David Thompson
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September 22, 2014

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Joan

Your 'suburban polygamist ninjas' tag should come in very handy.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

It is hard to find good henchwomen. Sadly, most modern women just don't want to hench. You'd have to go to the Eastern Bloc to find a Rosa Klebb or Xenia Onatopp type lady. Western women are mostly too busy reading cupcake recipes on their iPads, or whatever it is they do when I'm at work.

Cats, however, are natural henchies. My henchcat, Her Royal Miaowjesty Princess Prrrrrr, is a case in point. She is as cruel as she is beautiful, with magnificent green eyes, whiskers of burnished silver, and adamantium claws.

I was reminded of her deadliness this morning. I stepped out of the shower and was about to scrutinise my handsomeness in the mirror, when I noticed a couple of dark objects on the travertine tiles.

(I do recommend travertine, it has a wonderfully warm, earthy look and pleasing texture, and is mercifully cheap when you realise that the handmade Spanish tiles your wife insists she simply must have for her bathroom means you can no longer afford the natural slate and marble you had dreamed of installing in your more humble ablutions.)

I didn't have my glasses on, as they tend to steam up in the shower - anti-fog lenses be damned - so I had to bend down and squint at the dark lines on the floor.

They were spider legs! Huge, hairy, black spider legs. So big that one of them had a wedding ring on it. Though to be fair, I wasn't sure if it was the second leg from the left, so it could have been a signet ring.

I am deathly afraid of spiders. They are in my dark triad of terrors, along with zombies and being eaten alive by feminists.

Still naked and wet, and with no time or inclination to flex my pectoral muscles while admiring my reflection, I frantically cast about to find the rest of the enormous arachnid.

But it was nowhere to be seen.

It was at that point that Her Miaowjesty slinked in (we are not allowed to fully close or lock any doors in Princess Prrrrrr's realm, it makes her upset.)

"Hello Puss-puss," I said. She looked up at me, her enchanting feline eyes glowing with a green lambent light, and something dark and horrifying twitching between her furry jaws as she dropped it at my feet.

She had brought me a present.

My henchcat did not seem at all impressed when I screamed like a schoolgirl invited onstage at a One Direction concert, and attacked what remained of her friend Aragog, even though I heroically used a toilet brush as a makeshift rapier.

I probably didn't cut a dashing, Errol Flynn type figure as I finished off the six legged beast, but Errol Flynn probably didn't have a henchcat who brought him man-eating spiders the size of a small family car to test his martial prowess in the toilet.

Watcher In The Dark

"Two armed “polygamist women” dressed like “ninjas” were subdued by a sword-wielding man during a home invasion"

Pretty much how I thought the scenario would play out, to be honest. I'd always bet on the sword-wielder on his own property, especially when polygamists are involved. Shagged out they are, usually.

svh

There's always Bambi and Thumper.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJa1BCz9Tuc

R. Sherman

My wife and I have traveled quite a lot in Utah--lovely state, BTW. We do keep an extra broom in the camper to shoo away the occasional infestation of plural wives, however. It's a small price to pay.

David

There’s always Bambi and Thumper.

Or Stompy and Clompy, as I once misremembered them.

TDK

Were they called Bambi and Thumper by any chance? I mean half of being a henchwoman is the stupid name: Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), May Day (Grace Jones).

The original Mr. X

"I am deathly afraid of spiders. They are in my dark triad of terrors, along with zombies and being eaten alive by feminists."

Better not go to Hertford College, then, where the feminist lunatics seem to have taken over the academic asylum:

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/sep/21/oxford-hertford-college-portraits-women-co-ed

Still, what can you expect from a college that chose Will Hutton as its Principal?

Paul Nottingham

If I send my address will they come to visit me as well?

I mean, you can spend a lot of money for that kind of thing.

So I've heard.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

The original Mr. X - Better not go to Hertford College, then, where the feminist lunatics seem to have taken over the academic asylum

Dear Godess!

Perhaps fortuitously, I'm not clever enough or posh enough to go to Oxbridge. The Open University (motto: "You're Already Accepted!") is my alma mater.

I do like how they describe it as getting rid of portraits of dead white men.

Stupid dead white men! What have they ever done for us? Except found Oxford University, and create civilisation, and all that stuff.

(I wonder if the various politically correct local authorities who went Mandela-mad in the 80's will be persuaded to take old Nelson's name off streets and tower blocks now that he's a dead black man?)

So they're taking down pictures of people like "William Tyndale, first translator of the Bible into English", and replacing them with such luminaries as "Shahnaz Ahsan, a young graduate." Um, take THAT, dead white men! And, "There is also Jacqui Smith". So, there's that, I suppose.

Anna

"...Jacqui Smith, described only as a fellow and hospital trust chair: no mention of her career as Labour's former home secretary, or its ignominious end in the expenses scandal."

Role model!

sackcloth and ashes

'I mean half of being a henchwoman is the stupid name: Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman), May Day (Grace Jones)'.

They played it safe in 'The Spy Who Loved Me' with 'Naomi':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE504Uhw258

jabrwok

"Henchwoman" is such a cumbersome, awkward word. "Henchwench" rolls much more trippingly off the tongue. It's also evocative of pirates, and everybody loves pirates!

Hal

There’s always Bambi and Thumper.

Or Stompy and Clompy, as I once misremembered them.

Bambi and Thumper were indeed about as effective, but then they also were in Nevada, rather than Utah . . .---albeit granting that from far enough away, Ehn, large empty space, desert, all the same . . .

David

Bambi and Thumper were indeed about as effective

As supposedly deadly henchwomen schooled in the henching arts, they were a bit of a bust.

Hal

. . . they were a bit of a bust.

Well, technically, two busts.

They do wind up rather watered down . . .

sackcloth and ashes

'... they were a bit of a bust'

True. But then so was the film.

David

True. But then so was the film.

It’s not a great work, no. But it does have one of the Bond films’ more surreal villain getaways.

Rob

The Guardian's attitude to Polygamy differs radically between the Mormon version and the 'vibrant and diverse' one.

As for Utah, it is the one US state I have always wanted to visit. It looks like remarkable countryside.

wtp

Mormons/Muslims...started saying one when meaning the other to jerk the chain of a Mormon friend. Lately I've been doing it by accident. This knife/sword thing isn't going to help.

dicentra

I live in the same county as West Jordan and yet I can give you zero insight into the situation.

I'm even a Mormon and I'm about as nonplussed (actual meaning) as the rest of you.

Also, Utah is genuinely lovely, especially the southern portion, which is best accessed via Las Vegas, an old Mormon town (not making this up).

dicentra

As for henchcats vs. spiderses, I've found them to be wanting.

The henchcats, not the spiderses.

Having been plagued by large house spiderses in the tub, I was hoping that my new kitteh (black, yellow-eyed) would dispatch them for me, bloodlessly and mercilessly.

So next time an especially large arachnid got itself trapped in the tub, I set the kitteh on the self-propelled toy and exited forthwith.

Some time later I returned to the tub and found a half-dozen spider parts scattered about, all of which were curiously resistant to being coaxed up a long strip of toilet paper, incident to flushing them down the loo.

They're easier to capture live by offering them a way out, which most eagerly take, before their watery, dizzying deaths.

I regret nothing.

dicentra

As for Utah, it is the one US state I have always wanted to visit. It looks like remarkable countryside.

Our magnificent landscape has attracted WAY too many hipsters: Park City in the north (Sundance Film Festival) and Moab in the south (slickrock biking) reliably vote Democrat in our otherwise Pure-Red state.

More than spiderses, ninja polyga-henchwenches, and Dead White Males, I fear hipster infestations.

R. Sherman

@dicentra

My most enjoyable vacation with the family consisted of North Rim Grand Canyon, Natural Bridges, Moab with Arches & Canyonlands, Capital Reef, Bryce, Cedar Breaks, Zion, South Rim and home to the Midwest via I-40. Did 10-15 miles of hiking minimum per day. Great stuff. As my 11 year old son enthused, "Don't let my face fool you. I'm having a great time."

Suffice it to say, Moab is on the short list for retirement purposes.

dicentra

Moab is on the short list for retirement purposes.

St. George has fewer hipsters and more stuff that caters to retirees.

And it's only an hour from Mesquite, NV's casinos and 6.0% beer (Utah is 3.2%).

Just sayin'

dicentra

Also, Zion Canyon during an unusually wet and cool spring: https://www.flickr.com/photos/36459782@N00/sets/72157626649373027/

sackcloth and ashes

'But it does have one of the Bond films’ more surreal villain getaways'.

From Heinrich Himmler to Mrs Doubtfire.

Franklin

Utah once inspired me to make a thing. Amazing place. If I had known about the ninja polygamists I would have stuck around longer.

Steve 2: Steveageddon

dicentra - I was in London last week, and it was like a humungous hipster hootenanny.

I exited the train at Euston station and a wave of irony nearly knocked me off my feet.

A horde of shambling 20 and 30 something men with ostentatious facial hair, retro-chunky specs, and brightly patterned shirts tottered towards me, their mobility hindered by skinny jeans.

An eerie groan arose from the crowd. "Join ussssss.... Joinnnn ussssss!" they chanted.

"Never!", said I, girding my loins for battle.

I raised aloft my corporate laptop, and it glimmered with an ethereal light. "Expelliarmus!", I roared, like a lion. A lion who can talk. In pseudo-Latin.

Hipsters are notoriously allergic to Windows products, and they were visibly dismayed that I carried the sigil of the anti-Apple.

Taking advantage of their moment of doubt, I rounded on the nearest, meanest looking hipster: a young man with a Terry Thomas moustache and a t-shirt with a silhouette of a moustache emblazoned on it, and a tattoo of a moustache silhouette on his finger.

"Burnius Moustacheus!", I cried, as I threw half a cup of warm black railway coffee in his eyes.

It wasn't very hot, but it did the trick. "Aaaaarrrggghhhhhh! It isn't fairtrade! I'm melting, I'm melting!!!", he squealed.

Their resolve broken, the hipsters turned and fled. I beat my chest and hooted profane taunts at them as they ran.

An elderly gentleman clutched my arm. "The hipster people are easily startled," he counselled, "but they'll soon be back, and in greater numbers."

David

Did someone say hipster?

R. Sherman

@dicentra,

I certainly concede, Utah's liquor laws tend toward the Byzantine. As for Moab, it's been awhile since I've been there, i.e. four or five years. The hipster infestation didn't seem particularly pronounced, at the time. I also liked Cedar City, as well.

The original Mr. X

Anna:

""...Jacqui Smith, described only as a fellow and hospital trust chair: no mention of her career as Labour's former home secretary, or its ignominious end in the expenses scandal."

Role model!"

Ah no. According to the "curator" of this exhibition, "They're not necessarily intended to be aspirational figures – they're just some individuals who have done some interesting things." Because, apparently, being the first man to translate the Bible into English isn't "interesting" enough for Hertford.

I think one of the comments sums it up well:

"You see, the college elite in charge of this don't actually care who the women they have hung up actually are. They just regard them as generic union reps for women. One woman is as good as any other. Their stories - and their achievements (or in most cases, 'achievements') are of no importance relative to their value as political tokens. These pictures are just female eye candy, and a facade for a college which was all-male for around 700 years prior to becoming co-educational. They are also deeply patronising to the group they are supposed to celebrate- women."

The original Mr. X

Steve:

"I do like how they describe it as getting rid of portraits of dead white men.

Stupid dead white men! What have they ever done for us? Except found Oxford University, and create civilisation, and all that stuff."

Well, to be fair, the "dead white men" line seems to be the invention of the headline-writer, not the actual people behind the display. Still, it is depressing to see this sort of tokenism on display, as is seeing a representative of the College boasting that "[w]e have no glorious history". Maybe if turned out that some of its famous alumni were actually girls in disguise, that would make the College's history glorious enough for Ms. Smith.

dicentra

Utah's liquor laws tend toward the Byzantine.

Don't forget "ever-shifting as the sands of the desert." If you don't like our liquor laws, wait a minute: they'll change. Maybe not for the better, but change they will.

Cedar City has an excellent Shakespearean Festival, with an exact replica of the Globe Theatre (save for electric lights and numbered bucket seats). I saw a King Lear there that shivered me timbers.

As with all Southern Utah towns, in Moab and Cedar City (and the tiny towns on the way to Zion Canyon) you get a liberal mixture of Mormons (descendants of 1850s settlers) plus new-agey types who worship the red earth plus hipsters in full hiker regalia plus rednecks (lapsed Mormons). They don't much like each other but the landscape is, in fact, big enough for all of them.

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