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Tag Archives: Josh Kopel

Badasses in History: Miyamoto Musashi

23 Oct

There are very few truths in this world. “Good” and “evil” are almost never that simple. “Money-back guarantees” are usually scams, and, let’s face it, “both fun and educational!” is just a hair away from being a bigger lie than Santa Clause.

Sorry about that. I should have said spoiler alert.

Anyway, my point is that there are very few universal statements. My favorite however is this: Samurais are awesome.

Find me an exception. I dare you. Tell me you have never seen a samurai movie and left wishing to every power you believe in (and some you don’t, just to cover your bases) that you could be even a fraction as badass as a samurai is without even trying.

Like Tom Cruise in "The Last Samurai," but less of a pansy.

That said, let’s meet this week’s Historical Badass.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you Miyamoto Musashi.

Musashi was many things, but what he was, above all else, is the greatest swordsman the world has ever seen. That shit you saw in Kill Bill? He was better. The three hundred Spartans? He could have killed them blindfolded. Every trope applied to Samurai applied to this man, but more so. We tell children scary stories about Godzilla, vampires, and manbearpig. They tell their kids about Miyamoto Musashi.

But I should start at the beginning.

We don’t actually know a lot about Musashi’s youth. The best historians can say is that he was born in 1584 in the Mimasaka Province of Japan. His father was an accomplished martial artist and swordsman and his grandfather was the vassal of a feudal lord by the name of Shinmen.

Beyond that, we don’t know much.

What we do know however, is that Musashi was one precocious motherfucker. How so you ask? Well, he killed a man at age 13. In a duel.

“But Josh!” you say. “Surely it was a training accident against another student at his dojo or some shit! No way it was for serial.”

Actually I’m “super serial.” At age 13, when many of us were having Bar Mitzvah’s and worrying about acne, popularity, and pop quizzes, Musashi was fucking killed people. In fact, his opponent, Arima Kihei, was a grown man…and already a samurai.

He was also kind of a douche. Thing is, he had come to Musashi’s hometown and posted a notice that he wanted to duel someone…anyone. Just because. Dude, what an a-hole.

Musashi, being a badass, decided “screw this guy, I’ll fuck up his shit worse than Samuel L. Jackson in any movie ever.” So, teen Musashi went and wrote his name on the notice, and adding (according to reliable sources) several “Yo Mamma” jokes, just to be sure Kihei wouldn’t chicken out.

At this point, Kihei went and told Miyamoto’s uncle about it, pissed that some punk-kid had challenged him. Musashi’s uncle was equally surprised, especially because Musashi didn’t actually have much swordsmanship training under his belt (or gi or obi or whatever samurai call belts).

I’ll take a moment to laugh my ass off and hand the story over to William Scott Wilson, author of The Lone Samurai.

Kihei was adamant that the only way his honor could be cleared was if Musashi apologized to him when the duel was scheduled. So when the time set for the duel arrived, Dorin began apologizing for Musashi, who merely charged at Kihei with a six-foot quarterstaff, shouting a challenge to Kihei. Kihei attacked with a wakizashi, but Musashi threw Kihei on the floor, and while Kihei tried to get up, Musashi struck Arima between the eyes and then beat him to death.

To recap, in a fight of “Samurai vs. kid-who-barely-has-pubes-yet”, Musashi wins… by just running at the samurai with a giant staff. Against a guy with a sword. If nothing else, kid has mad balls.

In any case, Musashi did what any samurai would do in every samurai movie, he uttered some badass one-liner, took the guy’s sword, then wandered off into the sunset.

Four years and many duels later (of which he lost not a single one), Musashi found himself at the Battle of Sekigahara, which Wikipedia will fast inform you as being a seriously important battle in Japanese history, the equivalent of Gettysburg in the American Civil War or the Battle of Austerlitz in the Napoleonic Wars. Or that one episode of Batman where he has to take on the Joker, Penguin, and Two-Face all at once.

Musashi looking his absolute prettiest

That episode was awesome.

Anyway, seventeen-year-old Musashi reputedly killed an enormous number of opponents, escaping the battle without a single wound. Yeah. Seventeen-year-old vs. army? Musashi: 1, Army: 0.

Suck on that, whiny Spartans. A google search tells me that after the battle Musashi drew his sword and slashed it in mid-air, delivering a death-blow to a 450-years later Chuck Norris. Sure, after all I’ve heard, why not?

So, you ask again, how can one dude be this badass? Surely that’s all?

Hush, grasshopper. Bask in the glory that is Musashi.

In the following years, Musashi spent much of his time dueling (again, he never lost. Not once.), defeating nearly all of his opponents—usually masters of various swordsmanship schools—with a single blow.

It was also during this time that he developed what he would explain in his masterpiece, Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings), as his signature sword-style: Niten Ichi Ryu, which can either mean “two swords, one soul” or “School of two swords.”

I’ve decided however, that the clear, and accurate, translation is “two swords, much killing.” Unlike most samurai (fucking pansies!), who fought with only one sword, Musashi was able to simultaneously attack and defend thanks to his two-sword style.

To put this in perspective, let me explain how most duels worked at the time. Essentially, both combatants would draw their (lame) single sword and proceed to try and fuck each other up, both parrying (blocking, for those of you who don’t speak swordsman-ese) each other and making the whole thing go on for a long time. Like a commercial during your favorite show, it just wouldn’t end.

Musashi, however, could just block with his shorter sword, then tell the opponent a knock-knock joke before cutting the fool to pieces with his other blade.

It was under these circumstances that Musashi easily defeated Yoshioka Seijuro, head of the famous Yoshioka swordsmanship school. Yoshioka’s students, understandably bothered at seeing their Mister Miyagi cut down with all the effort it might take to eat a piece of pizza, all immediately charged Musashi.

There was only one of him, right?

Yeah, they didn’t stand a chance.

After slaughtering the rest of them—and raiding the liquor cabinet—Musashi went on to claim the lives of many, many other posers. Yet even this wasn’t what makes Musashi so god-damn badass.

That honor goes to his duel with legendary swordsman Sasaki Kojiro, known at the time as “The Demon of the Western Provinces.” Clearly, this was not a man most of us would be willing to fuck with. But Mushashi was no ordinary man.

Both men had never been defeated in a duel, but there were some big differences. Musashi was known for being drunk, dirty, disheveled, and really, really rude. Kojiro on the other hand came from a powerful samurai family and was well-regarded by the Japanese elite.

This is a nodachi

Musashi, reputedly, had heard of Kojiro’s skill with the nodachi, which is to say, Big Fucking Sword (BFS for short).

The blade is four feet long. That is taller than a midget. I say that with no disrespect to little people. It is also taller than many children. I am frightened merely by its picture.

Basically, it is a katana on steroids, but sharper and deadlier. I feel safe saying that there really is no deadlier non-firearm weapon out there.

Hell, even if I had a gun I wouldn’t feel that safe going up against one of those things.

But I digress. As mentioned earlier, Musashi challenged Kojiro to a duel. In his challenge, he specified that the duel be held at the island of Ganryu at sunrise. Quentin Tarantino, this is your bread and butter. Michael Bay, please shut up and learn something from this.

On one hand, we have an incredibly skilled, famous noble samurai. On the other, we have a homeless man with a really really sharp sword, who is equally skilled, but also known to be a total dick, and never really gets around to showering.

It’s like Dennis Rodman vs. Michael Jordan. They’re both good, but one dude has a lot more going for him.

In any case, as was his custom, Musashi showed up late—so as to mindfuck his opponent and make them angry or nervous. This time however, he threw in a free extra.

He didn’t come with a sword.

Instead, he showed up with…

Wait for it.

A wooden practice sword that he had carved out of a boat oar.

Yeah. This was worse than an insult. This was Musashi saying that Kojiro was unfit to have even his blood grace Musashi’s blade, the equivalent of…

Of…

I’m not even sure I can think of something insulting enough without resorting to racial slurs or profound queries as to whether a person’s mother maintains virtue and decorum at all times.

Dude could fuck your shit up seven different ways from Sunday

But despite appearances, Musashi had this all planned out. You see, the great advantage of the Niten Ichi Ryu sword style was an incredibly long reach, as well as simultaneous attack-and-defense capability. So when he was making the wooden blade, Musashi made sure it was a few inches longer than a typical nodachi.

Thus, when Kojiro charged in, Musashi immediately used his blade’s longer reach to bring his sword down on Kojiro’s head, smashing his skull and killing him instantly.

And that was it.

Musashi went on to win more than 60 duels in his life. But as he grew older he got tired of winning so much and never encountering a challenge. As such, he retired to isolation in the mountains of Japan, spending years writing about the true meaning of being a warrior.

The result was the book we know today as “The Book of Five Rings” or Go Rin No Sho, which is still studied even today by businessmen and military strategists.

Also, it’s fucking awesome. Among its many gems—I’m not lying when I say it is extremely profound—is a technique so awesome that I feel as if I had looked upon the face of God himself.

Or seen Scarlett Johansson naked. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

Oh, right. The technique. It’s called “Stabbing the Face”:
When you are even with an opponent, it is essential to keep thinking of stabbing him in the face with the tip of your sword in the intervals between the opponent’s sword blows and your own sword blows. When you have the intention of stabbing your opponent in the face, he will try to get both his face and body out of the way. In the midst of battle, as soon as an opponent tries to get out of the way, you have already won. Therefore it is imperative not to forget the technique of “stabbing the face.” This should be cultivated in the course of practicing martial arts.

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Badasses in History: Hannibal Barca

11 Oct

One of my least favorite things about real life is that it totally doesn’t work like video games. Unlike Call of Duty or Halo—where I can beat the shit out of like a billion elites by just going all kamizake and then respawning—in real life it fucking sucks to be outnumbered. What it comes down to, in the real world, would be some guy in armor (Master Chief) getting beat to death by like 30 really pissed-off midgets (Grunts).

That’s the mathy explanation anyway. Today’s historical badass, however, not only shat all over my “normal” difficulty setting, cranking it all the way up to “Deicide”, but he did so against other people, not some dumbass AI.

His name was Hannibal Barca.

No. Not that Hannibal. The other one. The real one. The one that isn’t fucking Anthony Hopkins (who was, incidentally, totally as awesome as Hannibal Lector).

Anyway, this Hannibal was like Samuel L. Jackson if Samuel L. Jackson could go back in time and utterly bring the Roman Empire to its knees.

This Hannibal did something no other person in history was even remotely capable of. It’s like if Kobe played basketball against a team made up of genetically half-bred squirrel dolphins… the other side just doesn’t stand a chance.

To understand why Hannibal was such a BAMF, we have to go back to the third century BC to the civilization of Carthage.

His beard is rumored to be the inspiration for Morty's

Hannibal was born in 247 BC, son of Carthaginian leader Hamilcar Barca. Incidentally, “Barca” means “thunderbolt.” So yeah, Hannibal Thunderbolt. His motherfucking last name was THUNDERBOLT.

Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.

As I was saying, Carthage at the time was kind of like modern-day Detroit in that both had totally gotten fucked over and no one really gave a shit. To fix this, Hannibal’s dad, Hamilcar—being awesome (but not as awesome as Hannibal)—decided he’d get back at Rome for defeating Carthage in the First Punic War. Needless to say, they got owned by Rome’s far superior numbers and equipment, kind of like how in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King the good guys are FUCKED until the ghost army comes… except Hamilcar didn’t have a ghost army.

Or Gandalf. Gandalf would have totally helped.

Still, I feel like I’m forgetting something.

Oh, right, 8-year-old Hannibal went with his dad’s army.

Before you ask, this wasn’t his father’s order or anything; little Hannibal fucking asked to go. TO WAR. TO KILL PEOPLE.

Needless to say, no 8-year-old has ever been so ball-crushingly awesome.

Hamilcar, either the world’s best or worst father—I don’t think they make mugs for that—agreed to let Hannibal come if he did one tiny thing: swear an undying oath of vengeance to burn Rome to ashes and slaughter every Roman he could.

…………

Family issues a couple thousand years ago really make you think about the shit you complain about today.

Anyway, Hannibal, being the badass he was even at age eight, responded, “I swear so soon as age will permit…I will use fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome.” I think he also added, “time to PWN some fucking NOOBS!

Battles in those days were a lot like off-campus parties: nowhere to move, and no idea who's assaulting you

Regardless of little Hannibal’s presence, things didn’t go well, which is surprising since I would have thought an 8-year-old on a battlefield would have been a highly effective throwing weapon: you throw the kid and then hit the enemy in the face or something… maybe Lunchables are involved. Whatever.

Basically, the big thing was that Hamilcar died in battle after conquering much of what is Spain and its surrounding nations today. Hannibal, after getting down on his knees amidst thunder, lightning and rain, and screaming NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! to the heavens, decided that he would keep his promise and pull an American History X-style curbstomp on Rome.

So for the next twenty years Hannibal engaged in what can only be assumed to be history’s longest training montage, fighting off lions, killing soldiers, and generally fucking shit up. Then, in 221 BC, his brother Hasdrubal was assassinated, and as Hasdrubal was Carthage’s main general, this meant Hannibal suddenly had a rather powerful new job title.

Because of the assassination’s success, the Roman’s acted a bit like everyone did at the end of the every Disney movie ever. They chilled out and celebrated even though there were dozens of unanswered questions and unsolved problems.

Hannibal, not being a complete idiot, took advantage of this in every way possible by gathering an army and repeating his brother’s plan.

That takes mad balls.

And, funnily enough, the Romans were still taken by surprise. Seriously Rome? Too many pot brownies probably.

Putting the Dos Equis man to shame

Anyway, in the spring of 218 BC, Hannibal marched with his army to Gaul (now France and other countries) on the way to the Swiss Alps.

Which he proposed to cross. With about 50,000 men. And also 37 war elephants. Dude, how badass are war elephants? Like, at least as badass as 300.

This was totally not going to be easy. I mean, the Swiss Alps are 15,000 foot high mountains, and Hannibal had thousands of soldiers AND FUCKING ELEPHANTS to feed. It was probably the equivalent of trying to ride a skidoo in the middle of the Arizona desert. Under normal circumstances, it just shouldn’t be possible, like Dane Cook saying something funny.

But Hannibal did it. He lost about 25,000 of his men, and all but two of the elephants, but he fucking did it. From there, he went on to win every single battle he fought with Rome for the next decade—being outnumbered virtually every time, with no way to easily get continued supplies—including the Battle of Cannae, which to this day is still studied by military historians who sit and read about it and say, “How the fuck did he pull this off?” With about 15,000 men, Hannibal defeated a Roman army of 50,000-70,000. That’s easily a ratio of 4:1. Among the dead were about 80 Roman senators (25-30% of the entire Roman government).

Fuck yeah, Hannibal Barca.

Hey Rome, remember that one time I almost single-handedly brought your empire to its knees?

Sadly, however, the years kept weakening Hannibal’s army—but not Hannibal, the dude beat up Wolverines for his morning exercise. This eventually forced Hannibal to make a retreat with his remaining forces back to Carthage. He did manage to sack several cities during the retreat—kind of like a last second money shot at Rome—but on the whole he had won every battle but lost the war.

Eventually, Hannibal would go into voluntary exile from Carthage when Rome threatened it again while Hannibal was without troops, but even then he worked as a mercenary general, winning almost every battle he fought. In one victory, a naval one incidentally, his weapon of choice was a barrel of poisonous snakes, which he would toss onto enemy ships.

This caused Rome so many problems, even when Hannibal was just a mercenary, that they demanded his allies surrender him or be annihilated. His “allies” being whiny douchebags, they agreed.

But, Hannibal was too badass to let himself be killed by Romans, so he took poison and wrote a final “fuck-you” letter to the Romans to be found next to his body.

It said:

Let us relieve the Romans from the anxiety they have so long experienced, since they think it tries their patience too much to wait for an old man’s death.

Even beyond the grave, the dude managed to flip-off Rome.

Righteous.

Josh Kopel

Badasses in History: Rasputin

26 Sep

When someone uses the phrase “historical figure” you can usually make two assumptions. First, that the person is probably complaining about a paper they have to write (complaining makes everything better); and second, that the “historical figure” in question is probably dead.

We only tend to refer to people as “historical figures” if they’ve been dead for at least half a century or so (sorry Amy Winehouse, but you’ll have to wait). Unfortunately, we can’t be so sure about this week’s Historical Badass. You see, our guy has this thing about cheating death.

Looks like an unholy cross between Steve Buscemi and Marilyn Manson

That’s right, I’m talking about Rasputin, the Mad Monk. Before we get into the whole “this-guy-just-won’t-die-he’s-the-devil-save-us-Jesus” bit, it’s time to provide some background.

But first check out his picture.

Yeah, this dude was one crazy motherfucker. Look into those eyes and tell me you don’t see a gateway to nightmares and years of serious trauma therapy. I don’t think we ever get to see a dementor’s eyes, if it even has them. But if it does, that’s what I think they look like.

I think I’m going to need a drink before this article is over, but we’ll keep going for the moment.

*Deep breath*

Alright. Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was born in 1869 in the small town of Pokrovskoye, Siberia. Upon exiting the womb, he reportedly cackled and wrote up a pact with the Devil then and there. His parents, understandably concerned, tried to enroll him in the local preschool, but historical texts tell us the effort stalled slightly when the school was inexplicably sucked into another dimension while little Cthulhu sat nearby baking muffins.

Years went by and the wee lad Grigori prospered, and by prospered, I mean got way scarier. Like the kid in that movie The Omen, or a teenage Tom Riddle, Rasputin seemed destined for a pale complexion and dead, soulless eyes with a presence that made small children cry and grown men shit themselves with terror.

Eventually, Rasputin joined a monastery and “found God”—I don’t know what god he found, but it sure wasn’t a happy one—at which point events elsewhere conspired to bring him into the limelight.

Rasputin modeling how to properly smize

As it turned out, the family members of the Czar Nicholas II often sickened and died at fairly young ages, and the Czar understandably wanted to see if someone could fucking do something about it. Shamans, old ladies with “homeopathic medicine,” and even real doctors tried to find out why and affect a cure, but all failed.

As history informs us, the problem was hemophilia, but since today’s pharmaceutical clusterfuck of drugs was unavailable at the time, there wasn’t much that could be done. Making matters even more interesting, bleeding was a common treatment at the time. Yep. Perhaps the one thing that couldn’t possibly make things worse was being used to treat the Czar’s family.

Here it is expressed as a formula: Bleeding+Hemophilia=Lots of Dead People

Rasputin however, claimed to have the answer. And thanks to his deal with the Devil, he soon became a close confidant for the Czar’s family, especially Czar Nicholas’ wife, Alexandra, who grew to regard Rasputin as her closest adviser after he affected “miraculous” cures. She had so much belief in his powers that she believed God spoke through him.

You can guess how that went over.

His immense influence on the family, and thus on Russia’s ruling policies, was not well regarded by a number of men who thought they could do a far better job of fucking things up than Rasputin, so — doing what all Russian politicians do in a time of upheaval and doubt — they decided to kill the guy they felt was responsible.

Strangely, the animated Rasputin looks slightly more human than the real Rasputin did

Things got started when the former prostitute Khionia Guseva attacked Rapustin as he was exiting a church. She stabbed him and cut open his stomach. Eyewitness accounts tell us that Rasputin looked at the wound, flipped off the sky, then healed up Wolverine-style and went out to lunch at the Russian version of Denny’s.

It was then that Rasputin received a lovely dinner invitation from Prince Felix Yusupov, who totally wasn’t going to try to kill him. For some reason Old Grigori accepted the invitation and arrived wearing a batman cape. Taking him down to the cellar, the nobles fed Rasputin tons of food, all laced with cyanide, better known to us today as a rat poison.

Now, this would kill fucking anybody. Rasputin however, shrugged it off like nothing, all the while telling his favorite knock-knock jokes. They must have been bad ones to, because one guy got so pissed off that he shot Rasputin in the back.

The dude blinked less than even Dick Cheney

Relieved that he was finally dead, the nobles started to go off to their coaches, when one idiot realized he’d forgotten his coat. When he went to grab it, Rasputin leaped off the floor like that possessed chick in The Exorcist. Freaked the fuck out, the bastards shot Grigori three more times.

Was he dead?

Nope. The crazy fucker still kept trying to go after them, so they all grabbed clubs and gave him a prison-style beatdown. They then wrapped his body in a sheet and tossed it in the icy — actually, all rivers in Russia are icy — Neva River.

Days later, when Rasputin’s body was found, full of poison, bullet holes, and clubbing wounds, the mortician determined the cause of his death.

Take a guess about what finally killed this preposterously insane fucknut. No really, I’ll wait.

Yep. The cause of death was drowning. He had even broken out of the sheet and tried to swim… with four gunshot wounds and broken bones.

By the way, one of the shots was through his forehead. Yeah.

What. The. Fuck.

To be fair, autopsy reports differ, and several were done on Rasputin with different conclusions, but this is the one I’m going with because, frankly, it’s that badass.

Josh Kopel

Badasses in History: Winston Churchill

8 Sep

Rumor has it that Churchill fathered his successor to the throne of Badassery, Morty Schapiro

The study of history is, in many ways, the study of humanity. From kings and heroes to slaves and cowards, history provides us with an unrivaled view into the inner workings of the human mind.

But never has any historical figure kicked quite as much ass as Winston Churchill.

Let’s start off by investigating what the man had to work with. On the pros side, he was born the grandson of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. Aristocratic blood? Check. He was enrolled in the best schools. Education? Check. He was a brilliant politician. Acumen? Check. Oh, he also beat the Nazis. Awesomeness? Check.

Now for the cons. That school he was in? He hated it and got bad grades. Good GPA? Not check. He was fat…and rude…and a bit of a drunk. Winning personality? Not check. At the time of his political achievements, he faced a weak parliament and a weaker aristocracy. Strong support system for confronting foreign difficulties and interacting with the power-hungry, vicious Nazis? Not check.

The man was born with five-pound jowls

So to recap: Winston Churchill was born rich, but balked at any attempts to civilize him beyond what was required to find and light cigars, and—who could forget?— jimmy open the liquor cabinet. He then went off to the Royal Military College where he had the option of enrolling in either the cavalry or the infantry. He chose the cavalry. Why? Because it had a lower grade requirement and he hated math. Here was a man who had his priorities straight.

At that point, his father asked that he transfer to the infantry, to which I can only presume Winston replied: “Suck it.” Whatever his exact words, he stayed in the cavalry for some time until he got bored—again I can only assume because he was too bitching at everything for his regiment to handle—at which point he became a journalist and war-correspondent. Even more awesome (if such a thing could be possible) Churchill then went to Cuba to follow a conflict between Spain and the Cuban rebels, where he learned about cigars. His response was reportedly to blow smoke in the face of the Spanish General Ramon de Not-As-Mind-Blowing-as-Churchill. As history has taught us, this ended the war then and there.

But while his early life was too grandiose for words, it was Churchill’s later life that cemented his place as history’s greatest badass. You see, Churchill’s greatest quality was this: he was fucking hilarious. Yes, Churchill played a central role in the defeat of the Axis powers and the preservation of Great Britain beyond the bombing of London. But all of that nonsense pales in comparison to his rollicking contributions to insult comedy.

This image was captured moments after Churchill listed off the gut-wrenchingly filthy sexual activities he had engaged in with Stalin's mother

Though Churchill’s insults can — and do — fill entire books, some of them stick as even more groin-grabbingly funny than others. When asked about his opinion of Neville Chamberlain (who some of you may remember as the dickwad who tried appeasing the Nazis as British Prime Minister before Churchill), Old Winston had this to say: “He looked at foreign affairs through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe.” In other words: “That dude is a shitface.”

On cultured people, tubby had this to say: “Cultured people are merely the glittering scum which floats upon the deep river of production.” What a baller.

Still, as funny as Churchill was in general, he had two particular adversaries with whom he had supreme moments of insulting hilarity: Lady Nancy Astor, member of Parliament and second-class comic, and playwright George Bernard Shaw.

We’ll start with Shaw. Both intellectuals (Shaw of the kind that actually does things of artistic and literary merit, and Churchill of the kind that makes fun of those things), the two often enjoyed exchanging witticisms. Shaw, no real fan of Churchill’s, thought it might be funny to send Winston a pair of tickets to Shaw’s newest play, Major Barbara. Accompanying the tickets was a short note: “Have reserved two tickets for opening night. Bring a friend, if you have one.”

Now, at this point, any lesser man would have accepted the truly hilarious burn at face value. Not Chubby Churchill. He wired back—in a moment where even God himself spit out his top ramen in laughter—”Cannot possibly come first night, will attend second, if there is one.”

Awesome.

Onto adversary number two: Lady Astor. The two had a long legacy of mocking one another, Astor for Churchill’s rampant alcoholism and obesity, Churchill for Astor’s general bitchiness. Who can forget this exchange:

He usually only needed one of those fingers to properly express himself

Astor: If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.
Churchill: Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it.

Again, awesome. But these clashes of wits pale in comparison to a later insult. One particular evening, Churchill came to a party visibly drunk and irate, so much so that a Mrs. Bessie Braddock quite publicly remarked, “Mr. Churchill, you are drunk!” But Winston, drunk or not, knew a challenge when he heard one. After shouting “Challenge Accepted!” he looked the offending woman in the eye (or chest, as Churchill was not one for manners) and said: “Yes, and you, Madam, are ugly but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly.”

So yeah, no one rocked the house like Winston.

Some more Churchill insults for your consideration:

  • Young man (after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.
    Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
  • [Referring to Arthur Balfour] If you wanted nothing done at all, Balfour was the man for the job.
  • The British Prime Minister after single-handedly clearing Juno Beach during D-Day

  • Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
    Woman: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
    Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
    Woman: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
    Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.

And now for the winner:

  • [Referring to Charles De Gaulle] He looks like a female llama who has been surprised in the bath.

Josh Kopel

The Paliban Tours the Holy Land

24 Mar

She's totally sizing up that beard right now.

Oh, Sarah Palin, you’ve done it again. In a regrettably unsurprising turn of events, Sarah Palin has once again found a way to offend Jews everywhere. After landing in Israel yesterday, Palin displayed the lack of common sense that we know and laugh at — or cry over, depending on your point of view.

Clearly worried about not receiving the Jewish vote, Governor Mooselini brilliantly decided to tour the Holy Land while wearing a large Star of David. Sure she’s not Jewish, but darn it she cares! After her stellar politicking, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Mama Grizzly’s savvy move has brought the support of Jews across America.

Winning over the Jewish vote, one wink at a time

“Oy, I thought she was just a schmuck before. [I] used to call her ‘Caribou Barbie’.” said Isaac Goldbergstein, a Chicago dentist.

“Always kvetching about Obama that one! Such a goshmeinkt,” added Goldbergstein’s wife Ethel, looking up from her copy of Angry Jewish Grandmother and its featured article, “How to Guilt Your Kids into Taking You to Dinner.”

As a result of Palin’s pandering, hundreds of thousands of elderly Jewish couples like the Goldbergsteins have joined the Grizzly-bandwagon. Among Palin’s many other gestures, she “wanted to touch the clay in the tunnel and then touch the water in the ritual bath,” according to Likud Knesset member Danny Danon, who accompanied Palin on her trip to the Western Wall.

Two of Palin's newly won-over supporters

“That whole ‘blood libel’ thing is in the past!” said Yonatan Faklempt, 19, a student at American Hebrew University. “She just isn’t the Wicked Witch of Wasilla anymore.”

Whatever the case, The Dickless Cheney seems to have turned over a new leaf — at least in the minds of much of the Jewish community. Whether or not it will affect Palin’s run in 2012 however is anyone’s guess. And if the Alaska Disasta’ has taught us anything, it’s that she is a true visionary. If she can see Russia from her house, then who knows how far she can gaze into the future?

Only time will tell.

-Josh Kopel