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 Commettee 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.

Fancy and preoccupation
« Reply #4 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 #5 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.

Not even hashtags will do the trick?

Everybody: NIL EFFECT.

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

« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2022 »

I've been asked to compile an inventory of our library for insurance purposes.

Abigail Adams - The Write Stuff
Ansel Adams - The Decisive Moment
Louisa May Alcott - Short People
Buzz Aldrin - What's On Second
Hans Christian Andersen - Dressed To Chill
Mary Anning - Here Are My Dragons
Susan B. Anthony - The B Word
Antinous - Yo Hadrian
Diane Arbus - Picture Perfect
Neil Armstrong - (A) Man
Jane Austen - You Complete Me

Isabella Beeton - Cooking With Excel
Zina Bethune - It's Not Me It's You
Mel Blanc - Filling In The Blanc
Anne Bradstreet - Virtue Is My Muse
Britannicus - When In Rome
Patrick Brontë - The Brontë Bunch
George Burns - God Was A Wiseguy
Barbara Bush - From My Loins

John Cage - Hearing Things
Michael Caine - Just Blow
Caligula - Pornhubris
Julia Margaret Cameron - I'm Ready For My Closeup
Mark Carney - Dressed For Success
Elizabeth Carter - Don't Worry Be Happy
Gene Cernan - At Last
Charlie Chaplin - Brother Can You Spare The Time?
Émilie du Châtelet - Femme Naturelle
Apsley Cherry-Garrard - Are We There Yet?
Claudius - Me Myself & I
Beverly Cleary - Ramona Quimby, 666
Nicolaus Copernicus - Towards A Velocentric View Of The Universe

Charles Darwin - Caress And Conquer
Jefferson Davis - Not My President
Helen Gahagan Douglas - Better Pink Than Fink
Bob Dylan - Forever Young

Amelia Earhart - Choose Your Own Adventure
Albert Einstein - Do The Math
Queen Elizabeth - The Ermine Ceiling
Ralph Ellison - SMIDSY
M.C. Escher - What Goes Around

Barbara Follett - Written Out Of The Story
Anne Frank - Dear Everybody
Ben Franklin - Poor Man, Rich Man
Sigmund Freud - Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar

Greta Garbo - Sometimes A Greta Notion
George III - By George
Jacob Grimm - Let Me Down Easy

Thomas Hardy - Maddening
Hugh Hefner - Master Of My Domain
Jimi Hendrix - Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy
John Herschel - Busybody
Marguerite Higgins - Girl War Correspondent
Christopher Hitchens - Are You There God? It's Me, Christopher.
Harry Houdini - Of Human Bondage
Engelbert Humperdinck - Engelbert Humperdinck

Ivan the Terrible - Read It And Weep

Jennie Jerome - A Name Of One's Own
James Joyce - Yes Means Yes

Franz Kafka - Kafkaesque
Walt Kelly - Know Your Enemy: A Self-Help Autobiography
Jack Kerouac - Fork In The Road
Ken Kesey - Unsafe At Any Speed
John Maynard Keynes - My Life As An Adjective

Stan Laurel - Lucky Dog
Emma Lazarus - When Breath Becomes Air
Abraham Lincoln - Surely You're Joking, Mr. Lincoln!
Little Carmine - De Something: The Nobiliary Particle In Action (not yet published, our members keep asking for it)
Ada Lovelace - A Very Explicit Function Of X

Marvin the Paranoid Android - Have A Nice Day
Princess Mary - Mary Meek & Mild
Harpo Marx - Mime Camp
Karl Marx - Lark: Pranks I played In The British Museum Reading Room
Hattie McDaniel - The M Word
John McEnroe - Good Sport
Margaret Mead - Playing Doctor
Eddy Merckx - Alive
Marilyn Monroe - The Monroe Doctrine: Spheres Of Influence
Lucretia Mott - Don't Get Sentimental On Me

Randy Newman - Bite Me
Florence Nightingale - It's Not About The Lamp
Harry Nilsson - The Talking Cure
Anaïs Nin - The Secret Diary of Anaïs Nin, Aged 33¾
Pat Nixon - Standing Pat
Richard Nixon - Reach For The Stars

Shhh! There are people here reading by osmosis.

Dorothy Parker - Baby It's Cold Inside
Mike Pence - Stepping Up
Prince Philip - Prince Charming
Edgar Allan Poe - Quoth Unquote

Ayn Rand - Supergirl Unhugged
Keanu Reeves - Awakenings
Norman Rockwell - We Can't All Be Jackson Pollock
Babe Ruth - Hit Me Babe One More Time

Robert Falcon Scott - Penguins For Dinner
Erich Segal - Sorry
Mary Shelley - Hear Me Roar
Hans Sloane - To Dust We Return
John Snow - The Pump Don't Work 'Cause I Took The Handle
Gertrude Stein - It Is What It Is
George Stephenson - Do The Locomotion
Harriet Beecher Stowe - Fighting Words
Jonathan Swift - Tall Tales

Henry Fox Talbot - Take A Calotype It'll Last Longer
Major Taylor - Human Racing
Mother Teresa - Here Comes The Bride
Margaret Thatcher - Boo Hoo: My Life In Purgatory
Tiny Tim - Where I'll Be
Flora Tristan - Pussy Riot

John Updike - The Naked Rejection Slip
Uvedale Price (filed here because Updike is lonely) - Sublime Is My Middle Name

Mary Whitehouse - When Titles Fail
Walt Whitman - Say My Name
Mary Wollstonecraft - Frankly Giving A Damn
Fay Wray - Fatale Tamale
Wilbur Wright - Plenty Of Legroom

Abraham Zapruder - My Other Home Movies

Happy to oblige.