Friday, October 16, 2020

Random Notes

I recently, finally, got ahold of a copy of Steven Runciman's History of the First Bulgarian Empire. But whoever made this hinky edition -- they forgot to include the index! Is this important to me? Yes, it's important to me! It's not as bad as if they had left out the 3rd chapter and the bibliography, but only in the sense that cutting off one of my ears would not be as bad as cutting off one of my legs. It's still very bad! And it's just completely thrown me off. They left in a map of Bulgaria at the end of the book, but the reprint is so small and so poorly-done that it's just about useless. Are there more maps, and/or other illustrations in a legit edition of A History of the First Bulgarian Empire? Hey! You find a copy of a legit edition, and then you tell me!

I've been binge-watching Bill Burr, and I don't hate him so much any more. He seems like a guy in therapy, saying shocking, horrible things because those things are inside of him, and he has to get them out in order to deal with them, and heal. Except that in Burr's case it also makes him a very successful stand-up comedian. Burr has said, repeatedly, that he knows he's a very sick, damaged person, and that he's trying to get better. That alone makes him better than a Republican. He's Democratic/Green, apparently, although he very often enrages Democrats and Greens. And Republicans, and Libertarians, and independents, and apolitical aesthetes.

And he doesn't seem to mind if he shocks people, which I think is a good position for a "serious" comedian to take. I'll give you an example: Bill was talking about Trump supporters who love the way that, according to them, Trump "triggers" overly-sensitive liberals with his Tweets. Bill is not impressed. He says that Trump offends maybe 60% of the public with his Tweets, which any moron could do. Bill says that it would actually take some creativity to offend nearly everyone with a Tweet. Like, over 90% of the general public. For example, he says, you could tweet: "Trump is such a bastard, he made me vote for a woman!" and than just sit back and enjoy the fireworks.

And he made me laugh when he talked about airlines. I would've thought the whole topic of airlines was played and tired for stand-up comedy, but Bill had some nice touches. He talked about having flown coach for 20 years before making it to first class. His description of first class air travel is nice: for example, he describes a seat in first class as "a chair large enough to hold a human body." And he describes being seated in the back of coach once during that earlier time, and there was still an empty seat next to him close to takeoff, and he started to have hope that he would experience what he called "poor man's first class," being able to stretch out on two coach seats. But then, just before takeoff, a very fat man got onto the plane, and sure enough, he was coming all the way to the back to sit next to Bill, and as the fat man approached, Bill began to scream and kick "like Quint sliding down into the mouth of the shark at the end of Jaws."

There are some comics who actually are right-wing bigots. And then there are some who joke about things we don't usually talk about in public, and say the quiet parts loud, and are sometimes mistaken for bigots. Like Sam Kinison and "Dice" Clay and Sarah Silverman. And Bill Burr. Okay, keep hating him if you want to. Bill will certainly understand.

Early yesterday, Twitter blocked an account from the Trump campaign. And then later yesterday, Twitter crashed. Or did it? I became very paranoid, wondering whether Trump had shut Twitter down (I can't be the only one who was wondering. He's threatened to do it numerous times), wondering whether a great crackdown had finally begun, whether an unmarked van was coming at last to break down my front door and take me to an undisclosed location. But I'm still at large. 


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