Wednesday, 5 May 2004

This Takes the Cake

Courtesy of Rocket Jones, I bring you... the Anatomically Correct Thorax Cake!

I've also added two links that should have been on the linklist since day one.

First, Intel Dump.
Near real-time analysis and commentary from Phil Carter -- a former [US]Army officer, journalist and UCLA law student.
In other words, a someone who knows what he's talking about, a pearl beyond price.

Second, Doggerel Pundit, a source of Filksongs for young and old. Example:
I am the very model of a modern Media-Journalist,
I've information biased, bogus, banal and paternalist,
I know the talking heads and every bureau puke and oracle
from A-B-C to C-N-N in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted, too, with schedules for sabbatical,
I live to write a sentence that's both simple and grammatical,
I'm good at leading questions, and my team puts out a lot o' news,
With many damning facts for which, at times, fact-checking's not in use!.....
Though my personal favourites, "Sharia" and "I Feel Pity" are from "Press Snide Story".

Apropos of the example above, the song "I am the very model of a Modern Major-General" ( from Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance) is of course a Filk in its own right.
In fact, when I know what is meant by "mamelon" and "ravelin",
When I can tell at sight a Mauser rifle from a javelin,
When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at,
And when I know precisely what is meant by "commissariat,"
When I have learnt what progress has been made in modern gunnery,
When I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery--
In short, when I've a smattering of elemental strategy,
You'll say a better Major-General has never sat a gee.

You'll say a better Major-General, etc.

For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,
Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is the very model of a modern Major-General.
The song is a biting satire on the Military of the time, whose more senior officers were supposedly Academically gifted Gentlemen, but knew nothing whatsover about the state-of-the-art of Military Science. (The link is to an annotated version, explaining just what the heck a "ravelin" is, amongst other things.)

UPDATE : From Reader C.Mahaffey : Major General" is, iiirc, pointed directly at (then) Major General Wolseley, a military reformer, favoring (among other reforms) a more professionally educated officer corps. Officers (classically educated) were not considered academically gifted. Officer education (RMC and Staff College) had been reformed 1871-78, focussing on military science.

Another, particularly good annotated version is The Buff Barbarian, the song of Xena:
I am the very model of a heroine barbarian;
Through Herculean efforts, I've become humanitarian.
I ride throughout the hinterland -- at least that's what they call it in
Those sissy towns like Athens (I, myself, am Amphipolitan).

I travel with a poet who is perky and parthenian
And scribbles her hexameters in Linear Mycenian
(And many have attempted, by a host of methods mystical,
To tell if our relationship's sororal or sapphistical)....
I'm only quoting parts of the songs, if you want to know what "Parthenian" means in this context, you'll have to Read The Whole Thing.

No comments: