Tuesday, 31 January 2012

"Retreat To The Upper Levels!"

There's a lot to enrage about this Wall Street Journal op-ed arguing that CO2's role in global warming - and specifically our own output - is in fact exaggerated, but it's all stuff we've seen before.  Deliberate misrepresentation and misinterpretation?  Check.  Accusations by oil company executives that those arguing for global warming have too much money at stake to be trustworthy?  Uh huh.  The conflation of uncertainty in predicting values with uncertainty in predicting trends?  Naturally. Using a piece in a newspaper with a circulation of two point fucking one million to compare themselves to Soviet researchers who were "disappeared" to prevent their research being promulgated?  Yep, that's in there too. [1]

I must confess, however, that I'm grimly amused by the balls on these people.  First we got "There's no evidence the world is warming, and everyone claiming otherwise is lying to you!".  Then it became "It's just possible the Earth is warming, but there's no evidence human activity is contributing to the trend, and everyone claiming otherwise is shilling for money!".

Now, apparently, we've reached a new stage: "It seems the Earth is warming - though everyone else lied about how fast it would warm up - and it seems humanity's actions might be part of the reason why.  But there's no evidence that our contribution is anything like as big as all that, and everyone claiming otherwise is involved in a vast international conspiracy to increase taxes for some reason!"

Lesser minds might have flagged at this point, and wearily admitted that it's just about possible that the accumulation of ever more evidence might once again force them to silently move the goalposts to ensure their lies continue to have the veneer of plausibility conclude they're wrong on this occasion as well, or at least that those on the other side of the issue might at least be arguing in good faith, rather than reading Solzhenitsyn and jotting down ideas.

But, heh: that's exactly the sort of thinking that doesn't get you thrown in a Siberian gulag, and that's not the sort of concession to the enemy those with a selfless dedication to revealing the truth in exchange for money are prepared to make!

[1] Interestingly, Think Progress notes that the WSJ was sent a letter by proponents of the other side of this little fracas, and the paper didn't think it was worth printing.  Now, I don't get to decide what does and doesn't deserve to be printed in the Wall Street Journal - though, really, it's hard to see how I, or a concussed dugong, could do worse than its own staff these days - but one might have hoped that someone involved in this piece at some point might have wanted to reconsider their Soviet gulag analogy.  Whatever one's personal feelings about the USSR in general, I'd think we can all agree that had a scientist received a letter from Director Lysenko saying "knock this shit off", they were unlikely to have gotten away with burning the pages in public and releasing a press release calling him a prick.

"Maybe I'll run another piece on how the phone-hacking scandal
has turned Rupert Murdoch into a helpless victim..."

Monday, 30 January 2012

Conflicting Interests

One of my co-workers is having trouble with a deeply antisocial neighbour, who amongst other things keeps playing music at four in the morning.  She also suspects he might be a benefit cheat, and there's significant evidence that he's gay, so I suggested phoning the Daily Mail.  YOUNG WOMAN KEPT UP BY GAY BENEFIT-CHEAT seems right up their alley.

Except then I remembered that my co-worker is a German immigrant who took one of our jobs.  It's hard to predict which way the Mail would jump on that one.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

A Tale Of Cocktails #22

Dennis the Menace


1 oz peach schnapps
1 oz Malibu rum
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2 oz cranberry juice

Taste: 7
Look: 7
Cost: 8
Name: 7
Prep: 8
Alcohol: 5
Overall: 7.1

Preparation:  Shake the schnapps and Malibu along with crushed ice.  Strain into a Collins glass and add the juices.

General Comments:  This is something of a re-working of the inimitable Woo Woo, one of my all-time favourites.  Alas, this cocktail doesn't really measure up.  It's not a bad drink by any means, and all four ingredients blend perfectly together.  Paradoxically, however, this actually ends up working against the drink.  The amount of cranberry juice in a Woo Woo gives the cocktail its bite, by mixing in the pineapple juice, you get far less of an effect.  It's light and refreshing (and more powerful than you'd imagine by taste alone), but it's begging for something extra to provide a kick.

It also looks a bit dull (I think a glace cherry garnish would be a good idea, at least), and the name, whilst nicely playful, doesn't really make any sense. All in all, it's less than the sum of its parts.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Friday Comedy: Mocking The Giants

Much as I love Stewart Lee, a fact demonstrated more than once on this blog, I have to admit that this is a pretty funny deconstruction of his style.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bring Back National Service (Or Possibly Fur Coats)

Sodding leopards!  They're stealing our cameras now!  I'm sure the tree-hugging eco-maniac types are crying tears of joy into their vegan lasagnas that there's an "unusually high" density of snow leopards in these mountains, but the disgraceful behaviour of their children demonstrate why: it's a big cat council estate.

Well, that or it's a staging area for the upcoming invasion.  Depends if those cubs are uncontrollable snipes flogging hot goods in exchange for cat-nip, or a highly trained paramilitary youth movement helping to fund the leopard war effort. 

If our government starts flogging Harriers to Tajikistan, we'll know what's happened.

Update:  Dammit, now they're trying to blame the oranges!  Link should be fixed now.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Special Bonus Prick

Shorter Rand Paul: "I don't want special treatment because I'm a senator, I want special treatment because I'm white."

The Life-Easing Properties Of Tiny Shit-Cannons

Ah, Cameron's Conservatism.  So... compassionate.

I don't really have anything to say on the specific value of the cap Cameron is proposing.  I lack the necessary data for that.  I would, however, like to point out three things:
  1. Arguing that the cap can't be too low because lots of people want it to be lower still is functionally equivalent to saying "A lot of pricks want me to be a bigger prick, so I don't see why my prickishness should be a problem" [1];
  2. Telling people that in a time of high employment the cause of child suffering he's focusing on is the people who could work but can't be bothered displays an ear so shot through with tin it belongs down a mine in Poldark;
  3. How can a man with four children possibly be so stupid as to sign on to arguments that suggest people view an extra baby or nine as being a good way of avoiding hard work, or ensuring a greater amount of living space?
A quick pitch for a reality TV show: David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith are invited to live for six months in Blenheim Palace, only to discover on arrival that every one of the staff has been replaced with a three month old baby and a single bag of Pampers.  The entire area is then sealed off, save for a weekly Tesco's delivery, and the resulting mayhem is filmed until it looks like a baby's health might be in danger, or Dave and IDS reconsider this government's social policy.  Or the next election is called, whichever comes first.

Working title: "Rugtwats".

[1] I wonder if Enoch Powell ever tried that one? "A lot of people wanted me to say 'The river Tiber foaming with much blood, and also the piss of darkies and the semen of homos'!"

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Dwarves Have Weird Hobbies

Since The Other Half was kind enough to buy this for my birthday, you might want to take this review with a pinch of salt, though if I had hated it, I promise you I'd just keep quiet, rather than spinning an intricate web of internet-based deceit.

Anyway, whether you believe me or not, Drako is pretty good.  Much as I love games of significant, even implausible complexity (as previoulsy reported, my favorite game is now so staggering convoluted even its expansions need expansions), there's something to be said about a game you can pull down and play through to completion in under thirty minutes.

Drako fulfils that need exceptionally well.  In large part, that's because it's a game about three dwarves trying to mess up a dragon, Who wouldn't want to play that?  They're pretty good at it, too.  Perhaps they've been practising, working their way upwards from particulary vicious pigeons (alas, not represented in the game mechanics).  They've brought a net, and a crossbow, and one guy who gets really angry, and they have to chop off the dragons wings, its feet, and whatever bit of it lets it breath fire, before they run of out time and the dragon flies away .  Oddly, the dragon can still do this without wings.  And feet.  Maybe if necessary it can roll its broken body down the mountain side?  We can only speculate.

For its part, the dragon has to survive until the dwarf player runs out of cards (you can draw two cards or play one each action, and there are two actions to a turn), or it manages to kill all three dwarves (no easy task - in our first two games not a single dwarf was killed).   The dragon player has a deck, too (running out of these doesn't end the game, but it does mean that the dragon can't do anything, which generally seals its fate).  The cards themselves display the various actions that can be performed - moving, flying, attacking, or launching nets/quarrels/jets of flame.  They can also display defence actions, which protect you from attack, but at the expense of not getting to use whatever else in on the card too.

And that's pretty much it.  There's enough going on to make the game more than just hoping for the right card (both times we played, the dragon died as a result of the last attack left in the dwarf deck, which suggests the game is nicely balanced, at least for rookies), but you can read the rules in ten minutes and explain what matters in about half that time.  It's only disadvantage is it's for just two players play it (I suppose three people could take a dwarf each, but the bitching over who got to use each card would probably ruin the speed of the game), but otherwise, it's a really nice way to plug a half-hour hole in your day.

It's nice and pretty, too.  Looks like there's four more miniatures to add to my increasingly ridiculous paint list.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Late As Well As Not Very Good

Count up for me all of the days
You've managed to survive
Subtract one for every leap year
And divide by three-six-five
If the remainder equals zero
Then do not be surprised
That it's socially demanded
You say you're glad to be alive.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Merry Quizmas Redux

Answers up now.  Faintly surprised no-one reads Billy Bunter anymore, and that "2,000 Miles" isn't more well-known a song than it apparently is.  Admittedly, its link to Christmas has maybe been overplayed a little (depending on how one interprets the lyrics), but in my opinion, only "Fairytale of New York" is more a more welcome tune when heard through shop speakers or a pub jukebox over the festive season.

Anyway, that's another holiday period sorted.  Time to start planning the Easter edition.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Apparently, We're Mainly Conserving Intelligence

I realise that this is intended to be a light-hearted article/conversation-starter, rather than a coherent political argument, but holy lizard balls, this list is stupid.

(The tell of course, is the fact that his three criteria for a "conservative" film are patriotism/love of the military, a pro-free market message, and pissing off liberals.  Quite the set of principles you've got there, Gardiner: no wonder you're grinning like Dale Winton on Supermarket Sweep, ten seconds after he's eaten a locust and turd panini).

Ordinarily, there'd be a few things to say about this: the increasingly annoying idea that liberalism/leftism (delete as required) is a priori anti-military or unpatriotic (the latter in particular is never argued by anyone other than those who are convinced that loving one's country requires that you love their specific view of the world in general - which is to say: shitheads); the failure to distinguish between being pro-military and being slavishly pro-military to the point of propaganda (see A Few Good Men, for example, a film which rips apart those who abuse their power in the military precisely because of the respect it has for the institution as a whole); the endlessly idiotic suggestion that conservatism is something that automatically annoys the left, as oppose to annoying us when they stick together a list of films about white people shooting darkies and then pretending not to notice the recurring theme.

All of that would be redundant, though.  The only thing you need to work out Gardiner's opinions on cinema or anything else are objectively worthless is this quote right here:
 Zulu is one of the only films of the modern age that chose not to condemn or vilify Britain's imperial heritage, but instead highlighted the extraordinary courage of the men who fought and died in defence of the largest and most benevolent Empire the world had ever seen. 
Most.  Benevolent. Empire.

Aside from this being an award functionally equivalent to being crowned "most tall dwarf" (screw you, Stewart Lee!), we've apparently learned that being conservative means telling the Irish they can go fuck themselves.  I'm sure we can find a film about that somewhere, can't we?  Gardiner will doubtless love it.

(Also: The Killing Fields?  That's a film about how horrible Communist dictatorships are, and how they can get their foot in the door following the callous and murderous actions of Western conservatives.  So I'm fairly sure you don't get to claim that one, actually).

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Another Year, Another Post

The unquestionable mathematics of linear time have deemed that this day be considered my "birthday".  It's been thirty two years since I first squirmed out into the world, and global domination is still as far from my tentacle tips as ever it was.  Other than that, though, I seem to have done OK.

I've certainly been damned lucky in my choice of friends and girlfriend, certainly.  Currently sitting on my kitchen worktops is this deliciously citrus-tinged delight, baked by The Other Half, and just waiting for me to digest my Chinese dinner enough to allow me to start gorging. 

Also on display in chez calamari: this truly beautiful birthday card, designed by My Other Half's workmate, and our mutual friend, Michelle Webb.

Cocktails, doggies, and probability formulae.  The woman knows her audience.

Further examples can be found at her shop, which I recommend browsing.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday 40K: The Motley Crusade

After getting my Tyranid army up to 2500 points, and completly re-basing both it and my Tau force, I thought I'd go for something at least a little different, so I've set about finishing painting up the Space Marines from the Assault on Black Reach box.  I've now gotten through the tactical squad, which combined with its equivalent from Battle for Macragge, and a Sterguard Veteran and old-time Veteran Sergeant, has given me the beginnings of a Space Marine Crusade army, which for those who don't remember the term, just means "a shitload of different Chapters who all show up at once."

(For those of you who remember the Space Squids back-story I started putting together - and which I still intend to complete, though that's true of about eight different things at this point - the dark-skinned individuals above were born on Four Feathers.  The Kringrimmi will have a different skin tone, but none of those that remain will be likely to be sergeants, or at least not without Terminator armour as well.)

Meanwhile, at the paint station:

That Dreadnought is destined to join the ranks of the Salamanders (who are looking somewhat under-represented just now).  But what are those two things that look like tiny ironing stands?  For those who don't recognise them, I shall give you a clue: the only reason they haven't progressed beyond the undercoat stage is that I've run out of Regal Blue.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Pope-ulation Control

Oh, for the love of God.

And yes, I'm aware of the irony in that statement.  I don't believe in the Catholic's concept of God, or anybody else's.  But I'd like to think that, if the Christian God were (or is) real, he might be a fan such things as basic logic.

Listen up, Benny: there are seven billion people on this planet.  Seven.  Billion. Seven zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero (85% of which aren't Catholics, by the way).  The things that threaten humanity itself are, in no real order; asteroid strike; nuclear war; super-charged flu pandemic; and a shadowy international conspiracy of murderous leopards.

And running out of room.  The natural world can offer plenty of examples of species and local populations who plummeted to their extinction just after reaching their highest ever numbers, because they eat all the food, drink all the beer, and generally carry on with no more thought to tomorrow than Bill Murray in Groudhog Day.  The human race isn't there yet, of course, but we're a damn sight closer to it than we are to being wiped out if gay people get to tie the knot.  At least when your predecessor banned in-vitro fertilisation, that was a move in the right direction, cold-hearted and nonsensical though it was. [1]

I'd actually have more respect for the Pope if he just came out with "Dudes, it's in the Bible.  Go check that shit out."  That raises other questions, of course, but at least it would be honest.  Trying to dress up common-or-garden homophobia as a principled attempt to save humanity is the highest form of bullshit, and it's cowardly as well.

[1] Perhaps this whole thing is a two-pronged attack to ensure The Forever War never comes about.  I can't imagine the Catholic hierarchy getting along too well in a world where overcrowding issues have been solved by growing all new people in vats, and turning the entire population gay to prevent pregnancy.  It's a neat idea, and demonstrates conclusively that being the only straight man on a planet filled with lesbians isn't nearly as brilliant an idea as Nuts might want you think.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Just Checkin'

How time flies.  It's already been three weeks since I delivered the Christmas quiz to a room full of confused drunkards and sarcastic barmaids.  It's always strange how different your former local feels after you've been away for a while, and when circumstances demand you stay sober.

Ordinarily it would be past time for me to put the answers up to the online transcript, but since takers were pretty thin on the ground this time around (maybe everyone was too busy trowelling on the brandy butter, or maybe I've just gotten out of practice and lost my quizzing mojo), I'll wait another week, in case anyone feels like having a go.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Li'l Ludo Is Also An Option

News that there's a Labyrinth comic book prequel in the works is nothing to be sniffed at, obviously, but two important questions spring immediately to mind. 

First: isn't the whole idea of a prequel to that film kind of missing the point?  Given that the crux of it is that it doesn't really matter whether Sarah's adventure was real or not, so much as the process of going through it?  And even if it was real, the power of the central metaphor is sufficiently strong that I'd be leery of trying anything else with the franchise once that idea is excised.

Secondly, and far more importantly, if you're going to do a Labyrinth prequel, why in the name of all that's holy are you basing it around Jareth, and not Sir Didymus.

Here, let me show you how awesome that would be:

Plus, you get to call it "The Adventures of Diddy Sir Didymus."

You're welcome.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Progressive Dementia

George Will is not a good writer.  He is a hack; a man who uses every ounce of the intelligence he has (or had) to disguise shameful lies as reasonable points.  He is a man who claimed there was no global warming in the '00s, because the hottest year on record was in the '90s.  You know, like how black musicians aren't increasingly being listened to and enjoyed by white people, because no single album has outsold Thriller, and that came out in '82. 

Not only is he a poor commentator and a mendacious charlatan, though, he's also horrifyingly dismissive of people who do not share his opinions, or his lack of journalistic standards.  On top of all of that, he has a stupid face, as though Bill Gates were constantly meloncholy and also an owl.

All of this has been true for a while (and indeed mentioned here more than once). So why am I going back to this particular well?  Because of this:
For the indefinite future, a specter is haunting progressivism, the specter of abundance. Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior. 

Imagine what a horror 2011 was for progressives as Americans began to comprehend their stunning abundance of fossil fuels — beyond their two centuries’ supply of coal. Progressives responded with attempts to impede development of the vast, proven reserves of natural gas and oil here and in Canada. They bent the willowy Obama to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canadian tar sands; they raised environmental objections to new techniques for extracting gas and “tight” oil from shale formations.

An all-purpose rationale for rationing in its many permutations has been the progressives’ preferred apocalypse, the fear of climate change.
Following this outburst, I can longer bring myself to believe that Will is merely a peddler of low-grade bullshit.  He can only be completely, irreversibly out of his fucking tree.  That last line, admittedly, is Will's bog-standard outrageous lies: the Keystone XL pipeline was campaigned against because it would risk the extinction of several endangered species, and the principle objections to the new extraction techniques are that a) we haven't had time to ensure they're safe for nearby people, and b) they seem to have a nasty habit of poisoning surrounding water supplies.  The discerning reader might also ask why, if the US has two centuries of coal reserves remaining, it really needs a massive oil pipeline from Canada, when Will's children and his childrens' children can play safe and free under the harmless coke clouds belching forth from Middle America until the twenty-third century.

The rest of it, though, is just the ravings of an id that's collapsed under the weight of its own suppressed shame.  Decades of ignoring and misrepresenting his political and philosophical opponents have left Will unable to even comprehend the letters, symbols and sounds that issue forth from the hated hippies. Instead, he's concocted an amazing conspiracy theory in which we're so obsessed with the idea of making life harder for everyone - including ourselves - we've put together the Biggest of all Lies.

Here's my question, though: if we really had forged a massive deception in the fires of Mount Doom ivory towers of the intelligentsia, with the specific aim of hobbling the march of civilisation, why would we choose a scenario entirely at odds with the richest people and countries in the world?  Why not come up with something aimed to strike against the unwashed and downtrodden?  Like, I don't know, the idea that organised labour isn't a necessary counterbalance to management, but a con trick designed to stifle innovation through the application of Big Government?
If in November Republicans capture the Senate... only weakness of Republican will can prevent, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board from being unconstrained instruments of presidential decrees. 
See?  That's how you make shit up in order to force other people to live the way you think they should!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

New Thoughts On the Snow Job

So, George R R Martin has updated the "sample chapter" page of his website, offering us the first taste of The Winds of Winter.  It's a short one, and unsurprisingly one which will appear early in the book (indeed, chronologically speaking, it takes place before the final events of A Dance With Dragons).  Nevertheless, it does offer some tantalising scraps of additional data to those formulating theories as to one of the questions the latest book left us with: how much of that letter was actually true?

Because such attempts to piece together theories always interest me, even when the events in question are entirely fictional, and because I've been discussing this over at the SFX Forum in any case, here are my thoughts on what this fascinating new evidence suggests.  Obviously, spoilers follow.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012


It is an observation so obvious and well-worn that, were it to issue forth from the lips of some worthless low-brow comedy hack (or Michael McIntyre, but I repeat myself), the man himself would excoriate them for it, but Stewart Lee has always (or almost always) had a tendency to sharply divide opinion.

My good and dear friend, the mighty Dr L, for example, once told me she found his routines impossible to watch because of the arrogance she felt oozing from his every pore. And given that Dr L does not exactly lack for self-confidence or strong opinions, married a man who lacks those things still less, and is right now being described in these very words by a friend so entirely in possession of those properties he's only prevented from sinking into total narcissism by being too lazy to try not be fat anymore, one has to assume her understanding of and tolerance for bullet-proof self-assurance must be stronger than most.

As it happens, Lee is arrogant, by his own admission (though it's sufficiently obvious that fessing up to it is probably little more worthy of credit than his willingness to concede that he is white), and that's not the only reason some people dislike his work.  I don't think I heard a single word of praise for the first season of Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle amongst my friends when it was broadcast (for the record, I thought it was fairly uneven, mainly because it really didn't play to his strengths, but frequently funny and occasionally brilliant).  His monotone, disinterested delivery, combined with his habit of endlessly repeating the same few phrases (which the casual punter could be forgiven for assuming was an attempt to make up for a lack of actual material, Dark Place-style), and there was a general feeling of bafflement as to why people (including me) spent so much time heaping praise on the man, even if everyone agreed that  - to paraphrase a paraphrase - no man who hates Richard Littlejohn can be all bad.

Of course, if Lee himself were here, he'd probably want me to search out the source of the original line, along with its first paraphrasing.  This obsession with ensuring everything is properly attributed is occasionally irritating (which is why I chose the title I did for this post - it's a blatant misappropriation of a Richard Herring riff, and thus amuses me).  Does Lee really want to moan about someone else using the "winning this award is not unlike being declared the world's tallest dwarf" line, for instance?  Hell. I've come up with that one, though it's possible "I'm the largest element in a set defined by conditions describing only small values" is a uniquely obvious joke to a mathematician.

Far more often, though, this search for the origins of jokes makes for fascinating reading.  Especially when combined as it is here with Lee's meandering (by footnote standards) tales of his experiences within the world of comedy which, due to the books format, which is chiefly comprised of three annotated routines, are mercifully untethered from anything so prosaic as chronology or coherent theme.  For people like me who have already seen these routines played out (multiple times in the case of the first two), these brief forays backstage are the real joy of the book.

I use the word "backstage" with some trepidation, because I realise what the phrase has often come to mean: gossip and bitchiness.  This is not the case here (Lee is almost never bitchy, though naturally he is frequently rude, curt and dismissive, and not always for the sake of comic exaggeration, I think).  Lee's interest is not in how comics behave behind closed doors, but how comedy itself is crafted, just out of view.  Whatever one's opinion of Lee as a performer or writer, his genuine love for the history and development of comedy is clear.  Put in this life, then even that arrogance that truly belongs to him (rather than being summoned on the stage as part of a carefully crafted act) can be partially understood - a man who has spent a decade studying the art of sculpting pottery, for example, could perhaps be forgiven for snorting at those novelty mugs that when warmed remove the underwear from the woman emblazoned thereon.  Whether or not said master of theory can so much as slap together an ashtray, of course, is a different matter.

In other words, then, there's plenty of reason to read this book [1] even if you know all three routines: Stand-Up Comedian, '90s Comedian, and 41st Best Stand-Up Ever, by heart.  Even if you do, it's worth reading them on the page.  I'm not entirely convinced by Lee's insistence that doing so is a completely different experience to seeing him deliver it (on DVD, I mean, rather than live).  Whilst in general he certainly has a point, I'd argue that there's less reason to feel one's missed out having read a transcript of a Lee routine than there would be for almost any other comedian - so much of Lee's approach could be thought of as(simplistically speaking) "anti-delivery", I'm really not sure it matters to simply read the piece to yourself.  Of course, it's possible I'm sufficiently familiar with the material to mentally substitute in his rhythm in any case, though my comparative unfamiliarity with 41st Best..., which I've seen only once, during its initial tour, makes me dubious.

If you're familiar with Lee, it's a brilliant book.  If you know little to nothing about him, then it will be at the minimum a very interesting read (even if the angry, bawling mob of footnotes plays havoc with the flow).  If you hate his stuff (and not just because of Comedy Vehicle), then this probably won't change your mind. 

Everyone, though, should read the penultimate appendix, featuring a five thousand word poem written by Lee [2], which starts off as something seemingly semi-autobiographical and self-indulgent, becomes progressively more involving and character-driven, and finally becomes unexpectedly touching and poignant from entirely out of nowhere.  Brilliant.

[1] I haven't even mentioned the anecdotes that spring up from time to time, some of which are brilliant.  I'm torn regarding my favourite of the bunch; it's either the Cluub Zarathustra device employed on-stage which projects the word CUNT onto heckling audience members, or the occasion Lee wrote an extended rant about the mawkish, unthinkingly sentimental and suffocating nature of March of the Penguin's traditionalist Christian subtext in order to demolish it in front of a crowd at the Brighton Picture House, only to find the version being screened had cut all of the dubious stuff out, leaving him forced to periodically launch acerbic abuse at what everyone else in the theatre believed was an entirely harmless film about how penguins are cute, and sometimes fall down.

[2] Apparently the editors of the book for which he wrote it rejected the piece, purely because they didn't think poetry was going to work as part of the overall volume.  He therefore knocked out the commas and resubmitted it as prose, and was accepted.  Lee does not share what he believes this outcome signifies, but I'm left wondering if it is further proof that timing and delivery is not necessarily quite as important to his work as he believes it is.