May 01, 2015

Horse 1886 - May Day, M’aidez, Mayday!

1886.1 - Karl Marx

Along with Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Gummo, Zeppo and Bernard, Karl was one of the incredible Marx brothers; albeit the least funniest of them.
Quite the tearaway in his youth, Karl Marx is most famous for his many parties, including one party which was so proactive that instead of you finding the party, the party finds you. I am of course referring to the Communist Party.
When the state police eventually came to break up the party (following up on complaints from the neighbours), everyone was ordered to leave the building and everyone was accounted for except for one chap called Red Terrah. When later questioned, Karl was forced to concede that someone had spooked Red (this was known as the Red Scare) and that he was hiding in the bedroom. It took some time to find him but when Karl did, he exclaimed "Red's under the bed!"
In the commotion of looking for Red Terrah, Karl stubbed his foot on the corner of the bed and received many injuries. Sometime later he decided to write about his injurious foot which had subsequently gone septic and sold thousands of copies of his book called the "Communist Many-Festy-Toe".

On the back of his success, Karl grew exceedingly weird and grew an exceedingly weird beard. Concerned for the lack of wages that tea pickers were being paid in Ceylon, he refused to drink normal black tea and switched to camomile and rosehip on the basis that "all proper tea is theft". He was concerned that the use of teabags was ruining the calm nobility of afternoon tea and called for civil disobedience by workers in tea bag factories "Workers of the world, untie!"
He also advocated for the ownership of mining ventures by pigs, claiming that pigs were the most highly skilled in producing pig-iron. He famously postured that the "porkers should control the means of production".

1886.2 - The Eponymous Disease - A Farce

FX: A door opens and closes.

Doc: Hello, Mr Reginald Alzheimer I believe.
Reg: Yes.
Doc: Take a seat.
Reg: Thank you.

FX: Chairs moving.

Doc: My name is Doctor Badgerwaffle. What appears to the the trouble, sir?
Reg: What trouble?
Doc: What's bothering you?
Reg: Oh, I don't know. Nothing much.
Doc: Why did you come to see me this morning?
Reg: If I knew that, then I'd go and see a doctor.
Doc: I am a doctor.
Reg: Hello, doctor. I'm Reg.
Doc: Yes, I know, Reg.
Reg: Who's Reg.
Doc: You are, Reg.
Reg: Am I?
Doc: Yes, you are, Reg.
Reg: Well that's good to know because that's what everybody calls me.
Doc: Well then, Reg. Why did you come to see me this morning?
Reg: I think that I have some sort of disease.
Doc: Can you describe your disease?
Reg: Not really. I can't remember anyone else having a similar disease.
Doc: Can you describe the symptoms?
Reg: What symptoms?
Doc: The symptoms of the disease that you think you have.
Reg: Do I have a disease?
Doc: You think you have a disease.
Reg: Then I should go and see a doctor.
Doc: I'm a doctor.
Reg: Well that's good to know. I think that I have some sort of disease.
Doc: What disease do you think that you have?
Reg: I don't know. I'm not a doctor. That's why I thought I'd come and see you.
Doc: Ah.
Reg: I'm having trouble remembering things.
Doc: Such as?
Reg: Names, places, people, the winner of the 1927 FA Cup Final...
Doc: The winner of the 1927 FA Cup Final?
Reg: That was Cardiff City.
Doc: Was it?
Reg: Absolutely. That's something I'll never forget.
Doc: But you're saying that you have a problem with memory loss.
Reg: Am I? I can't remember.
Doc: You said that you think that you have problems remembering things.
Reg: Did I? I don't remember.
Doc: Yes, you did.
Reg: I did what?
Doc: Told me that you think that you have problems remembering things.
Reg: Well that sounds about right because I don't remember.
Doc: Indeed.
Reg: In thought and in word.
Doc: Now I'm going to suggest that you have what is called Alzheimer's Disease.
Reg: Well that's handy. My name is Reg Alzheimer.
Doc: It does seem somewhat convenient.
Reg: What does?
Doc: You having Alzheimer's Disease.
Reg: Well of course it's my disease. There ain't no other patients in here.
Doc: No, the disease is called Alzheimer's Disease.
Reg: Do you name all of your patient's diseases after them?
Doc: No. That'd be absurd.
Reg: Oh really? Who do you have coming in next; after me?
Doc: Let me see...

FX: Papers flicking.

Reg: Well? Who?
Doc: Lou Gehrig.

1886.3 - I Come From Mars. Isn't That Lovely? Hmm?

If I stand in the backyard on a clear night because I live in the land of suburbia, the amount of stars that I see is but a poor pittance compared with the vast panoply which can be seen from far outside cities. If you had been in the ancient world, before the invention of electric light, before the grey haze of pollution thrown into the skies by our insatiable cities, then perhaps the thought that the heavens and constellations had a bearing on people's lives doesn't sound quite so stupid any more.

It must be said that however useless astrology might otherwise be, it did at very least give us a map of the night sky and that map is incredibly useful for finding stuff. What I find almost bizarre though, is that astrology persisted, even after more planets were found with telescopes. The only planets (the word is derived from the Greek word for "wanderer") which were visible to the ancients were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. I think that it would have been ace if the name George had been given to Uranus, as it was the first planet to be found which wasn't visible to the naked eye. The subsequent discoveries of Neptune, Ceres, Pluto and Haumeke, have all had effects according to astrologers even though three of those have since been kicked out of the planet club.

I bet that if the Curiosity Rover which is currently roaming the dusty red plains of the fourth planet as our Marshall on Mars, were to point its cameras skywards, although it might be able to find some of the stars in the sky, that its star map would be significantly different and all of the constellations would be gone. If there really were little green men on Mars, they might have said that the blue planet Toshiyo (named after the Martian god of famine) was a "planet" because it would be the Earth which would wander through the sky; set against a different set of constellations.

No comments: