Posts Tagged ‘December 17’

The Buffoon Buffet

Posted in General, On This Day on December 17th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 1 Comment

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December 17th: Happy Incompetence Day

Happy Birthday to Prince Rupert!

Every family has an idiot; but among the Stuarts it was a challenge to be conspicuously stupid. Yet Prince Rupert (1619-1682) achieved it. Oliver Cromwell should have written him thank-you notes. Rupert was the nephew of Charles I and, as a commander of his uncle’s army, the prince repeatedly would grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Rupert was unquestionably brave. He would have made a splendid corporal. Unfortunately, as the King’s nephew, he was a general by birth–not ability. He did have a sense of theatrics, if not tactics, riding into battle accompanied by his poodle. (We can only guess how embarrassed the dog must have been.) Commanding the royal cavalry, the dashing Rupert would lead irrelevant charges while the rest of the royal army was left to face Cromwell. Yes, Rupert won skirmishes but the Royalists lost the battles. After a series of such grandstanding calamities, the surviving members of the King’s court wanted Rupert to be courtmartialed. He certainly was no longer Uncle Charlie’s favorite nephew. Rupert was banished; at least he found France a pleasant alternative to Cromwell’s England. Uncle Charlie wasn’t that lucky.

During his years in exile, Rupert took up new careers and hobbies, including piracy and painting. Although only a mediocre buccaneer, it still was an improvement over his soldiering. And he actually turned out to be a good artist. (If only Charles I had entrusted his nephew with a palette instead of the cavalry….) At least Charles II held no grudges against his incompetent cousin. Upon the restoration of the monarchy, Prince Rupert received properties, an annuity and the rank of admiral. (Commanding the British navy, he did lose one war to the Dutch–but only one.) Rupert also served on corporate boards, lending his royal patronage to such enterprises as the Hudson Bay Company. A number of Canadian cities and locales are named for the dashing dolt if only as an English alternative to French or Inuit.

Today in Britain the name Rupert has become a synonym for a reckless show-off. Here in America his legacy endures. While no American graduate schools are named for him, Rupert obviously is the role model for every MBA.

Bonfire Voyage

Posted in General on December 17th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – Be the first to comment


“That sure was a surprise. I thought that Hillary Clinton would have killed me in a Satanic ritual. All those doctors did warn about cholesterol–but who would believe a Jew?

“How long have I been waiting in front of these Pearly Gates? Isn’t there an Express Line for Christians? If only my good friend St. Peter were here; I just learned that he retired in 1957. Professor Einstein is now in charge. I didn’t understand a word he said about the wait. Time space something and relativity. But I sure don’t appreciate being called Anti-Matter.

You know, Einstein’s type just doesn’t seem right here. I’m gonna to talk to Jesus about better casting. I’m surprised that Cecil B. DeMille didn’t complain.

Well, it’s about time. The Gates are opening and here is St. Paul to personally guide me. He insists I freshen up; I had no idea that there were saunas in Heaven. And he tells me that there are no golf courses here. Golf is only in Purgatory. Paul certainly is friendly…oh Jesus, this is a Gay Bath House!

So this is my choice. I can stay in Heaven as a bath house attendant or I can go to…”


“Hello. New York Times customer service. This is Jerry.”