On the Beach

This must be what happens when you get old. Good, bad or unspeakable, everything starts to remind you of something else. Too much of the time, life seems to mimic Monty Python routines, but that may be more than you need to know about me.

In any case, the following headline made me think, oh shit — this is Bob and Ray all over again! I always liked this wry observation … and apparently it’s even true!

“Even a dead whale on a flatcar will draw a crowd.” –Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding


Rotting Whale Harpoons Gawkers in Small Oregon Town
Massive Gray Whale Washes Up On Oregon Beach – NBC News.com
First published April 16th 2014, 6:20 am
The stench of a rotting gray whale carcass hasn’t kept the 40-foot beast from becoming the star attraction on an Oregon beach after washing ashore Tuesday.
“It reaks,” Greg Dyer, a Seaside, Ore., resident, told NBC News’ partner KGW.com — although as one of the biggest creatures in the ocean he said it was pretty exciting to get so close to one.

“Imagine you left a fish in the fridge for too long and you were like, ‘Woah’” anchor Joel Licari, said of the carcass. “That’s what it smells like out there.”
A marine biologist will take samples to try to determine how the whale died before city officials work out how to remove the creature from one of the city’s busiest beaches, the station reported. It will likely be buried.
“It doesn’t look skinny, it’s been dead a long time,so it will be tough to tell what killed it.” Keith Chandler, with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, told KGW.com.
— Henry Austin

As a socially responsible blogger, maybe I should now remind everyone of how precious life is, and how fragile our ecosystem may prove unnnder the relentless assault of seven billion hungry and heedless humans. I could provide statistics on recent whale strandings, worldwide efforts to protect cetaceans, and ongoing threats to ocean life in general. If we give a damn, I think we already know that we must all become better neighbors if any of us hopes to keep living here.

Even so , I had to laugh at this story. Not because a whale died, never for that. I just hope my species did not cause its death — and we are now prime suspects in so many sad and grisly crimes. It’s just such a perfect illustration of how absurd we humans can be.

Which brings us back to Bob and Ray, as that was the central focus of their work. If you don’t know their deadpan satire, check them out, but be patient, this is not rapid-fire sensory-overload humor. Sadly enough, our foibles and failings never go away. So I shouldn’t be surprised by how timely their sketches seem even now, with parodies highlighting questionable business models, oppressive labor practices, recycling and DIY projects, error-filled publications, unabashed ignorance, inept journalists, clueless government officials, and attempts to humanize the law enforcement industry.


About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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4 Responses to On the Beach

  1. skulzstudios says:

    Bob and Ray! They helped to shape my world view. As did Carlin, Pryor, and the awesomely divine St. Jonathan Winters. Dead whale, that’s some comedy dynamite there boy. Should we tell the Oregonans NOT to use dynamite on that carcass?

    • Thanks for your good comment! And no, PLEASE don’t give those good folks any ideas — I’m only 2500 miles downwind.

      Among many others, Bob and Ray obviously formed (or possibly deformed?) my attitudes too. ‘They’ tell us not to get our philosophy of life from pop songs or bumper stickers — but maybe comedians are okay. – Linda

  2. “The pages are nice and glossy, and everything.” Bob and Ray discovered and used the secret to great humor – embellishment. “History of the United States”, written by a man with an 8th grade education, where the book is riddled with historical errors… Good stuff. Thanks for the laughs. 🙂

    • Jerry, you’re entirely welcome — and Youtube has a nice selection of their stuff. Oh yes — couldn’t you just see that “historian” on Book TV? I like the paper clip manufacturer too — his attitude to workers would fit right in now — he’d be a perfect guest for Bloomberg or CNBC. . Thanks for your comment. – Linda

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