Years ago, when I was young and inexperienced, I hired a yacht myself. Three things had combined to lead me into this foolishness: I had had a stroke of unexpected luck; Ethelbertha had expressed a yearning for sea air; and the very next morning, in taking up casually at the club a copy of the Sportsman, I had come across the following advertisement:
TO YACHTSMEN. Unique Opportunity. Rogue, 28-ton Yawl. Owner, called away suddenly on business, is willing to let this superbly-fitted “greyhound of the sea” for any period short or long. Two cabins and saloon; pianette, by Woffenkoff; new copper. Terms, 10 guineas a week. Apply Pertwee and Co., 3A Bucklersbury.
It had seemed to me like the answer to a prayer. “The new copper” did not interest me; what little washing we might want could wait, I thought. But the “pianette by Woffenkoff” sounded alluring. I pictured Ethelbertha playing in the evening — something with a chorus, in which, perhaps, the crew, with a little training, might join — while our moving home bounded, “greyhound-like,” over the silvery billows.
I took a cab and drove direct to 3A Bucklersbury. Mr. Pertwee was an unpretentious-looking gentleman, who had an unostentatious office on the third floor. He showed me a picture in water-colours of the Rogue flying before the wind. The deck was at an angle of 95 to the ocean. In the picture no human beings were represented on the deck; I suppose they had slipped off. Indeed, I do not see how anyone could have kept on, unless nailed. I pointed out this disadvantage to the agent, who, however, explained to me that the picture represented the Rogue doubling something or other on the well-known occasion of her winning the Medway Challenge Shield. Mr. Pertwee assumed that I knew all about the event, so that I did not like to ask any questions. Two specks near the frame of the picture, which at first I had taken for moths, represented, it appeared, the second and third winners in this celebrated race. A photograph of the yacht at anchor off Gravesend was less impressive, but suggested more stability. All answers to my inquiries being satisfactory, I took the thing for a fortnight. Mr. Pertwee said it was fortunate I wanted it only for a fortnight — later on I came to agree with him — the time fitting in exactly with another hiring. Had I required it for three weeks he would have been compelled to refuse me.
The letting being thus arranged, Mr. Pertwee asked me if I had a skipper in my eye. That I had not was also fortunate — things seemed to be turning out luckily for me all round — because Mr. Pertwee felt sure I could not do better than keep on Mr. Goyles, at present in charge — an excellent skipper, so Mr. Pertwee assured me, a man who knew the sea as a man knows his own wife, and who had never lost a life.
December 14, 2014
December 10, 2014
Published on 5 Dec 2014
Keynote speaker Matt Inman introduces us to a new deity, enlightening the the San Francisco audience in the process, in the first ever BAHFest West keynote at the historic Castro Theatre
BAHFest is the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, a celebration of well-researched, logically explained, and clearly wrong evolutionary theory. Additional information is available at http://bahfest.com/
December 8, 2014
Published on 3 Dec 2014
Rick’s Rant for December 2nd, 2014.
December 6, 2014
… and now here’s Kathy Shaidle saying the same thing:
“By Grabthar’s Hammer…” but also “It’s real.”
And when they torture the little alien.
Oh, man. I’m tearing up just typing that.
If Star Wars had been this good, I’d have been a fan.
One day people will realize that Galaxy Quest is the better movie, like they’ll realize that Goodfellas is better than The Godfather and Psycho is better than Vertigo.
“By Grabthar’s Hammer” was a temp line. It was basically the Hammer of Thor, but Grabthar just sounded so silly. I kept meaning to change it, but around the production offices, they started to make t-shirts, it started to sink in a little bit.
Harold Ramis was initially supposed to direct.
He wanted either Alec Baldwin or Kevin Kline for the Tim Allen role. But Allen being a recovering alcoholic f-up in real life really adds to his performance.
Uploaded on 20 Oct 2006
This is the mockumentary on Galaxy Quest that aired on E! before the movie came out. It’s about the fake show’s 20th anniversary and everybody’s in character. The quality is kind of sketch but this is crazy rare. Credit goes to britbitsandclips.com.
December 3, 2014
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t set the league on fire, but he’s still learning and improving his game (with the occasional regression, like all rookie quarterbacks). He played well enough on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers to get a nomination for rookie of the week honours for 15 of 21, 138 yards, two touchdowns and a career high 120.7 passer rating.
ESPN‘s Ben Goessling looks at Teddy’s play in the game:
Whenever he’s talked about a need to get rid of the ball faster as a rookie, Bridgewater has known the key to making that happen was the ability to identify coverages sooner. The way he operated on Sunday, in a victory over the Carolina Panthers, suggested he’s starting to figure out some of quarterbacking’s nuances.
On his 17-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings, Bridgewater walked to the line to see the Panthers playing off receivers Charles Johnson and Greg Jennings, who were lined up in a stack formation to the quarterback’s left. Bridgewater could see from his pre-snap read that he’d have room to hit Jennings underneath since the Panthers were guarding against a deep pass with 23 seconds left in the half. He threw a 5-yarder out to Jennings, who had room to show why he’s still one of the league’s best after the catch. Jennings made Antoine Cason miss, got to the outside and beat Bene Benwikere to the end zone, gaining 12 yards after the catch on a TD that put the Vikings up 28-6.
“I made the decision before the ball was snapped,” Bridgewater said. “The offensive line did a great job of allowing me to sit back there and make the throw, play pitch-and-catch with Greg. Greg was able to make a move and score a touchdown. Each week, I’m trying to make quicker decisions and continue to trust those guys each week.”
Meanwhile, over at the Daily Norseman, the Teddy Bridgewater Underground discovers that things can get tougher after the revolution is over:
Once we had toppled the Old Guard, I don’t think any of us realized that the transition from Revolution to Legitimate Government would be as difficult as the Revolution itself. Man, it’s easy to rile up the masses, especially when they feel they’ve been cheated out of the basics of good quarterback play their whole life. It’s easy to get them to rally around The Cause, and even to go to war over it, if necessary.
It started more as an Idea, but quickly grew into something that grew even faster than the most ardent revolutionaries could’ve imagined. From the moment we heard that in other lands the people enjoyed quarterback play, and we tapped in to forbidden short wave transmissions and hacked in to foreign TV feeds to confirm this was true, The Idea became The Movement. The Movement became The Cause. And The Cause became The Revolution.
¡Viva la Revolución!
But once we took over, the transition to governance wasn’t easy, far from it. Look, it’s easy to topple a government that was practically begging to be overthrown (there’s a Josh Freeman joke here somewhere, I just know it), but once that happens…there’s no one to blame but you if things go wrong. So from those heady days of overthrow and victory parades, we had to figure out how to run a country, and we had to do it without too many things going wrong.
Because when things go wrong, an idea can form. And then transition quickly to a Movement, a Cause, and then the next thing you know you’re in a ‘Quarterback Re-Education Center’ watching 16 mm game film of Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton, and Tommy Kramer. And you’re trying to tell yourself that the Marcus Mariota Movement isn’t a revolution, just a couple of peasants in neon green pants made by Nike.
December 2, 2014
Published on 30 Nov 2014
http://www.redlettermedia.com – Harry S. Plinkett has awoken from his booze induced slumber to comment on the new J.J. Abrams Star Wars film. Now that he’s awake he just might start work on his next review…
November 30, 2014
We were a fashionable and highly cultured party. We had on our best clothes, and we talked pretty, and were very happy — all except two young fellows, students, just returned from Germany, commonplace young men, who seemed restless and uncomfortable, as if they found the proceedings slow. The truth was, we were too clever for them. Our brilliant but polished conversation, and our high-class tastes, were beyond them. They were out of place, among us. They never ought to have been there at all. Everybody agreed upon that, later on.
We played morceaux from the old German masters. We discussed philosophy and ethics. We flirted with graceful dignity. We were even humorous — in a high-class way.
Somebody recited a French poem after supper, and we said it was beautiful; and then a lady sang a sentimental ballad in Spanish, and it made one or two of us weep — it was so pathetic.
And then those two young men got up, and asked us if we had ever heard Herr Slossenn Boschen (who had just arrived, and was then down in the supper-room) sing his great German comic song.
None of us had heard it, that we could remember.
The young men said it was the funniest song that had ever been written, and that, if we liked, they would get Herr Slossenn Boschen, whom they knew very well, to sing it. They said it was so funny that, when Herr Slossenn Boschen had sung it once before the German Emperor, he (the German Emperor) had had to be carried off to bed.
They said nobody could sing it like Herr Slossenn Boschen; he was so intensely serious all through it that you might fancy he was reciting a tragedy, and that, of course, made it all the funnier. They said he never once suggested by his tone or manner that he was singing anything funny — that would spoil it. It was his air of seriousness, almost of pathos, that made it so irresistibly amusing.
We said we yearned to hear it, that we wanted a good laugh; and they went downstairs, and fetched Herr Slossenn Boschen.
He appeared to be quite pleased to sing it, for he came up at once, and sat down to the piano without another word.
“Oh, it will amuse you. You will laugh,” whispered the two young men, as they passed through the room, and took up an unobtrusive position behind the Professor’s back.
Herr Slossenn Boschen accompanied himself. The prelude did not suggest a comic song exactly. It was a weird, soulful air. It quite made one’s flesh creep; but we murmured to one another that it was the German method, and prepared to enjoy it.
I don’t understand German myself. I learned it at school, but forgot every word of it two years after I had left, and have felt much better ever since. Still, I did not want the people there to guess my ignorance; so I hit upon what I thought to be rather a good idea. I kept my eye on the two young students, and followed them. When they tittered, I tittered; when they roared, I roared; and I also threw in a little snigger all by myself now and then, as if I had seen a bit of humour that had escaped the others. I considered this particularly artful on my part.
I noticed, as the song progressed, that a good many other people seemed to have their eye fixed on the two young men, as well as myself. These other people also tittered when the young men tittered, and roared when the young men roared; and, as the two young men tittered and roared and exploded with laughter pretty continuously all through the song, it went exceedingly well.
And yet that German Professor did not seem happy. At first, when we began to laugh, the expression of his face was one of intense surprise, as if laughter were the very last thing he had expected to be greeted with. We thought this very funny: we said his earnest manner was half the humour. The slightest hint on his part that he knew how funny he was would have completely ruined it all. As we continued to laugh, his surprise gave way to an air of annoyance and indignation, and he scowled fiercely round upon us all (except upon the two young men who, being behind him, he could not see). That sent us into convulsions. We told each other that it would be the death of us, this thing. The words alone, we said, were enough to send us into fits, but added to his mock seriousness — oh, it was too much!
In the last verse, he surpassed himself. He glowered round upon us with a look of such concentrated ferocity that, but for our being forewarned as to the German method of comic singing, we should have been nervous; and he threw such a wailing note of agony into the weird music that, if we had not known it was a funny song, we might have wept.
He finished amid a perfect shriek of laughter. We said it was the funniest thing we had ever heard in all our lives. We said how strange it was that, in the face of things like these, there should be a popular notion that the Germans hadn’t any sense of humour. And we asked the Professor why he didn’t translate the song into English, so that the common people could understand it, and hear what a real comic song was like.
Then Herr Slossenn Boschen got up, and went on awful. He swore at us in German (which I should judge to be a singularly effective language for that purpose), and he danced, and shook his fists, and called us all the English he knew. He said he had never been so insulted in all his life.
It appeared that the song was not a comic song at all. It was about a young girl who lived in the Hartz Mountains, and who had given up her life to save her lover’s soul; and he died, and met her spirit in the air; and then, in the last verse, he jilted her spirit, and went on with another spirit — I’m not quite sure of the details, but it was something very sad, I know. Herr Boschen said he had sung it once before the German Emperor, and he (the German Emperor) had sobbed like a little child. He (Herr Boschen) said it was generally acknowledged to be one of the most tragic and pathetic songs in the German language.
It was a trying situation for us — very trying. There seemed to be no answer. We looked around for the two young men who had done this thing, but they had left the house in an unostentatious manner immediately after the end of the song.
That was the end of that party. I never saw a party break up so quietly, and with so little fuss. We never said good-night even to one another. We came downstairs one at a time, walking softly, and keeping the shady side. We asked the servant for our hats and coats in whispers, and opened the door for ourselves, and slipped out, and got round the corner quickly, avoiding each other as much as possible.
I have never taken much interest in German songs since then.
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog), 1889.
November 29, 2014
The formula for celebrity journalism is to mix schadenfreude with celebration at about the ratio of gin to vermouth in a dry martini.
The May 5 issue of People may not be the best example. Its theme is “50 Most Beautiful” and those selected do look enviably better than you and me. But, going back to the April 28th issue, the lead story is “Tori & Dean in Therapy on TV — Sex-Addiction Nightmare.” There’s a headline that provides us all with contentment and joy in our ordinary, un-illustrious lives. This is a great social good.
And in the matter of “making anyone and everyone prominent,” who the heck are Tori and Dean? They are Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott. “Tori Spelling” rang a bell. She was on Beverly Hills 90210 20 years ago, appeared in such films as Scary Movie 2, wrote an autobiography that would have been more interesting if she’d waited for Dean to start mainlining booty, did some reality-TV stuff, and had a falling out with her mother over a bunch of money her dad didn’t leave her in his will. If you fertilized your lawn today, you have led a more productive life than Tori Spelling.
November 27, 2014
Charles C. W. Cooke has your go-to guide to political conversations with your family this Thanksgiving:
Your crazy uncle complains in passing that the construction on Redlands Avenue is limiting the flow of traffic to his hardware store, and wonders if the job could be completed more quickly.
This must not be allowed to stand. Ask your uncle if he’s an anarchist and if he has heard of Somalia. If you missed Politics 101 at Oberlin, refer to the Fact Cards that you have printed out from Vox.com and explain patiently that the government is the one thing that we all belong to and that the worry that it is “too big” or “too centralized” or “too slow to achieve basic tasks” has a long association with neo-Confederate causes.
Remind him also that:
- the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence.
- Europe is doing really well.
- The Koch Brothers.
Should all that fail, insist sadly that if he doesn’t fully apologize for his opinions you will have to conclude that he hates gay people. Ask why your family has to talk about politics all the time.
Update: A related tweet that just has to be shared.
As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could govern.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) November 27, 2014
November 26, 2014
No shit, this really exists:
Ethically, it’s been a rough couple of years for the military.
In July 2013, an Air Force major general went on an epic five-day bender while on a diplomatic mission in Russia. That November, Navy officials launched an investigation into misconduct involving top officers and a Malaysian contractor named Fat Leonard.
Individually, the cases are all bad news. The good news is that authorities often catch and punish government cheats, thieves and frauds. Penalties for ripping off the American taxpayer range from huge fines to hard time in prison.
And when the trial ends and punishment begins, many military ethics cases wind up in the Pentagon’s Encyclopedia of Ethical Failure.
That’s right, the military maintains a database of the federal government’s worst ethics violators. Unlike many government documents, the encyclopedia is clear, easy to read … and actually quite funny. Many of the stories are as amusing as they are aggravating.
It might be the most light-hearted official report anyone’s ever written about criminals.
H/T to John Turner for the link.
It is [a politician’s] business to get and hold his job at all costs. If he can hold it by lying, he will hold it by lying; if lying peters out he will try to hold it by embracing new truths.
H.L. Mencken, Notes on Democracy, 1926.
November 23, 2014
It is a curious fact, but nobody ever is sea-sick — on land. At sea, you come across plenty of people very bad indeed, whole boat-loads of them; but I never met a man yet, on land, who had ever known at all what it was to be sea-sick. Where the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land is a mystery.
If most men were like a fellow I saw on the Yarmouth boat one day, I could account for the seeming enigma easily enough. It was just off Southend Pier, I recollect, and he was leaning out through one of the port-holes in a very dangerous position. I went up to him to try and save him.
“Hi! come further in,” I said, shaking him by the shoulder. “You’ll be overboard.”
“Oh my! I wish I was,” was the only answer I could get; and there I had to leave him.
Three weeks afterwards, I met him in the coffee-room of a Bath hotel, talking about his voyages, and explaining, with enthusiasm, how he loved the sea.
“Good sailor!” he replied in answer to a mild young man’s envious query; “well, I did feel a little queer once, I confess. It was off Cape Horn. The vessel was wrecked the next morning.”
“Weren’t you a little shaky by Southend Pier one day, and wanted to be thrown overboard?”
“Southend Pier!” he replied, with a puzzled expression.
“Yes; going down to Yarmouth, last Friday three weeks.”
“Oh, ah — yes,” he answered, brightening up; “I remember now. I did have a headache that afternoon. It was the pickles, you know. They were the most disgraceful pickles I ever tasted in a respectable boat. Did you have any?”
For myself, I have discovered an excellent preventive against sea-sickness, in balancing myself. You stand in the centre of the deck, and, as the ship heaves and pitches, you move your body about, so as to keep it always straight. When the front of the ship rises, you lean forward, till the deck almost touches your nose; and when its back end gets up, you lean backwards. This is all very well for an hour or two; but you can’t balance yourself for a week.
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog), 1889.
November 22, 2014
An ad in the Nashville Craigslist:
It may not be a huge market, but there’s definitely a demand for these kind of services, especially at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and family birthday parties.
H/T to Marina Stover for the link.
November 20, 2014
If you’re of a skeptical turn, you may have wondered just what your friend’s new tattoo really says in Chinese, or Russian, or whatever script their tattoo artist just inked into their skin. My suspicion is that at least a significant proportion of the new ‘tats are the equivalent of these Japanese discount store shirts with random English words:
Reddit user k-popstar recently moved to Japan to teach English. Over the last few months he has been wandering into various discount stores and taking photos of shirts with random English words on them. I have to admit, that potato one is pretty sweet!
That second one is almost poetic. If I knew what “thirstry” was.
H/T to Coyote Blog for the link.
November 17, 2014
Ashe Schow thinks we need to get serious about addressing this issue, and here is her proposal on how to accomplish this worthy end:
For example, if men want to go into gender studies, let them — that way, they’ll make less money and it will help close the gender gap. But women need to be kept away from such majors. Colleges and universities should in fact create separate lists of majors to give to men and women. If possible, women should not be told about any course of study that will yield lower-paying career choices in the future.
Among others, social science majors feed the gender gap. When women ask about those subjects or departments, colleges should tell them they don’t exist, or that all classes are full, except maybe the ones in economics. Even better, colleges should tell women that engineering, mathematics and finance are actually social sciences. Class rosters must then be watched carefully. If a woman somehow manages to sign up for a sociology class, she should instead be given the classroom number for a course in mechanical engineering.
When women express a desire to pursue teaching or social work jobs, they should be discouraged. In fact, college counselors should be instructed to tell them there are no such jobs available, along with some sort of plausible explanation, like: “There are no teaching jobs available anymore, because Republicans cut the budget and the government is closing all of the schools. How about a nice career in accounting?”
Women who ask too many questions should be promptly steered into a nearby organic chemistry class, because no one can remain mentally alert for too long.
Feminists who might disapprove of this proposal should first ask themselves if they would be making more money had someone forced them to become an engineer rather than an activist. Would they have avoided the misfortunes and oppression they now suffer and condemn had they pursued a more useful course of studies and ended up with a higher-paying job?