In praise of Sir Roderick Spode

I spent the past month or so watching the complete series of Jeeves and Wooster on Hulu, and I proudly proclaim that my favorite character was Sir Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup.

John Turner as Roderick Spode

Nevermind the fact that the character was patterned after Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley; Lord Sidcup is an inspiration to all would-be benevolent meglomaniacs who want to make the world a better place. Unlike Bertie Wooster, that useless fop, Spode held himself with dignity and honor (except when Wooster was blackmailing him with the mere mention of “Eulalie”) and sought to restore national pride in Britain. He even almost let his civic pride and duty to nation overcome him when he nearly cast aside his place amongst the Lords to run for Parliament, only through the manipulations of Jeeves (for the benefit of Wooster)  to be pulled back to his senses.

First, his vision. He knew what he wanted and worked toward achieving it. Before his elevation to the peerage, he sought out influential friends (Sir Watkyn Bassett) and established a source of income that allowed him the freedom to think on such noble causes such as British-made bicycles and umbrellas for all citizens.

Second, his influence. The Black Shorts were devoted to the cause of Spode. They donned the uniform, attended the rallies, and even fought the Communists in defense of their great leader. Granted, their membership was mainly young unmarried men in need of a hobby, and older men whose wives determined they needed a hobby.

Finally, his determination. As evidenced in the “Eulalie” fiasco, Spode was willing to do what it took to see himself reach the success that he desired. Any man who could design women’s underwear AND lead a small army of fascists is a true man indeed.

So to all my fellow Walter Mittys out there, seeking a resolute and determined role model, let us learn from Roderick Spode and keep our heads high, even when the poo comes raining down.

My dream job

Following up on a previous post, I see a job opportunity calling:

Wanted: 1 goat herder, 30 goats at O’Hare Int’l Airport – Chicago News and Weather | FOX Chicago News

I half-heartedly kid (pun intended) about seeking the job, but it’s not that far-fetched of a concept for a modern enterprise to employ goats for unmanicured lawn care. Even Google has done it.

Given that I now have posted on this topic multiple times, where does this goat-fetish come from? As a young-un, I had a pet goat named “Tater” for a while. We kept him in the back yard, but some neighbors up the road from us had a pasture full of goats and, I guess Tater longed for companionship, because he ran away to join the herd on the hill. Having compassion on him, we gave him to the farmer so he wouldn’t have to be lonely. I guess I’ve never recovered from the trauma of someone else getting my goat.

Machiavellian Chuck Norris "facts"

I recently finished reading Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli’s The Prince, and in the back of the edition I have were a few other shorter writings of Machiavelli, and one that particularly piqued my interest was The Life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca. In this story, Machiavelli gives us an embellished (and often fictional) account of the life of Castruccio Castracani. You can read it online here.

The thing that struck me as hilarious was the end of the story, which immediately made me think of the Chuck Norris “facts” that one can read online. For fun, I’ll add a few by borrowing lines from Machiavelli:

  • Chuck Norris had caused a one million dollars to be given for a pizza, and was taken to task for doing so by a friend, to whom he had said: “You would not have given more than ten dollars.” “That is true,” answered the friend. Then said Chuck Norris to him: “A million dollars is much less to me.”
  • Having about him a flatterer on whom he had spat to show that he scorned him, the flatterer said to him: “Fisherman are willing to let the waters of the sea saturate them in order that they make take a few little fishes, and I allow myself to be wetted by spittle that I may catch a whale”; and this was not only heard by Chuck Norris with patience but rewarded.
  • A friend gave Chuck Norris a very curiously tied knot to undo and was told: “Fool, do you think that I wish to untie a thing which gave so much trouble to fasten.”
  • Going by water from Houston to Miami, Chuck Norris was much disturbed by a dangerous storm that sprang up, and was reproached for cowardice by one of those with him, who said that he did not fear anything. Chuck Norris answered that he did not wonder at that, since every man valued his soul for what is was worth.
  • To a person who was boasting that he had read many things, Chuck Norris said: “He knows better than to boast of remembering many things.”
  • Being also blamed for eating very expensive foods, Chuck Norris answered: “Thou dost not spend as much as I do?” and being told that it was true, he continued: “Then thou art more avaricious than I am gluttonous.”
  • Being invited by Taddeo Bernardi, a very rich and splendid citizen of Luca, to supper, Chuck Norris went to the house and was shown by Taddeo into a chamber hung with silk and paved with fine stones representing flowers and foliage of the most beautiful colouring. Chuck Norris gathered some saliva in his mouth and spat it out upon Taddeo, and seeing him much disturbed by this, said to him: “I knew not where to spit in order to offend thee less.”
  • Being asked a favour by one who used many superfluous words, Chuck Norris said to him: “When you have another request to make, send someone else to make it.” Having been wearied by a similar man with a long oration who wound up by saying: “Perhaps I have fatigued you by speaking so long,” Chuck Norris said: “You have not, because I have not listened to a word you said.”
  • Whilst he was still in the charge of Messer Francesco Guinigi, one of his companions said to him: “What shall I give you if you will let me give you a blow on the nose?” Chuck Norris answered: “A helmet.”
  • Having put to death a citizen of Lucca who had been instrumental in raising him to power, and being told that he had done wrong to kill one of his old friends, Chuck Norris answered that people deceived themselves; he had only killed a new enemy.
  • Chuck Norris was once asked in what manner he would wish to be buried when he died, and answered: “With the face turned downwards, for I know when I am gone this country will be turned upside down.”
  • Chuck Norris was once asked when should a man eat to preserve his health, and replied: “If the man be rich let him eat when he is hungry; if he be poor, then when he can.”
  • He was having a discussion with the ambassador of the King of Naples concerning the property of some banished nobles, when a dispute arose between them, and the ambassador asked him if he had no fear of the king. “Is this king of yours a bad man or a good one?” asked Chuck Norris, and was told that he was a good one, whereupon he said, “Why should you suggest that I should be afraid of a good man?”

Note: The University of Adelaide posted their edition of The life of Castruccio Castracani of Lucca under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license. While I believe that their license only applies to the HTML code that renders the page (considering the work has been in the public domain for hundreds of years) that is the license I normally use for content I create anyway.

If you’d like to read some other Chuck Norris facts, you can check them out on his official website. You can also by the Official Chuck Norris Fact Book here.

Christmas list addition

Just in case my wife ever reads this blog, I’d like to add this and the prerequisite Glock pistol to my Christmas list:

MECHTECH Glock Carbine:
MechTech’s Glock Carbine kit has been around for a number of years but I have never blogged about it. The MechTech conversion kit is compatible with a number of different full-size and compact Glocks chambered in 9mm, .357 Sig, 40 S&W, 10mm Auto and .45 ACP. Unlike a number of other pistol carbine kits, this kit has a bolt which replaces the Glock’s slide. A feeding block is installed inside the pistol frame to facilitate feeding into the barrel.

The basic stock is $350, the quad railed version, with full length top rail, is $530.