This is the text of an actual conversation I had on the way home from Target, which does not carry my book, but does have six copies of Posh Spice’s book on how to walk in high heels while you have gelatinous bowling balls nailed to your chest. (G)Nat was singing the standard kid’s version of Jingle Bells:

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Robin laid an egg / The Batmobile lost a wheel / and the Joker took ballet

That’s not right, I said. The Joker got away.

No, he took ballet.

Look. Do you think the Joker would squander an opportunity like that? The Batmobile lost a wheel. It could not pursue him. He’s not going to run into a dance school and sign up for ballet.

I never thought of that.

She continued: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Batman got a gun / shot a tree and made it pee / in 1991.

One of her friends made that one up. She continued:

Dashing through the snow / running into trees / oh my lord my gosh / I broken all my knees / now I’m waking up / in a hospital bed / here I am something something / with needles in my head

Ah, to be seven. Then we whistled Jingle Bells together. She’s become a proficient whistler. If I can pass that along, I’ll die happy. It’s a good thing, the ability to whistle; people should only do it in public around other people if they are moving in the opposite direction and can keep a tune. It’s the idle tuneless whistlers who give us pros a bad name.

Well, today I’m at #52 on the Amazon food book page, between Rachael Ray and Julia Child. Every man has a fantasy, I suppose.


The other night I watched a DVD of “Animated Soviet Propaganda.” The quality varied. The most Disneyesque example told the story of a bird who returned to the forest after a trip abroad, scorned the old traditional songs of the birds who hadn’t had the benefit of foreign ideas, and gave a concert to show off her new influences. She sang raucous hi-de-ho jazz – pretty good, too. In an American flick this would be the point where the old birds get hip, or hep, depending, and even the old coot bird sports a dazzled smile and taps his toes. In the Soviet version the outraged birds attack the jazzy bird with their beaks and drive her off. There’s an amusing number about a dog who inherits millions, and pursues a successful career in business and politics. He drives through the street in his limo. Note the Stardust typeface used for “stockings” – the poor fellows must have seen postcards of Vegas, and dreamed a little.

Another cartoon exposed those famous live shooting galleries in Times Square, where top-hatted white-faced plutocrats straight from “Cabaret” hired unemployed young men to dodge real bullets. An interview with the cartoonist was revealing; he noted how he and his peers loved Hemingway and detective novels and J. D. Salinger and other manifestations of American culture. Imagine if you were required by the state to express distaste for something you liked but could not experience first-hand. Also, it’s the late Pop-Art period. You might come up with this:


Times Square, with London Underground signs. On the American highways? This:

I think that's the limited edition Indy 500 Pacer in the lower right-hand part of the screen.

This is interesting:

It's not the Chrysler building or the ONE: WAY sign; it's the Smirnoff add. Here's the source material:

But the face is wrong. The face in the cartoon is from something else. I know that guy.

But from where?


This event will cause a few folk to conjure up new arguments. A former Minneapolis cop was the one who put down the murderer in the Colorado shootings.  I had a conversation with someone who noted that she had been the bodyguard for the church’s pastor: why would he need a bodyguard?

There’s a looong Fark thread on this event. I’ve always said you can’t necessarily judge a site as big as Fark by its commentors, or judge the commentors by the comments on a particular thread. Idiocy is always met with rebuke. But it is interesting to read what people feel comfy posting. A selection:


I predict:

Rumors will fly this was some atheist, shortly followed by a flamewar.

Then corrected a few hours later revealing it's about the usual church stuff; sex-scandal, embezzlement, power struggles, three different sects, and a whole lot of people that actually deserve to be shot.


I don't understand how people can be unhappy to die if they believe they're going to utopia after death.


It's funny because they think they're immortal.


piercer310: Probably a couple of Jesus Camp rejects.

heh...I watched that for the first time yesterday...

I was just imagining what one of them would do if they made it to college and accidentally caught a contact high after taking a leak in a bathroom where someone had just blazed up a doob. I suspect it would be something along the lines of an immediate, and overwhelming sense of relaxation followed by a slowly but surely all encompassing rage after realizing the ignorance and closemindedness with which they were indoctrinated at such an innocent and impressionable age. All that followed with hatred and quite possibly violence of this very sort. or something like that


The New Life Church is one of those megachurches, with big screen plasma tvs and $4 coffee shops. I say good, it didn't happen too soon, and I hope a meteor hits them next Sunday morning.


Not glad people died

/But very happy there are now a few less evangelical christians.

/pretty conflicted on that one


After all the crap these churches and groups like Focus on the Family have done to everyone else I am having a really hard time feeling sorry for the victims. As tragic as all this crap is . . . I can kinda relate to offing peeps in a mall or a mega church.


I'm surprised they didn't line up to be shot. He was sending them stright to Jebus. Isn't that what they wanted?


And those are the people who speak up. I’d have a bodyguard too. There’s a great deadness in many people, a grim harsh joy in the conviction we are just “moist robots,” to use the cynic’s phrase, living our lives in a vast factory that arose by miraculous random happenstance. Nothing amuses them more than belief, and oddly enough, nothing angers them more. It’s not even what you believe. It’s the very fact of believing in something other than Flying Spaghetti Monster photoshop contest deadlines or the enhancements on Episode IV.

Bloody neutrals, as a great lapsed Catholic once wrote. In contempt.



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