Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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April 13, 1998 Picture: I Know My Theme Song Will Go OnThere is an innate human response to tragedy, one believes. There are visible stages of grief. There is shock, and outrage, and the trembling finger of blame. And then, when the more fiery emotions have ebbed away, there are always vultures who seek to profit from the whole thing.

One has heard from various news sources this week that there are not one, but two separate plans to reconstruct the mighty ship Titanic and let it sail across the Atlantic once more. Oh, they assure us. Something will be done about that unfortunate business with the ship sinking, and there might be a few more lifeboats to go around, just in case. But otherwise, the boat will be very much the same as what our Edwardian ancestors experienced. With the slight exception, of course, of a 'Funship' coupon book, a casino, sandals and Hawaiian shirts on the promenade deck, and 'Charo' in the Fiesta Lounge doing the 'goochie-goochie.' And the price for the privilege to be a part of the historic first voyage? A mere $10,000 to $100,000, American.

One's readers (and one has it upon a superb authority that they are so many in number that if were each a vein of precious ore, the Royal Families of Britain, Sweden, and Monaco could be supplied with solid sterling silver sauce separators in perpetuity) will perhaps sympathize with one when one states that the idea an appalling exercise in taste. Those who went down with that ill-fated queen of the oceans would agree.

The baser instincts of lesser souls demand that profit should be made from any situation, even the most grievous; one understands that it is the survival instinct that causes a man or woman to automatically calculate how to best turn around a situation to improve one's standing. But really. There is such a thing as Going Too Far.

What will be next? The Great Disasters of History Theme Park? One imagines hordes of undiscerning folk clamouring for entrance at this tasteful establishment outside a reproduction of the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem. Then . . . the magical moment. The gates open. An oversized costumed theme character with a Disney-sized head representing Torquemada will greet guests as they run to the carefully constructed reproductions of the Hindenburg that will transport them to the further reaches of the park. There they will find some of the more popular attractions: "Pompeii-o-rama" and the Great Fire of London Bar-b-que Pits.

Around the corner, in 'Plague Land,' young children can play 'Whack a Buboe' while their parents relax at 'Colonel Squalid's Lice Country Jamboree.' Or, if more classical music is to their taste, the Joan of Arcarde features 'vidiot games' and hourly burnings of the saints set to a tasteful Oscar-nominated New Age score.

What could be more refreshing than a brief respite for some crispy wood-smoked meat at that popular disaster food chain, McDonner's? And then, after the stirring animatronic musical display of the killing of the Tsar's family narrated by an animated Anastasia and her cute yet cheeky sidekick, Bolly the Bolshie, stop in at the 'Di! Di! Di!' store for a souvenir stuffed Princess of Wales to clutch during the park's newest and sensational ride: "Challenger: Blast Off to the Stars!"

But then again, one is leery of suggesting such a thing. Someone will most likely take one seriously.

Feeling slightly seasick, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Jerry writes:

Picture: Choices, ChoicesDear Sir Charles,

I notice you have a problem with your attitude. And attitude is everything!

Now, my attitude is that everything is choices. You can choose to be positive about life and live in a positive manner, or you can choose to live in a negative way. Life's great though! Why fritter away your time in a negative, life-negating way?

Let me tell you a story about myself. One day I was opening up my business (I run a bookstore for 'mature readers') and from one of the video booths popped out a homeless man who stabbed me seventy-three times with a knife. As I lay there in the hospital emergency room, I looked up into the faces of the nurses and the doctors and saw that they thought I was a hopeless case. "Hey!" I said in a joking manner. "Don't count me out yet!" I knew right then that I had two choices. I could live, or I could die. So I pinched the bum of one of the nurses. She had to take my history and said, "Are you allergic to anything?" And I said, "Yes! Knife wounds!" Hah! Hah! Hah! Then I asked the police to bring in my assailant so that I could forgive him, and let him watch the surgery so that he could fathom the consequences of his actions.

So you see, everything's a matter of attitude. Now you can either: 1) Publish this in your column and learn the error of your ways, or B) toss it into the wastebin, like you probably will. But I think you should work on improving your attitude.

Choose life!

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Jerry,

If, upon your recovery from the multiple stab wounds, you were to step out from the hospital front doors into the emergency lane, only to be run over by a speeding car and tossed upon a planting of decorative brambles just as a corner-cutting nurse was emptying out the 'waste iodine' bin from the window above, one's attitude would indeed become greatly improved. If the accident took out the 'Spice Girls' with you, one would most closely resemble a Mister Ebeneezer Scrooge, on Christmas morn.

With thanks for the so-called 'insights,' one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Matthew writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

As one of your adoring legion of fans (so numerous, I hear, that were the late Carl Sagan to attempt describing our number, his jowls would ripple more than on "Cosmos"), I must agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of our inability to accept blame here in the Colonies.

I would take issue with you on one point, however.  Perhaps the leisurely pace of life on your charming and impressive estate has caused you to neglect the frantic pace we live at here.  The Movie of the Week (tm) about the Arkansas shooting should be out in three months, not three years.  Three years from now, the beer-addled brains of the public will long since have forgotten the whole affair.

Your humble servant,

Sir Charles replies:

My dear boy,

Thank you for the correction. One had quite forgotten how quickly such a production might be mounted, in a forum that required neither a coherent or well-written script, realistic production values, nor actors and actresses who could provide performances that would rise above that given by a plywood plank.

Stiffly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Jacko write:

Picture: Comedy Tonight!Hey charles.

I got a girlfriend who is repulsed by my fat bulb on my nose. Help!


Sir Charles replies:

'Hey' gentle reader,

I 'got' a repulsive correspondent who has less thinking material in his head than a centuries-old Egyptian mummy who has begun by having its brain extracted through a nostril with a hook, followed by flesh-eating ants inserted in the cranium and left overnight, topped off with a vigorous internal cleansing of the remaining skull with a caustic acid. Should one do the right thing and not bring it to the attention of other readers, or should one proceed to excoriate him in a public forum?

Having rather enjoyed that exercise, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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