I say, from cocking a pistol into your lower jaw and spinning the barrel playfully then pulling the trigger just to see what might come of it.

Anyway, that happened and this episode involved the team chasing a slippery character who goes by the colourful name of CHESTER CHRISOSTOMOS ("gold-mouthed," I thought, a good and dutiful scholarly "spalpeen" and remembranceful reader of James Joyce), who had retreated to the deepest darkest wilds of Hawaii. He had, in the idiom of his confreres, "dug in."

This man CHESTER GOLD-MOUTHED withdrew from society not - like Thoreau - to be closer to his thoughts and God-in-Nature, but to partake in low gambling and cock-fighting. He found a certain rural transcendental calm in bloodletting and mayhem.

The team busted in on one of his associates out way out in the wilds and the guy had dead chickens all over his yard and was actually wearing a baseball cap that said "COCK FIGHTING". The man goes, "I am not involved in cock-fighting."

They didn't find Chester. He had a way of disappearing into the night.

So on day three or four, Dog announced to the camera his revised methodology: "The plan is the boys are riding the motorcycles down in there, Baby Lisa's parked out at his mother's house and Beth and I are going to be up on the ridge." Then, without a trace of irony, he said: "We learned this tactic from Custer."

Their enterprise was about as successful as Custer's. Baby Lisa abandoned her post to use the toilet and the thing fell apart from there. "We're kind of stuck here," Dog admitted, "so we've got to try to make a possibility out of the impossible."

This seemingly involved them browbeating Chester's girl CARLA to no avail, then blundering aimlessly through the brush. At one point Dog picked up a breeze-block and hurled it into a bush. I thought, "What if Chester Chrisostomos had of been in there? He'd of been killed." The methodology further involved Duane Lee and Leland building plank bridges and falling into quicksand. The A&E website amazingly has the transcript of this episode, which includes this wonderful exchange, which since we have the apparatus I simply must quote liberally from:

00:54:16Right now we found this freakin' pig farm, we can't find a way to get around it.
00:54:20There's a big, huge moat.
00:54:22We got Leland going to go get a plank, and then we're gonna drop it like the military and freakin' attack.
00:54:31Go, just bounce like a rabbit.
00:54:33I'm right behind you.
00:54:36( laughing ) Are you going ?
00:54:44No way, bro.
00:54:48Okay, you guys, it's getting dark.
00:54:50We gotta put this on hold until tomorrow.

As you can plainly see from the transcript, they conclude their "methodology" - as usual - by going home as soon as it gets dark. It's really a pity that they stop at sundown, so they can put the kids to bed. Because as I have established in a previous essay, most criminal enterprise tends to take place after sundown. Maybe this is another tactic cribbed from that master strategist CUSTER.

In the interests of brutal honesty they really ought to show the scenes at home after a day of bounty-hunting, after the Chapmans have "clocked off," and everybody is sitting in the TV room watching TV. Like that scene a few weeks ago where they showed Duane Lee dolefully watching Storage Wars. Gary Boy stuffing his face with too much pasta. They could have ingeniously juxtaposed these scenes of domestic calm with orgiastic, bacchanalian scenes of Chester living it up at the cockfights. Chester with a chicken's head in his mouth, blood around his jaws as he heaves on an ice pipe.


As I mentioned, I had seen this episode before, but happily I couldn't seem to remember the ending. How they caught the bad guy and such. Usually I remember some sweet peculiarity from the arrest and the corollary Backseat Redemption Scene. This time I couldn't remember any such thing. It became clear why not in the last minute or so, when it turned out that one night, while the Chapmans were innocently dozing watching TV at home, the police burst in on Chester's rural compound and arrested him. It was one of those episodes, where they lost out to the FILTH. The police, it seems, don't play fair. They have an annoying habit of going after criminals even after the sun has gone down.


I wonder how much they pay per hour for somebody to transcribe the dialogue from an episode. It'd be a lot of fun I expect and you'd certainly improve your written English as you worked.