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I would be remiss if I did not note that today is the 400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton.

I have nothing much to say about his work, however.  Despite the fact that I studied it extensively in college, that was better than 20 years ago and I have not returned since.  Certainly I still believe Paradise Lost to be THE epic poem of the entire English language, in part because of the scale and the drama of the work, in part because of the fact that Milton had an ear the equal of or better than those of either Shakespeare or Keats.  (This is reflected pretty consistently throughout the rest of his poetry as well.)

On the other hand, I’d walk a long way in tight shoes to avoid having to read the man’s essays, treatises and political pamphlets.  Not only are they long-winded, tedious and superior, I also cannot forgive him his alliance with Cromwell and his crew.  Sanctimonious Puritans.  Jeezum Crow.

No, I think that I will simply take this opportunity to thank Mr. Milton for coining one of my favorite words in the language, Pandemonium.


While most people associate the word with random chaos or confusion these days, I still adhere to its original definition, the capital of Hell.

donnyosmond1 First, there’s Donny Osmond, who turns 51 today.

Now before you get any funny ideas, let me just be clear that I’m posting this for the benefit of my eight year old.  She has the soundtrack of Osmond’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat production and is positively infatuated with both it and with him.

Heck, I can think of an awful lot worse things.

neil-innesThen there is the great Neil Innes, born this day in 1944.   His birthday wishes are off of my own bat, so to speak.

Innes is sometimes known (by many people, including himself) as the “Seventh Python”, appearing in numerous sketches and writing a good bit of music for the Team.  (Casual viewers might remember him best as the chief of Sir Robin’s minstrels in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.)  His contribution to The Rutles was also outstanding, IMHO, and he’s done various other bits and pieces over the years.

Owing to the magic of YouTube, this year in honor of Innes I can repost one of my very favorite Flying Circus closings (which is at the end of one of my very favorite Flying Circus episodes), contributed to the Team by him.  Enjoy!

jeep1If you are a long time reader of TPSAYE (in all of its five months of glory), you will recall that earlier this fall I bent a new suit of canvas on to my jeep.

If you happen to have wandered over to the Llamas any time in the past few days, you will know that my jeep was broken into at the Metro parking lot last week, the villain(s) making off with a few rolls of tollbooth quarters but nothing else, as I do not keep valuables in so insecure a location.

The villain(s) knew what he or they were about.  I took this photo of my baby just after I had put on her new top.  Imagine now, if you will, a ten or eleven inch gash running horizontally across the canvas just under the driver’s side window.  It was by inflicting this gash that he or they were able to reach through and unlock the door from the inside and proceed to plunder.  (Why I even bothered to lock it, I cannot say.  In the summer, I usually leave the doors off altogether.  I’ve been doing this for better than ten years at this parking lot and have never had any trouble before.)

Aaaaanyway,  I now have a slashed door to deal with.  On a temporary basis, just to keep out the cold, I have duct-taped the wound, but it is quite obvious that this can only be a temporary bandage.   (Mrs. R, who does not like my jeep, remarked snidely that it was the only kind of car with which I could get away with this without looking conspicuously cheesy.)  The question is what to do about a permanent solution.  Replacement doors go for a couple of hundred bucks, which I have no real inclination to spend at the moment.  On the other hand, try as I might, I don’t seem to be able to find any kind of patching or repair kit.

It occurs to me that perhaps I could suture the slash back together using some kind of waterproof thread.  What do you think?  Would such a dueling scar give Robbo’s jeep an air of romance and mystery?  Could I drop the suggestion that it was picked up owing to some unpleasantness with a rhino the last time I drove across the Dark Continent?  Or perhaps that she received it when I found myself thwarting a terrorist plot to kidnap the Queen (hushed up by Western governments and press, of course)?  Perhaps I could just grimmace at any mention or inquiry and say that I would prefer not to talk about it.

Would women nudge each other as I drove by and ask themselves what secret must lie behind that mild-mannered face?  Or would I just look like some guy who was too cheap to buy a replacement window panel?

Sign me up for the Fat, Drunk and Stupid Brigade!

Who else is with us?


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December 2008