Friday, Nov. 23, 42 A.B.


Yesterday was Terry Gilliam's 61st birthday.  We celebrated as we always do, with turkey and all the trimmings.  Like last year, the naked, headless fowl sitting in the middle of our table like a freshly-showered and overly tanned Margaret Thatcher sitting on a tablecloth-covered toilet seemed an apt symbol of Mr. Gilliam's cut-and-paste animations for Monty Python.   This year, however, it suddenly became the perfect symbol when U.S. Navy SEALS unexpectedly emerged from the bottom of my wine glass and fought their way into the beast's abdominal cavity in search of Osama bin Laden.  Or maybe Vanna White.  Seems it's terribly difficult to understand what name SEALS are calling out when their mouths are full of undercooked stuffing....

As it turns out, Osama was not holed up in the turkey in the center of my table yesterday.

Which fact allowed me plenty of time to ponder whether the sweet potatoes or the mashed rolls best symbolized Mr. Gilliam's Jabberwocky flick.  I generally come to alternate conclusions on alternate years, but this year... well, I simply couldn't decide, having expended the last of my intellectual energies convincing my wife that peas are better symbols of Mr. Gilliam's Time Bandits than green beans can ever hope to be.  Sensing my weakened condition, she granted my point only so she could quickly claim that the cranberry sauce symbolized BOTH Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.  Too exhausted to contest her absurd point, I wanly waved her off and sat back to enjoy the traditional spanking of the pumpkin pie.    

Alas, my enjoyment was muted by the knowledge (acquired just hours previously) that Leonardo da Vinci had been a vegetarian.  Seems the guy couldn't be content with being a much better artist, scientist, and Italian than I'll ever be - oh no!  He also had to be a much more moral man when it comes to eating other living creatures as well.  Had I not been able to console myself with visions of tiny turkeys sunning themselves on the beaches of Tahiti thanks to the hefty life insurance policies their parents had the foresight to acquire, I'm afraid I would have spewed giblets.

And I think we all know how embarrassing that can be when one hasn't had sufficient time to rehearse.

But first things first.

Yesterday started with my watching the annual Macy's parade for the first time in decades.  (Seems I can never remember what day it's on.)  As you may suspect, I only watched because the balloons - and I only watched those from between the fingers I hold tight against my face ever since the Cat in the Hat balloon beaned that poor spectator a few years ago.  In the wake of that unfortunate incident, I've been staying up late at night trying to decide whether it's balloons that we shouldn't trust, or cats, or balloons and cats which require 60 men with thick ropes to control.

Watching the balloons yesterday did nothing to settle the issue, but it did raise a new one.

One of those balloons was named Blue, and in the course of telling me more about Blue than any person really ought to know, Katie Couric (who is not a balloon herself) told me that Blue was special because it was only the 5th female balloon ever allowed to take part in the parade.

I was stunned.

I couldn't believe it.

The parade's been going on for 75 years now and they've allowed ONE new female balloon to take part in it an average of once every 15 years?!

I must have misheard.

So I checked  the official parade online site and discovered that I had not misheard.

In fact, a check of the  scheduled performers  revealed the same pattern -

Valerie Harper and Miss Universe lost in a long list of males!

The subliminal message was clear: Females simply aren't good enough to celebrate Terry Gilliam's birthday.

And neither are female balloons.

I wept for my country - I really did.

Fortunately, enough stuffing was accidentally tossed onto my face by gung-ho SEALS to absorb those tears and keep them from dripping down into the cranberry sauce which allegedly symbolizes both Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.

Then again, maybe the addition of tears to my cranberry sauce might succeed in covering up the taste of all the sweat I put into it.


*Slipping away to my laboratory for experiments too secret to even hint at*

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher after heating to an internal temperature
of 160 degrees to kill off any infectious sense it may contain)


NOTE:  If you paid more than $20 for a barrel of cranberries this year, you paid too much!

Highlights From The Life Of Terry Gilliam

  • Mr. Gilliam was born in Minnesota in 1940 - the same 1940 which found Trotsky assassinated in Mexico!
  • Mr. Gilliam attended high school in California.  Although he won acclaim there as a pole-vaulter, there is scant evidence and few rumormongers willing to suggest that he got to California from Minnesota by pole-vaulting.
  • Mr. Gilliam graduated from Occidental College with a diploma in one hand and his virginity in the other.
  • Mr. Gilliam currently enjoys sitting extremely still for indeterminate lengths of time.