I’ve Gotta Trust Him Now

Josh [who, BTW, is the kid in the upper right picture of my blog.  He’s grown since then]:  Dad, can we work on the parallel parking?  I really want to take my driver’s test.

Me:  Sure, son.  Why the sudden ambition?

J:  Well, now that I’m 18, I’ll be able to drive to Wal-Mart and get cigarettes whenever I want them.  Oh, and I can go to the tattoo parlor too.

Dad:  Yeah, sure, I really believe that.  And don’t even try the line about getting your ear pierced.

J:  Well, actually, there is a girl…

Me:  There usually is.  Nice of you to tell me early on.

J:  It’s later than you think.  You just haven’t been asking the right questions.  Anyhow, I would like to be able to take her out.  To the airport.

Me:  Oh, for a balloon ride?  How romantic.  I would take Mama, if she weren’t afraid of heights.

J:  Well, actually, we were going to catch a flight.  To Vegas.  Now that I’m 18, we can do that.

Me:  Hmmm, good point.  If she’s a math whiz like you, you may be able to beat the blackjack tables.

J:  There’s a nice wedding chapel…

Me (choking):  Um, what about steady employment?  That’s usually important to a girl, and her parents.

J:  Well, I’ve signed up for the army.  After the honeymoon, I’m off to Basic Training.

<sheets rustling, rolling over uneasily, gasping for breath>

Jane:  Honey, what’s wrong?  Have you been having a bad dream?

Me:  Yeah, it’s about Joshua.  He’s 18 now, and I’m scared.

Jane:  Oh, don’t worry.  He won’t do anything too crazy.

Me:  Thanks for not worrying, but how can you be so sure?

Jane:  He’s your son.  If he is half as stodgy as you, you have nothing to fear.

Me:  Good point.  G’night, dear.

Jane: Good night.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (a Quick Review)

There are many aspects of Pride and Prejudice that do not make sense to the modern American reader, especially if you happen to be a guy.  However, Seth Grahame-Smith, in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, has recovered the missing parts of the story for us, adding in what the censors (and Jane Austen’s sense of delicacy) took out.

When you read the original story, you must remember that the British have always been masters of understatement.  For example, a Victorian critique of Queen Cleopatra was that “her home life was so unlike that of our dear Queen.”  Therefore, the fact that the British Isles were infested with “unmentionables” was, in fact, unmentionable.

You also need to remember that in 1808, when the events described in Pride and Prejudice weres happening, there was a war on, and the censors did not want to let on that something terrible was happening in the British Isles.  It would have given unnecessary encouragement to Napoleon Bonaparte.  And so one of Jane Austen’s books was apparently significantly altered in the name of national security.

Most of Pride and Prejudice is in the book, word for word, but there is additional information that makes sense of the story.  Without spoiling the story too much, I can tell you that the following questions, which make no sense in the original novel, are answered:

Why is Netherfield empty? 

 [Since the answer is on the first page, I can tell you that “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.  Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.”]

Why does Mr. Bennett apparently have no interest in finding husbands for his daughters?  Does he not care about them, or does he have other more pressing concerns?

Why are the soldiers really stationed in Meryton, anyhow?

And why is Elizabeth particularly concerned when Jane falls ill at Netherfield?

Why would Charlotte Lucas, a lady with apparent good sense, accept a marriage proposal from Mr. Collins?

What is the real reason that Mr. Darcy prides himself on separating Jane Bennett from Mr. Bingley? 

Why does Lady Catherine de Bourgh keep inviting Mr. and Mrs. Collins over for tea, even though Mr. Collins is a dull sort and they were both so far beneath her station?

Why did Mr. Gardner have to take a shorter vacation than planned, and therefore visit Pemberly?  What line of work is he in anyhow?

Why do Jane and Mr. Bingley decide not to settle at Netherfield?

While most of Seth Grahame-Smith’s reconstruction of the original story seems plausible, he also makes a few blunders. He seems at times to mistake muskets for repeating rifles, implying that Miss Bennett could shoot multiple zombies at close quarters with her musket.  Muskets require manual reloading, and are therefore good for only one shot, except against the very slowest zombies.  Then it is time to get out another weapon, like a big Samurai sword.

He also reports some scandalous things about Mrs. Gardner that could not possibly be true.

Finally, Elizabeth Bennett seems, in addition to having some anger management issues, to be a bit theologically confused.  When she kills zombies, she thinks she is sending them to hell.  It is well known that when you kill an undead creature, it goes on to the afterlife that it earned before it became undead.  Even Count Dracula himself had a look of peace on his face when the stake went through his heart.  Perhaps Elizabeth can be forgiven this confusion, since preaching at this period of British history was particularly bad, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Collins had a job.

While there are some Jane Austen purists who will be aghast upon opening this book, or even upon looking at the cover, they will find, once they open it, that it is far from the worst adaption of Jane Austen that has been introduced.  I mean, which is worse:  inserting zombies into the story of Pride and Prejudice, or trying to make Keira Knightley into Elizabeth Bennett?

Doing Math While Blonde

I was checking the math work of an unnamed blonde daughter of mine whose name begins with “S”. 

She is usually a good student, but on one problem, the answer key said that the answer was 100.  S_____’s answer to the question was 50.  Looking at her work, I could see that she did the math right.  25 x 2 = 50.   So far, so good.  So what did she do wrong?

It was a word problem.  The question was:

How many shoes do you need for 25 horses?

I decided to ask the question again to see how quickly she could figure out her mistake.

Dad:  How many shoes do you need for 25 horses?

S____:  50.

D:  OK, let’s try this again.  How many shoes do you need for 25 men?

S:  50,….   oh, I get it.  You need 100 horseshoes for 25 horses.  [If she was a teenager she would have said “Duh!” here.]

D:  Good.  I have just one more question.  How many shoes do 25 women need?

S:  [Thinking hard…]  Oh, about a thousand.

“Democratic Party” Takes on New Meaning

Apparently the Democrats converging on Denver for the Democratic National Convention are a wild and crazy bunch of guys and gals.  A panel has advised the Mayor of Denver that he should not enforce the marijuana possession laws during the week of the convention.  Here is the article from the Denver Post:

Panel advises no arrests for pot possession next week

A panel set up to review Denver’s marijuana policies has recommended that police refrain from arresting adults who fire up during the Democratic National Convention.

Police will have to deal with numerous security issues next week when thousands of people — from protesters to delegates — descend on Denver, said Mason Tvert, leader of a group that sponsored a law mandating that marijuana be a low-enforcement priority.

“It is absolutely absurd for the police to be spending any of their time worrying about adults using a drug that is less harmful than alcohol,” he said today.

Tvert, who also sits on the Marijuana Policy Review Panel, said he would deliver the recommendation to Mayor John Hickenlooper, Police Chief Gerald Whitman and Denver City Council president Jeanne Robb.

The panel was formed to gather statistics on marijuana arrests and has no legal authority, said David Broadwell, Denver assistant district attorney. “Any citizen can make a recommendation,” he said, adding that police have no obligation to follow it.

Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said officers will continue to enforce a state statute barring possession and use of marijuana despite the voter-approved city ordinance making small amounts of marijuana the “lowest law-enforcement priority.”

“We can’t relax the laws; we have to enforce the laws on the books. If an officer witnesses a wrongdoing, he is responsible to take action,” Jackson said.

Police and the mayor’s office weren’t immediately available for comment today.

The panel recommended that police not arrest, detain or issue a citation to anyone over 21 who possesses up to one ounce of pot for private use during the convention.

In 2005, city voters approved a referendum that mirrors the panel’s recommendation, but arrests continued as police continued to enforce state law.

In 2007, voters approved making marijuana the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.

But in the first six months of this year, Tvert said, 927 adults were prosecuted for possession.

“The people of Denver have made it clear they do not want adults in this city punished for simply possessing a drug less harmful than alcohol,” said Tvert. “Now a panel appointed by the mayor of Denver has echoed that call, and we hope police will not defy the people of this city or its mayor when the international spotlight hits the Mile High City next week.”

We know the Convention will be a busy time, and the police forces will be strained, but why would one recommend that one specific law not be enforced?  Hmmm…. You would think that these guys were invited to speak at the Convention:

This article suggests that some of the Democrats going to the Convention are planning to re-create the Summer of Love:

Will the DNC go to pot?

Pro-marijuana group wants moratorium on busts at DNC

Pot smokers may be free to light up in the streets of Denver next week if a voter-required panel endorses a moratorium on marijuana citations during the Democratic National Convention.

Protesters heading into the convention have wanted to recreate the vibe of 1960s America. Well, Denver could resemble San Francisco during the Summer of Love if the Marijuana Policy Review Panel today recommends a moratorium on pot citations for adults during the convention…

A co-worker of mine heard about this and said “this cannot be good for the Party.”  I disagreed with him, noting that “the Party” will probably go on just fine under these conditions.

But voters should beware:  If Barack Obama wins the election, don’t be disappointed if he and his fellow Democrats don’t remember the campaign promises he made in his acceptance speech.


The U.S. Olympic Team’s Secret Weapon

This is from the Summer Olympics in 2004, but it’s still funny.

Spiderman Kicks Butt at Olympic Prelims

ST. PETERS, Mo.,—Spiderman advanced into the finals in nine events in the 2004 Olympic Team Trials at the St. Peters Trackplex.

“This is just humiliating,” said 100-meter record holder Tim Montgomery. “I feel so fat and groggy running next to Spiderman. I just can’t come close to his kick.”
Spiderman will enter the prelim finals in the 100m, 1500m, and marathon, as well as boxing, wrestling, gymnastics, pole vault, long jump, and triathlon.
“I am just so lame at swimming and archery,” said Spiderman. “Not to mention team sports. Though I was interested in team handball for a while.”
The International Olympic Committee strictly prohibited Spiderman from using any webbing excretions in any event, though he may use it afterwards in dorms and bars.
The IOC has received countless complaints against its June decision to allow the U.S. to include Spiderman on various teams. “We tested him vigorously for any banned substances, and nothing showed up. He’s a clean, clean boy, and he is very helpful with security.”
U.S. wrestling coach Kevin Jackson said, “It’s great to be going into the games with our opponents completely demoralized. It gives the whole team added bounce. We’re going to rip this place up. And I hear Spiderman’s good for security.”
Not all U.S. competitors are grateful for Spiderman’s presence. “He’s all, you know, married now,” said Tess Decker. Several U.S. athletes expressed concern about Spiderman’s penchant for abandoning the team when crime duty calls. “What if he just flings away during a tight race?”
From “Credenda/Agenda” magazine, volume 16, Issue 3

Cooking For Bachelors (Part 1)

Here is an easy breakfast recipe that even the most incompetent bachelor can make.  It also provides caffeine, which is one of the 4 basic food groups for single guys.  (The other three are beer, pizza, and donuts.)


Pour one cup of coffee into a cup.  The coffee can be cheap, or even left over from yesterday, and the temperature is not too important.  Add more milk and sugar than you are used to using.

Pour one cup of Cheerios into a bowl.  Yes, even if you are a bachelor, you have to wash the bowl first.

Pour coffee onto Cheerios.  Eat.  The recipe makes one serving.

For some reason all of the women in my family think this is weird, and all of my explanations do not persuade them.  I just don’t understand.

Ed Rendell – Surprise – Doesn’t Want to be Veep

Pennsylvania Governor and Hillary Clinton supporter Ed Rendell , who recently said that lots of Pennsylvanians are not ready to vote for an African-American presidential candidate, has surprised us all by announcing that he is not interested in being the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee this year.  I’m sure that Barack Obama was deeply disappointed.

In related news, Marjorie Diehl Armstrong has announced that she is not interested in being a co-star for any sequels to “Sex and the City.”