Whimsy: December 2004 Archives

Punny, without a grout


Eight-year-old Joseph unveiled a riddle of his own invention:

Q. What kind of roach should you use when you're sealing tile?

A. A caulk-roach.

Setup needs some work -- why should you use a roach to seal tile? -- but chuckleworthy nonetheless.



The whole family went to see "Polar Express" in IMAX 3D last night. It's very impressive technically -- falling snow seeming to whirl around you, soaring with an eagle, zooming with the train down the world's steepest grade. It was way too intense and suspenseful for our four year old, who kept protesting that she was "too tired" to watch the movie -- which is her way of saying she's scared, but she won't say she's scared because she's a big girl and her big brother isn't scared. She spent a lot of the movie in Mommy's lap, facing away from the screen, occasionally looking back over her shoulder.

The movie is like a journey into a Thomas Kinkade painting -- everything's all warm and glowing. I did get drawn into the movie, although on reflection the story's a bit thin, and disbelief unsuspended itself at several points. When I saw thousands of identically-dressed elves massed in North Pole's central plaza, I sort of expected to hear praises to Kim Jong-Il. And when the main character whispers to Santa what he wants for Christmas, I leaned over to my wife and said, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

A bit of accidental humor comes in a scene in Santa's monitoring room, when the elves on duty are alerted to a boy being naughty: He put gum in his sister's hair on Christmas eve. The boy's location: Maplewood, New Jersey, which happens to be the location of the school district that has banned perfomances of religious holiday music this year.

The South Orange and Maplewood school board shouldn't have any qualms about showing this movie at school. It is devoid of any religious references, other than the frequent use of the word "Christmas." No creches, no angels, no wise men, and especially no Jesus. In "Polar Express," Christmas is all about believing in Santa.

Still, if you can overlook that deficiency, it's an impressive film to see in IMAX 3D, and a family-friendly evening's entertainment.

UPDATE: Here's a review of the movie by Adeodatus. This quote will give you a sense of where he's coming from:

Let me say up front that I am not a big fan of the Santa myth as it has come down to us. About this time of year a few years back J. looked out the window on the drive to school and asked if Santa Claus was real. Sure he was real, I told him. I saw his bones in a box.

He goes on to compare "Polar Express" to other secular Christmas programs like "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life."

OOPS: Forgot to hat-tip Swamphopper of The Rough Woodsman for the link to Adeodatus's review.

Here's a fake news item about Google's plans to index rare books. It has an eerie relevance to events in Tulsa this week.

Google Brings 'Thrill of Public Library' to Your Desktop by Scott Ott

(2004-12-14) -- A cooperative venture between Google, the internet search engine company, and several major universities promises to bring "the thrill of the public library" to home and office, making it easier for millions of ordinary people to access the contents of books that few want to read.

"Studies show that 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year, and 58 percent of adults never read another book after high school," said a Google spokesman. "When this project is complete, we'll place tens of thousands of volumes of classic literature at their fingertips, where they can fail to read them in the privacy of their own homes."

If the project succeeds, the source said, public libraries could dispose of their collections of flammable dust-magnets (trade jargon for 'books') and could finally focus on their primary mission -- reheating homeless people while they surf the net at broadband speeds.

"And for those who enjoy a lazy afternoon reading a book, doing so online will enhance their enjoyment of this leisurely pursuit," said the Google source. "In fact, with a dial-up internet connection it could take as long as three leisurely minutes just to turn the page."

Scott Ott posts several satirical news items every day at ScrappleFace.com. (Unlike some humor sites on the Internet, you won't encounter vulgarity, obscenity, or profanity at ScrappleFace.com.) He has published a book of his best political satire, called Axis of Weasels. It's perfect for Christmas gift giving, and you can order it here.

Oh thank heaven... for BBC7


BBC7, the digital radio service featuring comedy, drama, and kids programs, runs repeats of classic British radio comedy like "Round the Horne," "Hancock's Half Hour," "The Burkiss Way," "I'm Sorry I'll Read that Again," and "The Goon Show," audio versions of TV shows like "Dad's Army" and "Steptoe and Son," and comedy quizzes like "The News Quiz," "I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue," and "Just a Minute" -- the latter involves speaking about an arbitrary subject for one full minute without hesitation, repetition, or deviation.

But until recently BBC7 went off the air from about midnight UK time until 7 in the morning -- in other words from 6 pm until 1 am Tulsa time -- the only time I could listen. And even if I was up late (not uncommon), the first programs of the day were the kids' shows.

Now BBC7 is not only 24 hours a day, but you can "listen again" to shows that aired in the course of the last week. So now you can hear a pre-Python John Cleese, along with all three of the Goodies before they were Goodies, on "I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again" at any convenient hour, day or night. Or listen to Rambling Syd Rumpo nadger his cordwangle in brilliant digital audio on this week's edition of "Round the Horne."

Follow the bouncing ball


Over on Ephemeral Isle, we learn that Monday is Rover Appreciation Day. Not Rover, the dog, or Rover, the British car marque, but a big, white spherical thing that fans of a certain '60s cult TV show will remember, and that gave this son of a fan of that certain '60s cult TV show the nightmares for a time.

After Monday, look for the item in the December archive here, along with a charming account of a tea party held by the 2 1/2 year old daughter of the curator of Ephemeral Isle.



Over on The Corner, someone wanted to know if there were any Christmas carols that mention dogs. As a fan of Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo, I of course remembered that each year Pogo and friends sang the Christmas classic "Deck Us All with Boston Charlie," while resident canine Beauregard always insisted that the correct lyrics began with "Bark Us All Bow-Wows of Folly." You can find all variations on the theme here, on the official Pogo website.

Also on the website was a link to this eBay auction, which closed Wednesday, for an extensive collection of Pogo paperbacks, Christmas cards, phonograph records, comic books, figurines, buttons, and other paraphernalia. The winning bid was $24,211.42, a bargain by the looks of it. It's worth clicking that link, just to look at the thumbnails of what was for sale. Good thing I didn't see it until after the auction had closed....

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from December 2004.

Whimsy: November 2004 is the previous archive.

Whimsy: January 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]