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Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Hillary Down But Not Out

Posted by dowbrigade on 12th June 2008

Now that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has crashed and burned in tatters and ashes, it seems an appropriate time to chime in with one of our patented, wrong-in-so- many-ways political predictions: Don’t Count Her Out Yet.

This may be but a brilliant subterfuge on the part of the Clinton Brain Trust, designed to let her candidacy fly under the radar for a few months before rising like a Phoenix in Denver to save her party, her political ass (that’s Bill), her marriage (Bill again) as well as to save her nation from four more years of this macho madness.

Remember that the Super Delegates can change their minds at any time up to the actual moment they cast their votes; that’s what makes them Super. And if no candidate wins an absolute majority on the first vote, they will keep voting until someone does. This could take a while.

Although multiple roll call votes, and the back room bargaining they engender, have been largely banned from the media-managed modern political conventions, there is no reason they could not make a comeback – the rules and traditions are still in place. During the longest nominating process in history, in 1880, James Garfield won the Republican nomination with 399 votes to 306 for U.S. Grant on the 35th ballot and after four exhausting days. As a delegate admitted, “It was the escape of a tired convention.”

So what could get those declared Super Delegates to undeclare and change their minds? Any one of a number of revelations, unexpected developments, world events or just plain fate could intervene. Any guesses as to the specific nature of these possibilities would be pure speculation and irresponsible journalism, but then, what are bloggers for?

The following ten headlines should not be construed as predictive or prejudiced against any particular candidate, but are merely intended as food for thought. Like the Dowbrigade, they are not in any way related to reality.

1. Michelle Obama Mud Wrestling Tapes Surface
6-week stint at NJ Hooters Recorded by Rugby Team

2. Obama Law School “Lost Weekend” Found
Ended on Lynn MA park bench, booked for indecent exposure

3. Southside Bouncer Claims Barack Sold Bunko Blow
Candidate reportedly middled deal for fake flake

4. Senate Race Obama CV Lists 3 CIA Fronts as References
Damning info removed before Presidential bid

5. Aide Asserts Obama Hides Father’s Koran Inside Bible Binding
Plans to take oath of office on Islamic Tome

6. Obama Makes Anti-Semitic Comment at B’nai B’rith Fete
Off-mike comment caught on cell-phone: “Who needs the damn Hebes, anyway?”

7. Obama Abducted by UFO on Camping Trip
Recounted incident in 1988 NPR interview

8. Obama Rent Paid by Banned Islamic Charity
Overseas support during ‘lean years’ as Chicago organizer

9. Teen Barack Organized Black Panther Chapter at Punahou High School
Only chapter in Hawaii included all three blacks at school

10. Obama Bigamy Alleged
Indonesian woman has proof she was “child bride” in arranged marriage

If nothing like this crops up spontaneously, we hope Hillary’s hordes have venom and expertise enough to whip something up, and plant it so it can’t be traced back to the Clintons. After all, if she can’t win dirty, she isn’t the politician we thought she was, and doesn’t deserve the top job after all.

But if a miracle can be manufactured, watch out. Hill’s been taking names for a while now, and those on the list better hope she’s down for the count.

Posted in Humor, Media News, Politics, Wacky News | 2 Comments »

Ode to an Unsung Hero

Posted by dowbrigade on 3rd June 2008

Boston sports fans have reason to be nervous – the incredible run of luck experienced by area sports teams is coming to an end.Now it can be revealed – the Dowbrigade has been personally responsible for the incredible run of championship seasons during the past 5 years, and we are getting tired. For the past 60 months we have been collecting charms and amulets from around the world, consulting with witch doctors, consorting with dark powers from beyond the veil, performing rare and almost forgotten rites and burning exotic herbs in abundance.

And you thought it was just fantastic coincidence that the Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics have all put in historic season after season and brought home more combined championships than any other city in such a short period? Or that it was somehow our superior sporting spirit, or some unknown urban virtue? Maybe the collective brilliance of our coaches, managers and athletes can be attributed to intellectual osmosis from the high I.Q. zip codes along the Charles? Or something in the water?

Fuggedabouddit. It is we, the Dowbrigade, working tirelessly 24/7, scouring the globe for tchoktches, medicine pouches, religious icons, fertility figures, lucky charms and power crystals. Our dedicated research staff is constantly unearthing sacred texts, arcane tomes and occult resources for good curses, jinxes and hexes to fire on our unlucky opponents.

We have spent months and most of our disposable income acquiring powders and potions, snake skins and beeswax, holy water, hallowed earth and sacred fire, ceremonial knives and rare incense. Not to mention the dozens of farm animals offering themselves up for ritual sacrifice. And the schlepping – you try to get a 2,000 pound ceremonial stone altar into a 3rd floor walk-up.

But no sacrifice was too great for our teams. It all started in 2002, when, recently returned from a vacation retreat with an Amazonian shaman who must remain nameless, we set up a small shrine in a corner of ourliving room and adapted a few simple rituals the Shaman had taught us into weekly enactments right before each Patriots game. Every week we tried to introduce something new to the ritual – a rabbits foot, a native American katchina doll, a pinch of hogwart. When the Pats up and won their first championship, we were hooked. We knew we had to keep going.

We knew that we were personally responsible for bring the trophy home to Boston, and that with great responsibility comes great power.

By 2004 we had become much more adept at the rites and spells, and had widened our horizons in the search for more powerful talismen and charms. We obtained a shipment of Rudraksh nuts, found only in remote regions of the Himalayas, and collected four-leaf clovers from outside of each of the stadiums on the Patriot’s schedule. When our efforts were rewarded with another championship we resolved to redouble them yet again.

The Patriots third championship in 2005 was largely the result of the actions of a series of demons and evil spirits we summoned from the Nevernever via a magic lantern obtained from a Vedantic mystic whose son was trying to get into Brandeis (he did). Summoning these spirits each week, and siccing them on the opponent de jour, was exhausting work, and we swore we would never do it again after a storm spirit went out of control after the Superbowl and absolutely destroyed a seaside trailer camp outside Jacksonville (they called it a “freak storm”). But you can’t argue with the results.

Later in 2004, we transferred our attention to baseball, which turned out to be a whole new level of challenge. For one thing, overcoming an 87-year-old curse is no day at the beach. We needed major mojo, which arrived in the form of a shroud from a 1,800 year old Mexican mummy, unearthed beneath an ullamaliztl (an Aztec ball game) court in the ancient capital of Tenochitlan. Legend has it he died scoring the final goal in a sudden-death regional final, saving his entire region from literal sudden death at the hands of division rivals.

In addition, the length of the season proved problematic. In order to provide a non-stop psychic assault on the Red Sox’s opponents we arranged visas and passage for a hardy band of near-naked tribesmen from New Zealand, a Maori Shaman and his five acolytes, who were adepts at the performance of the Ka Mate Haka, a sort of singing celebration of Life over Death which packs a hell of a whammy.

Performing the Haka before each of the 162 ballgames of the regular season and the 20 post-season encounters proved a real trial, and before the season was half over Norma Yvonne was really pissed at the presence of 6 Maori tribesmen in our guest room, constantly chanting “Kikiki kakaka kauana! Kei waniwania taku tara”, but it was all worthwhile when we burst the curse and won the series.

Nevertheless, our marriage took a hit for the cause, which is why, this season, we went with a trio of mystic Russian monks who have taken vows of silence, rather than inviting the Maori back.

We thought about helping out the Bruins, but Jeremy Jacobs has so much negative karma that counteracting it would require human sacrifice, and even the Dowbrigade draws the line somewhere.

This constant marshaling of occult forces in favor of the New England sports teams has taken a toll, financially, physically and psychically on the whole Dowbrigade franchise.

The stress is starting to show. At the climax of a six day fast this past February, in the throes of a drug-induced trance-dance, we had a mini-breakdown and lost our focus during the waning minutes of the Superbowl. The disastrous results are now a matter of public record.

Hell, if we want to take credit for all those championships, we ought to take the heat for the one we blew.

Now, we find ourselves in the heat of the NBA finals. In an effort to assure victory we’ve been consorting with the Faeries, and their penchant for truly evil mischief and trickery has our home in a shambles. But I guess we can put up with it for another couple of weeks, if it means bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time in 21 years. No sacrifice is too great for long suffering sports fans.

But, honest to God folks, we don’t know how much longer we can keep it up.

So enjoy it while it lasts, Boston Sports fans, and be prepared for some long lean years when we finally end our efforts. Even the strongest Mojo wears off, and magic offers only a temporary dispensation of the law of averages.

Posted in Humor, Prose Screeds, Sports | 6 Comments »

Hopeful News Item of the Day

Posted by dowbrigade on 30th May 2008

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) — Bahrain’s king has appointed a woman believed to be the Arab world’s first Jewish ambassador as the country’s envoy to Washington.

Lawmaker Houda Nonoo said she was proud to serve
her country “first of all as a Bahraini,” adding she was not chosen for the post because of her religion.

“It is a great honor to have been appointed as the first female ambassador to the United States of America and I am looking forward to meeting this new challenge,” Nonoo told The Associated Press by telephone.

from the AP

Bravo for Bahraini Houda NoNoo, but Alec Trebeck is calling – he wants to buy back a vowel.

Posted in Humor, Serious News, Wacky News | 6 Comments »

OS Wars

Posted by dowbrigade on 20th May 2008

Posted in Humor, Photos | 3 Comments »

Devil Worshippers Lose Pro Team

Posted by dowbrigade on 10th November 2007 your bad reputation is exceeded only by an uninterrupted record of failure and ineptitude, sometimes the only thing to do is to change your name. Not only does this often throw creditors off the track, but can offer a psychic fresh start, a karmic reset, a new beginning. Such is desperation of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, decade-long doormats of the American League, that they have resorted to exorcising the Devil from their name.

That’s right, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are now officially just the Tampa Bay Rays! But the story behind the story is not their dismal path to baseball’s worst record (Tampa Bay has never had a .500 season in their 10-year existence); rather it is the word team officials have decided to eliminate – the “Devil” in the details! After extensive research we can definitively report that this is not an isolated incident. Rather, it is part of a concerted campaign to wipe out Merry Old Mephistopheles from our common culture, our sporting life, and our very language.

This campaign includes the depuration of morally offensive sports nicknames like “L’il Devils” “Redskins” “Braves” and “Turks” as well as sexual entendres like “The Stallions” “The Trojans” “The Beavers” and “The Cooz“. It is also part and parcel of the War on Halloween, which has lately been condemned from pulpits across America as a Godless Bonanza for candy companies and dental clinics, personally sponsored by Lucifer himself.

The latest front of this fundamentalist campaign against the Prince of Darkness and his linguistic minions attempts to purify the English Language itself. While dropping the Devil from the Rays left them with an euphonious Tampa Bay Rays, many of the other devils in our language will not be so easy to exorcise.

For example, what are we going to do with “Devil’s Food Cake”? We can’t just drop the D-word and say “Food Cake”. Is “Demon’s Food Cake” sufficiently non-ecclesiastic?

If we want to maintain alliteration and a negative message, we might transform Daredevil into “Daredoofus“. Of course, alliteration can be overrated, and if the idea is that this devil is an evil fellow, perhaps “Deviled Eggs” could become something like “Ogre Eggs”.

It may no longer be acceptable to have a “devil-may-care” attitude; instead we might refer to a “douchebag-may-care” attitude. We could replace Satan with a more modern figure of ultimate evil in proverbs like “Idle hands are the diddler’s playground.”

Getting Lucifer out of the Language is a noble idea, but like so many other things, the DooDoo is in the Details. There comes a point where we need to back off and give the Dark Dork his due. If we start messing with the English language to cater to passing political passions, there’ll be the terrorist to pay.

Posted in Humor, Media News, Sports | 26 Comments »

Arthur Murray Book Club

Posted by dowbrigade on 22nd October 2007

At the Boston Public Library each month, teenagers get down to the
vigorous techno thumps of the popular arcade game Dance Dance Revolution. The Norwell Public Library treats visitors to a monthly free dinner and a movie.

Borrowers in Andover take out portable, digital audio books so tiny that they can jog through the park or shop at the mall while listening to Dan Brown’s bestseller “The Da Vinci Code.”

And in Palmer, young patrons jostle for their turn to play Guitar Hero II, a video game that has replaced the more traditional karaoke nights in some bars.

from the Boston Globe

Long a fan of libraries, the Dowbrigade is all in favor of their trying to reinvent themselves in the digital age. When we were a kid, we remember spending many a Saturday morning in the Rochester Public Library, and it wasn’t to play games. It was to flirt with Lisa Sattinger, who as a 12-year old was known to wear pantyhose and play footsie under the library tables while perusing tomes on the Italian Renaissance and radioactive isotopes.

Last we heard Lisa won a genius grant, while we are still playing footsie with fate under the table of life. And while we strongly believe that in a world awash in electronic information we need people and places dedicated to cataloging, accessing and helping people use that information more than ever, we question such crass attempts to lure in new patrons.

Furthermore, libraries do not need such extreme measures to survive.  They are not in danger of extinction. The role of the library, and the librarian, are simply evolving with the form and function of the information they contain, getting closer to the Universal Library envisioned by Jorge Luis Borges.

But promoting Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero as ways to attract youth to the libraries strikes us as misconceived and counterproductive. You might as well post a sign over the door, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Couldn’t they at least try to get them to play games with a lexical component, like “Scrabble” or “Dungeons and Dragons”? Games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero not only fail to provide opportunities for developing reading and writing skills, they don’t even involve talking, or thinking.

You might as well offer slot machines, dog fighting and topless librarians! We thought one of the goals of a library was to promote literacy, or are we hopeless old fashioned?

Posted in Humor, Media News, Technology | 31 Comments »

Pope Waves from Beyond the Grave

Posted by dowbrigade on 15th October 2007

 Pope / Fire
This fiery figure is being hailed as Pope John Paul II making an appearance beyond the grave.

The image, said by believers to show the Holy Father with his right hand raised in blessing, was spotted during a ceremony in Poland to mark the second anniversary of his death.

Details appeared on the Vatican News Service, a TV station in Rome which specializes in religious news broadcasts.

Service director Jarek Cielecki, a Polish priest and close friend of John Paul II, travelled to Poland after hearing an onlooker had photographed the image.

Father Cielecki said he was convinced the picture showed the former pontiff.

“You can see the image of a person in the flames and I think it is the servant of God, Pope John Paul II,” he said.

from the Daily Mail

We hate to say it, because we alway sort of liked the formalistic old fart, but it looks to us like the servant of God, Pope John Paul II ended up in the “other place”….

Posted in Humor, Wacky News | Comments Off on Pope Waves from Beyond the Grave

Shoulder Shopping

Posted by dowbrigade on 27th September 2007

The Dowbrigade’s local supermarket has been undergoing a major makeover, and it was as if, had we been a pre-super hunter gatherer, the bison herd had suddenly disappeared.

Despite completely reoutfitting and reorganizing the entire store, they managed to stay open 24-7 throughout, doing most of the dangerous, disruptive work late at night. For three months, we couldn’t find anything. It was like a black market, or a sidewalk sale, where the goods one was perusing could suddenly up and move to the next corner at the approach of a flatfoot.

Now that they’ve finished the work and reinagurated the branch (witnessed by a photo of the store manager and the regional manager posing around a frosted blue cake) things are barely better. Either the new layout is designed to confuse, or the Dowbrigade is getting too old to adjust our grazing patterns. Little things irritate us; the boxes of apple crisp are no longer on top of the apples and the Lactaid is now on a different aisle than the regular milk. How dare they!

But the worst is the fact that the newly expanded “Nature’s Choice” health food aisle has been relocated directly across from the snack food aisle. As we shamble down the aisle in our polyester Hawaiian shorts, fishnet tank top and fur-lined slippers, it is like we have a tiny angel on one shoulder and that damn little devil on the other.

“Oh, get the fat-free rice cakes. They make great snacks.”

“Forget that junk! We got candied macadamia nuts over here.”

“Well, if you must have something sweet, why not Granny Ruth’s Organic Granola with Carob?”

“Are you kidding? Grab some Nacho chips and Cheese-like Dip. They’re on sale!”

Our head rotates back and forth as though we were courtside at Wimbledon. Fearing whiplash, or worse, the dreaded 360 degree Exorcist headspin, we flee the premises. We may have to find another supermarket, where the food doesn’t talk to us.

Posted in Friends and Family, Humor | 2 Comments »

Comic of the Day

Posted by dowbrigade on 10th August 2007


The China Conundrum was inevitable. Importing entire Wal-Marts full of goods from a third world country with as creative and casual an attitude towards standards and regulation as China was wound to have repercussions in a country as litigation-loco as the US. The first thing an American thinks when he stubs his toe is “Who can I sue?”

In fact, many Americans don’t even wait to stub anything, they wake up in the morning thinking “Who can I sue today?”

The fact that the answer to that question, in an increasing number of cases, is “Someone in China” is sure to lead to an increasing demand for American lawyers versed in the procedures of bringing suit in Chinese and international courts, and for English-speaking Chinese lawyers to defend the coming avalanche of suits.

Coincidentally, the Dowbrigade has recently become one of the world’s top experts in teaching legal English to foreign lawyers. Actually, one of the world’s few experts. But, be that as it may, we are evaluating where the best locale for an International Institute of Legal English – Hong Kong or Beijing?

Posted in Comics, Humor | 5 Comments »

Waterworld Wired

Posted by dowbrigade on 1st August 2007

(Watertown, MA) – Tired of swimming laps with nothing but the sound of water sloshing in your ears, while your land-lubber mates work out to the latest tunes or podcasts? A Watertown company has come up with a solution: an MP3 player and high-response headphones built into a stylish swimming cap.

Tuneslapper Swim Caps feature a 2 GB flash memory mp3 player embedded in flexible, waterproof plastic which is in turn incorporated into an ordinary-looking swimming cap. The manufacturer, AudioAquatics, designed the music system to be inconspicuous, in anticipation of potential objections by pool operators reluctant to allow electrical devices into the pool.

“The Tuneslapper caps are perfectly safe and operate on such low voltages that even if the battery chamber were breached there would be no danger to the user or other swimmers. Nevertheless, once you have the cap in place and turned on, no one will know you are bopping to your favorite beats,” according to Michael Feldman, AudioAquatics product designer and CEO.

The recharegable battery is built of flexible layers of lithium and ionized carbon built into the back of the cap, and recharged through a tiny connector that folds into the cap when not in use.

The headphones themselves are also an innovative flexible design, which cover the ears and offer superior acoustics, even underwater. There is even a small flexible 3-line LCD readout to deliver information on track, playlist, volume, etc.

However, adjusting the cap once in the water can be a problem, as it must be removed from the head in order to see the LCD or reach the controls, not to mention the difficulty of flying under the lifeguard’s sonar while staring at and repeatedly pressing your swimming cap. It is best to load and lock in the locker room, and then let it play throughout your swim.

Whether you fancy a leisurely crawl to Handel’s Water Music, a strong backbeat backstroke to Beastie Boys Intergalactic, a ballatic breaststroke to a Dolly Parton torcher, or a frenetic butterfly to speed thrash standards, the Tuneslapper can provide the soundtrack to those who prefer to get their exercise in the swimming pool.

all rights reserved – investor inquiries welcome

Posted in Humor, Technology, Wacky News | 6 Comments »

Hats On the Henley

Posted by dowbrigade on 14th July 2007

Henley HatAs a seasoned veteran of  many Head of the Charles Regattas, held on the Charles River every fall, we felt an obligation to attend the august English equivalent, the Royal Henley Regatta at Henley-on-Thames.

We have never actually ROWED on the Charles or the Thames, mind you, but we have cheered on many a friend and the boats of our alma mater over the years. And so last Saturday we headed for the picturesque town of Henley-on-Thames, about an hour southeast of London, where we met a friend whose daughter rowed for Brown.

In addition, the Harvard Heavies were favorites for the prestigeious Queens Cup. Any athletic contest is more engrossing when one has a dog in the fight.

However, once there we had serious trouble keeping our eyes on the river. Everywhere  we looked, it seemed, women were wearing outrageous, spectacular, unique and uniformly ugly HATS. Every size, shape and color, but all featuring some bizarre, unbalanced or seemingly random embellishment.

At first we thought it was a joke (we spied a few prime examples on the train out from London), but once we saw these dames strutting and preening on the banks of the Thames, we realized these were serious fashion statements.  All we could do was start snapping with the Nikon.

Here are the results.

Posted in Friends and Family, Humor | Comments Off on Hats On the Henley

Trashing the Tate

Posted by dowbrigade on 14th July 2007

dowbrigade at the tateHere in London, the only place we see panic and dismay at the recent rash of attempted car bombings in Great Britain is on the softly glowing screens of the Toshiba TV in our London flat and our trusty laptop. Newscasters here are calling the plot the “Doctor Bombers.” Puts a whole new spin on Michael Moore’s “Sicko.”

In the streets of London, life goes on pretty much as usual. People walking their dogs, hustling down streets and lanes burdened under bags and boxes. Sweet secretaries, harried clerks named Clive, adolescent riff-raff looking as indolent as possible, students and soccer players and tons and tons of tourists, each in their own world, chatting on the phone, plugged into iPods or jiving with friends, nobody seems to be worrying about terrorism.

Which is probably not surprising. To a dyslexic Yank, the most dangerous thing on London’s street is the traffic. It seems to come from all sides. Yes, we are aware that they drive on the left on this side of the pond, but in addition to that drivers fly around corners with seeming total disregard for inattentive pedestrians.

The attitude in the street seems more akin to Latin America, where anyone who can’t afford a car had better watch out, than to Harvard Square, where drivers pussyfoot and crawl around corners out of fear of running over a Kennedy scion or the future King of Moldavia.

Adding to the degree of difficulty, use of turn signals seems to be optional, and parking, even on major thoroughfares, is allowed in either direction, facing or following the flow of traffic, resulting in drivers cutting suddenly across lanes to snag choice parking spots. And yet, despite the chaotic conditions and numerous near-misses, we have yet to witness an actual accident.

However, today, on the way to the Tate Modern, we were almost flattened by a diaper delivery vehicle, which careened around the corner in front of Christopher Wren’s masterpiece St. Paul’s Cathedral and practically plastered us to a bollard as we were trying to take a snapshot of a tugboat on the Thames.

Had we been taken to Hospital directly from that unfortunate incident, we wouldn’t have missed much. The building housing the museum, a mammoth former power plant, is impressive, but once inside we had trouble telling the actual art from empty display cases, electrical fixtures in the walls and various apparently abandoned satchels and packages which don’t seem to bother anyone much in this terror-prone city. Guess that means they must be art.

There was an entire exhibit of “found object” art, meaning all sorts of trash and common objects which were somehow magically transubstantiated into “art” because some so-called “artist” slapped a name tag and a price tag on them.

Truth be told, the Dowbrigade has never really “gotten” modern art. In fact, we consider it to a pretentious refuge for talentfree wannabes who couldn’t draw a dollar sign yet insisted that they were creative talents on the scale of a da Vinci or Donatello.

We don’t consider much of anything post-Impressionism more than pop culture or passing curiosity, and since the Tate Modern seemed to start around 1900, there wasn’t much power in the plant for our taste.

One exception to our general disinterest in 20th century art is surrealism. We had hopefully noted that the Tate is currently featuring a special exhibit on Dali and film. Upon arriving at the museum, however, we discovered that the Special Exhibit had a Special Price of 12 pounds ($24), and, adding insult to injury, the powers that be had removed EVERY SINGLE DALI from the permanent collection and rehung them in the restricted admission area.

After an hour of wandering around among works we were unable to even categorize as art, we ordered a five-dollar cup of tea at one of the poshly-priced cafes strategically situated around the museum, and found an empty seat near the door where more affluent and discerning patrons were exiting the Dali film exhibit. Perhaps, we reflected, as a failed artist , we were unable to respect any art we could have conceivably created ourself.

Every time the big exit door to the Special Exhibit opened, we could see a large Dali oil handing tantalizingly at an acute angle on a wall beyond. It was the closest we got all day to seeing a work we really wanted to see.

See the Dowbrigade’s Photos from England

Posted in Friends and Family, Humor | 1 Comment »