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Hyperion January 28, 2004

the Hyperion Chronicles
“Making the world safe for hypocrisy”

#276 Potpourri, Volume XXV

Who’s the Filthy Hobitses now?
Hi-ho, to all you out there in the Hyperion Nation. It is so cold up here in the great white north; I would need a witch’s tit to curl up with just to get warm. Like many of you, I watched with rapt attention the news to come out yesterday, news that may not seem all that big right now, but may very well shape our lives in the weeks and months to come.

Of course, I speak of the Oscar nominations, which are finally here. Fresh off of their Golden Globe triumph, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King led the pack with 11 nominations, including Best Picture. Following closely with 10 nominations was Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World (not to be confused with the Far Side of Gary Larson). Rounding out the Best Picture List was Clint Eastwood’s psycho-drama Mystic River, Sofia Coppola’s (yes the same one who almost single-handedly ruined Godfather III) tale of alienation and loneliness in Tokyo Lost in Translation, and that warmhearted story of ocean rations, Seabiscuit.

Several of these were expected, although there were some surprises, which means Hyperion will have to get on the stick in order to see all of the nominated films in time for his annual Oscar preview column. (I bet heavily that Gigli, From Justin to Kelly, and Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star would be nominated, so imagine my chagrin to find out I wasted all my time there.)

For many, this race is already over, as there has been an expectation since Fellowship of the Ring didn’t win two years ago that the Academy was waiting to give Peter Jackson and company Best Picture for their third and final installment; as much as a cumulative award as for that part. I, however, remain skeptical, and remember years where supposed shoe-ins were nonetheless beat by upstarts (I still go to therapy over Shakespeare in Love beating Saving Private Ryan). So we’ll have to wait and see.

The giant race to get clobbered
Writing of waiting and seeing, I’m still not ready to pronounce the Democrat primary over, even after John F. Kerry’s second impressive win in as many weeks. This is actually something that has bothered me for some time. I mean, no offense to Iowans and New Hampshirites (or is it New Hampshirians?), but who really cares what these two states think? (John McCain, anyone?) Are they any more important than anybody else? I don’t think so. And yet, in reward for having a bunch of politicians trudge through their state for several weeks every four years, the Media makes it out as if Iowa and especially New Hampshire are the heartbeats of the nation. Being out of the country to watch the coverage of this primary has given me even more perspective: America needs to quit taking everything it does so seriously. I mean, the way things are going, the only reward these guys are racing for is who gets to be a footnote in history books.

Haven’t heard a yell that bad since Janet Leigh in Psycho
To take my point further, what did you think of the way the Media and all parties concerned attacked Howard Dean after Yell-Gate? In case you were on vacation, the night Dean surprisingly lost Iowa, he held a rally with his supporters, where he got quite, um, rowdy, concluding with an ill-advised Rebel Yell. Immediately it seemed (at least from up here) that Dean was set upon by all sides, losing endorsements from such diverse people as a former Senator from New Hampshire and the head of the Congressional Latino Caucus.

The Media seemed particularly vicious, as they turned on Dean, who had been the favorite of several of the stations. (CNN, CBS, Cypress Hill, I’m looking in your direction.) Now, I have virtually nothing good to say about Howard Dean. But what was the big deal? He was trying to cheer up his discouraged troops. What’s wrong with that? If anything, it made me admire him a bit. I’m of the opinion you need a leader that is just a tad unpredictable, if for nothing else, to keep your enemies guessing. However, the way the Media ridiculed him, I began to see a conspiracy. For many months the conventional wisdom was that Dean has virtually no chance of beating Bush in November (not like any of them do, but Dean has less). Maybe the Media’s betrayal was a way of anointing a new candidate who might—just might, depending on the economy and the war effort—be able to challenge Bush. My father says I’m nuts, and people don’t want a loose cannon in the White House. My response? “Of course people want a Loose Cannon. Hello? The Clinton Years?”

I just know Brutus and Claudius were in on this one
I may be wrong about the Dean conspiracy, but I think you’ll agree that in this next story there has to be dark forces at work. This past week Bob Keeshan died, better known to the world as Captain Kangaroo. (By the way, did you know why he was called Captain Kangaroo? It’s because he used to have giant pockets in his jacket to put things in to show the children. Okay, back to the paranoia.)

If you’re scoring at home (or even if you’re by yourself), this makes three beloved children’s figures to go down in the last few years (and this isn’t even counting the whole Mr. Hooper thing, which I still can’t talk about). First there was Shari Lewis, creator of the beloved Lamb Chop. Then last year we witnessed the passing of the inimitable one-and-only Mr. Rogers. Now the Captain has gone down with the ship. Meanwhile, all four Teletubbies, that diabolical baby in the sun, and the cursed Barney still live. Am I the only one who sees the larger picture here people?

Cool Quote of the Day
“Men are most likely to believe what they least understand.”

-Michael Eyquen de Montaigne 1533-1592

Okay, one more from him:

“He that had never seen a river imagined the first he met to be the sea; and the greatest things that have fallen within our knowledge we conclude the extremes that nature makes of the kind.”

I’m sure Hyperion was #21
The new list for top baby names are in (according to, and there are some big time surprises. The Girls’ list has traditionally been the one that changes from year to year, while the Boys’ list stayed very constant with little variance (Michael, for example, was #1 or #2 for over 100 straight years). Now, all of that has changed. Many of the girls’ names are holdovers, while I don’t know what’s going on with the boys’ names. The top 3 and 4 of the top 10 rhyme! As Ernie on Sesame Street would say, “What up with that?”

You’ll be pleased to know the popularity of the #1 girls’ name comes from the 1984 movie Splash. There’s no record of Madison being popular until that movie, about a mermaid named Madison, came out. Also, the girls continue their gentrification of the guys’ names, with fully one fourth of their top 20 names formerly in the domain of boys only.

Top 20 girls' names:

  1. Madison
  2. Emma
  3. Abigail
  4. Riley
  5. Chloe
  6. Hannah
  7. Alexis
  8. Isabella
  9. Mackenzie
  10. Taylor
  11. Olivia
  12. Hailey
  13. Paige
  14. Emily
  15. Grace
  16. Ava
  17. Aaliyah
  18. Alyssa
  19. Faith
  20. Brianna

Top 20 boys' names:

  1. Aidan/Aiden/Aden
  2. Jaden/Jayden
  3. Caden/Kaden
  4. Ethan
  5. Caleb
  6. Dylan
  7. Jacob
  8. Jordan
  9. Logan
  10. Hayden
  11. Connor
  12. Ryan
  13. Morgan
  14. Cameron
  15. Andrew
  16. Joshua
  17. Noah
  18. Matthew
  19. Addison
  20. Ashton

Cool Site of the Day
An alert reader sent in a Random Quote Generator, which takes words you type in and inserts them into real slogans. I can’t repeat any of the ones I got this morning, but trust me, this site’s a riot.


I don’t know why this bothers me, but has anyone else noticed that cows don’t really moo? Mawwww would be closer, but the true sound is more of a guttural Mmmmmmmm. Someone should do something about this potentially dangerous false onomatopoeia, before it gets serious.

You know those three girl chipmunks that were always around Alvin, Simon, and Theodore in the cartoon, the Chippettes? I think they might be evil.

You know what I hate? There’s this new trend for automated answering services to call you back if you hang up before leaving a message, which can especially suck in the middle of the night or something, if people are sleeping. They always ask if I hung up on purpose. Hey, if I didn’t, I can call back. I found you the first time, you know!

Is anyone else worried that Santa Claus might be Anti-Semitic?

Finally, I read last week that 92 year old J.L. Hunter Rountree was sentenced to 12 years in prison (in Texas, where else?) for robbing a bank. Rountree gave the teller a note demanding money, which she twice asked him if it was a joke, before handing over the cash. Not a spry man, Rountree took so long to leave that the teller was able to write down the license plate, and state troopers caught him 30 minutes later about 20 miles away. (Insert your own Old Drivers and Getaway Cars joke here.)

Apparently Rountree was pissed off at banks, which he collectively blamed for ruining his life, and had been doing this for several years (he was given probation for robbing a bank in Mississippi in 1998). "A Corpus Christi (Texas) bank that I'd done business with had forced me into bankruptcy. I have never liked banks since," Rountree said in an interview. "I decided I would get even. And I have."

I’m tempted to argue that non-violent criminals over the age of 90 should be given parades, not jail, but I guess if you make an exception for one…which of course means that we have a real problem on our hands. With good behavior, Rountree could be out and terrorizing people by his 100th birthday.

Better hide your women and children.

And that’s life in the Monkey Barn,

January 28, 2004


Motto Explanation
The motto is a quote from Thomas Wolfe, who lived from 1900-1938


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