Tag: Spoof

Day 996: The Greatest Prank In The History Of History


“That putz, Bolton. This will totally blow his mind.”

The above may have been uttered between the cool gusts of sharp giggles at a gathering of the Berkeley chapter of E Clampus Vitus, an organization designated either as a “historical drinking society” or a “drinking historical society”, depending on whom you ask. These are folks who are dedicated to the noble history of the American West, though they prefer to cozy up to their history with a frothy glass of smirk. Call them deviant scholars, outlaw students of the distant past and the eternal spirit of yeeha. Practical academics and impractical jokers.

The brass plate left by Sir Francis Drake near the bubbly Pacific coast is little more than a whopping banana peel, left on the ground to trip up one unfortunate mark but soon elevated into an established part of the natural vegetation. The so-called plaque that signifies the terminus of European exploration across our happy little continent is a hoax, a forgery, a one-off gag that exploded into accepted fact.

The lesson here is that history, for all her dates and names and oft-inexplicable motivations, can be a blast. Especially when iniquitous historians with a smirking sense of humor mess it up on purpose.


Herbert Eugene Bolton was one of the most respected historians of American western expansion, the author of a now-commonplace theory that asserts that we should look at colonial expansion across all the Americas holistically, rather than piece by piece. He was a brilliant man, the fantastic mind who established the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley as the preeminent historical resource it is today. He was also a member of E Clampus Vitus. One would expect he’d have been on the lookout for shenanigans. Read more…

Day 793: Curious Bond-ities


After three years of film studies classes, I have yet to find any university prof who will bestow more than a grunt upon the phenomenon of James Bond. I understand that – if ever there was a formula film genre, Bond takes the golden crown of convention. But they are fun conventions, and despite the volumes upon volumes of cinematic history and analysis I have devoured in search of my degree, none of it really matters when a movie aspires to nothing more than fun.

The more recent run of Bond-age has explored love and loss in James’ life, dipped into his childhood origins for a sprinkling of character depth, and of course the guy has had his balls whipped. But the consistent thrills within the 23 films are the babes, the beverages and the bevy of bodacious techy-trinkets. Twenty-three films is an impressive feat, despite the lack of temporal congruity or a unifying sense of narrative continuity. But so what?

We don’t need to know how the psychological damage of the laser beam scene in Goldfinger is going to impact Bond’s battle technique atop the Golden Gate Bridge in A View To A Kill. Sure, the Daniel Craig trilogy (destined to be a quadrilogy in 2015) has given us a few consistent arcs within the characters, but we all know that they’ll get tossed aside when Craig moves on and the next Bond takes over.

I’m voting for Idris Elba in that role, by the way. If Remington Steele can be a Bond, why not Stringer Bell?

Look, he's already practicing!

Look, he’s already practicing!

As I mentioned, there are 23 Bond films in the official canon. If you want to be a completist, you’ll have to grab three additional films for your library. These ones won’t be found in the box set.

There’s the first James Bond film, released eight years prior to Dr. No. CBS paid Ian Fleming a whopping $1000 to adapt his first Bond novel, Casino Royale, into a one-hour television broadcast as part of their Climax! anthology series. The show aired on October 21, 1954. Remember two years ago when people were talking about the 50th anniversary of James Bond on film? Well, if we want to get really accurate, we’re actually at 60 years now. Read more…