It’s been a long time since I checked the spam comments folder to see what sort of hilarity is in there.  Let’s see what we’ve got…

“I truly love yoour blog.. Veery ice colors & theme.

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thes days, yyet I never foujd aany fascinating article
liie yours. It iss lovely valkue suffdicient forr me.
Personally, iif all webmasters annd blogyers mae excellent conttent materioal ass yyou probably did, thhe interbet wil probably bee muh more useful than evber before.
Hi, I do tuink this is a grea website. I stumbledupon itt 😉 I aam goijng too ccome back yeet atain siknce I bookmarkwd it.
Moneey annd freedom iis tthe bbest waay tto change, may youu bee ridh
and contjnue too hlp others.”

The cheeldren of the night. Vhat music they make!

“People really does a lot more than visitors’ expectations. Many thanks with regard to render these types of valuable, trustworthy, edifying as well as trendy applying for grants this issue to help Kate.”

This mixture of the generic spam and the oddly specific ending is a little unsettling.  I hope whatever Kate needed wasn’t serious.

“all the time i used to read smaller content that also clear their motive, and that is also
happening with this piece of writing which I am reading at this time.”

Keep me informed.

“I’ll immediately grasp your rss as I can’t in finding
your email subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any?
Please let me recognize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.”

Never grasp the rss on a first date.

“The most clear career selection as a graduate of a Masters
in Hospitality Management degree would be to take on a management function in the hospitality sector.”

Actually, this may not be spam.  It could be my old college career advisor.  Their advice was about as useful.

“Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thanks, However
I am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t
understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it.
Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond?
Thanx!!”

I dunno… I hear Kate has some problem. Could be related to grasping her RSS.

“It’s remarkable to visit this web page and reading the
views of all mates on the topic of this article, while I am
also eager of getting familiarity.”

Look, I believe in taking it slow.

“Frequently also endowed using a positive, outgoing character. Double Virgo: Aug 23 – June 1 With a powerful need to repeatedly check specifics – this double Virgin basically enjoys the constant search for brilliance. To others they often times seem to be in constant action. An incredibly realistic, but bold form Virgo. Relatively of a social climber, they logically operate their approach up any hierarchy they’ve their views fixed on. Virgo + Taurus: Sept 13 – September 22 Consequently they tend to worry significantly less than one other two decantes. Functional to the primary and not one to be lured into routes of fancy. Dual Libra: June 23 – Oct 2 An energetic social existence of some type is crucial for this decante. A sense of justice is inborn, they have minor patience for those that donot follow the guidelines of the terrain. It is a cooler sort Libra, there is more emphasis placed on creating the intelligence. A liking for bigger events is present. Being a part of a bunch or membership can also be important for them. An extremely chatty Libra decante indeed. People skills are highly developed, acquiring buddies is straightforward for this 1. This sort includes a sturdy requirement for a spoken outlet. Dual Scorpio: Oct 24 – Nov 2 Able to determine other’s celebrities in a heartbeat.”

I’m a Leo, so this is of no use to me. Perhaps it will help Kate.

“You won’t eel any cravings forr an extenred time and you will be capawble to avoid any etra calories.
Don’t try to find it in a single “magic” pill contrived by modern medicine.”

I won’t. Certainly not after what happened to Kate.

By now, you all have probably heard about the huge screw-up at last night’s Academy Awards. Due to a mix-up with the envelopes, they accidentally read the wrong film title and said the Best Picture award went to La La Land when in fact it went to Moonlight.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t make the show’s producers and the firm involved with managing the envelopes look like idiots.  It totally does.  They appear utterly incompetent.  I don’t understand how such a mistake could even be possible.

But that doesn’t really matter.  Because as stupid as it makes them look, it was also fascinating to watch.

If done competently, an award show is boring.  Somebody gets presented with an award, comes on stage, thanks everyone they know, leaves the stage, and then the process repeats.  Dull stuff.

It might be interesting if there were more uncertainty about the winners beforehand, but thanks to the internet, people usually have a pretty good read on who or what is going to win.  (For example, everyone knew going in that the winner of Best Picture would be either La La Land or Moonlight.) Plus,most people only care about a few categories–acting, directing and picture. The rest are just filler as far as most viewers are concerned.

But seeing this was dramatic. It was interesting to see the La La Land people get so excited, only to have to give the award to the Moonlight people. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”, as they say, in the space of a few minutes.

And then there was the fun of gradually piecing together just how they botched this so badly. It was a mystery thriller, full of intrigue–what did Warren Beatty know, and when did he know it?

Now people will want to watch the Oscars more than ever.  They will want to see if there is going to be another ridiculous mistake.  It’s even better because of the precise nature of the mistake–that it was only rectified after the erroneously-named winners were making their speeches. From now on, people who saw this show will think, “Yeah, they said X won, but I remember La La Land in 2017! Who’s to say that some producer won’t come running in to change it?”

This mess made the Oscars interesting again. Now everyone is going to wonder who really won. And that makes for a more compelling viewing experience, which in turn means higher ratings, which in turn means more ad money.

As the saying goes, that’s showbiz!

I posted an excerpt from this last year.  Lately, another bit of it has been running through my head.  It was my G&S-ified depiction of the scene where Palpatine declares himself Emperor, set to the tune of Ludwig’s song, “A Monarch Who Boasts Intellectual Graces” from The Grand Duke. (Note that throughout, “republican” and “democratic” are used in the general sense of political concepts, not the present-day parties in our own galaxy.)

Enjoy!

****

PALPATINE:

Oh, the Chancellor who uses emergency powers

Will gain, if he’s smart, a good deal of support.

      He can speak to opponents without getting glowers

 And won’t have any need to lie or distort–

You know, I am sure, in these perilous hours,

That though a sep’ratist danger still towers

And threatens this Senate of ours,

  I know of a plan that will make ‘em abort!

Oh! My motto is “safety;” I’m not a daredevil,

And while I rule here, we will all be secure.

With a powerful Emp’ror, who’s quite on the level,

Republican principle may long endure!

CHORUS:  

Oh! His motto etc.

PALPATINE:

When rule democratic simply fails to succeed;

And Congressional meetings are just a mess–

An Emperor clearly’s the thing that you need

To at once set ev’rything right in Congress!

With no more long meetings progress to impede,

Improvements extreme we can make with all speed,

It’s easy to do, and I will do the deed—

              It’s done! And here’s to our having continued success!

 Oh! Our Galaxy nearly had gone to the Devil,

But I thankfully happened to know of a cure–

With a powerful etc.

CHORUS:   

Oh! Our Galaxy etc.

Against my better judgment, I’ve posted an amusing (?) little trifle: it’s an attempted parody of High Fantasy that I wrote when I was 15 years old.  I found it the other day while looking through some of my old projects that I had set aside.

Nothing is stranger than revisiting something you did a long time ago.  People change over time, and so it can feel as if you are reading a brand-new author.  If I were a third-party, I would be quite baffled to find that the person who wrote this absurdity also wrote this. And now I am forced to confront the fact that not only did the same person write it, but in each case, I was the perpetrator.

Effectively, I might as well be a completely different person than the stuck-up teenager who first sat down to write thinking he’d be the new P.G. Wodehouse or W.S. Gilbert. And yet, presumably that teenager is still stored somewhere in my brain, although try as I might, I sometimes have difficulty summoning him to explain what he was thinking.

Anyway, that’s all a tangent.  Here is “The King”, or “What I Thought Was Funny At The Time”. Enjoy!

I stole this idea from Barb Knowles who got it from Paul who got the idea from Aaron who stole it from Jess. (Whew! It all reminds me of the Tom Lehrer song “I got it from Agnes”–quite possibly the dirtiest song ever written without using a single off-color word. But I digress.)

  1. Blogging
  2. American football
  3. Pizza
  4. Economics
  5. The color red
  6. History
  7. Desert landscapes
  8. The movie Lawrence of Arabia (combines 6 and 7)
  9. Writing
  10. The book A Confederacy of Dunces
  11. A good scary story.
  12. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas
  13. Political theory
  14. Hazelnut coffee
  15. Conspiracy theories
  16. Well-written, metered, rhyming satirical poetry.
  17. The number 17
  18. Thunderstorms
  19. Friendly political debates
  20. The sound of howling wind.
  21. The unutterable melancholy of a winter sunset in a farm field.
  22. Pretentious sentences like the one above.
  23. Knights of the Old Republic II
  24. Halloween
  25. The book 1984
  26. Niagara Falls
  27. The song “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”
  28. Pumpkin-flavored cookies. coffee, cake etc.
  29. The book The King in Yellow
  30. Hats
  31. Chess
  32. Trivia competitions
  33. Numbered lists
  34. Mowing lawns
  35. The smell of fresh-cut grass
  36. Black licorice
  37. Beethoven’s 3rd,5th and 9th symphonies
  38. The color light blue.
  39. Exercise machines
  40. My iPad
  41. Feta cheese
  42. The movie Jane Got a Gun
  43. Etymologies
  44. Gregorian chants
  45. December 23rd
  46. The story “The Masque of the Red Death”
  47. Mozzarella sticks
  48. Leaves in Autumn
  49. Long drives in the country
  50. Fireworks
  51. The song “You Got Me Singin'”
  52. The book To Kill a Mockingbird
  53. Constitutional republics that derive their powers from the consent of the governed.
  54. Strategy games
  55. Puns
  56. Ice skating
  57. My Xbox One
  58. The smell of old books
  59. Hiking
  60. Tall buildings
  61. Bookstores
  62. Gloves
  63. Rational-legal authority, as defined by Max Weber
  64. Bagels with cream cheese
  65. The Olentangy river
  66. The movie The Omen
  67. Far Side comics
  68. Planescape: Torment
  69. The song “Barrytown”
  70. Reasonable estimates of the Keynesian multiplier
  71. Stories that turn cliches on their heads.
  72. Editing movies
  73. Really clever epigraphs
  74. The movie “Chinatown”
  75. Ice water
  76. Deus Ex
  77. Silly putty
  78. Swiss Army Knives
  79. Anagrams
  80. Wikipedia
  81. Radical new models for explaining politics.
  82. Weightlifting
  83. Lego
  84. Madden 17
  85. The song “The Saga Begins”
  86. Trigonometry
  87. Writing “ye” for “the”
  88. Well-made suits
  89. Popcorn
  90. Pasta
  91. The word “sesquipedalian”
  92. The movie Thor
  93. Blackjack
  94. The movie The English Patient
  95. Pretzels
  96. Cello music
  97. Bonfires
  98. The story “The Hound of the Baskervilles”
  99. Soaring rhetoric
  100. Astronomy
  101. Getting comments on my blog posts.

I wrote that Trump should have apologized, and a few days later, he does just that.  He didn’t do the profuse heartfelt apology I recommended, but by Trump standards, it was an apology.

Well, Mr. Trump–and/or your advisors–if you’re reading this, and have now learned to follow my advice, I suggest you do the following things:

  • Apologize specifically for your many past disgraceful words and deeds towards women, and never say or do such things again.
  • Read David Ricardo to get some idea how International Trade works.
  • Also read John Maynard Keynes to get some idea how macroeconomics works.
  • In general,  adopt a more cooperative tone–win or lose, it would be better if the country is not at war with itself when the election is over.
  • Make a sizable donation from your own personal wealth to domestic violence shelters or other organizations that help women who have been victims of violence.
  • Use your Twitter account only to post links to press releases and videos–not to insult random people.
  • Quit constantly getting into fights with the Press.  A Free Press is vital to the functioning of our Republic, and thus you should welcome their tough questions.
  • Promise to reform and improve America’s Educational system, so that the next generation of young people can be competitive. As a first step in this direction, quit speaking in slang and improper English, and remove all vulgarity from your language while you are seeking public office.
  • You have spoken in the past about the importance of hiring “the best people” away from the competition.  Immigration can be used much the same way for a Nation–and indeed it has been throughout our great Country’s past. Remember that, and change your proposed policies accordingly.

I know what you are thinking, Mr. Trump. (If you’re reading this)  You’re thinking:  If I do all that, will I win?

I can’t say.  But if you do it, you will at least be able to say you comported yourself honorably and intelligently in the last few months of the campaign.   And if candidates for public office conduct themselves honorably and intelligently, it improves the quality of our political discourse generally.  And if that happens, it will certainly help to make America even greater than it already is.

And that’s really what you want, isn’t it, Mr. Trump?

Loyal reader and all-around cool person Barb Knowles of saneteachers challenged me to a game in which I reveal 2 truths and 1 lie, five times.

It works like this: I will list 2 truths and one lie about myself–then you guess in the comments which one is the lie in each set.  I love unreliable narrators, so this should be fun.

Barb also said she expects my answers to be very dark, which is the greatest compliment a horror writer can get.

ONE

a.  I have a degree in Economics

b. I speak German fluently

c. I have edited papers published in academic journals.

TWO

a. I once sat in an old cemetery at midnight on Halloween looking for ghosts.

b. I am a trained helicopter pilot

c. I once caught a football from an NFL quarterback

THREE

a. My nickname when I played youth sports was “Tank”

b. I have never seen a live performance of any Gilbert and Sullivan opera

c. Apart from writing, my other hobbies are painting and gardening.

FOUR

a. I am a registered Republican

b. I can neither touch-type nor write in cursive

c. Every year, I dress as the Devil for Halloween parties

FIVE

a. My favorite pizza topping is pepperoni

b. I am a life-long teetotaler

c. My personality changed drastically one day after I was injured falling out of a building.

Enjoy! Put the number and letter of each statement that you think is the lie in the comments.  I’ll post answers… sometime.  Once I get enough comments that it’s fun.

Now, the last part of the challenge other people. The difficulty is that the two bloggers I know best, Thingy and P.M. Prescott, are on hiatus and semi-retired from blogging, respectively.  So, they probably can’t do it. But on the chance that they do, I would love to see how they handle this challenge.

About ten years ago, I wrote a comic opera adaptation of the Star Wars movies, with songs set to Gilbert and Sullivan tunes. It was just an exercise in songwriting that I did for fun, but it definitely helped me learn how to write a decent rhyme.

Re-reading it now, I see most of my lyrics were pretty bad–although to be fair to myself, few lyricists can ever hope to match the great W.S. Gilbert.

But there were a few songs I wrote that were pretty decent.  For instance, this adaptation of the meadow scene from Attack of the Clones, in which Anakin explains his dictatorial political philosophy to Padme. It’s set to the tune of “Were I a King” from The Grand Duke.

ANAKIN: Were I in charge, in very truth,
And yet had kept my health and youth,
In spite of my ascension;
To keep us peaceful, keep us strong–
And make these blessings last for long–
I would request the voting throng
All their concerns to mention.
To some big council they would go
And voice with elocution,
Their little problems all, and lo!
They would find a solution!

The men who would be to this council elected,
Would all by popular vote be selected–
And if they all did what they said on campaign,
They could run for office again!

CHORUS:    Oh, the men who would be etc.

ANAKIN: And if councilmen should disagree
The problem would then come to me–
And I’d make the decision!
One side may say to “Cut the tax!”
The other says “Prevent attacks!”–
Unlike our current plan that lacks
An executive with vision–
Both sides would have to go to me,
And I’d make ’em see reason!
And if they still would disagree–
I’d have them shot for treason!

Oh, the man who can mold a political sphere
Completely bereft of corruption or fear,
Can govern and rule, with of his brains a tenth
Intelligent life–and possibly Ennth!

{Sung to the tune of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General“}

I am the very model of a charismatic candidate,
I have thwarted ev’rything the GOP has planned to date.
From starting as a dark horse, I’ve become the odds-on favorite
Saying I will build a wall and then force Mexico to pay for it.
And though Establishment Republicans think I am despicable
Ev’ry charge they level at me has proved totally unstickable.
And even though I’ve said disgusting things about my progeny
And made so many statements that are dripping with misogyny–
By thwarting ev’ry action that the GOP has planned to date,
I’ve proved myself the model of a charismatic candidate.

My “Apprenticeship” in showbiz has undoubtedly done well for me–
I am so telegenic, all the major networks fell for me.
My domineering manner plays so well when I’m debating folks
It doesn’t even matter that I sometimes tell degrading jokes.
Believe me, folks, I’m so very, very big-league entertaining
That I have no need coherent policies to be maintaining.
I’ll be so much like Reagan, it will make your head spin, I insist–
Heads will spin so much it will all be like the film The Exorcist.
Since I’ve thwarted ev’rything the GOP has planned to date.
I am the very model of a charismatic candidate.

 
In fact, when I know whether Judges “sign” on “bills” or not
When I’ve decided what to do with all the immigrants we’ve got–
When I’ve some idea what is and isn’t Constitutional–
When I’ve proved my economic plans are not delusional
When I have shown I will not always act impulsively–
When I behave towards women just a little less repulsively–
In short, when I have turned into my very living opposite–
You’ll say a better candidate has never run for office yet!
Though all my civic knowledge is just stuff I learned in real estate,
I am sure a brand-new wall will make our location really great.
And since a country is the only thing I’ve yet to brand to date,
I am the very model of a charismatic candidate!