Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Idler, Tuesday, December 18, 2018

May the

Christmas cheer


CHRISTMAS cheer … 835 tubas performed a rousing Silent Night the other evening in Kansas City, in the US.

Eight hundred and thirty-five tubas and Silent Night – is this not a contradiction? At any rate, the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra have now smashed the Guinness World Record for tubas playing Silent Night, according to Huffington Post. The previous record was set by 502 tuba players in California in 2007.

A week or so ago, 1 Medical Battalion Pipe Band played Christmas carols on the bagpipes in their Kilts and Carols concerts here in Durban. Silent Night presumably featured in their repertoire, perhaps even more of a contradiction than tubas.

Do we have a theme here, a developing trend in Christmas carols? Silent Night performed by massed tubas, bagpipes and perhaps a cannonade as in the 1812 Overture?

The Christmas message needs to be heard.


MEANWHILE, something not quite in the seasonal spirit. Santa Claus suddenly departed from the script of "Ho, ho, ho!" and patting kids on their heads at a festival at St Ives, in Cambridgeshire, England.

Fire and smoke alarms suddenly sounded in his grotto (set off by smoke from a nearby function) at which Santa lost his cool, according to Sky News.

He ripped off his hat and beard and urged folk to get out fast, employing the vivid vocabulary of a ship's bosun in an emergency.

It shocked parents and the dozens of kids who were waiting to meet Santa.

Said a parent: "People were vacating the building and in came angry Santa swearing, using the most vile language, ripping off his hat and beard with steam almost coming from his ears... I'm  not sure why he was so cross?"

I suppose when you've been practising "Ho, ho. Ho!" all week, you don't like a sudden change in script.


DONALD Trump's chief of staff, General John Kelly, has departed through the White House revolving door.

However, according to the New Yorker, he left with the nation's nuclear codes hidden in his pants. He snitched them while Trump was preoccupied watching Fox & Friends on TV plus sending off a Tweet.

These are the codes which a US president would use to launch nuclear strikes against the enemy – the apocalypse option. Many are nervous that President Trump could confuse the nuclear codes with his Twitter button

The New Yorker quotes General Kelly – whose military career spanned five decades – describing his absconding with the nuclear codes as "my greatest act of service to my country."

They're still in his pants and that's where they'll stay, he says. So General Kelly's pantaloons become, for the moment, the locus of political struggle in America.

But before folk draw too much encouragement, this is satirist Andy Borowitz again. You can't take literally everything he says.



JULIUS Caesar is addressing the crowd in the Colosseum. "Friends, Romans, countrymen!" he cries. "I have returned from my campaign in France, where I killed 40 000 Gauls."

The crowd rise to their feet, cheering: "Hail, mighty Caesar!"

Brutus is on his feet: "Caesar lies! He killed only 20 000 Gauls!"

Caesar: "Ah, but remember - away Gauls count for double in Europe."



Last word


But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Carl Sagan

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