“Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?”

Tom Lehrer asked that satirical question several decades ago, and it’s become a standard catch-phrase in American English.  Yesterday’s Dilbert comic strip brought it forcefully to mind.  (Click the image to be taken to a larger version at the strip’s Web site.) Scott Adams has a wonderful knack for expressing workplace stupidity in graphic terms.  I’ve tried several allegedly “ergonomic” items of office and computer furniture that reminded me of nothing so much as a well-made brick.  Comfortable, they weren’t;  and some caused actual physical injury through forcing parts of my body to conform to what they wanted. The only “ergonomic” office purchase I’ve

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Sometimes I hate my muse

Many writers and other creators speak of their “muse” – the nameless, faceless being who inspires us with ideas, spurs us on to translate them from thought to action, and encourages us when we’re staring at the metaphorical blank wall.  I’m here to tell you, my muse can be a fickle bitch. My first published book, “Take the Star Road”, involved a protagonist named Steve Maxwell.  It’s grown into a five-book series, which I titled the Maxwell Saga.  A few months ago, I asked my readers for their views on suspending that series, because I’ve gained a lot of experience, and the limitations

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Puns galore!

It seems the Indian Hills Community Center in Colorado is fond of puns.  Their outside sign is frequently used to display them.  This composite image comes from IOTWReport.com.  Click the picture for a larger, easier-to-read view. There’s another photographic collection of their puns at Izismile.com that’s worth reading for a laugh.  Full marks to the Community Center for spreading the smiles. Peter

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Sunday morning music

Today’s music was automatically chosen by this video of a dumbass robber in Denver, which I found over at IOTWReport.  It qualifies for a Doofus Of The Day award – I mean, really?  Dropping his gun and his trousers? – but since it’s Sunday, you get it as a freebie. After that, what else could I play but the Benny Hill Show theme (originally known as “Yakety Sax“)? And for those who never saw the theme “in action”, as it were, here’s the conclusion to one of Benny Hill’s TV episodes. And another one: Peter

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Double “Heh!”

Stephan Pastis puts motivational posters in perspective.  (Click the image to go to a larger version at the comic strip’s Web site). That reminds me of an incident at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, a long time back.  (I promise, I’m not making this up!)  At that time, nursing training in South Africa generally consisted of three years in a hospital setting, followed by a one-year midwifery program, to earn the equivalent of the US Registered Nurse (RN) qualification. It seems that the hospital had experienced a spate of “blue births”, where the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck during birth, potentially impeding breathing.  This

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Sunday morning music

Let’s have something a little different this morning. We’ve played the music of Joaquín Rodrigo, the famous Spanish composer, several times before.  He’s best known for his guitar music, particularly his concertos for that instrument, which are a staple on the concert circuit to this day.  However, he also wrote for orchestra and other instruments, works which are less well known, but nevertheless very pleasing.  Here’s one of them:  his Adagio Para Orquesta de Instrumentos de Viento (Concerto for Wind Instrument Orchestra), written in 1966. Modern, but harking back to its classical roots, and unmistakably Rodrigo. Peter

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Sunday morning music

In view of the political shenanigans currently roiling Washington D.C. over the judicial nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, this morning’s music is in (dis)honor of those politicians who are turning the matter into a self-promoting circus. We start with (what else?) the Governor’s “Sidestep” from “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas“. And, of course, in sex as in politics, these days, “Anything Goes“. We should, of course, note that political hypocrisy isn’t confined to these shores. Jethro Tull sings of the “Commons Brawl” in England. And, of course, the perpetual cry of the whiny progressive, much in evidence over the past

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Sunday morning music

Time to ring the changes again.  How many of you remember the movie “The Last Valley“? It was made in 1971, and tells of a valley invaded and occupied by mercenary soldiers during the Thirty Years War in Germany.  Despite superb acting performances, particularly from Michael Caine and Omar Sharif, it was a box office failure, probably because it reflected (accurately) the nihilism, confusion and pointlessness of those nightmare years across Europe.  Wikipedia quotes George MacDonald Fraser, one of my favorite writers, as saying of it: “The plot left me bewildered – in fact the whole bloody business is probably an excellent

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