Author Topic: Annual meeting


Annual meeting
« on: April 21, 2022 »
We have at last count 292 members, not all of them active. It’s been a very good fiscal year. [Fiscal years run from whenever to whenever.] First order of business: changing to a lunar year.

Alfred Russel Wallace: Point of order, the man is an idiot.

Edmund Hoyle: The point is moot. Continue, Monsignor.

Thank you. On second thought let's table that.

I've been clicked upon

The official timekeeper has been setting the clocks forward a little each day – springing forward with a vengeance – and we now find ourselves in the enviable position of being what can only be hoped is comfortably post-pandemic. To maintain this status is purely a maintenance issue. We've chosen a date at random, the Queen's birthday as it happens, and shall stop there, waiting for the rest of the world to catch up. It could've been anybody's birthday.

Abigail Adams: Is there any word yet on how the Queen is doing after the incident with the badger?

Franz Kafka, acting royal liaison: We await word from The Palace, and can only hope the official record here doesn't prove tragically prescient.

Thank you Fonz. Quite. [Shouts of Hear Hear! from the back benches.]

[Opens ledger] Money savings has been accomplished as requested by the Committee of Ways and Means. We're sorry, but there will be no more translations of minutes into Ancient Hittite, pig Latin, or French. [Checks notes.] That's correct. Definitely no more French.

Our previous mission statement, 'To protect and serve', has been overhauled, it being felt by the core committee that new challenges should bring new directions. Do we have a winner, Walt?

Walt Whitman: 'I sing the body electric.'

Very well. The stationery will be changed immediately.

This being our first annual meeting, and if I may say, an uncommonly productive one, I suggest we have them every fortnight.

Dorothy Parker: I move to have one whenever there is a quorum present.

Edith Wharton: Seconded!

So be it. Meeting adjourned.

That our affections carry themselves beyond us
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2022 »
(Mickey de wishes to read the following into the record. I see no reason why not.)

Such as accuse mankind of the folly of gaping after future things, and advise us to make our benefit of those which are present, and to set up our rest upon them, as having no grasp upon that which is to come, even less than that which we have upon what is past, have hit upon the most universal of human errors, if that may be called an error to which nature herself has disposed us, in order to the continuation of her own work, prepossessing us, amongst several others, with this deceiving imagination, as being more jealous of our action than afraid of our knowledge.

We are never present with, but always beyond ourselves: fear, desire, hope, still push us on towards the future, depriving us, in the meantime, of the sense and consideration of that which is to amuse us with the thought of what shall be, even when we shall be no more.

“Calamitosus est animus futuri auxius.”

  [“The mind anxious about the future is unhappy.”
      —Seneca, Epist., 98.]

We find this great precept often repeated in Plato, “Do thine own work, and know thyself.” Of which two parts, both the one and the other generally, comprehend our whole duty, and do each of them in like manner involve the other; for who will do his own work aright will find that his first lesson is to know what he is, and that which is proper to himself; and who rightly understands himself will never mistake another man’s work for his own, but will love and improve himself above all other things, will refuse superfluous employments, and reject all unprofitable thoughts and propositions. As folly, on the one side, though it should enjoy all it desire, would notwithstanding never be content, so, on the other, wisdom, acquiescing in the present, is never dissatisfied with itself. Epicurus dispenses his sages from all foresight and care of the future.


The Prince & the gawper
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2022 »
A quorum is present at King Edward VII’s Hospital where Prince Philip is being serviced by a member of staff. We’re told he may be some time.

Message: We care about chairs

We’ve been made comfortable in an anteroom. Charles came and went a little while ago. He may be considered for legacy membership.

Dorothy Parker: Over my dead body. The man is a stiff everywhere but in the bedroom.

Lady Bellaston: Someone has been busy.

Be that as it may, although registration is normally open to all, it is written into our constitution that members of the royal family must first pass trial by combat. Withering commentary in the press or by disappointed paramours doesn't count.

Ivan the Terrible: I recall no such combat.

It was waved for you on account of your generous donation which is funding the Ivan the Terrible wing.

Ivan the Terrible: Yes, I am frequently visited by an interior decorator who wants to show me swatches. When will it end?!

That's out of my hands, Ivan.

[A nurse enters the room, looking disheveled] Who's next?

click for medical attention which may not be safe for work

"Private insurance doesn't cover my tip."

[Carson McCullers raises her hand, then lowers it when she realises the quorum will be lost]

Is he feeling quite better?

Nurse: Quite.

Florence Nightingale: I'll be the judge of that.

[Prince Philip's generously proportioned room accommadates us with a chair to spare]

Ozymandias: It is fitting. That is where death shall wait.

Prince Philip: Steady on!

Ozymandias: Anubis comes for us all.

Oz is right. Fortunately that's no bar to membership. In fact it's a tick in the plus column. How was your visit with Charles?

Prince Philip: The boy has been such a disappointment. Wet noodle material since Gordonstoun.

Dorothy Parker: Tell me about it. [Eyes suddenly widen - wait for it]

What are you in for? The press just says observation and rest.

Prince Philip: Priapism. Blasted thing won't go down.

[The elephant in the room is noted for the record]

Ozymandias: This can happen at the moment of death, too.

Lady Bellaston: Don't tell Dorothy that or she'll be headed down to the morgue next.

Dorothy Parker: Here's fine.

Let's have a look at your chart. [Looks at chart] I see medicinal release has been attempted thrice a day with no success. At 99, there are worse problems to have.

Prince Philip: Gets in the way after a while. I even tried a trick I heard about on 'Peep Show', of course hoping it would have the opposite effect.

This clip will have to do, I can't find the scene you're referring to. [Refines search] Sorry, here it is.

Prince Philip: That's the one. Ever since the "pearls before swine" remark she made back in the 60s, we've been estranged in that department.

I didn't realise you were so sensitive.

Ivan the Terrible: That's what she said.

Seriously, this is a new side of you we're seeing.

Prince Philip: In fact I've rather gone off British women altogether, except when needs must. Give me slitty-eyed any day of the week.

And we're back.

Nina Simone: How did this honky ever make it through the membership committee?

Did I mention we're open to all?

Groucho Marx: That's me out. I refuse to remain in a club that would have this man's member as a member. [Makes no move to leave]

Actually, we do have standards. I gave Paul Tibbets a pass for dropping Little Boy. Just following orders doesn't cut it.

Abraham Lincoln: Maybe if he'd had a funny name like Tibbets the Terrible...?

Duly noted. Philip, we're going to give you some rest. Stay well.

Groucho Marx: Yes, keep your pecker up.

[Quorum files out except for Dorothy. The rest of us head for The Slaughtered Lamb.]


Sir Duck
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2022 »
The question before us is an historical one: against all odds, should Harry & Meghan be admitted? A straw poll has shown that only Ivan the Terrible is keen, while most of you are undecided, either out of politeness or disinterest.

Ivan the Terrible: In the spirt of full disclosure I feel compelled to state for the record that they bought out the entire stock of my autobiography and have therefore significantly added to my bottom line.

Your honesty is to be commended. Anyone else?

Ignatius J. Reilly: I took money too, but I spent it on favours by Carol Vorderman, yet to be delivered. So I really am wavering.

Very well. There is some dispute that the traditional trial by combat is a required, given their unique situation as half breeds. I refer of course to their royal finger to the House of Windsor whilst being more than happy to retain their titles. I personally applaud their impertinence, even as I find them both tedious beyond belief. But that didn't stop Randolph Churchill from getting in.

Randolph Churchill: I have no quibble with that.

Has the Rules Committee come to a decision?

Seven of Nine: Yes.

Yes you've come to a decision, or yes such a trial is required?

Seven of Nine: Yes Sir. This is in answer to the question you asked me last week in camera, which I have now fully researched. You indicated you prefer to be called Sir by officers, especially the female ones, and wondered if there was anything in the by-laws which prohibits underfamiliarity to bolster your case. While your logic is questionable, I "got the gist". It has taken me this long to scan the databanks because they are quite voluminous with frankly an appalling amount of minutia, including fabricated minutes which for some reason are still allowed, quote "for the fun of it" unquote. Therefore I, as head of the rules committee, am now setting a good example by properly addressing you. Sir.

Thank you Seven, but that was a joke.

Seven of Nine: In the interests of productivity I would appreciate being fully briefed the next time you jest.

You forgot the Sir. Oh look, you've learned how to roll your eyes.

Amerigo Vespucci: Venerable Leader, information has come to light which may have a bearing on the verdict of this august quorum.

And they say Amerigans don't do sarcasm. What is it, old chap?

Amerigo Vespucci: Harry has already attempted to sneak in dressed as a Nazi – one of the good ones who helped the US win the space race – while Meghan tried it on as Wonder Woman. Credit where it's due, Seven uncovered the ruse.

This is shocking, but such stunning audacity is actually in their favour. I think we've now got enough background information to call a vote. Trail by combat is hereby waived, the couple having already proven themselves adept at media manipulation, which is close enough. Ad astra per aspera.

Randolph Churchill: Pardon?

"Through adversity to the stars," if my Latin is not too rusty. Seven?

Seven of Nine: Close enough, Sir.

[A vote is taken with everyone but Ivan the Terrible abstaining]

In by a whisker. We'll have them, but there will be a price. They must at all times be addressed as the Duck and Duckess. Ivan, invite them in at their earliest convenience and we'll throw a little party.

Ivan the Terrible: They're in the boot of my car, along with Oprah.

Excuse me?

Ivan the Terrible: It’s OK. It’s a rental, and I made air holes.

Do you have Piers Morgan in there too?

Ivan the Terrible: Sorry, No.


Oprah actually owns us through a shell corporation, though she may not be aware of it. Seven, think you can plan and execute a party in the time it will take Ivan to unlock the boot and waddle them in here? A mock battle scene would be a nice touch.

Seven of Nine: That's not my job, but Sir yes Sir.

Until then I'll be in my ready room. Et ludos incipere.


A brief history of time
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2022 »
Stephen Hawking is co-chairing today's meeting for added gravitas. Thanks for coming, Stephen. I know Seven of Nine is keeping you busy in Astrometrics.

Stephen Hawking: No problem.

Seven of Nine: I would like to lodge a complaint.

Very well. Not about Stephen, surely?

Seven of Nine: Stephen's work is adequate...

Coming from you that's very high praise indeed.

Seven of Nine: I would prefer not to be called Shirley, as that is not my designation. [Waits a beat.] Unfortunately the joke has been rendered less effective by the interruption. Now for the complaint. My work on the Rules Committee was equally vital, yet you have replaced me there with Harry Kim, whose talents in any known capacity don't progress far beyond hapless. I can "wear more than one hat".

I'll talk to HR about it. Any other complaints, people?

Vladimir Lenin: Yes, why have you put me in men's hat check? Men don't wear hats anymore.

We all have our strengths, Vlad. Mine is nurturing hidden talents.

Stephen Hawking: [All but clears throat]

Right. Today's business concerns a formal censure of one of our members. Calamity Jane keeps getting drunk and offering Stephen a lap dance. This is behaviour unbecoming, etc. Stephen himself has indicated to me that he wouldn't mind so much if only she'd stop drooling, which interferes with his electronics. Do I have that about right, Stephen?

Stephen Hawking: Actually I thought we were here to discuss a series of lectures I'd like to offer to the membership about the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Was that today? Sorry, I didn't get the memo. All who want to hear Stephen's lectures, say Aye.

All: Aye

All who agree that Calamity Jane should be censured, say Aye.

Calamity Jane: [glaring at everyone to keep quiet] Aye!

Given your obvious contrition, I'm moved to downgrade the formal censure to a stern rebuke if you'll promise to stay away from Astrometrics unless you're sober.

Calamity Jane: I can live with that.

Stephen Hawking: Or at least wear a bib.

Calamity Jane: Done.

All's well that ends well. Stephen, I look forward to your first lecture.

Time begins when you're born and ends when you die. A lot of people don't make the most of it. Make sure you do.

Fancy and preoccupation
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2022 »
Aristotle, who will still have a hand in everything, makes a ‘quaere’ upon the saying of Solon, that none can be said to be happy until he is dead: “whether, then, he who has lived and died according to his heart’s desire, if he have left an ill repute behind him, and that his posterity be miserable, can be said to be happy?” Whilst we have life and motion, we convey ourselves by fancy and preoccupation, whither and to what we please; but once out of being, we have no more any manner of communication with that which is, and it had therefore been better said by Solon that man is never happy, because never so, till he is no more.


Awkward by design
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2022 »
You always lighten the mood, Mickey.

Today's meeting concerns site stickiness.

Anaïs Nin: What on earth is that?

It means, having stumbled in, how likely are people to stick around?

Anaïs Nin: So how likely are they?

Not very. Something is frightening them off.

Can we have the first slide please, Ada?

Thank you.
We don't know how many of those 'Guests' are spiders, spies sent by hostile foreign powers, or bizarre artefacts of the web. The head of our brainiac division has applied a formula, far too complicated to go into here, which suggests a figure of 99%.

Ada Lovelace: Give or take.

Give or take. This means we have our work cut out for us.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard: Of what importance is it that even genuine guests are converted into users? Is validation required?

Richard Feynman: My parking is validated whenever I login.

Constantine the Great: I thought you played bongo.

We'll come back to that if there's time.

Anaïs Nin: That new Watch on >YouTube banner in embedded videos can't help. Nor the plethora of links SOME OF US like to throw into posts. Tab overload!

Ada, do you have the research on links leading people away, or tab fatigue?

Ada Lovelace: We've observed nil effect.

That's a relief.

Ada Lovelace: That's the good news.

What's the bad news?

Ada Lovelace: Why does everybody always assume there's bad news? Where's the logic?

So there's no bad news?

Ada Lovelace. No, there's bad news, as the next slide shows.

Tell me what we're looking at here, Ada.

Ada Lovelace: NACF is the square peg trying to fit into the round hole. Sorry, we didn't have time to insert text.

That metaphor isn't really working for me.

Constantine the Great: Maybe it would help if it was animated like it's supposed to be.

Maybe. Look, is there any way we can turn this around, short of becoming round?

Ada Lovelace: I'm afraid not.

Very well. Richard, would you like to close the meeting?


Don't mention the war
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2022 »
Ladies and gentlemen, I've gathered you together in the war room to discuss something we can't talk about. Before we go any further, is that crystal clear?

Salvador Dalí: We've taken a straw poll at the lemonade stand, which has a ready supply of straws. It was unanimous. More sugar is always better until it's not.

I see. Is that a lobster in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Salvador Dalí: That's Jordan Peterson. Say hello, Jordan.

Salvador Dalí, pretending to be lobster, speaking in a bubbly voice and not doing a very good ventriloquist act: Hello Jordan.

G.K. Chesterton, looking at watch: Can we please get on with it? I have an appointment with my watch maker.

I'll humour you, Salvador. What were the results of the poll?

Lobster: Chesty Chesterton is getting shirty. I shall snap him with my big snapper!

Settle down. The thing we can't talk about is a known uknown. Or perhaps it's the other way around.

Yogi Berra: What goes around comes around.

What matters is that as club members you all continue to conduct yourselves with dignity and grace.

Lobster: Dignity and grace! Don't eat me please, I've heard stories.

Furthermore, I would ask you to

Ring ring!

G.K., could you get that? You're closest to the phone.

G.K. Chesterton: Hello, can I help – ouch!

What happened? Are you hurt?

G.K. Chesterton: Someone has exchanged the receiver.

I'll get maintenance on it. Where were we.

Madame de Staël: Actually there was a poll, and we the membership would like a banana stand, too.

Is this unanimous? I'm not sure there's money in the budget for it this fiscal year. Is our comptroller here?

Clementine Churchill: Present and accounted for.

What say ye?

Clementine Churchill: There's always money for a banana stand.

In that case it would be churlish to refuse.

G.K. Chesterton: Can we add a shoeshine?

I'm not sure that's fiscally sound. We'd need a volunteer to run it.

Lobster: I'll do it! I'll nip off the old man's toes and use them as garnish for my salad!

[Chair looks at watch]

Salvador Dalí, pretending to be watch: I'm melting!

Very well. I think we've covered all the bases.

Yogi Berra: It ain't over till it's over.

You can say that again.


Service is its own reward
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2022 »
Herman Melville: This is an intervention. There is concern about your fixation with a certain East Sussex bike company specialising in titanium.

Just because I've put "Don't buy an Enigma" on my calling card* doesn't mean I'm fixated.

Herman Melville: We think you should let it go now.

Can we talk about this later? I'm in the middle of a Downton Abbey athon. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Did you know Matthew Crawley died in a car crash? Terrible shock.

Herman Melville: Yes, it was in the news some time ago.

Poor Lady Mary. Not that she's the most sympathetic of characters, but nobody deserves to be robbed of happiness so cruelly. It seems like only yesterday Matthew was proposing.

Herman Melville: I see you've taken screenshots.

Speaking of Carson, did you know he's even more of a snob than Mary?

Herman Melville: You could cut the irony with a knife.

Yes, but which one? I'm still coming to grips with the spoon situation.

I reckon the really good silver is actually titanium, what do you think?

Herman Melville: I think that would make a good segue back to the topic at hand.

Sure thing. But first, Anna and Bates. Tell me this scene didn't have you rooting for a conjugal.

Herman Melville: The sea is my mistress. I hate to tell you this, but something very bad happens to Anna.

Don't be a spoiler

As of this writing I haven't gotten far past Anna's rape. Please tell me Mr Green gets both, and then some.
Sybil's death was bad enough. Let's concentrate on the good times.

No, that just makes me sad, knowing what lies ahead.

I'm not sure how that shot from After Life got in here. It's not helping.

Better. That reminds me, I've got a long way to go with Archer – if Netflix pulls it anytime soon I'm in trouble. But back to the landed gentry

and their support staff.

Now that's the sort of entertainment we're here for. O'Brien of course later booked passage to India and was recruited by the Thuggee.

Herman Melville: About this intervention...

Is it just you then? The whole gang was there for Christopher's.

Herman Melville: It's a beautiful day. They're out for a ride. I've got this covered.

If Matthew had kept his bike instead of buying that sports car he might still be alive.

Then again, judging by how happily distracted he was by visions of his perfect new family,

he might have very unphotogenically ended up under the wheels of that truck and been as dead as my respect for Enigma. Who knows.

Herman Melville: About that–-

Keeping my story out there is a public service. There aren't many reviews from long time customers, it's mostly "Look at the bling bikes!" and rather pointless anecdotes of how helpful they are when they're trying to make a sale. I'll likely save some people from grief, and that makes me genuinely happy.

Now, would you like to catch some outtakes?

Herman Melville: This isn't my idea of 'Masterpiece Classic', or whatever they're calling it, but very well. [Sits down on the couch and picks up a pair of ball bearings from the end table] What are these?

A little gift I've magicked up for you. Titanium. And yes, I agree with you and David,

but I'm going to keep watching anyway. Comfy, Mr Classics?

Herman Melville [rolling ball bearings in hand]: These are strangely soothing.

* Only tradesmen have business cards


Obscurum per obscurius
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2022 »
Today we consider a site motto. (Needless to say this is to be distinguished from our mission statement.) I believe we have a quorum, if Al will stop hovering by the doorway. In or out, Al?

Al Swearengen: Fucking in.

Mary Whitehouse: Is that sort of language necessary?

Al Swearengen: "Quid infants sumus?"

Calamity Jane: Translated, that means go fuck yourself, we're not babies.

Mary Whitehouse: Well I never.

[Too many rejoinders to count]

Moving right along—

Uvedale Price: Obscurum per obscurius.

Pardon me?

Uvedale Price: It just seems apropos in all kinds of ways.

We'll add it to the list.

Clava Scriba: Technically there's no list yet. That's the first contribution.

Al Swearengen: What about mine?

Any other suggestions? Please?

Harpo Marx: A question. Does it have to be Latin?

It has to make people think, or google.

Al Swearengen: Oderint dum metuant.

Calamity Jane: Carpe vinum.

Al Swearengen: Do you put your pinky up when you're drinking that?

Mary Whitehouse: Who is this beastly man?

Al Swearengen:
Nescis quomodo me taedet male stupri

(That one never gets old)

The universal translator really made a hash of that, didn't it. Let's take a break.

[Room empties. The last to leave is Lawrence Oates, who turns the light off. Dust settles.

Two more members wander in.]

Archy: quis leget haec

Mehitabel: Credo quia absurdum.