Michael Palin

Michael PalinOn this day back in 1813, Soren Kierkegaard was born. Then, exactly 5 years later, Karl Marx was born. I have much to say about both of these men, but I’m just not up for it. And especially, I’m not up for choosing which of them deserves to win the day, so I decided to give it to neither of them. You know when a person is important: they never referred to themselves by a single name but now we do. Also: Tammy Wynette was born in 1942. I didn’t even know she was dead. Apparently, she had a lot of health problems.

But the day belongs to Michael Palin who is 70 years old today. Here is a little bit of “Tomkinson’s Schooldays” from the series he did with Terry Jones, Ripping Yarns. The opening has a wonderful introduction to the story with Palin playing a grand and serious actor who cannot remember his lines. It is very funny and very Palin:

Happy birthday Michael Palin!


Now I’m going back to bed.

Sick and Laughing

Oliver ReedI swear I am getting worse. In addition, I think I’m taking too much cold medicine. The combination of the nighttime cold & flu and the cough medicine has made it so I can’t quite walk straight. Nonetheless, the cough goes on and the nose drips like the bathroom faucet. In order to get though this, I’m watching comedy. And generally, I’ve found them very funny. So in what follows, keep in mind what Jim Hogshire wrote about taking a cup of Robitussin. “At four o’clock in the morning I woke up suddenly and remembered that I had to go to Kinko’s copy shop and that I had to shave off about a week’s worth of stubble from my face. These ideas were very clear to me. That may seem normal, but the fact was that I had a reptilian brain. My whole way of thinking and perceiving had changed. I had full control over my motor functions, but I felt ungainly. I was detached from my body, as if I were on laughing gas.” He continued, “While I was shaving I ‘thought’ that for all I knew I was hacking my face to pieces. Since I didn’t see any blood or feel any pain I didn’t worry about it. Had I looked down and seen that I had grown another limb, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all; I would have just used it.” That’s about right.

Yesterday, I watched a stand-up special of Todd Glass. He is what I have come to think of as an “angry comedian.” He’s mad about the way life is. In general, these are not my favorite comics. But there is something so sweet about him that it is almost impossible not to love him. And he gets wonderfully sidetracked. Here he is going three stories deep without even trying:

Then I watched Galaxy Quest. This film has a special place in my heart. As you probably know, the film is a parody of Star Trek and its fan phenomenon. At one point, in the early days of the internet, if you searched for my name, it would take you to the Star Trek FAQ. Apparently, I had helped out the writers of it, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I did. And yes, I have been to a Star Trek convention: twice. I would normally not have done such a thing, but my first wife was way into the show. Really. I’m not just saying that to avoid looking bad. And I can prove it: I have gone to comic book conventions all by myself. So there you go.

As a result of this, I think Galaxy Quest is hilarious. And even though I had seen it before, I laughed a great deal. Afterwards, I looked the movie up on Wikipedia. It included quotes from people who have been in the series. Now I’m mostly only interested in the original series. The later series are not as playful. So I was naturally pulled to a quote from William Shatner, “I thought it was very funny, and I thought the audience that they portrayed was totally real, but the actors that they were pretending to be were totally unrecognizable. Certainly I don’t know what Tim Allen was doing. He seemed to be the head of a group of actors, and for the life of me I was trying to understand who he was imitating.” You gotta love that guy!

Finally, I put on the 1973 version of The Three Musketeers. I had remembered liking the film when I was a kid. And I suspect that at the time, it was really funny. But I found all the pratfalls forced and rarely funny. In particular, Raquel Welch plays an accident prone wench, but because of the way it is directed, it just doesn’t work for me. It is all too much in long shot. I suspect that it would work a lot better on the big screen. Regardless, it is hard not to love Oliver Reed as Athos. What’s more, I learned that he was banned from the state of Georgia because of his drunken escapades. My hero!

Anyway, that’s my life. I feel marginally better, but my cough is worse than ever. Time for more medicine.