Author Topic: Annual meeting


« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2023 »
The postman brought a letter from Stonewall. They're looking for new Diversity Champions after the departure of the BBC and other major players. What do you say, people? This is an inclusive space, right?

Anne Sexton: Do they know what a woman is?

Let's see. It says here "Woman is not a feeling. It's not a costume, an emotion, or a performance. It's just a body. A body that is oppressed in a multitude of ways, not because of identity, but because of sex. A body that requires certain protections in law because it is vulnerable to physical violence from men and at risk of exploitation because of its reproductive function."

Anne Sexton: That's from Stonewall?

I'm messing with you. That's from some radical called J. Stein.

Bram Stoker: That J is suspicious. Just look at Donald J. Trump.

Aldous Huxley: I have it on good authority that women are limitless and formless. Who wouldn't want to be formless and limitless?

Anne Sexton: It doesn't sound like much fun on a Saturday night.

Bram Stoker: How about girl-flavoured person?* I like that one. Especially on a Saturday night.

*another J!

Anne Sexton: Have you been licking Eddie Izzard?

Bram Stoker: Wouldn't you like to know.

Augustine of Hippo: If someone wants to be a woman, as far as I am concerned, welcome to the club.

It's safe to say you have our rapt attention.

Augustine of Hippo: Now I'm messing with you.

Augustine of Hippo: With apologies to the pope, I'm no saint. When I feel like a woman I go out and get myself one [winks at Anne, who ignores him]. Sunday is for repenting.

Bram Stoker: I had to watch the video several times for critical analysis. At least one of the probable ejaculators has long hair. [Pantomime horror] It's all so confusing.

Anne Sexton: Have any of the great thinkers divined what a man is?

Bram Stoker: I can confirm that he's not a bat. I've looked into the matter.

Aldous Huxley: How about a rat?

Bram Stoker: That's debatable.

Augustine of Hippo: As long as we're raiding the animal kingdom, I vote sheep.

Everyone: BAAA!

I'm glad you got that out of your system. All those wishing to join the diversity scheme say aye.

Everyone: AYE!

All those taking the piss say aye.

Everyone: AYE!

The ayes have it. On a seemingly unrelated matter, we've moved the clocks forward another year. You may recall that we were hoping to outrace the pandemic. Optimism isn't what it used to be.


Play it as it lays
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2023 »
Viewing figures are once again hugging the x-axis.

Lord Kelvin: I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.

Thanks for the pep talk.

John Milton: Oh FFS. Just get on with it.

Anne Sexton: Or not.

archy: you know my thoughts on the subject

Dorothy Parker: I say kill your darlings. The entire site qualifies.

Mehitabel: If with the literate I am
    Impelled to try an epigram,
    I never seek to take the credit;
    We all assume that Dorothy said it.

Ellen Ripley: Dorothy or whoever is right. Nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Annie Jump Cannon: You say that about everything.

It's time for an illustration. You know how itchy I get without them.

Tycho Brahe: Is that your way of telling us you're going to add a facility for Likes?

No, just a bit of tangential recycling. I think we can all agree that Likes would be spectacularly pointless. Unlike, well, you know.

Tycho Brahe: I've got a new nose guy. He's not so grate at the sanding.

Anyone else want to chime in here with homonyms, epigrams, or cold hard logic?

Charles Babbage: Embrace the 1's and 0's.

Joan Didion [Everyone: Welcome Joan!]: Play it as it lays.

John Milton: The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. God I'm thirsty.

archy: drinks at the slaughtered lamb question mark i frequent the algonquin room which has a fine selection of spirit puddles and crumbs

[A rush for the EXIT. Some wag has scribbled NO above the flickering sign.]

[Addressing chairs, now empty except for one with a nose sitting neatly on top] Good meeting.


Time after time
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2023 »
My name is sam and I have OCD.

Everyone: Hello sam.

Is it just you for today's meeting Nikola?

Nikola Tesla: Did you forget that it's Jab Day? They're all in the Clean Room.

What Clean Room?

Nikola Tesla: The Ballroom,

which is the only space large enough to maintain adequate social distancing as long as there's not another outbreak of the tango. As Science & Sanitation Officer I had it scrubbed down to the molecular level after a surprise inspection last week brought to light so many health code violations I had to stop counting. [Pauses] I jest about the counting.

Very well. By the way, you don't have to sit all the way at the back. Feel free to move your chair closer to the lectern. I am certified Covid free.

Nikola Tesla: Here's fine, thanks. Anyway it's nearer to the toilet {shudder} so I can wash my hands if necessary, and it's always necessary. You should think about installing a dedicated sink room, preferably with 3 sinks in a virtuous circle.

[Sound of flushing. Humbug hops in.] Humbug: Allo! Thas the firstime I av used one of those flushy things. I hope yer didn't start wivvout me.

Do you have obsessive compulsive disorder, Humbug?

Humbug: Not that I'm aware ov. But I av already ad my shots ta.

If you don't mind my saying, you don't sound exactly like the Humbug I know.

Humbug: Maybe you'll need to edit my dialogue 50 times to get it right, eh?

Nikola Tesla: [Turning to look at Humbug] Why 50? Is there a reason you chose that number?

Humbug: No reason, its just a big number that soundz about rite even if I dont quite. [Approaches Tesla and raises paw to shake hands]

Nikola Tesla [Looks at paw with something akin to horror]

Humbug: Sorry, I forgot! [Hops on a windowsill and settles in]

[Clears throat and begins] This isn't something I tend to bring up in public. It's embarrassing. It's mental – literally. But I think it's good to talk about these things, to help destigmatise them.

Humbug: You're among friends. Sometimz I get tired of talkin like this, especiarly when I haven't had practice, if you know wat I mean. Proceed.

I have it for real. Not just the jokey kind where you're a bit of a neat freak. It manifested when I was a child. The usual hand washing. Pointless rituals. Intrusive thoughts, which is hellish, let me tell you. Eventually my parents signed me up for the talking cure. I suppose it helped, though I don't remember more than the fact that it got better until it got worse again. I'd go through cycles. At its worst I suffer full blown panic attacks, the ones where you quite genuinely are convinced you are going to die. Just recalling what it feels like as you slide into that icy state of pure terror is enough to give me a case of the shivers.

I've largely conquered it, though like being an alcoholic no matter how dry you are, you always have OCD. It's the way I'm wired. It still influences me in certain ways, though it can be hard to tell when a search for excellence crosses the line into being "a little OCD."

Nikola Tesla: Surely you'd like to share examples with us. Or one in particular?

Thought you'd never ask. I like to edit. Almost all of my posts go through changes. Some of the more intricate ones will indeed be edited dozens of times, though I've never counted and don't care to. It's my process.

Nikola Tesla: But that means...

That's right. It means that what you're reading now may not be the same thing that's here tomorrow. It's not just fixing typos, grammatical errors, and redundancies. Maybe I'll end up covering a new angle that I'm horrified I missed in the first place. Or add pictures or video. A recent example of a many chang'd thing is 'Publish and be damned'. That has easily had a record number of AA's.

Nikola Tesla: AA's?

Sorry. 'Author's Alteration'. It's a term from my typesetting days when we'd charge the client for every AA.

As happens often enough, I've been here before:

A flaw in my process often renders me unable to post without a host of further edits as I continue to examine the angles and interrogate myself about my own truthfulness. Eventually this settles down; it definitely stops if there's a reply except for clarification or grammar or harmless flourish. The nature of this site means it's not traditionally been a problem in the slightest. Should that change, I'll try my best to move on after the final full stop.

Humbug: Wivvout wishing to offend, it does sound ravver mental.

What can I say, I get pleasure from writing and rewriting and hope at least a few people will get pleasure in the reading. I may actually prefer revising, because confonting a cursor on a blank screen is almost always harder.

Forums are the ideal environment for this type of expression. It's instant publishing, endlessly editable. All the better when there's no edit line, which is why we don't have one here. Incidentally, Yacf doesn't either – an idea I'm happy they got from me. Most forums I've been to have an edit line.

Yacf is only getting a mention because its very existence is down to my bugbear with emoticons (though if it hadn't been that it almost certainly would have been something else). Contrary to popular belief I don't mind the occasional smiley. But they were becoming almost like Tribbles and doing my head in.


That looks awfully familiar.

Humbug: Originality is undetected plagiarism.

William Inge, popping head in: Hey!

Nikola Tesla: Has everyone had their jabs and been hosed down in the decontamination chamber?

William Inge: [Runs quickly away]

Nikola Tesla: It takes all kinds.

Humbug: Anyfing else you want to get off yer chest sam?

Yes, thanks for asking. First if I may draw your attention to this post.

Nikola Tesla, Humbug, and William Inge [who has returned despite Nikola's glare]: Consider it drawn.

Anyone paying attention – a small and sainted club to be sure – will appreciate things lost on someone who's not invested beyond the link that brought them here. For a start, I love orchestrating coincidences. Take Smile. Did you notice that (with one grim exception) nobody is smiling?

Nikola Tesla: I had thought that much was obvious.

You'd be surprised how much people miss. They've got other places to be and can't dally, you know.


My apologies; we've covered site stickiness in a previous meeting.

This isn't obviously a blog even while it is explicitly not a forum. Hence I feel justified in capitalising on the confusion to attempt to host contributions of a certain calibre.

Humbug: If you do say so yourself. Aren't you worried people might think you a bike forum snob?

If there's one thing I don't give, it's a damn about that.

What I'm trying to get at is, every time I post I think about what kind of non-forum I want. Look, I care about words. Even the subject headings aren't thoughtlessly slapped on. At the risk of repeating myself, I'll repeat myself. Pay attention in the back.

Humbug [distracted by a butterfly outside the window]: Bah Humbug to peeps who don't use their peepers.

Nikola Tesla: I do wish people would take the time to appreciate the finer things in life. [Looks at watch] I've got an Insomniacs Anonymous meeting in three minutes.

See you there.


« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2023 »
The membership committee divides the world into two groups: those who have the right stuff

"If you have to click this you don't have it"
and those who miss too many references to be salvageable. I personally think they're being a little harsh, but then I'm mostly a figurehead who was grandfathered in.

The committee has come up with the following:

No, not the shirt. A survey. Sharpen your pencil.

My what?
"A pencil is (or was, depending how far into a dystopian feature we are by the time you read this) an instrument for writing or drawing, consisting of a thin stick of graphite or a similar substance enclosed in a long thin piece of wood or fixed in a cylindrical case." The idiom means "Get ready to write, which by extension means get ready to problem solve or think."
- Please rate your experience of this website on a scale of 1 ("Couldn't get out fast enough") to 5 ("Addictive as Netflix on a desert island").

- Would you recommend this to friends, family, co-workers and strangers, i.e., everybody? If not, explain in rhyming couplet.

- It's fashionable these days to ascribe motive to even the most innocent and trifling of jokes. If you agree, explain why in the poetic form known as Ghazal.

- Have you ever owned a dog whistle, and did it work? Answer within the parameters of Y/N only.

- When there is so much suffering in the world, how do you justify a digestive system which hums along nicely?

- What did you want to be when you grew up, a fireman or a firewoman?

- A dog, a cat, and a rabbit have to cross a river on the same boat. The cat and the dog don't like each other. The bunny gets along with everyone. There are a scorpion and a frog in another nearby boat, and the river is filled with crocodiles. Could you come up with a cautionary fable using this material?

- Are people pretty much the same everywhere, or are some really aliens pretending to be people?

- Do you believe time travel has already been invented but is only available to our betters?

Thank you. T-shirts are available in the lobby.

Binging on Chicago Fire is not a universally relatable human experience

ChiFi takes me back to Emergency!

Kevin Tighe (who was also an extra in The Graduate!) would later be cuckolded by Gilbert Grape.



Finis initium
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2024 »
Be it hereby resolved that I am giving up posting after today. You are all my witnesses.

on edit a little over a year later:
And so it came to pass on that timeline.


Welcome to the rabbit hole
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2023 »
Ladies and gentlemen and Grace Lavery, who wandered in off the street and has been fed, watered, and given accommodation in a very comfortable closet until a responsible person can come collect him, welcome to today's meeting.

Grace Lavery via Zoom: [Silent, as the sound as been turned off. The rest of the members respectfully wait until his mouth stops moving.]

No. 10 has its Chief Mouser. The White House often has a resident and highly cosseted dog.

Who's a good doggie?

Who's a good doggie?

Who's been a bad boy?

Who's a good doggie?

It is high time for us to have a house rabbit.

[Chair is wheeled in]

Pat Nixon: He's adorable.

Sophie Germain: So cute.

Marcel Marceau: [mimes petting him]

Marcel, you've been warned about mime during important meetings. Would you like a time out with Grace?

Marcel Marceau: [mimes rubbing tears from eyes]

The vote is to give Chompsky free rein throughout the clubhouse, followed at a discreet distance by someone from maintenance to repair any damage to the structure.

[All members except one]: Aye!

[One member]: No!

[There is general confusion. Who would vote in such a perplexing way?]

Clarence Darrow: Sadly I'm allergic.

Fair enough. All in favour of removing Clarence from the membership roles to keep him from harm's way?

[All members, some on their feet]: Aye!

Serjeant-at-arms, please escort Clarence from the premises. Your things will be boxed up and sent to you later. Now then, shall we have that vote again? All those in favour of a house rabbit?

George Washington: Point of order. I thought Chompsky already had free rein of the clubhouse.

We're just making it official.

George Washington: In that case I have no objection.

[Not even waiting to have the vote called again, all members on their feet this time, some now openly weeping with relief]: AYE!

Grace Lavery: [Gesticulates wildly]

Marcel Marceau: AYE!!!

[Chompsky, disturbed by the commotion, hops off the chair and out of the room, followed a few moments later by maintenance.]

[The room empties except for Deanna Troi, lost in thought. Suddenly she sits up straighter.]

I get it. There are bad rabbit holes and good rabbit holes.

[Grace, who hasn't been switched off, just glares. Danny Zuko comes back into the room, turns Grace's screen to the wall on the way to Deanna, and swings his leg over a chair.]

Danny Zuko: Hiya.

Deanna Troi: I'm always surprised at discovering just who is a member.

Danny Zuko [moving his chair closer]: I know, right?

Deanna Troi [inching her chair away]: What can I do for you, Danny?

Danny Zuko: You could like, give me your phone number and we could hook up.

Deanna Troi: Although I find your archetype appealing in a primal way, up close you actually make my skin crawl.

Danny Zuko: I know, right?

Deanna Troi: Danny, it's not a good feeling.

Danny Zuko [winks and gets up]: I can take a hint. Where's that chick I saw walking in? [Turns Grace's screen back around. Staggers back, but quickly thinks better of it on a Saturday night] Well hello beautiful.

Deanna Troi: I'll leave you two to it.


Three's a crowd
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2023 »
Do you mind if I turn this down?

[Turns it down]

I have a problem.

Sigmund Freud: You've come to the right place.

Yes, it's good we have a couch set up in the supply room.

Sigmund Freud: I'm not complaining. What's the problem?

I'm addicted to CycleChat's politics forum, aka NACA.

Sigmund Freud: I see. Go on.

Lacking a forum of my own, I obtain satisfaction from critiquing that one.

Sigmund Freud: Why that one in particular?

It’s small. Size matters. Easier to get a grip on it.

Sigmund Freud [holding cigar a little tighter]: As my colleague Erma Bombeck once said, the grass is always greener over the septic tank.

I'm sure the fact that I was banned from CC has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Sigmund Freud: Are you sure?

Now that you mention it, no. It was probably for the best.

Sigmund Freud: Probably.

[Twists around on the couch] What makes you say that?

Sigmund Freud: What makes you say that?

[Settles back down to stare at the ceiling] I don't like confrontation. Why is there a mirror on the ceiling?

Sigmund Freud: The couch is actually a sofa bed.

Is that professional?

Sigmund Freud: Well, sometimes I pay, sometimes she does.


Sigmund Freud: You're the one who brought it up.

It would be so much more convenient if I was addicted to the CTC’s forum.

Sigmund Freud [looking at watch]: We can talk about that, but—

[There's a brief knock at the door. Catherine the Great bursts in.]

Catherine the Great: Sorry to take so long, the nearest ATM was out of order.

Sigmund Freud: I'm afraid our time is up.

[Gets up from the couch, which Catherine the Great immediately starts unfolding] But we haven't solved my problem.

No, but now I have one, which is that you're still here.

Catherine the Great [looking over speculatively]: Two langers are better than one. He can stay.


[Music starts up again]

you can click me too


Tick tock
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2023 »
We're gathered to celebrate NACF's 11th birthday, though as with the queen, it's not the real date. It's just when this domain was registered. Also it's only been 10 years, not counting the 7 years before. You know what time is like around here.

James Clerk Maxwell: It is all most perplexing.

[There is a murmur of agreement amongst the other members. Orson Welles bellows "We will sell no wine before it's time!" from the back. Anne Sullivan comforts him with a slap. Nikita Khrushchev is arm wrestling Charles the Bald at a table set up for chess while Beth Harmon paces nearby. I could go on.]

Let us not concern ourselves with the particulars.

Marilyn Monroe: Would you like me to sing?

Thank you, but I already have entertainment booked.


Captain's log, supplemental
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2023 »
Our clocks need adjusting again. Alas the official timekeeper is on loan to Easter Island to reset their sundials.


Annual Meeting
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2026 »
Ah good, the clocks have been reset. Thank you kindly, official timekeeper.

John Harrison: You're welcome.

How was Easter Island?

John Harrison:

Paul Erdős: Why 2026?

John Harrison: Because that's when our glorious Queen would've been 100 had her life not been cut cruelly short, thus depriving her of a letter from our glorious Queen.

Elizabeth R: We are not amused.

John Harrison: Begging your pardon

it was not an attempt at levity. That well went dry after my Chile quip.

Settle down people. It's been a while since our last meeting, and we've a lot of ground to cover.

Groundskeeper Willie: Dae we hae time fur shaw an' teel?

Always, Willie. Just not today. Which is a very special day. Could you stand up please, Paul?

Paul Erdős: I'm 110. Must I?

Do I have to call security?

Paul Erdős: I can never tell if you're serious. [Stands just in case]

Everyone, Paul is our 1000th member.

It's true

A big round of applause!

[A big round of applause, though some are peeved at not having arrived so fashionably late to NACF]

Groundskeeper Willie: What's wrang wi' his lest nam? it looks loch a bunny stepped in it.

Paul Erdős:

Fast forward if you're short of time

Groundskeeper Willie: 'at bonny lass can teach me vowels onytime!

Elizabeth R: We are not impressed.

[Underwhelming translation aside, Elizabeth is starting to look at Willie the way Victoria did at John Brown]

Much of Paul's work centered around discrete mathematics, cracking many previously unsolved problems in the field. [Check notes] He championed and contributed to Ramsey theory, which studies the conditions in which order necessarily appears. Overall, his work leaned towards solving previously open problems, rather than developing or exploring new areas of mathematics.

[A round of less certain applause]

Paul agreed to have a look at our books. Bringing his considerable expertise with numbers to bear on the task, he turned them from red to black. Not only can we continue to pay the rent on our domain, we've got enough left over to donate to a good cause. The charities committee has the floor.

[Elizabeth R's retainers carry her in her chair up to the front]

Elizabeth R: This was not easy. There are so many worthy causes. After an exhaustive search, and much reflection, we are recommending Rack of Lamb.

[Significant pause]

Is that some kind of feed the mansionless scheme?

Elizabeth R: No, they are concerned with providing shepherds with lambing frames like so:

I see.

Elizabeth R: Charles speaks very highly of them. Duchy have been using them for years.

May I ask which charity came next in your estimation, no matter how far down in second place?

[A retainer hands her a slip]

Elizabeth R: Avocados Without Fear.

I'm almost afraid to ask.

Elizabeth R: A group of agricultural scientists have been working pro bono to find a cure for the unripe or overripe avocado.

Very well. All in favour of a donation to Rack of Lamb say aye.

[Scattered ayes]

Those who would prefer to help end the suffering of consumers of avocados, say aye.

[Thunderous chorus of AYEs]

Paul Erdős: Can I sit down now?

[Everyone else leaves. On the way out Elizabeth stifles a giggle at something Willie says about show and tell.]