Saturday, June 25, 2005

A Sudden Sketch

For a second or so in 2000, my friend Carl and I had a comedy sketch show called A Band of Fools. We only completed one episode, but we both wrote sketches for several. Looking through my files, I found this sketch that I purposely wrote with no budget in mind. The sketch was for public access, so there's no way we could have done this on our limited amount of cash (basically, whatever we had in our pockets or found on the floor). But it's just so weird and nonsensical that I felt I had to share it.

**********
Open on a church in session. There are two deacons in pink blazers with white collars standing in front of a pulpit.

FIRST DEACON: Please, let us pray. Lord, we pray that all men may learn to love one another as themselves, or at least the fun parts of themselves. Lead us into temptation all you want, but deliver us from evil--unless, of course, it's easily cured with penicilin. And thank you, O Lord, for giving us the films of Joel Schumacher, and we continue to hope that he will make the definitive version of Whitley Streiber's classic of anal rape, Communion. Amen.

SECOND DEACON: And now, the Homo Superior will bless you all.

A man in pink robes and a penis-shaped hat walks up to the pulpit.

HOMO SUPERIOR: Thank you. I know the traditional Superior's outfit is black, but with my collection I would've looked like I stepped out of a Bergman film. And now, children, for the sermon.

He rips off his robe and struts as lounge music begins to play. Suddenly, the congregation stands up and begins undressing, launching into a pagan orgy. A maypole is set up and people go wild.

Into all of this madness steps Carl, looking as though he has lost his way.

CARL: Hi, and thanks for joining us today on A Band of Fools. Now, I want to talk to you all about the importance of good weather-stripping.

A naked midget rides by on a donkey.

MIDGET: I say, sir, can you tell me how to get to Judea?

CARL: Why, yes--but first you must answer this riddle.

Suddenly, a whale falls out of the sky and lands on the midget, killing him instantly with a sickening noise. The whale spits out Jonah.

JONAH: At last! At last!

Jonah is so happy that he immediately starts dancing, first doing the bird and breaking into the worm.

CARL: Alright, I was with you on the midget, but this is just too ridiculous!

A puppet mouse leaps up from behind a rock.

MOUSE: Yeah! Let's get silly!

The mouse starts doing a little hula dance. Carl takes a gun out of his pocket and shoots it in the head.

CARL: What the hell is going on?

A passing mime walks by and shrugs, then takes off his clothes and dives into the orgy swinging a cat by the tail.

CARL: What the hell was that?!

A waitress walks up to take his order.

WAITRESS: The usual, or would you like the babies slightly undercooked this morning?

The Homo Superior walks over to Carl covered in blood and sweat.

HOMO SUPERIOR: Hey, man, you're really bringing us down over here.

Suddenly, God descends from heaven and lands in the middle of the action. Carl, the waitress, and the Homo Superior watch in awe as God looks around and scratches his beard.

GOD: What the hell am I doing here? Oh, why didn't I take the blue pill?

Cut to a shot of Jack Kerouac sitting at his table and typing all of this out.

KEROUAC: Brilliant. It's the most brilliant thing anyone's ever written.

A grandfather clock falls on his head, crushing him to death.

Everyone watching this show changes the channel in disgust.
**********

You know, some days the inspiration strikes, and sometimes you just ramble on and on until you disgust even yourself.

Talking About Myself

I took this from Becca and Merna's sites, and decided to join in. Because, really, all of us have on favorite subject: what our favorite stuff is.

1. Using your Current Initials, choose a different name for yourself: Alistair Rochester Daniels. Why not go a little elegant?
2. If you were born outside of your era, when would you want to be born? 1954, the year rock was born, so that I could enjoy glam rock first hand. Or the late 1800s, so that I could get in on the early days of film.
3. If you ran a store, what would you sell/have? Comic books, music, toys, DVD's, books, porno, and collector's items. It would be the best store for geeks in existence. I might even call it Geek Mall or something like that.
4. What part in a movie would you love to play? Brian Slade in "Velvet Goldmine." He got to rock, he got the girls, he got the boys, and he didn't have to die to do it. I guess I just want to be Bowie or Bolan. For movies that don't exist, I'd love to be Seven in the movie version of the awesome comic book "Red Rocket 7."
5. In your opinion, why do people suck? I'll take Becca's answer: cause they're all so fucking stupid. And they really, really are.
6. If you had your own state, what would you put on your new quarter? The following motto: "You must be at least this smart to live in this state," next to a picture of Isaac Asimov. The other side would feature David Bowie on the cover of "Aladdin Sane." Intellectualism and the arts. Sounds good to me.
7. What's the oldest article of clothing you own? I give most of my old shirts to Becca, so I don't have anything right now that's more than 5 years old or so.
8. What piece of furniture have you replaced the most? Lamps.
9. What instrument do you wish you could be more than great at? Guitar.
10. Record, Tape or CD? CD, especially remastered--lack of clarity frustrates me.
11. What do you think would be the best concert ever? I love Becca's choice: Bowie, Eno, Roxy Music, and T. Rex circa 1974, thought I might add Queen, Mott the Hoople, and Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, Prince, and Frank Zappa to that lineup.
12. What is the best part of your favorite movie? The "I Bring You a Song" sequence in "Bambi."
13. What do you think is the most over-rated candy ever? Klondike Bars. Nasty. I wouldn't do shit for one of those.
14. If you were writing out your will, who would you give your CD collection to? Becca, even though she wouldn't appreciate the fact that "Bat Out of Hell" is the greatest album of all time, and "Pet Sounds" is the second. And my Frank Zappa CDs might never be played again. Hmm, maybe I should leave this collection to my 10 year-old sister, she might grow up to appreciate it.
15. If you could only debate two topics the rest of your life, what would they be? Pop culture and the components of social structure (which includes just about everything, so there).
16. Out of your friends, who would you say you are most jealous of, artistically? Becca. She picks up any medium almost instantly.
17. Most jealous of....intellectually? Um, at the risk of sounding like an egomaniac... yeah, that's a cute question.
18.What do you collect? Comic books, music, science fiction paperbacks, the occasional autograph, Muppet toys, and soundtracks.
19. What is broken that you have, that you wish was fixed? My heart... okay, I was teasing because cheesiness cracks me the fuck up. My stereo.
20. What do you do when you're home, sick? Watch old movies and read books.
21. Story behind your username? Samurai Frog is a comic book character I created in my seventh grade biology class (jeez, that means I created him 16 years ago) after a friend and I made a lot of jokes about frog dissection and the John Belushi samurai character on "SNL."
22. Current Favorite Article of Clothing? My sleep pants. They're comfortable in all temperatures. Once I get a thinner robe, I'm never getting dressed again.
23. Line from the last thing you wrote for someone? Thanking Merna for the highly erotic image of her completely naked with her nice, round ass in the air while she gives Asia Argento's pussy loving teases with her lips and tongue. Okay, maybe it wasn't that graphic, but describing it just made me very hard, so thanks again, Merna.
24. A famous person you have met? Harlan Ellison, my personal hero.
25. Favorite way to waste time? Watching television or listening to music. Yes, I love to watch "Lizzie McGuire," too.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Evaluating Disney: 1933

In 1933, Disney was still going strong, even if the cartoons were starting to fall into a routine. Of course, they were still good more often than not, but a small sense of "seen it all before" was creeping into the shorts. Walt never wanted to stagnate or coast on his credentials, and was seriously giving thought to a new innovation: features. But he wasn't quite sure how to mount something so costly and make it every bit as special as the shorts. For now, the shorts would have to do.

1/7: Building a Building
Mickey Mouse on a construction crew overseen by Pegleg Pete. Although this features the by now standard plot of Minnie being captured by Pete and rescued by Mickey, the score is unusually good and the gags feel fresh (courtesy of director Dave Hand, who always seemed fresh). Some of the jokes are out of a couple of Chaplin shorts, but this is a fun cartoon.

1/21: The Mad Doctor
Another Dave Hand cartoon, and one of his best. Pluto is kidnapped by a mad doctor who wants to splice him with a chicken to see what the offspring will look like! This is very macabre, even considered "too scary" for kids. I love how Mickey breaks into the castle to save Pluto and these skeletons basically fuck with his head. There's even a skeleton spider that is genuinely off-putting and a couple of fun gags revolving around Pluto's x-ray. The use of gray tones and shadows in this short is excellent; really great atmosphere, and very rich (even though there is some animation reused from Egyptian Melodies). A real classic.

2/18: Mickey's Pal Pluto
Pluto's characterization has come a long way since his introduction: now you just can't help but sympathize with him. Pluto, out of the goodness of his heart, rescues a bassinet from an icy river, then is totally ignored as Mickey and Minnie make a huge fuss over the ten kittens inside. Pluto's angel self and devil self try to get him to act, but in the end Pluto saves the kitties from a well. This was remade in 1941 to better effect as Lend a Paw, but this version is pretty funny.

3/11: Birds in the Spring
Davd Hand directed this Silly Symphony about three newborn birds and the perilous adventures of one named Otto. It doesn't have much to distinguish it in the way of story, but the colors are absolutely incredible.

3/18: Mickey's Mellerdrammer
Mickey and friends put on a play of Uncle Tom's Cabin, with Mickey as Uncle Tom and Horace Horsecollar as Simon Legree. It seemed kind of ordinary; I'm sick of the plays in the barn at this point, and the gags here didn't do much for me.

4/8: Ye Olden Days
This fun Burt Gillett short features Goofy as the villain (the opening credit list still calls him Dippy Dawg). Minnie is a princess who is being forced to marry the prince (Dippy), but she loves the wandering minstrel, Mickey. Mickey and Dippy joust for her hand. This is pretty funny, and the music is a lot stronger than usual for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. My favorite joke is when a portrait of the king falls down on top of a horse, and suddenly the horse's ass is bearing the label "the king." Great moment, too, when Mickey climbs the tower to save Minnie; when she says she has no rope, he looks beside himself: "What? No rope?"

4/8: Father Noah's Ark
A nice Silly Symphony retelling the biblical story and using Negro spirituals on the soundtrack. It's not a stand out, but Wilfred Jackson's direction is fun and keeps the story flowing. It ends with one in a series (for Disney) of many, many toilet jokes: the dogs run off the ark at the end and start sniffing a tree.

5/13: The Mail Pilot
Mickey has an air fight with Pete, but there's not a whole lot going on to recommend it, despite Hand's direction. The gags are predictable, and this is outshone by Ub Iwerks's The Air Race (made the same year but not released until 1935). Great animation on the weather, though; the rain must have been a bitch to do.

5/27: Three Little Pigs
The most important and influential of the Disney shorts, this was hugely popular, inspired a marketing craze (during the Depression, no less), and even won an Oscar. Carl Stalling performed and Frank Churchill composed one of the most popular songs of the 1930s, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?", with this musical story. It made Technicolor the standard, and finally achieved Walt's dream of making stories about characters with real wants and needs (he knew Mickey was 2-dimensional, and hoped to raise the level of storytelling at his studio). But even Walt was baffled by the success of the short, which stayed in theaters for months and months and was often billed in theaters over the lead feature; at one theater in Dallas, a small riot erupted when the projector forgot to play Three Little Pigs as advertised. Calm was restored when the feature was stopped so the short could be shown. After all of this hype, it would be only natural to suppose that today the film is dated and tired, but it still plays as fresh as if it had been released last week (fresher, given the nature of today's releases). It is fun, exciting, and memorable. Interestingly, I read today that most people have seen a censored version of the cartoon, and that in the original the wolf wore a Jewish mask of some kind. Odd, to be sure. I was looking at it last night and thinking that the wolf could symbolize the Nazis, with the Practical Pig representing America's attempt to plan against invasion. Fifer Pig and Fiddler Pig both wear costumes that kind of recall British and French sailors. How interesting. Either way, this is one of the best cartoons ever made.

6/17: Mickey's Mechanical Man
Beppo the Gorilla makes his return from The Gorilla Mystery as a boxer called the Kongo Killer. Mickey, meanwhile, is testing a mechanical man he has created to get in the ring with the ape. You know what that means? Three little words, and if these words don't get you excited, we've got nothing to say to each other: MONKEY VS. ROBOT! Great stuff, even if Minnie is a little uppity in this one. Wilfred Jackson directed, and the animation on the robot is excellently detailed.

7/1: Mickey's Gala Premiere
I know there are some people who love it when Hollywood celebrities are caricatured in cartoons, but this particular one left me a little cold. Some of the caricatures are neat, even though the Disney artists still weren't doing a great job on animating human characters. Basically, everyone in Hollywood shows up for the premiere of the new Mickey cartoon, including Mickey himself. There is a cartoon within the cartoon, Gallopin' Romance, which is really just a reanimation (with some clever new gags) of The Gallopin' Gaucho. But seeing Hollywood's greatest comic actors--Chaplin, Keaton, Harold Lloyd, the Marx Brothers, Joe E. Brown--rolling in the aisles with uncontrollable laughter seemed a little self-aggrandizing. Even with Mickey waking up in the end and proving it all to be a dream (and just when Garbo wanted to make out with him, too), it felt a little weird to me.

7/29: Old King Cole
A Silly Symphony that is basically a remake of Mother Goose Melodies, only in color. Dave Hand directs this in a little bit of a Fleischer-esque way, as the characters from storybooks sing and dance and party to hot jazz tunes. Slight, but a lot of fun.

8/19: Lullabye Land
A bizarre Silly Symphony about a kid who dreams he's in the title place. Seriously, this is one fucked-up cartoon. Excellent use of color and surrealism, but it's so off-putting and weird that it's hard to really like. This kid leaves Lullabye Land for the Forbidden Garden, where he sees animals and things that are made out of stuff that children aren't supposed to touch, like knives, scissors, inkwells, and matches. The crazy little kid almost sets the whole place on fire. When the Sandman pops out at the end of the cartoon, I almost expected him to ask the kid if he wanted some drugs. Creepy. It also seems to presage the "Pink Elephants" sequence in Dumbo. Ub Iwerks did this same cartoon (essentially) but better in Balloonland.

9/2: Puppy Love
September seems like an odd time to release this Mickey Mouse cartoon about springtime love; with Mickey romancing Minnie, and Pluto romancing Minnie's new dog, Fifi, lots of love is in the air. People complained about the passionate kiss that ends this short; apparently, it's too sexy. Minnie sings through the whole thing, which is a real drag, and the cartoon is cute, but not very good.

9/16: The Pied Piper
Wilfred Jackson directed this Silly Symphony, and it's one of his best cartoons. Even Disney's happy ending can't quite remove the inherent darkness of the Robert Browning poem, and the atmosphere is a little more delicate than usual. Excellent.

9/30: The Steeplechase
This is a weird one: Mickey has a race horse, Thunderbolt, and needs to win the race. But when the horse gets drunk and can't run, Mickey has his two black stereotype lawn jockey stable hands dress up in a horse costume, and he rides them in order to win. Now, not only does Mick never once think that maybe it's wrong to cheat in the race, but you gotta love the moxie on this guy. "My horse is drunk!" he seems to think. "Saddle up the darkies, I've got to win this thing!" As though they're a perfectly good substitute. Unfortunately, it doesn't do the job of making the cartoon any better, but it is quite a moment in Mickey's history of casual bastardy.

10/28: The Pet Store
Mickey gets a job at Tony's Pet Store. Tony is quite the Italian caricature, too, singing opera all the time and putting up signs in his store advertising "cheep monks" and "biga da sale." But when Minnie stops by, who's that escaping from his cage: Beppo the Gorilla! He's back once again, and this time he does a King Kong impersonation that involves climbing off with Minnie. The best part of this very fun Wilfred Jackson cartoon is when Beppo climbs to the top of a pyramid of boxes mimicking the Empire State Building as birds fly all around him like little airplanes in a King Kong parody.

11/25: Giantland
Mickey puts himself in a version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Very well animated, with direction by Burt Gillett. The gags are a lot of fun, too, and the giant showcases some disgusting eating habits. It's interesting to think that this story must have had quite a hold on Walt's mind: a lot of the cartoons feature menacing (or benevolent) big men, often bullies or father figures. This story was basically remade twice more, once as The Brave Little Tailor, and again as Mickey and the Beanstalk for the film Fun and Fancy Free. Both of those cartoons re-used some of the same gags from this fun short.

12/9: The Night Before Christmas
A slight, but fun sequel to the previous year's Santa's Workshop. Some nice gags, particularly one involving a Mickey Mouse toy, but generally this Silly Symphony doesn't have much to hold the interest.

Overall, 1933 is a very workmanlike year with some very special cartoons, but it is starting to feel like more of the same. Walt, of course, was ahead of everyone else in thinking this, and was soon to amaze the world with the next step in the evolution of cartoons. But that was still four years away. For now, the shorts served a two-fold purpose. The popular Mickey Mouse cartoons virtually guaranteed a constant flow of box office profit, and the colorful Silly Symphonies were now to be a training ground for problems Walt would face with the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Overall, however, they would have to be entertaining; and the Walt Disney Studios excelled at that.


There are still geniuses making movies. This is the poster for the new film by Werner Herzog, and I'm really looking forward to it. Posted by Hello

Scary Fucker


I don't know about you, but Tony Little has always scared the shit out of me. He's like a bull, you just know he's going to break at any second and take a lot of people out. And I think that ponytail is attached to the hat, not his hair. Weird. Posted by Hello

Throwdown 6/24

15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. The Empire is gathering information on you even now. The military is, naturally, having a lot of trouble recruiting these days--because, after all, who wants to join the military to fight an actual war? Especially when the troops aren't even sent home anymore? So, they've gathered together personal information on millions of American high school students, ages 16 to 18, completely violating just about every federal law regarding the government's ability to gather personal information. Do you know why? Because in the idiotic "No Child Left Behind" law, there is actually a provision that requires public schools to hand over personal information on our children to the US government. It's been there for three years and no one has noticed. Don't you people see what's coming? Yes, the draft, but it's much more than that--they're passing morality laws now, they have the power to detain anyone they want to at any time for any length, and now they're just taking your personal information to bully you into the military. Darth Dubya already has so little respect for states' rights that he's willing to overturn whatever he has to in order to remain loyal to his Fascist--excuse me, Red--State financiers. Pretty soon, he'll send troops to sieze Congress and the Supreme Court, and then the secret killings will begin en masse. Just wait for it; the storm's coming. Grand Moff Rumsfeld says: "We always worry about privacy issues." Of course they do; it makes it easier to find you.

2. Scarlett Johansson is now saying that the reason she dropped out of Mission: Impossible 3 is because Tom Cruise tried to convert her to scientology. Good girl; she's far too smart for that. Interestingly, it seems to be right after the alleged incident that Cruise started dating Katie Holmes; there are also rumors going around that he had put in calls to other starlets in their 20s looking for some kind of companion. So, why don't I just go out on a limb now and suppose that Tom Cruise was on the lookout for someone of a certain age and sex to convert to a certain made-up religion in order to legitimize it with young people?

3. Speaking of Katie Holmes, Warner Brothers has announced that she will not be reprising her role as D.A. Rachel Dawes in the Batman Begins sequel. Word is they're so pissed off at her for publicizing her relationship with Tom the Alien Baptist instead of, you know, the biggest movie of her career. They went as far as to add insult to injury by announcing: "The next love interest will be a much stronger actress." Hilarious! I hope Scarlett Johansson does it.

4. Speaking of Warner Brothers, they may be helping the British film industry to stave off its inevitable death for another year by deciding to film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix there. Previously, Warner had opted for the much-cheaper Czech Republic, but Daniel Radcliffe's parents voiced safety concerns and asked the company to stay in Blighty, and Warners actually agreed.

5. Lindsay Lohan got all pissed off and ran out of the premiere for Herbie: Fully Loaded because they moved her song "First" to play over the end credits, rather than on the sequence she had hoped for. Wow, some people have real problems, don't they?

6. Marvel and Fox are suing Sony Pictures over a movie called Zoom, which is based on a potentially wonderful comic book called Zoom’s Academy for the Super Gifted that was scrapped after two issues so that they could make a movie instead. After Marvel announced a release date for X-Men 3, Zoom was strategically pulled back 11 weeks so that it would be coming out two weeks before X3. Fox and Marvel, both of whom apparently fear market competition, are now suing, claiming that the plot of Zoom (superpowered youngsters are trained at a special school for superheroes) infringes on their precious X-Men. This is typical Marvel bullshit; back in 1992, when Image Comics started and were using mutant characters, Marvel sued them over it. And then someone pointed to writers like Theodore Sturgeon and L. Ron Hubbard and Poul Anderson and Robert Heinlein, who had been using that science fiction premise (people given superpowers through mutation) for stories since the 1940s. Funny how Marvel’s not suing over Sky High, which is also set at a school for superheroes. Guess they feel they can’t take on Disney. The simple fact is, DC Comics have finally got their shit together and are going to be flooding the box office in the next few years, while Marvel got too full of themselves and let their movies go to shit and, after Fantastic Four fails, their only real hope is Spider-Man 3, so now they’re running scared. Cowardly move, Avi. Cowardly move. I’m willing to put money down that X3 isn’t even going to make their precious release date in the first place. Must movies work backwards from release date (the last thing they need) to script (the first thing they need)?

7. Oprah Winfrey is all pissed off because she wanted to shop at Hermes in Paris and they wouldn't open the store just for her. Apparently, there was some kind of public relations meeting going on inside, and Oprah is all offended that someone, somewhere, didn't stop everything they were doing for the convenience of Oprah. Dude, fuck Oprah.

8. Stunt people are all pissed off, too, because they're not getting their own Academy Award. Jesus, everyone wants recognition for just showing up to work, don't they?

9. New York film critics were barred from the premiere screening of War of the Worlds. Gee, does it really suck that bad? Because I knew it was going to suck, but as bad as all that?

10. This just in: Fox is also claiming that an Indian television series called Time Bomb is a rip-off of their apparently highly original show 24, which is not incredibly similar to a movie called Nick of Time at all. Jesus, Fox, let it go. You're the people who aired Temptation Island, you ran out of ideas 15 years ago.

11. DeBeers opened an American outlet this week to picket lines and protesters. Good. You know, ladies, I know shiny things are impressive, but maybe shiny things that finance civil wars in Africa and displace bushmen in such a way that it could be considered genocide don't belong on your finger. Then again, if you want to support terrorism, be my guest. After all, we still finance it through oil.

12. It often happens that two similar projects get developed in Hollywood at the same time, but this one is a little too weird: Vivaldi? There are two biopics in development about Vivaldi. Why is he suddenly so popular? I would consider him a minor composer at best, with only two very famous pieces, one of which--The Four Seasons--is the scourge of Italian restaurants everywhere. Were there executives sitting at Olive Garden, listening to the music and thinking: "Hey, I want to know the story behind how Primavera was written!" And then they both made a bet with each other to see who could get a Vivaldi movie made first? Because that's the only scenario I can come up with, and frankly, that scenario would make a much more interesting movie than one about Vivaldi.

13. A recent British survey shows that getting toilet paper stuck to their shoes is women's most embarrassing fear. Number two is accidentally flashing their boobs, Tara Reid style. Must have been a very, very odd survey, though.

14. My most embarrassing fear? Zombie monkeys.

15. Okay, I lied, there's 14. Arguably 13. I failed.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why Am I the Only One Pissed Off About This?

Found this on Merna's blog this morning, and it's been pissing me off all day long. I highly suggest you read up on this new legal amendment, which basically legalizes censorship.

http://www.boingboing.net/2005/06/22/rottencom_our_gaping.html

Basically, this new law makes everyone who posts pornography on their websites (and I have done just that) liable for persecution--oh, excuse me, I meant prosecution. It's a huge blow against freedom, and a slap in the face to Americans, who presumes to like freedom enough to kill other people to have it. This was snuck into law just last night, and no media outlet I've seen has commented on it: right now, AOL is apparently more worried about what happened on Dancing with the Stars last night. Bread and circuses, eh?

This new law also makes it a lot easier to punish people on specious moral grounds, and not on the grounds that any crime has actually been committed. It may sound like this law is only going to affect the porn industry, but make no mistake--this law affects sexual expression, artistic expression, freedom of speech, and freedom of artistic expression. This is another bullshit step towards the fascist empire that Chancellor Cheney and Darth Dubya are apparently hellbent on establishing in this country.

If you voted for Bush, this is your fault. Yes, your fault. I blame you. And if you dare to vote for Condoleeza Rice or Jeb Bush or whichever one of the empire's criminal gang they decide to run against the forces of reason, you deserve everything that happens to you.

Did you know that gay marriage and marijuana are THIIIIIS close to being made legal in Canada? I wonder what it's like to live in a country where the happiness of the people actually matters to the government? Maybe I should find out; all I would have to do is renounce my American citizenship, and it's not like that's any prize right now.

Student Driven to Distraction

Looking over my papers, I found something I had written in a class that really goes nowhere. For some reason (certainly not pride), I decided to share it:

The girl to my right, she must be about 20, has the most magnificent mammaries a man could master. We're talking E-cups here. Not quite Kitten Natividad, but certainly giving Cynthia Myers a run for her money. Seriously huge--the biggest tits I think I've ever seen in person. God, I love breasts. Love 'em. Boobs, bongos, bazongas, gazongas, majungahs, mogambos, hooters, joybags, milk sacks, symplegadean garbanzos, titties, bazooms, bosoms, ta-tas, golden globes, spheres, orbs, melons, casabas, busen, van der grafs, Anna Nicoles. However you say it, I motherfucking love breasts. They and their appreciation are the reason I am alive. She's a real prize, anyway--nice and fat, small waist (for maximum cartoony pin-up girl effect, especially when breasts are cantilevered and in perfectly proportion or slightly bigger--a look that should be cultivated far more often), long, proud nose (not Streisand but very striking--a little hooked, just dissonant enough to be sexy). Blond hair, a little dirty, parted in the middle. Sensuous, pouty lips that seem to naturally curve down into a frown. Blue eyes, very round. Everything about this woman is round and complimentary to her frame--the way a woman's supposed to look. What a goddess.

Must've been some exciting class...

Conversations from the Video Store, Part X

The very last of the conversations recorded for posterity while working at Hollywood Video in 2001.

Aaron and Jen stare out the window at what is shaping up to be a nice, if cool, evening. The store is blessedly empty, and there is no video playing. All is blessedly quiet.

AARON: Jesus, I hate living in Illinois. I wish I could leave. Some day, I'm just going to pick a direction and never stop moving in it.

JEN: So what's stopping you?

AARON: Money, same as always. I was watching Flipper the other day, and ever since I can't get the idea of living on a boat out of my head.

More silence as the stillness begins to soothe Aaron's high.

JEN: What do you hope will happen soon? I'm hoping that I can go back to school and become a teacher. What about you?

AARON: I hope that it snows over spring break. Serve the little fuckers right.

JEN: Didn't you say you were going to be a teacher once?

AARON: Yes, but I do hate children very much.

JEN: Maybe you can teach college.

AARON: I'd just sleep with my students.

JEN: Sure, but you'd have a job. Maybe not for long, but...

AARON: Yeah, well...

JEN: Well what? You gonna hang out in front of convenience stores and talk about how you were cool in high school for the rest of your life?

AARON: I don't do that now. And I wasn't cool in high school. Everyone hated me. I almost killed myself about five times.

JEN: You gonna get drunk every night and sleep on your floor?

AARON: I don't drink very often. And I live with my mother...

JEN: You gonna spend all of your money on strippers?

AARON: I--shut up, Jen.

Silence for a moment or two.

AARON: So, any chance of seeing your dance routine?

JEN: No.

AARON: We can make a deal, can't we?

JEN: No. Quit sexually harrassing your assistant manager.

AARON: You just quit being fun.

JEN: I know. Want to stick around and rent sexy movies to minors?

AARON: My shift's up in ten.

JEN: Lucky you.

AARON: Yeah...lucky me...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Conversations from the Video Store, Part IX

Conversations recorded for posterity while working at Hollywood Video in 2001.

Aaron and Jen sit on lawn chairs outside the back of the store, passing a joint between them and watching cars go by on nearby 75th street.

AARON: So, you gonna quit yet?

JEN: Am I supposed to?

AARON: You're my third assistant manager in the last three months, I just figured you'd be gone soon, too.

JEN: I need the money.

AARON: That's sad, the money blows.

JEN: I know. You know what I used to do before this?

AARON: What?

JEN: I was a stripper.

Aaron instantly looks at her with a newfound respect.

AARON: No shit?

JEN: No shit.

AARON: You were a stripper? Where?

JEN: At a place in Elk Grove Village.

AARON: Damn. All nude?

JEN: Pasties and a g-string.

AARON: Must've been a hell of a sight; I'm sorry I missed it.

JEN: That's sweet of you to say.

AARON: How much money did you make?

JEN: About four to six hundred dollars a night.

AARON: A night?

JEN: Oh, yeah. On weeknights. Fridays and Saturdays you could make well over a thou.

AARON: If I was a woman I would so be a stripper. How much do you make here?

JEN: $8.85 an hour.

AARON: You mad fool...

JEN: I'm beginning to think so.

AARON: Why'd you quit?

JEN: I just got tired of it. It's so repetitive.

AARON: I guess I can imagine that, but all life is really repetitive. Any job is, your old one just paid a lot and there was lots of nudity. I can't imagine not wanting to be around all of that nudity.

JEN: I'm beginning to think the money isn't worth the extra sleep.

AARON: Beginning? Jen, I've never stripped in my life, but I know it has to be better than this. If I had your body, I wouldn't have stopped until I was 50.

JEN: That's sweet of you to say.

Pause while Aaron and Jen relax and smoke.

JEN: You're quite lucid.

AARON: I pride myself on it.

JEN: Are you getting high at all?

AARON: I feel like Anna Nicole Smith in a centrifuge,

JEN: Wow.

They both giggle uncontrollably for about 45 seconds.

JEN: Munching yet?

AARON: I didn't get this figure by not munching. Good thing we sell candy.

JEN: Here, I have something I just bought at the Whole Foods Market.

AARON: I didn't get this figure by eating Whole Foods.

Jen reaches down and holds up a potato-chip like bag. The first thing Aaron notices is that the contents of the bag are green, like some kind of fucked up green popcorn. The second thing is the logo, which says "Veggie Booty."

AARON: What the fuck is that? Veggie...Booty?

JEN: They have a thing called Pirate Booty, so I thought I'd try this one.

AARON: What's it made of?

JEN: Seaweed.

AARON: Seriously?

JEN: Yep.

AARON: Anything else?

JEN: Kelp, stuff like that.

AARON: Ew.

JEN: Want some?

AARON: What previous event in our relationship makes you think I would? I repeat--ew.

JEN (opening the bag and offering it): Want some?

AARON: Is it any good?

JEN: I don't know, I haven't tried it yet.

AARON: Great, I'm a guinea pig. Why am I testing your food, and not how good you give head?

JEN: I give great head.

AARON: Any chance of getting some?

JEN (giggling): No, but you're free to try my booty.

AARON: I always hoped when you said that to me that you wouldn't be talking about some disgusting seaweed confection.

JEN: Here, try it.

She takes a piece of the Veggie Booty and literally shoves it in Aaron's mouth.

He chews for a minute, and suddenly stops and stares at her in a moment of panic not unlike what Bruce Banner must feel like the first moment he knows he's going to change into the Hulk.

AARON: Oh, Jesus, God! It's awful!

JEN (immediately feeling bad): Oh--is it terrible?

AARON: It's the worst thing I've ever had in my mouth. It's like death in popcorn form. This must be what whale feces taste like. Jesus, please kill me, I'll never be able to get the taste of this out of my mouth! God, put something that tastes better in my mouth, like a cock or a tailpipe or something!

JEN: Wow...

Glassy-eyed from the pot, she crunches a piece of Veggie Booty in her mouth, makes a disgusted face, and spits it out.

Aaron takes a long drag on the joint, and then passes it to Jen, who tokes for a full five seconds.

JEN: Oh, shit.

AARON: See?

JEN: Wow, that's gross.

She throws the bag into the dumpster.

AARON: You suck.

JEN: I am so sorry.

AARON: I wish I was dead. I hate healthy people.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Do you ever wonder if Ben Affleck takes a mo to sit back and ponder the wreck he's made of his "acting" "career"? I'm sure, like most arrogant people, he blames everybody else but himself (at least he stopped blaming J. Lo in the press). He's come too far to go back now, and he's always going to be remembered as a joke of an actor. That makes me feel all warm inside... Posted by Hello

Conversations from the Video Store, Part VIII

Conversations recorded for posterity while working at Hollywood Video in 2001. I hope people are enjoying these, otherwise I just sound like an idiot.

Aaron continues to work the counter, Jen hovering nearby in an unobtrusive way (she's hot). Two 15 year-old regular customers, Mena and Thora, walk up to the counter to harrass Aaron, as they tend to do. Their names have been changed to the first names of the little girls in American Beauty, both to protect their names and to conjure up images of adolescent sensuality that they tended to conjure up. Mm...

AARON: Hi, girls.

Mena leaps up onto the counter, leaning into it with her arms.

MENA: Do you have the movie Nurse Betty?

AARON: Sure do.

MENA: Will you rent me one?

AARON: Sure won't.

MENA: Aw...why not?

AARON: Because you're not eighteen, and we'll get into trouble for doing it.

MENA: If I get caught, I won't tell where I got it.

AARON: It has a Hollywood Video label on it.

MENA: I won't tell that you rented it to me.

AARON: They can look that up.

MENA: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaase?

AARON: No.

She pouts and struts over to her friend.

AARON: She was cute.

JEN: She's, like, fifteen.

AARON (dreamily): Yeah...

JEN: That's kind of sick.

AARON: What do you care?

Thora decides it's her turn to try, so she walks up to the counter.

AARON: Where's it at?

THORA: I hear you won't rent an R-rated movie fo my friend.

AARON: Just doing my part to fight even the smallest happiness.

THORA: What if I paid you extra?

AARON: You think I'd even consider that offer in front of my assistant manager?

JEN: Hi.

THORA: Oh, I'm sorry...

Thora walks off to join Mena as they sulkily try to hatch another plan.

JEN: You would, though, wouldn't you?

AARON: I'd seriously consider almost thinking about it.

JEN: Help Katie hammer the movies?

AARON: Will do.

Aaron picks up an arm-length stack of videotapes and ventures out among the dead to put them back on the shelf. Thora and Mena approach him on the floor.

THORA: Okay, mister, we need that movie.

AARON: "Mister"? I'm only 25, for Christ's sake.

MENA (emphatically): We need this movie.

AARON: Why don't just steal it?

THORA: Really?

AARON: I didn't say that.

THORA: I see...

AARON: So, what's so important about this movie? It can't be the predictable plot, the thin gags, the stereotypical characters or the fact that it's about an hour too long. So what is it?

THORA: My friend here is a huge Chris Rock fan.

AARON: That must suck, considering you're too young to have seen any of his movies.

THORA: We have ways...

AARON: I'll bet.

MENA: You seen this movie?

AARON: Yeah, in the theater, back when it came out, last August.

MENA: Was it good?

AARON: Not overly, but I like Renee Zellweger.

MENA: You like her?

AARON: Yeah, she's hot.

MENA: Her voice is so irritating.

AARON: That sexy baby doll thing she has going with her country twang? It's a turn on. She's a fair-skinned redhead with a lithe little body. If she gained some weight, she'd be perfect.

THORA: What, you like fat chicks?

AARON: I like girls with meat on their bones, because it makes them curvy. Nice thighs, big ass, big boobs--this all comes from fat. I hate skinny women.

Aaron pauses for a moment as he realizes what he's doing. Then, because he no longer cares about getting fired (though, admittedly, no one is around), decides to say something totally inappropriate.

AARON: You know, it kind of turns me on talking to two high school chicks about sex.

THORA: Oh, so you like little girls, then.

MENA: Little fat girls, apparently.

AARON: No, no.

THORA: Mena, how bad do you want Nurse Betty?

Mena looks up, startled, and quickly walks out of the store. Thora shrugs and follows. The girls don't come back for three weeks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Renee Zellweger, in a total coincidence, did get all fat to play a thin British woman in Bridget Jones's Diary, which was released that same year. She looked hotter than ever, then apparently felt uncomfortable looking like a woman, and lost the weight (and then some) so that she resembled a plucked, uncooked chicken and was never sexy again.

EDITOR'S POST NOTE: I totally would have had sex with those two little girls. Judge all you want. I have no moral code.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this week.

BATMAN BEGINS (2005)
Without hyperbole: one of the most perfect comic book movies I've ever seen. Seriously, if I was making a list of the great superhero movies, this would be second, following only Spider-Man 2. And I'm a huge fan of the Tim Burton, weirdly German-expressionist movies. But this one captures everything I love about Batman and treats in such a fashion that, improbably, it nimbly catwalks just far enough away from ridiculousness to be believable, but just far enough from realism to be fun. This is an incredibly hard level of water to tread, but Christopher Nolan is talented enough to do it. This is the first Batman adaptation to get across just how deep the relationship between Alfred and Bruce can run, the first to get across the point that Batman won't kill people because it's the one fundamental belief that keeps him from full-blown fascism, and finally--finally!--we get the Jim Gordon we've always wanted. The performances ranges from beautifully understated (Michael Caine, Gary Oldman) to serviceable depth (Tom Wilkinson, Morgan Freeman, Rutger Hauer) to competent enough not to be distracted by an obviously limited range (Katie Holmes). And Christian Bale plays the first Batman who could, if the situation warranted, make me literally crap my pants. Excellent. **** stars.

HOW TO DEAL (2003)
Which is more maddening: the fact that Mandy Moore keeps making movies, or the fact that I keep seeing them? I think Mandy's semi-adorable, and I had some good fortune in that the first movie I ever saw her in--Saved--was also the only good movie she was ever in. This one is at least better than the excerable Chasing Liberty, but not overmuch. I don't really remember the plot that well, but Mandy was cute in it and...let's face it, I don't remember a whole lot else. Flies by without being intrusive enough to actually notice it. As George Carlin said about finding the perfect background TV show: "Interesting enough to leave on, but not bad enough to change the channel." ** stars.

THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS (2003)
I god damn hate these Matrix movies. People who like The Matrix are like Star Wars fans, only far worse. At least Star Wars fans are just like dumb overgrown children. Matrix fans act as though there's some serious philosophy behind their trilogy of choice. Well, there is, it's called Gnosticism, and the symbolism is so heavy-handed and pointless that The Matrix trilogy is like like what Battlefield Earth and Phenomenon are for scientology. And I know I'm not the first people to complain about how shitty the special effects are (worse than Attack of the Clones) and how arbitrary the love story is and how annoyingly emotionless every performance is (except for that kid who opens the gate in this one--he's so over the top playing "youthful idealistic enthusiasm" that I kept expecting him to interject every sentence with "golly, Miss Lane!" or "holy metal demon symbolism, Batman!" or "jiminy jillickers!"). The movie tries to be technically impressive but preaches an anti-technological message, and espouses the importance (over everything else) of love while casting actors that are less lifelike than mannequins. And it's padded like crazy--cut the padding out of this and The Matrix Reloaded, and you've got one movie that is better than the two separate ones (but only because it takes less of your life away). The brilliant thing the Wachowskis have done is to have managed to convince everyone that they're geniuses just by saying that they are. The movies have nothing complex to offer; the messages are so simple that they have to add on layers and layers of other bullshit just to distract from how obvious everything is. And the dire-logue; all I heard was: "blah blah blah blah love blah blah blah arbitrary use of Biblical name to make Gnostic symbols obvious blah blah blah blah love blah computer term used as nomenclature blah blah." George Lucas dialogue has more depth to it. Is there anything I liked about this trilogy? Let's count down.

1. Monica Bellucci, though wasted, appears in them and has beautiful breasts.
2. The Architect scene explained everything well enough that I didn't need a third movie.
3. Hugo Weaving, the person I hated most in the first movie, managed to get better each time.
4. They're over now.

Yeah, that's about it. Everything else blows, and I can barely remember them now. I fell asleep for the length of a minute about seven times in Revolutions, but each time it was a deep slumber. You know how you're startled awake because you fall asleep sitting up and then your head falls and the motion snaps you into consciousness? That's the only reason I woke up. Face it, these movies are childish wastes of time. * star, and that's only for Hugo Weaving.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Tommy Cruise gets doused with water, cries like a little bitch, and has the culprits arrested. His casual dickery just continues to amaze. Look at that picture; remind you of anything? You'd think Tommy would be used to that happening... Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Up and Coming?


I hate the term "up and coming." Usually, when someone is singled out as being "up and coming," they've actually been doing what they do for many years, and are just now being noticed for some commercial reason. Case in point: Asia Argento, who made this year's Entertainment Weekly Must List because she's starring in Land of the Dead and will be appearing in Sofia Coppola's really lame-sounding Marie Antoinette movie. Considering she's been acting since 1986 (see the wonderful Traveling Companion if you get the chance), and directing since 1994 (including Scarlet Diva, one of the best movies ever made), I'm sure she appreciates it. Gimme a break. Well, at least they didn't bring up XXX in the article. That would've been embarrassing. Posted by Hello

Throwdown 6/19

This was supposed to be up Friday, but a combination of illness, the start of summer classes, and my girlfriend being on vacation from work conspired to make me get nothing done. So, here are 15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for, er, last week.

1. Michael Jackson is innocent. Well, that's what they tell me. Since California has now officially legalized child molestation, and they legalized murder back in '96 with OJ Simpson, I suddenly see a very dark road trip coming up. I think Michael Jackson should be considered under the following rule: IF HE LOOKS LIKE A BATMAN VILLAIN AND HE'S NOT PRINCE, HE'S PROBABLY GUILTY.

2. Paris Hilton has announced she's going to retire. May I just ask: from what?

3. Destiny's Child is breaking up. Now, since I can't tell one Destiny's Child song from another, this would normally have little effect on me. But Beyonce's solo album, Dangerously in Love, is surprisingly good, so I have to say that this is the best decision of her life. Or a reversal of the worst: after such a good solo debut, it wasn't exactly a genius move to get back together with Kelly Leadweight and Michelle Deadspace in the first place...

4. Anne Rice has a new novel coming out, Christ the Lord, in which she tells the story of Jesus...as Jesus. She wonders: "What did it feel like to be God and Man as a child?" Apparently, she's never read Nikos Katzanzakis's superior novel The Last Temptation of Christ, which examines the whole question. Quite frankly, I'm about as interested in reading about Jesus as a child as I was in seeing Darth Vader as a child, and especially from an author whose writing is so awful that you can't line bird cages with it because birds refuse to allow even their shit to be soiled by it. My favorite part of her letter to retailers/pathetic justification is the following: "I'm not a priest. I can't be one. I'll never be able to go the altar of the Lord and sat the words of consecration at Mass...No, I can't work that magnificent Eucharistic miracle." And then, all of a sudden, she says: "But in humility, I have attempted something transformative which we writers dare to call a miracle in the imperfect huan idiom we possess." Wow, a writer who clearly doesn't know what the word "humility" means. Or that her premise is ripped wholesale from Norman Mailer's The Gospel According to the Son, published all the way back in 1997. Maybe she should stick to writing about homo vampires with perfect hair who like to whine about the nature of God.

5. Why is Jason Alexander still flapping his gums? Not the guy from Seinfeld, but the dink who married Britney Spears for a minute back in 2003. Dude, your five minutes are up, so quit talking about it. He says things like: "I could have gone after her money, but it's not my style." Wow, let's give this idiot a medal; fucking entitlement baby. He just wants the money from continuing to tell their footnote of a story; congratulations, asshole, your money still comes from Britney, because talking about her is apparently going to be the only thing you ever have. How long before he's on a reality show. He also says he has a new girlfriend, also named Britney. "It's a strange coincidence," he says. Sure it is.

6. I've been asked recently why I hate Lindsay Lohan dying her hair so much. It's not the only reason I hate LoHo--there's a myriad of them--and it pisses me off when any redhead does it. If your hair color is so unique and beautiful and rare in nature, dying it something drab in comparison is like a unicorn cutting its horn off to fit in with the other horses. I think it's stupid and, in some ways, weak.

7. Lucy Lawless is now appearing in a movie written by Mark A. Altman, the worst thing to happen to genre movies since... wait... nope, I've got nothing. He's the worst thing ever. You know, I thought that Lucy's career choices couldn't get any worse than starring in a TV movie about a locust invasion, but at least she was the lead in that.

8. Well, Star Wars Episode III came out, and it didn't change anything, did it? Life is pretty much exactly the same. Just like to point out, every so often, that these things are only movies.

9. Disney is putting National Treasure 2 on the production schedule. You see, people, if you go to see these stupid movies they're only going to make more of them...

10. I hate Morgan Spurlock so very much. I refuse to see his Super Size Me because it's not a documentary, it's a character piece. It's not about what happens when you or I eat McDonald's every day, it's about what happens when Morgan Spurlock eats McDonald's every day. People call Michael Moore a guy who just pulls stunts, but what do you call that? And now they've given this guy his own show on FX, 30 Days, do he can continue to be strident and holier-than-thou. The dude can't even handle an entire Big Mac with fries in one sitting, and he's telling me how to live? Why do people buy into this charlatan? What did he prove? McDonald's makes you fat. Well, no shit, Spurlock. Now tell me something I didn't know.

11. Kathy Hilton: Shut the fuck up now, please.

12. Madonna says she now regrets her overtly sexy past, because she has kids and realizes how stupid she was acting. Quick, hands up--who's surprised? Hopefully, she'll regret pretending she's British, that she can act, and that her music hasn't sucked since 1989.

13. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes engaged? You know, it looks less like a publicity stunt for War of the Worlds and Batman Begins (when was the last time he shut up long enough to let her mention that?), and more like some kind of horrible advertisement stunt to get young people to turn to scientology. Just saying.

14. The TV networks are doing well, and it looks like they might finally start looking at the summer as its own TV season: another step towards truly serializing programs (like HBO does) instead of enforcing arbitrary marketing decisions that don't work anymore. True, so far a lot of what's on TV this summer is crap like Dancing with the Stars (proof that Americans will watch anything), but between the second series of Entourage, new episodes of Family Guy, American Dad, Hell's Kitchen, Beauty and the Geek, and the reruns of Lost (I didn't watch it the first time it aired), I'm enjoying more television than I did from January to May.

15. Well, it's Father's Day today, and since fathers are so fucking important, let's say Happy Father's Day to Ryan O'Neal (beat his kid), Marvin Gaye Sr. (murdered his own son), Kevin Federline (left the pregnant mother of his two children to marry a meal ticket), Joe Jackson (fathered Michael), Michael Jackson (molests children), Michael Lohan (list too long to mention), and Joe Simpson (who won't shut up about how sexy his daughter is). Enough to make you wish Darth Vader was your father, isn't it?