Thanksgiving nears, and the season of great feasting is a suitable occasion to show a postcard that I picked up at the 9:30 Club about eleven years ago. I came across it as I organized my archives today, and I laughed as I originally did more than a decade ago when I first saw it:
The postcard was among several in a campaign for Volunteer Match, but it was the most absurd. Superb!
Second City has fun with business cards:
The muffin lady is a kindred spirit.
Much has happened in the last few months while I have neglected Arimathea. Suffice it for me to say how thankful I am that Russia has helped the United States to avoid another disastrous entanglement in the Middle East. The consequent wailing and gnashing of teeth, the partisan cheap shots, and the ridiculous reminders of how inept the American political leadership class is all have been dismaying but amusing for my cynical soul. Ideologues make for poor strategic thinkers, and the members of the American elite have become grossly perverted liberal democratic ideologues.
In this, Republicans may still be worse. Is there a war that John McCain and Lindsey Graham won’t support? That is sincere question. However, it heartens me that some American conservatives are finally (well over a decade too late) coming to the realization that their Cold War reference points no longer match reality. Change is hard, though. I recently heard Newt Gingrich and Condoleezza Rice spew their Russophobic venom and neocon “analysis.” Rice should know better, but she reminds us of the old saying that when one only has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. She spent her life studying the Soviet menace, and she reduces the global stage to her familiar Cold War libretto. I remember having a fit during her address at one of the Republican presidential conventions. The woman is a broken record that cracked in the 80’s—she reminds me of the sadly ever relevant Nate the Neocon. Indeed, if there is a silver lining to Obama’s two terms, it is that the true believers in our liberal missionary wars have been largely sequestered from power. Obama is not a true believer; I suspect that his hawkish pose is merely domestic political posturing. Fortunately, some Republicans are waking; no longer is poor old Patrick Buchanan the only man on the Right who sees the new landscape.
Though “conservatives” are blameworthy in their belligerent consistency, it was somewhat entertaining for me to watch the spectacle of the anti-war Left drum up support for bombing yet another Arab despot before Vladimir threw the president a lifeline. Our betrayal of Mubarak and the bipartisan hypocrisy in Kadafi’s downfall were worse, but the campaign to attack Assad—by assisting cannibalistic jihadists—ranks up there among egregious episodes of American foreign policy idiocy. Yet, wrongheadedness comes easily to democracy. For many among America’s elite supported the Bolsheviks during the Russian revolution and civil war. Blind, wicked ideologues! Anyway, comedians found the political absurdity a target rich environment. On Fr. Z.‘s blog, I discovered the following delightful image:
I sent the link to friends and family, and my brother Aaron responded by one-upping me with this brilliant video from Second City:
The very next day, Fr. Z. himself posted the satirical video. It just goes to show how quickly information travels among those conspiratorial papists!
I hope that my fellow old calendarists had a lovely ecclesial new year over the weekend. I have been absent for several weeks, but I assure you that the break was time well spent. For today, I simply offer a warm and humorous piece on improv by Charlie Todd:
Play is good.
For some laughs at the Russkies’ expense, here is Olya Povlatsky on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update.”
My friend Andrew thinks that this woman goes to every parish that he has attended.
As the Congressional recess approaches, wherein the nation sighs a short breath of relief for some respite from its unworthy but duly elected (for the most part) legislators, I offer this appropriate tale that my mother sent me.
While walking down the street one day, a corrupt Senator (that may be redundant) is tragically hit by a car and dies.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the gate.
“Welcome to heaven,” says St.. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”
“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator.
“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”
“Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.
“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course.
In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar, and the finest champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.
They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven.”
So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”
The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open, and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls to the ground.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.
“I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”
The devil smiles at him and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning. Today, you voted.”
When I was home last month, my wholesome hometown’s shameless council had decked the streets with rainbow flags, sponsored by Cincinnati companies Kroger and Procter & Gamble, to celebrate “pride.” I could not believe it. Simon Leis, where are you when the city needs you?
Things were no better in Kentucky, though someone (perhaps præternatural) had mischievous fun with it. For as I crossed the Licking Bridge that connects Covington and Newport, I saw a large draped banner that celebrated “pride.” The very next banner was an advertisement for the Queen City Sausage Festival.
You may have read this somewhere before, but I wish to add it to this site’s humorous offerings.
Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.
Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch.
The grave site was piled high with flours.
Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Born and bread in Minnesota, Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times and, towards the end, a bit crusty, he was considered a positive roll model for millions.
Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, and three children: John Dough, Jane Dough, and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.
The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.
I like cheesy (or doughy) puns, though I am reminded of John Derbyshire’s sound effects of hisses and boos when he sports a paronomasia-palooza on RadioDerb—with questionable taste. Woo hoo!
Below is a clever illustration of fool’s mathematics, courtesy of Pa Kettle:
It does take a brilliant mind to capture rank stupidity in an artful manner. Mike Judge has his detractors, but I admire his ability to distill and to serve idiocy. Consider, for example, the argumentation about Brawndo in Idiocracy. Only genius could mock subrational discourse so well.
This is an old joke, and I do not know its origin, but I enjoy it:
An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.
His only son Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:
I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know that if you were here, my troubles would be over. I know that you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.
A few days later he received a letter from his son.
Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried.
Before dawn the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
That same day the old man received another letter from his son.
Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
Speaking of lovely tomatoes, I am growing the following cultivars this year: Arkansas Traveler, Azoychka, Big Boy, Black Cherry, German Johnson, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Mexican Midget, Neves Azorean Red, Paul Robeson, and Reisentraube. Last year, my list was Big Boy, Caspian Pink, Cherokee Purple, Ponderosa, Purple Russian, and Rutgers. I am making comparisons and figuring out which works best in the yard. Enjoy your summer plantings and harvests!