How I Spent My Sick Day

Frank MoraesI’m sorry for the lack of posting today. Two days ago, I mentioned that I was suffering from some kind of illness. I managed to push through yesterday, but it became even worse last night and I’ve not managed to get much of anything done. Now I’m feeling significantly better, but I’m very tired. Hopefully, I will be in full health tomorrow — just in time for the Friday-Saturday readership slump.

There are a lot of articles piling up and that isn’t even counting all the things that went on today that I’ve missed. So it shouldn’t be hard to get back on schedule. I spent the day watching comedy, which may not have been the smartest thing to do. Seventy minutes of Sarah Silverman is approximately sixty minutes too long. I did notice that she repeats the same joke format again and again. I wonder if all comedians do that and I just don’t notice it because I’m enjoying the presentation. Watching comedy while in severe pain makes one more analytical.

And what’s with Russell Brand? He isn’t really a comedian. He’s just kind of a spaz. An hour of him goes a rather long way. But watching his comedy special reminded me of something I really like: comedy specials that are just stand-up comedy. That thing where comedians bookend their acts with some kind of sketch comedy is dreadful. It would be one thing if the sketch comedy was good but I can never remember that being that case.

I also watched about an hour of Louis CK. Here’s a perfectly good comedian. But I don’t know why people make such a big deal about him. In fact, he seems rather retro, if you ask me. If he did routines about airplane travel, he’d fit right into 1970s stand-up. Oh, that’s right.

Mostly, I watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I’ve been doing that quite a lot recently. It is a remarkably uneven show in terms of comedy. But I think it is consistently brilliant. I’ve also been able to put the show in a historical context in a way I hadn’t before, even though I was watching the show as soon as it made it to America. But this skit is extremely funny about the great, but surprisingly forgotten German composer, Johann Gambolputty de von Ausfern-schplenden-schlitter-crasscrenbon-fried-digger-dingle-dangle-dongle-dungle-burstein-von-knacker-thrasher-apple-banger-horowitz-ticolensic-grander-knotty-spelltinkle-grandlich-grumblemeyer-spelterwasser-kurstlich-himbleeisen-bahnwagen-gutenabend-bitte-ein-nürnburger-bratwustle-gerspurten-mitz-weimache-luber-hundsfut-gumberaber-shönedanker-kalbsfleisch-mittler-aucher von Hautkopft of Ulm:

So that’s how I spent my sick day. See you tomorrow! (Hopefully.)

Captain Ahab’s Final Speech

Captain AhabI turn my body from the sun. What ho, Tashtego! let me hear thy hammer. Oh! ye three unsurrendered spires of mine; thou uncracked keel; and only god-bullied hull; thou firm deck, and haughty helm, and Pole-pointed prow,– death-glorious ship! must ye then perish, and without me? Am I cut off from the last fond pride of meanest shipwrecked captains? Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Oh, now I feel my topmost greatness lies in my topmost grief. Ho, ho! from all your furthest bounds, pour ye now in, ye bold billows of my whole foregone life, and top this one piled comber of my death! Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!

—Herman Melville
Moby Dick

Peter Bagge

Peter BaggeThe great cartoonist Peter Bagge is 57 today. Is he really great? I think he is. I remember when he first started publishing, his rubbery characterizations and his outrageous sensibility were very new. I’ve always thought that he and Bill Watterson looked kind of similar, but he took it to extremes that fit what he was trying to do with it.

I probably first saw him in Weirdo in the early 1980s. But I really got into him with the first issue of Neat Stuff. Looking at it now, I find it kind of embarrassing. The artwork is great, but the writing is kind of like Mad Magazine for teens. But they had their moments. There was Studs Kirby, every Fox News viewing man you’ve ever met — with sentimental periods where he drinks himself to sleep listening to Brenda Lee records. And there was The Bradleys, a highly dysfunctional family — not really well written but wonderfully rendered. As I recall, this is from the end of a strip where Buddy has purchased The Yardbirds’ greatest hits or something:

The Bradleys - Peter Bagge

You don’t find much Bagge on the internet. At least you don’t compared to the far greater Bernie Wrightson. I assume this is because Bagge is a greedy man who just can’t get enough money. The last time I saw him, he was publishing cartoons in the libertarian Reason Magazine. I’ve since learned that he also writes articles. I really don’t want to know. You start with an artist — generally not the greatest analysts. Then you combine that with the libertarian thinking of someone at the top of his profession — who had success very young. This is not a formula for deep thinking. But Woody Allen being a child molester doesn’t make his films any less great. Peter Bagge being a libertarian doesn’t make his comics any less great. Am I saying these are the same? Only in the sense that they both show a lack of impulse control.

Happy birthday Peter Bagge!