if at first you don’t succeed

The story on my daily calendar was called, ‘A Close Shave.’ That’s the same name as one of the Wallace and Gromit movies, but that’s not why I’m writing about it.

First, here’s scene 14 of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

NARRATOR: The Tale of Sir Lancelot.
FATHER: One day, lad, all this will be yours!
HERBERT: What, the curtains?
FATHER: No, not the curtains, lad. All that you can see! Stretched out over the hills and valleys of this land! This’ll be your kingdom, lad!
HERBERT: But, Mother–
FATHER: Father, I’m Father.
HERBERT: But Father, I don’t want any of that.
FATHER: Listen, lad. I’ve built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. The king said I was daft to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show ’em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. An’ that’s what your gonna get, lad — the strongest castle in these islands.

Now here’s the story from my calendar. Notice any similarities?

In 1829 the vessel Mermaid was shipwrecked four days out of Sydney, Australia. Everyone aboard swam to a rock, where they were rescued by another ship, the Swiftsure. Five days later, the Swiftsure was wrecked in a storm. The crew and passengers were picked up by the schooner Governor Ready, which caught fire three hours later. They were then picked up by the Comet . . . which was wrecked by a storm. Good luck: A passing mail boat, the Jupiter, rescued everyone. Bad luck: Two days later it hit a reef and sank. By chance, the passenger vessel City of Leeds was nearby and picked up all the castaways, finally delivering them back to Sydney. Five ships sank during the doomed voyage, but not a single life was lost. (From the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Calendar)


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  1. Dan, been enjoying your interesting pieces of info that i’ve been sharing with my email family and friends. read your blog daily along with mainstay political blogs and some of the other lds sites, learning alot and appreciating this new way of being educated.

    Comment by Marsha5 on February 11, 2005 @ 6:45 am
  2. Marsha: I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by dan on February 11, 2005 @ 9:05 am
  3. While not as dramatic or entertaining, I couldn’t help but think of Saltair.

    Comment by Cameron on February 12, 2005 @ 12:24 pm

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