Gadzooks, It’s Not a Backslash

We’ve been into this World Wide Web thing for a while now. That’s right — it’s really been over 20 years, despite what certain fictional histories might lead you to believe. Despite that, you still hear many people in various forms of communication misread web addresses like this:

“Find more information at so-de-so blah-de-blah backslash something else.”

Nope — it ain’t a backslash. Take this web address:


Those slashes above aren’t backslashes, sisters and brothers. Nope, those are forward slashes.

Why do people suffer from this misapprehension? Well, it may come from the legacy of a computer that (once-upon-a-time, when people saw it nearly every day) featured a little prompt that looked a little sumthin’ like this:


That prompt contained a backslash, but web addresses do not. Note that the problem became rampant enough that many web browsers actually convert back slashes to forward slashes if people try to type them in.

Over time, people have realized the error and have begun to read web addresses: “Find more information at so-de-so blah-de-blah forwardslash something else.” There’s no need to do this either. Just say “slash,” everybody.

To clear up another misapprehension, if you’ve (unfortunately) got the Facebook, you do have the internet:

The Republicans from Central Casting

Republican actors?

The Cast?

Commander Trombone has a simple inquiry to put out there into the internets today, and it goes like this: are Republicans in the U.S. Congress actually representatives, or do they now only represent what representatives are supposed to look like?

Sorry to get all Glenn Beck on you, but I’m just asking the tough questions that no one else will ask. Lets peal back the layers of the onion. I’m crying because of all this, not because of the onion, but because I love my country so much. OK, it’s a figurative onion. I’m still sobbing.

In the preceding months that lead-up to the final passage of health care reform—really, it’s health insurance reform—here in the United States, Republicans have been saying all kinds of crazy, untrue, things. Here’s something that may scare the pants right off you: in many cases, these Republicans were told to say these things. Below are some examples of things they were told to say. Please excuse the excessive use of exclamation points; they are needed to convey hysteria.

  • This reform will set up “Death Panels”*

    *No, not that fake wood paneling from the 70s. A government “panel” will decide if your grandma lives or dies. It’ll be like the DMV. She’ll be asked to take a number and sit down. When her number comes up, she’ll be herded into a room with other senior citizens. The Death Panel will take their seats and activate television monitors. You know what’s next: Golden Girls and Matlock re-runs! Eventually, the inevitable will happen.

  • This reform is a government takeover*

    *You know how your government screws up everything right? We mean, well, we Republicans work in government, but forget about all that. Government will screw it up. Only the magic of the private sector can provide health care. Imagine if the The Government ran a fast-food restaurant. You’d pay $40 for a milkshake that would plant a computer chip in your brain! It’s a computer chip that causes you to buy more milkshakes and eventually causes you to develop type 2 diabetes, thus making you totally dependent on U.S. Government for the rest of your life! (Does this seem over-the-top crazy? This particular crazy thing was specially written for Michele Bachmann.)

  • This reform will explode the federal deficit!*

    *Please forget what the Congressional Budget Office says about this bill, and please try to forget that our party already exploded the deficit. We really are the party of fiscal responsibility, except when we don’t hold 2 branches of the Federal Government (Really, 3 branches).

You may wonder who’s behind these lies, and who compelled these Republicans to say these things. Is it a shadow government controlled by a foreign power? Is it the Shriners, with their crazy fez symbology?

Friends, I have something awesome to reveal to you today. These are not real Republicans, these are actors. These people come from Central Casting. Yes, Hollywood is behind this, the silver screen on to which all this utter ridiculousness is projected.

“But,” I hear you saying, “The Republicans always rail against Hollywood. How could they be working for Hollywood?” Well, Follow the money. What drives ticket sales? Controversy. There’s only so many Crazy Lohans Hollywood can put out there. Hollywood needs crazy like it needs the air, and Hollywood needs the “Republicans” to criticize them. Ever since 1938, when Orson Welles convinced all those uncomplicated rubes that martians were invading, the media and Hollywood has known people could be made to do their bidding. What better bidding than to buy movie tickets?

How do we know all this? It’s simple: we know because of smart movie critics like Roger Ebert. He told us that the “Conservative Republican” writing is bad, the narrative is flawed, and the performances are not even passable. Further, we know Hollywood puts its weakest performers on Fox News. Behind the media curtain, the Bad Fox Actors frantically work the levers of their machine, trying to deceive the already spelling challenged. But that deception ends here, today. Now you know the rest of the story. Commander Trombone—Good Day.

Holiday Blues, Half-Off

December 4? Already? Commander Trombone apologizes for not updating this space more frequently. Please stand by for more. While you’re waiting for that precious content to arrive, please use the Amazon link on the main page or below for all your Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa purchases. No, the true meaning of none of these holidays is embodied in material things, and yes, we should probably recycle some of the older things first … But what can I tell you? Christmas is coming, the economy is in trouble, and the goose is getting as lean as a runway model. Importantly, though, you can do your part.

China’s Gunpowder Finally Does the Trick

Chinese Astrounauts Hereos' welcome

What follows is a first-person transcription of trash-talk directed at China. It was spoken snarkily by someone at the head office. Don’t worry, it’s not like anyone in China is ever going to read it. Also, everyone at the front office knows that most of things in the front office were Made In China.

“So, the Chinese spacemen just returned to earth. It’s amazing. In the late sixties, the United States got astronauts to The Moon using calculations done on slide-rules. Forty years later, China went for their own space-jaunt with their own technological handicaps: the rocket they used to escape earth’s gravity was apparently dipped in lead paint, and the astronaut’s energy drinks were spiked with melamine. Maybe later they can get an under-age gymnast to break her record without any gravity at all?”