Tuesday, June 28, 2011

George Carlin, Flamethrowers...and Ultrarunning

A week or so ago (22 June) I missed the birthday of George Carlin.  He was a professional smart ass, which is good work if you can get it.  The bride always says that when she was taking those aptitude tests in high school, she never realized that "smart ass" was a legitimate career choice or she may have taken a different path in life.

Anyway, below I will try to embed a YouTube video of the George Carlin flamethrower routine, but YouTube has been balky for me lately.  If it won't appear below or play just click here for it in a new window.

You should really play the short clip and hear it from George's mouth, but if YouTube is balky, here's what the brillinat George says:

The very existence of flame-throwers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.

Wiki tells us that today is the birthday of George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008), who was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums.

Carlin was noted for his black humor as well as his thoughts on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. Carlin and his "Seven Dirty Words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a narrow 5–4 decision by the justices affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves.

Oh, and the connection to Ultrarunning?  Can you imagine any of us peaceful trail runners, in a sane world, even imagining the use of a flamethrower?  I realize that some of us have spent time in the military and were in situations where such weapons were used, but really? 

I was going to say something like if the world were full of trail runners, there would be no wars.  I happen to believe that, but I think that virtually any circumspective pastime might qualify.  For example, if you substitute the word quilters, you get the same effect.  Or gardeners or birders or cavers or model train enthusiasts or people interested in high-altitude bogs....

I guess if you are a real devotee of some peaceful pursuit, you don't embrace war as a general rule.  Of course, maybe Dick Cheney collected stamps, but  I think you catch my drift.


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