I recently remembered my fondness for a set of short stories written by James Thurber. Some might even describe them as parables. Most traditional parables, such as Aesop’s Fables, seem inclined to suggest a behavior. Thurber’s parables tend towards sarcastic commentary on human nature. Besides his parables, Thurber was a writer and cartoonist for the New Yorker. I would also suggest some of his longer short stories such as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which tells the tale of a henpecked husband who daydreams himself into a variety of more entertaining situations then the errands he is actually performing, as well as Thurber’s children’s story The Thirteen Clocks. Apparently for a variety of reasons many of the more interesting short stories have been transcribed on the internet, and I decided to copy a few of them and place them here so others might enjoy them.
- The Owl Who Was God
- The Rabbits Who Caused All the Trouble
- The Bear Who Let It Alone
- The Moth and the Star
- The Very Proper Gander
- The Unicorn in the Garden
- The Shrike and the Chipmunks
I believe these were all originally printed in James Thurber, Fables for Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated (New York, 1940). Enjoy.
Random commentary in St. Louis Post Dispatch on Sunday;
“A man I met once compared soccer to McDonald’s – just because it’s everywhere doesn’t mean it’s any good. Soccer represents everything America was founded against – Europe, poverty, inequality, socialism, dictators, etc. – why would anyone to embrace it? People came here to get away from that, not transfer it.” – Dan Levin, Creve Coeur
I am somehow left a little uncertain on how Soccer represents dictators.
Written transcript of the speech. As well as video’s
The first quarter of part one is just introduction for Colbert and the last portion the “press conference” video is eh, but most of part 1 and all of part 2 is well worth watching. The transcript doesn’t quite do it justice. Seeing Bush sitting right next to him adds to the burning thrust of the jokes.
Notable excerpts from the transcript:
bq. "Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32% approval rating. But guys like us, we don’t pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in “reality.” And reality has a well-known liberal bias."
“I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound — with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world.”
Edit — May 5th
Apparently ABC News trained there camera on bush during this segment. Some interesting expressions were noted. Pictures of Bush during Colbert’s Speech.
The mainstream media remains enthralled by the Bush + Impersonator act, ignoring the main show. Just because reporters are everywhere, just because news is available 24/7 in real time with satellite feeds, embedded reporters and the kitchen sink in no way removes their ability to ignore anything they choose. No matter how much news is presented, something is ignored.
A couple of weeks ago I made it out to a conference in which a few members of the Institute for Applied Autonomy got a chance to speak.
There basic concept is they are trying to be the DARPA equivalent for the common protestor and activist.
They are friendly to the RTMark method of viewing the world.
They were sparked in particular by attending a DARPA conference in which they viewed such excellent military technologies like “Self Healing Minefields”
This was written in response to an assertion that the people we associate with should only be people that made us feel good all of the time. My apologies but I find myself forced to disagree.
I never met anyone in the world that I associated with that made me feel good all of the time.
This includes myself. Especially me.
So I certainly wouldn’t hold anyone else other then me to such a high standard that I frequently recriminate myself for not successfully matching.
That said, there is definitely a threshold at which point it is not worth it to deal with someone . I dunno if it’s above “most of the time”, “some of the time”, “a good portion of the time.” I do think it’s probably below “a bit of the time”, that seems to be below the threshold. Whatever the case the threshold definitely exists, and anyone below threshold is below threshold and not worth it. There are some people who are very borderline and those are the most dangerous to deal with.
Often because the only way they are at the threshold is that there is a simultaneous draw for them to be automatically below threshold and above threshold. Often the reasons for them to be in either place is complicated, horrible, wonderful, crazy, stupid, hateful, and any other emotional or rational overtone possible in the world.
This is simultaneously fortuneatly and unfortuneatly one of the central causes of the human condition. Hence why the human condition itself falls into said borderline threshold category. Anyway that’s my general opinion. Apologies for that. It leaves us with a wonderful horrible little tautology paradoxy thingy though. So I guess that’s cool. For the society for the study of wonderful horrible little paradoxical tautologies. If it exists. It should if it doesn’t. Maybe it’s called philosophy, science, or religion, right, maybe that was it. Can I answer all of the above? I never can remember.
As Douglas Adams stated so nicely in So Long and Thanks for All the Fish:
bq. God’s Final Message To His Creation is written in fire in letters
thirty-foot-high on the far side of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains in the land of Sevorbeupstry on the planet of Preliumtarn, which orbits the star Zarss, which is located in the Gray Binding Fiefdoms of Saxaquine. The long path to the message is lined with souvenir stands at spaced-out intervals and the message says, “We apologise1 for the inconvenience.”
From the “we should look at things from other perspectives, but hopefully it won’t offend anyone” division
Or also perhaps the “This is all nonsense” division.
1 Apparently this is the british spelling or something according to my original source.
So I went to the Tivoli on thursday evening to see Bruce Campbell. He was almost exactly how I expected him to be. An amusing, witty jackass that knows he’s famous, but knows it doesn’t really make him all that. He talked about 15 or 20 minutes before showing his directorial debut, a movie set in bulgaria about gypsies, russian cab drivers with bling-bling, robots, frankenstein, Bruce Campbell doing a strange approximation of John Cleese, and random associated hijinks.
Just in case it isn’t clear, the movie was very low budget, silly and strange.
I don’t think I would necessarily sit through it again. It was pretty amusing to watch though, perhaps mostly since we had been warned by Mr Campbell at the beginning of the show, that we shouldn’t complement him on the movie until we actually saw it, as we might want our money back. He also warned that it had been funded by the Sci-Fi channel.
Most of his time talking before the show was spent answering questions from the audience about the movie, and random other things. I’m not entirely sure why but a number of the people asking questions were total morons. An opinion Mr. Campbell seemed to share, as he informed them as such. A choice example was a question asking if Mr Campbell was aware of an article that the questioner had read somewhere that suggested that due to the number of cameos and evil dead movies, Mr. Campbell’s face was more recognizable then any movie star.
I hadn’t remember to run the validators at the bottom of my page recently. The result was rather amusing:
So this morning I woke up, worked from home for a little while, and then thought I ought to head into work. I hadn’t checked my mail in a few days, probably not since last thursday or so, perhaps wednesday, so I thought it prudent to check on my way out. I don’t get much mail so it’s not generally an issue.
I open the mailbox, and what should I find, but a crumpled small official postcard, with a change of address sticker on it indicating that the mail had been re-routed from my last semi-permenent apartment’s address.
The postcard said something along the lines of:
Jury Duty SECOND NOTICE: You are to report to the city court at 8:00am on August the 15th for jury duty. Your failure to show for this notice is a prosecutable offence. Please call the Jury Supervisor at 314-bla-blah...
While walking by a number of people leaving a bar I overheard three people having a discussion about who was sober enough to drive home. The line in particular that caught my attention however was:
No, no, I’m alright to drive. You know why? Because I only drank beer tonight.
<sarcasm>Cause you know that beer, it don’t get you nearly as drunk as that hard alcohol, clearly A-OK to drive.</sarcasm> I’m just hoping I misheard and that what she actually said was “because I only drank a beer tonight”.
Some people do believe some interesting “facts” though…