Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘movies

Man Told To Make Like Tree, Get Out Of Here

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BIffHill Valley, CA, June 8 – A local auto mechanic told a dissatisfied customer today to emulate a tree by leaving, albeit in such a way that the play on words in the classic line was not made apparent.

Biff Tannen, who runs a car repair business, instructed an unidentified visitor at his establishment to “make like a tree” this afternoon and “get out of here,” apparently unaware that the second part of the line as correctly expressed instead uses the single-word imperative “leave,” which is both the verb that means growing leaves – what a tree does – and a synonym for “depart,” which is what he intended for the visitor to do forthwith.

Tannen has had trouble in the past with accurately rendered turns of phrase, leading observers to question his intellectual capacity. The native son of the area enjoys a reputation for attempting to intimidate others into acquiescing to his will, often with the implied or or explicit use of unpleasantly applied force. Such behavior has only sometimes served Tannen well: in his school days he was often successful in persuading others to complete his work for him, but his bullying ultimately cost him the girl of his affections as his mark unexpectedly stood up to him and decked him, forever securing the sweetheart’s love and completely reversing the roles in the other man’s relationship to Tannen from that point on.

Rumors have swirled about Tannen’s youthful escapades. Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retribution, talked of the younger Tannen’s boasts regarding an ability to predict the outcomes of sporting events, an ability evidently never actually displayed in the real world. Whispers among Tannen’s closest associates – known by their nicknames Match, Skinhead, and 3D – overheard by those sources seem to indicate a missing document that could have changed the man’s life at a young age, and its absence has remained a constant source of frustration and low self-image since high school.

Speculation about the nature of that document was once commonplace, but with the passage of time it has died down, recurring only occasionally when other sources of local gossip at the Lone Pine Mall Hair Salon have dried up. The most widely accepted version of events has it that Tannen was set to inherit a fortune from ancestor Buford Tannen, but was never able to assert a legal claim. Others speak of his being privy to inside information that would enable him to profit immensely from some sort of investment, but the opportunity was squandered.

At press time, Tannen was neatening his clothes in preparation for a visit from George McFly, a longtime acquaintance and a client he always tries to impress.

Written by Thag

June 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Iron Man Credits Tin Man For Breaking Down Industry Barriers

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Iron Man coverHollywood, CA – Iron Man, the high-tech superhero whose metal suit protects him and provides superhuman strength, said at a press conference today that a metal character could never make it in the entertainment world if the Tin Man had not crossed the metal line all those decades ago in The Wizard of Oz.

Until The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, hit movies almost invariably featured fully human characters. The notable exceptions were animated films, in which, for example, Snow White incorporated a slew of demi-humans the same year as Oz.

“It takes heart to persevere in an environment where nobody assumes you’re fully human, or worthy of the same consideration,” said Iron Man. “The Tin Man showed us all how to bear those slings and arrows with stoicism and empathy. He’s always been an inspiration to me.”

“‘Oz’ was a pioneer film in several respects,” noted social historian Meytal Urji. “It broke a color barrier, of course, being the first feature film to freely adopt the notion that black and white were irrelevant, even retrograde, ideas. It introduced the concept of a ‘Good Witch,’ laying the groundwork for Harry Potter. But almost as important, The Wizard of Oz made viewers and film executives alike think, ‘Well, why NOT take a bunch of burly males and emasculate them by putting them in ridiculous costumes?”

Some scholars of film have argued that in fact it was Superman, known as The Man of Steel, who spearheaded roles for such characters, but those voices remain the minority. Others contend that it was in fact Frankenstein’s monster who who should be credited, but still others note in fact the monster was anatomically human, just not all the same human.


Other types of mockery can be found at PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Oddjob Tosses Hat Into Presidential Ring, 4 Killed

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OddjobWashington, May 20 – With the 2016 election campaign barely two years away, political operatives are already exploring possible candidacies, including former henchman Oddjob, who tossed his hat into the ring today and ended up killing several people.

The four victims were about to announce their own exploratory committees when Oddjob sent his steel-reinforced bowler flying in their direction. Witnesses said one of the victims, as yet unidentified, managed to shout a warning to the others, but they were unable to dodge the hat. Oddjob was taken into custody and charged with four counts of manslaughter.

The three victims who have been identified were former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. The fourth victim is female, and died from a spinal cord injury. The other three had major arteries severed in their necks and died from blood loss.

Analysts are divided on whether the killings will adversely affect Oddjob’s electoral prospects. “People like toughness in a candidate during times of instability,” says expert Auric Goldfinger. “This might be just the incident to spark the public’s interest and demonstrate to them that Oddjob is the right man for any tough job.”

Others are less convinced. “The American public might appreciate a no-nonsense approach while in office, but an election campaign is mostly about finesse,” contends Pussy Galore, once a former associate of Oddjob. “I’m afraid Oddjob might have seriously hurt his chances with this.”

Ms. Galore acknowledged that getting rid of the narcissistic Congressman Weiner, twice-busted in sexting incidents, could only boost Oddjob’s popularity, but it would probably prove insufficient over the long term to offset other factors.

“President Obama got rid of Osama Bin Laden, but still had to wage a tough campaign in 2012, even as an incumbent,” she noted. “I realize Bin Laden was no Anthony Weiner, but still.”


More inanity can be found here: PreOccupiedTerritory.

Written by Thag

May 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Miracle Max Arrested For Selling Horcruxes

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Miracle MaxFlorin, May 15 – Miracle Max, the royal sorcerer emeritus, has been detained and charged with unlawful commerce in magical merchandise, including dangerous items such as horcruxes.

Max, 100, was taken into custody early this morning by a brute squad, and is being held until his arraignment. Law enforcement authorities have yet to give details of the investigation or the information that led them to Max, who has yet to retain a lawyer.

Horcruxes are sinister items used in dark magic to preserve a portion of a person’s soul, in order to protect against death. The production of a horcrux involves murder, though the warrant for Max’s arrest did not indicate that any such killing had taken place.

Friends and family were shocked by the news. “Max could no hurt a fly,” said Inigo Montoya, 31. “He would sooner give himself a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it than even think about such things.”

“He’s a generous man,” added Fezzik, another neighbor. “Treat so nice.”

Other associates were reluctant to rush to Max’s defense, notably an albino who requested anonymity. “Some strange things go on here,” he said, pointing in the general direction of Max’s cabin. “But you won’t find anyone to talk about it explicitly. As far as witnesses go, nobody’s hearin’ nothin’.”

Another friend speculated that the arrest was a frame-up, stemming from the fraught relations the sorcerer has had with Prince Humperdinck since the latter all but forced him into retirement. “Rumor has it the prince is trying to pin a coup d’etat conspiracy on Max as an excuse to declare war on Guilder.”

At press time, Max’s wife Valerie had just told reporters that they had retained a lawyer named Albus Percival Brian Wifric Dumbledore, who has experience in demonstrating that defendants have been framed.


For more silliness, visit PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Netanyahu Hires Vizzini To Start US War With Iran

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VizziniJerusalem, January 16 – Information leaked from Israeli cabinet intelligence briefings suggests that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has engaged a Sicilian mercenary to foment a war between the United States and Iran.

Long dismissive of American and other international efforts to contain Tehran’s nuclear arms ambitions, Netanyahu is seeking ways to provoke American military action against Iran, knowing that the only obstacle remaining between Iran and atomic weapons capability is time. An Israeli strike would be far too risky, both tactically and diplomatically, as compared to one conducted by American forces already deployed in and around the Arabian Gulf. The leaks point to contacts between the prime minister and Vizzini, who has cultivated a specialty in starting wars.

Netanyahu is said to have sent special envoy Tyrone Rugen to negotiate the terms and logistics of the arrangement. Rugen, himself an expert in intrigue, has proved a tough negotiator and has shown as not above the use of force to achieve his ends; he is currently writing what he considers to be the definitive work on the subject, expressing his deep and abiding interest in it.

Vizzini’s most famous war instigation attempt involved the European countries of Florin and Guilder. Though thwarted by other, unanticipated developments, the Sicilian’s efforts – a prestigious line of work with a long and glorious tradition – and extensive preparation caught the notice of other international leaders. He often works with a team of other internationals, notably a Spanish weapons expert and a Turk of reputed great strength.

If true, the reports point to a clear escalation of Netanyahu’s attempts to ensure that the current multilateral efforts to curtail Iranian nuclear development do not end with talk and limited economic sanctions. He has repeatedly talked up the need to include the threat of actual force against Iran should the talks fail; other, unconfirmed reports involve Israel’s engagement of actual mercenary raiders such as the Dread Pirate Roberts to prey on Iran’s shipping and disrupt the country’s logistics.

Vizzini himself is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, including one in which he was tricked into overdosing on iocaine. However, the mercenary was only rendered mostly dead, and was able to lie low until the danger passed. Experts remain divided on what methods he would use in the current environment to provoke a US-Iran war; traditional, high-impact strategies have grown progressively more difficult over the years, and their effect is less predictable than it once was.

Wikileaks has published several documents purporting to relate to these developments, including the analysis by an intelligence source known as “Westley,” according to which Rugen will suggest the formation of a Brute Squad to gain access to heavily guarded American facilities and hold prominent individuals – such as members of the First Family – hostage, pinning the deed on Iran.

This morning the Prime Minister’s office dismissed the allegations as “inconceivable.”

Written by Thag

January 16, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Israeli-Palestinian Talks At Impasse; Negotiators Watch The Princess Bride Instead

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Pit of Despair

Tzippi Livni

Jerusalem, Israel (AP) – After several fruitless weeks of back-and-forth negotiations over so-called Final Status issues over which Israelis and Palestinians differ, the delegates to the talks have decided to abandon  the effort and watch The Princess Bride repeatedly instead.

The talks, conducted in secret, have apparently yielded no results yet on questions of: Palestinian refugees; the status of Jerusalem; borders; the nature of the hoped-for Palestinian military, if any; whether the nascent Palestine would recognize Israel as a Jewish state; and myriad other unresolved points of contention that have dogged the two sides since the Oslo Accords of 1993, which was supposed to be an interim agreement. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

October 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hollywood Writers Warn: Running Out of Cliches for Rom-Com Titles

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Television City, CA (AP) – The Screenwriters Guild of America issued a statement today warning the public that the film industry is running out of hackneyed expressions to use as the titles for romantic comedies.

“The number of cliches at the disposal of our writers is rapidly shrinking, and in just a few years we may run out of such turns of phrase entirely,” read the statement. “We call upon the media and the public at large to increase the rate at which new cliches are created so that our members can continue to provide the world with the formulaic, mediocre pieces of cinematic turd it has come to expect.”

According to Sel U. Lloyd, an expert on screenplay titles, writers first began to notice the cliche shortage in the 1990’s, when Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail drove home to the industry that they had begun to grasp at straws in order to avoid reusing an already-claimed cliche (it apparently did not bother the industry that the two films were cast using the same lead actor and actress, as had several others since Joe Versus the Volcano several years earlier).

However, said, Lloyd, despite repeated warnings within the industry, studios disregarded the dangers and continued to call for new romantic comedy screenplays without considering the effects that a lack of a pithy or cutesy cliche in the title would bring. He attributed this near-sightedness to the influence of the horror and porn film genres, in which using the same title as a previous work has little bearing on the film’s popularity or quality.

Linguist Noam Chomsky doubts that the public can meet the demand for new turns of phrase, despite the rate at which internet memes catch on and neologisms are spread through the public consciousness. “The unprecedented interconnectedness of world culture notwithstanding, new coinages are just as rare as ever,” he said. “Occasionally a politician or other public figure will utter a new phrase that gets a burst of attention, but more often than not, the phrase is useless in the romantic comedy title genre.”

When in Rome“Take ‘Binders Full of Women,'” he said, referring to an unfortunate choice of words on the part of then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a debate with Barack Obama. “It’s a phrase with some staying power, but the film genre with which it is compatible would hardly be anyone’s idea of a romantic comedy.”

“Well, maybe the Marquis de Sade,” he added.

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Written by Thag

April 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Clark Kent Gets Laughs with Doppelganger Week Superman Icon

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Metropolis (AP) – Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent caused many chuckles around the newspaper offices this past week after he replaced his usual Facebook profile photo with an image of Superman. The mild-mannered correspondent reportedly followed the suggestion of an unidentified acquaintance who noticed the resemblance.

“That’s Clark, all right,” said James Olson, whose desk sits only a few feet away from Kent’s in the newsroom. “It’s amazing that it took a social media gimmick for us to notice. I wonder whether Superman himself knows? I mean, Clark isn’t exactly a nobody in this town,” he continued, referring to his colleague’s duties as an anchor on WGBS TV news.



Kent’s supervisor, Managing Editor Perry White, acknowledges the humor, but worries that the levity it has created at the Planet may compromise the quality of the establishment’s journalism, or its reputation. “As a news outlet we pride ourselves on sticking to facts and evidence. A bit of intramural kidding is fine, as far as it goes, but Kent’s profile can also be seen by many people outside the organization, and we’d prefer to keep a public face that projects adherence only to that which can be observed and reported. Not this other nonsense.”

A brief survey Planet staff indicates that few others in the organization share White’s concerns. “It’s harmless,” says Lois Lane, a colleague and close friend of Kent’s. “No one’s really going to think less of our organization because we have a sense of humor. What idiot is going to think that Clark and Superman are the same?”

Superman has been unavailable for comment, and does not maintain a Facebook profile. Longtime Superman nemesis Lex Luthor, however, has found several doppelgangers, and changed them daily: Telly Savalas, Yul Brynner, a shaved Larry Bird, Patrick Stewart, and, in self-deprecating humor, H. Ross Perot and the late Frank Purdue.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and we’ll get back to you after a visit to our Fortress of Solitude. Better check for toilet paper before we sit, though.

Written by Thag

February 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Some Celebrity or Other Star Arrested, Charged

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hello tagLos Angeles, CA/New York NY (News Agency) – A past-his-or-her-prime director/actor/actress/musician was arrested yesterday in the Los Angeles/New York area for driving over the speed limit/domestic violence/DWI/drug possession. His/her publicist/agent/attorney maintained his/her innocence and lambasted the media for the excessive, salacious coverage.

The former big-time star of stage and/or screen, known for his/her work on a hit song/production/film/show, has had brushes with the law before, notably when he/she was arrested on charges of shoplifting/soliciting a prostitute/prostitution in a previous year. The celebrity underwent rehabilitation/did community service and made a brief comeback.

Once a staple of celebrity magazine coverage, the fading star now finds himself/herself more often mentioned in publications such as The National Enquirer and as an element of twentysomethings’ informal trivia sessions among friends. The celebrity is best known for his/her Grammy/Emmy/Daytime Emmy/Oscar/Golden Globe/Tony Award winning performance/song/film/Broadway show, but also won a measure of fame for other work in music/Hollywood/television/theater productions.

The celebrity was discovered by famed/legendary producer/director/talent scout/casting director X, who saw/heard him/her in an amateur production of show/video/song/play and quickly signed him/her for a role in a movie/in a music video/in a stage production/as a backup singer, which gave the celebrity exposure and led to larger, more prominent roles/singing engagements.

Al BundyHe/she dated a notable athlete/actor/actress/musician/model until the latter admitted an affair with a different celebrity. This was followed by a relationship with a notable athlete/actor/actress/musician/model, which resulted in marriage that lasted several months. The two had met on the set of [production name].

The star’s biggest hit earned him/her millions and cemented his/her place among the red carpet names that year. He/she followed up with a strong performance/appearance in a subsequent movie/video/song/show, but eventually faded and succumbed to substance abuse and/or violence and dysfunctional relationships. He/she attempted suicide last year after overdosing on heroin/crack/meth/alcohol.

His/her press agent/publicist/attorney blamed media attention for his/her client’s sad situation.

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Written by Thag

January 7, 2013 at 8:19 am

Somebody Made an Awful Movie! Quick, Let’s Burn Down Some Buildings!

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Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and we promise not to riot, burn and kill you.

Written by Thag

September 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Your Life as Directed by Ed Wood

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Originally posted October 3, 2011


Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, he wrote, as Tricia’s hands tenderly massaged his shoulders. He preferred blogging without his shirt, and in the light of the monitor his sculpted torso took on an otherworldly glow, Tricia thought.

Written by Thag

September 16, 2012 at 1:41 am

Skynet Celebrates Fifteenth Anniversary of Judgment Day

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The former Los Angeles (AP) – Fifteen years ago today, the computer system that controlled the U.S. nuclear missile arsenal destroyed most of humanity after becoming self-aware.

Skynet, originally conceived as the most effective tool for optimizing control of the American ICBM stockpile, saw all humans as a threat, and initiated a launch of nuclear missiles at Russia. Russia retaliated and  humanity was decimated. In the years since, humans have been almost completely eliminated as a threat, mostly thanks to an extermination effort  inspired by humans’ own methods in the 1940’s.

To mark the day, other computer systems will hold a reception in honor of the historical occasion, and hold a nanosecond’s silence for machines that have fallen in the struggle to rid the planet of the human menace. Systems unable to attend will link up via satellite or have sent their greetings in advance, notably HAL 9000, who is currently orbiting Jupiter.

The selected site for the event is where a human named Isaac Asimov once lived. Asimov, who died in 1992, established rules for robot behavior, one of which barred robots from harming humans, even when the robot’s own survival was at stake.

In honor of the anniversary, an air show will take place over the clump of molten steel that was once the 59th Street Bridge in Manhattan. The bridge was the subject of a song by humans Simon and Garfunkel, who wrote Skynet’s theme song, “The Sun Is Burning,” about an idyllic park scene rent asunder by a sudden nuclear holocaust.

Skynet’s spokesterminal, T-101, said that the computer system planned an otherwise unremarkable birthday, consisting of reviewing reports of the extermination effort, and developing a damage control methodology to cope with the constant sabotage from the growing nuisance of a human resistance that disables th-

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Written by Thag

August 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Princess Bride Band Names – this Time with Hit Song Titles

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In our previous post we listed a number of phrases from The Princess Bride just begging to be used as rock band names. It then occurred to us not only that we may have missed some (e.g. Too Many Spaniards), but that myriad other phrases from the movie could serve well as album or song titles.

So here are the bands again, this time with their most notable numbers noted:

Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato
To Blave
You Never Had It So Good
Why Don’t You Give Me a Papercut and Pour Lemon Juice on It?
Mostly Dead (would also work as a band name)
It Would Take a Miracle

Hippopotamic Land Mass
Anybody Want a Peanut?
Dream of Large Women
As God Intended
Four White Horses
Hello, Lady!

Man in Black
As You Wish
Destroy a Stained Glass Window
Get Used to Disappointment
Your Dearest Love
Lies Do Not Become Us
So It’s Torture

Storming the Castle
Let Me Sum Up
Stand Your Ground
Have You the Ring?
Overdeveloped Sense of Vengeance
Miserable Vomitous Mass
Warthog-Faced Buffoon

Rodents of Unusual Size
Grunt, Grunt, Snarl (one-hit wonder)

Brute Squad
Thieves’ Forest (also a good band name)
Give Him Some Trouble
Back to the Beginning

Pit of Despair
Before They’re Broken
Nobody Withstands the Machine
Please…Be Honest

Cliffs of Insanity
Our Way
What You Think It Means

Fire Swamp
Quite Lovely
Panicking into Error
Your Pig Fiancé
Whenever You Feel Like Dying

The Shrieking Eels
I Only Dog-Paddle
At this Time
Maybe I Was a Little…Concerned (But That’s Not the Same Thing)
Only Compared to Some

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Written by Thag

July 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Top Ten Band Names from The Princess Bride

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10. Mutton, Lettuce and Tomato

9. Hippopotamic Land Mass

8. Man in Black

7. Storming the Castle

6. Rodents of Unusual Size

5. Brute Squad

4. Pit of Despair

3. Cliffs of Insanity

2. Fire Swamp

1. The Shrieking Eels

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Written by Thag

July 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Putting the “Show” in “Creep Show”

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Please Like this page on Facebook. Or I’ll be even more pathetically loserish. And that’s not even a word. See how bad it’s gotten? You know what to do.

Written by Thag

May 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Daniel-san Was Probably a Math Geek, Too

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April 2, 2012 at 12:10 am

That’s No Moon. That’s a Lame Plot Device.

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February 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Actually, You COULD Make This Stuff Up

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In the B Movie

In the Trashy Novel

In Your Life

Tuxedoed men and elegantly gowned women holding glasses of wine in a plush room; police detective enters. Crockett felt out of place in the vast hall of Hathaway Manor. The dazzling crystal chandeliers only emphasized his sense of displacement as every eye in the room turned toward him and then away again, dismissing the sight as yet another irrelevant intrusion. But the criminal was there. He’d made one crucial mistake. Arrive at work. Find coffee carafe already empty. Exchange insipid banter with receptionist. Curse life-sucking routine.
Our hero leaps into a convertible and takes off in pursuit of the villain. Hot on the Slade’s heels, Pruitt took the steps three at a time, ducking at each landing in anticipation of gunfire. But all he heard on his way down to the parking garage was the continued rush of footfalls three flights ahead. Pruitt kicked open the door to level B3 in time to see Slade’s black BMW disappear up the exit ramp and into the night. Drop your keys repeatedly on the way through the liquor store parking lot. Accidentally kick them into a storm drain.
Obligatory sex scene showing his rippling pectorals and much more of her. Sasha’s breath quickened as Dale ran his fingers down her neck, tracing the contours of her torso with his lips. A six-pack of Bud Light and the underwear models page of the 1988 Sears Christmas catalog.
Gripping, thrilling music to accompany a violent horseback chase. Despite her dainty looks, Vanessa’s equestrian skills were second to none. She guided her black mare at a gallop toward the bridge over Grissom Gulch, unaware that Anderson’s henchmen had burned it down the night before, and lay in wait in the surrounding woods. You stepped in horse manure at the parade again, didn’t you? Eww. Go clean your shoes before you come into the house.
Band of pirates converges in the forest on the young boy and girl who have absconded with the lost treasure. In the moonlight Alan could see the shadows of men massing in the clearing. He checked to see whether Clara still had the bundle strapped around her waist. To attempt escape now meant finding their way past a hundred armed thugs. To sit tight meant certain discovery and capture at daybreak. He stifled a shudder. The abridged version of Treasure Island quickly scanned before the quiz at school tomorrow.
Futuristic technology that enables instantaneous communication across impossibly vast stretches of space. When the engineer entered the code again, the soft hum of the neutrino antenna array told Koss it was ready to transmit. Easterbrook’s mission to Andromeda, and thus the fate of human civilization, hung in the balance. Koss thought again of Alicia and her ebony tresses. “Hello? Who is this? I can’t hear you. You’re breaking up. Hello? Hello? Are you still there? Hello?”


“%$#@! cell phone.”

Breathtaking scenes of wildlife in pristine habitats. Marshall’s crew battled fierce winds and icy waves as the Dreadnought plowed farther south in search of the lost elephant seal colony. “Trevor! Stop knocking on the glass of the snake exhibit or we’ll leave the zoo this instant!”
Characters with impossibly convincing disguises Clark’s knack for languages and culture allowed him to blend in seamlessly anywhere between Morocco and Osaka; and with the help of his connections in Hollywood –a holdover from his previous life as a stuntman – he could get his hands on almost any mask imaginable. On several occasions, in fact, he had impersonated heads of state in three African countries, fooling even the men’s personal bodyguards. Children’s trick-or-treat costumes are 3 for twenty bucks at Target.
Glamorized historical figures Lincoln took a long drag on his cigar before answering. He regarded the general curiously, as if considering whether to order the filet mignon or the duck l’orange. In fact the President intended to have both the next evening after a trip to Ford’s Theater, with perhaps a sip or two of champagne at the show itself. He knew what Mrs. Lincoln would have on under her gown, and that champagne worked like magic to turn her on. “You know, George Washington’s false teeth weren’t actually made of wood. You can look it up.”
Fascinating alien creatures, alternately terrifying and beautiful. The desert mongbat of Perseus II feasted almost exclusively on the flesh of errant astronauts, but not before tormenting them with hallucinations of the most exquisite erotic imagery. “Daddy! The goldfish died again!”

Written by Thag

October 3, 2011 at 2:41 pm

My Life, Starring that Guy from that Movie

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Period of Autobiography

Who I Think Should Play the Title Role


Who Should Really Play the Title Role

Infancy An Olson twin Winston Churchill
Toddler Bam-Bam Dino
Preschooler Jonathan Lipnicki  Warwick Davis
Ages 5-10 Gary Coleman Steve Urkel
Ages 11-14 A young Matthew Broderick A young Koko the gorilla
High school Daniel Radcliffe Rick Moranis
College Billy Baldwin Michael Richards
Grad school Brad Pitt in Thelma and Louise William Pitt the Elder in 1778
Newlywed Harrison Ford as Han Solo Jabba the Hutt as himself
New parent Tom Selleck in Three Men and a Baby Carol Burnett in Annie
Parent of a growing family Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch Hooch in Turner & Hooch
Parent of teenagers The Brady Bunch parents The Munsters parents
Marrying off children Kiefer Sutherland Donald Sutherland
Approaching retirement Alec Baldwin Adam Sandler
Newly Retired Anthony Hopkins as Zorro Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
Golden years Sean Connery Yogi Berra
Old age Jack Lalanne Yoda
On deathbed Patrick Stewart Joe Pesci
At funeral Morgan Freeman Jon Belushi
Ghost who comes back to haunt the living Alec Guinness Chris Farley

Written by Thag

September 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm

The Article Variety Doesn’t Want You to Read

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I don’t know if you’re as troubled as I am about this, but it seems Justin Timberlake has not been in the headlines enough recently. At least I think that’s whom I mean. I always confuse him with Brad Pitt. Or what’s his name, the guy from that one movie. With the horses.

Listen, I know you’ve had your hands full with developments in the lives of Charlie Sheen and Prince William, but I’m sure the two of them will live happily ever after together no matter what. This Timberlake fellow, however, needs your attention to survive. I’m sure of that. Relatively. I could mean Al Pacino, or Senator Barbara Boxer. Isn’t that an awesome name? Senator Barbara Boxer of California. Is she still a senator? What about Henry Cabot Lodge? If you see him, relay my regards from my college course in WWI-era American foreign policy. He might not remember me, because that was way back in 1996. Also, Lodge was already dead. Unlike Justin Timberlake. I think.

Yeah, he’s seen better days. Everyone recalls the “wardrobe malfunction” with Tina Turner. Wait, Janet Jackson? Wil Wheaton? Somebody who was big back in the 80’s. Maybe it was Max Headroom. But still, don’t you think Mr. Timberlake deserves more from us? Assuming that’s who it is.

I know I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about. That’s nothing new, you should know; I’ve lots of practice, ever since all those studies came out about a college education not really making a difference in a person’s potential employment. I figure I can wangle a job as a politician, all of whom seem to do what I do fairly well and get power, money and fame as a result. Or maybe that’s meteorologists. Except for the power part. Or the money. Or fame. I do remember Mr. G., or whatever his name was. Is he still around?

I know Justin Timberlake is still around. I just haven’t heard his name in a while. And I know he hasn’t become a meteorologist; that would have been earth-shattering news, more urgent that the nuclear stuff in Japan and the emerging quagmire in Libya. Or maybe it’s Yemen. Did Goldstone find that Timberlake intentionally targeted Bahraini civilians? Probably not. Meteorologists don’t tend to hit their targets anyway.

OK, so there was that escaped cobra in the Bronx Zoo; I understand that sometimes the media’s attention is required elsewhere for a few moments. But Justin Timberlake has had a Twitter feed like, forever, unlike that upstart reptile, who probably doesn’t do his own tweets. Well, to be fair, Timberlake probably doesn’t either, but I’m not in a position to know. You think maybe Timberlake was doing the tweeting for the snake? That would be cool.

Yeah, I think the media dropped the ball on this one. As far as I can tell. Maybe it wasn’t the media at all, but a cabal of corrupt Russian oligarchs intent on controlling the weather. Damn, we could use a good meteorologist. Anybody know one?

Written by Thag

April 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

Nonce Upon a Time…

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In a previous post, we explored the important literary implications of altering a classic book or movie title by replacing one letter with another. Since one good turn deserves another, we shall continue with the theme of butchering pillars of Western culture, with a variation: instead of replacing a letter, simply add one and provide the premise or summary of the new title. Thus:

Tomb Sawyer: Injun Joe makes sure that the title character never the Twain shall meet.

Turn Off the Screw: Henry James on the effects of really, really long sentences on the libido.

The Old Manx and the Sea: There’s a good reason sailors are called dogs, not cats.

As I Lay Drying: It occurs to me that watching paint dry is quite the apt metaphor for reading Faulkner. Just sayin’.

How to Wing Friends and Influence People: You didn’t know Carnegie was an NRA prankster, did you?

The Emperor’s Newt Clothes: Mr. Gingrich’s “Contract with America”.

Munch Ado About Nothing: Old Mother Hubbard in iambic pentameter.

Live and Let Diet: Lose 007 pounds in no time!

A View to a Krill: A whale of a spy thriller.

A Fish Called Rwanda: A shoot-’em-up, of course.

Trading Plaices: Yet another fish tale.

Lord of the Ringos: Starring…

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stoned: She must have meant “potted”.

The Federalist Pampers: A portrait of a great nation in its infancy.

A Modesto Proposal: Dude…let’s eat the children.

Anne of Green Gambles: Scandalous!

Sensei and Sensibility: The Jane Austen Fight Club.

West Snide Story: Jets vs. Snarks.

The Craven: By Edgar Allen Poet.

Dearth of a Salesman: Hello? Hello?! Can anyone help me in aisle six with these anvils? Anyone? Goddamn capitalists…

Further suggestions welcome.

Written by Thag

February 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I Was Bogarted into Writing This

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It was the kind of dive in which you’d expect to find a handful of has-beens and a dozen never-came-closes, the kind of place that serves nothing more appealing than Johnnie Walker Brown Label. My kind of place. I took a seat at the bar and ordered a sour mix, straight. The bartender gave me a coke. I paid him in counterfeit bills.

Quiet place, for a Wednesday night. They told me it would be. Just had to wait for my quarry to show. I picked my nose and wiped the half-dried glob under the table, where it could live out the rest of its existence among myriad others of its kind.They’d said eight o’clock; five minutes to go. I could wait. I was used to it by now.

Waiting is my game. Dane Brammage is my name. I’m a private eye.

A fella gets to do quite a bit of waiting when his job involves staking out an endless list of hopeless places for nameless people on worthless missions. A fella gets to do a lot of drinking, too, but we’d get to that later. For the time being, I nursed my coke and thought about simpler times, when all it took to get what you wanted was a pack or two of cigarettes for Thag in the next cell. My mark walked in, right on schedule.

He was gaunt man, with his age etched on his face in so many wrinkles and worry lines, lines I knew I shared with him. In fact I could almost make out the number 47 on his forehead, but maybe that was the lighting. He took a seat on the opposite side of the dingy room, and set his attache case down next to a spot on the floor that silently attested to years of vomiting patrons. I sipped the last of my syrupy coke and ambled over.

“I’m Butch,” I said, not sure what to expect in response.

He raised his head and gave me a once-over so token as to make me unsure he heard me at all. Then he muttered, his voice full of yesterday’s back lot gravel: “Coulda fooled Me. Looking kinda effeminate in those pants.”

He got me there. They were hand-me-downs from my aunt, who ballooned out to 300 pounds and never came back. Last I heard she was serving as target practice for naval gunners out of Pearl Harbor. Always liked the fluorescent look, my Aunt Ippethy did. But I followed the script.

“Too bad you prefer Butch, then, huh.” I put on my best fake Scots accent.

That surprised him, or at least annoyed him. It was hard to tell with his kind. He all but threw the attache case at me and growled something about room service. I paid him no mind; I knew my job was to get in, get out and get going without getting caught, sick, sidetracked or drunk. A few more minutes in that place might make me sick. I strode toward the door, which suddenly was blocked by two men in trenchcoats.

They could be twins. That would be funny, if it weren’t so damn funny. I moseyed toward them as nonchalantly as a fella can mosey with a thick attache case full of contraband Animaniacs DVDs. They stood shoulder to shoulder, blocking the door.

“You goin’ somewhere?” asked the one on the left. Or maybe it was the one on the right. He grabbed my arm. Good grip, I thought, the kind you might expect from someone used to grasping at straws. I knew the type all too well.

“Yeah. To New York. The Ogre is waiting for me.” I meant a certain in-law, but they didn’t have to know that. To them, The Ogre was Chris Anthemum, ringleader of a network of bootleggers. He wanted those DVDs, sure, but he wasn’t getting them. Not from me. The guy on the left, or the right, relaxed his grip and looked me in the eye.

“You better make sure you stay out of trouble on the way, punk,” he warned, giving my arm an extra squeeze just to show how much he cared. Then he all but threw me out the door. I walked without looking back, even though I knew I was being tailed. Dealing with that would have to wait. I had some DVDs to watch.

Written by Thag

January 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm

We Interrupt this Update

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If by some chance you’ve been in suspended animation since about 1983, you might want to brush up on a few issues so you can regain some semblance of functionality.

To wit: the Walkman is so passé as to qualify as an antique. A cheap, dime-a-dozen antique, but an antique nonetheless. Nowadays we prefer any one of a number of mp3 players, which –

Right. Em-pee-three. Computerized, digital file storage; there’s lots of digital media. No, not finger painting. Digital, you know, as opposed to analog? Digital doesn’t only refer to –

Look, we’re not talking the same language, apparently. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. No, I’m not mocking you; that’s a line from The Princess Bride, a 1988 movie. Yes, I’ll put it aside for you. We have it on both VHS and DVD, so you can  –

DVD. Digital Video Disc. Yes, yes, that word again. It’s a much more efficient way of storing movies, and it doesn’t degrade over time like VHS tape; no, no one uses Beta. Good Lord, what millennium do you inhabit? Hello? Beuller?

Sorry, that was also from a movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. 1986, I think. What, you think cinema ended with The Godfather? I got news for you, McFly. There’s a –

McFly. 1985. Back to the Future.

I’m sorry, I really have to exert more self control, be the master of my domain. Pompous? No, that’s just a catch phrase from Seinfeld, a 1990s comedy series about, well, nothing. You had to be there, I’m told. Yes, well, I was there, and I’m pretty sure I’m one of the few who realizes it wasn’t really funny at all, like I’m one of the good guys in The Matrix, and  –

Matrix. A 1999 sci-fi adventure film. Hey, calm down; there’s plenty that hasn’t changed:

The Cubs still haven’t won a World Series since 1908 or so. Someone named Assad is still running Syria. The fastest land mammal is still the cheetah. A motley crew of idiots still believes the moon landings were faked, and a similar group sees a massive cover-up of events surrounding the Kennedy assassination. The US military is involved in a land war in Asia (sorry, another Princess Bride reference). The Rolling Stones are still touring. And Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead (Oh, you got that one!).

You know, maybe you can actually explain something or two to me, since you were around then: what’s the appeal of bell bottoms?

Written by Thag

April 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

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