Wednesday, March 31, 2004
Bunsen Blogs Franken
Welcome To My attempt to blog the first edition of Al Franken's Air America radio show, "The O'Franken Factor." I haven't figured out if I'm going to continually update the post, so repeatedly refresh your browser and check for new entries every 90 or so seconds.
Update: I will post all updates at the bottom, rather than the top, to preserve the chronology for readers who aren't following live. So you're going to have to scroll. (To help you find the last post, I'll put the time in BOLD for the newest entry.)
And it wouldn't kill you to click on the ads. Your 0.1% click-through rate isn't exactly keeping my hot tub in bubbles.
12:00 pm EST:
I think I'm tuned into the New York radio feed for the show (WLIB.com or Air America Radio). When I finally connected, I was greeted with Living Colour's "Cult of Personality." Am I on the right stream, or am I getting a feed from the old Carribean station? While Living Colour is not a "Carribean" act, vocalist Corey Glover definitely had a nice set of dreads. You can understand my confusion.
Ah...There's Franken's voice. He tosses off a couple of mentions of the right-wing control of talk radio, then declares his show to be the "Zero Spin" zone. He follows with some bits I heard him do on Howard Stern a couple of days ago, about both Bush Presidents creating zero net jobs, about satire being protected even if Bill O'Reilly "doesn't get it," and offers to throw bologna at a stripper's ass. C'mon, Al, this is your show. Be your own host.
First mention of Rush Limbaugh and his drug dependency. I'm sure it was just an oversight, but Franken neglects to mention Rush's splat fetish. Franken introduces his co-host, whose name I've already forgotten. I'm pretty sure it's a woman. Could be a drag queen. These are the vagaries of radio. I'm going to hold off touching myself until I figure it out.
The high-falutin' liberal network has already succumbed to the capitalist radio-industrial complex, breaking for commercials. My my, these aren't your parent's liberal radio commentators. Maybe I had unrealistic expectations, but I thought the network was going to be financed entirely by MoveOn.org microdonations from the internet and proceeds from patchouli and incense sales from a dirty blanket just outside UC Berkeley. In any case, I'm pretty high.
A quick note on AM radio quality, further degraded by internet streaming: Remember when you were a kid, and your mother would try and wake you up for school, and you were still half-asleep, and you only dreamily half-heard her, and maybe in your dream the supermodel you were trying to have sex with suddenly, disturbingly, started to talk dirty with your mother's muffled voice? Well, imagine that supermodel whispering that she wants you to flip her over, but with Al Franken's muffled voice.
And why does it sounds like there are wind chimes in the background? Aren't they in a studio?
Good idea, needs better execution: Franken claims he's got conservative pundit extraordinaire Ann Coulter in his green room, awaiting her turn on the show. They have the green room mic'ed, where an OFF intern is branding the soles of her feet with a burning copy of the Constitution. They should have borrowed a Stern bit and gone straight to Coulter Anal Ring Toss.
Unexpected phone call from cuddly Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy, who's calling from his own radio show. If I were a nerd, this would be a joke about a tear in the fabric of the bipartisan space-time continuum. But since I'm not that smart, I'll just mention that G. Gordon and Al wistfully recount a sweaty, confusing night they spent camping in the shadow of the Washington Monument in 1978.
In an attempt to fully represent the Nixon Administration, Franken takes a phone call from actor/game show host/former Tricky Dick staffer Ben Stein. A quick Google search reveals that Spiro Agnew is an anagram for "grow a penis."
Note to Bunsen fans under the age of 40: Spiro T. Agnew was Vice President to Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon was President of the United States from 1920-1974, until he was caught visiting China.
In-studio guest: Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska). My streaming connection is pretty bad, but I think I just heard Franken confess to firebombing an entire Cambodian village during the first season of Saturday Night Live. I probably missed the part where he blames Chevy Chase's bad coke. We're going to have to look into this, developing...
I know that sometimes I don't keep up with politics, but do Franken and Kerrey expect me to believe that there's actually someone in the administration named "Condoleezza Rice"? When Limbaugh makes up names, he at least has the decency to use credible fabrications, like "Mr. Lefty W. Douchebag".
Franken points out the Kerrey lost part of his leg in military service. But all talk about injuries suffered in defense of our great Nation must begin and end with the crafty German soldier who crazy-glued that pen into Bob Dole's hand during WWII.
Got up, had another cup of coffee and a nice cheese Danish. Bob Kerrey (yes, he's STILL TALKING) is prattling on about this Condoleeza person, and Dick "Don't call me Richard!" Clarke, the Bush Administration's weak role in early counterterrorism mettings, and Orrin Hatch's supposed addiction to anal beads the size of regulation Rawlings baseballs.
I'm starting to contemplate the important metaphysical questions, such as "Could I possibly be more bored right now? Like, maybe if I found a can of paint and left it in that can in its liquid form and stared at the paint in the can, while listening to a CD of whale songs, would I actually achieve a higher plane of boredom?"
Orrin Hatch. Anal beads. Orrin Hatch. Anal beads. Quite a mantra.
Oh, Bob Kerrey's leaving! Maybe now they'll spice things up with some commercials about Air America. Yup, that's what they're doing.
In-studio guest: Chuck D, hip-hop legend and host of one of Air America's new shows. Franken and Chuck D's rapport further strengthens the proud tradtition of Jewish comedy writers and black rappers throwing down in liberal talk radio love-fests. Mr. D recalls Flavor Flav's recent, ill-fated onstage freestyle session with Mel Brooks.
D and newly-minted "home boy" Franken are getting along so swimmingly, in fact, that I think Unknown Female Franken Co-host is starting to fear for her job.
Back in the "green room," Franken's intern is puckishly drawing a Hitler mustache on a drugged Ann Coulter. Blogging decorum (and new FCC standards) prohibits my noting exactly where he's drawing the mustache.
(Note to Wonkette readers being directed here: I promise at least one ass-fucking joke before the end of OFF. I've already done a bit with Orrin Hatch and anal beads, and there was a suggestion of "relations" between G. Gordon Liddy and Franken. That should tide you over until I get around to it.)
In-studio guest: Film/troublemaker Michael Moore. My connection has suddenly gotten very spotty, but I'm pretty sure that Franken and Moore are bonding over their wildly successful publishing careers and their mutual admiration for President Bush's truth-telling skills. They seem to find each other quite amusing. I catch a snippet to the effect of "Bush would lie about what kind of pancake is his favorite," the audio drops out, and then returns with peals of laughter. Of course, they might have been discussing Moore's breakfast preferences, or how during the filming of Bowling for Columbine, Moore reportedly showed a demented Chartlon Heston a package of adult undergarments, which the addled Heston hilariously misidentified as an AK-47 assault rifle.
Unidentified Possibly-Female Co-host asks Moore if he regrets calling President Bush a "deserter," contributing a tiresome attention to "important news" into the Franken/Moore Mutual Admiration Society Meeting. She's not long for her sidekick gig if she's going to continually cock-block Franken's guests from affectionately ass-fucking him by injecting topicality into the show. I think someone needs a liberal radio network sidekick refresher course!
Franken and Moore get a phone call from Almost-President Al Gore! By taking the call, the OFF has officially guaranteed that they'll never get John Kerry as a guest after Gore's tainted the liberal airwaves with his near-miss election karma. He's going to avoid Franken like a toddler bitten by a zombie. Kerry's got an election to win and can't risk getting any Gore on him.
Back in the green-room, Franken asks his intern to put on an Al Gore mask and see if the impaired Ann Coulter will fly into a murderous rage. I wonder how this edition of "Ann Coulter in the OFF Green Room" will turn out!
A helpful reader e-mailed me the secret identity of the Unknowable Might-be-female Franken Co-host, which I've already forgotten, and pointed out she's "no drag queen." The reader obviously doesn't know that it's much hotter to think about touching yourself if you don't know for sure if the newly-minted-liberal-radio-network-cohost is going to turn out to be a woman or not. Next thing you're going to tell me that What's Her Name also might not be a neoconservative harboring a secret social-libertarian streak. Way to suck all of the potentially transgressive excitement out of things, Helpful Reader.
It's 3:00 pm EST and the maiden voyage of "The O'Franken Factor" is over. My connection died (yes, again) just as Franken was taking phone calls from family members. I'm sure nothing funny or interesting happened.
Thank you for tuning in to Bunsen Blogs Franken. Enjoy your meal.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Wherein I Announce my intention to blog Al Franken's debut "The O'Franken Factor" broadcast on the new, liberal Air America radio network.
Franken's maiden voyage is scheduled for tomorrow, March 31st, from noon to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. I'll try and get TOFF live from the New York internet feed (at WLIB AM radio, assuming that it's not still blasting joyous, Carribean jams) so that I can ruin the suspense for the West Coast, tape-delay broadcast, sucking all of the joy from the procession of WMD and Rush Limbaugh jokes.
Tune in and see what happens.
Soon After, the Artist Introduced the Color "Members Only Red" into Her Palette
Jacko's Grand Jury hearing on child molestation charges has begun in a secret courtroom in a hollowed out mountain fortress somewhere in California.
Overheard: Barely Audible Things Muttered Under the Breath of Michael Jackson's Courtroom Sketch Artist
The hair's a piece of cake. Do a little James Brown, a little Whitney watching Bobby Brown's arraignment, maybe a touch of that female Santa Barbara DA with the great "Rachel", and I'm home... Gotta lay down the skin tone. Think, woman, think. Let's put down a layer of Dutch Chocolate, then smudge it over with some Vanilla Fudge. Hmmm. If I dab it with a hanky... Yeah, that's the stuff... Tomorrow I'm bringing the big charcoal set, what was I thinking... Cut in the cheekbones with my thumbnail. God, I'd kill for those. Like a supermodel on an all-laxative diet... Hold that pose, hold that pose! Shit, missed it! I know, I know, I'm procrastinating on the nose. We'll do the mouth first. Is it really that close to his ear? Am I exaggerating? OK, Michael, just don't smile and people will think I know what I'm doing. Oh, oh... He saw the boy and smiled. Stop smiling, OK? People are gonna think we just took a picture anyway... Eyes, eyes, you're like nice pies... Mascara was probably not appropriate for court, but hoookay... Nose time. Deep breath. You can do this. You're good enough. You've got nothing to lose, everyone knows it's a fake. No! Be a pro. Draw it as it is. Even if you can see inside it and his head is leaning forward. Concentrate. OK. It's fruit-bat-meets-glory-hole. That's disgusting. Listen, just give him the Halle Berry at the hit-and-run trial and be done with it. I'm such a fucking fraud. No. I'll get it tomorrow. I'll be better tomorrow.
Monday, March 29, 2004
The Dilemma of the Monday Morning Headline Writer: Jesus and Scooby Edition
Scooby Doo 2 Debuts at No. 1; Passion Slips to Third
It's Exceedingly Difficult to write anything on a Monday morning that ignores the weekend box office results. Grosses, per-screen averages, and second-week drop-offs are the numbers that define our world. Unemployment rates and national debt figures trickle away like butter substitute to the bottom of our super-size popcorn tubs, at least until the afternoon.
But on this Monday morning, the numbers have led us to a troubling conclusion. Talking, CGI dog sequel Scooby Doo 2's first-place finish is nothing short of America's clear rejection of Christianity. Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ has fallen to third place, its worst showing since its Ash Wednesday release. The end is nigh, readers, as our Nation has endorsed a marijuana parable starring a lisping, computer-generated canine abomination over a two-hour, spiritual exploration of the link between torture and triumph, sin and redemption. America's devolution into amorality and pagan ritual has inexorably begun. We suggest that you lock yourselves in your root cellars and await the Rapture. Soon, shock troops of the coming Apocalypse will parade down your local Main Street; whatever you do, don't open the door for the mob in the elaborate goat masks, no matter how many times they knock and profess to be simple, itinerant Bible salesmen.
In addition to the supremely justified end-of-the-world foofaraw engendered by Scooby Doo 2's weekend victory, the results have disquieting implications for America's headline writers, particularly those of a satirical or irreverent bent. We had no problems with last week's Zombies-Triumph-Over-Christ development; Jesus, after all (and as many have pointed out), was technically undead Himself. Regular readers know that of late we've had something of an obsession with the headline-writing craft, the economical art of informing and entertaining in bold-face type in as few words as possible. (Also, we are lazy, and headlines often don't require the construction of complete sentences. They also are aggregated easily into list form.)
So what's the problem, you ask? At first blush, the combination of Jesus, Scooby Doo, and Mel Gibson seems like that ever-elusive "comedy gold." But an examination of the raw materials of the headline writer should illustrate the pitfalls awaiting us:
Exclamations: Behold! Zoinks!
Proper Nouns: Mel Gibson, Scooby Doo, Jesus, Christ, Passion, Shaggy, Christians
Nouns: (Talking) Dog, Cross, Box Office, Audience, Bow Wow, Number One
Action Verbs: Debuts, Lifts (Leg On), Tops, Humps (Leg Of), Doggy-Styles
Even when you consider that italicized versions of Christ refer to the high-grossing film rather than the actual Messiah, there are many explosive permutations to be unleashed from Proper Noun/Action Verb alchemy of the above list. We're just not up to the task. As we noted, Judgment Day is upon us, and we're too busy hoarding toilet paper, Aquafina, and canned tuna in spring water to weather the fallout from indulging our more destructive creative impulses.
But we can't control what the reading public does with this list. Perhaps it will provide some fleeting diversion from listening to accounts of the marauding Apocalyptic hordes on your hand-cranked radios, once all of the puzzles in your Big Book O'Crosswords have been solved and canned vegetables consumed.
We only ask that you thank whatever God you worship that The Passion was bested by Scooby Doo 2 and not a Pauly Shore vehicle. He is obviously merciful and has allowed some opportunity for redemption. Bio-Dome 2 would have meant instant annihilation for us all.
Friday, March 26, 2004
Annals of Celebrity Romance Dept.
Tom And Penelope call it quits.
Prepare yourself for the inevitable headlines:
With A Mere three episodes left in its triumphant run, it's time to handicap the remaining "interviewees" ("contestants" is just so...demeaning) on The Apprentice.
The following odds are for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as the basis for any actual cash wager. But feel free to put $50 on Nick for me in the Vegas Reality Show book.
[Note: Team designations are largely useless at this late stage of the interview.]
Kwame: We have a complicated relationship with Kwame. He seems like a nice enough guy: He's got an MBA from Harvard, a good job on Wall Street, and he's never twisted an innocuous saying into a racial epithet. But does he have a personality? Has he said or done a single, interesting thing? The strategy's paid off. Kwame's still around while the "fun" ones have all been summarily dismissed by Trump's Downsizing Pinky Finger. I'm automatically suspicious of anyone who so dependably lapses into MBA-speak rather than have a creative thought or a real insight.
We find it difficult to forget the Planet Hollywood incident where Troy convinced him to sign basketballs to sell to tourists from Iowa who'd never seen a real, live black person except on ESPN highlights or when they were surfing past UPN on the way to Everybody Loves Raymond. And then they tried to make us all feel guilty for crying foul, stating "We never said that Kwame was in the NBA," that's all y'all's horrible, racist assumption. Yes, that's it exactly. I can hardly make it to my car in the morning without running into a Goldman Sachs day-trader trying to sell me his autograph on a Spaulding.
See, it's complicated with Kwame. If if it were anyone but The Donald judging, Kwame could go all the way. But that glorious hairpiece is a finely-tuned goldbricker detector, and Kwame's pockets are heavy with bullion. Odds: 10 to 1
Troy: It goes without saying that we're all just a little bit tired of Troy's good-old-boy, country salesman routine. We can picture Good Ol' Troy back at the Idaho mercantile, patting a farmer on the back and putting his thumb on the scale while he's selling him bags of feed. We're not entirely sure that bags of feed are placed on scales and sold by weight, but we're certain that Troy would figure out a way to get his thumb on a scale, somewhere.
Troy's the next one to go. And expect him to panic as he feels the Pinky Finger Deathray approaching, dressed in overalls, a straw hat, and carrying a pitchfork, teeth clamped around a piece of hay. "But Mr. Trump, I'm just a simple farm boy from Idaho. I don't unnerstand your crazy, big-city ways." And then chiseling the cabbie out of three dollars with some rap about the exchange rates on Idaho currency in NY after he tells the camera about his leadership qualities.
Also, we're not positive because we haven't seen a pair in quite some time, but we think Troy was rocking acid-washed jeans on last night's episode.
One last thing, and this says more about us than about him: We can't stop thinking that Troy's going to star as Joe Buck in an off-Broadway revival of Midnight Cowboy, with the long-ago dispatched Sam as Ratso Rizzo. Odds: 7 to 1
Bill: Bill's the sleeper. Bill's the quiet manager in your office, the one that seems like he might be a good guy, but he's a little too business-y from 9-6. Then there's the one night where Happy Hour cocktails turns into an impromptu trip to the Shaved Beaver, and Bill's the one chatting up the strippers, trying to negotiate some extras during the lap dance. The next thing you know, someone asks what happened to Bill? We haven't seen him in a while. Bill's in the private room, getting a blowjob and admiring giggles as the stripper's tongue piercing clinks against his Prince Albert. Your entire department rushes home to jerk off, at least those that didn't have an accident at the club.
The next day, Bill claps you on the shoulder as he walks by your cube, throws you a nod, see you in the meeting. But you're pretty sure that stripper was into you. And didn't you have more money in your pocket when you left the club?
Bill, welcome to the Trump Organization. Odds: Even
Amy: With Katrina gone, Amy is the sole female interviewee remaining. Last night saw her golden-girl image tarnished as her mission winning-streak was snapped. This was a pivotal moment in Trump's eyes; it's like the moment when certain tribal elders figured out that pitching virgins into the volcano didn't actually stop them from erupting, but continued the tradition because the average guy was never going to believe them, and besides, they kind of make a neat noise before they hit bottom.
It's obvious that Amy's playing Nick because he's Trump's favorite. She's good, and she'll make it to the final three. But she's not Katrina-hot, and all Amy's whining about her overlaying on her sexuality is wearing on The Donald, even as he smartly pretends to be offended at such tactics while manipulating The Lil' Donald underneath the boardroom table. Amy never made him touch himself. Don't get him wrong, he'd totally fuck her. And a fifteen million dollar volcano hole at the Briarcliff golf course sounds like a great idea.
She'll be fired, but will rebound nicely with a severe haircut and a job as Warren Buffett's Carolyn. Odds: 3 to 1
Nick: Nick, Nick, Nick. Niiiiick. Nicky. Trump loves you. It's clear as the red hair on that watermelon of a head of yours. So whattya doin' making googly eyes at Amy? She's playing you, kid. You'd never fall for this in LA, if some skank in a low-cut blouse tried to hawk inferior Minolta document-reproduction solutions on your turf. Sure, you'd get over, but you'd sneak out in the morning and sell Mr. Lee's kimchee joint more Xerox than he could ever fucking use. And she'd call you again. She would.
This is the big time, kid. Trump sees you have a weakness for the broads. He likes that, he can respect that. He's never above mixing a little business and pleasure. But when you pass on a toss with Ereka or Katrina to get led around on a leash by cute-as-a-button Amy, Trump's gonna shake his head, do a little song and dance about how you were always his favorite, and this is a tough one, it really is, but HERE COMES THE FUCKING DEATH PINKY and the two little words that you'd never thought you'd hear.
Niiiiick. Fired last is still fired, Nicky. See you back in LA. Odds: 2 to 1
See previous Apprentice Friday entries:
Drink Trump Ice
Goodbye, Omarosa: A Recap in Haiku
Fire & Ice: An Appreciation of Carolyn
You Can See Mr, Trump Now: Robin the Fake Receptionist's Fake Receptionist Job Duties
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Confessions of a Midlevel Screenwriter
by Alan Bunsen Smithee
Reader Advisory: By the end of this story, I will have broken the sacred bond that exists between producers and writers. I will have told you exactly what to expect should you pursue your lifelong dream of writing in Hollywood, a dream you have nurtured through pleasant afternoons at the multiplex, losing yourself in the cinematic dreamscapes of Kate & Leopold and Hard Target. Sure, it sounds like a life of luxury and privilege from your cubicle in Accounts Receivable or from the driver's side of your taxi-cab. But a life in The Industry is not the beaded seat cushion nestling your working-class buttocks like an angel of livery; it's the rusty spring burrowing through the upholstery and puncturing your ass, leaving you bent over a doctor's table in an understaffed Urgent Care facility as an intern on the tail-end of a 20-hour shift shakily administers a tetanus shot to your suppurating cheek. In short, if you've packed all of your worldly possession into the back of your 10-year-old Camry with a Mapquest printout from Anywhere, USA to Los Angeles, California: Don't. Steer your sensible Japanese import into the nearest body of water and save yourself some time.
Still with me? What the fuck is wrong with you? Do I need to make a vivid, disturbing analogy where the entertainment industry is a horny grizzly bear with a raging case of gonorrhea and you are a cute, virgin bunny rabbit in a plaid skirt, garter belt set, and stripper heels? Very well. Read on, read on...
Acknowledgement of Good Fortune
I know that many of you would give a semiessential part of your anatomy for any kind of writing career in Hollywood, and that my forthcoming "whining" about my midlevel success in a cuthroat industry is disgusting to you. If you are predisposed to have such thoughts, don't bother coming here. You are not allowed to have a career in Hollywood if you are not constantly dissatisfied with your income, prospects, and social status. For you, the horny grizzly bear also has a three-foot cock.
Script 1: On Spec, optioned in 2001 for mid six-figures against high six-figures
Genre: Genre-busting meta-romantic comedy actioner with thriller elements
Dream Cast: Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Actual Cast: N/a
"On spec" and "optioned" are highly technical Hollywood terms which generally translate to "never getting made, but still getting paid." Script was sold when I removed all of the toilet paper in a Universal executive bathroom, then slid screenplay underneath the door. Exec loved it so much he cleaned himself with his hand rather than taint the three-hole-punched pages. Didn't show same respect for fourth rewrite, despite my capitulation on including a talking dog (with a Romanian accent) who solves protag's problems. Never made.
Used the option money for a down payment on house in Hollywood Hills with three bedrooms and two hot tubs, a Hummer, and a promising relationship with a B-list actress who got her start in soft-core Cinemax movies. Agent takes me to lunch twice a week to discuss the next step in my career, constantly reaching over to touch me with an outstretched index finger, making sizzling noises as he touches the lapel of my jacket.
Actress girlfriend is insatiable.
Script 2: Script rewrite assignment in late 2001, Major Studio,
Genre: Third sequel to summer blockbuster action-comedy franchise, mid six-figures.
Dream Cast: Previous sequel features Vin Diesel, Liv Tyler, and Denzel Washington
Actual Cast: Stars abandon franchise, replaced with Kid Rock, Jenna Jameson, and Tom Arnold
Studio execs praise the rewrite, lament the departure of their money stars. Writers Guild arbitration lists me first among fifteen credited screenwriters.
Movie premieres to disappointing $10.1 million opening, finishing third. Exec Who Formerly Loved Me blames me for anemic opening box office numbers. Refuses to pay entire fee, claiming that money is tied to adjusted net points. "Adjusted net points" is Industryspeak for "you're lucky we paid you the first hundred grand."
Sublet house in Hills and move into two-bedroom condo in Hollywood with communal hot tub on roof and gym with limited Nautilus equipment.
Agent is still upbeat, though has a tendency to take our bi-weekly brunch home in doggy bag. Still makes sizzling noises, but idly licks index finger and stabs it into the air, uttering half-hearted "ssssss" that trails off as he looks over my shoulder at people in next booth.
Woefully untalented, hacky screenwriter friend has just sold pitch for two mil to Tom Cruise's producing partner.
Actress girlfriend is slightly less insatiable. We're down to three times a day, and the once-constant lingerie shows have slowed to Friday nights after all-night coke binges.
The Hummer, however, is still hott.
Script 3: Uncredited rewrite in early 2002, Slightly Smaller Major Studio, mid six-figures for two weeks of work
Genre: David Arquette talking-ostrich movie
Dream Cast: n/a
Actual Cast: David Arquette, a girl who played Young Mrs. Garrett in a flashback episode of Facts of Life, three ostriches, Haley Joel Osment
Studio Exec Who Says He Loves Me assures me that he's doing me a big favor by hiring me to punch-up "convincing, Brooklyn-wiseass" dialogue for talking ostrich. I'm faced with the first art-vs-commerce dilemma of my midlist screenwriting career. Is this why I moved to Hollywood? I'd always made jokes that after a year of writing I'd probably be giving handjobs on the Boulevard and writing David Arquette talking-ostrich movies. Be careful what you wish for, my mother said. Handjobs are a sin.
Agent assures me over taco-stand snack that ostrich's beak will move in realistic vocal articulations through CGI; there will be none of this "hearing ostrich thoughts" bullshit. I agree, realizing my talking Romanian dog experience from my first script rewrites have served me well. Request that he touch me and make sizzling noise is met with a sigh and lame assurances that he should probably first "put on an oven mitt, etc etc."
Move across the hall to two-bedroom condo with somewhat smaller dining area off of kitchen. There's inadequate storage space for my crockpot collection, but I persevere. Someone keeps leaving dirty towels on pec-deck in gym despite my frequent Post-it notes asking that they be removed.
According to Variety, piece of shit, no-talent, idea-stealing friend sells pitch for high-concept romantic comedy based on lightbulb joke I'd told at Happy Hour for 5 mil, Nicole Kidman attached.
Actress girlfriend has virtually cut me off. We're down to ten times a week, not including weekends, and insists on bringing struggling actress-screenwriter friend over for role-playing. Everyone thinks they're a fucking writer.
Does this sound like any kind of life? Still think Hollywood is for you? I'm not going to pile on by telling you the story about how my Hummer got keyed in the Warner Brothers parking lot, how I can't get a table at the Ivy without a same-day reservation, or how Richard Roeper found David Arquette's performance "zany and engaging, but was constantly undermined by the tired wisecracks from his talking ostrich partner." Thumbs down."
Thumbs down, indeed.
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
Strangely, Simon Cowell Somehow Found Out I Was Late to Potty-Train
According To My spies deep inside the television industry, American Idol was on last night. I didn't see it, so I'll just have to suspend disbelief and trust my sources. (I must admit last time I gave these people my trust they told me I was on a reality show called "Extreme Doing Jagermeister Shots and Taking a Dump in the Skybar Pool," so forgive my skepticism.)
Just to prove my AI bonafides: If I remember correctly, surviving AI contestants include a chick named Fantasia 2000 with a mouth the size of a manhole cover; a freak whose fiery hair and smooth, loungey vocals were the original inspiration for the phrase "beat him like a redheaded, baritone stepchild"; and a tiny, choreographically-impaired Mormon whose mission is to engage all remaining female contestants in polygamous, sex-slave bondage. Am I close? I must be leaving some out. In any case, my assistant tells me that Mormons wear magical underwear.
Simon Cowell's Withering Appraisal or My Mother's Tough Love?
1. "You are terrible. Completely awful."
2. "You really should go back to school in case this Hollywood thing doesn't work out."
3. "Dreadful. Absolutely, totally, and unreservedly dreadful."
4. "I've heard better runs in the diarrhea ward at Cedar Sinai."
5. "What's so special about you that you should go to Hollywood?"
6. "Did you really believe you could become [difficult job in the entertainment biz]? Well, then, you're a schmuck."
7. "If you would be [action verb ending in -ing] like this 2000 years ago, the village elders would rape you and leave you for dead."
8. "I'm just telling the truth here. I don't want you to waste any more of your life pursuing this silly little dream that just isn't going to happen."
9. "Park Mommy's car, she left it on the lawn."
10. "I always wanted a daughter. You never looked good in a skirt. No, no...I blame myself."
[Answer key: Cowell: 3,4; My mother: 1,2,5,6,7,8,9,10]
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Sometimes a Jaguar is Just a Jaguar
It looks like you've finally gone to the media about the idea for my very beautiful movie, Hot Rod. All I can say is that I'm disappointed...that you didn't speak up sooner! I have a lot of devilish things going on in my personal life right now, and what would make me happy again is giving the gift of Hot Rod to the world.
Kevin, as you know, I am a very great admirer of cars, and Hot Rod is my love letter to automobiles everywhere. Cars are shiny and fast. Many of them are new, small, and soft, untainted by the evil of the world. Cars look at the world with unjudging eyes, Kevin. When they see you, they're very happy and they giggle and they never ask, for example, why your skin might appear to be slightly lighter than it was when you were a young, famous popstar, or why your features seem different. They've never even heard of the words "nose-hole" or "gargoyle." Cars are pure and I love them very, very much. I built Neverland Ranch so that people could bring their cars to me so that I could play with them. I sleep with Matchbox cars and Hot Wheels in my bed each night. It's all very innocent and beautiful.
So I decided to channel my creative energies into writing a movie all about a man that turns into a car. I'd play the man/car. How great would that be? And when the man (me) turns into a car, a little boy rides around in him. Originally, I didn't even want there to be a little boy in the movie, but all of my movie producer friends forced me to do it so that the movie could sell lots and lots of tickets. So once I was compelled to put a little boy in my movie, I figured that the man that turns into Hot Rod could drive him to his all-boy Catholic school and to afterschool activities like soccer practice. You know what Catholic schools and soccer practices have? Parking lots where there are lots of other cars to love. Cars so innocent and soft and beautiful.
Kevin, let's make this movie happen. I love cars. I suppose that I would have to participate in the casting sessions to find the little boy. I want to do this movie so badly that I will endure that torture, since the producers would force me to have the boy in the movie. That is how much I love cars.
Michael "Hot Rod" Jackson
P.S. I hear that Jersey Girl is a piece of shit. Maybe you should have made Hot Rod with me instead.
And We Hear She'll Give You a Lap Dance for a Big Bacon Classic
Just When You thought that a magazine designed to make men shop while sitting on the couch was the worst idea in the history of publishing, the misunderstood geniuses behind Cargo go and save the retail farm:
[Click the image to see the full, Not Safe For Work version]
Before you go making assumptions, lucky Wendy's patron Kofi Asare wants you to know that he's decidedly not homeless.
Update: In other Cargo mag news, NewYorkish takes a look at Cargo's more interesting sister publication.
[The original photo can be seen at Fleshbot (also NSFW)]
Monday, March 22, 2004
This Reminds Me of the Time When Deep Throat Had a Bigger Weekend Take Than Jesus Christ Superstar
A Friend Said it best: "If Ving Rhames had been there when Jesus rose from the dead, he would have totally blown his head off!"
The Passion of the Christ's box office reign of loving terror is finally over, as Dawn of the Dead finished in the top spot in America's theaters, preventing Mel Gibson's Christ vehicle from passing the $300 million mark. Dawn's triumph was also a boon to headline writers everywhere, conjuring images of Jesus being chased up the road to Calvary Hill by hordes of the bloodthirsty undead.
A smattering of headlines in the Monday morning rotation:
More Headlines: Mama Always Said That Being a Skank is a Dangerous Business
Both Britney Spears and Paris Hilton recently have suffered injuries in the commission of their celebrity duties. Spears injured her knee during a recent performance, and Hilton reportedly fell off a horse while filming The Simple Life 2.
But with a good publicist in your corner, these headlines...
"Britney Spears Cancels Show After Injuring Knee" [MTV News]
"Horse -1, Paris -0" [CelebrityCafe.com]
...were run instead of their original versions:
"Britney Spears Cancels Show to Combat Genital Wart Outbreak"
"Donkey-Punching Local with Twelve Pack of Miller Lite and Mattress in the Back of His Pickup: 1, Paris Hilton: 0"
Friday, March 19, 2004
Apprentice Friday: You Can See Mr. Trump Now
It's Friday. And Friday belongs to Trump, as he greedily inspects the Nielsen overnight ratings. Since last night's installment was a dreaded recap show (note to The Donald: Don't be afraid of March Madness! You're better than that!), I'm going to turn my attention to the forgotten Apprentice cast member. No, I'm not talking about the old guy who always answers Trump's post-firing reflection, "Wow, that was a tough one," with a gently admonishing, "It's only going to get tougher."
I'm talking about Robin, Trump's Fake Receptionist. Like so many of our country's fake administrative personnel, the comely Robin labors in very real obscurity, lucky to receive a photocopied picture of a flower arrangement on Fake Secretaries Day. It's a thankless job which Robin carries out with aplomb, often completing her signature line, "You can see Mr. Trump now," without tripping over the words. She even takes the initiative of craning her lovely neck over the edge of her desk to make sure that the contestants hear her and comply with The Donald's wish to see them in The Boardroom set, post haste. Her dedication to her fake craft is admirable.
So to correct the indignity of our elitist exclusion of Robin from our watercooler discussion, I present to you Robin's Fake Receptionist Job Duties. A little appreciation goes a long way.
Other Fake Responsibilities:
See previous Apprentice Friday entries:
Drink Trump Ice
Goodbye, Omarosa: A Recap in Haiku
Fire & Ice: An Appreciation of Carolyn
Thursday, March 18, 2004
Sun Rises, Sun sets, Courtney Love arrested. It's like a gift; I write about somebody, then they clock a hipster in the head with a microphone stand and wind up in the pokey.
There have been many accounts of my St. Patty's day drinking buddy's supposed "meltdown" on the Late Show last night. But I have the exclusive on Love's and Letterman's off-camera conversation. Read on...
The Late Show set: Commerical break between Courtney Love segments
Love: How am I doing?
Letterman: That was something. What's up with the hair?
Love: Yeah, I thought I should look like Biff Henderson bent me over a director's chair right before I came out. It's easy. I just dipped my head in the john and gave myself a swirlie backstage. A little towel-dry and I'm ready to go.
Letterman: You gotta give the people what they want, right?
Love: Look, everyone's tuning in to see what I'm going to pull. I could bark like a dog, but it's kind of hackneyed at this point and people would see right through it. So I settled on the unhinged rambling, threw in some name-dropping because people love that shit. You want me to call Tom Cruise a fag?
Letterman: Stick to Kidman. Tom's lawyers are fucking insane. And how about flashing those goodies a few more times? Makes for great clips for ET and Access Hollywood tomorrow.
Love: I just got waxed. You want a little cooch in camera 3?
Letterman: Stick to the rack. You know that Janet was originally going to show the kitty at the Super Bowl halftime? Moonves talked her down to the nipple armor.
Love: No way!
Letterman: He thought all the labia hardware she's got would be overkill. Plays havoc pulling focus on the handheld cam.
Love: Alright, tits it is.
Letterman: It's a good choice. Call me from Central Booking tonight and my assistant will post bail.
Love: If you don't pick up, I'm calling Leno!
[They share a hearty laugh.]
Letterman: Try getting him out of his submissive dungeon after 1 a.m.!
Love: I know! Once he's got the ball gag in, it's like he's dead to the world.
[Update: I write it, it happens: E! Online reports that Janet Jackson is now scheduled to appear on Letterman. Now we can wait to see if she tops Love by showing off the aforementioned labia hardware.]
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
St. Patrick's Day Special: Waiting for Farrell
It's Only Been ten minutes and Courtney Love and I have are already out of things to say to one another. The first nine minutes went something like this:
Me: "How's the trial?"
Me: "I read about the --"
Me: "--the trial--"
The waiter sets a fresh pitcher of green beer in the middle of our table. He reaches to take the empty that we've already drained, but we've propped a Polaroid of Bono against it as a makeshift centerpiece. I wave him off. If the pitchers disappear, we're quickly going to lose track.
We sit in silence, my eyes tracing the silhouette of her head, wanting to make contact with hers. But I know better. Every time our eyes meet, I'm immediately overtaken with an incredibly tactile hallucination: Love's hair stands on end, snaking into the air, split ends blooming into shamrocks. A three-piece pixie band parades out of her ears, banging drums, dragging bows across fiddles, whipping off a couple of moves from an Irish step dance. This gives me an instant, inexplicable, painful erection. Breaking eye-lock and quaffing an entire pint returns her to normal. She's looking relatively doable these days, I'll have to give her that.
I check my watch. Our host is running late. It's probably only been two minutes, but the waiter arrives with another pitcher of green beer.
Love points a finger at the Bono picture, describing little circles in the air. "So, Mr. Bone-oh. Since our friend here is so fooking boring, what do you have to say for yourself?" She cups a hand behind her ear and waits for Polaroid Bono to respond. "He's just as fooking bad as you." She's talking to me. I focus on her chin moving up and down to avoid another drop-in from the Bunsen Boner Pixie Band.
She chugs a beer. I watch intently as the bottom of her glass goes parallel with the ceiling. There are small, discolored paper shamrocks the color of moss with the names of patrons stapled to the ceiling. There are at least twenty that say "Colin".
She notices this too. "Where the fuck is Farrell anyway?" She kicks me under the table, and I bite my lip to avoid releasing a very girly yelp. I will not yelp on St. Patrick's Day and disgrace the twenty-five percent of my blood that is Irish. "I didn't sign up to sit in a bar with you."
"I guess we'll just have to wait --"
"Whaaaat foooooooking EVER!"
"We can't leave. He's coming."
"Whatever. I'm fooking leaving!"
I could tell you how many empties there are on the table so that you could attempt to mark the passage of time. But I won't. There are enough that I'm now holding a full pitcher of green beer in my lap. It's conveniently serving as a buffer between my genitalia and Love's foot. She put it there four pitchers ago, pretending she wanted to tickle the inside of my thigh with her big toe, but instead jammed her heel, painfully, into my crotch. No yelping, but my bottom lip looks like a soft cast of the top row of my teeth.
"Colin's coming. I'm telling you."
"Whatever. I'm so leaving, I swear."
I deliberately look into her eyes. I want the boner, I want the jigging faeries to put on a little cabaret act, anything. But I'm so drunk that the only show I'm getting is watching Love's eyes collide into a cycloptic mass, then separate again. She crashes her heel into the pitcher protecting my crotch, splashing beer all over my lap. I stick my hand into the pitcher and lick the beer from the back of my hand.
"I'm fooking going!"
"You can't. He'll be here, and what if we're gone?"
There's a commotion at the front of the bar. The door bursts open. A man in a Red Sox hat is pushing a wheelbarrow towards us, careening around the tables. There's something big, something in a heap in the wheelbarrow. The wheelbarrow stops at our table, and the man pours its cargo onto the floor next to us. He tips his Sox cap at Love and I get a clear look at his face, instantly recognizing the beady eyes, the prominent jawline. Affleck. I look at the floor in front of the wheelbarrow. Damon. Green shamrocks painted on his cheeks, green vomit crusted on the front of his Celtics jersey.
"Where's fooking Farrell?"
She splashes her beer on Affleck's t-shirt, soaking the caricature of James Joyce draped over a Barnes & Noble logo. I think to myself that a Samuel Beckett t-shirt would be less obvious, but that's Ben.
"I don't know where he is. We all have to take responsibility for what we've done. We have to understand that. We do things and then we own up to them. They're our things. We have to know where we all are. I didn't do this. If I did, I would own it. You can have your Heidegger and your Eszterhas and your Kaballah and your Pilates. If I had any of things, they would be mine. You couldn't have them. You can't take them from me, I own my own self and my own thing and my own career. Harvey doesn't own me, Matty doesn't own me, Jennifer doesn't own me, goddamn Gus Van Zant doesn't own me. I own me. This is probably the greatest wheelbarrow I've ever pushed, the greatest one that Matty's ever ridden in. Look at him. He doesn't own anything, and look at him. I could take the elementary rudimentary alimentary nature of everything and give it to him and he wouldn't own it. I'd still own it. You can't take that away from me. Nomar. Billy Fucking Buckner. I own I own I own. Can you dig it? No, you can't. You can't dig and you can't own. I'm out of here."
Affleck grips the handles on the wheelbarrow, turns, and crashes through the bar. I watch Matty wretch up a dry, rattling cough as he starts to come to. Love dumps a half-full pint of green beer on him.
"Pussy. Where the fuck is Colin? I'm going."
"Whatever! He's never coming and I'm going!"
"He'll be here."
The waiter brings another pitcher of beer. I nest it inside of the empty one in my lap.
"Well? Can we fooking go?"
"Yes, we can go."
The waiter drops a few napkins onto Damon and leaves us. We do not go.
[See also: Last year's St. Patty's post.]
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
My Website Is Actually Nothing But A Plea to Join the Next America's Top Model, So Maybe I Shouldn't Talk
From the Mailbag:
I just found a link to this guy's site, "I Want to Be The Apprentice," on someone else's site. I thought it might be of interest to you, knowing how much you love The Apprentice. Also, this guy's resemblence to comic book/WB young-adult programming villain Lex Luthor is undeniable. Since you seem to be out of ideas today, I think it would be really funny if you would write a letter about "I Want to Be The Apprentice, but it's all about Lex Luthor. If you don't mind me being so forward, you could say things like "Mr. Trump, like you, I'm a self-made billionaire. While your route to piles of money was real-estate development and greed, my rise to the highest tax brackets came because of my criminal mastermind and hatred of Superman. I think that I could learn a lot from you, Mr. Trump." That could totally work.
Also, I couldn't help but notice that this Apprentice guy self-consciously includes a poll about whose hair is better. First, this guy doesn't have any hair. Trump's hair may be ridiculous, but at least he has hair. What, did this Apprentice guy go to the barber shop with a picture of Kojak star Telly Savalas (note to your younger readers, he was a bald guy on a cop show in the 70s who sucked on lollipops, not that Trump sucks on lollipops as as far as I can tell) and tell them, "I want my head to look like this guy's nutsack?" This is of course assuming that a guy with a shaved head like Kojack would also put a lot of care into the close shaving of his scrotum. I'm not sure if this logically follows, but I'm sure you could find a way to make it work. I just think it's a little crazy that this Apprentice guy is comparing his bald head to The Donald's impressive mane. It doesn't add up.
One more thing: I don't understand why in the middle of this guy's video about why he would make the best Apprentice he starts singing "Over the Rainbow" and molests himself with salad tongs. Is that supposed to get him on the show? Make sure you mention that. Lex Luthor would never do that.
Anyway, just wanted to point that out to you since you seem to be having a hard time with things. Lots of free time on my hands these days.
Dept. of Sequential Humorlessness
Some Days, Producing the "content" on which you fritter away chunks of your billable hours and precious bandwidth is harder than others.
On those days, I usually produce a list. (Longtime readers will remember that I once trotted out Harrison Ford to fill the daily "content" quota, but ever since that bender in Mexico, he's been an impossible bore. From talking to him you'd think the bottom of a tequila bottle was an acceptable substitute for an out-of-work, anorexic actress girlfriend. But how many worms can you swallow before you start to miss the fragile embrace of your bony, true love? I digress...)
But sometimes even a viable list topic is hard to come by. This is one of those times.
So enjoy this list of abandoned list topics for today's post, including at least one example from each abandoned list.
A List of Abandoned List Topics, Including at Least One Example From Each Abandoned List
Friday, March 12, 2004
Apprentice Friday: The Hottest Blizzard
Continuing In The proud tradition of the last two weeks, this is your The Apprentice debriefing.
This week: An Appreciation of Donald Trump's Left-Hand Woman, Carolyn
Carolyn, Carolyn, Carolyn...where do I begin?
You sit at the left hand of The Donald. You represent the analytical side of his brain, the cold, calculating, precise faculties that allow him to close his artful deals, the cascading spreadsheets that allow him to figure to the nearest dime how much money it's going to cost him to get the newly-minted supermodel into his rotating waterbed. Maybe The Donald's turned that dissecting, lascivious eye on you, but that would be like Oroboros trying to fuck his tail as he deep-throats it. You're his eye. That junk's not flying Air Carolyn, says the lift in your brow, the tilt of your head.
Carolyn. Chances are that you have a last name, but we don't need it. When Trump buzzes his fake receptionist outside the boardroom set, he coos "Get me Carolyn." And she knows whom he's talking about, no surname needed. She learned that one the hard way.
Carolyn. Fiery ice queen, you burn so cold. Is that the flame or the chill I feel when our eyes meet across the flickering screen? You defy degrees Celsius, flummox Fahrenheit, confound even Kelvin. The quickening mercury in my thermometer doesn't know if it's coming or going. Are the scars from your encircling legs crisscrossing my lower back etched by ice-storm or by conflagration? No matter; I ache either way when I roll over to find a professionally-rendered memo resting on the pillow, bullet-points assessing my performance and explaining your hasty departure. My passion is the ultimate action item. Surely you see that.
Carolyn. I will not be burned like Heidi. I will not go to the street quietly. Take me to the suite.
Fuck it. Take me on the boardroom table.
You're fired, I'll whisper. You're iced.
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The Other Scribble is a Threat from Harvey Weinstein to Skullfuck Affleck if Jersey Girl Doesn't Open Big
Bunsen [dot] Tv's photo of the moment:
Ben Affleck donates guitar signed by Jersey Girl cast to the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City.
Going Straight to iHell
It Really Is true when they tell you that the iPod changes lives.
Strangely, the soundtrack to these commercials still features that Jet song.
If my Photoshop skills were better, you'd see one of these taken from the Paris Hilton video. Anyone up to the challenge? I'll post any good variations on this theme that I see.
[iGod courtesy of empty-handed via TMFTML and two-twenty]
[iNam courtesy of Betamale via boingboing]
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Adventures in Capitalism
The 24-Karat Gold hot tub doesn't pay for itself. If you look over to the right and scroll down a bit, you'll see that I've added some sponsors via Google AdSense. I don't expect to get rich off of them, but maybe they'll pay for my hosting and a couple of bottles of André, the finest champagne food stamps can be bartered for in my local Korean liquor mart.
So do the American economy a favor and click on the ads whenever you visit here. I have it on pretty good authority that this is the only place in the world where you can see advertising of any kind. It's a fascinating beast, isn't it?
Fell in Love With a Judge Dept.
White Stripes Frontman (and occasional wooden actor) Jack White will have to attend anger management classes after pleading guilty to assaulting Von Bondies singer Jason Stollsteimer at a Detroit club in December. Additionally, White will pay a $500 fine and $250 in court costs.
Moments after the verdict, I was on the phone with Stollsteimer's battered face to get a reaction.
Bunsen: How are you doing?
Jason Stollsteimer's Battered Face: Not bad. The swelling's been down for a while. I'm really not so battered anymore. I'm just like any other garage-rock face at this point. A little pale, maybe a touch sullen.
Bunsen: I'll have to take your word for it, we're on the phone. But Jack really turned you into a side of mashed potatoes, didn't he?
JSBF: I try not to dwell on it. It's over. We have closure.
Bunsen: The funny thing is that Jack really doesn't look that tough. Definitely doesn't look like he could put your face in a mixing bowl and whip it into the fleshy mess he made of you.
JSBF: He kind of caught us by surprise.
Bunsen: It's not like he's a ninja. It's OK, everyone gets shredded by an indie-rock pixie eventually.
JSBF: I suppose.
Bunsen: How did you feel about the verdict?
JSBF: Like I said, we're putting it behind us. We're just glad it's over now.
Bunsen: It's been a busy week in jurisprudence. Any thoughts on Martha Stewart?
JSBF: It's really unfortunate that she's going to jail because she lied. If she told the truth from the outset, maybe this all could have been avoided.
Bunsen: Deep, man. But I was thinking more along the lines of if you thought Jack could kick the shit out of Martha.
JSBF: [long pause, then a sigh] Probably not.
Bunsen: So... I really like that new Von Bondies song, "Come On, Come On." It sounds very tough.
JSBF: Um, thanks. That's what we're going for.
Bunsen: After hearing that, I definitely wouldn't step to you.
JSBF: Thanks. That means a lot.
[See also: Separated at Birth: Jack White and Michael Jackson]
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Corporate Communications Dept.
TO: All Cast Members
FROM: Michael Eisner, CEO
I know that you're worried that you haven't heard from me in a while, so now it's time to set the record straight.
While a lot is being said about our company in the media, remember this one simple fact: Magic and imagination exist. They live and breathe and have a name, and that name is The Walt Disney Company.
We've recently fended off a hostile takeover, and we're stronger for it. Check the stock price.
Now is the time for strong leadership. Make no mistake, I am captain of the ship (or, if you prefer, the driver of the sixteen-wheeler with one of those really badass horns where you pull the chain when the people driving the little cars next to you give you that totally cool chain-pulling signal) that hauls all of this Disney magic and imagination cargo from our imagina-factories to the receiving docks that are the hearts and minds of our fans. I am Mickey's right hand, Minnie's whosyourdaddy, the guy following Pluto around with a plastic bag on his hand (because I want to, not because I take orders from the mind-rays of a gigantic, mute dog. That would be crazy!).
Recently, I allowed my Board to help me shed the cumbersome title of Chairman from my stationary, much as the boa constrictor sheds a layer of dead skin (note to creative: Have we done a talking snake movie? They're a little scary, there's bad Biblical associational bullshit, but worth exploring before Pixar makes them adorable and I'm not giving them another red cent. They think they don't need me? Good luck, computer-nerd fuckers!) so that I could concentrate on my duties as CEO. Chairman, what's that? CEO has mystery; no one really knows what it stands for. Sometimes I spend entire days dreaming up exactly what a Cinnamon Elephant Operator might do or what he would look like. This is a company of dreams, and I am its Cecret Emperor Octopus.
This e-mail is simply to let you know that I'm on top of things, and The Walt Eisner-Disney Company is in good hands. I know they're good because I was them at least three times an hour. Also, I know that it's not called the Eisner-Disney Company. That was a joke. I certainly haven't lost my sense of humor, otherwise why would I have drilled a hole in my six-foot plush Donald Duck's head to let out the bad humours? He was so sad all the time.
Off to swab the poop deck of the Good Ship Disney. Because I want to. It's dirty.
Crackerjack Eternal Oyster
The Walt Disney Company
It's Been So Long That I Can't Even Remember If He Was Guilty, But I'm Guessing, Yeah, He Was Pretty Guilty
DirecTV Is All up in the Juice's grill. They allege that O.J. Simpson has been stealing service and have filed suit to collect $20,000 for the pirated signal. (There's something in the article about the government raiding his house for Ecstasy, but let's not expand the scope of this comic premise, OK? If you persist on the X track, just picture O.J. swaying, getting all touchy-feely, and swigging bottled water.)
Included in DirecTV's legal documents is a rundown of the premium channels that Simpson* was illegally descrambling. Read it here first before The Smoking Gun gets its grubby hands on it.
Ch. 122: Hertz Rent-a-Car Commercials Greatest Hits Network
Ch. 156: The Shopping Network Knife Show Channel
Ch. 203: The Golf Channel 2: 19th Hole Murder Investigations
Ch. 212: TLC
Ch. 334: Court TV: Grieving Victims' Families with Hilarious Facial Hair Channel, Starring Fred Goldman**
Ch. 385: Nickelodeon's KidsInWonderTwinUnderoosLand***
Ch. 408: ESPN Classic Murderous Hall of Fame Running Backs
Ch. 467: HBO Zone II: Homicidal Cuckolds
Ch. 510: WNBA Season Pass
* Since the internet had not really come into its own during Simpson's 1995 channel and the blogging phenomenon was years from taking hold, I missed out on the historic opportunity to make lame and obvious O.J. jokes. My time has finally come!
**Remember how crazy that moustache was! Hi-larious!
***Due to a clerical error, a channel from Michael Jackson's DirecTV package was cross-listed in the Simpson documents. The US Federal Government regrets this error.
Monday, March 08, 2004
Compare and Contrast: Starsky and Hutch and The Passion of the Christ
The Runaway Cinematic pain-train that is The Passion of the Christ continued its flogging of the domestic box-office this weekend, rumbling to a $51 million take, enabling the continuation of this tortured, extended metaphor. (Though the "train" certainly could have "screeched to a halt" had its fortunes been different, but I digress.)
Starsky & Hutch, the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson vehicle, (Ed. note -- how about the "little engine that couldn't topple Jesus?") opened in second place with $29 million.
Both movies got my money this weekend, setting up a perfect opportunity to compare and contrast the two films.
[**Spoiler Warning: This post contains information on key plot points of both films, including the fact that Jesus dies and comes back at the end. You've been warned.]
Starsky & Hutch: Stiller and Wilson resurrect 70s cop show icons David Starsky and Ken Hutchinson. Stiller's Starsky is predictably uptight, nebbishy, and filled with impotent rage -- a fitting successor to the character he's played in Along Came Polly and Meet the Parents. Wilson's Hutch has all the surfer-dude, golden-boy, loosey-goosey charm of every surfer-boy, golden-dude, goosey-loosey charmer he's played to perfection in any number of previous roles. Hutch endures Starsky's high-strung kinetic energy with a cock-eyed smile and a twinkle in his eye. And the partners may or may not have partnered off-duty.
The Passion of the Christ: Angel Eyes star Jim Caviezel channels his mega-watted star power into the portrayal of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the central figure in the worship of billions of Christians. Washes the feet of his followers, loves and forgives his tormentors. Jesus endures two hours of beatings, torture, and cold-cocking with otherworldly stoicism, the twinkle in his eye hardly dimmed by the fact that it was swollen shut through most of the film. Buddy movie-type chemistry with Pontius Pilate. May or may not have partnered with Mary Magdalene (see The Last Temptation of Christ), whom he saved from an execution by stoning.
S&H: Vince Vaughn plays Jewish drug kingpin Reese Feldman with a combination of charm and malice. Implicated by director Todd Phillips in the murder of a sleazy associate. Will Ferrell is Vaughn's hairy, imprisoned associate Big Earl, who torments Starsky and Hutch by forcing them to perform sexually suggestive dragon poses.
Passion: Jewish elder Caiphas incites an angry to demand Jesus' crucifixion. Implicated by director Mel Gibson in the murder of the Son of God. An androgynous Satan figure stalks Jesus throughout his passion, taunting him with sexual-metaphor serpents and a disturbing, hairy baby.
Complicated Supporting Characters
S&H: Snoop Dogg reprises the role of Huggy Bear, iconic uber-pimp and police informer. He's a career criminal who helps the cops in return for autonomy in his illegal enterprises. Huggy steals a briefcase full of cash from drug lord Vaughn and buys Starsky a new Gran Torino.
Passion: Judas Iscariot, one of Christ's apostles, betrays him for thirty pieces of silver. He later commits suicide rather than use the ill-gotten funds to buy Jesus a donkey.
S&H: Supposedly derived from uptight Starsky/laid-back Hutch dichotomy.
Passion: Supposedly derived from Mel Gibson's constant denials of Anti-Semitism juxtaposed with father Hutton Gibson's denial of the Holocaust.
S&H: Nearly two hours of Director Phillip's ideas about comedic pacing; Juliette Lewis featured prominently in supporting role; Stiller's Starsky overdoses on cocaine, causing him to miss out on orgy with Hutch and two cheerleaders (played by Amy Smart and Carmen Electra) and lose disco dance-off to Har Mar Superstar.
Passion: Two hours of Jesus being ridiculed, whipped, flayed, kicked, spit upon, and pierced before being (by contrast) mercifully crucified.
S&H: Paul Michael "Original Starsky" Glazer and David "Original Hutch" Soul make a cameo at the film's coda, brought back from the semi-celebrity dead.
Passion: Jesus Christ rises from the dead three days after dying on the cross. This leads to the founding of one Catholic Church until the Great Schism in the 13th century AD got the ball rolling for the establishment of multiple sects of Christianity, including the funny ones with the dancing with snakes and the speaking of tongues.
Friday, March 05, 2004
BREAKING!!! MARTHA STEWART CONVICTED!!! MUST CREDIT BUNSEN OR ONE THOUSAND OTHER NEWS OUTLETS WITH THIS BREAKING NEWS!!!
Martha Stewart Has been found guilty on counts of obstruction and perjury.
Take a stroll into Bunsen's archives and have a looky-loo at the letter Martha Stewart wrote to me at the outset of these horrific legal proceedings, while I compose a list of things that Martha is going to make to comfy up her jail cell.
Diane Keaton Shooting Expermimental Alzheimers Meds Just Didn't Make the Cut
There's A Picture of Charlize Theron enjoying a little apple with her dope, no doubt kicking back to enjoy her Oscar win.
But there's a long history of drug abuse following the Oscars, and not just for the the winners:
Don't judge her. She really needed to get the weight off.
You Can't Take It With You Dept.
In What Had to be the most satisfying reality-show expulsion since semiretarded ("I Got Lawyer In Me") Zach was cast out of Paradise Hotel, last night's episode of The Apprentice ended with Donald Trump setting the laser in his little finger to Downsize and blasting Omarosa down to the street.
It felt good, (so so so good) but we'll miss her. None of the remaining wannabe Trump Kool-Aid drinkers create half as much drama, unless you count Heidi, but her moments came mostly from flinging F-bombs at Crazy O.
Now all that's left is to memorialize Omarosa's stay in Trump's paradise in haiku:
so long it eats up nearly
the whole haiku line
On Trump's private jet
You put honkies on notice
Race card swiftly played
"Nasty," we called you
"crazy bitch" for good measure
Yet your team still wins
Then the "concussion"
Plaster falls, God's cruel noogie
you endure the wound
But your team loses
You face elimination
Turn on waterworks
(Your) crocodile* tears
Cannot impress The Donald
Next time try blowjob
The final boardroom
Pack your bags, kicked to the curb
"You're fired" says Trump
Like that damn piece of plaster
Trump's axe falls quickly
*Alternate haiku line depending on your syllable count for "crocodile." I still say it has four syllables: croc-o-di-le.
[Update: Out of Focus points out this amazing interview on NBC's website, where the Big O compares herself with the Biggest O of all...Optimus Prime.
What cartoon character do you most relate to and why?
The cartoon character that I most relate to is Optimus Prime from the 'The Transformers'. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Transformers and works as a powerful force of goodness, courage and wisdom in the battle against the evil Decepticons. He first tries to find peaceful solutions to conflicts, but when battle lines are drawn, he becomes a fierce warrior capable of overpowering vast enemy forces to achieve his goals. I used to watch this cartoon when I was little with my brothers and sister and we loved it!
It's chilling to think that the gauntlet of The Apprentice managed only to scratch the surface of the wacky, confrontational iceberg that was Omarosa. Personally, I think she's got a lot more Megatron in her.]
Thursday, March 04, 2004
The News Is Never Stale When You're Kicking Around Affleck
Roly Poly Auteur Kevin Smith says that yes, it's really Affleck singing in doomed, upcoming pre-Bennifer split vehicle Jersey Girl.
But can Ben go off Vince Gill style? That question has me thinking of the classic joke:
Q: What would happen if you played Ben Affleck's new country song backward?
A: He gets his girlfriend with the fat ass back, he gets his career buzz back, he beats his agent to death with the Daredevil script, and remembers to cut the brake lines on Harvey Weinstein's Mercedes right after the 1997 Academy Awards.
Brady Bunch Exposed as Free-Love Orgy
Were Starsky and Hutch gay? IMDb Movie and TV News asks the question, picking up on the subtext of scenes in Friday's upcoming big-screen adaptation.
But what if the same-sex pairings from our television youth all were hell-bent on destroying George W. Bush's ideas about the sanctity of the man-woman relationship? What if the outing of Starsky and Hutch opens the door for other long-time television partners to be true to themselves?
What if...what if...
Faceman and B.A. Baracus, The A Team
Face and B.A. are pinned down behind the van by comically errant hostile rifle-fire.
Baracus: Face, this could be it. You know all those times, when I said I don't like to fly?
Faceman: You wanna fly outta here?
Baracus: Shut your jibber jabber. I actually meant I'm a bottom, fool.
Faceman: [a smirk spreading across his face] I'm actually much more of an ass-man...
Michael Knight and K.I.T.T., Knight Rider
Knight is pinned down behind K.I.T.T. by comically errant hostile rifle-fire.
Knight: K.I.T.T., buddy, this could be it. There's something I've gotta tell you.
K.I.T.T.: My sensors have detected a 98-percent probability that you are going to confess your romantic feeling towards me.
Knight: You always do that! Listen, you're a car, so technically it's not gay, right?
K.I.T.T.: I've been programmed for a male response, Michael. Don't kid yourself.
Knight: Warm up that tailpipe, buddy. We might only get one chance at this.
K.I.T.T.: My sensors indicate that maybe you're be better served by the cigarette lighter socket, Michael.
Knight: Sometimes you are just impossible!
K.I.T.T.: It's in my programming. Michael. Now shut the fuck up and rotate my tires!
Cagney & Lacey
No fanciful evidence required.
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
When She Saw Uma, Diane Keaton Nearly Crapped Herself With What We Hope Was Relief
Most People Agree that Uma Thurman's Christian Lacroix-designed "Swiss Miss Soliciting an Undercover Vice Cop" get-up made her the Worst Dressed at the Academy Awards.
Fresh off both the critical acclaim and box-office success of Kill Bil, Vol. 1, Thurman had every top fashionista clamoring to dress her. The tragedy of her buzz is that she had to turn down all but one.
Rejected Uma Thurman Oscar® Outfits
*Please be advised that I know nothing of obscure designers, but Google does.
**See above, noting very real possibility that these designers are not, in fact, obscure.
Ask Anyone and They'll Tell You That the DVD Format Has Saved Hollywood
MTV News Reports:
New details have emerged about items seized during the January search of the home of Michael Jackson business associate Marc Schaffel, a record producer with ties to the porn industry.
According to court documents unsealed Monday, the bulk of the findings from the residence were from computer areas in the living room and garage as well as an upstairs room, with investigators seizing laptop and desktop computers, floppy discs, photographs, dozens of videotapes and a DVD of a Neverland party.
A Montage of Possibly Incriminating Scenes from the Confiscated Neverland Party Film
Children sit in a circle by the llama corral, engaged in a game of "Duck, Duck, Goose." Jackson skips around the circle, tapping each on the head, calling "Tito...Tito...Tito...MacCaulay! The lucky child gets up to chase Jackson, who immediately throws himself on the ground
MICHAEL: You caught me, little devil!
The child tickles Jackson. We catch a glimpse of what appears to be clothespins affixed to Jackson's nipples, and a line of Tootsie Roll pops in the waistband of his black, sequined pants. Despite easily being caught, Jackon refuses to surrender his post as "the Ducker."
A giant Twister board sits at the base of the Neverland roller coaster. Jackson and fifty party guests play a spirited game as the children's parents watch. The camera zooms in tight on the laughing faces of the children. In the background, men in sunglasses and red Members-Only jackets apply ether-soaked rags to the mouths and noses of onlooking parents, then drag away their limp bodies.
Jackson's Ferris wheel car reaches the apex of its orbit, the abruptly stops. Zoom in on Jackson, who looks at his young guest, shrugs, and smirks.
MICHAEL: I've been meaning to get that fixed. Oh, well. We can just wait for the stars to come out while Jermaine fixes it.
The crucifixion hill at Golgotha from The Passion of the Christ. We see three crucifixes, and zoom in on the cross in the center. Jackson's face is digitally superimposed on Christ's. His battered body is soaked in blood. He's being whipped by three Roman soldiers, with the faces of the Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville, Sony Music President Tommy Mottola, and sister Janet superimposed on his tormentors.
MICHAEL: Forgive them, Father, for their devilish, devilish lies. Do you see the obvious parallels between me and Jesus?
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
For That Matter, Marcia Gay Harden Should Have Spent More Quality Jacko Time
If Charlize Theron nabbed Best Actress for Monster by channeling an unpleasant incident from her past, I'm going to imagine that things might have turned out differently had Diane Keaton spent a lot more time at her grandmother's clothing-optional retirement community.
But It Turns Out Clark Just Didn't Want the Whippersnapper Biting His Ankles All Day
Dick Clark Is being sued for age discrimination.
The joke about how the decaying portrait of a decrepit "American Bandstand" host in Dick Clark's attic told him not to hire a 76-year-old game show producer pretty much writes itself.
Wreality Wrap-up: Fabio's Sloppy Seconds and a Triumphant Return to Paradise
Those Of You who know me personally are aware that I am a very great lover of reality television. Not the cuddly, watercooler-talk-at-Curves variety as exemplified by The Bachelorette. I am truly, madly, deeply, Michael-Douglas-on-Jeanne-Tripplehorn-while-clearly-thinking-of-Sharon-Stone, bent-over-a-chair in lust with the type of reality show that restores my faith in the subclass of American famewhore that is willing to suffer the worst, televised humiliation just at the shot of moving to Los Angeles to wait tables at The Standard and wait patiently as someone who looks sorta producer-y pauses just for a second in the middle of his drink order with a possible glimmer of recognition of their server's work on Paradise Hotel, then just goes with the green apple martini. The kind of lust that makes me disregard grammar and readability so I can pour out a sentence like the previous one.
And Monday night was a very good night for reality television. Super Monday saw Father Time's Average Joe 2: Hawaii give up the ghost to the New Year's Baby of Forever Eden.
The finale of AJ2:H unfolded as expected: Lots of voiceover from lovely Larissa Meek explaining how Hunk Nation representative Gil Hyatt makes her feel all wiggly in her womanly parts, but she harbors doubts about their long-term prospects given his reticence in sharing his feelings. Then more voiceover about how wonderful Brian ("I have a bawks around my hot") Worth, Last Nerd Standing, makes her feel alternately like a queen, a princess, and the spoiled bride of a viscount. She never really completed the synaptic connection that Joe L'Average heaps on the worship because she's a dead ringer for the models in his women-sitting-on-balloons porn, and that Studs Magudds seems iffy on commitment because the set caterer has already slipped him her number.
This was expected. As was Larissa's decision to opt-in to a short-term fling with the flavorless slab of blonde himbo because she's convinced herself that his lukewarm demonstration of feelings masks a very special inner life and maintain the order of the universe by dismissing another sweet dork who made the fatal mistake of falling in love on camera.
We saw it coming. But there were still ten minutes left when Larissa threw Brian back like an undersized lawbstah. And in those ten minutes, AJ2:H staked its place in the annals of reality television history.
Because Larissa had a secret. Promos flogged this development all week, and the dismissal ceremony had an even stronger stink of anticlimax than the one from its inevitability. Larissa picks Gil, they fly away from the monotonous paradise of Hawaii to the fresh splendor of Cabo San Lucas, dragging The Other Shoe from the tail of their private jet the whole way.
But Larissa has a secret. Is/was she married? Does she have a kid? Is she living with HIV/herpes/the clap? Is/was she actually a man? Did she dress Uma Thurman at the Oscars?
After a quick montage of the happy couple cavorting on a Mexican beach, it was time for Larissa to come clean. We expect Gil to nod in understanding, take her in his arms, and pledge that he'll take the kid to the zoo, have lunch with the ex-husband, wear two condoms, never neglect her balls, anything you need, baby. Gil's a dude, he's up for whatever.
I don't know how to say it but to just say it: Her ex-boyfriend is
was formerly in a relationship with Larissa. Bomb officially dropped. And much better than anything I could have possibly dreamt up on my own.
If only she'd had a stalker-ex, a kid with Down's Syndrome, a Frankenstein vagina. If only, if only, if only.
Gil's bags are packed so fast Sammy Hagar doesn't have time to sell him tequila.
"I think every straight guy in America will back me up on this," said Gil, his eyes bravely resisting tears, the retraction of his testicles writ large across that handsome face.
How is a hunky nobody supposed to take Fabio's sloppy seconds? He'll never be quite as smoothly waxed, his locks never as golden and flowing, his man-titties ne'er as swollen. Gil checked out, and who could blame him?
AJ2:H wins a special place in our hearts. It might have displaced the original Joe Millionaire finale, had the producers turned around the Greyhound carrying Brian Worth into the open mouth of a volcano so that he could wipe clean the mascara streaks criss-crossing Larissa's face, perhaps even offering to wear a Fabio mask while he combed her hair, waiting patiently, devotedly to be dumped for the first cabana boy who makes eyes at her.
But they let the bus plummet into the volcano, and we shrug at the missed opportunity. AJ2:H was pretty special anyway.
* * * * * *
All You Need to know about Forever Eden (the successor to Paradise Hotel) are the following three things:
1. Mary, a chesty contestant from Scottsdale, AZ, via a particularly melanin-free pocket of Salt Lake City, asks David, who is black, why his toes are black. She wonders if he'd gotten something all over his feet, stopping just short of asking him if he'd stepped in some Negro on his way from the pool to the bar. At least she has an airtight excuse: She'd never seen a black man's feet before.
2. Jordan, a contestant who freaks out on the females of Eden for constantly referring to him as "short," which he is, remarks about Mary, "She may be racist and ignorant, but I still might have sex with her." Amen, my itty-bitty brother.
3. I'm going to have at least two opportunities per week to say "postlapsarian."