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European Threat Levels

By: John Cleese

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated,” or even “A Bit Cross.”

The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since “The Blitz” in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out.

Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to “A Bloody Nuisance.” The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

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Flora Aphrodite

Named for beauty and for love You are ugly and loathed Notorious for eating flies You feed on ants Your spiny-edged leaves Are split like half-truths Tickled by tiny feet They clutch and seize their prey From a bright, unsullied dynasty Whose name itself is Sundew You practice your deceit In shaded swamps and dim-lit bogs Dionaea muscipula The scientists call you But to me you are love’s promise Beautiful, inscrutable, deadly

My Office

Like many male writers of my vintage, one of my literary heroes is Ernest Hemingway. Not just because I loved his stories and admired his prose but also because of the large, masculine way he lived his life. I liked the skiing and the sailing and the fishing and the boxing and the hunting and the bullfighting and the drinking and I even liked the fact that he shot himself when his end was inevitable.

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Your Lesson for This Morning

Study the lifelines of a leaf Measure them against those of your palm Subtract the lovers and friends you have forgotten Add the kindnesses you have given today Divide by the Saturdays you have left Go to the nearest tattoo parlor Have the number inked on to your pinky finger Chop it off and start again

The Night Watch

By High Talk and Rumors

The Night Watch
Rembrandt van Rijn
1606 – 1669

Rembrandt is generally considered to be the greatest of all the Dutch painters and one of the greatest painters of all time. Biographers usually demarcate his career in three parts: the 1630s when he painted portraits; the 1640s when he painted larger, formal paintings of groups of men; and the later period when his paintings became dark and mystical. With each successive change his reputation diminished.

The Night Watch was painted in 1642, when he was 36 years old and still popular. Originally titled The Company of Captain Frans Banning Cocq and Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenhurch, it depicts 29 members of the civic guard.

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Facts to Be Aware Of

1. At minus ninety Your breath will freeze In midair And fall To the ground Watch where you step 2. Antarctica is the only continent with no owls So make provisions when packing to go there 3. All of Forest Gump’s still photos Picture him with closed eyes Think about why you didn’t notice that Adjust your perspective accordingly 4. There are 2,598,960 possible hands in Texas Hold ‘Em And just as many chances to go wrong in Oklahoma 5. A ten-gallon hat holds three quarts of liquid Three quarts of liquid is more than two quarts of blood 6. In 1941 When Thomas Edison died Henry Ford captured his last breath in a bottle When Henry Ford died His …

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The Three Most Important Numbers

I don’t know if there is a formal study of the history of numbers and their importance in culture, but if there is there is no doubt that scholars have found that the three most important (and powerful numbers) are one, two and three. One for unity. Two for duality: (two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, etc.) Three represents everything else Religious leaders and some philosophers and scientists like to search for the One. The one god. The one truth. The one unifying theory of whatever. Naturalists – those who observe nature – have noticed that most things in nature come in twos: two eyes, ears, arms. Two energetic impulses, etc. Mystics – people who can’t figure out what …

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How the World Will Change

First the sharks will descend a thousand feet Gulls and then larks and then blue jays will find shelter in aeries Deer will disappear from the clearings Dogs will howl and crawl and hide The locust will cease their racket And even earthworms will dig for shelter A clear blue sky will become electric and dark And suddenly our ears will be filled with an eerie humming The ocean will recede five thousand feet A wall of black a mile high will appear at the horizon And then everything will be changed forever