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The Aflac Duck has a new voice.  (Clicky the link to hear the new guy, who actually isn’t all that bad.)

For those of you unfamiliar with what I will call Quackergate, the Duck used to be voiced by comedian Gilbert Gottfried, whose entire shtick consists of  his harsh, braying vocal quality and crude humor.  When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March, Gottfried made some bad taste joke or other about them on Twitter.  Aflac promptly gave him the boot, and the search was on for a worthy successor.

The only reason any of this stuck in my brain is that I was mildly, well, disturbed by Gottfried’s canning.  Not really because I thought Aflac was being all that unreasonable – it’s got a product to flog and an image to maintain, and when it pays somebody a lot of money for those purposes, I suppose it puts lots of language in the contract to the effect that they have to keep their noses clean. (Although, on second thoughts, one wonders how reasonable Aflac was in believing Gottfried could do so.)

Rayther, I remember thinking more generally how inconsistent disjointed psychotic our system of social taboos has become.  We seem to be hyper-sensitive about some things while at the same time utterly crass and nihilistic about others, and there doesn’t appear to be much rhyme or reason between them.  Unless you believe, as I do, that modern “morality” is something that is being made up as we go along.

Well, then.  How about a little Tuesday Random to loosen up?

♦  Ol’ Robbo had lunch yesterday with a long-lost cousin who is mad-keen on geneology, about whom I believe I posted here some time last summah.  Among other things, I learned that I have three ancestors who fought in the Revolution (one in the Virginny militia, another in a Pennsylvania regiment and a third who sought compensation for the loss of a horse in service).  I also found out that much of my extended family tree were Abolitionists who migrated from the Carolinas and Georgia to Ohio in the 1840’s and 50’s, and that one of my grandsires owned a mill that was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad.   Aaaaand, I appear to have had a great-uncle who was a pilot shot down early in WWII and spent most of the war in a stalag.  All very nifty bits of information.  Alas, nothing about gilt-edged securities or diamonds buried under the third head-stone to the left in the family cemetary, but I’ll take what I can get.

♦  First iced latte of the season today.  Nectar. Of. The. Gods.

♦  Yesterday, after the tumult and the shouting had died down, the captains and the kings departed, my hand fell across a copy of the complete works of Josephus that I had purchased on impulse God-only-knows when.  Idly glancing at it at first, I soon found myself greedily reading his Jewish Wars, his account of the 1st Century Judeian Revolt against Rome that ended in the destruction of Jerusalem under Titus in 70 A.D.  The book is very well written, even discounting Josephus’ nakedly self-serving slants and suck-ups. (He had been a leader of the Revolt himself but changed sides after being captured, shrewdly predicting that Vespasian – who was conducting the campaign at the time – would become Emperor, to be followed by his sons Titus and Domitian.  Josephus ended his career living pretty high on the hog in Rome.)  This got me remembering a tee-vee mini-series of long ago about the war called “Masada” in which, if memory serves, Peter O’Toole played Titus, and wondering if it might be Netflix-worthy.  But it also got me eager to plunge into his (Josephus’, not O’Toole’s) Antiquities, which gives an account of early Jewish history which I think would be useful in better understanding the Old Testament.

♦  Thus is illustrated the benefit of Robbo’s maxim that one should always buy a book when moved to do so.

♦  Had some absolutely lovely lamb for Easter din-dins.  I strongly suspect, however, that one could cook an old boot in olive oil, garlic and rosemary and it would come out tasting pretty good.

♦  Speaking of books, at random this morning I selected for my commuter reading Plum Wodehouse’s The Luck of the Bodkins, and was pleasantly reminded that it contains one of the great opening lines in English literature:  “Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.”

Perhaps that’s enough for now.  Oh, but let me finish with a bleg:  As I went to tidy up the port-swiller acreage last week, I discovered that my weed-whacker had given up the ghost over the winter.  (More specifically, I discovered that somebody had knocked it off its peg and smashed the throttle mechanism.)  Also, from the sinister buzz-saw sounds it has suddenly started making, I strongly suspect that the dryer is about to follow suit in departing for the mechanical netherworld.  If anyone has any suggestions for replacement makes and models, I would appreciate hearing about them.

UPDATE: Homer nods.  Great-great-great-etc.-granddad was in a battalion (the 6th PA,  in fact), not a regiment.  Also, in “Masada” Peter O’Toole plays Flavius Silva, the local commander on the ground, not Titus.  The siege of Masada was the last of a mopping-up operation and the big dogs had already left the field.

Greetings, my fellow port-swillers and a very happy Easter to you all!

Ol’ Robbo will get back into the swing of posting just as soon as he finishes chipping the rust off the bit of his brain marked “creativity”, which he will do just as soon as he catches his breath from a positively hectic Holy Week.

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