Because you need this on a Monday, here is a picture of a Scottish bagpiper serenading a penguin in the Antarctic in 1904 (click to embiggen):
Clearly, McCain misspoke. He meant to say Michael Palin. Here is a video detailing Michael Palin’s qualifications as a true candidate for Vice President of the United States:
Oddly, it makes no mention of his foreign policy experience. As a resident of England, which borders two different countries, Michael has the same amount of international relations experience as Sarah. On the other hand, Scotland and Wales are part of the United Kingdom, so maybe they’re just one country? In which, England borders no other countries, which means none of the politicians there have any foreign policy experience. Back when England was just a tiny little place surrounded by a hundred other petty little monarchies, the leaders obviously had more foreign relations experience than, say, Tony Blair or Gordon Brown.
Really, this is all too confusing. Just go to the Michael Palin for President website and signup for the newsletter so that you can get a free fuzzy thing.
Last night, by the way, I dreamed that I had to improvise an opera about being buried alive. And naked.
All I can figure is that it’s a conspiracy between Sigmund Freud, Edgar Allen Poe, and Wayne Brady to control my dreams.
I SO want to write a story about pirates now! But The Solitude of the Tentacled Space Monster calls…
(And a PS to those reading this on my LJ. The MP3 enclosure doesn’t seem to have translated properly. I’m still trying to figure out how to make this audio thing work.)
Enough about that, though. What I really wanted to talk about was Glinda’s plan for world domination, and the real lesson that Dorothy learned by the end of the story. So bear with me.
You know the story: Dorothy Gale’s house gets sucked up into a tornado, and gets tossed "over the rainbow" into a strange land. Her house lands on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, informs Dorothy that she is now targeted by the Wicked Witch of the West, and must go to the Wizard in the Emerald City for help. Stuff happens; something about a scarecrow and a tin woodsman and a lion. Oh, and some flying monkeys, which are my favorite. At the very end, Glinda informs Dorothy that she had the power to go home all along, and that all she needed to do was, apparently, just want it badly enough. Or something.
What I’ve never understood, though, is why Dorothy didn’t just slap Glinda upside the head at that point. "What do you mean, all I had to do was want it bad enough? What, did you think that the whole trip with that fucked up green witch wasn’t enough to convince me? Bitch!"
I may be misinterpreting what it means to want to go home badly enough. Based on the plot, I suppose that Dorothy must not just want to go home. She must be willing to kill to do so.
Makes you think about Dorothy Gale’s future life in Kansas, doesn’t it?
This brings me to the role that Glinda had to play in all this. I can’t help but think that Glinda must have been overjoyed to see the Kansas farmhouse land on top of the Wicked Witch of the East; she may, in fact, have orchestrated the tornado in the first place. The house, after all, conveniently rid Oz of one of Glinda’s most powerful rivals. Then she sneakily slips the ruby slippers, an obviously powerful magic item, on to Dorothy’s feet (without Dorothy’s consent, you may have observed long ago). Thus begins a game of chess between Glinda and the Wicked Witch of the West, where Glinda sends Dorothy on a trip to the Emerald City. She knew that Dorothy couldn’t be convinced to kill the Wicket Witch of the West willingly; but Glinda probably knew the price that the Wizard would exact for his help: he’d want that broom, and Glinda knew as well as anyone that the only way to get that broom would be to kill her.
Did Glinda know of the Wizard’s true origins? I don’t know. But let’s assume she did know that the Wizard was really nothing more than a charlatan from Kansas. It’s very possible, then, that she also knew that the only way the Wizard would help Dorothy get home would be in his own balloon, and leave with her.
And there you go! Glinda has thus, through Dorothy, orchestrated the removal from Oz of two out of three of her rivals for control over the magic of Oz. She wouldn’t care that the Wizard left the Scarecrow in charge when he left; she isn’t interested in political power, just magical control.
Of course, that leaves us with the presumed Good Witch of the South, never seen in the musical but whose existence is implied nonetheless. Ridding Oz of her would be another major task for Glinda, who probably knows better than to count on the fortuitous arrival of another skybound Kansas farm girl.
So this is my conclusion, and it certainly makes for an interesting viewing of the musical. It makes sense to me. I learned long ago not to trust people who drift in and out of the scenery in giant soap bubbles.
I don’t know how Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon plays into all this. Further research is obviously required.
Today is officially Talk Like a Pirate day. It’s a lot more fun when this day falls on a workday, so that I can run around my office telling the other developers that they’re scurvy lads and lasses. Alas, I’ll have to settle for wandering around church doing the same thing. That’ll go over well with the director of Music Ministry.
In honor of the day, I’ve put together a playlist on my MP3 player of hardcore Irish punk music (which more than one of my friends has described as “Richard’s pirate music”). Included on this playlist are:
Pogues: Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash
Dropkick Murphys: Blackout
Pogues: Pogue Mahone
Flogging Molly: Within a Mile of Home
Between church and grocery shopping and other chores, I don’t expect that I’ll be able to get more than a couple hundred words written on either “The Winds of Patwin County”, or the outline for The Outer Darkness. I also plan on buckling down today and getting a start on my homework assignment for my Ethnic Collections Development class. The assignment is a history of how African Americans are underrepresented in public libraries. Oddly, while I agree that minority groups have disproportionately low access to information in our society, I’m finding that my enthusiasm for this project is minimal.
I’m still working out the kinks in this system. I hope to figure out a way to send out only one e-mail notification a day, even if I post several in a single day, plus set up a more complete notification list sign up form. Since WordPress is written in PHP, I imagine it won’t be too hard to set up. I just need to take the time to do it.
We were all eating lunch — a feast from Taco Bell delivered to the training site by one of our team — when M., one of my fellow mollusk trainers, made an important discovery.
“Hey!” she said, outraged. “This isn’t chicken in my taco. It’s steak!”
“Impossible,” said N., with a look of incredulity. “I placed the order myself. Trust me, it’s chicken.”
M. scoffed at N. “You’re wrong. It’s steak. Look at it!”
N. refused to look, preferring the willful blindness of one who knows that he is right and refuses to let a quibbling little thing like reality prove him otherwise. “It’s chicken,” he insisted. Of course he was joking. It was obviously steak in M’s taco. But denial is more fun.
So M. turned to A., who was sitting right next to her. “Look!” she commanded imperiously. Her Russian accent heightened the effect, lending a Stalinesque quality to her voice. “It’s steak, isn’t it?”
Wisely, A. said, “I refuse to become involved in this.”
So M. turned to me. I’d been sitting quietly, reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea on my Palm Pilot and munching on my quesadilla. “Richard, is this chicken or steak in my taco?”
That wasn’t the strangest question I’d ever been asked. So I looked, and announced that it it was difficult to tell, what with the sour cream. However, upon ponderous scrutiny, I could definitely determine that it was steak.
“Impossible!” said N. He was sticking to his story.
“Well,” I said after a few moments’ thought, “perhaps it’s a chicken dressed up like a steak.”
“Do you mean a transgendered chicken?” asked J., who had demonstrated her considerable wisdom by not getting involved in this discussion before now.
“Not really transgendered,” I explained. “It’s not a rooster that wants to be a hen. It’s a chicken that wants to be a cow. It’s a trans-specific chicken.”
“I’m a cow trapped in the body of a chicken!” exclaimed N. in a moment of sensitivity.
“But what do you call such a chicken?” asked M. “Is it a chicken or a cow?”
A. assumed an authoritative voice. “However it identifies itself is what you should call it,” he said. “If it calls itself a cow, then you should call it a cow.” A. had just spent a couple of weeks conducting mollusk training in San Francisco, so he was very sensitive to these issues.
“That’s right,” J. said. “Some chickens just like to dress up like cows, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they really want to be cows.”
N. looked thoughtful. “I wonder,” he said, “if you can get specially made rubber belting for chickens that want to be cows.” This was in reference to a sign we’d seen driving in to the site that morning. It read:
God alone knows what that means.
We talked for a little while after that, but not for much longer. I was asked if trans-specific chickens were allowed to hang out with the cows; I said that they were, but not when the cows went out drinking (”Why not?” I was asked; “Because those are strictly hay bars,” I replied), and things pretty much went downhill after that.
At dinner that night, A. mentioned trans-specific chickens. Jennifer said, “What? What’s that?”
J. stepped in. “It’s a Richard thing,” she said.
To which my wife simply replied, “Ah, I see.” And, apparently, that was explanation enough for her.
"But of course it can’t be coming from the computer room," I say to myself. "There’s no one else in the house." Eventually, I figure that it’s one of the cats playing with a toy that rattles, or one of the electric litterboxes, or something like that. Because there was obviously no one working in the computer room.
Or… Perhaps there was…
Today I was poking around our home network, looking for a particular file that I’d stashed on our server, when I stumbled across this particular document. It was in the web directory, accessible for all the world to see. It was password-protected, but the password — "fuzzy" — was very easy to figure out. It was only after long deliberation over whether I should delete the document, post the document for the world to see, or change my medications, that I decided that the world needs to know what is happening under our very noses.
From the Secret Diary of Azrael (the Cat):
Today was good, cause I got to eat and sleep and play a little bit. I almost took over the world, too, but then I fell asleep in a sunbeam. It might rain tomorrow, so prospects for world domination tomorrow are good.
Jingle ball of doom had to be subdued. Then the laser beam tried to eat Rosemary and I had to beat it back. This place keeps me so busy, sometimes I don't get more than 18 hours of sleep a day! Have you ever heard of anything so pathetic?
I could have sworn they were behind that door! For hours I heard them talking! And I wanted to be with them, so I cried outside the door! Then I realized that they were talking behind me, so I turned around and went back into the office room with the jingle ball and there they were! Wow!
This is horrible! It's awful! For TEN YEARS she pulled all of my fur off of me today! Ow ow ow! I was so mad I had to kill a superball. Tomorrow the world will be mine!
The next day...
He left the fireplace on in the room with the big soft bed. I almost took over the world but the kitty cup was really warm and had to be slept in. Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't done it?
Tomorrow is another day...
Jennifer keeps telling me that I’m just making things up. But now I have firm proof!
Meanwhile, I thought that the Olympic figure skating competition tonight was really spiffy.
There are times when I’m afraid that Jennifer just doesn’t appreciate me enough. In response to this entry in her journal, and her calling me a "beanhead" earlier this evening, I created this picture for her:
And, the piece de resistance:
…which is truly my masterpiece.
And my wife looks on these and tells me, "That’s nice, dear."
The things I have to put up with sometimes.
Gray, Spalding. Spalding Gray turns 59 years old today. In honor of that occasion, I’ll let you know that every event in this journal entry is true, except for the part about the grapes.
Gout. With which I was officially diagnosed today. Well, not really officially. And not just today. Last year when I had a serious pain in my foot, so bad that I couldn’t put any weight on it at all and walking around with this foot was like walking around with an iron ball stuck onto the end of my leg. Seriously.
Last Saturday, this pain flared up again. Not so bad this time around, fortunately, but bad enough to have to put ice on it and to ingest quite a cocktail of pain-killers (Naprosyn, ibuprofin, and Excedrin) and whine about it to my poor fiané. So today I went in to the doctor to have them look at it again. The doctor can’t say for certain, but he said, "If it hurts like gout, swells like gout, reddens like gout, and responds to painkillers like gout, then let’s treat it like gout." So I was given some drug called Relafen, told to stay off it for awhile, and told that it might go away within a few days.
So now I get to add gout to my list of chronic illnesses with which my body is afflicted. Asthma, hypertension, and now gout. Fortunately, these put me in some good company: Robert Louis Stevenson had pretty bad asthma, after all; and didn’t Benjamin Franklin have gout? I need to identify at least one historical figure with hypertension. Suggestions are welcome.
Grandeur, Delusions of. Something suffered by a person with whom both my fiancé and I are acquainted. Honestly, I watch this person’s antics with the same sort of morbid fascination that keeps me watching the wars on the African continent, and I wonder: "How is there room in that space for both you and your ego?" This person has a survival advantage over the rest of us, though. When the universe collapses into a singularity at the end of time, this person’s ego is powerful enough to overcome the infinite gravity that will dominate and crunch the universe.
Goose. My fiancé’s parents gave her a cement goose for her birthday. You really ought to read all about it at A Cat By Any Other Name. For my part, I should say that I really like this goose. Don’t ask me why. Perhaps it’s the comaraderie that I feel with it, having carried it out of her parents’ house, down the driveway, slipping on a couple of grapes that someone had inadvertantly dropped on the way in from some store, and barely keeping that 50+ pound goose upright and intact even as I fell to the ground. The goose made it all the way home to Jennifer’s house, where it sits in her garage, bare, awaiting clothing and a safe porch to live on. But I think that the real reason why I like the goose is because I know that it will live on the front porch of the house that Jennifer — to whom, I keep realizing with delighted astonishment, I will be married in just over a year — and I will be sharing. Living in. Together. And it came from her parents, who have given similar cement geese to both of Jennifer’s sisters, making this whole thing a tradition. I suppose that being there with Jennifer when she received the goose and knowing that it will be part of our household really makes me feel like part of the family; and that, perhaps, is why I really like the goose.