Dogs With Unusual Fears

A banana. An orange peel. The stairs. Remote control console. What’s the matter with these dogs, that they should fear such things? And we’re going to let the guard our homes? What if the burglar shows up with a banana in his hand?

Volcano REALLY Threatens Scurveyshire, No Kidding Around! (‘Oy, Rodney’)

a gripping page-turner headed for the top of the NY Times bestseller list | Romance novels, Funny romance, Book parody

We have come to a pivotal chapter in Violent Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney. We have also come to Chapter DXL (pronounced “Dix’ll”).

Smoke or something is coming out of a crack in the ground, just where Scurveyshire Common abuts on Nose And Throat Street. Introducing the chapter, Ms. Crepuscular writes, “It’s a very bad business! The volcano could blow any minute, and Britain would have its own Pompeii. No wonder they’re frantically searching for Constable Chumley!”

Chumley is investigating goings-on at The Lying Tart, where a back room is said to be set aside, once a week, for a deadly game of ritualized poking. As the constable puts it, “‘Er mouzeful doggonit, by yon priggle!”

To prove his courage, Johnno the Merry Minstrel stands almost on top of the volcano and peers down into the crack.

“Do you see anything?” cries Lord Jeremy Coldsore, as he recovers from a brush with a Ginsu knife.

“You mean, ‘In the future’?”

That is not what Jeremy means, and he is rapidly losing his patience.

“Ah, dear reader!” flosticates Ms. Crepuscular. “What indeed is in the crack? What does Johnno see? I could tell you now, but that would ruin it for the next weekend. For the time being, here is my recipe for toothpaste and breadfruit a la mode…”

[Editor disclaims all responsibility for this. It is regrettable.]

Let AI Arrange Your Marriage!

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The flag of Palookastan (Don’t ask…)

The People’s Republic of Palookastan likes to call itself “The Science Is Happening Place of All Central Asia.” And to prove it, they’ve passed a law that from now on, all marriages in Palookastan will be arranged by Artificial Intelligence.

President For Life Timoor Shakaleg laughed off some early glitches in the program. “These things happen!” he chortled, in between supervising firing squads. “A man in Jezhnivabad was told he had to marry the city’s founder, Lady Zoof, who died eight hundred years ago. And we had a woman in the mountains for whom is was arranged that she marry her wheelbarrow! So who said science has no sense of humor?”

Comrade Timoor found it slightly less than humorous when the robot directed him to marry his old nurse, Madame Pzessky, who used to make him eat bugs and told him The Blob was going to get him if he didn’t. “A thoroughly odious woman–I hate her!” he said. But moments later, “Well, science is science and we have to do what Science says! Even when we don’t understand it. Science is the only defense we have against Religion. So if Science says ‘Marry your old baggy pants,’ well, then, you marry your old baggy pants! But I regret to report that Madame Pzessky’s whereabouts are currently unknown.”

He has turned down an offer by Acme Robotics Inc. to replace Madame Pzessky with a convincing facsimile.

Rowan Atkinson Fights for Free Speech

Rowan Atkinson, one of the funniest comedians ever born–think “Mr. Bean”–is crusading for a restoration of free speech in the United Kingdom: and the rest of the Western world, for that matter. After all, it’s virtually impossible for comedy to exist if you’re not allowed to insult, shock, embarrass, or poke fun at anybody. And it has always been an indispensable safety valve. There comes a point where you just can’t keep any more frustration bottled up without the whole thing exploding.

But in Britain the law, if we may call it that, boils down to this: You can be arrested and punished for just about anything you say, on the grounds that someone, somewhere, might possibly be offended by it.

Another factor to consider: a tyrannical government can be undermined by comedy. Maybe even overthrown, if the satirist’s barbs are sharp enough.

We need comedy! I don’t believe we can keep our sanity without it.

‘They’ll Be as Gods, All Right’ (2020)

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Let us never, never, never forget what was done to us–by “government”!–in the Great Pandemic of 2020 Etc.

Why did they do those things?

Here’s why.

They’ll Be as Gods, All Right

Once upon a time, if a mad tyrant declared himself a god, eventually people would get fed up and would assassinate him. But that was before we had a whole class and whole tribes of wannabe godlets running wild all over the earth. That was before the United Nations and the World Economic Forum.

The problem is… they’re all Caligula. “Just call me Zeus!” (And then Zeus falls down the stairs again.)

May the true God deliver us from all the false ones.

‘Jesus Saves’ (Swanson Brothers)

One of my favorite hymns, Jesus Saves (also known as We Have Heard the Joyful Sound), as played by Joshua and Jeremy Swanson, our friends and esteemed colleagues. Guys, it’s okay to sing it while you play it.

Quick! Hide in the Bathtub!

Our pets get scared of things that we don’t think should scare them. A dog seeks refuge in the bathtub. A rabbit flees a burst balloon. A goat faints. I have never seen a fainting goat before. Ah, well… my cat’s afraid of cat toys.

Byron’s TV Listings, June 3

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G’day, mates! Looks like it’s going to rain, so it’s a good thing we have all this fantastic TV to watch. Byron the Quokka here, and here’s a sample of our weekend TV menu, brought to you by Quokka University.

7:30 P.M.   Ch. 04  WHO’S THAT NOVELIST?–Sitcom

Crime novelist Mickey Mozz (Andre the Giant) is taken aback when a naked man (Arnold Stang)  comes to his door and claims to be the publisher of Nude Detective. This episode won an Emmy Award for blacking out all of Stang from the neck down, leaving nothing but a floating head. Song: “Here Be Chiggers,” by Howard Cosell.

Ch. 16   A GNOSE FOR GNEWS–News & commentary with music & dancing

The June Taylor Dancers act out today’s top news stories! Anchor and interpreter: Dean Martin. Lead story: Mars probe finds evidence of really big starfish. Sponsored by 20-Mule Team Borax! Exclamation points by Mandy Lifeboats.

8:00 P.M.  Ch. 31   KITTY-KAT KOLLEGE–Pet care & training

Chef Julia Child somehow got roped into hosting this show that features a kitchen full of unruly cats. This week: Julia tries to train jumping spiders not to jump while the cats run wild in the background. Cameo: Mr. Greenjeans from Captain Kangaroo. Sponsored by Old Grand-Dad Whiskey.

Ch. 68  MOVIE–THE BAD NEWS BEARS MEET MOTHRA–Science fiction flavored with Greek tragedy

Fresh from their dismaying encounter with Oedipus Rex (Johnny Weismuller), the hapless Little League team find themselves pursued by the gigantic prehistoric moth. Has the time come to sacrifice Coach Wamba (Sir Alec Guinness)? This is a classic (Finnish, 1961: 14 minutes)!

8:45 P.M.  Ch. 18  NY METS vs. GRESHAM NOVELTIES–Lawsuit

The novelty company has sued the New York Mets for illegally hiring its yet-to-be released “super wind-up toy,” Bootsie Bunny, to play center field in all home games. Tonight: Confusing testimony by former Mets manager Casey Stengel, normally not available for questioning.

How about that for entertainment! I know a koala who’s watched that Bad News Bears movie 15 times and still doesn’t get it.

Quokka | San Diego Zoo Animals & Plants

(Now where did I put my TV set?) Byron the Quokka, signing off.

Health Hassle

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My wife and my sister (she’s a nurse) have been conferring about my health, since the doctor yesterday recommended I take this unpronounceable medicine for my kidney function. Draw ten Scrabble tiles out of a hat and you’ve named a new medicine.

Well, I was supposed to get samples of this stuff, and I didn’t–half my fault for misunderstanding the doctor, half his fault for not being clear. Calling the pharmacist was a spectacular waste of time, no one ever answered the phone. Finally I went back to the doctor’s office and got the samples.

Anyway, there’s my sister interrogating me on the phone, my wife thinking up many questions I should’ve asked the doctor, and me wondering whether I should take this unpronounceable stuff at all. Why won’t my kidneys just behave themselves?

I admit I’m a lousy patient. Doctor stuff just goes in one ear and out the other. It’s not in my skill set. Sort of like high school chemistry; I just don’t get it.

It’s convenient for me to rely on Patty and Alice because, thankfully, they both know more than I do, by a long shot. Deep down inside, “medicine” scares me–a lot–and I find it very hard to think about it. I grew up trusting doctors, but that trust evaporated some time ago. I don’t want Dr. Fauci coming within 50 yards of me.

Finally it’s decided I should take one pill a day along with my morning blood pressure pill. If I try to read up on these things it just doesn’t take. Science was always my worst subject in school. I didn’t get better at it later.

Up go the prayers, and hope for the best.

Texas Judge Curbs ‘AI’

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Justice and computers–it won’t work

We had a case just like this one in New York a few days ago. There’ll probably be more of them–because lawyers are as lazy and shifty as anybody else, and they’d rather let a robot prepare court briefs than do it themselves.

A Texas judge has banned the use of “Artificial Intelligence,” aka AI, in preparing briefs for court cases ( No more ChatGPT, says Judge Brantley Starr.

Why not? Because, he explains, the robot can and does “invent facts”–invented facts aren’t facts at all–and has “a tendency to hallucinate.” Oh, spiffy. Imagine losing a major lawsuit, or even going to prison, because some machine invented “facts” against you. I wonder if that’s happened yet. “AI” is coming on too fast to be monitored. We’ve heard lots of warnings about that, including some by the same tech wizards who developed AI in the first place.

And anyway, do we really need robots to help us lie? We’ve always done a fabulous job of that ourselves.