William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Category: Fun (page 1 of 114)

Two cannibals are eating a clown and one says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

The Reimaginings Of Exodus And Noah Inspires Moviemakers—And You!

John Nolte doesn’t like Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.

…Scott makes a fool of himself. DeMille used the ancient biblical tale to tell a universal story about human liberty. Where Charlton Heston’s Moses demanded that Ramses “Let my people go!”, Bale’s Moses — and this is no joke — demands that Ramses pay his slaves a living wage and make them — again, no joke — citizens. DeMille’s Moses was a liberator. Scott’s Moses is a community organizer agitating for executive action on the minimum wage and amnesty.

Now Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was just as tuned to our post-Christian ever-so-delicate sensibilities. In his review of that movie, Nolte writes:

The sins of idolatry, blasphemy, dishonesty, adultery, and treating your parents with disrespect have absolutely nothing to do with why God wants to flood the earth and start over. “Noah” isn’t even interested in Jesus’ commandment to love one another as you love yourself.

Aronofsky’s “God” is only disappointed, disgusted and ready to be rid of man for the single sin of hurting the environment. And hurting the environment is defined in the film as strip-mining, eating animal flesh, hunting, and even plucking a flower no bigger than a dime because “it’s pretty.”

…Every glimpse of those God will wipe out shows these “sinners” exploiting Mother Nature. They butcher meat, tear live animals to pieces, hunt, mine, and cut trees. According to Aronofsky, that is all these people are guilty of and that is enough to justify the coming biblical genocide.

If “God” can destroy the world for the mortal sin of pressing pretty flowers, what sort of hell, with your enormous carbon “footprint”, do you think awaits you, you climate denier, you?

But Noah made money, and early forecasts are that Exodus will do at least okay. The Bible is in and profitable. It is a rich source of moral stories that has barely begun to be mined for movie material. So, our job today is to help filmmakers with suggestions of which tales we’d like to see.

Sanitized tales, of course. We don’t want to offend anybody. Feelings must not be hurt. We—us blessed folks living on the right side of history—know more than our unenlightened ancestors. Obviously, we cannot present the Bible as it is written and must tweak it a bit. Here are some of my ideas (in which I exercise artistic license). What are yours?

Sodom and Gomorrah: The Pride And The Glory

Two mysterious strangers approach the desert twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A festival—a parade, wine, food, circus acts—is in progress. The innkeeper Lot sees them approach. He curses under his breath, “This is all I need.” Flashback: Lot kicking out tenants who could not pay, kicking in the teeth of a man who will later be seen in the festival parade, and kicking around cats and small children.

The strangers ask for a room. Lot, seeing they are rich, boots other guests to make space. He offers his daughter and wife to the aggrieved as recompense, throwing all into the street. Seeing this, the incensed crowd reacts and tries to bring Lot to justice. The man with the kicked teeth shouts, “You inhospitable brute!”

Lot escapes into the night through a hidden back door. Meanwhile, the strangers, who have been at the wine, realize what has happened. Turns out they are members of the Yogic Guardians, mythic creatures from the planet Cron charged with meting out punishment throughout the seven hundred worlds! The strangers go into Down Dog Supreme in order to blast Lot to smithereens. But as they are inebriated, their aim is off and the towns are destroyed instead.

Lot sees this and his heart softens. He weeps and vows to mend his ways. We end with an elderly Lot (who now runs a bathhouse in Nineveh) sharing a lovely sunset on his porch with his beloved goat Franklin.

The Sharing (A Lifetime movie)

After a long day community organizing, a weary Jesus wants nothing but to rest and eat. But his followers bring a women to him saying, “This woman has said, ‘All lives matter‘.” Jesus knew they were testing him and said, “That’s racist.” He directed that the woman be re-educated by trained experts.

His followers were many and Jesus was worried there would not be enough food. But an apostle reminded that good man that all his followers were members of the Green Organic Cooperative and that they had plenty and were willing to share. “That’s a miracle,” said Jesus.

Later, all sit around a single organic candle and sing songs celebrating how nice it was to be nice to one another.

Confession: I claim no originality. Minus the cinematic details, these plots are directly from modern theologians.

This Is Why Jesus Will Separate The Sheep From The Goats

And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.

Since today is usually the slowest blogging day of the year, we may as well discuss those nasty creatures, goats. The video proves it’s no wonder they butt into so many cheesy jokes. Tasty in tacos, though—and in spiritual metaphors, too.

The sheep-and-goats figure-of-speech reminds me of the latter big experiments in parapsychology during its heyday. A long string of negative results, bust after painful bust, in the late 1970s led some ingenious fellow to birth the theory that skeptics (goats) harnessing evil psi-dampening rays were quashing the psychic elements of the mentally gifted (sheep). How, nobody knew. Oddly, skeptics could do this without even knowing they were so engaged. Peer-reviewed papers were written on the subject. Incidentally, all used statistical arguments.

Reminds you of global warming research, does it not? The closer skeptics look, the faster the CO2 signal recedes into the distance. And so true believers, unable to discern any other cause of their failures, lash out and gibber at their enemies. “Denier!” “Science has spoken!” Are these folks better classes as unruly unpleasant goats or easily led sheep? Have to sort that one out.

The beast at time marker 3:27 reminds me of the ship Surprise’s irascible goat Aspasia, who one day gave Dr Maturin the stink eye and “defecated with intent”. The Surprise is the ship often featured in the greatest novel of (in?) the English language by Patrick O’Brian, written in 20.2 installments starting with Master and Commander and ending with an unfinished holograph owing to the death of the author. I cannot praise this novel too highly. I’m not sure anybody else can either.

And this remarks reminds me of Thursday’s post in which, in respect of Little Big Man, and a sentiment repeated again here, that you should skip the movie, which has almost no relation to the book except for a vague similarity in names of some of the characters. No movie can be a book, but no movie should express the opposite intent and moral of its parent book. The movie had too many anachronisms.

The directors of these films are thus goats. Which reminds me that calling somebody a “goat” is an insult. Strangely, goats are people in the doghouse. Figure that one.

Speaking of being in the doghouse, this reminds me of yesterday’s news that James Watson, winner of the prize which civilians see as the pinnacle of scientific achievement, who announced “he is selling the Nobel Prize medal he won in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA because he has been ostracised and needs the money.”

Ostracized? Yes, sir. “…[the journalist] somehow wrote that I worried about the people in Africa because of their low IQ — and you’re not supposed to say that.” No, sir, you’re not.

Which reminds me of another goat insult from this curious movie: son of a motherless goat. If anybody ever notices the racial connotations of this movie, watch out. The three actors would become instant goats. Purged forevermore. I’m not sure if any of them have won Oscars, but they’d have to put them into the same auction as Watson’s Nobel.

And this reminds me that the opposite of a goat is a lamb. And thus, given his metaphorical nature, we see the affinity our Lord has with other sheep. Don’t be a goat. Unfortunately, what the World thinks is a goat is often a sheep. Don’t become confused.

What To Do On Black Friday

Another holiday tradition, our annual Black Friday post! I have removed last year’s updates and will include new ones for this joyous day. There may be fewer because several retail establishments decided to forgo the day of thanksgiving and turn it into a day of avarice, so that Black Friday passions could be spread across time.

This, one of our most sacred days of the year, can be exhausting, especially in the choices one must make. Should one wake at 3am or should one even sleep? Should one take part in a riot, tumbling headlong into a store to be the first to secure the new iWhatsit, which is rumored to be 0.00132″ slimmer than last month’s model? Or should one circle the mall’s outer limits for hours spying for a spot to park?

Just what form should the joy of this holy day take? Well, here are some Black ideas. Please contribute your own.

1. Go see a priest (they often wear black). Confessions heard daily.

Truly, confession is good for the soul.

Truly, confession is good for the soul. Find a Dominican if you can.

2. Read Wordsworth, the old curmudgeon. The sheer absence of Black in this poem surprisingly puts one in mind of it.

England, 1802

O FRIEND! I know not which way I must look
For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom!—We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore:
Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws.

— William Wordsworth. 1770-1850

3. Chat with a nun! Develop the habit. Find one who wears one for better results.

Calling all souls!

Calling all souls!

4. Go larping as comic book character The Consumer! Black of heart and of deed, her only mission to deplete, The Consumer! plunges headlong though humanity devouring all in her path, her single-minded avaricious mind bent on swallowing whatever her evil masters tell her to. (These masters communicate with The Consumer! via electromagnetic wave and encoded messages on certain web pages.) Fear The Consumer’s secrete Door Busting powers, which she uses to devastating effect to dwindle tables at Sales Events! Never stand between The Consumer! and a Two-For-One Deal! The only way to avoid her is to stay in your domicile.

The Consumer strikes again!

The Consumer strikes again!

Update BLACK FRIDAY BEATDOWN: Girls Brawl In UK Mall Over Cheap Panties (Video)

Upate Police were called early Friday morning to help maintain security at some supermarkets and shopping outlets that offered deep discounts starting at midnight. And these last two were in England, which though it managed to copy the USA’s Black Friday, forgot to include a day-before Thanksgiving. Odd.

Update 2 Women Fight At Norwalk Walmart Over Barbie Doll.

Update Black Friday: Woman punches off-duty cop at Indianapolis mall.

Update Black Friday shopping leads to scuffles, fights.

Update VIDEO: Shoppers Fight Over Wal-Mart Deals In Michigan City.

Update See BlackFridayDeathCount.com.


Old Lodge Skins’ Prayer Of Thanksgiving

The real Little Big Man.

The real Little Big Man.

In what is now a tradition, here is the death prayer from Old Lodge Skins, which comes at the close of Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (who died this year).

Then he commenced to pray to the Everywhere Spirit in the same stentorian voice, never sniveling but bold and free.

“Thank you for making me a Human Being! Thank you for helping me become a warrior! Thank you for all my victories and for all my defeats. Thank you for my vision, and for the blindness in which I saw further.

“I have killed many men and loved many women and eaten much meat. I have also been hungry, and I thank you for that and for the added sweetness that food has when you receive it after such a time.

“You make all things and direct them in their ways, O Grandfather, and now you have decided that the Human Beings will soon have to walk a new road. Thank you for letting us win once before that happened. Even if my people must eventually pass from the face of the earth, they will live on in whatever men are fierce and strong. So that when women see a man who is proud and brave and vengeful, even if he has a white face, they will cry: ‘That is a Human Being!’…”

I stood there in awe and Old Lodge Skins started to sing, and when the cloud arrived overhead, the rain started to patter across his uplifted face, mixing with the tears of joy there.

It might have been ten minutes or an hour, and when it stopped and the sun’s setting rays cut through, he give his final thanks and last request.

“Take care of my son here,” he says, “and see that he does not go crazy.”

He laid down then on the damp rocks and died right away. I descended to the treeline, fetched back some poles, and built him a scaffold. Wrapped him in the red blanket and laid him thereon. Then after a while I started down the mountain in the fading light.

Incidentally, eschew the movie of the same name, which shares only the title and the names of a few characters from the book, a book which is the moral and historical opposite of the politically correct film. It is a book which contains no anachronisms, itself a matter of great celebration.

Also highly recommended (as historical orientation) is the classic The Fighting Cheyennes by George Bird Grinnell, who was born in 1849 and who wrote the book in 1915 (it’s still in print). It is a non-patronizing, non-romantic look at the battles the Cheyenne fought in, as much as was possible, their own words.

Berger wrote Little Big Man at a time (1964) when white boys still wanted to run off and be Indians. Nearly twenty years later, the TV show Grizzly Adams fulfilled the same function. What little boys want to be now they had best keep quiet about or out come the pills.

Old Lodge Skins was Little Big Man’s adoptive grandfather. The scene takes place shortly after the Battle of Little Big Horn which the Cheyenne called the Battle at the Greasy Grass.

There is much in this prayer that still works. Men, remember to offer it or one like it as thanksgiving today.

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