Posted by: Mark | October 30, 2014


I was two days late but I hit 1900 miles and beyond, finishing 1902.3 for the year. That’s roughly the distance between Cincinnati and L.A. I’m going to try to keep the pace of 100 miles every two weeks, so the new goal is 2,000 by November 13.

It’s much more than I ever tried before but I think I can do it.

Posted by: Mark | October 29, 2014

Down the Drain

I swear I never would have mentioned this if I honestly had expected them to be active for so long, but today, while we were walking from Devilboy’s bus, a little lizard scurried out in front of us and ran down a sewer grate.

I hope he can run out again but if there’s a warm crevice down there, he might wamt to stay until spring.

I’ve lived here since 1998 and until a few years ago, there were no lizards at all. Then they made a couple appearances until this year when their population exploded. Maybe next summer they’ll start breathing fire.

Posted by: Mark | October 29, 2014

Record Month

For stupid blogging goals, I finally broke January’s record of 26 posts per month (this will make 28). Plenty of bloggers do more than that every day but, for me, it’s an accomplishment.


Posted by: Mark | October 29, 2014

Full Monty

Here’s the third and final list from Zack Handlen’s book, If You Like Monty Python. . .:

46 Oddities A Pythonite Should Consider

Douglas Adams
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  Life, the Universe, and Everything
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (I started this one but never finished it–For me, Dirk Gently is the only case of a television show being better than the book)
Mostly Harmless
  The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
  So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Maria Bamford  (Love her on Adventure Time)
Unwanted Thoughts Syndrome

Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore
Beyond the Fringe

George Carlin (I probably have all the material on other tapes)
Carlin at Carnegie
It’s Bad for Ya

Graham Chapman
Looks Like a Brown Trouser Job

Louis C.K.
Chewed Up

The Firesign Theater
Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers
How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All

Bill Hicks (Same as Carlin)
Arizona Bay
Rant in E-Minor

Steve Martin
Born Standing Up

Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers
The Goon Show

Bob Newhart
Behind the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
  The Bob Newhart Show
The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back
The Button-Down Mind on TV
Something Like This. . . The Bob Newhart Anthology

Patton Oswalt
Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

Nick Park (Finally swept one)
  A Close Show
  The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  A Grand Day Out
  A Matter of Loaf and Death
  The Wrong Trousers

Terry Pratchett
  Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman)
Small Gods

Richard Pryor
The Anthology: 1968-1992
Richard Pryor: Live in Concert

Charles Schulz
  Peanut books (I’m not sure how to classify this–I’ve read some so I’ll check it)

Paul R. Tompkins
Freak Wharf
The Pod F. Tompkast

Valve Corporation
Portal 2


Of all the lists, I did the poorest on this one. I’ll look for some of them but I don’t expect much soon.

Posted by: Mark | October 28, 2014

More Monty

I had hoped to reach my goal of 1,900 miles for the year but I’m far short of it. I do have the second checklist about. . .

50 Television Shows a Pythonite Must Watch:

(I’ve seen episodes of the ones in bold; I’ve seen the entire series in the bold and italics)

The Avengers
The Ben Stiller Show
Big Train
A Bit of Fry & Laurie
Black Books
Chappelle Show
The Dana Carvey Show
Death Comes to Town
Doctor Who
Father Ted
Faulty Towers
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
How to Irritate People
I’m Alan Partridge
The IT Crowd (everything but the special they made last year)
It’s Garry Shandling’s Show
Jeeves and Wooster
The Kids in the Hall
Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge
The Larry Sanders Show
The League of Gentlemen
Louie (I’ve seen all of Lucky Louie but not the second series)
The Mighty Boosh
Mr. Show
The Muppet Show (I’ve probably seen every episode)
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Not Only…But Also
The Office (BBC)
Party Down
Police Squad
The Prisoner
Red Dwarf
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show
Saturday Night Live
The Secret Policeman’s Balls
The Simpsons
The State
The Mitchell and Web Look
The Tick (animated)
Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
Upright Citizens Brigade
The Venture Brothers
The Young Ones

I’d include Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm but overall it’s a decent list.

Posted by: Mark | October 27, 2014

75 Pythonish Movies

I was happy to find Zack HandlenIf’s book, You Like Monty Python. . ., which provides over 200 movies, television programs, and other forms of entertainment suitable for fans of Monty Python. I’m insanely attracted to lists so I was excited to find that it had not one but three lists to test the reader’s Python levels. The first deals with movies, which I did so-so:

75 Movies a Pythonite Must See
(I’ve seen the ones in bold)

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Amazon Women on the Moon
An American Werewolf in London
Annie Hall
Barton Fink
Being John Malkovich
Being There
The Big Lebowski
Blazing Saddles
Brain Candy
Burn After Reading
A Clockwork Orange
The Darjeeling Limited
Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (only a few minutes)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Duck Soup
Fantastic Mr. Fox
A Fish Called Wanda
The Fisher King
Four Lions
The General
Groundhog Day
A Hard Day’s Night
Hot Fuzz
The Hudsucker Proxy
Idiocracy (just the beginning)
In the Loop
The Informant!
The Jerk
The Kentucky Fried Movie
Kind Hearts and Coronets
The Ladykillers (1955)
The Lavender Hill Mob (I’m pretty sure I saw this but it blends with so many others)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
The Man in the White Suit
The Man with Two Brains (just the ending)
Modern Times
The Mouse That Roared (just the end)
The Muppet Movie
The Naked Gun
A Night at the Opera
O Brother, Where Art Thou!
Phantom of the Paradise
Raising Arizona
Real Life
Repo Man
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
The Royal Tenenbaums
The Ruling Class (all but the last 10 minutes)
The Rutles
Shaun of the Dead
Sherlock, Jr.
A Shot in the Dark
The Stunt Man
Synecdoche, New York
The Tall Guy
This Is Spinal Tap
Time Bandits
Top Secret
Twelve Monkeys
Waiting for Guffman
Wet Hot American Summer
Withnail and I
Young Frankenstein

A few of these I’ll look for. A few others, not so much.

Posted by: Mark | October 26, 2014

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This

To lighten the load, here’s a few snippets from Jim Holt’s Stop Me If You’ve Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes (2008).


Palamedes – Greek hero who invented the joke, along with “numbers, the alphabet, lighthouses, dice, and the practice of eating meals at regular intervals.” (7)


The Group of Sixty – Athenians who met at the Temple of Heracles and traded jokes. Philip the Great paid to have their jokes recorded but the collection has been lost to the ages (8)


Zeus laughed for seven days after his birth (62)


Agelastics (people who never laugh)
Isaac Newton – laughed only once, when someone asked him the value of geometry
Joseph Stalin
Jonathan Swift
William Gladstone
Margaret Thatcher
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (62-63)


Plato believed laughter to be a response to things of vice and folly (67)

Aristotle believed laughter was for the ugly (67)

Spinoza – laughter was a form of pleasure and therefore good

Humor comes from sense of superiority – Plato, Hobbes, and Bergson

Humor comes from a sense of incongruity – Pascal, Kant, Schopenhauer

Humor comes from a sense of relief (of potential danger) – Freud (partially); nonsense jokes bring us back to a time before our lives were dominated by logic (innocent or corny jokes) (87)

Humor comes from a sense of detecting errors in lines of reasoning – Marvin Minsky (father of AI)


Hitler sent people who told jokes to court. One cabaret comic was put to death for naming a horse “Adolf.” (102)


Psychologist Peter Derks found that people laugh hardest at jokes, the quicker they get the punch line.

Posted by: Mark | October 26, 2014

Another Library

Today I went to a book signing on the west side of town and passed the Covedale library.

Of all the libraries I’ve visited, Covedale has the oddest set up. Its main floor is small but has a separate children’s area in the basement and admistration areas on any upper floor. I found a few books that I haven’t seen before so the visit was worth it.

This is the 17th of 40 branch libraries that I’ve been to in the Hamilton County system. Eventually I’ll hit them all.

Posted by: Mark | October 24, 2014

The Latest Lazarus Lizard

It was 43 degrees this morning driving Devilboy to school. So this afternoon what do I see on the parking lot wall? Another lizard. October 24. North of the Mason Dixie.

As I was walking back, he (or a similarly sized lizard) was out again. November lizards are no longer a joke.

Posted by: Mark | October 22, 2014

Pat Who?

Today in class, students started laughing in the scene in Patton where he slapped the soldier with combat fatigue (aka shell shock aka Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome).

They thought that even if there had been a person named Patton, he certainly wouldn’t have slapped anyone.

In a sense, Patton was a cartoon character come to life, albeit with an adult rating, but I’d think halfway through my comments, they’d get the message that this guy was real.


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