Ninja Turtles, Napalm, and Silly Putty

Ninja Turtles comic spoiler alert

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Somehow I stumbled upon this yesterday and it made me laugh.  It’s such a ridiculous picture if you step back from it.  (No offense meant to comic fans.  Whatever floats your boat I say.)  The imagination of man! 

George Carlin’s book Napalm & Silly Putty, the title anyway, was based on the absurdity of the human imagination.  The same group of beings that could make something to copy the Sunday comics could also create something to melt someone’s skin off from a distance. 

Image from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44

W., House of Cards, Deadwood, and Reflections On the Illusions of Power

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The other night I watched Oliver Stone’s W. for the first time since it was in theaters, his film about George W. Bush.  There is that old saying that comedy is tragedy plus time.  The farther we drift from those years the more they seem like some kind of strange absurd comedy.  (And yes I am fully aware of the real tragedies that were part of those times.)  Like when you study the horrors of medieval times they almost appear like a Monty Python comedy.  I think people will look back on that point in our history with disbelief.  How did we knowingly choose to put a man like that in charge for two terms?  Why did we invade a country that posed no threat to us?  It was baffling then to many and even more so now.

If you lived through those years the movie might seem too light for what actually went on.  However, if you view it in a detached way, as someone looking back who didn’t live through them would, I think it emotionally reflects how those times will be viewed.

I’ve also, as stated, been watching House of Cards lately.  Given some of the problems with the third season, I still think it possesses interesting ideas.  Combined with watching W. is the idea that our leaders our just people, no different from us.  They may have better luck, family ties, or ambition, but at the end of the day they are humans.  It is only ritual and stage craft that gives them their power.  We are all part of a play.  The power they possess is only in direct accordance with how much power we believe that they have.  In the show Deadwood there is the idea that history is, “a lie agreed upon.”  There are rules and traditions that create the perception of order and therefore create order itself.  It is the belief in these fictitious sets of principles that holds it all together.

To close, I quote Twin Peaks:  “We live inside a dream.”

Sad Song, When Tragedy Becomes Comedy

Today I was talking to my Dad on the phone about Dante’s Inferno.  Surprisingly we both found it funny.  This is a book where people’s souls are tortured in the most horrible ways imaginable for all eternity, often for no more than religious thought crimes or moments of passion.  The religious medieval mind was sure a strange one!  When things go that dark they, at some point, go through the looking glass and pass into the realm of absurdity, and then turn into comedy.

Lou Reed often makes me laugh in the same way, though I’m almost positive that he was in on the joke.  When he was asked about his album Berlin, which many deem the most depressing album of all time, he said he was just, “having fun.”  Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul, I can put that album on, or any number of his albums, and find myself instantly cheered up.  The final song on it, Sad Song, is the cosmic punchline to the album.  I was going to describe it, but I found this description on YouTube by Adam Pendleton, the first comment at the time of writing, and I really enjoyed it:

So this poem is about an abusive husband, than his wife kills herself. Even so, he doesn’t really care. He half-heartedly chants “sad song.” than shrugs and moves on. Even after she’s gone he thinks of her as “wasting my time.” and that he was wrong for thinking she ever looked beautiful. He justifies his abuse, “somebody else would have broke both her arms.” At least that’s what I got out of it.

As Mark Twain once said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.”

The Marx Brothers in Texas

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Last night in Nacogdoches, Kevin Russell told me the story of how the Marx Brothers got their comedic start here.  I had no idea their story involved Texas at all.  From Wikipedia:

One evening in 1912, a performance at the Opera House in Nacogdoches, Texas, was interrupted by shouts from outside about a runaway mule. The audience hurried out to see what was happening. When the audience returned, Groucho, angered by the interruption, made snide comments about its members, including “Nacogdoches is full of roaches” and “The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass”. Instead of becoming angry, the audience laughed. The family then realized it had potential as a comic troupe.

P.S. If today is anything like yesterday then posting will be slow until I get back to Austin.

Jimmy Kimmel Won’t Back Down About Vaccines

Jimmy Kimmel Won’t Back Down About Vaccines

The above article at Salon is about how Jimmy Kimmel as been taking on the anti-vaxxers.  This is a subject that’s so stupid that only a comedian could really do it justice.  The link is worth going to just to see the video.  At the end of it there is a PSA featuring Doctor’s telling people to get vaccinated that is pretty hilarious:  “Remember that time you got polio?” another doctor asks. “No, you don’t, because your parents got you f—king vaccinated.”