31 October 2008

FSW: Tricks, Lots of Tricks

Er, uh. Ken came up with this week's topic when our readers failed to offer up even one suggestion. But you know what? I'm going to try again. So if you read the sketches but aren't going to compete, comment here, or on one of the competitor blogs, with your idea for what the theme should be. I'll pick my favorite and we'll run with that. If we get no suggestions (or if we fear the suggestions we get) the honors will fall to me this time. And if you want to compete, email a link to your sketch to sketchwar at dreamloom.com.

This week I had a lot of trouble. Couldn't come up with a thing. Until tonight. So I'm cutting it under the wire, and I wish I could give this a polish, but I actually think it's a pretty cute one. Though again I'm writing kids. Not sure what that's about. Anyway, hope y'all enjoy. And please, please, please: comment. And pass links along to your friends, countrymen, social networking sites, Roman bath house buddies, whatever.

Tricks, Lots of Tricks


Four KIDS, 8-10 years old and in costume, gather under the darkening sky. By costume, there are SPIDERMAN, GHOST, BALLERINA, DINOSAUR.


What did you get?


Two Obama-Biden bumper stickers and this paper.


'Tortious Acts as a Basis for Jurisdiction in Products Liability Cases: A Completely Original Look'


Which house?


The one with the guy dressed up like a Ken doll. Fake hair, face all plastic-y.


He always looks like that. My mom says some people need to let nature take its course.


I got a butterscotch from that old guy who sits in his rocking chair on his porch all the time.


Oh, the blue house.


No, I tried there but the lights were off.


The red house?






--He was in the yellow house.


The one with the pretty red door. I like that house.


No, the other yellow house. I think he was running from house to house trying to hide, but he wasn't too fast. I caught him at the sixth house.


Good. That house on the hill creeps me out.

(Opening sack wide)

Well, my bag's full!


No way! That's good stuff, too! Where?


The shack on the corner.


Who lives there?


That loud lady who's always standing outside the Whole Foods with the clipboard. But I don't know if you guys should go there. My hand's real sore now.


She wouldn't give me any candy unless I signed a whole bunch of cards. She didn't care what name I used, but said if I signed fifty of 'em I could fill my bag up with all the candy I could carry.


(Showing bag)

I got a bunch, too.


That's pretty good Where?


The house with the basketball hoop out front. But I don't think he's really got any candy.


What do you mean?


I got to the door the same time as Joey Hanson. He had a lot more candy than me. The guy answered the door and said that wasn't fair and made him give me half his candy. Joey ran home crying.


Let's go try that house.

The kids walk one house over and up to the door. String lights, multiple pumpkins, and other decorations adorn the yard and porch. Spiderman rings the bell. The doorbell plays Dixie. It opens and a woman dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein - with rimless glasses - answers.


Hey there, you kids! Happy Halloween!


Trick or Treat! Give us something good to eat!


Oh, you betcha!

The Bride reaches into a bowl and pulls out four wrapped items, one for each.


Here you go! Now don't get into any trouble!

The Bride closes the door as the kids skip off the porch. Spiderman checks his bag.


Eww! Homemade moose jerky!


Hey, isn't that your brother over there?




(Points to distance)



He's not supposed to go over there. He's going to get in trouble. Mom said to stay out of Russia!


30 October 2008

It's Rabbit Season!!!

It's been a few years since I've taken the couple of hours to carve a pumpkin for Halloween,1 but TheWife bought one this year so I figured I'd go ahead and do something. My first thought was a McCain pumpkin - that beautiful lizard-y shot of him at the final debate seemed like a good idea - but here in AZ that might get me shot. So I decided to not do a political carving at all. But then what?

A Terminator pumpkin would be pretty cool, so I went looking for a good shot of Arnie with his face half ripped off. I'd probably want to augment that carving with a red LED, but it could be pretty cool. Unfortunately, the photos I could find were all half in shadow, so when I dropped them to B&W and tried applying the Threshold filter, no matter which way I did them, I'd end up with huge swaths cut out. That's fine and dandy, right up until you need to leave an eye in the middle. So short of drawing my own, or spending a few hours just on image manipulation, it was no-go. What then...ah.

Daffy Duck.

I did a quick search and found this mediocre, low-res gif2

and after about 20 minutes in the Gimp I had a usable three-tone pattern.

Here it is out on the front step, first with flash...

and then all lit up...
I think it came out okay for only a couple hours.

Like Rob down in Accounting

John Rogers with the best explanation for the Obama Half-Hour Flower Power Variety Hoe Down:

This, indeed was why McCain's campaign could never score a serious hit. Despite the cries of "Marxism" and waving the bloody shirt of 60's radicalism, Senator Obama has cultivated a studiously boring policy presence. Chris and I were talking in the writer's room the other day, about the 30 minute ad buy that aired tonight. Chris was wondering what it was supposed rto accomplish.

"Nothing," I said. "In the best possible scenario, it's so boring that people turn it off halfway through. He's already got the people he inspired. What he has to do now is get people who used to be uncomfortable with the idea of a black president, and make them so comfortable that they're even bored with the idea."

"'Obama's not like those other black people.' He's like Rob down in Accounting.'"

DreamLoom update

Just a quick reminder to my regulars...if you haven't been checking over to DreamLoom, you should.

Regular reviews of Mad Men, Pushing Daisies, and Friday Night Lights, plus more to come from me and the...ahem...stable of writers. Speaking of which...if you'd like to join the stable (there really is one, I swear. But it's like a stable of cats and very hard to corral) please let me know. You can comment on this post, or contact me by email at rporter at dreamloom.com.

28 October 2008

Arizona Ballot Propositions

Here we find ourself a week before an election, one of the more interesting ones in my life. It's not "the most important election of my lifetime" as many people keep breathlessly intoning. That would have been 1980 (or, stretching the meaning, since I was only 8 months old at the time, 1968.) In case you're wondering, neither of those went my way. I'm used to losing the ones that matter.

But it's not just the big tickets and small that are on the line this go 'round. As usual, my insane neighbors have plenty of their idiotic "citizen initiatives" on the ballot here in AZ. So, as I did back in 2006, I provide here my voting guide for the Arizona Ballot Propositions. If you live in AZ, you'll probably disagree with me on most of these: you do, after all, live in AZ. If you don't live in AZ, you'll probably not care one whit what I've got to say about things about which you have no vote. Oh, and since I generally don't believe citizen initiatives are generally good, expect to see me say 'no' a lot. Still...here we go.

No. "Taxation without representation" was one of causes of the American revolution; we have representation. If you don't want a new tax (that no one has proposed,) vote for candidates who will vote against it. I'm not a big fan of direct democracy. It's undeliberative, reactionary, and not at all cost effective.
No. Again, if you don't want a law to be enacted, vote for representatives who think the way you do. And please don't go whining about "socialized medicine." I could only hope the Arizona legislature would vote for state-wide single payer.
NO! I could not be more emphatic about this. Why the fuck do you care who fucks whom? Why the fuck do you care who marries whom? I don't think ugly people should kiss in public. Can we have a goddamn constitutional amendment for that, too?
No. Jesus Christ. First these douchebags want to tie the hands of the state to collect taxes. Then, with this piece of shit, they want to change the meaning of "majority". They'd like it so that a majority of *qualified electors* need to approve new taxes or fees. Not voters, mind you. 80% of qualified electors don't show up to vote, it doesn't matter if 100% of the *voters* vote to pass a future initiative, it won't pass. Brilliant. Horribly anti-democratic, and coming from me that should say something.
Proposition 200: Payday Loan Reform Act
No. This one's tougher. I support the existence of loan options; oppose usury. I would like to see real reform; this proposition doesn't do nearly enough. So, going with my general I-oppose-citizen-initiatives philosophy, I'll stick with a no vote.
Proposition 201: Homeowners' Bill of Rights
No. This sounds all rainbows and unicorns, right? Then you read this little change to 12-1364 paragraph (e):
Cute. So, let's say I've got $20M to burn and I don't like a homebuilder. Tell ya what I'd do: buy a bunch of houses (with the intent to resell and recoup,) file a whole crapload of bullshit dwelling actions with complex and esoteric problems in them. Lose in court on each and every one, but have cost the homebuilder a lot of money to defend. Lather, rinse, repeat. Never before had I seen a law written for the sole purpose of *encouraging* sport litigation. Maybe those laws are out there, I don't know. But this one? Absolutely encourages it. Must have been written by those "trial lawyers" people are always going on about.
Proposition 202: Stop Illegal Hiring Initiative.
No. Much of the opposition is concerned about this providing employer amnesty. My concern is that carefully vetted and constitutionally sound law is being modified by special interests, an act that will inevitably cost the state more money when it is struck down by Federal courts. Oh, and beyond that...immigration law is under the aegis of the Federal government, not the individual states. The sooner this residents of this state get that through their heads, the sooner we can finally be rid of Sheriff Joe and Andy Thomas. And the cost savings on kicking those two to the curb is HUGE.
Proposition 300: Pay raises for State Legislators
Yes. See? I don't oppose every one of these. $24K is untenable, unless we want people who are weighing the options between a job at Fashion Bug or a job as a legislator. Pushing it to $30K at least gives us a hope that we'd get Macy's-caliber legislators.

Friday Night Sketch War: Mad Scientist Edition

Coming a wee bit late with this wrapup, but I held out hope that Mr. Brownlee was going to get a late shot off in the battle by Monday. Alas, the originator of last Friday's excellent theme was too bloodied from his week in the paper cut factory. But we did have a good fight. Three funny sketches were lobbed onto the field, each exploding with mad scientifical goodness.

An extreme dearth of comments from our combined visitors left us scrambling for a theme for this All Hallow's Eve edition of the Sketch War. See, we wanted our three or four fans to pick themes and y'all let us down. I have a good mind to tell *our* mothers to stop paying *your* mothers to come read our sketches! Nah. Who am I kidding: the checks will continue.

Anyway, Ken's selected an appropos theme:
Trick OR Treat: an option; scenes involve a trick, a treat, or both.

If you want to play along, write a sketch and send a link to it to sketchwar at dreamloom.com. Otherwise, come back around on Friday for some ghoulish fun.

24 October 2008

FSW: Dinner at Doctor Eskatos'

Let's have a little change of pace for next week. If you read the sketches but aren't going to compete, comment here with your idea for what the theme should be. I'll pick my favorite and we'll run with that. If we get no suggestions (or if we fear the suggestions we get) the honors will fall to Ken. And if you want to compete, email a link to your sketch to sketchwar at dreamloom.com.

But that's next week. This week's theme, Mad Scientist, was selected by Michael. Of course, I was going to give you a beautiful musical about a misunderstood mad scientist in love with a sweet girl, but that bastard Whedon stole my idea from me! He'll be hearing from my lawyers! Instead, I give you...

FSW: Dinner at Doctor Eskatos'


CURT, late 20s in sport coat and oxford, drives. Beside him is his wife PAM, late 20s and fashionably dressed. Her sister GINNY, mid-30s on the verge of old-maid hood, sits in back with her hands clasped on her lap.


How much further?


It's right up ahead


You weren't kidding when you said he lived outside city limits.


He likes his space, I guess. How are you doing back there, Ginny? You've been awfully quiet.


Hmm? Oh, I'm good. Just working through some tensor products.

Pam rolls her eyes. Curt turns to her befuddled.


Ginny does linear algebra in her head when she's nervous.


I'm not nervous.


I flunked pre-algebra twice.


We're here.

Curt stops the car and the three get out. They walk up to the front door or a neat, well-kept bungalow. As soon as Curt presses the bell, the door opens, revealing IVAR, a short, slightly hunchbacked nebbish.


Master is expecting you. Come in.


The guests enter the cozy home and Ivar closes the door behind them. He points them to the living room where DOCTOR ESKATOS - 40s, lean, unruly cloud of hair, wearing a long white lab coat - sits perfectly upright. His body carves out exact 90-degree angles in his floral couch. Matching the couch, the decor of the house is early-grandmother.


Master, your guests.


Yes, yes, Ivar. I can see that. Please go see to our meal.

Ivar exits through a swinging door to the kitchen. Eskatos rises and crosses to the visitors. He extends his hand to Curt.


Curt, I'm so glad you could make it.


Thanks, Doctor Eskatos. I was honored you asked. This is my wife, Pam.


(shaking hands)

Pam, nice to meet you. Your husband speaks very highly of you.


Thank you. He says...things about you, too. This is--


--Your sister Ginny, I presume.

Eskatos clasps Ginny's hand and shakes it too hard and too long. But Ginny doesn't seem to notice. He lets go and gestures to sit. The door to the kitchen swings open and a tray of drinks enters the room, carried by IGOR, who looks exactly like his brother. The drinks are proffered.


Oh, that's perfect. I'm parched. Thanks, Ivar.




I thought your name was Ivar?



Igor turns to Eskatos and spills the last drink on him.


Clumsy oaf!


I'm sorry, master. Let me get you another!

Igor rushes out of the room leaving Eskatos to clean himself up.


He seems a little...


is there something wrong with him?



His mother was a scallion!






Scullion. You said 'scallion', but you meant 'scullion'. I'm something of a wordy.

Curt and Pam look at each other, horrified.


I said what I meant. His mother was a scallion. He and his brothers were some of my first experiments with human-vegetable hybrids.

The door swings open. Igor rushes back with a towel and another drink.


(dripping with disdain)

As you can see, the experiment was not a success.

The door swings open again and the third brother, BRYCE, enters with a cheese plate.


Master, we were out of the crackers you like, so I toasted some bagel chips.


Yes. Fine. Whatever, Bryce. Leave us! Both of you!

Bryce and Igor scurry out. The door swings open again and Ivar starts to walk in, but his brothers' hands grab him and pull him back into the kitchen.


Doctor Eskatos, Ginny is working on her PhD, too.


Oh really? That's fascinating. What is your field of interest?


High energy physics.




Maybe Doctor Eskatos would like to hear about your thesis.


Oh, I don't want to bore him with that.


Nonsense! I'd love to hear about it.

The door swings open again. Ivar (or maybe one of his brothers, who can be sure?) sidles in and takes the untouched cheese plate. He also picks up the unfinished drinks and carries them out on a tray.


It's so difficult to grow good help these days. I should have used cauliflower. How much better things would be had I used cauliflower.

The door swings open again and two of the brothers try to walk through at the same time, jamming against the jamb. Finally, they figure out how to enter. Igor carries another tray of drinks.


Master, the lamb will be ready in 30 minutes.

Igor spills the drinks on Eskatos again.


Aaargh! You imbecile! I should have chopped your mother up for garnish before you were ever born!


Master, I'm sorry. Let me help you.


You've done more than enough!

Eskatos takes out a PDA and taps it for a moment. There is a bright flash of light and a puff of smoke appears as Igor screams in pain and runs around the room. He is singed and smoking. Bryce runs to the kitchen. Curt and Pam stare in shock.


What was that?


This? Death ray.


He's not dead.


(to Pam)

Pam, let's not upset the doctor, please.


No Curt, she's right. He's not dead. Not even a little.

Igor, the top of his head stil smoking, grabs a drink and douses the embers.


Like all my other inventions, my orbital death ray is a failure.




Yes. I have a series of satellites in polar orbit. I can target any location on the planet. But to what end? Look at that! Death ray, indeed.




Of course.


Have you considered crossing unsynched beams with tachyon pulses to set up--


--To set up Frakes-Francis interference! Of course! How did I not think of it before. Igor!

The door swings open. Igor resists entering, but his brothers' hands shove him back into the room.


Yes, master?


Bring me the lamb!


But master, it is not finished yet.


And I plan to remedy that.

Igor exits as Eskatos takes his PDA and frantically taps.


This is fun, huh?

Igor returns with the lamb on a platter. He looks nervous as he sets it down on the table and takes several steps away from it. Eskatos points the PDA at the lamb and taps it once. A bright flash, a puff of smoke, and Igor is gone.


Huh. Must not have accounted for the Wheaton drift. I never was any good at linear algebra.


23 October 2008

Opie, Richie, Andy, and Fonzie have a few words about Obama

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die
There's video above, FeedReader.

Agree or disagree as you will, but this clip's funny either way.

How You Can Help End the Problem of Blogs With Great Content and No Readers

I've been doing this blog for awhile now, closing in on two and a half years, and just can't get any traction. It's very frustrating, especially as I launched DreamLoom just a few weeks ago and it's doing comparable daily traffic already. So my focused, TV-only blog on which no one else's posts have appeared yet (they're coming soon, I swear) is both a balm and bane to me. Makes me happy it's doing well; irritates me I can't get traffic here.

Part of the problem is the very randomness that I strive for here, of course. The only consistent postings here are for Friday Night Sketch War, like clockwork every week. Otherwise, I might put up three funny videos one week and write twelve political pieces another. One week all you might see is my sketch and another I might have six rants about dumb people. Inconsistent.

Still, this is my home on the web. I've even resisted the temptation to move it off Blogger or redirect to its own domain. I keep plugging away and attracting one or two new readers at about the same pace I piss off one or two readers. But that's okay. When my satellite is in orbit with the death ray, you'll all be sorry!

Anyway, I'm going to try being a wee bit more proactive. To that end, I'm going to try this blog-mob (blog-swarm?) idea from Chuck Westbrook. I'll go ahead and add one more blog to my packed dance card to read each two weeks and do my best to comment, promote, and stay around if I like what I see. In exchange of course, I'll hope my little place bubbles up to the front of the queue and the blog-gang (blog-legion?) jumps on board for two weeks with glee. Hopefully some of them will like what *they* see and stick around.

Also, dudes...if you come here semi-regularly you should be telling everyone and their mothers about the *awesome* content!

22 October 2008

The Protocols of Pulp

Jaysus! And this is why so many SF writers *deserve* the goddamn ghetto they find themselves in.

The Time Traveler’s Wife isn’t the kind of book I normally read. It’s a bestseller (an "international bestseller" according to the cover of my edition), a romance, and it’s SF written by someone who doesn’t read SF and doesn’t know SF-writing protocols. I read it because people I knew really liked it, and because libraries exist to let people try books with no strings. I got my own copy because I knew I’d want to read it again. It’s a strange book, but really powerful.
(Emphasis mine.) Really, that's great. It wasn't written by a genre hack, using some formula that was hoary back when John W. Campbell had a no-aliens policy. So happy you decided to lower yourself to read SF that wasn't up to your usual standards.

Borders? You seem to be making smart choices lately. I wouldn't waste space stocking Jo Walton and her blindered ilk either.

Racking up crucial endorsements

Don't count out ol' John Sidney yet! He's still got a few friends left, and they're coming out of the woodwork to endorse their pal John.

Al-Qaida supporters suggested in a Web site message this week they would welcome a pre-election terror attack on the U.S. as a way to usher in a McCain presidency.

The message, posted Monday on the password-protected al-Hesbah Web site, said if al-Qaida wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, "impetuous" Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Now, as Spencer Ackerman pointed out, we already know John Sidney's feelings on this. It's merely a statement of fact that Al-Qaida is supporting John Sidney. I'm not trying to say anything one way or another. The American prisoners people pay attention to everything in a political campaign.

21 October 2008

More Watchmen Footage

There's video above, FeedReader.

I actually recorded the Scream Awards on Spike just so I could see this footage and it didn't disappoint. There wasn't too much new material in it, but even a little is a wonderful present.

Notice that My Chemical Romance frontman/Umbrella Academy creator Gerard Way introduces everyone while standing in front of the frakin' Owl Ship!!!

ACORN and the election

Just about the most detailed and clear-headed discussion of ACORN I've seen to date over at Washington Monthly:

That said, on to a few specific cases. I picked them more or less randomly, based on what I happened to read about when I was thinking of doing this. I tried to dig a bit deeper, to figure out whether or not the evidence pointed to any sort of systematic fraud. In particular, I wanted to know whether or not ACORN had flagged suspicious registrations, and whether or not it seemed to be cooperating with the authorities and generally trying to minimize fraud. I did this because I wanted to find some sort of evidence one way or another.

In the cases I've gone through, the takeaway seems to be: ACORN had flagged suspicious registrations; it was cooperating with authorities, there is no evidence that it was trying to submit fraudulent registrations, and plenty of evidence that it was trying not to. (E.g., firing people who submitted fake registrations to ACORN.) I do think ACORN ought to ask serious questions about its practice of paying people to register people to vote, and/or about its controls on its employees, though I understand why one might want to give low-income people the work. Details below the fold.
And remember kids: it's a FELONY to throw out voter registration cards, even if you think they're fraudulent. You can indicate your concerns, but have to return them.

So if you're especially concerned that thousands of Mickey Mouses and Daffy Ducks are going to show up to vote in Florida and steal the election, maybe you might want to click through and get a fresh dose of reality.

17 October 2008

Marley & Me trailer

There's video above, FeedReader.

Ah, Marley. I've known what I was doing with that lazy afternoon of 25 December for months. But I'm a dog lover. They're so much better than people.

If you love dogs and you've never read the book, I suggest you pick it up. There's a new edition coming out in a couple weeks. Here's a link. I bawled like a baby when I read it, as I imagine I will in the theater.

FSW: Best Friends

Ever so sorry to have come up with this idjotic theme. Sadly, *this* was probably the best effort I was going to be able to produce. I went back to the well, sort of, and then let the spirit of Our Gang take over. I hope it doesn't make y'all gag.

Michael's back on the grid and has already selected next week's theme: Mad Scientist.

As usual, if you want to play along with us, email a link to your entry to sketchwar at dreamloom.com.

Best Friends


JOHN, a stocky white boy in shorts and a too-tight button-up shirt sits at the front table. BARRY, a long lean black kid wearing a black suit, white shirt, and bow tie, sits next to his left. JOE, a skinny, nondescript white kid, sits to his right. A handful of other boys sit facing front. John bangs a gavel.


I now bring this meeting of the He-Man Woman-Hater's Club to order. Would the secretary please read the minutes from our last meeting?


Freddy complained that we were all talking too much during his nap time and we took a vote. 8-2 in favor of making Freddy nap up in the old tree fort with one abstention.


Who abstained?


Freddy. He dozed off while we were talking about it.


Then the defense committee reported on the treaty negotiations with Cub Scout Troupe 163. They were at an impasse over access rights to cross 13th Street to get to Gargantuan Comics.


And Teddy asked for our help getting his sister's doll out of Becker's stream where it sank after he crashed his bike trying to jump the old footbridge.


I still don't understand why he had the doll with him.


Alright, let's hear from the defense committee first.

THREE BOYS stand up. They're dirty and scuffed up. One of them with a black eye, another with a fat lip. HARRY - skinny, blond, bespectacled - steps forward.


They whipped us good. Cheaters. Tommy Monahan's sister Rosie came with 'em. We didn't stand a chance.



Are you alright?


Yeah, but when my mom catches sight of me she's gonna have a fit.


No, I mean are you alright?

Barry and John turn to each other and roll their eyes.


Oh, oh! Yeah, heck! I forgot!

Harry turns to the other two boys, both a little younger than he, and inoculates them.


(To the first boy)

Circle, circle, dot, dot. Now you've got the cootie shot.

(and the other)

Circle, circle, dot, dot. Now you've got the cootie shot.


Harry, you'd better get yourself taken care of too before you spread 'em.


Yeah. Billy, can you give me the shot?

BILLY gets up. He's thin, with brown hair and a drawl like sweet tea on a summer's day.


Can do, Harry.

They leave the clubhouse.


Guys, you've gotta be more careful. We don't want another outbreak like last spring.

All the boys look up and to their left. The screen wavers and chimes play...


Title: Last Spring

Barry stands in front of the class, singing. HILLARY watches with stars in her eyes.



You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy, when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away.

John looks on with a squint. Barry returns to his desk, right next to Hillary's. John gives him the ol' stinkeye as he passes.


Ooooh, Barry. That was dreamy!

The screen wavers and chimes play again...


Title: Today

Everyone shakes their heads and gets out of flashback mode. Barry turns to John and extends his hand...


Brothers forever, pal. No broad's going to come between us again.


(Shaking hands)

And how!

The door to the clubhouse opens. The defense committee comes back in, surrounding a girl! SARAH wears her brown hair in pigtails and the cutest little glasses. She carries a bb gun. All the boys in the clubhouse go nuts!


(Banging his gavel)

Order! Order! What's she doing in here?


We caught her spying outside.


Is that true?


Oh yeah, you betcha! I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, don'tcha know, so I scurried over here quick as a jackrabbit in deer season to peek through the knot hole. You boys sure like talkin' don'tcha?


Girl! Girl!

Joe gets up and starts running around like a headless chicken...until he bounces right off a wall and falls straight on his backside to the SOUND FX of little birds chirping.


There are no girls allowed in here, Sarah. This is the He-Man Woman-Hater's Club.


Oh John! You get so cute when you're all flustered-like. Your cheeks get red as fresh venison and you huff and puff like a little choo-choo train! You're so cute, I could just kiss ya!

John's eyes bug out. Barry's bow tie spins around as he stands gape-jawed.


Well, now, Sarah. As you can surely deduce from the heretofore mentioned name, we have something of a exclusion policy with regard to persons of your gender--


--There you go again! Gettin' all uppity and high-falutin' with your private school readin' and vocab-uh-lary. Why'n't you just talk like regular folks?


Sarah, is that an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB gun with a compass in the stock?


It sure is, cutie-pie!


Really, I must protest. Sarah just doesn't belong here. We've still got club business to discuss.


I could not disagree more. I think she brings a breath of fresh air to the place.

Sarah winks at John.


Oh boy. Here we go again.


Sketch War...I'm coming, I swear!!!

Wow. I am a super-slacker! I'm going to be dead last into the fray this week. Damn sleep study messed up my whole writing schedule! Then again, considering I apparently stop breathing about 60 times per minute I should probably be happy I went to the clinic and am going to get that taken care of!

Anyway, for your comedy pleasure while you're waiting for my *brilliant* sketch, please check out

I haven't read them yet; I'm afraid I'll crib their superior ideas and try to pawn them off as my own.

16 October 2008

Health of the Mother!!!

Yikes. John Sidney took his chains off on Wednesday night. He probably should have left them on. His "health of the mother" sc/air quotes might be the biggest debate blunder I've ever witnessed. This isn't like Dan Quayle comparing himself to JFK and getting counter-punched; this is like, well...watch the video clip below.

The only fundamental difference between John and Monty is that Monty was *ahead* in the polls.

I think I might add "Health of the Mother!" to my arsenal of obscure oaths. Right up there with "Madre de diez!" and "By Thor's Beard!"

14 October 2008

Liveblogging the Presidential Debate

Quick reminder to all, we'll be liveblogging the third and final Presidential debate of the 2008 election over at DreamLoom. Please come on by Wednesday at 9pm EDT for snark, fun, and just a little bit of politics.

Click here for the fun.

10 October 2008

FSW: Reap the Whirlwind - ***Michael's Sketch***

Okay, crazy-man Michael is taking this no Internet (other than email, because, well, c'mon!) thing seriously. He didn't post his sketch on his own blog tonight; he emailed it to me.

So, without further ado, here's Michael's sketch for this week:

Reap the Whirlwind
(The burned out remains of a once beautiful home. Matt and Erin stand, holding each other, staring at the carnage.)

Erin: I still can’t believe it.

Matt: Our whole lives.

Erin: It all happened so fast.

Matt: All my trophies.

Erin: Our wedding album.

Matt: The plasma TV.

Erin: My mother’s ashes.

Matt: Well, those are probably all right.

Erin: You think? Oh, honey, what are we going to do?

(Matt gives her a hug.)

Matt: It’s going to be all right.

Erin: The only think keeping me from completely freaking out is the knowledge that we have insurance. At least we’ll be able to build a new home.

Matt: Well...

Erin: What?

Matt: About the insurance...

Erin: Don’t tell me you forgot to pay the bill. Matthew Christopher Glover, I swear to Christ, I will-

Matt: I paid it. I paid it.

Erin: What then?

Matt: I sort of sold it to Stan.

Erin: You what?

Matt: You remember when he came over all upset because he’d just found out Kathy has ovarian cancer?

Erin: Yeah.

Matt: And how, since they didn’t have insurance they were going to have to sell everything just to pay for the treatments?

Erin: Yeah.

Matt: Well, I sort of sold him the right to our homeowner’s insurance.

Erin: You what?

Matt: I never thought our house would burn down!

Erin: How much did you sell it for?

Matt: That’s the beauty part. I got 10% interest on it.

Erin: So he paid you money, betting that the house might burn down and then he’d get to collect the insurance?

Matt: Not just him, either. Once I realized that people were willing to buy a policy against our policy I sold one to just about every guy at the office.

Erin: That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.

Matt: Wait, it’s gets better. Baby, I had fourteen different guys paying me $100 a month. Do the math. That’s extra money in our pockets.

Erin: How long have you been doing this?

Matt: Almost two whole years! That’s $36,000.

Erin: And where’s that money now?

Matt: Well, it paid for the new TV. And the new cabinets. Our trip to Branson.

Erin: And how much was the policy worth?

Matt: Pays out one million dollars.

(She just stares at him.)

Matt: What?

Erin: Do the math, asshole! That’s 14 million dollars we have to pay out!

Matt: Oh. (It really sinks in.) OH!

(Just then a car pulls up outside. Stan walks over.)

Stan: Oh my god, I’m so sorry you guys.

Matt: Hey, Stan.

Stan: I heard the sirens and saw them turn down your street and I hoped...I mean...I’m so sorry you guys.

(Another car pulls up. Ernie gets out.)

Matt: Hey, Ernie, what are you doing here?

Ernie: Stan called and told me the news. I can’t believe it.

Matt: Yeah, it’s all gone.

Ernie: What an incredible return on an investment. I mean, my wife was pretty mad when she found out I was giving you $100 a month, but after tonight I am out of the dog house!

(Another car pulls up. Jerry gets out, he’s got an open beer in his hands.)

Jerry: Jackpot!

Stan: Listen, man, not to be a douche or anything, but when do you think the claims adjuster is going to be out?

Matt: We put a call into our guy, he said he’d be right over.

Erin: Listen you guys, I don’t know what Matt promised you.

Ernie: We have contracts.

(They all pull out official looking documents.)

Erin: Be that as it may, there’s no way we can pay each of you one million dollars.

Jerry: Come on, man, I need that money. I took out a loan against this insurance so I could buy my buddy Val’s life insurance policy. He a marathoner. It’ll be years before I see any of that dough.

Ernie: Yeah, I’ve gotta pay off the guys who just installed the swimming pool in our bedroom.

Matt: You put a swimming pool in your bedroom?

Ernie: Our mortgage guy thought it would increase the value. Plus, he bet me $500 that they couldn’t do it because it was on the second floor. Sucker.

Erin: I’m sorry. But there’s no money. But, once our insurance guy gets here, we’ll settle up with him and they we’ll happily give you your money back.

Stan: I don’t know. I was counting on that million.

Jerry: Me too.

Erin: Hey, something’s better than nothing though. Right?

(They all murmur and mumble and basically agree. Just then Perry Paul peddles up on his bike. He is a rather large man and very out of shape.)

Perry: (Winded) Sorry...I wasn’t...here....sooner...Cutbacks forced me....to give up...company car...I’m Perry Paul. How can AIG help you today?


FSW: Bailout!

Okay, the funny stuff in here? The good words? Stolen from greater men than I. Or worse, stolen and munged by a degenerate just to get them to fit my nefarious needs. So, to Alan Jay Lerner, Joe Darion, and Frank Loesser, I give all my humble and feeble thanks.

Ken picked out this week's theme - bailout - and came out of the gate first with, you guessed it, a musical sketch! His is original and funny and ends with the biggest laugh I've had all week. Michael hasn't shown up yet - he's thinking about a break from the Internet for a little while - but I'm still hoping his worse angels get the better of him. And I can't believe I forgot...David returns with a sketch! It's not on-theme, but who cares?

As for next week, the theme is...best friends.

As usual, if you want to play along with us, email a link to your entry to sketchwar at dreamloom.com.



A small crowd of bedraggled and weary souls are gathered under a marquis. Their faces are sunken but their smiles are beaming. Behind them are posters for "Bailout!"


I found a Jujube under my seat! And it was warm in there. It's been so cold.


But did you enjoy the play?


It was amazing. I cried. A lot.


Best show in years.


Three actors dressed as SENATORS LIEBERMAN, SPECTER, and COLEMAN huddle to one side.


Come see the smash hit everyone's talking about, "Bailout!" Winner of seven Tonys, including Best Play, Best Drama, and Best Place to Stay Warm in February. With songs you won't soon forget, like this one...




The Secretary is just a Goy
Not a M.O.T., just a Goy.
To finagle and dangle and skillfully wrangle
The financial hoi polloi
The Wall Street meltdown is not
Safe in the hands of a Goy.


The stage is set for a Senate hearing. An actor playing LEHMAN BROTHERS CEO, RICHARD FULD sits at the witness table with his ATTORNEY. Several SENATORS sit across him at their desks.


Or this hilarious number...




Do you recall the other night that I distinctly said you might
Shore up my junk bonds and bad mortgages?
Well, I'm afraid there's someone who I must sell to in place of you
Someone who plainly is beyond compare
China's portfolio is more tremendous than I have e'er seen anywhere
And when an offer is that tremendous
It, by right, should buy up all my shares.



But Richard, let us bargain with them and beat them!
Don't refuse us so abruptly, we implore!
Give us the opportunity to outbid them
And China will be smashed upon the floor!


You'll bash and thrash them?


We'll smash and mash them.


You'll give them trouble?


They will be rubble.


A mighty whack?


Their market will crack.




Then you may buy up all my shares
If you do all the things you promise
In fact, my heart would break should you not buy up all my shares.


A lone spot on an actor portraying SENATOR MCCAIN. He stands in front of the curtain, facing the audience.


Or this soul-wrenching number about thwarted dreams from Tony-winner Neil Patrick Harris...



I have dreamed thee too long,
Never seen thee or touched thee.
But known thee with all of my heart.
Half a prayer, half a song,
Thou hast always been with me,
Though we have been always apart.

Oval Office... Oval Office...
I see heaven when I see thee, Oval Office,
And thy desk is just a place
I'll never sit in... Oval Office... Oval Office!


Titles. "Bailout!" in white letters on black.


Come see "Bailout!", playing now and forever at the Winter Garden Theater. Located between the Helping Hands Soup Kitchen and the Unemployment Office.


Household Help

There's video above, FeedReader. HT to Alex Epstein

These are actually vicious, commie lies. John McCain doesn't pay anything in household help. Cindy does. John spends all his money at the craps table.

(My sketch will be posted this evening. I promise.)

09 October 2008

Real advice from a fake President to a fake candidate

There's video above, FeedReader.

She's got my fake vote, too.

08 October 2008

Jigsaw Building

There's video above, FeedReader. HT to Urban Prankster.

Watch carefully. You might not notice anything at first, but eventually you'll see the video being projected onto the Hague City Hall.

03 October 2008

FSW: It's the End of the World As We Know It

Michael's selection for this week was the prescient apocalypse. All too close to bearing fruit, I keep hearing hoof beats and horn blasts. I tell you, if seven brothers club seven baby seals for their seven brides, I'm stocking up on bottled water tequila.

Micheal's already come through this week with a sketch about the day after yesterday. I got chills reading this. Ken followed up with a hopeful story about tolerance, belief, and deli food. Honors for next week's theme fall to him, so be sure to check out his blog for an update to his post.

As usual, if you want to play along with us, email a link to your entry to sketchwar at dreamloom.com.

It's the End of the World As We Know It


MARISOL, HECTOR, and BRAD wear tattered rags and sit in the decrepit remains of a once grand living room. Marisol and Hector huddle in one corner, Brad in another. The former captain of industry looks as beaten as his cook and gardener. PHOEBE throws open upstage doors and glides in wearing a short skirt, pressed blouse, and new Christian Louboutins. Her hair and makeup are immaculate. Her arms are full of bags.


It's so stuffy in here! What is wrong with all of you? It was a beautiful day today, but you're all sitting right where you were when I left this morning. I bet you didn't even get up once.


Hector got up once, to shoot a giant ant that was coming toward the house.


Si. I shoot between the eyes.


Which ones? It had like, a million.


And what about you? And Marisol? You just sat there? I bet you didn't even clean and dress the carcass. We haven't had fresh meat in two weeks, but you just left it on the lawn, didn't you? It's probably already gone bad.


No. The flying cats come and drag it to their nest.


They're so pretty. Why I can't have one?


We've been over this before, Marisol. No dogs or killer mutant cats in the house. Mr. Finley has allergies.


Yes, Miss Phoebe.


Come on. Come help me with the bags.

The others trudge to Phoebe and take her bags.


I found a few cans of pineapple juice under the bar in the Jensen's pool house. I remembered Patrick made those killer hurricanes last Memorial Day.


Any Myers left?


No. No booze. Looks like squatters got it all. But they left the fruit juice.


Lucky us.


You're damn right, lucky us! What's with all of you?


What's with us? You're running around town like nothing's wrong, while we're here fighting off killer ants and flocks of flying cats. It's over, Phoebe! The world's over!

Marisol and Hector freeze.


No, Brad. The world's not over. Your cushy life is over. Your two-martini lunches and Wednesday golf and Thursday afternoons with that tramp, Charlotte Greggson, are over. Life goes on. The world goes on.


Oh? You didn't think I knew about her? I knew, Brad. I! Didn't! Care!

Phoebe is steaming, but keeps it together. She crosses her arms. Hector looks in the last bag, not finding what he wants.


Miss Phoebe, you not bring bullets?


Of course I did, Hector. Nine mills, .38s, and 12-gauge. They're right here.

Phoebe spins a little and we see the third arm jutting from the center of her back holding one last bag. Her blouse is perfectly tailored to accommodate the extra appendage.


Thank you ma'am.

Hector goes to Phoebe and takes the bag. As he walks away, we see he has two extra eyes on the back of his head.


No problem, Hector. It's nice to see someone else around here doing his part.

(Stares at Brad)

But you really have to get out of this house more. You too, Marisol. The weather's just been perfect. It's my favorite time of year, when the lung-squid walk up the beach at night to spawn and the ocean burns just a little brighter. Both the moons are full tonight. You and Marisol should take a walk on the overlook.



The bat-coons!


Marisol, you know those are a myth. I've never heard a notion as silly as a bat-coon. Now you two go watch the mating dance of the lung-squid before the cock-a-mice come fly off with their eggs.

Marisol and Hector exit.


That's just great. The world is burning and you're playing matchmaker.

Phoebe sashays up to Brad. She wraps her two front arms around his waist.


Someone has to repopulate the world. It certainly isn't going to be us.


It's just...you're different since you grew...that.

Phoebe flexes her third arm and strokes his face seductively





(Nods at crotch)



Sarah Palin Debate Flowchart


Tip o' the hat to Mo Ryan.

My sketch *will* be arriving today. Eventually. I swear. As soon as I figure out what the hell I'm writing. I can tell you this much...it won't be about pre-school Horseman of the Apocalypse riding in atop carousel horses.

Go entertain yourself in the meantime with Michael's excellent entry. Better days, they are ahead my friends.

02 October 2008

PTA Powerplay

John Rogers on Sarah Palin:

The thing I find fascinating is that Sarah Palin was originally popular because people could relate to her as someone they knew from their everyday lives: the bubbly, over-achiever hockey mom who really gets involved in the community. Why she's fallen, hard, is that people realized she was in fact another person they knew from their everyday lives: that crazy mom who turns even the PTA into an insane obsessive power-play and forms weird hostile rivalries she executes through byzantine yet childish plots, seasoned with a dash of Fear of Anything Different.

01 October 2008

Live Blogging the VP Debate

I'm still pimping the new site. Just imagine, with a readership as puny as this one that's taken me a couple of years to build up, how *hard* it is to build up readership in a brand new, single-topic site. With little content. Where we've been up for only three days.

And yet...

Last night's liveblog of The Shield - which you can go and replay should you care to see it - was technically smooth. It was my first time doing more than a five-minute test with the software, and I had remarkably few issues with it. Load, we did not have. High-volume traffic, we did not have. Me and Michael, we had.

So, with a bit more headsup on a more generally interesting subject, Thursday night at 9pm EDT we're going to be liveblogging the Vice Presidential debate. There will be politics discussed, there's just no way to avoid that, but by and large this will be about the theater of the debate and less about substance (although every time either candidate avoids answering a question with empty sound bites, we'll be sure to pounce.) I'm not sure who from DreamLoom is going to be on board, but I'd certainly like to have some visitors join this time.

If you're interested - and I hope you are - come on over to the site. Here's a direct link to the liveblog post.

And when you're there, be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed, or subscribe for updates by email. I promise there's a lot more content coming soon.