Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stooge Device of Choice

In recent blog entries by folks I regularly stalk, a common topic of comments or commentary on blogs came up. Outer Life is wavering between cutting them out or letting the unwashed masses in. Bleak Mouse is is in favor of letting the rabble opine on his blog entries and he's trying to persuade Searchblog to open herself up for comments. Mr. Mouse went so far as to comment on a Searchblog entry on a comment he concocted of his own blog entry. Confusing? Yes, it is dizzying. But it's all well worth it.

But, isn't that what good commenting is? Shouldn't it reflect an understanding of what a blogger is trying to say and then express a take on that topic? Some folks had mentioned on Outer Life's entry that commentary is, well, basically deadwood, dreck. They don't bother reading the comments as they add nothing or, in some cases, actually take away from the blogger's initial entry. There is some truth to that; sometimes commenters miss the boat completely on what the topic discussed was. I know that I have on occassion been at the dock while the ship's cruising out to sea. But, that's where commentary comes in to help you get on board. My mis-interpreting comments have been challenged by other readers of the same blog. Alerted by this, I go back and re-read the entry and see where I may have gone wrong on the path to enlightenment. In most cases when this has happened, the correcting comment was right and I've benefited from it by getting the point of what the original blog entry was about.

Are some comments just plain stupid? Absolutely! I've re-read some of my own comments on other folks' blogs and am thoroughly embarassed. Luckily for me, these other folks have been brought up right and their manners reflect a forgiving and an understanding nature. Comments at this site tend to be limited; most are by fellow bloggers loyal and kind to each other's entries. I truly appreciate each and every one of their additions to my blog. Their commentary tends to make my original entry much more interesting. The entry, rather than sitting on a diner stool, eating by itself, is now in a booth, playfully razzed by other occupants.

Which brings me to Ball Pein (or Pean or Peen) Hammers. Cowtown Pattie was recently discussing NPR Radio and somehow BP Hammers became involved. Always an interesting stopover, is Miss Pattie, and this entry got me to thinking about blog topics and commentary. An interesting entry is obviously a sure-fire way to get people talking. NPR & BP Hammers worked well with CP, getting people, including yours truly, all worked up about various things one can do nothing about but to reminisce.

Borrowing her tool (CP, I will return the hammer as soon as I've finished with it) for a moment, let me pose a question to you, this blog's reader.

If you were a Stooge (but your choices were limited to Curly, Larry, or Shemp), which of the following items would you like to be hit with?
O.K., the deal is, you will be hit with one of these items, you just have to pick the one that most appeals to your sense of decorum and level of acceptable pain.

1) Ball Pein Hammer
2) Radiator
3) Large Mallet
4) Shovel
5) Cookware
6) Cymbals
7) Wet Sock

Personally, I go for the radiator. The old cast iron and inundated style will certainly leave me with wavy hair, a look I've been trying to attain for a while.

This question will probably invite commentary from men, seeking the optimal item to be hit upside the head with. We are given choices; we will pick a choice.
The multi-thought-juggling side of our species will probably not be evaluating the choices as much as evaluating the idea of posing such a dumb question to begin with.
But Womens! Don't you see? The problems of NPR already been discussed. This entry concerns simple matters, simple choices, namely getting hit about the head. Hoepfully this entry will put that topic to rest. Permanently.

What thing you would most like to be grabbed with (ex. would be tongs) will be addressed at a later time. I'm sure you'll need a bit of time to recuperate.

CP, the hammer's all yours now.

In stooge-world, the ball peen hammer is superior because the weight is away from the hand, resulting in humorous ricochets.
I just did a controlled experiment with all of the above (sequentially, not simultaneously) in the basement, with myself as Curly. (“Soitenly!”) The clear winner is/are the cymbals, which perfectly recreate the sound and ambiance of my former pothead days: wang-ang-ang-ang-ang …
In the words of the infamous Maxwell Edison: do not gag me with a spoon, I much prefer a silver hammer!

Since Maxwell isn't a choice, I choose to be Moe, slapped with wet socks, to which might be queried thusly:

"Alright, take it easy, son ... I just want to ask you a question. Which would you rather have, a shoe full of dollar bills, or two socks of fives?"

Bad choice if you select the socks, huh?
"To whom", boys, To whom

Ask not which witch is which.
Again with the ball-peen hammer, eh? Why I oughtta... (wup - wrong slapstick team!) Be curious to see the track-back on this item.
Concerning the mundane matter of allowing comments, one must bear in mind that one usually has the option of DELETING THEM MERCILESSLY, sort of like ants on a kitchen floor. I've never had the need, as the mob of aggressive fruitcakes I'd anticipated, and whose like I've seen on other blogs, never materialized. As for stupid comments, I really don't mind, so long as a calling card is left. And, after all, I can leave quite as many stupid posts as I care to, so fair is fair.

Without feedback, it all gets to be rather like sitting in a closet playing with tin soldiers. With feedback, it's as though the tin soldiers start talking back to you, addressing each other, and even assembling themselves into formation. You're still Napoleon, though. Much healthier.

After I found myself addressing Searchie in a comment to my own blog entry, I decided that the most plausible hypothesis is that I have invented her unconsciously, and there does seem to be a good deal of evidence to back this interpretation up. If I could figure out how I manage to write her blog, then I could add a comments section; also, I would write better. Perhaps medication is the answer.

I want to be one of the Marx Brothers. Screw the Stooges.
“After I found myself addressing Searchie in a comment to my own blog entry, I decided that the most plausible hypothesis is that I have invented her unconsciously, and there does seem to be a good deal of evidence to back this interpretation up. If I could figure out how I manage to write her blog, then I could add a comments section;”

You know, you are the second person within the past three weeks who has hypothesized that I don’t exist at all, or exist as the online incarnation of a range of intriguing possibilities.

Or perhaps … perhaps … I am whatever you wish me to be. Doesn’t everyone need someone like that in his or her life?
To Miss Searchie LaFemme:

First, I do not care to be second at anything. And, third, I suppose everyone may well need someone in their life to be what they want them to be, but I think that the success rate is something on the order of 0.00%; and THINKING that someone ought to be what one wants them to be causes a plenitude of difficulties, as history so amply demonstrates.

Also, there is this difficulty, that those who are in theory precisely what I wish them to be -- such as my fictional blog characters Arabella, Zuleika Mole, Dr Praetorius, etc. -- have a very peculiar way of seeming to do exactly as it pleases THEM to do, regardless of the undeniable fact that they do not exist.

If you can unriddle me this conundrum, I would be glad to entertain your theories. (I always provide proper entertainment for visiting theories.)
I think Bleak has hit the nail on the head - although what quite with I'm not yet sure: we don't exist! There are no commenters, really - we're just your toy soldiers answering back.

Which always made playtime so much more fun. But don't you all find your "soldiers" to be so much more literate these days? when I was a boy all they seemed able to do was scream "Aiiieeeeee!!!", or a muffled "Aaaaargh" as their throats were slit commando-style from behind?

As for your game of "Dead Man's Fall", I'll take the Cymbals, please, Darko. Except in reality it usually turns out to be a spade to the face, i've found.
My childhood toy soldiers certainly had more to say for themselves than "Aaaiee!" and "Aaargh!" (And don't forget "Kfoom!" with lots of spittle, though this may not be dialogue proper.) Occasionally, I'd have playmates interupt me while playing soldiers, and asked me who I was talking to. It was only then that it occurred to me that other boys didn't necessarily have their soldiers "talk" to each other.

A typical scenario might have shown, after a particularly messy battle in which many soldiers were thrown into the air, the two generals speaking on the hillside that was conveniently overlooking any battlefield. "Well, General Lee," said one, "there's only one thing left to do. We must take the greatest Union soldier and the greatest Confederate soldier and have them fight it out, once and for all." "Ah agree, General Grant. Ah, here come Captain Strong and Lieutenant Brave right now, suh."

And the two men slowly converge on each other from opposite sides of the field, gallantly salute each other, and then...

Yeah, blogs are a lot like that.
You had General Lee? That is so. cool.

We only had Naahzis, who were not gentlemen: "For you, Tommy, ze war is ofer" gets so tiresome after a while.
We had World War II soldiers too. We were a bunch of warmongering kids.

WW2 dialogue was more like:

"Ve haf vays to make you talk, Yankee swine."
"Ah, tell it ta the Marines, Heinrich!"


"Okay, ya don't know the password? Answer me this: Who's the shortstop fer the Chicago Cubs? A REAL Yank would know that."


"Surrender. You are hopelessly outnumbered, American."


"No vun hass effer escaped from Black Plague Prison Camp, so you may ass vell make yerselfs comforrtable."


"Those dirty yella-bellies! They shot Lefty! Lemme at 'em!"
The writer of OUTER LIFE is royally disingenuous, in his plea for Commenters on Comments, as he has deleted a comment of mine for reasons I can't fathom, and then when I asked him why, he reacted by deleting five thoughtful comments I had made in the past, none of which were in any way offensive, and then blacklisted me. The man has his own program, and I applaud him for that, and continue to read him. But his pose as a sensitive soul is apparently a fragile artifice, that can't tolerate certain kinds of feedback; which kinds I don't know, since he bleeped me for no sane reason, and probably therefore is doing it to selected others. So watch out what you say to the Sad Man, Mr. Outer LIfe.
Mr. M Shy, I can't speak for Outer Life's Comment Policy and am quite surprised to read what you've gone through. He seems to have a laissez faire attitude about the comments; I've read quite a few that were not of the fawning variety, i.e., they were giving him a bit of the steam.
I can speak for my policy. As long as you're not here selling some service or goods or pushing the positive aspects of Nazism, your comment will have a permanent station here.
I get the warm and fuzzies and the burps and giggles when I read most of the comments posted here. If I could, I'd give all my commenters a big hug, but I know that may embarass them, so I'll withhold any sign of affection. A thank you for coming and leaving a thought behind (that's not a taut backside) will have to do.
FCB: Spekaing of hitting the nail on the head, I think you have as well. We don't exist. We are all creations of Mr. B. Mouse. Why, it seems he has even created dialogue for us. I'm very glad that he has also created some women in his world. Without Cowtown Pattie and Searchie we concoctions would be left to our own devices and that would mean our imaginary lives would be an eternal loop of prison movies inspirations.
Personally, I wish Mr. Mouse had made me a bit taller and with a touch more of hair. on the head, I mean.
WP: Don't know what it is about Ball Peen (Pein, Pean) Hammers. It's my favorite tool name. As a kid, I heard it as Ball Peeing Hammer. Shows how far from the gutter I've come, I guess.
Mr. B. Mouse: When that amusement park you've got between your ears becomes a tangible reality, I'm signing up for season tickets!
"Spekaing" I know it's a typo but I like it a lot. Sounds as if someone very sinister is pronouncing "speaking".
I’ve always found that female/male commingling can create quite a heady brew, which never fails to intrigue.
Now THAT, Searchie, is what I mean by bravely irrelevant -- artfully disjunctive -- commentary.

Yes, the commingling of the sexes can be both amusing and instructive. You may not have noticed (although I daresay you have), but the gentlemen present seem to straighten up rather quickly and adjust their ties whenever you make one of your entrances.

We must arrange to have your amanuensis, who is thus far unnamed, meet with my amanuensis, Miss Zuleika Mole, who might be quite stylish if she did something about those large spectacles she wears and the tight bun she has her hair in. And all those blacks and grays in her wardrobe...Well, I shan't go on, I shouldn't wish to hurt her feelings, as she is commendably efficient.
Seems Mr. B. Mouse and The Lady Amanuensis de Searchblogue (accent grave or aigu?) are re-defining what intellectual stimulation is. Me? I'm happy enough sitting in the stands swivelling my head from side to side.
Madame? I believe the ball's on your side of the court. We await your volley.
But you see, Darko, Searchie and I play different versions of The Great Game. I tend to return serves, volleys, stray balls that have been dropped accidentally (if these are accidents), balls from other games (including those with entirely different rules), deposit bottles, and unsatisfactory merchandise.

Searchie, on the other hand, plays against expectation, so that all of the rushing about and hitting avails one naught -- most of the time. When she does return a hit, it may be after a lapse of hours, or days, into a court in the next county, and with a spin hitherto unseen. Or the ball may just drop from the sky when you've decided to shower and retire to the club bar.

She is extremely clever, and I am busily modifying my game accordingly -- although I think she has the strategic advantage. Every once in awhile, she hits one that, while quick and unexpected, suddenly reveals that what were seen as arbitrary moves all tie together into a seamless whole, directed by a calculating intelligence.

As for your awaiting Searchie's volley, Darko, a word of warning: it can get very cold at night out in the stands this time of year.
You see? We think the game is tennis. Suddenly, she says cricket.
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