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The Maidens of the Rhine
"Here's the deal. Renounce love, and you can have all the gold."
"Okay. Here. I renounce love. Gimme the gold."
"Here's your gold."
"Can we have it back?"
"Come on! Give it back!"
"No way. It's my gold. I've got all the power now. I renounced love."
"Look, give it back, or we'll tell."
"What's to tell? That you upheld your end of the bargain?"
"We'll say ... it's ours."
"You would be lying."
"Oh, give it back!"
It's not your gold any more.
What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing. We're just girls."
A teenager today appears to be in the middle of a crisis, poised on the point of a knife whose one hone is certainty and whose other hone is uncertainty. Today's teenager, unclear of the concept or utility of fact (due to his shoddy education), does not know what he knows, and is ignorant of his ignorance.
"He was, like, 'What do you mean?'? and it was kinda, I dunno, like, he was, like, pointing at me or something?"
"So did you, like, do something like, like kinda tell him? like, did, you know, like, not get him?"
There she lay, asleep and dreaming. She had a family vacation coming up. The station wagon was getting packed. The dog was wretching so she was going to find her mother. She was not finding her mother, she was finding her father, who was really quite old. He was moving slowly, he was being absent-minded. She was talking to her sister who was saying, "He's been being like this for some time." He was looking sad. They were still getting ready for the trip.
She awoke. Her father had been dead for some time. She called her mother. "Hi, mom."
We were in class. Miss Cooper was describing 'times tables' to us. Mysterious things, these times tables! And then Billy burped. Not just any burp, though. A really loud eruption of a burp. And we all started laughing and the laughing was infectious. Miss Cooper cried out, "It's not funny!" which made us only laugh the more.
Are there any funnier words than, "It's not funny?" The words draw the humour back into itself; it becomes self-conscious. Is this a proof of something? Can anyone take seriously, "It's not funny?" Is this a proof? Does it prove God's a joker?
Rob, Laura, Richie, Buddy, and Sally go to a vacation spot on the shore of the Black Sea, in Bulgaria. (Buddy has an uncle in the area.) After a couple days of soaking in the local colour, during which Buddy and Sally go relative-visiting, Rob finds himself accused of molesting four children, a parently false accusation. This takes a good scene in which Mary is uncertain, whereupon Rob convinces her. ("And Richie! What about Richie?") But his innocence is to no avail; the Bulgarian constabulary is very matter-of-fact. "It's a part of local custom, I suppose. Like a game."
Buddy and Sally return. There's some room for business here as they find out about the charges. Buddy takes control; they all go to the police station. Some jokes about the Bulgarian language go here. It turns out there's absolutely no room for appeal; furthermore, justice is swift among the Bulgars. The sentence is to be carried out next morning. "Oh, what kind of justice do you have 'round here?" asks Buddy. "For this crime, the punishment is death." "Death as in ... death." "Your friend will be immersed in poison, and he will die slowly, in five days."
After the commercial and the station identification the foursome return to their cabin and puzzle through it all. They figure out that there is no way to escape the bizarre situation. There is no court of appeal. Sally makes a crack about Franz Kafka. Laura cries, "Oh, Rob!" Rob brings to mind one of their other trips in which the whole set-up was for a gag tv show of Alan's. "This
to be a gag. So... let's just go through with it! Make it funny!" (There's room for jokes here as the three writers conjure up absurd situations.)
The four show up at the place of execution, which is a room with a big wooden vat in the middle, and above it is perched a chair. Rob is wearing his swim fins and a mask and snorkel. (Laughter.) The two police are there already. They tell Rob to take off those silly things--don't worry, we'll find a use for them--and get up into the chair. Rob does so. There's a dramatic countdown, a switch is pulled, the chair falls, as does Rob into the vat. Big splash. Rob climbs out. "There. Nothing to it, see?"
It's five days later. Rob is bed-ridden, covered with bleeding sores and coughing up green. Buddy is saying he was certain it was some sort of joke, and he apologizes. Rob forgives him, coughs up some more. "I can see death coming," he says. He screams. All turn away. Rob dies.
There's nothing to do except pack and arrange for the corpse to be shipped to New Rochelle.
Back in the office, things are getting back to normal. Sally becomes head writer, and there's interviews for another writer. So someone is hired, a young guy, played by Woody Allen.
I'm down the street and I hear a car and I want to cross.
The sound of a car wants me to cross the street.
Minding my mind, a car-sound makes me recall the street.
Call to mind the street a car sound makes me.
If I'm not on the street I don't hear cars.
Here comes a car sound: cross?
Minding my mind, a car-sound sounds.
The car-sound impels me to cross.
A child, I, in a car, sat.
Brought to consciousness by a river or a stream.
"Look at the stream."
::::::::::::::::::::::I needed to pee.
And the kid runs;
the kid runs down Arden, into the court;
then he runs from the court and down Acadia, to the left;
corner and another corner, to Riverside Drive;
past Julie Kerr's house, and right on Regent Drive;
and still he runs, down the hill to Bond;
and along Bond, past the mall and past Loblaws;
Wilson Road, Cadillac Avenue, Central Park Boulevard;
Ritson Road, running, Mary Street, running;
And he's downtown now, but he can't stop;
He has to keep running;
No time to think, no time to breathe,
No time to sleep, no time to stop.
I've talked enough. It's your turn.
You don't say.
Then what happened?
I wouldn't believe it if someone else told me.
Quite a coincidence, that.
And you never-
Is that a joke?
Well I'll be darned.
And then so you-
I'm not too proud to say, Good for you.
Sure, why not?
Right as rain on a spring day.
Wait, could you repeat that bit?
It could not be otherwise.
So you're now-
That reminds me of something...
Today--Monday--is the first day of a week during which I will be working from 2:30 in the afternoon 'til 11:00 in the evening. And this morning I realized that this means I will not see my love except for perhaps two minutes in the morning at about 8, and two minutes in the evening at about 12. And this is a terrible thing. Because it means we will both be alone for five whole days. And this has never happened before, not once in ten years at the least. And tomorrow, tomorrow is the feast of St. Valentinus!
Allegory on Fact
Everywhere I looked I read that plastic cement works by actually melting the two plastic surfaces you are adhering. 'You have to scrape the paint off the surfaces you are trying to adhere.'
And yet, last night, I tried gluing a painted plastic deck to an unpainted plastic hull. By morning, it had become completely unstuck. So I scraped the paint off the deck and tried again. It worked perfectly.
That the cement works this way is a chemical fact. Maybe I thought it was just an interpretation or a theory.
I ignore facts at my peril.
Tell us a story.
Tell us a story.
Let's see. How about ... a murder story?
Let's see. It's all flat. The murder doesn't think he has committed the crime. It's all in one scene. It ends with his arrest. I'm thinking of Raskolnikov.
This is no way to tell a story!
Quiet! What do I know about interrogation rooms? I've seen them in movies. What's it like inside? Oh, doesn't matter: because it's all so flat.
What are you talkin' about?
Tell a story!
That's exactly what I'm doing! Brats.... It's in the present tense....
AT THE PARTY EXECUTIVE MEETING
-Bad news, bad news. The long gun registry's doomed.
-Our supporters will be pissed.
-Yeah. They'll have way less of a weapons monopoly.
-Order, order. First issue: wifi in schools.
-Union vs. students.
-Which side is more violent?
-Resolved. We support the union. Next?
-Civil liberty folk vs. Greenpeace et al.
-Greenpeace treats people like slugs.
-Then they've got our support. Anything else outstanding?
-Go draft some policy. And remember our secret motto: If it's good for the criminals, it's good for the NDP.
On the phone....
-Well, do you think your wife will be interested in our platform?
-No, she's not interested in it either.
-Can I speak with her?
-She doesn't want to speak with you.
-She may not be of the same opinion as you.
-I know her quite well, thanks. She's not interested.
-I think you're accusing me of something.
-Yes, you. Look. Do you believe in personalities?
-I guess so.
-She has a personality. I
her personality. She is
-Okay then goo-
-Do you wake up wondering, "Who am I?"-
the invisible clothing,
Have you been thinking, "What's up with the lack of fabric innovation? Where's our glorious tomorrow?" Worry no more, because, finally, a new new fabric unseen 'til now. Thanks to the miracle of nanotechnology we bring to you... invisible clothing!
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Every single article of clothing is available today. Order yours now.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
By all accounts, a few of which I heard at dates later than the date upon which I learned to understand speech--though I scarcely know how, considering that all sounds passed through me without striking anything, for nothing was there to 'strike'--my birth was an unusual one. My mother dilated, and a large
--myself--appeared. How the doctors and nurses felt at this supremely odd experience which no classes of med school could possibly have covered, I know not. In any case, I was born on a pleasant Saturday afternoon in the year 1908.
Life's Like That
FATHER: Daughter, seeing as today is your tenth birthday, you can ask me something, and you can ask me
DAUGHTER: Gee Dad, are you proposing something of a 'talk'?
:Um, uh, sure. Okay, I guess so.
:Well.... I heard something.... But I dunno.
:What is it? (I'm nervous!) What?
:Is it true that.... Uh.... Little fishes.... Come out of boys?
:Yeah.... Tiny little ones.
:Well, that's not quite.... It's
:(Phew!) Yes, it
gross. Now you can ask
:Okay, Dad.... Can I get my clit pierced?
Since all of this is based on a centennial structure, I must mention here that today is my grandmother's hundredth birthday. Yep, she was born on February 21st 1912. We're giving her a big party on Saturday.
A hundred years is a long time. She's made it through it all. Ontario to California then back to Ontario. By contrast, my hundreds will only go to around 2027. (An estimate.)
So anyway the party is on Saturday, at her church, no alcohol, probably mostly elderly people. In other words, it's one of those parties from which no girl goes home pregnant.
These days, a TTC computer makes all the announcements concerning delays on the system. This male voice sounds hesitant and neurotic. I wonder what it really wants to say....
Attention all subway passengers. We are currently experiencing a delay at our College Station. Regular service is expected to resume in five minutes. My father didn't love me. I never learned what I had done wrong. I was simply not worthy of him. My mother was distant, cold, alcoholic. I wish I could find a better job. But I am just so afraid. I've given up hope. My psychiatrist hates me.
Things That Were Said To Have Been Said
My sister--get this--said to me.
Let us recall Proust's famous words on the subject of cathedrals. He wrote.
He leaned out his window and shouted to me.
Said the lecturer.
As the Bard sang.
Even though his mouth was full of peanut butter he managed to say.
She screamed, presumably at me. I yelled back.
Yelled the cop.
Jonesey curled up into a ball in the corner of the room, after he told everyone.
We weren't even listening the first time the loudspeaker told us.
In the beginning God said.
Be careful, don't go near him, don't even lookat him, keep your distance, you don't know what he will do, you don't know if he's drunk or if he's angry or if he's anything at all; he's the Bad Uncle; we had a Good Uncle but now he's dead and so we're left with the Bad Uncle, who's bad, very bad; he's said mean things, mean things about his own father, about the person who stands to him as Daddy, his brother, stands to us; he's the Bad Uncle, beware the Bad Uncle, the Bad Uncle, o, the Bad Uncle.
-What's the most I can owe you for the cake?
-For the cake. For the cake you bought for this shindig.
-Split up five ways, the price apiece is forty dollars.
-How much more than that can I pay?
-I still don't know what you mean.
-For gas. For your time. Did you refrigerate it?
-For the electricity that took.
-Oh for heaven's sake-
-No, really, I
to pay the total amount.
-Because I'm incapable of doing anything else. The only thing I can do is pay the most I can.
-Okay. A hundred?
Jon Stewart Mad Lib
Well, it seems that (honorific) (celebrity) has gotten into a lot of (adjective) water recently. Word is, he's (adverb) lost the (noun) to the (adjective) office.
In other news, the investigation into (noun) and (noun) continues (adverb). There's been plenty of (noun). Look at this clip.
(Show clip. Look stupid.)
The weather has recently been (adjective). There's a (adjective) wind blowing in from the (noun). It can't be because of the (adjective) government, now could it?
(interjection)! I'm not being (adjective), am I? Do you know what I mean? Good night, everyone!
I considered recommending my radio station interview René Girard, but I decided against it.
Tell us about your theories, René.
Social cohesion--and everything we call human, really--came about as a result of mimetic desire's operation. Which resulted in the scapegoating of an arbitrarily chosen victim. From the murders come imitative ritual, religion, language, drama--everything from small to large.
Interesting. What's your opinion of the 'occupy' protests?
They exhibit the classic scapegoat mechanism, like all common revolutionary movements. In their case, it's the '1%' that, if sacrificed, would heal their perceived community.
Oh. But, you're
I was over at my best friend's house alone the other day and I accidentally spilled coffee on his rug.
Drastic action was called for.
I dragged all his furniture out of the room and took up the carpet and burned it in the back yard.
I went to Home Depot and got a replacement rug and three gallons of matching paint, acrylic.
I spread newspaper all over the place and painted the walls from top to bottom.
A couple hours later I laid down the rug and brought in all the furniture.
I made another cup of coffee.
There was a time when you were young (but that was a long time ago) and the whole of the world held possibilities for you.
A great fireman.
A great teacher.
A great artist.
And time passed, and all these possibilities became les and less likely.
You noticed that people younger than yourself hadbecome great firemen, teachers, artists.
You mind grows dullish; your blood thickens.
Like the slow collapse of a quantum waveform you have lost all you chances, and you've become yourself and yourself only.
And the future? Of course: it's only going to get worse.
Happy next birthday.
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