28 March 2009

Sketch War: March Madness

Whoops! Not only did this week’s topic bring us our fewest sketches in several weeks, but…um…this was not our best week. And that’s, o-kay. There were a few chuckles though, so let’s get to them.

Next week’s topic is CSI: Anywhere. Expect a lot of sunglasses and oneliners. And don’t forget to vote on your favorite sketch from this week.

27 March 2009

Frozen by Memory

Jacob stepped onto the platform into the wall of stifling air and commuters. He knifed through the crush, using his shoulders like wedges, and ran through his mental checklist. Seven months and no nibbles; a lot was resting on this interview. He focused on the exit. Then, as if yanked by a string, Jacob's head spun left.

Mental checklists, rent, medical bills: they all flew from his head, replaced by Erica.

Erica. Months after the breakup, he still clutched her pillow to his face, breathing ghost traces of her perfume as he drifted to sleep. He wouldn't be interviewing today.

24 March 2009

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

"Whoa, whoa! Where you headed, partner?"

Felix froze on the spot and slowly turned to face the voice. His combover flopped wrongways, grazing his left shoulder instead of covering his shiny, sweaty pate. He was out of breath and out of time, a hundred yards from the gate and freedom.

Black shirt, black jeans, black boots, and mirrored sunglasses towered over him. He could hear the fabric straining to contain the bulging muscles on the guard. His voice boomed like dynamite in the hills.

"Mitzi played; now you gotta pay. There ain't no bonin' and boltin' at the Bunny Ranch."

23 March 2009

Why do you wear that mask?

The girl practically skipped inside, her basket cutting huge arcs through the air. "Grandmama? Where are you?"

"Back here, dear."

Grandmama had been sick awhile and the girl made a sort of frowny-smirky face. Then she remembered what her mama had said and put on a big smile and walked to the bedroom.

"Come closer, so I can see you better."

"What's that over your mouth?"

"A mask."

The girl had seen sick people wear masks like that before. She knew it must be bad. She leaned in to kiss her grandmother.

"The better to hide my teeth, my dear!"

22 March 2009

BSG Finale thoughts

I had a few things - 3000 words or so - to say about the BSG finale over at DreamLoom. If you care, you should take a look.

But for me what BSG meant is something different. I felt when watching, particularly when watching the long goodbyes, absorbed in a sweeping epic. Characters I cared about and had traveled with for half a decade fought, drank, screwed, cursed, fraked up, lived, and died. As the final hour was unwinding, especially the last 30 minutes, I wanted it to last longer.

Against all rules of narrative, I wanted to know I could come back next week and watch BSG: Little House on the Prairie, where Baltar and Caprica build themselves a log cabin. I wanted to know I could watch BSG: The Highlander, where Galen Tyrol started speaking with a French accent, wearing a kilt, and running around saying, “there can be only one.” I wanted to watch Hera grow up, learning to hunt and farm and build a house from her human daddy and Cylon mommy. I wanted to watch Michael Hogan and his amazing acting eye as Saul Tigh taught the protohumans all about fermentation and distillation. Each week a new delicious alcoholic beverage could be discovered.

Damn it, I wanted Kara and Lee to have a happy ending.
Read the whole thing here.

21 March 2009

SNL Character Wrapup

I hope you all enjoyed following along this week as much as we enjoyed bringing these characters to life. In some ways, this was a really tough prompt, but I think everyone managed to bring their A game this week.
Nine sketches (thanks to a double bonus from Ken whose initial trepidation hid a torrent of creativity) and not a single Hans und Franz amongst them. Thank god.

We hit most of the eras of SNL: the classic ’70s, the Billy Crystal years, the Phil Hartman years, and even today. I’m very impressed by the breadth brought to bear this week.

And please be sure to vote for your favorite sketches here.

17 March 2009

Maybe this will work...

Last Words
The El Camino sputtered out in the driveway. Jethro and Tyrone hightailed it to the door.

"You sure ain't nobody home?"

"I'm tellin' you, they left for Disney World Friday and ain't comin' back till weekend."

Tyrone found the Hide-a-Key in a fake rock. "No alarm?" asked Jethro.


Tyrone reached for a switch; Jethro batted his hand away. "Can't risk a neighbor gettin' nosy."

"What's stinks? Rotten eggs?"


Jethro rolled his eyes. "Gas don't smell. Don't you know nothin'?"

"Well, I don't wanna step in whatever's makin' that reek."

Tyrone pulled out his lighter.

"Maybe this will work..."

16 March 2009

Time Travel Wrapup

Oy. I’m getting worse, not better! This time, four sketches have been posted before I got around to the wrapup for last week. I think I need to be a bit more proactive about these!

Seven sketches and one not-a-sketch from Dave rounded out last week’s battle.
Next week our brave sketch warriors will be back writing sketches for SNL Characters. (Of course when I say “next week”, I mean right now. Check them out. There’s some good opening salvos.)
And remember, if you think you’ve got the comedy chops to do battle with our scarred and bitter warriors, if you dare step into the hailstorm of seltzer and cream pies, if you think you’re MAN ENOUGH or WOMAN ENOUGH to make us laugh, write a sketch and contact us at submissions(nospam)@sketchwar.org.

Emerald, Leprechaun, Lucky

Julie Gray ran another of her periodic short scene competitions this past week and the three finalists are up now for voting. Mine didn't make the cut, again. It's been months since my sole victory and feels like it'll be a long time coming before I even make the cut again. Oh well.

I don't like to waste anything I write, so here ya go.


WALTER stews on the ratty couch. A bitter leprechaun on the wrong side of 40, all ginger and freckles, pores oozing cheap beer. His dingy T-shirt of a piece with the squalid room.


Your brother came by the garage.


What did he want?


What does he ever want? Money.

An off-screen FLUSH.


Gave him a twenty and an alcohol wipe. Told him to say hi to the Wizard when he got to the Emerald City.

EILEEN enters. In bra and panties, her body belies her age. Rapidly approaching 40, her stomach bears no stretch marks.


You’re a prick.


You think this time was different?

Eileen closes the single, grimy window.


It’s cold in here.


Maybe if you didn’t parade around like a whore all the--

Eileen flies at Walter and cracks him across the face.


Maybe if you could get it up like a real man I wouldn’t dress this way.

Walter clomps to the door and slinks into a leather jacket.


I’m going drinking. Don’t wait up.

He slams the door. Eileen collapses, sobbing.

14 March 2009

Obama Misunderstands Definition of "Transparent"

I voted for the guy knowing what to expect: a typical Chicago machine pol. I'm pissed about this, but not surprised. Business as usual in DC.

The White House this week declared (.pdf) the text of the proposed treaty a "properly classified" national security secret, in rejecting a Freedom of Information Act request by Knowledge Ecology International.
But people shouldn't get too upset over it. I mean, the Clydesdales at Budweiser get to take a shit on the document to grant it their approval.

I would feel worse for the Obamamaniacs who put their life on hold and worked on his campaign. But sadly, I think they've already drunk so much of the Kool-Aid they'll be able to spin this in their sleep. I mean after all, if Obama *says* it's for national security, it *must* be for national security. He's so smart and super-cute, he'll protect us.

11 March 2009

100 Word Stories

A Twitter friend writes for a site, 100 Word Stories, where each contributor crafts a 100-word story on daily prompts. Y'all know I like *short*, so here are some pieces I've written in reaction to the prompts from the past two days:

What makes this garden unique?
The roses glisten with morning dew. The old woman tends them diligently, rising each day with the sun to unkink and unbend and fight rigor nocturnis.

Franny watches from her bus stop. Despite her mother's warnings, she is drawn to the roses that throb red and orange and lavender.

The old woman has prepared the rich brown earth, soil spilling gently into the fresh hole. All that waits is the blade, sharp and slender, to cut the beating heart from Franny's chest.

The roses glisten with morning dew. Today a new bush grows, flowers pink like a young girl's lips.

* * *
If I only had a...
Gale opened her eyes and watched the room spin. Since the apocalypse she'd gotten better at mixing pharma and this was her best mashup yet.

Mr. T was jittery. The Akita's muscles bunched as he paced. Gale's aunt still slept, unaware of her technicolor trip.

Strong winds rocked the house on its foundations, threatening to pull it free. The door flew open and a ragged man-shaped creature stumbled in.

"If I only had a BRAIN!"

Gale's gun blazed; the zombie's head splattered.

"Goddamn it, Gale! Lay off the junk before you get us both killed."

Guess Auntie Em was awake.

Mr. Wizard on Watchmen

Very old friend Michele asks...

What did you think of Watchmen? You had so much about it beforehand yet nada about your opinion. So unlike you not to voice an opinion. *grin*
Well, I contributed to its box office take on Sunday, with two tickets I bought for me and TheWife. But did I mention the various flus, sinus infections, and bouts of food poisoning running through Casa Wizard? No? Aha. You see, tickets were NOT used; Mr. Wizard has NOT seen Watchmen.

I'd feel really bad about this, but...
  • Malin Akerman is hot, but from trailers seems to be an even worse actress than Eliza Dushku
  • Matthew Goode is, um, nothing like Robert Redford, on whom Ozymandias was modeled. He looks like the sort of boy/man who is appealing to pre-teen girls and heroin addicts. Plus that constant smirk on his face? Like he ripped a fart and got away with it?
  • I accidentally downloaded some Smurf porn last week, so I've had my fill of Blue Penis for the nonce.
I will get around to seeing it, either in its run on an IMax screen or when it comes out on DVD. As much as I waited and watched and hoped, my expectations shrank asymptotically as we approached opening day.

10 March 2009

Ask Mr. Wizard Wednesday

Mr. Wizard was feeling a little poorly last week and stayed in bed. But now it's a new week, his intestines are intesting, and he's ready to go. So...

Questions about me, advice for the lovelorn, software questions, writing questions, questions about the annual cinnamon harvest in Sumatra...ask 'em and I'll answer 'em. I make no guarantees of the quality, veracity, or utility of the answers, but you'll get *something* either useful or funny.

Ask your questions in comments and I'll be posting your answers through the following days. This will keep you coming back and keep me more actively engaged over here. See? We *all* win.

08 March 2009

Sketch War: Game Show

How slow am I? Peter got his analysis commentary up before I got my wrapup done. Oh well. At least I beat the first sketch this week.

SEVEN sketches this week on the topic at hand. Some very good stuff.

Next week our brave sketch warriors will be back on the prompt of time travel.

And remember, if you think you’ve got the comedy chops to do battle with our scarred and bitter warriors, if you dare step into the hailstorm of seltzer and cream pies, if you think you’re MAN ENOUGH or WOMAN ENOUGH to make us laugh, write a sketch and contact us at submissions(nospam)@sketchwar.org.

02 March 2009

All Grown Up


01 March 2009

Sketch War: Social Networking

Six men Five men and one ¡woman! entered the battle last week and delivered some very funny and unique takes on social networking. Let’s have a look.

Next week our brave sketch warriors will be back (DNW has already posted, letting you know how late this is) on the prompt game show.

And remember, if you think you’ve got the comedy chops to do battle with our scarred and bitter warriors, if you dare step into the hailstorm of seltzer and cream pies, if you think you’re MAN ENOUGH or WOMAN ENOUGH to make us laugh, write a sketch and contact us at submissions(nospam)@sketchwar.org.