Obviously it was said by a person from Newfoundland. They have the strangest expressions. Instead of “hold on a minute” or “wait a second” or “hold your horses” or whatever, he said, “yeah, I’ll be there in two shakes of a dog’s dick.”
Somehow I was the one getting weird looks for not being familiar with the expression.
It brings up so many questions. Who is shaking the dog’s dick? The speaker or the dog? How long does it take to shake? Why is this used as a measurement of time in Newfoundland? Does it explain why the CBC broadcasts everything a half hour later in Newfoundland?
I guess I always just assumed that I wanted to be buried after I died, but then I got to thinking about that neanderthal they found in the ice with semen up his butt. I mean, you’re not going to find anything gross like that on my body but you have to realize that some scientist said, “hey, let’s see what’s up this caveman’s butt for science” and the other scientists were like, “sure”, and some day that could be my corpse they decide to mess around with. And by the time the future scientists find my body, they will probably be robots who care even more about science and even less about my dignity.
Some thoughts on watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Yeah, so I’m watching the old BBC 7-part Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy adaptation starring Alec Guinness as George Smiley and it’s kind of weird because Alec Guinness really reminds me of my late grandfather in this and now I keep wondering if maybe he was a spy.
I mean, obviously Poppy wasn’t a spy because there’s sort of an unspoken rule in my family that if you’re a spy you have to tell me because that would be the coolest thing ever. Unless maybe he did something that got someone killed and then he felt guilty and that’s why I never found out? That’s the only reasonable explanation I can think of for being a spy and not telling me.
Patrick Stewart plays a Russian spymaster but I think this was before Patrick Stewart was even mildly famous because he has no lines and wears a really fake looking beard. Plus he’s in prison so I keep picturing him getting tortured by Cardassians because I’m the worst kind of nerd. Also everyone keeps pronouncing the name of the British spymaster as Pussy Alleline instead of Percy.
I hope religion dies out fast enough that they turn all the nice churches into condos within my life time, but slow enough that they keep some of that mushy be-kind-to-the-poor sentiment around so that I can buy one.
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Sheer genius. It’s really short (though it sort of requires a second reading). You totally see why it won the Man Booker prize.
Number9dream by David Mitchell. A novel about dreams and Tokyo, based on a song by John Lennon, apparently. I loved it.
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell. A cool coming of age story set in 80s England, so I guess it’s the literary version of This is England.
The First World War by Hew Strachan. A decent outline of the war, I started reading it on Nov. 11. It wasn’t as in-depth as I’d’ve liked, but it was by no means deficient.
Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets by David Simon. As in, the guy who went on to make The Wire. The book is crazy good, it reads more like a modern Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett than a non-fiction. I’m both kind of scared and intrigued by Baltimore. And I’m trying to track down his other book, The Corner.
Not so great books I’ve read recently:
Hermit in Paris: An Autobiography by Italo Cavino. Meh. Wasn’t impressed.
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris. Yaaaawn. Sedaris has done better.
The Fracture Zone: A Return to the Balkans by Simon Winchester. I thought it’d be interesting because the guy a) writes about topics I’m interested in and B) he got an honourary degree from my university a while back, but maaaaan, he just keeps coming off as a pompous blow hard and I can’t stand his writing.
Currently reading or soon going to read:
Selected Short Stories of Anton Chekhov — I’m about halfway through and really loving it.
Children of the Atom — by some chick whose name escapes me. It’s classic 50s sci-fi about children who get schooled for their telepathic abilities and it supposedly directly inspired Stan Lee or Chris Claremont or whoever to invent the X-men. Excited for this.
Ghostwritten: A Novel by David Mitchell. His other books have been good, so I’m hoping this will be too.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. I’m sensing a theme here.
After that I have books by Kurt Vonnegut and John Steinbeck, neither of whom I’ve read before. Any suggestions on where to start? Maybe I’ll also finally get around to reading Brett Easton Ellis?
The greatest Wikipedia article I've found (this week)
The 1904 Summer Olympics marathon was the most bizarre event of the Games. It was run in brutally hot weather, over dusty roads, with horses and automobiles clearing the way and creating dust clouds. The first to arrive at the finish line was Frederick Lorz, who had stopped running because of exhaustion after nine miles (14.5 km). His manager gave him a lift in his car for the next eleven miles (17.7 km), after which it broke down; Lorz then continued on foot back to the Olympic stadium, where he broke the finishing line tape and was greeted as the winner of the race. When the officials thought he had won the race, Lorz played along with his practical joke until he was found out shortly after the medal ceremony and was banned for a year by the AAU for this stunt, later winning the 1905 Boston Marathon.
Thomas Hicks (a Briton running for the United States) was the first to cross the finish-line legally, after having received several doses of strychnine sulfate mixed with brandy from his trainers. He was supported by his trainers when he crossed the finish, but is still considered the winner. Hicks had to be carried off the track, and possibly would have died in the stadium, had he not been treated by several doctors. A Cuban postman named Felix Carbajal joined the marathon, arriving at the last minute. He had to run in street clothes that he cut around the legs to make them look like shorts. He stopped off in an orchard en route to have a snack on some apples, which turned out to be rotten. The rotten apples caused him to have to lie down and take a nap. Despite falling ill to apples he finished in fourth place.
The marathon included the first two black Africans to compete in the Olympics; two Tswana tribesmen named Len Tau (real name: Len Taunyane) and Yamasani (real name: Jan Mashiani). But they weren’t there to compete in the Olympics, they were actually the sideshow. They had been brought over by the exposition as part of the Boer War exhibit (both were really students from Orange Free State in South Africa, but this fact was not made known to the public). Len Tau finished ninth and Yamasani came in twelfth. This was a disappointment, as many observers were sure Len Tau could have done better if he had not been chased nearly a mile off course by aggressive dogs.