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September 19, 2006


Back in the early 1990s, before the re-release of the original SW trilogy and the Ep I-III debacle, I thought it would be extremely silly to get 8 people dressed up in Stormtrooper costumes (really good ones that came straight out of a movie) and march across my college campus in formation, not saying a word to anyone.

I especially like the fact that the police gave him "serious criticism" and thus entered into the sririt of his performance art happening type thing.

i'd like to stand up, walk out of this office and never return.

Land a single-engine airplane in Red Square.

I've had two civic silliness fantasies for ages.

One - fly over the Kingdome in a helicopter and drop paint-filled balloons on it - is no longer possible, as the Kingdome has gone to that Great Big Sports Network in the Sky.

The other one is TP'ing the Space Needle.

Land a single-engine airplane in Red Square.

Slarti got there ahead of me.

The silliest event in my personal history came from my college days. One semester, two classes that I took had common finals for all of the sections scheduled at the same time. Since these were both on a small list of required courses to get a degree from the business school, there were about 20 of us who were taking both courses. The department heads realized this was a problem 1 week before the finals, and decided to resolve this by having those of us with a conflict take one final the night before from 9 to 11 PM. The time was chosen to reduce the chance that we would tell any of our friends what was on the test before the other final at 9 AM the next day.

Since I am a morning person who tended even then to not be at my best by 10 PM, I complained about this schedule, but was unsuccessful. Therefore, I attended the evening final in flannel pajamas and a bathrobe as a protest.

Yes, I like the "serious criticism" bit, too. No doubt the spokesperson released this bit of news with a seriously furrowed brow and a seriously severe tone of voice.

A question, though. What would have happened if the guards had not been able to identify Pablo among all of the statuary? What if he had stood there for, say, 24 hours while the guards were forced to torture ALL of the terracotta guys, by various poking and electric methods, to find out which one was the screamer?

Would this performance art then be like going hiking in the dead of winter in the Smokies without a hat, or would it be like Abu Ghraib? I don't have these things straight yet.

"Is there something truly silly...?"

There are some things left to do. I would love to show up at Republican Party confabs dressed as Harpo Marx and just as Dick Cheney or Dick Armey or Grover Norquist or some overtly religious fulminator was intoning the various evils of liberalism, I would, like Harpo, place my leg in their hand and begin swinging my foot like I was relaxing. When they noticed that and brushed my leg away, I would reach behind them and snatch their hat. Just before they snatched the hat back and placed it on their head, I would set the hat on fire. Then I would put my leg back in their hand and give a little toot.

All this while Chico was seducing their wives and girlfriends in the second row (they each bring their wives and girlfriends to these confabs, don't they, or is that just liberal behavior? Maybe Republicans leave their girlfriends back at the hotel in the adjoining room) and Groucho was commandeering the microphone to let the assembled crowd know that Bob McManus was presently outside with about two million people carrying torches and they would all like to put a stop to Bush's silliness here and now.

I would have to be inside and outside simultaneously to do all the silly and serious things I want to do.

And of course they'd break out into a rousing version of Fredonia's national anthem, in three-part cacophony. Which could be expanded to four or five parts if Gummo and Zeppo show. More, if Karl makes an appearance.

Silly things I have done: been the damsel in distress who provoked a fake duel in school assembly; stood on a table in the middle of the college cafeteria and recited Patti Smith's Babelogue; backed one of my teaching assistants (when I was an undergrad and he was teaching me; not one of the people who now teaches for me) around the table with a switchblade, after he propositioned me, while pretending to be insane (the next day, I switched to another section); persuaded two deans to sing 'These Boots Are Made For Walking' with me in our college's faculty talent show, in costume (and there's video!); crucified a Barbie Doll; taken off my motorcycle helmet when xanax was driving the motorcycle (stupid, not silly); allowed an incompetent barber to give me a haircut just because his sign said 'Beauty Saloon' and I thought it was too great to pass up (this was, of course, in another country, and it was not a joke); gotten my hair cut to about 1/4" to avoid sexual harrassment (while writing Let's Go Mexico); led three cheers for the ERA from Jerry Falwell's pulpit (no one was around); since I'm a silly person, I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of it.

Silly things I aspire to do: will have to get back to you on that.

I once accidentally peed on the Berlin Wall (and did not get caught) - my friend got caught accidentally peeing on the Synagogue in Prague, and got an uzi shoved up his nose (and had to pay a bribe to not go to jail).

(By accidentally, I mean neither of us knew that our target was actually a historical landmark, rather than a discrete place to relieve oneself).


If we count scripted items done for public entertainment, I have a much lengthier list, having appeared in my law school's spoof show, The Law Revue, including a scene with coat-hanger antlers (for Moose Court).

Dantheman: with the exception of These Boots Are Made For Walking, none of these was scheduled to be done -- the school assembly thingo, for instance, was just about five or six of us disrupting what, as I think back on it, was more of a juice break or something -- we didn't interrupt any speakers, just showed up in more or less medieval costumes, the two guys got into a fight over me, drew their (fencing) swords, and fought their way, Errol Flynn style, through the crowd. Reciting Babelogue was completely spontaneous. I included 'Boots' on the grounds that it was talking the deans into it that was the silly part -- one of them was, I thought, very nice and very good, but had a daunting reputation in some quarters, and I decided, for some reason, that this would be a good way to counteract that.

Scripted silly things include my having the title role in 'The Runaway Muffin' when I was in third grade. It involved cartwheels (how else would a muffin run away?)

Hilzoy, a switchblade? While pretending to be insane?

I think I speak for everyone here when I say that we were all pretending those marriage proposals. Honest. There were fake all the way.

I once dressed up as Merlin the Magician and attended about 11 Halloween parties in a row in college. I think I made six or seven people disappear with my magic wand. Either that or I made some sort of pharmaceutical miscalculation at some point during the evening.

Slart: "More, if Karl makes an appearance."

Well, if Rove showed up, we'd skip the silly part and go directly to the rioting and jail.


His cheesy moustache just makes the whole thing so much better.

Ugh: see also.

I think possibly Gary Farber might have blogged this before.

I think possibly Gary Farber might have blogged this before.

C'mon, tell us something we don't already know. Gary Farber has blogged everything before. (Before even there were internets, even.)

I like the "serious criticism too.

I planned once to do the first Trans-Atlantic solo flight in an ultra-light.

hilzoy carries a switchblade? Between that and the Patti Smith, I think I'm in love....

And some advice on getting haircuts while traveling/living abroad: If you don't have time to wait for the barber with the longest line you really don't need that haircut, trust me on this.

Hilzoy was, at the time, at a Halloween party, dressed as Patti Smith from the cover of Horses. Since I don't look anything like her, it was kind of a stretch, but I did wash my hair with Ivory soap beforehand, to get that incredibly tangled look, and borrowed someone else's switchblade since it seemed to go with the costume.

I am, normally, a nice person, but there are a few things that sort of get to me. Stripping habeas rights from people is one; having my TAs hit on me is another. This was one of the first times that had happened, so I hadn't really thought much about it; it did annoy me, though, and since I was already pretending to be someone I wasn't, I decided to improvise in a way that (I hoped) would convince him that hitting on his students was a bad idea, and would moreover respond to his proposal with all the respect it deserved. And so, if memory serves, I drew the switchblade, flicked it open, and advanced on him, saying "Cool. You're blonde. Blondes are fun to play with", in a sort of stoned demented way, backed him around the table a few times, after which he fled.

Deterrence, I call it.

Ugh: see also.

That's fantastic. I don't think that works for aspiring tax lawyers (if there are such things), however.

It'd work for my profession, but I'd have to show up with a fully armed and operational Death Star.

I should add to the preceding: this wasn't in response to what one might call a nice proposition. I scarcely knew the guy, and despite the fact that he was my actual TA, he basically came up to me at a party and started groping me. Thus, the response. I would never have done that had he been even marginally polite about it.

About haircuts: for months afterwards, this haircut gave great pleasure to a seven year old of my acquaintance, who, whenever he saw me, would say: oh please hilzoy, make a monk! make a monk!

(Calling that haircut a bowl cut would be rude to bowls. It looked exactly like a monk's haircut without the tonsure. I normally tried to disguise this with a part, but I had shown this seven year old how silly it really was once, and he thought it was the funniest thing ever. Which, in a way, made it all worthwhile.)

And the sandtrooper story is wonderful.

recited Patti Smith's Babelogue

Wow, I actually still have a copy of that somewhere. Horses was practically scriptural for me, back in college.

having my TAs hit on me is another.

Does this only apply to current TAs or should former TAs being wearing kevlar when they hit the Baltimore bar scene?

hilzoy carries a switchblade? Between that and the Patti Smith, I think I'm in love....

Join the queue.

Anarch: just people who are currently teaching me, and whose propositions, gross or otherwise, therefore represent an abuse of power. -- I wouldn't have put it in those terms back when I was in college, but I knew that something about it made me furious, more on behalf of the people who wouldn't feel confident enough to do anything about it than for myself.

Most everyone has nothing to fear from me.

One other thing I've alway wanted to do was something that a friend of mine's father did when he was a kid. He was in the school play and one of the props was a coffin. So one night he and a couple of his friends took the coffin and a couple of shovels and a pick-axe out to a cemetary on the edge of town. There they waited until they heard a car approaching, at which point they would put the coffin on their shoulders and run across the road in front of a car carrying the shovels/pick-axe and back behind a couple of houses.

This worked well until they did it in front of a police car and were chased down. When the officer asked what their parents would think if they knew they were out there doing this, my friend's father replied "well, they were out here earlier watching us and they thought it was pretty funny," which was true.

There's a thread over at TiO to reveal your silliest moments at a much less trafficked site, just in case you are going to be running for something in the future.

"The BBC has this wonderful story"

I had some comments about this on Sunday.

This was rather a more important story, though, as were the subsequent posts.

I linked to you two posts below, and again since, but I guess you may not have seen those, either.

"Yes, I like the 'serious criticism' bit, too."

Unfortunately, this is rendered extremely unfunny to anyone with the faintest clue about modern Chinese history, and the Cultural Revolution, and what "serious criticism" means, as in, hundreds of thousands of people died of it.

Although it's true that relatively few die of it nowadays, and times are grossly different than the Cultural Revolution. Still, about as funny as any reference to torture and one of the worst occurrences in human history can be.

It's quite possible that this did mean broken bones, and internal injuries, though.

Hahahaha! Hilarious.

Oh, and thus the title of the post may be wrong.

I realize the above makes me appear to have no sense of humor. I do, but I'm afraid I've read far too many books about the Cultural Revolution, and my "I'm kinda appalled at the ignorance" reflex kicked in. Apologies. (I never thought Hogan's Hero's was funny, either.)

I'm doing my silly thing right now at www.stopmyabortion.blogspot.com

Hi, Gary. Well, I live in the here and now. Plus, one of the guys undressing Pablo (the guy on the left) is grinning if I'm not mistaken.

I've read lots of stuff, too. It makes me unhappy, too. So, I get it.

Hogan's Heroes was ruined for me by what's his name's tawdry death in a motel. Nevertheless, I have a little bit of Jewish humor about it. Which is to say that if I don't laugh, I'll cry and maybe blow up the world.

Nixon was a dumb little man, but I thank him for helping to create a situation, inadvertently, in which the guard to the left might be laughing in a photograph which we can look at.

Heck, Nixon would have had Pablo wiretapped.

"Hogan's Heroes was ruined for me by what's his name's tawdry death in a motel."

Bob Crane.

Well, there you go. ;)

Since we are discussing Hogan's Heroes, I pass on this website about Jerry Lewis' failed attempt at making the movie _The Day the Clown Cried_. It has links to the final draft and a rough draft of the script of the movie as zip files that open as Word documents, though the html makes it hard to figure out which are links and which are not.

Hm. Skateboard the Roosevelt Dam. That's always been a dream of mine. Now. To learn to skateboard.

This is less silly than just extremely dorky, but: during the week in college when most of the other seniors were in Myrtle Beach, my husband and I were in Brooklyn at his parents' house...half the class was boycotting because of the Confederate Flag, half wasn't and sort of scattered, and we couldn't really afford the alternative plans our friends had come up with.

It didn't take us the whole week, obviously, but the one thing I remember was that we made one hell of an Imperial Walker out of his old legos. From scratch, I mean, not from one of those kits--that would have been cheating (we did get a little Luke Skywalker from a kit).

Since this is a semi-open thread, how's this for the opening paragraph of a news story:

"A woman pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with a bizarre incident in February that resulted in a fake penis being microwaved at a convenience store."

This is why show business has teams of writers --- "Look, I've got a bit here, a story-ending, which includes four elements: an arrest, a convenience store, a microwave, and a fake penis. I just don't have a set-up.
Can you help me here?

Next thing you know you have a miniseries.

I'm having Fight Club flashbacks.

But I pretty much always have those.

Was the woman dressed like Patti Smith and was she carrying a switchblade? Did the fake whatsyamacallit belong to a teaching assistant?

No? O.K., next idea.

My graduate performance included: While on 6ft stilts I would walk into a mounted circular saw and take off about 6inches..I did this until I reached the ground..then I proceeded to shave my entire body while telling..um...stories.

I actually have shaved my entire body, kind of*, but: no stories. Which, memo to self: never let a sadistic teammate armed with electric clippers anywhere near you.

*Except scalp, eyebrows, and the bits normally hidden by a racing swimsuit.

interesting...my performance recalled the ritual team shavedowns when I swam. Premise being; Even if shaving didn't make you faster you believed it did, and that was good. My shavedown down on stage took awhile..I shaved everything..I was clean. A week later I met a guy at a bar..he showed me where he had shaved his arm after watching me...yadda and another yadda

If you're as old as me, the shavedown memory is accompanied by the memory of the smell of Time-Off. We didn't really shave as a team, though; just some of us. Senior year I didn't shave until just before State.

I'm hairy enough that the clippings were ankle-deep.

*Except scalp, eyebrows, and the bits normally hidden by a racing swimsuit.

Really? My (male) swimmer friends were quite intent about shaving all the bits, most definitely including the ones hidden by a swimsuit. I'll never forget one of them absolutely freaking out my female friends when he enthusiastically regaled us with the horrors of a post-bikini-wax rash...

(I never thought Hogan's Hero's was funny, either.)

What was your take on Allo Allo?


Really. I was clear that it was all about psyche, and if I got any more psyched my heart might have exploded.

Well, not all psyche. Some of it is "feel". But still, I wasn't in need of more "feel", nor was I in the least bit interested in doing what all the other swimmers were doing. I did improve my time quite a bit from Sectionals, but I didn't taper or shave for Sectionals, and I was so far ahead of the rest of the field there that my time wasn't all that hard to improve upon.

And back in 1979, in the midwest no one I knew of was shaving their naughty bits. Not the swimmers, anyway.

"What was your take on Allo Allo?"

It wasn't around on American tv when I was a kid, or even a teen, or even in my twenties.

As an adult, I've never seen more than a couple of minutes of it, so no opinion.

I am older. I swam '69 to '71. Including waterpolo.

Here is quite the generous response; Pelosi and Rangel defend Bush. What's the Redstate response? Naturally, it's to attack Pelosi and Rangel.

Of course.

More such reactions here.

FWIW, I think their statements were admirable.

"FWIW, I think their statements were admirable."

Knowing you, Slarti, I understand your "their" to be referring to Pelosi and Rangel, but I note this since someone might misread, without much difficulty, you as referring to the antecedent, which is the aforementioned reactions to Pelosi and Rangel's statements.

You understood correctly, Gary. Thanks .

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