Category Archives: Humor

And now for something completely different. . .

We begin with a Canadian love story, starring a log driver, a member of that remarkably agile class of loggers whose specialty is preventing logs from bunching up and snarling the progress of other logs as they are driver downriver to lumber mills.

Augmenting the song is an animation, and the whole package has made the cartoon short one of the most-requested offerings from the the National Film Board of Canada:

Canada Vignettes: Log Driver’s Waltz

Program notes:

This lighthearted, animated short is based on the song “The Log Driver’s Waltz” by Wade Hemsworth. Easily one of the most often-requested films in the NFB collection, Kate and Anna McGarrigle sing along to the tale of a young girl who loves to dance and chooses to marry a log driver over his more well-to-do competitor. Driving logs down the river has made the young man the best dancing partner to be found.

Directed by John Weldon – 1979

And we could hardly offer a song about Canadian loggers without adding a very famous song from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, from whom we’ve also taken the title of our regular feature:

Monty Python- Lumberjack Song

And while we’re at it, how about a rendering of the Python favorite in German, a language to which it seems remarkably suited:

Quote of the day: The man has a point

From his website:

BLOG Bernie

John Oliver blasts neglect of ex-convicts

The American criminal justice system is one of the world’s worst, given that we incarcerate more people than any other nation on earth — most of them jailed for nonviolent offenses, often simply for possession of small amounts of drugs.

Yep, with 4.4 percent of the world’s people, our jails and prisons house 22 percent of the planet’s imprisoned.

Prisons, as we all know, are miserable places, violent milieus where weaker prisoners are sexually abused and gang affiliation is often essential to mere survival.

But getting out of prison can be almost as bad, with the newly released handed a small pittance and thrown into a world where jobs are hard to come by and failure to abide by arbitrary rules may send the newly released back behind bars.

In the last of his series on the plight of those who face the criminal justice system, John Oliver look at those difficulties as well as the self-righteousness of the politicians who did so much to create them.

The highlight of the segment is an interview with Bilal Chatman, a San Franciscan who was released from San Quentin state prison, where he had been serving a 25-years-to-life “three strikes” conviction for the possession of a small amount of methamphetamine.

Chatman was released from prison thanks to the efforts of Santa Clara Public Defender Jessica Delgado, and has remade his life. Delgado was active in the successful movement to pass Proposition 36, the 2012 ballot initiative which reined in the worst excesses of the California Three Strikes law.

From Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Prisoner Re-entry

Program notes:

Former offenders face enormous obstacles once they leave prison. John Oliver sits down with Bilal Chatman to discuss the challenges of reentering society.

Four years ago, Anneke Lucas, director of Liberation Prison Yoga [a program in which Chatman participated], interviewed Chatman at San Quentin for Elephant Journal, and his remarks are worthy noting:

“I can’t honestly say that I’ve accepted my circumstances. Three strikers have to do the whole 25 years, so I won’t be up for parole until I’m 70 years old. To think that it costs California taxpayers $46,000 each year to have me sitting here, while teachers are losing their jobs and Cal Berkeley cut baseball because the state is running out of money!”

“There are no victims in this case except that I’m a victim of my own stupidity and drug use. I didn’t rob or go into people’s houses or hurt anyone to get the money for drugs: that would be different.”

And now for something completely different. . .

Whilst skateboard’s are ubiquitous today, it wasn’t until the 1960s that esnl saw his first, though back in the 1950’s his Kansas classmates were attacking skate wheels to orange crates and coasting downhill.

It was in California in 1967 we saw our first commercially made skateboard, a creation of a Laguna Beach surfboard shop.

The arrival of the skateboard attracted a fair amount of curmudgeonry, with one conservative commentary labeling the contraption a chariot for a fast ride to hell, with their riders seen as prime candidates for future membership in the motorcycle gangs.

Which brings us to our offering, a tongue-in-cheek 1966 documentary by the venerable Claude Jutra from the National Film Board of Canada filmed in response to the skateboard’s arrival north of the border.

So with that, on with the show.

Via the National Film Board of Canada:

The Devil’s Toy

Program notes:

This short 1966 documentary dedicated “to all victims of intolerance” depicts the dawn of skateboarding in Montreal. A new activity frowned upon by police and adults, skateboarding gave youngsters a thrilling sensation of speed and freedom. This film – the first Canadian documentary ever made about the sport – captures the exuberance of boys and girls having the time of their lives in free-wheeling downhill locomotion.

Directed by Claude Jutra – 1966

And now for something completely different

And NSFW as well.

As a child of the 1960s who lived in a couple of communal dwellings, esnl was accustomed to folks in the buff, as most humans were throughout most of history.

But we’ve always been fascinated by the huge difference in the way men and women have to dress for the beach or while hanging out on front porches and the like.

When we were growing up in the 1950s and early 1960’s, the only breasts a white Kansas kid growing up in a small farm town could catch a glimpse of unclad womanly flesh was in the National Geographic, where the mammary display was mostly linked to people with significant quantities of epidermal melanin.

If one desired a glimpse of unclad crotches, the only views were to be found in magazines illegally sold under the counter, or in cheap films aired by men-only “smokers.”

Playboy‘s pudenda and attendant foliage were airbrushed away, leaving an under-18 male only those magazines hidden under daddy’s side of the bed or those venerable National Geographic pages.

But all that changed with the arrival of LSD and mass gatherings in the form of rock concerts and “beins.” People lit up and let it all hang out, and sometimes they really did do it in the road.

But it didn’t last, and soon the sight of a topless [what an oxymoron] woman was rare.

Back in the 1980s and 90s a group of Berkeley hippie holdovers would set up in the buff on Telegraph Avenue, much to the delighted chagrin of esnl’s own public school age daughters whenever we made a run to the bookstores that once populated the south-of-campus commercial street.

But save for those occurrences, and since we no longer attend youth music concerts, the sight of adult female areolae in public spaces has vanished.

Male nipples, however, we’ve seen aplenty.

Which brings us to a video of distinguished British actress Amy Brangwyn, reading some very funny verse of her own at the Bad Poets Corner of the Brighton Expression Sessions, public meet-ups described thusly on their website:

Free gatherings in Brighton! meet new people &pixies. with live art, drumming, circus & fire toys, conversations, bonfires. Using expression to reempower!

With that for a preface, on to the video, after the jump. . . Continue reading

Headline of the day: A scary pair for Halloween

From Telesur, a story about a holiday and a pair of thugs, one a north-of-the-border reality TV star and the other, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the fugitive drug lord rumored to have placed a $100 million bounty on the Republican blowhard’s head for remarks denigrating Mexicans:

BLOG Trump

And now for something completely different

Would you believe John Cleese as the grass-smoking grandson of Sherlock Holmes?

There’s also a dim witted grandson of Dr. Watson [wonderfully played by Arthur Lowe], another Mrs. Hudson [played by Connie Booth, Cleese’s then spouse and Fawlty Towers co-writer], 1977’s The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It has something to offend everyone, in the way that British comedies often do.

Dr. Moriarty is back, with a declaration that the end of civilization as we know it will occur within days, followed by a gathering of global powers and a summons to the latter-day Sherlock, who has opted for a calabash of cannabis instead of grandad’s syringe of cocaine, by the venerable Denholm Elliott presides as a slow but cunning Scotland Yard supremo

There’s a Dr. Gropinger [Kissinger] plus a host of Holmes’s fellow detectives, mostly folks familiar to Baby Boomers from 1970’s American and British television, plus the world’s greatest disguise.

Via Pete Hughes:

The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It

Program note:

The grandson of the world’s first and foremost consulting detective and his bumbling, bionic sidekick attempt to catch the only living descendant of Professor Moriarty.