30 January 2009

Permission to Slap the bench, Your Honour...

Following the news can be dismaying for a comedian. Here I am, trying to craft new ways to make the audience laugh, and then I find a headline that says " 'Magic' goat arrested for armed robbery". How am I supposed to compete with that?

But I must set aside thoughts of felonious farmlife, because it's time to fling the fingers once again. This week, we head into a little contempt of court - all rise for this week's Slapcatcher...

Judge James Pohl.

Calling Guantanamo Bay "controversial" is like calling the surface of the sun "warm", leading to a pre-election promise by President Obama to shut down the detention centre there. As that process begins, the President put out a call to all prosecutors involved in the trials of detainees, instructing them to ask for a 120-day delay in proceedings. Apparently Judge Pohl found the request "unpersuasive". This may possibly be the hard death of an old habit, as Judge Pohl may have trouble agreeing to a Presidential request that is grammatically correct and riddled with English. Whatever the reason for executing as difficult a manoevre as ignoring the head of state, Judge Pohl's reaction of "you're not the boss of me", while not totally inaccurate, is missing a broader perspective.

Guantanamo Bay, or "Gitmo" as it has been called by those who like to give nicknames to locations used to violate human rights, has become a symbol of American hypocracy. The contortions that various members of the previous government went through in order to avoid the word "torture", when describing the interrogation tactics used there, were of Olympic gymnast standard. I won't list the techniques here, as a quick Googling will bring you up to speed, but covering inhuman treatment with whacky wordplay was one of the reasons why Dubya was as popular as plucking nose hair. Judge Pohl's unpersuasion may slow the process of curing this great political coldsore.

So, sneakily asking for permission to approach the bench so that I can get in arm's reach - SLAP!

Links: Guantanamo trial suspension request "unpersuasive"

Judge rejects Obama delay request

and, of course... 'Magic' goat arrested for armed robbery

23 January 2009

Ceasefire - start Slap.

The sleeve is rolled up, the fingers are flexed - time to Slap.

In a momentous week, where millions of people watched the inauguration of a new President of the US - including the blooper reel - and got one last vice-presidential glimpse of Dick Cheney (Dick, when bucking for a worker's compensation claim, you should start before the last day on the job), today's Slap occurs in more dangerous surroundings. Flak jacket donned, we head into the Middle East for the riskiest slap yet...

Khaled Meshaal.

As the political head of Hamas, Meshaal is a pivotal figure in history's biggest ongoing mess. Any analysis of the intricacies involved is beyond my ken, but as residents of Gaza begin the massive task of rebuilding after Israel's latest attacks (according to ABC News, "whole neighbourhoods have been literally flattened"), I know enough to spot a problem when Meshaal declares victory.

From his exile in Syria (when looking for the best position from which to proclaim victory, "in exile" isn't ideal), Khaled Meshaal announced that Israel hadn't achieved their aims... not because other nations brought pressure to bear, but because of Hamas. This is truly the old "I attacked his fist with my face" gag on an international scale. When I was in primary school, I managed an impressive unvictorious streak in playground fights, but not once did I raise my hands in triumph after a teacher dragged the other participant off me.

Whatever your opinion of the Palestinian conflict, whoever you assign the moral high ground to (if it can be assigned to anyone), it doesn't take an indepth knowledge of history or international diplomacy to realise that if the global community hadn't made noise, Israel would still be increasing the size of the Great Gaza Car Park. So, for Khaled Meshaal's "hooray for us!", with a vengeful hand and a battle-cry of "You're Not Helping!"... SLAP!

Link: Hamas declares victory in Gaza.

Quick post-note: if you've been following some Australian news, you may have noticed an obvious Slap candidate - a very minor religious figure who has had some offensive ideas of his posted online. As slapworthy as he is, I also have a huge problem with the amount of attention he has received, and so I won't add to it.

16 January 2009

A slap by any other name...

It's Friday, so it's time to leave some fingerprint evidence at high velocity.

A person may Slap another for a variety of reasons; to hurt, to embarrass, to shock... this week, if aimed well enough, a blow to the head of each recipient may jar a wayward piece of brain back into place. With that in mind, I introduce January 16th's official Slapcatchers...

Heath and Deborah Campbell.

The Campbells are New Jersey residents, and parents of three children recently taken into care by the Division of Youth and Family Services. No official reason has been given, but anyone reading the story might suspect that the kids - three year-old Adolph Hitler, and his younger sisters JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie - might be better off under different living arrangements.

The Campbells came to media attention last month after a shop refused to inscribe a birthday cake with little Adolph's name... and at this point a brief pause, as the WalMart that did agree to the decoration is awarded a quick Flick... causing Heath to make a couple of interesting remarks;

Quotes taken directly from ninemsn.com.au

"They say, 'He (Hitler) killed all those people' ... I say, 'You're living in the wrong decade. That Hitler's gone'," Mr Campbell said.

"Yeah, they [Nazis] were bad people back then but my kids are little — they're not going to grow up like that.

I'm personally quite fond of "that Hitler's gone", as if he's reclaiming the name Adolph Hitler for general use, and not paying any sort of homage. Enron shares would be an easier sell at this point, particularly considering JoyceLynn Aryan Nation. Although, I can't say I'm completely against using a child's name to back a cause that one feels passionately about - if I'm ever permitted to name a child, a boy would be Daniel Rob Schneider Doesn't Get To be In Any More Movies, while a girl would be Christine Stick To One Lane While Driving. If the ludicrous nature of the children's names is the only reason for their removal from the Campbell home, then New Jersey authorities must be careful with the precedent set, or suffer a boycott from most of the world's celebrities. No making a Coldplay concert a family affair, for example, in case Apple and Moses are lined up for a rescue.

And so, Heath and Deborah, may you be greeted with an unfortunately familiar stiff-armed salute, putting the hand in the perfect position to come down on your echo-chamber foreheads with a resounding SLAP.

Until next week.

Link - Adolph Hitler toddler removed from parents

9 January 2009

Wish me luck as you slap me goodbye

Welcome to the first Weekly Slap for 2009, where I let fly the five fingers of fate to a deserving face.

An Honourable Mention, or Flick, goes to Princess Beatrice for claiming that her car had been “stolen”, when, by leaving it unlocked and with the engine running while she went into a shop, she was clearly donating it to the community. Also earning a Flick, for obvious reasons, is her police bodyguard.

However, partly for his actions this week, partly as a long service award, and partly because it will probably be my last chance to do it, please welcome the recipient of this week's Slap...

George Walker Bush.

Clearly one of the most slappable figures in history, comedy's favourite whipping boy for the past eight years earns one last flagellation for awarding former Prime Minister John Howard the Presidential Medal of Freedom, apparently granted for Services to Nodding Enthusiastically. Howard, who at one time was the world leader most likely to live under the stairs, will be staying at Blair House, the official presidential guest house - probably not a bad plan, as when you consider the emphasis with which Howard was ushered out of office (losing the Prime Ministership was the "get out...", losing his parliamentary seat was the "...and stay out!"), the Australian Embassy may not be an appropriate place for him to bed down. Oddly, Blair House apparently has no room for President Elect Barack Obama, who has been told that the mansion is fully booked. More likely, all presidential staff are behind in their training in how to deal with a president who can string a sentence together.

With former British PM Tony Blair, another member of Dubya's Coalition of the Gullible, also slated to receive the award, it seems that George is making one last raid on the White House silverware before he has to hand over the keys. And can't you just picture that scene... Bush putting the governmental keychain in Obama's hand, but still unable to let it go, leading to that tug-of-war schtick. Ah, the mirth...

So, for watering down the Presidential Medal of Freedom by handing it to Australia's least favourite power-walker, and for Services to Comedy above and beyond the call, George Walker Bush receives this week's award.

George, don't let the door SLAP you on the arse on your way out.

Links - Howard to get US Medal of Freedom

No room for Obama while Howard's in town

Princess Beatrice has BMW stolen...