Saturday, December 14, 2013


Look, I know you come here for the weighty, ponderous stuff. I know you find spiritual relief in the high-toned sentiments and the impeccable grammar. I know you look forward to wallowing in the multitude of "howevers," "therefores," and of course the "indeeds." (Which reminds me, my royalty payment to Glenn Reynolds should go out this morning.) But I have my days, Gentle Reader. I have my days. And this, I regret to say, is one of them.

1. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is a let's have some fun with it!"

The line above comes from either Kentucky Fried Movie or Amazon Women On the Moon, I forget which. Anyway, I surely hope the ghost of Nelson Mandela has a sense of humor -- the living Mandela never displayed one -- because his recent commemoration must have been the biggest laugh riot of 2013:

"I don’t want to be emotional but this is one of the greatest moments of my life,” declared Nelson Mandela upon meeting the Spice Girls in 1997. So I like to think he would have appreciated the livelier aspects of his funeral observances. The Prince of Wales, who was also present on that occasion in Johannesburg, agreed with Mandela on the significance of their summit with the girls: “It is the second-greatest moment in my life,” he said. “The greatest was when I met them the first time.” His Royal Highness and at least two Spice Girls (reports are unclear) attended this week’s service in Soweto, and I’m sure it was at least the third-greatest moment in all of their lives. Don’t ask me where the other Spice Girls were. It is a melancholy reflection that the Spice Girls’ delegation was half the size of Canada’s, which flew in no fewer than four Canadian prime ministers, which is rather more Canadian prime ministers than one normally needs to make the party go with a swing.

But the star of the show was undoubtedly Thamsanqa Jantjie, the sign-language interpreter who stood alongside the world’s leaders and translated their eulogies for the deaf. Unfortunately, he translated them into total gibberish, reduced by the time of President Obama’s appearance to making random hand gestures, as who has not felt the urge to do during the great man’s speeches. Mr. Jantjie has now pleaded in mitigation that he was having a sudden hallucination because he is a violent schizophrenic. It has not been established whether he is, in fact, a violent schizophrenic, or, as with his claim to be a sign-language interpreter, merely purporting to be one. Asked how often he has been violent, he replied, somewhat cryptically, “A lot.”...

That would never happen in Washington, of course. But how heartening, as one watches the viral video of Obama droning on while a mere foot and a half away Mr. Jantjie rubs his belly and tickles his ear, to think that the White House’s usual money-no-object security operation went to the trouble of flying in Air Force One, plus the “decoy” Air Force One, plus support aircraft, plus the 120-vehicle motorcade or whatever it’s up to by now, plus a bazillion Secret Service agents with reflector shades and telephone wire dangling from their ears, to shepherd POTUS into the secured venue and then stand him onstage next to an $85-a-day violent schizophrenic. In the movie version—In the Sign of Fire—grizzled maverick Clint Eastwood will be the only guy to figure it out at the last minute and hurl himself at John Malkovich, as they roll into the orchestra pit with Malkovich furiously signing “Ow!” and “Eek!” But in real life I expect they’ll just double the motorcade to 240 vehicles and order up even more expensive reflector shades.

As always with Mark Steyn, the whole thing is a must-read. 'Nuff said.

2. Hey, a "turducken" is one thing...

We seasonal gluttons do have our pride, you know:

So, what would we think of a Christmas Tinner, an entire Christmas dinner in, you guessed it, a can? Would it be the most convenient mass-produced full-course meal ever, or just the latest sacrilegious insult to the the holiest of holidays? U.K. based video game retailer GAME purports to be offering the condensed meal as “the ultimate innovation” for those who “can’t tear themselves away from their new consoles and games on Christmas Day.”

A diagram on the GAME’s product site lists each of the nine courses as individual layers, starting with scrambled eggs and bacon on top, followed by mince pies and a main course of turkey, potatoes, Brussels sprouts and roasted carrots in the middle, and finishing up with a creamy layer of Christmas pudding. The product, which we suspect is more of an art piece than a serious commercial product, was designed by graphic artist Chris Godfrey, who, oddly enough, had previously created a similarly gimmicky 12-course romantic dinner as a way of lampooning the marketing tactics used by the food industry to sell processed goods. To make that version, he spent an hour preparing each gelatinized layer before adding it to the concoction so that the delineated portions remained intact. It was meant to be easily served right out of the can without the extraneous need for tidying up afterwards.

Gentle Reader, I could actually feel myself gaining weight as I read that story. "Obscene" doesn't quite do the notion justice. Yes, yes, I know a lot of very small households will lament over the wastefulness of a "traditional" Christmas feast this year, what with prices being so high and all the kids being far away / at loggerheads with one another / busy with their new sex partners and toys, but still! Is nothing sacred?

Here at the Fortress of Crankitude, we'll tie down with a simple repast of eggs and Tactical Bacon, and a jug of Gallo's finest. Or perhaps we'll do it posh: a Monte Cristo with a side of hash browns. I'm sure the Comte wouldn't mind.

3. You think things are getting dicey here?

India might soon suffer a violent revolution:

While all vegetables have become more expensive this year, the most dramatic change has been for onions. In August, Mumbai saw prices more than double, with some markets selling at 80 rupees per kilo. Elementary economics would tell you that prices are up because of a reduced supply, and indeed, this year’s production of 16.65 million tons is down 4.8 percent from 17.5 million last year, partly because less land was farmed and partly because a heavy monsoon season damaged output in the western states, the heart of India’s onion production.

The people aren’t taking the rising price lightly. When August showed no signs of relief, armed robbers looted a truck transporting 40 tons of onions on the Jaipur-Delhi highway. A few days later, reports surfaced of another robbery in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district. Desperate, India made moves to import onions from Pakistan for the first time since 2010’s onion crisis. What are neighbors for, if not to come to the rescue when you need a bowl of sugar? Or in this case, several thousand tons of onions. But as the huge demand from India spiked the price within Pakistan as well, the latter banned exports to its neighbor. A 24-ton shipment arrived from Afghanistan instead. And additional relief, albeit fleeting, came from within India itself, when Groupon launched a wildly popular weeklong special: one kilo of onions for the low, low price of nine rupees.

In the ladies’ section of the Mumbai Local one evening, an auntie hints at the political importance of the price increase, while reviving an old joke. “Onions are bringing tears to everyone’s eyes in Maharashtra,” she says, adding, “They can and have toppled governments, you know!”

Indeed. (Damn, that's another nickel I owe Reynolds.) States have fallen over far less. I recall something about the American colonies and tea.

4. You Can't Make This Stuff Up Dept.

Just how gullible do they think we are?

In an astounding feat that defies several of the known laws of nature, a 17 year old North Carolina boy managed to shoot himself in the head while his hands were cuffed behind his back. Allegedly, young Jesus Huerta died while he was alone, locked in the back of a police cruiser, after having been patted down.

What's really astounding about this tale is that the police chief wants us to accept it verbatim:

“I know that it is hard for people not in law enforcement to understand how someone could be capable of shooting themselves while handcuffed behind the back,” [Police Chief Jose] Lopez said. “While incidents like this are not common, they unfortunately have happened in other jurisdictions in the past."

I know, I know: not funny. Well, reflect on this: the probability that a formal Internal Affairs investigation will unreservedly support the cops' story approaches 100%. It might not evoke ha-ha laughter, but it surely tells us there's "funny business" going on -- and not just in North Carolina.

[Courtesy of Angry Mike.]

5. From The Fashion Front Lines.

Denmark's prime minister, the exceedingly attractive Helle Thorning-Schmidt, might soon become as well known for her fashion choices as for her dubious judgment about "selfies:"

Here we see one of the ineradicable differences between men and women. No man not in an unbreakable hypnotic trance would ever be seen in such garb. (All right, all right, the blouse and the skirt are fetching enough.) Women, on the other hand...? Well, perhaps not all women -- I have no fear of showing that photo to the C.S.O. -- but imagine what Michelle Obama might do, considering the episode immortalized below:

And that's all for today, Gentle Reader.


YIH said...

I've seen the ''Christmas Tinner'' too, YIKES!
I wouldn't feed that to a dog (though it does resemble dog food).
Those holiday Jones Soda packs were at least done tongue in cheek and for charity (I've sampled them, take my advice - don't).

Adrienne said...

Helle Thorning-Schmidt looks like a Dalmatian and a Monte Cristo needs to be fried not baked in the oven.

That is all...

F.J. Dagg said...

Q: What might Michelle Obama do?

YIH said...

Something I just came across:
VIDEO: Controversy After Viral Video Shows Molten Aluminum Poured Down Ant Hill
One of the drawbacks of living in FL is the fire ant:
They're in TX, as well. The good news is they stop at the Mason-Dixon line (too cold up there).

Joseph said...

The instabilities in the onion market are Gerld Ford's fault.