So, I decided that I’m paying too much for my mobile phone, and I thought I would see if there is a cheaper plan. Thank goodness the anxiety and confusion of comparing plans is unnecessary. T-Mobile has put my mind completely at rest. I have the best of all possible cell phone plans.
If name of Ambrose Bierce seems vaguely familiar its probably on account of his having famously disappeared without a trace, possibly in Mexico. Like that other famous disparu, D.B.Cooper, he most likely died in a ditch someplace, I think.
He wrote a book originally titled “the Cynic’s Word Book” in 1881, but which, for reasons he explains in the preface, was published as “The Devil’s Dictionary.” In the preface he addresses the book to “enlightened souls who prefer dry wines to sweet, sense to sentiment, wit to humor and clean English to slang.”
PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.
In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.
LITIGANT, n. A person about to give up his skin for the hope of retaining his bones.
IMPIETY, n. Your irreverence toward my deity.
IMPUNITY, n. Wealth.
RESIDENT, adj. Unable to leave.
SACRED, adj. Dedicated to some religious purpose; having a divine character; inspiring solemn thoughts or emotions; as, the Dalai Lama of Thibet; the Moogum of M’bwango; the temple of Apes in Ceylon; the Cow in India; the Crocodile, the Cat and the Onion of ancient Egypt; the Mufti of Moosh; the hair of the dog that bit Noah, etc.
PRESIDENCY, n. The greased pig in the field game of American politics.
PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.
The action in Measure for Measure is driven by the dickish behavior of a petty bureaucrat who has suddenly been put in charge. Shakespeare had the number of such people, who plainly exist in every age, not least our own.
Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne’er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer
Would use his heaven for thunder;
Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Split’st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
Measure for Measure, Act I Scene II
S0, right after posting the above I happened to be listening to this piece on the Radiolab podcast, The story is also in this Washington Post article. Basically, the CIA got real time satellite images of a convoy moving through the scablands of Yemen and decided that some al Qaeda prick we are after might be with them, so we had a drone hit them with 4 missiles. Turned out to be a wedding party traveling from the bride’s village to the groom’s, and zero connection with the Al Qaeda guy.
Talk about thundering as does Jove, I think hellfire missiles trump thunderbolts any day. We give people in a room in Langley or some such place the ability to reach down from the sky and obliterate whomever we we like; 8 people dead, mind you, and who knows what other damage just to maybe get one guy.
O, it is excellent
To have a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
Measure for Measure, Act I Scene II
I heard one of those anecdotes about the making of a movie, Dr. Strangelove in this instance. Kubrick did a run through of each scene before the actual filming, or so he said. His instructions to the great George C. Scott for the run throughs was to play the character way, way over the top. He secretly, so the story goes, filmed the run through and in many cases he used that take in the final cut. Like this one, I’ll bet:
Much good has been said of this movie, but not possibly enough. As perfect as a work of art could possibly be. I often have a favorite scene in a movie, every scene in this movie is my favorite. Someone once asked make my 10 best movies list, and it ended up with about 30 items. There is no best movie. But there is not a better movie than this one.