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August 28, 2008

On The Ninth Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

The latest Aid or Invade

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What can I say, I'm a cheap date.

At the risk of sounding like the egomaniac we all know I am, I this this is one of by best columns.. I'm also begining to think that no one reads AoI, because...well, just read the piece and you'll see.

Tune in tomorrow when I go totally apeshit.

August 27, 2008

On The Eighth Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

caligday8.jpg...eight episodes of Exiled

I know; I know. I really shouldn't use the word "exile" (or any variant thereof) this close to Caligumas, considering the fact that his mother and two brothers died under mysterious circumstances while in exile, and that he, himself, exiled two of his own sisters (I know what a tough decision that is, having exiled my own older sister to a barren, lifeless group of islands known as "New Zealand").

That said, MTV's Exiled is my guilty pleasure of the moment. Shit Luther, even if Bravo lunched a series in which Tim Gunn and Janice Dickinson opened a pig farm together, Exiled would still be my guilty pleasure of the moment. The premise is that each week a s(p)oiled, nuevo riche teenage girl who recently appeared on MTV's My Super Sweet 16 is forced onto a plane and dropped is some Third World country for a week. It's as if my friend Doc had been put in charge of programming (only these girls survive the ordeal). One girl, upon being told that she's being sent to the mountains of Peru, blinks in amazement before managing to stammer out "I thought Peru was an island." Miss Teen South Carolina, thou art avenged!

Now, I never actually watched My Super Sweet 16 (I did manage to catch a minute or two of a few episodes, but it was a tough watch indeed), so all I really knew about the show was how David Rakoff, who rechristened My Super Sweet 16 as "My Last Birthday Before Rehab", described one of the girls who appeared on MSS16 during an episode of This American Life. He said she looked as if she were "Fifteen going on thirty-five. A hard thirty-five. A two packs a day, on her third husband, trying her hand at Real Estate, opening her bathrobe for the grocery delivery boy thirty-five." He also called her father a "hairy knuckled brute" and "just the first in the long line of men whom she will call ‘Daddy'." So, you have a pretty good gage of the joy I felt when I stumbled upon Exiled.

Not that the show is perfect. Exiled suffers from two major flaws. The first is that the show's producers seem unaware that there are poor people in America. Thanks to thirty years of "smaller government", you don't have to fly all the way to Indonesia to see people struggling to survive. Why are none of these girls shipped off to Camden, NJ for a week? The other is that each show will, no doubt, follow the same formula every week: In Act I, we'll meet and instantly learn to hate some teenage diva living in a gated community. In Act II we'll watch her hate five of the seven days she'll be spending abroad. In Act III, the final act, she'll learn her lesson and come home a changed person, in that she'll spit on the hired help less frequently.

Given the above, you'll enjoy Exiled a lot more if you focus on Act II. Few things in this life are as satisfying as watching some pampered nitwit run screaming into the Serengeti night because she was presented with a side-dish of scorpion-covered goat balls.

August 26, 2008

On The Seventh Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

...seven chests of seashells from the shores of the seven seas.

In 40 CE, Caligula set off with a large army to invade Britton. Somewhere along the way (the coast of northern Gaul, to be precise) he changed his mind and decided to declare war on the ocean instead. Victorious, he returned to Rome with several chests of seashells which he had ordered the legions to gather: the spoils of war.

Hey, it looks like the whole world is getting ready for Caligumas

August 25, 2008

On The Sixth Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

...a Caligumas E-card!

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That's right; click right here to send what I'm hoping will be the first in an exciting series of Caligumas E-cards.

Speaking of cards (or in this case cards and fucktards), it seems that Donald E. Wildmon has his scratchy, burlap panties in twist over Hallmark's decision to sell same-sex wedding cards. All I can say is that any male who is that concerned about "the Gay" is obviously nursing a secret chubby for Chuck Norris.

Anyway, PZ over at Pharyngula has some helpful suggestions as to how to deal with Wildmon. Including supplying his address:

Donald E Wildmon
AFA
PO Drawer 2440
107 Parkgate Drive
Tupelo, MS 38803

I wonder if he'd appreciate a Caligumas card?

Richard Dawkins reads his email...

August 24, 2008

On The Fifth Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

...One untapped goldmine of comedy.

You really haven't lived until you’ve read some of the readers' comments at cnn.com (scroll down). With just one week until Caligumas, our goal should to be land as many references to Caligula in the "Sound Off" section as we possibly can.
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August 23, 2008

On The Fourth Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

....Four "WHAT THE FUCK????"s

There no amount of set-up that I could possibly provide you with which would prepare you for what you're about to see, so just watch the video:

Let's recap: Obama = Caligula because both were popular. Oh, and "we don't know much" about Obama. Got it?

While all analogies eventually fail, but this one never even manages to catch the short yellow bus to its special, padded classroom. Personally, I wish Obama was Caligula: maybe then I'd vote for him. Say what you will about Caligula, but he would've captured bin Laden by now.

Quid ergo. Welcome to the world of the ATLAH World Missionary Church and its Grand Poobah, James David Manning, PhD: a former Marketing Executive with Proctor and Gamble and the Ford Motor Company who just happens to have, among other things, "concrete proof to the validity and purpose of purgatory" and who once encountered two angels playing chess in Prospect Park

By the way, that story – the one about chess-playing angels - includes the following, intriguing line:"Pastor Manning had just joined Bethelite Community Church; he was fresh out of prison.". Prison? Yeah, prison. According to Rev. Manning's Wikipedia entry (and we all know how reliable those are), "As a younger man, Pastor Manning burglarized homes, mostly on Long Island. He spent about three and a half years in prison in New York and Florida for burglary, robbery, larceny, criminal possession of a weapon, and other charges before his release in 1978. While in prison, he became a devout Christian."

One thing is obvious: Manning's encounter with the Boys in Blue didn't include a plunger shoved up his dumper because in the good Reverend's head Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony. Or, as Dr. Manning might say, "Slavery was simply a ‘bump in the road' of history, and racism is not our problem." Not even Caligula himself could've said it better.

August 22, 2008

On The Third Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

calday3.jpg...The three-disc "Imperial" edition of "Caligula" (scroll down to see the other disturbing choices made by the folks who purchased this from Amazon.com).

Honestly, I've only seen this movie once, and it was in 1981 on beta-max at a party (people don't throw the kind of parties today that they use to throw in 1981; or maybe they do, but I just don't get invited to them). The only two things I can recall about the experience were that I was pretty drunk and the movie was pretty bad. But then again, I actually liked "It's Pat".

A little trip over to the trivia section of the IMDB explains why things went so terribly wrong for the production [along with this amazing factoid: "After the film was released, Anneka Di Lorenzo (aka Marjorie Lee Thoresen, a 1975 Penthouse Pet of the Year), who played Messalina, sued Bob Guccione, saying that his handling of the film, mainly his adding of the hardcore sex inserts, had damaged her acting career by associating her with a hardcore porno film. She won her case, but was awarded only $4.06 in damages." How the jury arrived at the $4.06 figure would make a better film than "Caligula".]

Anyhoo, I'm going to rent "Caligula" on Caligumas; and I think all of you should as well. I'm not saying that you should necessarily watch it; I'm just hoping that if enough people start renting "Caligula" on the 31st of August every year, then the networks will start running it the way they do with "It's a Wonderful Life" (I have yet to see Caligula pop on The Movie Channel at two in the morning. And while it's far from being a good movie, it's certainly got many more redeeming qualities than "Big Momma's House" and it's definitely far less gratuitous in nature than "The Passion of the Christ"). Maybe it could replace the Jerry Lewis telethon as America's favorite annual charitable event?

August 21, 2008

On The Sceond Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

...Two little boots

Caligula, in case you didn't know, wasn't Caligula's real name; it's a nickname derived from"caligulae": meaning"little boots". While most people wisely jettison their childhood nicknames by the time they reach puberty (Is than anything sadder than addressing a grown man as"Scooter"?), Caligula hung on to his. Why?

As small child, Caligula got to live every toddler's dream by accompanying his parents, Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder, on dad's bloody conquest of the northern German tribes. At some point, someone got the idea into their head of dressing the two-year-old future emperor up in a tiny soldier outfit, complete with...1, 2, 3...little boots.

Now that's cuter than anything the baby Jesus ever did! And Caligula was actually a more productive child than that no-good lay-about-in-the-manger-all-day Jesus. It seems that Caligula had become a sort of mascot to father's troops. When the troops revolted over because Emperor Tiberius extended their enlistments and screwed them on bonus pay, Germanicus naturally became a little worried for the safety of his then-pregnant wife and small son, so he arranged for them to leave the camp. The legionaries were so grief –stricken by the proposed departure of"little boots" that then ceased their revolt on the spot.

If the baby Jesus would've stopped a riot, it would be called a miracle. Because it was Caligula, it's just an amusing anecdote.

By the way, History remains mute on the subject of whether or not anyone ever took the nickname"Magnagula".

Speaking of Little Boots

August 20, 2008

On The Fist Day of Caligumas My True Love Gave To Me...

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... A white horse in a marble stable

OK, let's get one huge misconception about Caligula out of the way: he never made his favorite horse, Incitatus, a senator. Got it? No four-legged Senator Seabiscuit. Never happened.

Of course, that's not to say that Caligula never thought about making Incitatus a senator. After all, according to both Suetonius and Cassius Dio, Caligula did supply Incitatus with a marble stable complete with an ivory manger. And then there was that incident with Penelope.

Caligula has procured a mare name Penelope for Incitatus. Eventually, concerned that the two horses were living in sin, Caligula had them married.

So, on a crazy scale where is the average Southerner is a 1.8, Joan Crawford was a 7, and Cynthia McKinney is a 10, Caligula was 27.9; right? Not-so-fast, Dr. Benway!

According to Anthony Barret, author of Caligula: The Corruption of Power, Caligula was simply a man who'd suffered from a horrible childhood, and later, when given unlimited power and wealth, began to act a little ... um... eccentric: a sort of proto- Michael Jackson. [Vienna is currently reading The First Queen of England: The Myth of "Bloody Mary", which basically says the same thing about Mary "Charred Protestant-on-a-Stick" Tudor]

This theory may not be as farfetched as it at first sounds. After all, let's say that you awoke tomorrow morning to find that you'd been declared Emperor of America and protector of Mexico, and given an unlimited income; what would be the first three things you'd do?

August 19, 2008

TV Alert!!!

Our fellow Atheist, Bill Maher, will be on Mummy King Live on CNN tonight at 9:00. If you can't call in, you can email Bill a question here. This is what I asked:

Bill, as an Atheist, like me, were you offended when both Obama and McCain sat down with the shaman of Saddleback Church to talk about the role faith plays in their lives? Why don't politicians ever sit down with scientists to talk about the roles reason and rational thought play in their lives?

Don't forget, the Twelve Days of Caligumas start tomorrow!

August 18, 2008

The Twelve Days of Caligumas

calig121.jpgSunday, August 31st marks the 1,096th birthday of
Emperor Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus - better known to fans of history and truly bizarre cinema as "Caligula" - and while most banks, government and corporate offices, struggling art galleries, puppy mills, and "chop shops" will be closed the next day in honor of the great man, it's shocking that many Americans fail to recognize this most important of holidays (just count how many shop owners wish you a "Happy three-day weekend" versus a "Merry Caligumas").

Starting on Wednesday, August 20th, RATYHTL will begin counting down the Twelve Days of Caligumas. Each post, whether they be historical tidbits, greeting cards, or angry rants about the lack of inspired madness in the modern world, will be designed with the idea of turning your Caligumas into the most wonderful time of the year in mind. The large and well-paid staff of RATYHTL also encourages you, gentle reader, to fill the comments section and the forum with tips and tales about how you plan to celebrate Caligumas 2008.

Well, there goes my degree in Alchemy out the window