Update on RAGING Controversy re: Ponce de Leon vs. Ais Indians of Florida

Headline from today’s local Brevard County newspaper, The Florida Today (a Gannett publication, unfortunately):

 Brevard drops support for naming barrier island after Ponce de Leon

Interesting article (despite its Gannett ownership):


It’s nice to see people caring about history and local nomenclature.

Ponce needs Mitt more than ever now–it’s a good thing Mitt doesn’t know that he could use Ponce to woo Hispanic Florida voters.

Alan Brech 2012

Scholars Gone Wild! More Barely Burlesqued Quotations from a Reputedly Great History of Western Culture

From Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life (2000) with little or no distortion:

•  Kepler, the discoverer of the elliptical nature of planetary orbits, “was a practicing astrologist.” (p. 196)

He invented the elliptical writing used in modern horoscopes.

•  Newton was “a dedicated alchemist.” (p. 196)

He sure struck gold when he combined figs with shortbread.

•  Paracelsus was “hot with anger against authority.” (p. 197)

You should have seen his brother Full-On Celsus–as a little boy the Church confirmed him just so they could immediately excommunicate him, he was that bad.

•  The Catholic Church defended Galileo as long as they could. It was the rest of the public that was against him. (p. 204)

•  Pascal was too Catholic to be a mystic. (p. 215)

Jesus was too mystic to be a Catholic.

•  Science is bourgeois.  It’s just so new money. (pp. 206-207)

•  The Middle Ages were jolly, not gloomy. Feudalism was a breeze. (p. 225-226)

•  No one thought the world was going to end in A.D. 999. It’s a myth. (p. 227)

•  Dante’s beloved Beatrice was nine years old. (p. 233)

Reading his poems is now like watching Woody Allen’s Manhattan.

•  Romantic poetry and courtly love indirectly led to women’s rights. The Crusades helped too. (pp. 232-234)

My love is like an autonomous independent being 

who dependeth not on my regard for her self-worth,

nor yet the approval of any man she may be seeing

to imbue her life with meaning, or give birth

•  Medieval medicine makes a lot of sense. (p. 223)

•  In the Middle Ages, bands of graduate and undergraduate students roamed the countryside practicing anarchy. The more sedentary just preyed upon the nearby townspeople. (p. 229)

•  In the Middle Ages, there was no Middle Ages. (pp. 224-225)

If only that were also true for the Postmodern Era.

•  In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Germany and Italy caused “harm” to other European powers “by their tempting weakness.” (p. 241)

Blaming victims again? (see May 24th post below)

•  Dueling is an improvement over clan warfare, and absolute monarchs are better than dueling aristocrats (pp. 241-243)

Now here Barzun might be on to something.

Alan Brech 2012

Some Less Obvious Oxymora and Redundancies


Human wave tactic

Representative democracy

Right-wing pundit

Free love

Important book

Student loan

Illiterate socialists

The deep South

Internal investigation


Gay fashion

Tuna fish

Wealth disparity

over population

Obnoxious alpha male

Boring betas

Armed rebels

Liberal education

Diplomatic impasse

Existential crisis

Alan Brech 2012

Romney Should Pounce on Ponce de Leon Controversy to Woo Hispanic Voters in Florida

A huge controversy has erupted in Brevard County Florida over the naming of a previously unnamed stretch of barrier island south of Cape Canaveral.

Many in the Hispanic community want to name it after Ponce de Leon, who probably landed somewhere south of Cape Canaveral in 1513. Next year will be the 500th anniversary of that first recorded European landfall on mainland America in modern times.

Notice all the qualifiers–“recorded” (slavers and pirates and fisherman probably landed before Ponce)–“European” (Indians discovered it first)–“mainland” (Columbus landed on islands such as San Salvador)–“in modern times” (the Vikings had settled in Newfoundland 500 years earlier).

Reacting against the “Ponce Island” push are a growing number of people who want to continue with no name at all or to name it after the Ais Indians, the most politically powerful chiefdom along the east coast of Florida prior to their sudden disappearance sometime around AD 1700.

Apparently, some people just don’t like Ponce!  And some in the Hispanic community seem genuinely surprised that the word “conquistador” has taken on negative connotations over the last 40 years.

Supposedly the King of Spain is coming for the 500th anniversary. Or his delegate. Anyway, it’s gonna be huge.

The Brevard County Historical Commission (BCHC) initially approved the historical validity and relevance of naming the barrier island after Ponce de Leon.

At the time, there was no other naming proposal. Obviously, I prefer Ais. But it’s not our duty to nay-say naming choices as long as they are historically accurate and relevant.

Faced with the public outcry (people actually showed up at our meetings!) we refused to back either name until more input is received from the public.

The Ponce crowd was furious and stormed out. I walked out because I wasn’t sure my mother would make it to the bathroom if I didn’t.

All this controversy now goes back to the Brevard County Commission (not the BCHC, we’re just their appointed advisers, these are the people who actually run the county) on Tuesday, May 29th at 9:00 AM.

Romney would do well to come out strong for Ponce. Obama, of course, will be forced by his base (me) to go with the Ais Indians, alienating the entire Latin American community.

A few more Hispanic votes in Florida might change everything for Romney.

Ponce de Leon could change this whole frikkin election!

Alan Brech 2012

links, in case you don’t believe me:  http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120426/NEWS01/304260010/Melbourne-favors-naming-island-explorer-Juan-Ponce-de-Leon   or http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/apr/26/stretch-from-sebastian-inlet-to-port-canaveral/?print=1 )

Surprising Facts about Western Culture

Paraphrased nuggets from a really big book people say is great (From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life by Jacques Barzun, 2000) with occasional annotations:

• Dante was a nickname. His real name was Durante. (p. 113)

As in Jimmy?

Faust was a puppet show in England when Goethe saw it and got inspired. (p. 112)

Now if only we could make a puppet show out of Goethe’s writings, imagine what it might inspire!

• Virgil was a magician. (p. 47)

He sure pulled The Aeneid out of his ass! 

• The French Protestants provoked their own massacres. (p. 86, 113, etc.)

I’m not getting involved.

• Amerigo Vespucci really does deserve all the credit. Because he knew. (p. 104)

Don Quixote is not a novel. (p. 111)

• Da Vinci was not a “Renaissance Man.” (p. 79)

• Tolstoy proved that opera is absurd. (p. 176)

• Italians used to be considered smart. (p. 149)

• Academia started as writers workshops. In Italy! (ibid)

• Germans were once peaceful and doltish. (p. 178)  Part of being a Renaissance Person was being anti-German, euphemistically referred to as Gothic. But everyone knew you meant them.

• The Counter-Reformation was really just reform. Every society has its Inquisition, they just don’t call it that. (p. 38)

• Luther : Calvin : : Marx : Lenin  (p. 34, 37)

Ok, so then Vespucci : Columbus : : Ben Franklin : Everyone who got struck by lightning before Franklin?

• Thomas Aquinas was almost excommunicated–twice! (p. 40)

Three times could be a charm Benedictus!

And yeah, I’ve only gotten to page 200–about a quarter way in.

©2012 Alan Brech–no one can steal from Barzun the way I just did

Weak Awareness Week Starts In a Week or Two

Recluse Awareness Week begins Monday whether they like it or not (and they don’t)

So hug a recluse!   Because  ♥  +  😦  =  Get away from me kid!

Self-Delusion Awareness Week has been postponed

–for too long now!

Lameness Awareness Week will end soon, hopefully.

Metaphorical lameness obv.

Social Phobia Awareness Week starts next Monday

Let’s really amp up the pressure on those squids!

The Dark Side of Genius Awareness Week is in July

So the schools won’t have to deal with it.

Chronic Forgetfulness Awareness Week was last week, fool.  This week is Hopeless Diagnosis Week.

Alan Brech, 2012

Thoughts on the Wrong Oil and Romney as Norm-Trooper Bully

Maybe if all high school bullies were excluded from future political office, the world would be a nicer place. Or better yet, let’s just beat up all the high school bullies!

Oh darn that slippery slope (fake laugh)…

next topic:  a new form of joke in which words are deleted from the set-up and then included or hinted at in the punchlines.

Neo-conservative fantasy:  there’s nothing wrong with business, capitalism, and massive non-renewable resource extraction except ____ ____ (two words deleted for effect).

Reality:   There’s nothing wrong with Arab Oil. Arab gas stations, however….

“I’m sorry you’re not the dashing, gallant Bedouin tribesman that your ancestors were–could I have a full tank of super, please?”

Iranian oil is also perfectly fine. With friendly gas stations.

© Alan Brech 2012

Humorous Anecdote in Skeletal Form

Interesting little detail about life → funny implications and distortions → amusing philosophical lesson that undercuts everything.

Wasn’t that great?

Reviews are mixed:

“I liked the funny implications part.”

“What did you like about it?”

“It was funny!”


“I didn’t think the minor detail about life was that interesting.”

“I thought the philosophical lesson at the end kind of undercut the whole mindset that’s premised in the beginning of the anecdote-skeleton.”

“That’s what it’s supposed to do.”

“Oh, then that’s really funny!”

Two Love Poems in Skeletal Form:

1.  Symbolism says do me

2.  Symbolism says remember when you did me

There aren’t many poems whose underlying message is “No thanks, I’ve had enough for now.”  Moderation never could sing.

meta-humor by Alan Brech, (c) 2012

Precepts of Suburban Hobbesianism

It is not inconsistent to be anti-immgrant while hiring non-English speakers to cut your lawn even as your rider mower sits in the shed they rebuilt for you

The wooded hills of Appalachia are filled with crazy primitive redneck/woodchuck/hillbillies who want to sodomize you. Deliverance was cinema verité.

City people have a bat-like radar that allows them to navigate quicker than you. This means that they always have the option of snatching your money and getting away with it, and they behave accordingly.

A healthy lawn reflects a healthy household and a healthy family produces healthy individuals which produce healthy societies and glorious futures–all that for $10 an hour courtesy of your illegal immigrant landscaper!

Our prime directive:  to make life more like TV and make TV more like whatever’s good.

Our enemies:  everyone.  City folk wanna rob us, country folk want to sodomize us and overcharge for corn, governments wanna tax us, and Al-Qaeda hates our malls and PTA meetings and garage sales. But the worst of all our enemies has to be the intellectuals and artists, except maybe David Byrne.

The best neighbor is a fence. The best neighborhoods have walls around them. Unfortunately, the best walls rely on some shady people to operate the gatehouse.

One bright spot:  kids are exempt from rules against trespass, loitering, obscenity, public urination, dog leash laws, and minor vandalism if you’re really sorry and your parents pay ’em back. Not so in the cities!

[EXCEPTION:  this does not apply to condomium-dwellers. Condo Man will publicly complain about sleigh-riding kids ruining their “clean snow.”]

The point of life is to send out future generations into new suburban developments–you do not want to get stuck in an “old” suburb. Those are for the descendants of landscapers and gatekeepers.

(c) Alan Brech, 2012

New Product Warnings

Warning:  the new IPad2 fails to deliver total happiness!

Warning:  cat treats are just appetite suppressants

Warning:  reading books makes you blind

Warning:  insurance is just betting against yourself–try to be more optimistic with your money

Warning:  do not use these condoms in conditions warmer than 95° F (35° C)

Warning:  quantum physics indicates there is only a slight chance your tampons will explode

Warning:  anti-tobacco advertising is addictive–many local TV stations would fall apart without it

Warning:  female empowerment is just another patriarchal scam, all part of our evil plan to get back to that cave without any responsibilities whatsoever

Warning:  (for sub-Saharan markets) This product is highly toxic and sleeping with a virgin will not reduce its toxicity

(The above warning label was mandated by recent successful lawsuits in Zimbabwean courts.)

In the beginning was the joke and the joke was Good

Brethren–and sisters–our text today is from the Book of Laughs.  Now of course the full title is: The Laughs of the Ass-postles of Christ that’s Funny as Recorded by Bobo, Loyal but Overly-Editorial Scribe to Paul, formerly Saul, formerly of Gaul, who Claimed to be from Tarsus.

So you can see why people just call it The Laughs for short. That fuckin’ Bobo! Heh heh…

Today we’re gonna sermonize from Laughs 37:10 (hike!) where we find the following wisdumb:

“On that Day of Reckoning all the boogers thou ever picked and wiped shall be mounded up high and brought down on thy dwellings and thy fields, yay, on thy chattel and thy manservants, and then shalt thou have to account for the sins of thy very un-Jewish poor hygiene–

“–But IF thou believest in the holy nose hairs of the Messiah, in the redeeming sacrifice of his Pickless Existence, then shalt thou be washed clean of thine own filthy filtrations and enter into the Holy Mansion of God which has no boogers underneath the furniture and only a few old gum wads here and there because God suffers the children–and therefore, by implication, not you…”

The point is, brethren–and sisters–is that Christianity allowed us Europeans to be the filthy pigs we were gonna be anyway. Truly a miracle!

How to Talk to Foreigners

Canada:  How’s it feel to be from a country too lame to rebel against the British Empire?

Ireland:  Surrounded by good fisheries, you nevertheless managed to have a devastating Potato Famine.  And yet I’ve never heard of any Irish Fish Famine!  Eskimos have potato famines all the time and they’re never skinny.

Australia:  Your criminal ancestors’ requests for new trials has been granted and concluded:  ‘Turns out they were even more guilty than what they were convicted for (given modern morés against bestiality etc.).

Montana:  Isn’t that like a National Park or something?

France:  (Don’t. Snub them first.)

Pakistan:  In America, we’re building a town called Islama-good.  Because we’re optimists.

Iran:  Sorry amigo, when you call your capital city Terror-ran, it just makes me nervous.

Egypt:  Tarir Square?  ‘Sounds too much like Terror Square, sorry.

Germany:  How have things been since the anschluss with East Germany?  [Notoriously chilly when not drunk and overly-friendly, German visitors often require extra ice-breaking, so be sure to offer them some more lebensraum with their wine. If that doesn’t work, tell them that the tank is full of petrol and ammo and the neighbors are Polish.]

Israel-Palestine: Are you walled-in or are you walled-out?

Morocco:  What ever happened to that stuff called “hash?”

South Africa: When the feminists talk about Rape Culture, they’re not advocating it!  Now I’m not saying you have a duty to disprove the racist fear-mongers, but you kinda do…

Lebanon:  What ever happened to that stuff called “hash?”… Oh–how much does Al-Qaeda charge?

On Another Planet as Representative of All Humanity:  Man, you aliens are some ugly fucks!  No wonder you want our DNA!  I’d give you a free load of it right now if you’d just play that holographic porno you made with Shirley MacClaine.

Alan Brech