I’m sorry—even though this is from way back in the dark ages of April, I had to post it when I rediscovered it just now; it strikes me as one of the most purely hysterical articles ever printed in “America’s finest news source.” You really should pop over and check out the whole article, though, because the illustrations, which include diagrams of winfrino and oprion particle interactions, add a great deal to the mix.
(CHICAGO)—Calling it the next logical step in her celebrated career, and a groundbreaking achievement in applied quantum field theory, media giant Oprah Winfrey unveiled her latest project Monday: a completely separate realm of existence, known as >OpraH, which she will control on the subatomic level. . .
. . .”This is all for you,” Winfrey told a live studio audience while she used her hands to split a uranium-235 atom following an interview with actor Sidney Poitier, her new biological father. “I’m going to show you how to live your life better, easier, and more happily. I’m going to show you the best books and the best foods and the best fashions. I’m going to show you everything. Everything.”
“They say the universe is always expanding and contracting,” added a smiling Winfrey. “But I’m going to make Pilates mandatory in >OpraH, because there ain’t going to be any more expanding, if you know what I mean.”
The crowd then burst into uncontrollable laughter for three minutes until a concentrated beam of light emanated from Winfrey’s mouth and all fell silent . . .
This is why I love The Onion. It’s zany humor, but always with a point.
Alright. This is a cathartic post—I’ve got to quit watching this video, and this is how I’m going to get it out of my system.
. . . . . . Sorry. Ahem. Had to . . . take a phone call. Yeah.
It’s been popping up around the Internet lately; I tried to follow the trail in pursuit of responsible parties, but with no success. From CollegeHumor, via YouTube, Governor “Swingin'” Sarah Palin, here for one night only:
Man, I need a smoke. Wha . . . it’s already smoky in here, wow.
This reminds me of those old Jack Kerouac spoken word albums with Steve Allen playing narrative piano in the background. Assuming that it’s not Condolleezza Rice, of course, I wish I could identify the pianist, because s/he did an amazing job. I would love to see a whole series of these.
From The Onion, 12/4/08:
WASHINGTON—In a major stride toward increased transparency of former presidents’ culinary activities, Bill Clinton agreed Monday to disclose a highly guarded guacamole recipe—including a full list of ingredients—so that his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, can be named the next Secretary of State. . .
. . .Administration insiders said that if the guacamole recipe is traced back to celebrity television chef Rachael Ray, Sen. Clinton will be compelled to decline her nomination.
Family secrets were made to be dished out, one glob at a time. C’mon, give up the guac.
Wait. Now, who am I to ask our former President to do something for me that I wouldn’t do for my President? Here’s a nice, simple, failsafe guacamole recipe from cooks.com that gets my stamp of approval:
1 ripe tomato, peeled
1/2 onion, minced
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 chopped green chile, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Mash together the tomato and avocados. Stir in remaining ingredients.Serve with warm tortillas.
Optional: Mix in pomegranate seeds for added color and a unique but authentic variation.
No, I didn’t omit the ingredients. Think top-secret clearance, presidential stuff. You’ll find them.
I haven’t tried the optional bit what with the pomegranate. Personally, I go light on the spice so that it contrasts with my hot salsa, and I like to be a little generous with the salt and sometimes replace the vinegar with lemon juice for a different kind of twang. And . . . sigh . . . yes, I do cheat and use a blender.
Mom always said not to say anything at all if you can’t say anything nice, and British statesman Charles Buxton reminded us that “silence is often the severest form of criticism.” But at those times in which you absolutely cannot restrain yourself from hurling scathing scorn at someone, why not jazz up your hatespeech with Elizabethan flair?
It’s the “Shakespearean Insulter” by Chris Seidel, adapted from a pre-existing Shakespeare Insult Kit in which one word is chosen from each of three columns: two adjectives, followed by a noun. But Seidel’s version is slicked up with some particularly pointed slander penned by Bill himself—for a more authentic Shakespearience, we presume.
FIVE DRINKING STORIES THAT PUT YOURS TO SHAME
Turns out, the best drinking stories in history are actually, well, historical. So raise a glass to your forefathers and marvel at these tales.
1. Admiral Edward Russell’s 17th-Century throwdown
Think you can drink like a sailor? Maybe you should take a moment to reflect on what that truly means.
The record for history’s largest cocktail belongs to British Lord Admiral Edward Russell. In 1694, he threw an officer’s party that employed a garden’s fountain as the punch bowl.
The concoction? A mixture that included 250 gallons of brandy, 125 gallons of Malaga wine, 1,400 pounds of sugar, 2,500 lemons, 20 gallons of lime juice, and 5 pounds of nutmeg.
A series of bartenders actually paddled around in a small wooden canoe, filling up guests’ cups. Not only that, but they had to work in 15-minute shifts to avoid being overcome by the fumes and falling overboard.
The party continued nonstop for a full week, pausing only briefly during rainstorms to erect a silk canopy over the punch to keep it from getting watered down. In fact, the festivities didn’t end until the fountain had been drunk completely dry.
2. The London Brew-nami of 1814
The Industrial Revolution wasn’t all steam engines and textile mills. Beer production increased exponentially, as well. Fortunately, the good people of England were up to the challenge and drained kegs as fast as they were made. Brewery owners became known as “beer barons,” and they spent their newfound wealth in an age-old manner — by trying to party more than the next guy.
Case in point: In 1814, Meux’s Horse Shoe Brewery in London constructed a brewing vat that was 22 feet tall and 60 feet in diameter, with an interior big enough to seat 200 for dinner — which is exactly how its completion was celebrated. (Why 200? Because a rival had built a vat that seated 100, of course.)
After the dinner, the vat was filled to its 4,000-barrel capacity. Pretty impressive, given the grand scale of the project, but pretty unfortunate given that they overlooked a faulty supporting hoop. Yup, the vat ruptured, causing other vats to break, and the resulting commotion was heard up to 5 miles away.
A wall of 1.3 million gallons of dark beer washed down the street, caving in two buildings and killing nine people by means of “drowning, injury, poisoning by the porter fumes, or drunkenness.”
The story gets even more unbelievable, though. Rescue attempts were blocked and delayed by the thousands who flocked to the area to drink directly off the road. And when survivors were finally brought to the hospital, the other patients became convinced from the smell that the hospital was serving beer to every ward except theirs. A riot broke out, and even more people were left injured.
Sadly, this incident was not deemed tragic enough at the time to merit an annual memorial service and/or reenactment.
3. New York state of mind: The Dutch ingratiate themselves to the natives
In 1609, the Dutch sent English explorer Henry Hudson westward for a third attempt at finding the fabled Northeast Passage. A near mutiny forced him southward, and upon reaching land, he encountered members of the Delaware Indian tribe.
To foster good relations, Hudson shared his brandy with the tribal chief, who soon passed out. But upon waking up the next day, he asked Hudson to pour some more for the rest of his tribe. From then on, the Indians referred to the island as Manahachtanienk — literally, “The High Island.”
And not “high” as in “tall;” high as in “the place where we got blotto.” Most people would agree that Manhattan has stayed true to the spirit of its name ever since.
4. The worst aftertaste in history
In 1805, British Admiral Horatio Nelson was killed during the Battle of Trafalgar off the coast of Spain. Most sailors were simply put to rest at sea, but as an admiral, Nelson had to be brought back to England for an official burial.
To preserve his body during the voyage home, the second-in-command stored Nelson’s body in the ship’s vat of rum and halted all liquor rations to the crew. Not a bad idea, but when the ship reached port, officials went to retrieve Nelson’s body and found the vat dry.
Disregarding good taste (in every sense), the crew had been secretly drinking from it the entire way home. After that, naval rum was referred to as Nelson’s Blood.
5. Indian elephants raid the liquor cabinet
No wonder they don’t sell beer at the circus. Apparently, elephants like to get wasted. In fact, an outpost of the Indian army in the jungle region of Bagdogra has been under attack ever since a local herd of elephants raided the base in search of food and discovered the soldiers’ entire winter rations of rum.
Since then, the pachyderms have regularly raided the base for a drink and have smashed down all defenses put up by the army, including electrified fences and firewalls.
According to The Daily Telegraph, “An officer recently posted there explained that the elephants broke the rum bottles by cleverly curling their trunks around the bottom. Then they empty the contents down their throats. They soon got drunk, he said, and swayed around. They enjoy themselves and then return to the jungle.”
This is by no means a singular incident, though. The animal kingdom is well-known for its ability to identify fruit that’s begun to ferment. Anthropologists even believe this is how early man discovered alcohol — by observing the strange behavior of animals on a fruit bender.
The blues is a distinctly African-American form of music by lineage, but it is often said, truly enough, that “the blues knows no color.” The astonishing, global, and continually evolving breadth of its influence somewhat obscures its origins, its core—so that what we call “the blues” in our time includes a far greater stylistic diversity of material than the term might have denoted even fifty years ago—and I suppose that, as a musician, a great part of my fascination with the blues stems from the fact that this music is a cultural phenomenon which sprang from the humblest of origins right here in my part of the world, the southeastern United States. I know of at least two places near my home where you can come by a guitar made from a cigar box and fishing twine, and I’m familiar with a couple of guys who can tear the holy sh** out of them on command. Equipment junkies: go home and count your overdrive pedals, k? Thanks. ;-)
In my experience as a performer and teacher, the charge that “white people can’t play the blues” comes usually (actually, always) from the mouths of white people frustrated by an utter lack of soul in their own playing—and soulful musicianship is most assuredly not governed by melatonin counts. One has only to consider the careers of Caucasian giants from Django Reinhardt to Dave Brubeck to Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughan to quickly ascertain the falsity of such a claim; and this is not to mention the fact that there are almost certainly a profusion of competent bluesmen and blueswomen of several ethnicites in every major city of my country, and of various nations abroad.
For lack of a better way of phrasing the idea, I would suggest that the essence of the blues is primarily a state of mind combined with intimate knowledge of a specific musical style. It is authenticated not by the color of the skin, but by pure musicianship, life experience, world-weariness, and the heartfelt drive for self-expression. Unfortunately, there are a number of individuals who fancy themselves true-blue wailers in the absence of some or all of these qualities.
Posted at Mad Stratter, here is a humorous take on “bluesmanship” in the form of a list of compositional rules and qualifications. I got a hearty chuckle out of it, and, I’m betting, so will you. I got a hearty chuckle out of it, and, I’m betting, so will you. If you don’t chuckle heartily, now, well—babe, I just don’t know what I’m goan do:
1. Most blues begin “woke up this morning.”
2. “I got a good woman” is a bad way to begin the blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line. I got a good woman – with the meanest dog in town.
3. Blues are simple. After you have the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes. Sort of. Got a good woman with the meanest dog in town. He got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and he weighs about 500 pounds.
4. The blues are not about limitless choice.
5. Blues cars are Chevies and Cadillacs. Other acceptable blues transportation is Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Walkin’ plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin’ to die.
6. Teenagers can’t sing the blues. Adults sing the blues. Blues adulthood means old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
7. You can have the blues in New York City, but not in Brooklyn or Queens. Hard times in Vermont or North Dakota are just depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are still the best places to have the blues.
8. You can’t have the blues in an office or a shopping mall; the lighting is all wrong.
9. The following colors do not belong in the blues:
10. Good places for the Blues:
a. the highway
b. the jailhouse
c. the empty bed
11.Bad places for the Blues:
b. Gallery openings
c. weekend in the Hamptons
12. Do you have the right to sing the blues?
a. your first name is a southern state-like Georgia
b. you’re blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis.
d. you can’t be satisfied.
a. you were once blind but now can see.
b. you’re deaf
c. you have a trust fund.
13. No one will believe it’s the blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an old black man.
14. Neither Julio Iglesias nor Barbra Streisand can sing the blues.
15. If you ask for water and baby gives you gasoline, it’s the blues. Other blues beverages are:
c. muddy water
16.Blues beverages are NOT:
a. Any mixed drink
b. Any wine kosher for Passover
17. If it occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it’s blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is a blues way to die. So is the electric chair, substance abuse, or being denied treatment in an emergency room. It is not a blues death if you die during a liposuction treatment.
18. Some Blues names for Women
b. Big Mama
19. Some Blues Names for Men
c. Little Willie
20a. Persons with names like Sierra or Sequoia will not be permitted to sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
20b. Other Blues Names (Starter Kit)
a. Name of Physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Asthmatic)
b. First name (see above) or name of fruit (Lemon, Lime, Kiwi)
c. Last Name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
Here at CSTF, we like to maintain a certain tone. It’s usually A at 440 hZ around these parts, no matter what; but, in the interests of what our German friends like to call Gemütlichkeit, we thought it would provide an interesting contrast if we brought you this little jewel from cartoonist Drew Sheneman:
. . . That, I’ve only just discovered, is an anagram of “Can’t See the Forest.”
C A N T S E E T H E F O R E S T
R O T T E N T H E S E S C A F E
Not that it means anything, you understand.
Urban shopkeepers have to keep a constant watch for shoplifters, of course. Usually, though, the thieves don’t have wings.
“Sam” the seagull, of Aberdeen, Scotland, has become something of an Internet celebrity because of his daily habit of stealing a bag of Tangy Cheese Doritos from a city shop.
Now, that’s urban ecology. No charges have as yet been filed.