The First Feast of Harlequin

Myriad forms of modern comic entertainment from situation comedy to pantomime to Punch-and-Judy puppet shows (not to mention Shakespeare's lighter fare) seem to have had their roots in Commedia dell'arte, a form of improvisatory troupe based in Italy in the 16th century (ca. 1550 in Tuscany).

Most interesting to me is the introduction of pantomime and the modern clown. The stock characters of the troupe style are by now familiar by their descendents, if not directly.

Quoting from the above list, here are a few.

modern ruins

somebody on #trax posted a photo album of an abandoned russian airport, which reminded me of some even spookier photos I had run across a few years ago.

I rummaged through my bookmarks and found it.

Modern Ruins shows "[...] a layered meaning in these places, random pieces of a historic and social puzzle are clumped together, confused by years of decay, these ruins are an archaeology of our culture, they reveal unexpected artifacts of a past that seems distant and foreign."

they're like frozen echoes of nostalgia for a past which no longer exists, but still haunts the future. it reminds me of delivering papers at 4AM in the morning wondering how little difference at those hours things would be if a hydrogen bomb were dropped...

Civics 101 Lesson

The Ten Commandments are back in the news, thanks to a Supreme Court decision in allowing their display on some government land, but prohibiting it elsewhere. The gist of the ruling seems to be an utterly non-precedent-setting "context is everything," so we are guaranteed to see more of this in the coming years.

The TC-anywhere lobby never says what it's really thinking: arguments in favor of displays tend to be utterly indifferent to context and switch between several different theses--- the freedom of communities to do what they want, the historical significance of Judeo-Christianity in the United States, the historical primacy of Judeo-Christian religions in the United States government, and (perhaps most perplexingly) the statement that the Commandments form the basis for law in this country.

We now explore this last point with a review: Which of the Ten Commandments are also United States law?

Woo! I'm 100! And dead!

When you've made it to 100, presumably you haven't done a lot of hugely risky things. So to celebrate, why pick something risky? Just stay at the nursing home and have your cake and ice cream slurry.

Carl Zetterlund didn't do that. He took a helicopter ride. And now he's dead.

Read all about it.

Doggles and More!

Get your Doggles at PETsMART! They're only $19.99.

Remember, Doggles do more than just look great, they protect your dog's eyes from the sun, wind, dust and debris.

This is the perfect gift for someone you've already given a Bonestone or some Dog Head Golf Club Covers.

Let me show you the golf club covers. Aren't they precious?

Your Tipping Guide

We're moving tomorrow and trying to figure out how much to tip the already expensive movers. Have you ever wondered how much you're supposed to tip for various services? These people have it all figured out:

Tipping Etiquette Guide
Tip the Pizza Guy

The Phantom Airport

I'm a fan of abandoned things. Abandoned cars on the side of the road, old shut-down factories, boxcars... they're all great. I even like closed abandoned airports. But what about an airport with not a person inside -- with all the lights on, the baggage conveyor moving, and the escalators running, but nobody there to use them? An airport with no planes coming or going? The answer is inside.

If the roving bands of negro youths aren't on PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, they're facing....

Via an Ebay search, I found that Public Assistance has a two-sided game board (at least on some editions.) The flip-side to the life of a wayward minority living on the affluent white dollar is, of course, crime: rape, arson, murder and kidnapping.

Rather than attempt to discuss this game that I do not own (yet), I'll simply quote the seller's perfect description:

"Capital Punishment is an offensive/defensive strategy game. You can win the game in one of two ways, by maneuvering all of your criminals (a murderer, a rapist, an arsonist, and a kidnapper) into prison, or by using your liberals to knock your opponent's criminals off the path of justice back onto the street so many times that your opponent loses all of his innocent citizens as victims of violent crime."

Outbid me and I'll kill you.

Here's the link.

Favell Lee Mortimer: Best writer ever?

If you desire outrageously bigoted 19th century writing for children, written by a possibly demented and unquestionably sadistic Englishwoman, with instructional emphasis on the characteristics of different cultures, look no further...

O Gauge Fatsos

Somehow the topic of model trains came up, an area ripe for Googling, because:

- the phrase "HO Train" is made for Googling
- model trains are for weirdos
- Results 1 - 10 of about 57 for "ho train caboose".

I found this fellow's article (Mom said to always credit link sources when I am blogging!!!).

He links to this page of freaky miniature people.

Example thumbnails:

There is nothing creepy about HO Gauge circus clowns.

Diamond Jim Parker made a huge miniature circus. See the PDFs on that page for pictures of its madness.

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