Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is not helping

Today's theme: People who feel their electric company doesn't make enough money - Christmas Light Shows:

Apparently, the terrorist have won.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fourth Annual Christmas Spectacular

The holidays are upon us and we here at Dr. Caligari's love to celebrate like it nobody's business. So over the next several weeks check back here to see what we're listening to or thinking about - Today's kick-off - really bad Christmas music (we'll have a few versions of this entry.)

You've been shopping at the Department Stores today, you you're in a grouchy mood. Here's some music to extend the feeling.

Back Door Santa
I like the Black Crows, so I not complain about them. But really, listen to the song -

It's exactly what you think it's about and nothing says Christmas like thinking about Santa bringing joy to young woman in only the way a 'Back Door' Santa can.

Merry Christmas with Love
I will try very hard to keep this promise

I will only play anything associated with Clay Aikens one other time this holiday. The from the Geneva Convention have already called. As a matter of fact, I suggest you put your head phone on and listen to NIN Closer several times until the feeling goes away.

Star Wars Christmas
I'm almost sorry that we are showing this

it's just so wrong.

Christmas Shoes
You knew it was coming, what would Christmas be with out the song about the strange child's need to buy his dying mother a pair of shoes.

I need a drink after watching that one

The song itself is wallpapery at best but just watch the video

Remind you kids not to hang around the Corgan boy's house. I hear he buffs his head with the ear wax of his murder victims.

Mistletoe and Wine
What is it with Rock stars looking through the window at kids - Cliff Richards you should know better.

Now will you all be quiet, the kid in that cabin has to go to bed.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
Poor Amy, if only she had seen this horrible scene

perhaps she wouldn't have drunk herself to death.

Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas
Another C & W classic. I can't believe this hasn't been options for a Hallmark special.

And now smartypant, it's not the theme song at my house.

Have A Cheeky Christmas
At first I thought this was a very silly Euro Trash Christmas video but then I understood -

It's merely surveillance video from The Silvio Berlusconi Bunga Bunga country shack

Merry Merry

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Since you're up early getting ready

Here is a brief history of the holiday you may wish to share with your loved ones:

In the winter of 1620-1621, a group of immigrants in Massachusetts experienced a devastating winter. The weather was fierce. Food was scarce. Many died. At last spring came, then summer, and by the time of the autumn harvest things were looking about as rosy as they ever look in Massachusetts.

At a fundraising dinner that fall, Governor Bradford stood up and gave a speech:

"Thank God we survived last winter," he said. "Thank God this harvest gives us a fighting chance to survive the coming winter. And thank you for your support in the last election, please make checks payable to the Committee to Re-Elect the Governor, God bless America, amen. Let's eat."

The ensuing winter didn't turn out too badly, so the superstitious immigrants concluded that Governor Bradford's magic spell of "Thanksgiving" had done the trick.

The holiday was intermittently celebrated for years, with an enthusiasm scaled to the previous winter's weather, until November 26, 1789, when President Washington issued a proclamation calling for a nationwide day of thanksgiving for the establishment of the Constitution.

Washington's proclamation wasn't much different from Bradford's.

"Thank God we survived last winter," he said. "Thank God we've got a fighting chance to survive the coming winter. Thank God we've got our own damn country now and don't have to put up with a bunch of meddling European bastards. And thank you for your support in the last election, please make checks payable to Federalists for Washington, God bless America, amen. Let's eat."

Washington, the Constitution, and many of the immigrants (who were now Americans) survived the winter, so this new spell was also deemed effective.

President Lincoln later proclaimed the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day in 1863 (although he did not survive to see the next Thanksgiving),

but President Roosevelt moved it back to the fourth Thursday of the month in 1939 to extend the time available for holiday shopping.

President Ford proposed making it the third Wednesday in September, in order to really extend the time available for holiday shopping, but he only made the proposal to his golden retriever, Liberty, so the suggestion never reached congress.

And so we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year, in honor of having survived last winter, having got rid of those meddling European bastards, having invented our own rules and having plenty of time to shop before the holidays.

If you're not already on line, ready to kill for a $5 DVD of Rocky III, don't bother (wait until cyber Monday!)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu

Ok, if for some reason you have to pull a Thanksgiving dinner together at the last minute, rather than take the gas pipe, review my menu suggestions, rush out to the supermarket right after and start cooking

Shrimp Dip

Carrots/ Celery Sticks
Pre-cubed Cheese from local deli

Turkey w/ Stuffing

version 1 or
version 2

Ginger Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Green Beans

Fennel Salad

Apple Crisp
Vanilla Ice Cream
Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Coffee/ Tea


Friday, November 11, 2011

We read it all, so you don't have to

November 11, 1821 -
Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born on this date. Mr. Dostoyevsky is universally recognized as one of the pre-eminent authors of nineteenth-century Russia and perhaps one of the finest novelists of all time. As mentioned yesterday, on November 10, 1969, public television broadcast the Children's Television Network's first episode of Sesame Street.

I like to take advantage of this serendipitous occasion by celebrating both of these cultural icons, who have more in common than you might think.

One of Mr. Dostoyevsky's most enduring characters is that of the angst-ridden student, Raskolnikov, who brutally murders an old woman with an axe in order to confirm his own intellectual freedom. One of the most popular characters on Sesame Street is Big Bird, an eight-foot-tall, easily flustered, flightless yellow bird of indeterminate species.

Mr. Dostoyevsky's novels deal with a broad range of complex issues such as as parricide, political philosophy, epilepsy, freedom of the will, suicide, theosophy, revolution, addiction, dissipation, forgiveness, and the legitimacy of absolutist rule. Sesame Street deals frequently with the alphabet and the numbers one through ten.

Mr. Dostoyevsky was once sentenced to death, blindfolded before a firing squad, then reprieved at the very last moment and exiled to Siberia, where he overcame great obstacles to produce some of his finest work. On Sesame Street, Ernie and Bert often bicker over household chores.

Mr. Dostoyevsky was a devout Russian Orthodox Catholic, and in The Idiot he explores the practical difficulties of living a life according to the principles of love, tolerance, and forgiveness set forth by Jesus Christ. Sesame Street features a grumpy green monster named Oscar, who lives in a garbage can and frequently breaks into song to proclaim his love of trash.

Imagine all of those similarities. Now write a two hundred page essay discussing all of this and your have a doctoral thesis.

You're welcome

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What's up with those Bavarian Beer Halls?

On November 8, 1923, a general assembly of the Bavarian government began a meeting at a Munich beer hall at approximately 8:00 pm. At about 8:45 pm, the meeting was disrupted by a man in "a baggy, black suit that made him look like a waiter." The man leaped onto a table, fired a couple of shots into the ceiling, then forced his way onto the platform.

"The national revolution has begun!" he shouted.

Having gained everyone's attention, the strange little man announced that six hundred of his own men had the beer hall surrounded (they didn't), that the national and Bavarian governments had been taken (they hadn't), that the military and police barracks had been occupied (they weren't), and that he'd like a word or two in private with the three Bavarian leaders on the platform if it wouldn't be too inconvenient (it wasn't).

Once in a private room, the stranger informed the trio that he'd welcome their participation in his new government. They expressed no interest. He waved his revolver in their faces, but still they demurred. He held the pistol to his own head, then realized this wasn't very persuasive and simply returned to the general hall to announce that the leaders were behind him.

A little later, a prominent Bavarian general arrived at the beer hall and announced his support for the stranger. At this point the three leaders were released from their private room, and they too were suddenly in support of the little stranger. Feeling pretty swell about all this support, the stranger left the beer hall briefly to quell a dispute among some of his men outside the hall.

By the time he returned, he found that the three leaders had left the beer hall and were hastily making the rounds in Munich, retracting what they'd been forced to say. The stranger became apoplectic. He and the Bavarian general then came up with a contingency plan: they would gather some men and storm the government the following morning, November 9.

And so they did. Eighteen of their followers and four Bavarian policemen were killed in the conflict. Two days later, the stranger was arrested at the home of a friend, where he'd been hiding.

Ten years later, the evil wingnut bastard was elected Chancellor of Germany.

And so it goes

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Another episode of The Russian Revolution

This week: Revolution whatever month it is!

The October Revolution, also known as the Bolshevik Revolution or the November Revolution, was the second phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the first having been instigated by the events around the February Revolution. The October Revolution was led by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks with the Mensheviks, Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and anarchists. It was the first Marxist communist revolution in history. Apparently communists don't have a firm grasp on dates.

On evening of October 23, 1917 (by the Julian calendar still in use in Russia at the time; November 5 by the current Gregorian calendar), the Russian Revolution took place, bringing the first Communist government in the world to power, under the control of Vladimir Lenin. There had been a semi-Democratic government in Russia since 1905, with the Czar (Tsar or Tzar) sharing power with a parliament. But the Czar had grown increasingly unpopular ( owing to the fact people couldn't agree on the spelling of his name and had to learn Cyrillic to spell it anyway), especially since the beginning of World War I. The Russian army was poorly equipped and poorly led (they were usually issued a sharpened stick and a rotten potato and led by men who knew how to correct address the head of their nation but wouldn't tell the unwashed masses), and Russian soldiers were slaughtered in the thousands by the Germans. World War I also disrupted the economy and created huge food shortages. Inflation raised the prices of available goods by more than 700% in just three years

(borscht only had become so expensive, that people had taken to drawing pictures of bowls of the beet soup and serving them to their starving children).

Soldiers began deserting the Russian Army and many of them went to St. Petersburg, where food riots broke out in the winter of 1917. There were demonstrations calling for an end to the war and an end to the Czar's rule. To prevent revolution, Tzar Nicholas II stepped down from the throne on March 15th, 1917 and he was replaced by a provisional government.

That summer, Russia experienced a brief taste of true democracy. Freedom of speech was granted to both individuals and newspapers for the first time. All political and religious prisoners were given amnesty. And all citizens were given the right to vote in secret ballot elections and to refer to the Tsar as that 'old Russian bastard'. But the provisional government decided to continue fighting in the extremely unpopular war against Germany, and that helped fuel opposition groups.

In April of 1917, Vladimir Lenin crossed the border back into Russia for the first time in ten years. He had been in exile in Switzerland, plotting how to start a socialist revolution. Lenin's argument was that capitalism had started the World War, and that the workers in the trenches fighting the war should turn their guns away from each other and instead fight a civil war to overthrow their leaders and take rightful control of their governments.

New political parties began to spring up. The second most popular party was, "Stay drunk all day with hot Russian chicks" party. Surprisingly, this was not the most popular party. Lenin's political party was called the Bolsheviks, and their slogan was "Peace, Land, and Bread." With the continuing unpopularity of the war, they quickly became the most popular political party in the country.

Lenin was accused of being a German spy by the provisional government in July 1917, so he had to go underground.It made party meeting very uncomfortable and dirty, to boot. In order to attend a meeting of the Bolsheviks in late October of that year, he had to wear a disguise (as Queen Victoria) and sneak through the city streets. He made it to the meeting undetected, and after a heated ten hour debate, he persuaded a majority of his party to launch an armed takeover of the country.

Lenin gave the order for the workers' militia to seize government buildings on this day in 1917, and the coup met almost no resistance (as there was little to no soap available for the workers, they were quite greasy). Official films made much later showed a huge storming of the Winter Palace and fierce fighting, but in reality the Bolshevik insurgents faced little or no opposition and were practically able to just walk into the building and take it over - more people were killed in the shooting of the film October than in the actual revolution. Then next day, Lenin was elected chairman of the Council of the new Soviet Government. Overnight, he had gone from a fugitive in hiding to the leader of the revolutionary government in the largest country in the world.

Lenin believed that a communist country would need to be ruled at first by a military dictatorship, but that once communism took hold, people would be so happy with the new system that most of the coercive elements of the government would wither away, and society would become a classless, stateless paradise. He also believed that bathing next to an Armenian gave you cooties (go figure). He said, "While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State."

His vision never came to pass.

Russia would remain a totalitarian police state for most of the rest of the twentieth century.

For some reason President Boris Yeltsin, waking up from a four month vodka tasting competition, decided to celebrate the anniversary of the storming of the Winter Palace by outlawed the Communist Party on this date in 1991.

And so it goes