Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

From  the Vizsla and family to you and yours

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving!

No w bring me some turkey

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Let's remember what Christmas is really about. Vague disappointment and self loathing.

About this time every year I confront a crucial and time honored question-

Is this the year I get around to buying an advent calendar?

On the off chance that there are any among you who aren't familiar with the item - An advent calendar is basically your basic one page calendar of the Month of December with little flaps on each day that open to reveal a little surprise behind each day.  On some versions it's a piece of candy on each day, on others it's a small toy or a joke that isn't in any way funny.  You get the idea.

The practical upshot is that if you're a slightly OCD child who's excited about the countdown to Christmas it gives you something to really, really obsess about for a few weeks,  Plus - candy.

The hitch - it really only works if you get your shit together early enough to pick one up before December begins.  Otherwise you're into catching up several days at once territory - which feels like cheating and somewhat undermines the pleasing OCD-ness of the whole process.  Once you get to the 3rd or 4th you pretty much let it go for the year and make a vague promise to yourself that next November you'll remember.  Yeah.  Next year you'll get it together.  You're gonna be awesome, next-year guy.  Just you wait and see.

Then next December 3rd rolls around and the cycle begins anew.

At this point I'm not even sure that I actually want an advent calendar in and of itself.  I suspect I might just want to be the sort of person that has his shit together enough to have actually acquired an advent calendar.  Then, no matter how badly one might fail with all of the rest of the unrealistic expectations of the Christmas season, at the very least, at the end of the day, you can say to yourself - 'Hey, how bad can I be?  I have an advent calendar, buddy.  I have my shit together.'

-Let the Season of Christmas self-impeachment commence.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There should be more songs about cheese.

I recently dug out my copy of Robyn Hitchcock's 'Jewels for Sophia' (an album with depressingly little to do with The Golden Girls). 

I was pleased to discover a song that I had long since forgotten called 'The Cheese Alarm'  A catchy tune that contains such lyrics as-

 'Roquefort and Gruyere and slippery Brie, 
All of these cheeses they happen to me.'

It's amazing how something completely random and ridiculous can make you feel ok about your life in general again.

Well played, Mr. Hitchcock.  Well Played.  I will indeed ring your cheese alarm.

You should enjoy it now here.

-Vizsla out

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vizsla Flashback - Your more embarrasing faces of Death

I know we don't like to think about it, but it remains an undeniable fact that we are all, at some point, going to die.

Except of course for Neil Diamond, who will like forever both through his music and through a skillful blend of cybernetic enhancements.

Regardless, what concerns me most about the whole issue is not the thought of dying itself, but rather a more general concern that the death itself not be something ridiculous.  The last thing you want is folk tittering at your funeral.

Yes, I just said tittering.

Here are just a few examples of the many, many embarrassing way that I'd like to not meet my final end...

Not everyone can pull off Adorable and Badass at the same time

Yes.  There is such a thing as a Giant Otter- I discovered this while perusing Otter-related websites in preparation for a previous column.  Now, I admit to having mixed feelings on this one, because I'm pretty sure that the death itself would be absolutely adorable.  That said, I'd just as soon not have everyone's first reaction to my death be 'Awwwww.... look at his cute little blood-soaked hands!  They're so human!'


In the world of air travel, there is a thing called 'Blue Ice'.  This is - to not put too delicate an edge on it - a frozen mixture of disinfectant and other people's dookie.

Now, the airline industry is quick to point out that they are actually forbidden from dumping this in mid-flight, and indeed there is no mechanism to do so.  HOWEVER... they also acknowledge that there have been at least 27 documented incidents in the last few decades of Blue Ice striking the Earth from accidental dislodge - Which sounds an awful lot like a euphemism for the very process that created the need to have blue ice in the first place.

So, yes.  Your chances of dying from being hit by the stuff is roughly the same as winning the lottery.  But all things being equal, I'd rather win the lottery.  If there are three words that I would like to not appear in my Eulogy, 'Other People's Stool' would be them.


As a gesture of respect for the man, I'll leave you to Google that one on your own if you really want to know.

This.   Guy.   Rules.

Cosplay - for those who are too cool to be familiar with it - is basically a term that was entirely coined in order for adults to justify feeling ok about their desire to play let's pretend in neat costumes.

When we were kids of course we just went ahead and did it without worrying about what the people who saw your Facebook photos might think.  As we get older, apparently it needs a niche brand in order for us to feel OK about doing it.

Now, I want to make perfectly clear - I am all for Cosplay, whatever you want to call it.  As more than a few pictures from Doctor Who conventions of the past will attest (and I made a ROCKIN' Sabalom Glitz, for the record)

I'd just like to avoid the words 'Found Dead in Batman Costume' to be part of my obituary.  It opens up too many questions.


Unless it's a nuclear bomb and I'm saving the planet of course.

Here's the back story to this one.  The other morning on Marketplace they had a brief discussion of how the UK was sending out an appeal for people to be a bit more careful and commonsense with handcuffs.

Apparently since the onset of that 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon their Emergency services have seen a jump in calls to free someone inadvertently handcuffed to something inconvenient has risen by some insanely ridiculous percentage*

*No, I don't really understand why they were talking about it on Marketplace either.

Being British, the PSA is mostly along the lines of 'For the love of God, check if you have the keys handy first, there's a good chap'

What this makes me think however is that it's just a matter of time until somebody let's somebody else shackle em up for a nice night of whatever-you're-into-I'm-not-judging-you, only to have the non-shackled party suddenly have a massive aneurysm and die, leaving the shackled party to slowly die of dehydration and embarrassment.

That's gonna be some fun small talk at the wake, now isn't it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vizsla vs. Homogeny

I should establish at the outset of this - I like myself.  Specifically the inside of my brain.  I am a huge fan of the inside of my brain.  I'm consistently like 'go inside of my brain, it's your birthday!'

Seriously.  I'm a huge fan of me.  Across the board.

That established

I get asked on a regular basis where I get the ideas for the things I discuss here.  And the ugly truth is that I don't actually get ideas.  The stuff I write down here is pretty much how it is in the inside of my brain 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And I like it inside there.  Almost all the time.

I like that I jump randomly between a million different things.  I enjoy the way I never really know where I'm going with any particular thought.  I love that I get so caught up in the details of stupid shit that I frequently forget to ever get around to making the point that I initially started out intending to make.

I think that one of the best things about people is how different everyone can be.

But sometimes I wish I knew what it was like to be part of a crowd.  I wish just once I knew what it was like to belong somewhere.  To know that all of your friends were on the same page with you.  It would be awesome for just once to be able to just say something without thinking it through three times to make sure it didn't make you seem too crazy.

I guess I just wish that for one day I knew what it was like to belong somewhere.

But then the moment passes and I remember how awesome I am.  So it's all good.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just giving fair warning about this

This Saturday, November the 23rd in the Year of our Lord 2013 is the 50th Anniversary of the first Broadcast of Doctor Who.

And while I am still holding it together reasonably well at this stage just by trying not to think about it, at some point I AM going to lose it completely and unleash more fan-dog geekout fun facts to know and share than many of you might be prepared to handle.

Should the necessity arise, I am prepared to self-medicate in an effort to hold this off until at least Thursday.

But no promises.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dear Language, I love you

Dear Language,

We've been dancing around this for a while you and I , and I think that it's long past time for me to find a way to put my feelings into words (which is ironic, considering who I'm talking to)

Let me put it simply, language.

I love you.

I love everything about you.  Your spoken forms, the adorable way you transition into written form and leave those crazy little irregularities all over the place, your non-verbal forms.  I love the translate into body language. 

When I think about the way your noun-verb declension functions in the majority of Romance languages, it's all I can do not to tear away your prepositional cases and have my way with you right there.

Don't get me started on your nyms.  Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms.  The rarely acknowledged but still important heteronyms (you and you're 'get me the Polish polish hyjinks. - You're a MINX you are, language.  A minx!)

You know, for a loosely collected assemblage of general agreements made for the sake of functioning together as a collective society, you got it going ON!

I guess I've felt like this for a long time, Language.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to put these thoughts into words whose common usage convey advanced concepts as communicated through written symbology.

Oh, look at you,  making me get all gooey...

Yours 4-evah,

The Vizsla

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vizlsa Flashback - Newton's Lesser Known Laws

 "I'm more than just a pretty face"

A while back I made a casual reference to Newtons 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (Entropy Increases, as if you didn't know) when it occured to me that there was so much more to old Isaac than just that one.

Sure, we're all up to speed with Newton's thoughts on Motion, Optics, Gravitation, all that disproving the Geocentric model of the universe, blah, blah, blah.

But were you familiar with these, his lesser known laws?

1. You Can Never Have Too Many Dinner Rolls

Isaac was a huge fan of bread products, and found nothing to be more disappointing that when one reached into the bread basket to get another delicious Pilsbury crescent roll only to find that that bastard Leibniz had just taken the last one.  Plus, he observed while strolling one sunny night along the banks of the Cam - They reheate so welle.

2. Ain't nobody got time for that

Sweet Brown, noted scholar of Newtonian Principles and budding mathematician, recently made note somewhat infamously of the bicentennial of this, one of Sir Isaac Newton's most applicable laws.

3. Robert Hooke is a punk ass bitch

To be scrupulously fair, it's not clear that he ever successfully proved this one through repeatable scientific study.  He certainly never published such a thing.

4. If I am rubber and you are glue, then the angle of incidence is shown to be equal to the angle of refraction relative to the 'ooo, snap' factor of the invective hurled.

Isaac got his ass kicked a lot as a youth.

5.  Get thyself to the master of physic with haste when the passing of water brings fire to your girthy loins

Still sound advice.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How Gauche, Angelina Jolie*

So apparently Angelina Jolie is left handed.

I've just learned this thanks to one of those cable channel showings of a movie from a few years earlier that breaks at intervals to tell you fun facts and inside insights about how the movie was made.  The film in question today was 'Salt'.  A movie which I care almost nothing about and had never actually seen before; it was hitherto primarily notable for being a rare instance of a script being written for a male lead character and then having that character recast as a woman*

*Although it appears that this only came about after every other male action lead currently working had been attached to star in the film and then backed out, so it isn't quite the bold step forward that it might otherwise appear to be.  Still notable however.

In any case, one of the fun facts imparted during a break from the movie was that, as I led with, Angelina Jolie is apparently left handed.  This struck m,e as interesting because I'd never actually noticed it despite having seen more than a couple of movies that she's been in.

Which leads me to a different fun fact to observe - since pretty much the beginning of humanity we've associated 'leftness' with 'wrong'.  In large part this is probably because when you see a left-handed person doing something with their left hand that people more commonly use their right hand for (oh grow up), it does convey a vague impression of 'wrongness'.  Because it looks different in a way that you can't quite put your finger on.  (Unless someone has helpfully pointed out in a behind the scenes featurette that the person in question is left handed in which case it's no big deal.)

It's possible.  just possible, mind you, that this is why Angelina Jolie is vaguely terrifying.

Or it could be that her father is John Voight and she probably has bodies buried in her basement.

Could go either way.

*I realized after the fact that I finished this article without explaining the title.  'Gauche' is French for 'Left'.  See how the French just proved my over-arching point?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are there only 16 of us now?

Internet fashionability is a funny thing.  (And on a related note, I'll happily take my turn at being fashionable now, thanks)

One of the things currently floating around in the aether, mass replicating itself is variations on the Myers Briggs Test results.*

*Which is a pretty strange thing to be meme-ing when you think about it.

And so not only are there people out there casually mentioning that they're INFP or BNSF or whatever, there is also a 'thing' wherein people map those Myers-Briggs Types onto the cast of popular TV shows/animals/etc.

In a sense it's really just the next progression from Survey Monkey and 'Which Character from Gilligan's Island are you?' quizzes*

*Lovie Howell, since you asked

But perhaps I should take this from the beginning.

The Myers-Briggs test (for those who have not had the pleasure) is a system for sorting general personality characteristics based on 4 opposition pairs.

1st - Are you (I)ntroverted or (E)xtroverted (this is pretty self-explanitory and I think most people have a pretty good sense of where they sit on this scale

2nd - Are you (S)ensing or i(N)tuitive - Because only 2 questions in and they've already run out of new letters to use, which seems like a lack of forward planning to me.  Oversimplifying, this basically means - do you look strictly at the details or do you interpret things.

3rd - Are you (T)hinking or (F)eeling - which to oversimplify even more horribly means - do you make decisions with your brain or your heart

4th - Are you more prone to (J)udging or (P)erceiving.  Or to continue oversimplifying - how 'down' are you with things being left open ended or unresolved.

Now that I've given aneurysms to anyone with any actual psychological training, 
I'll get to my point.

If you accept that everyone falls broadly into one of the two categories in each question, then you can set up a Gregor Mendel* style 4X4 grid and plot out all the various combinations (there are 16 possible variations)

*Google him.  You know you want to.  One hint - 'Peas'

This is all well and good and has given countless HR departments endless joy running folk through the testing procedure.  You get your results on a scale, so it isn't just a question of 'am I T or F, but exactly where on the continuum between the two you fall.  Which allowed me to spend several days after taking the test to comment on the extent of my P-ness.  Never.  Stopped.  Being.  Funny.

However, lately I've noticed this 4x4 grid showing up mapped onto all sorts of whoo-ha.  Which Downton Abbey character is your Myers-Briggs type, Which Animal is your Myers-Briggs type.   Which commemorative wang of the founding fathers is your Myers-Briggs type, etc. etc.

The net result of this is that we've kind of forgotten about the whole sliding scale nature of the thing (and the implicit P-ness therein) and we seem to have decreed that everyone in the world is exactly one of these 16 personalities - no exceptions, no variations.  You're either Maggie Smith or a meerkat, end of story.

And that, as I've mentioned before, is why I'm not a huge fan of memes in general.  They seem like they allow you to be creative, but they always end up being limiting.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I am Curious (George)

Let's take a moment to talk about monkeys.

Cartoon Monkeys, obviously.

*For starters, and because I am physiologically incapable of not showing off by throwing this sort of thing out there - the title reference is to a Swedish film from 1967 called 'I am Curious (Yellow)' which sadly does not at any point feature a man in a Big Yellow Hat, but WAS once described by Roger Ebert as 'If you life movies about flaccid phallus's, this is the movie for you.'

Now it is a little known and rarely noted fact that I actually work at public television, but do not have any children.  The combination of these two facts means that I'm aware of all the kids shows out there, but rarely if ever actually watch any of them.  This means that until very recently my sum total of thoughts about our cartoon block was boiled down into two facts

1:  The Kratt brothers are terrifying.

2:  The people that animate Caillou piss me off because they don't draw in the background all the way to the edge of the screen, which is just irritating.  Isn't the fact that the kid clearly has cancer enough for him to deal with without his world just stopping all around him?

In any case...

I attended an event recently dressed as the aforementioned Man in the Big Yellow Hat for reasons that aren't terribly relevant here and who are you to judge me anyway.  Watching the Curious George video at this event, and reflecting back on the Curious George books that I remember from when I was young, I was struck by one though.

Holy Crap, The Man in the Big Yellow Hat totally abducted Curious George.

The book (the first one before anybody knew it was going to be a series) mentions the aforementioned Man (itBYH) going on a safari and finding George, then deciding to bring him home with him where George could be (as titled) 'curious' about things and get into wacky misadventures.

At no point does the book mention or depict George's parents, frantically swinging from vine to vine putting up 'Have you seen me' flyers, nor does it go into details of how he convinced George to get into his windowless panel van.

And so years go by, George lives with the Man having adventures and all that, clearly having a fatherly affection for the guy (This is called Stockholm Syndrome*, people).  And here's a point worth noting - along with his actual name (it's 'Ted', for those interested in the Curious George Arcana) another thing that never gets mentioned is 'Ted's personal life.  Because he apparently doesn't have one.  At no point is there even an inkling of 'Mrs Ted' (or, as seems more likely once you start looking at it, 'Ted's boyfriend.)

*Amusingly, there is a whole swathe of people out there who refer to the phenomenon (developing feelings of loyalty or attraction to your kidnapper as a way of minimizing your sense of dis empowerment) as 'Helsinki Syndrome' solely because it was referred to (completely incorrectly) by that name in the movie 'Die Hard'.  Which is, if nothing else, an object lesson in checking your sources.

The most insightful moment as regards 'Ted' actually comes in the occasional glimpses into his closet (insert cheap joke here).  In an attempt to make an amusing inside joke about the way his iconic yellow outfit has changed in minor ways over the years, the cartoonists regularly show him to have a closet full of the exact same yellow suits and hats, all with minor variances to depict the slightly different ways he's been drawn over the years.

I think you'll agree that based on the evidence the answer is clear.

1:  Monkey theft

2: repeated wearing of the identical outfit with only minor variances.

3:  little to no apparent human inter-relationship and a tendency toward behavior repetition.

The Man in the Big Yellow Hat clearly is a high functioning Aspergers patient.

This does not, however, excuse kidnapping.

 Don't change my routine.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Very few dogs are on anti-depressants.

It's worth noting - as far as just being happy in the moment and not letting things get to you unduly, dogs are head, shoulder and tail ahead of people.

That established, it's come to my attention that plenty of humans are prone to periods of mild to moderate depression (any more severe that that and you really shouldn't be talking to a dog about your troubles, you should be talking to a trained therapist.  You might also mention to them that you've taken to talking to dogs, as long as you're already there....)  Since I'm assured by reliable sources that the big three antidepressants preferred by dogs (Drinking out of the toilet, scooting, and licking your own snack-basket*) are for some reason off the table for the human population, here I present instead an overview of things people can do to cure those 'I only got two legs blues'

*If I might quote Bobby Cobb

A warm bath

-Surprisingly not as effective at curing depression as it feels like it should be.  Turns out that we use the word 'Wallowing' for a reason.

A brisk shower

-More helpful than you expect it's going to be.  Plus it never hurts.  Unless you're a wicked witch or made of sugar.  Then it would probably hurt.

Going for a run

-Less helpful than it feels like it should be.  Mostly it just allows you to reflect on how much less good of shape you're in than you would like to be.  Plus you get all sweaty.

Working out

-Same as for the above entry on Running, except with the added bonus of being surrounded by people who ARE in better shape than you are.

Meaningless Sex

-Well, now this depends on what you're depressed about.  If your depression is centered around 'I'm such a tramp, I'll never find true love because I'm giving the milk away for free, etc.' than this is not your option.  If your depression is based around 'I'm so unattractive, no one would ever want to have sex with me', than this one is golden.

Meaningful Sex.

-If you have access to this, what are you depressed about?

Buying yourself something pretty

-Again, it depends on context.  If you're sad because you have no money and you're about to miss another mortgage payment than this one is probably not a great option.

Hearing about the discovery of Doctor Who episodes thought to have been destroyed forever in 1974 turning up somewhere in Africa and about to be released on DVD

-Amazingly effective.  Bit hard to orchestrate though.

Drinking at home alone in the basement

-Turns out that this is 'unhealthy'.  Yes.  We were all surprised.

Snuggling up under covers with a dog and watching the entire Key to Time series.

-Best.  Thing.  Ever.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Vizsla Flashback - Summer Vacation Plans of the SCOTUS

Well, Winter is nearly upon us, so what better time to look back at the beginning of summer - -those carefree days - those carefree Supreme Court Justices...

Originally published June 26th, 2013

With the tiresome final batch of decisions typed, collated and handed down, it's time once again for the august members of the Supreme Court of the United States of America to go on their long awaited Summer Holidays.

Which leads the average Vizlsa on the street to wonder - how exactly do the guardians of constitutional justice in these, our United States spend their summer down time?

Well wonder no longer, here we can now finally reveal -

The official Summer Vacation Plan Docket of the Supreme Court of the United States of America

Chief Justice John Roberts

Must return to the underworld for his annual six month obligatory term as Hades' bride due to contractual obligations negotiated by his mother Demeter, Goddess of Harvest

Clarence Thomas

Chasin' tail and pleasin' the ladies. Possibly considering getting an addition to the barbwire tattoo around left bicep.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Attempting to decrease number of youth in her neighborhood who choose to wear pants at an unreasonably low beltline through combination of disapproving glances and dissenting calls to neighborhood mothers. Also enrolled in gymnastic pole dancing class at neighborhood Y.

Antonin Scalia

Resuming the skinning and swallowing whole of live babies. Possibly getting in some light reading.

Anthony Kennedy

Will attempt once again to successfully throw 'fishbowl' style swingers party. Will spend lonely evening staring forelornely at the keys to his '93 Dodge Viper, sitting alone in bottom of fishbowl.

Elena Kagan

Drinking until the shaking and spiritual emptiness pass. So many hopes... So many dreams...

Sonia Sotomayor

Volunteering time teaching calculus to deaf students from impoverished neighborhoods in attempt to cement moral superiority over Breyer

Stephen Breyer

No one knows. No one asks. All anyone will say is that he'll return some time in mid august with haunted eyes, occasionally muttering something about 'them'.

Samuel Alito

For $35, anything you like. Also macrame

Friday, November 8, 2013


I've encountered a phenomenon lately that I like to call 'Songs that lie to you by having a deceptively perky tune which causes you to not notice how depressing the lyrics are.'*

*Note to self - come up with shorter term for this.

Case in point - The song 'The Wrong Direction' by Passenger.  Now obviously Mike Rosenberg is clearly a leprechaun, thus firmly disproving several of my earlier posts (but what can you do, right?)

At one point I actually posted a link to this song on my Facebook page with a brief word about this fun little song I'd stumbled across, only to receive a couple of responses along the lines of 'Are you on crack?  Those are the most depressing lyrics ever.*'  At which point I was compelled to actually listen to the lyrics and concur that they were indeed depressing as all get out.  Which renders the nice lady enthusiastically playing the trumpet next to the wading pool somewhat inexplicable, IMHO, but there you go.

* But seriously - Have you never listened to... like.. ANYTHING by The Smiths?

I mention this because my friend Brian's father passed away last night.  Today is Brian's birthday. And because I know some extraordinarily wonderful and unusual people (and Brian would be on the upper end of the spectrum for both of those adjectives) he requested Facebook posts that combine the two sentiments ('Happy Birthday' and 'So sorry for your loss') in some sort of amusing way*

*I should mention - this is a man who once signed a condolence card to me with the words 'Grandma died because you didn't love her enough.' **

**And then realized that the card was still being passed around the office for others to sign.*** 

***In desperation he taped a small post it note with the words 'do not read' over his message so that the rest of the office wouldn't believe him to be a heartless monster.****

****I can't even begin to tell you how long I laughed about every single facet of that story.

There are somewhere along the number of 200 responses to his post with various attempts at combining the 'happy' and 'sad' messages in some way that alchemically becomes 'funny' and then 'healing'

About halfway down the list there is a response from the smartest man I know.  I'm not going to identify him here, because his head is already big enough as it is.*

*I kid, Jim.  I kid because I love.

Jim said - 'Happy sorrow...I guess that's what it's like to be an adult.'

So... maybe it's a mistake to try to separate the perky tunes from the sad words.  Maybe that's exactly where they're both supposed to be.

I'll leave you with the song that started this whole train of thought*

*But seriously - what the Hell is Nuno Bettencourt doing with his hair???

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A kind thought for the Humble Snickerdoodle


It is in Iambic Pentameter.

Oh Cookie, soft with crispy edge abound
and roll in cin'mon sugar in my soul
for oft shall cookie goodness find profound
as grains of spices stirred then roll'd in bowl

How glad your puffy center moist and true
that such delight has Jove 'pon oven spray'd
His Pam of Wonder, might from such you
From Cookie Sheet your freedom ne'er delayed

At Hundred Thrice plus Fifty for degrees
Your oven rack too high or low, but no!
Your velvet crumbly shattering in breeze
In presence thine all other cookies blow!

But Soft, my Snickerdoodle beast am I
for with your gift so tasty I repay
For shall I rend, devour thee, oh, aye
And also thirty or forty of your closest friends, punk.

There may additionally be milk.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Candy Corn, J'Accuse!

Being a portion of the transcript of the prosecution's case in the People of West Lancaster, MA v. Candy Corn

Prosecutor Markie Post:

Sir, if you could please state your name for the record

Candy Corn:

Um, I'm not really a 'sir'


I beg your pardon


I'm not really a 'sir'. 


You're not?


No, I'm more of a conglomerate anthropomorphism of a type of candy.  Not really replete with sex organs.


Can we just go along with the social convention and leave your sex organs out of it, for the sake of clarity?


I don't actually have...


Your honor, permission to treat the witness as hostile?

Judge Judy:

You may


Is it not true, Sir, that you are in fact the confection known as 'Candy Corn'


I am, yes.


And is it not also true that you totally suck?


Wow, you weren't kidding about the 'hostile' thing, were you.


Your honor, the witness is being evasive


Answer the counsel's questions please.  And I remind you, you are under oath.


What's even happening here?


Are you not, for the record, the type of candy first created in the 1880s, deliberately molded to mimic the shape of the grain known in the United States as 'Corn'


I am, yes.


And do you not, in fact, suck more than any other candy known to man


I object


I'm not actually sure that the witness can object


But your honor.  How can anyone possibly say I suck more than any other candy.  Leaving aside the fact that it's a completely subjective statement, I mean... my God.  There are Marshmallow Peeps out there! 


He has a point Counsellor.  Marshmallow peeps do suck significant ass.


And what of Black Licorice?


I will not allow you to disparage Black Licorice in this court of law!


Why are you wearing a bikini?

at this point Judge Judy cleared the courtroom

Monday, November 4, 2013

Well. That Plan Certainly Ganged Aft Agley, now didn't it.

I don't recall if I've ever mentioned it, but Vizsla's love rearranging furniture.

So the other day, in amongst a fit of trying to get the stupid computer working again (a struggle which I ultimately won, as you will observe) I decided that the obvious approach to the problem was to rearrange the den.

Step one of this plan, for reasons that are far too complicated to go into here, was to clear off the bottom two shelves of a bookshelf on the far side of the room so that I could lovingly display the VHS copies of Doctor Who episodes circa 1963-1989 in broadcast order next to the shelves of the DVD releases of same.*

*Yes, I realize how sad that sounds typed out.

In any case, part of the rationale of clearing off the shelves was that I really do have a hell of a lot of books in the den that don't really need to be there and now live quite happily on a shelf in the basement.  See, Doctor Who does fix everything.

So there I was, going through a buttload of P.D. James and Charlaine Harris and god knows what else, when I came across a small copy of Robert Burns' Tam O'Shanter (which as I recall I bought in a W.H. Smiths in Ayr, although I might be mistaken about that.)

Robert Burns, for those who are unfamiliar, was a Scottish poet (and so much more actually, but we'll keep it to the cliffnotes here) who - amongst other things - wrote a poem called, 'To a Mouse, On turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough, November, 1785.' 

The title may not immediately ring any bells for you, however it's relatively certain that you've quoted it at some point, as this is the one that contains the bit about 'The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...'

The actual quote, second stanza from the end of the poem, runs thus-

But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' Mice and Men
Gang aft agley,
An' lae'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy

Now it's a safe bet that a reasonable percentage of you just said - 'That's not how it goes' or 'I learned it went 'Go Oft Astray' or 'I'm only here for pictures of Markie Post in a bikini.  Where are the pictures of Markie Post in a bikini?'

Robert Burns' primary contribution to poetry, literature, and art in general lies in this exact point.  He was one of the first - if not the actual first - writers in modern English (ish) to say 'screw all that formal English, I'm going to write in the dialect that people actually speak.'  Which is where all that so-called 'Mongrel' Gaelic blend 'Gang aft agley' business comes from.  It means more or less 'go oft astray', but no one in the real world would actually ever put it that formally.  In 1785 Scotland they would have said 'Gang Aft Agley', and so that's how Robert was Damn Well going to write it, formality and convention be damned.  He was tearing down the artificial distinction between 'legitimate' 'highbrow' language and the low-brow 'common' way that actual human beings spoke to one another. If you don't see why this appeals to me, allow me to refer you to Vizsla versus the Myth of High and Low culture, 17 Limericks about Orthography, and several other previous columns.

It's also worth noting that this is the same poem that gave the world (and Russell T. Davies) the phrase 'Tim'rous beastie', Which means that Burns is responsible however indirectly for John Steinback, Eddie Izzard and Tooth and Claw.

The point of the poem, should anyone care is that Robert was out plowing his field, accidentally ran over a mouse hole, thus destroying the tim'rous beastie in questions home, and basically spend a few pages saying, 'wow.  Sucks man.  You spent all that time building a nice house and somebody just comes along and screws it up for you.  Just goes to show, no matter how hard you plan things can still go wrong.  That's why it's a mistake to try.  Or care about anything.'*

*That last part is merely implied.

All of which is my way of leading up to the revelation that the diet isn't going terribly well.

To bring us all up to speed - Previously on: The 42nd Vizsla - I announced that I was attempting this 30 days with no carbs and no sugar thing despite the many reasons why that was a horrible idea.

Day 1 - All went well.

Day 2 - did pretty well until about 10:30 pm at which point I determined that I could not carry on working on my Halloween costume without a glass of scotch.  (In my defense, I was nearly done and the cuffs were kicking my ass.

Day 3 - Was a weekend.  Can of Soda on the way to a work event.  Large soda at the work event.  Large Scotch after the work event (In my defense, it was a kids movie screening.  I defy anyone working such an event to not have a largish drink afterwards.

Day 4 - Sunday.  Well, the weekend was already shot anyway...

Day 5 - Back on the wagon.  Until early evening when we had a chicken with rice hot dish, but it was delicious and I don't regret a thing.

Day 8 - Work Halloween party.  Then Halloween.  The predictable occurs

Day 9-12 - Who are you to judge me.

And so... I have to decree the great no crab/no sugar event of 2013 to be less than an entire rousing success.


I have cut pop intake down to less than a can every other day

I haven't actually had any carbs at work since I started - it turns out the vending machine has almonds.

It actually got me to start working out daily again.

So, all things being equal, it can't be said to be a total failure either.

Now I just have to deal with this guy who just drove a plow through my house...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Vizslka Flashback - For the record - 'Jason Statham-y' is a totally legitimate adjective

Earlier today I was trying to explain a certain look as being 'Jason Statham-y'* And was pleased to discover that the person I was talking to instantly understood what that meant.  So I'm going to take that as a sign that The Transporter movies were not a complete waste of time.  (Crank, however...)

*It means - Shaved head, unshaved face, dress shirt and tie, and a slightly menacing air that indicates one might whip off the shirt and tie and start kicking peoples asses at any moment.

The interesting thing about this is that back in the bygone days of yore, before he was legally required to appear in any movie that features three or more machine guns, Our Jason actually began as an Olympic Diver for Great Britain.

What I like about this little fun fact to know and share is this-

Diving is hardly considered to be the manliest of your Olympic events.  Generally speaking it's held to be only slightly manlier than Ribbon Dancing and Soccer.  (In the US in any case)

But I think we're all unlikely to point that out to Mr. Statham.  For fear that the shirt and tie would be coming off and the ass kicking would commence.

btw - Mr. Statham, if you're reading this - this is merely an observation about the biases of the general public and you and me are still totally cool, right?  Also, I loved you in Snatch.

(It's a movie.  Get your mind out of the gutter, you.)

"You are one cotton twill suitcoat away from the ass kicking of a lifetime, my friend."