Speaking of medicine...
...remind me never to have surgery in Pakistan.
Doctor, I thought this was the heart transplant patient. Why are you doing his nails?
...remind me never to have surgery in Pakistan.
Doctor, I thought this was the heart transplant patient. Why are you doing his nails?
...man what a pathetically slow day. At least I got one in.
Update: The 3 of you who regularly tune in are probably wondering what's become of Stew. He's sick with the clap. No, wait a minute, that wasn't it. Dysentery, is what he said on the phone. I think he was joking. I do recall that it involved projectile vomiting and profuse bodily discharges, or was it a slight temperature and the sweats?
Can you tell I don't know that much about medicine. I would have been lousy acting on ER. You'd have the scene where the critical patient comes in and I'd have some line along the lines of "I need 20 cc's of atropine now! Pass me the scalpel, Martini clamps, and the ovular retractor. I'm going to have to bypass the fernuncular vestrel valve and perform a lapiscodomy on the upper ricola." I can't even write it. I'd sound like the Katzenjammer Kids and Noah Wylie and Sherry Stringfield would constantly lose it on set and guffaw into the crash cart. Eventually they'd run out of fake blood and I'd be sacked for Les Nesman's disease.
Anyway Stew, get well soon as there's live blogging to do tomorrow for the Academy Awards. I'd like to tell everyone we'll be right outside the Kodak Theatre but Jack "Boom Boom" Valenti has a 200-mile restraining order on us for "making fun of Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff." I guess we know who's breast pocket Jack is in.
A record number of nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize were submitted this year to and by the Nobel Committee in Sweeden. The nomination process is not without its flaws, considering that Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic are among the past nominees. (Can you imagine the git committee member who nominated Hitler, upon realising his error? "Well, I really messed up on that one there. Maybe I should have recommended that there Josef Stalin instead? That John Reed really has some good things to say about him you know.")
Anyway, although the nominations are supposedly secret, I have managed to obtain a list of nominees for this year through my own secret (and possibly fictional) inside sources. No, this is not the same person who hacked Paris Hilton's cell phone. I don't have those kinds of connections. The list though is quite surprising. I think they're off their Glögg, if you ask me.
For some of you in the London area, tired of the formality of our prose, I have discovered a site for you. (Warning, there is a bit of unfortunate language.) The actual application at work here can also be tuned to the following "dialects":
Here's the song lyrics I posted last night in "Cockney" (and yes I know "Bobbies" [or "Bobbys"] is way out of vogue with some, so please don't write, both of you.):
Rita (Sung ter "Roxanne" by the bloomin'
Yer don't 'ave ter hammer the ***ffin' rail spike
Them ways are over
Yer don't 'ave ter sweat in yor cave all night
Yer don't 'ave ter wear that apron tight
Work that steel for brass
Yer don't care if it's armor for a knight
Yer don't 'ave ter work by the firelight
I luvd yer since I met yer
I came by ter order 'orseshoes
I 'ave ter say fough yor an 'eartless schlemiel
I won't share yer wiv anuvver goy
I know yor smifink's Charo
(Is yor last name Moreno?)
And fough yor eyebrows will grow hammer and tack again
It's a bad way
Yer don't 'ave ter hammer the rail spike
Yer don't 'ave ter hammer the bloody rail spike
Since Stew and I are gearing up for the first annual DOUI Live Blog of the Oscars this Sunday, I thought I'd warm up by presenting a brief plot summary of the Best Picture nominees. I've not had a chance to watch many films this year, so I apologize in advance if I'm a bit sketchy on details, or the facts, for that matter.
Martin Scorsese's biopic of either Howard Hughes or Charles Lindbergh begins with the famous aviator/movie producer/radical hygenist's discovery of the opposite sex, as portrayed by Kate Blanchett. After marveling at the amazing shape and feel of his newest discovery, a single engine Vaught Corsair, he takes Kate Hepburn up in one in a clumsy attempt to "join the Mile-High club". Kate responds by throwing Hughes out of the plane, but her plan backfires when Howard lands on Spencer Tracy, killing him outright, nearly thirty years before his actual death. Hepburn is then forced to film "Adam's Rib" with Lou Costello.
Johnny Depp's 700th film of 2004 finds him playing James M. Barrie (the M. stands for "Mojo"), the eccentric author of Peter Pan. Barrie is determined to find the mythical island of Neverland and convinces himself along the way, not only that he can fly, but that he is a Vaught Corsair, despite the fact that the plane would not be invented for another 40 years. Much of the film takes place in flashback as Barrie, in a convalescence home, reminisces about the days when he had full use of his limbs, and also his 27 test flights off the Cliffs of Dover.
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Clint Eastwood and Hillary Swank star in this depressing fable about female boxers who don't fight in mud in bikinis, or fly Vaught Corsairs. Hillary Swank's character is devastated when she is crippled after a one-sided bout with Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali, who opens up a six-pack of whup-a** on her. She decides to end it all by disguising herself as a cheeseburger and lying prostrate on a George Foreman grill, which results in one of the quickest death scenes in film history, and a cameo by George Foreman.
A biopic of the famous singer and songwriter Ray Charles, played by half of Jamie Foxx (the other half was in Collateral at the time). The film covers the period of Ray Charles' life from his destitute childhood through his attempts to break the world air speed record in a Vaught Corsair, to several made-up events and personal scandals that were added by the phalanx of screenwriters hired to spice things up because Hollywood producers don't think the life of a talented, blind African-American will attract lily-white audiences to the theaters. At least that's what I think Spike Lee would write were he doing this post.
The story of a man so fed up with life that he decided to only walk sideways for a period of 25 years, which was unfortunately impractical as he was 102 when he started and really couldn't walk at all, just sidle about in his wheelchair, a sophisticated model built from the scrap of a Vaught Corsair. He made a good effort though, and those who saw him were immensely moved by the way in which he attempted to generate any motion whatsoever, and the vigorous hip action required to do so. The movie ends tragically though when the man is run down by an angry Che Guevara on a motorbike, who was traveling in a rapid, forward direction.
My prediction for the winner: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban in a surprise write in vote. I'm almost certain to be wrong, but I just drove the hits for our site up by 150% by mentioning the film.
Stew, you've inspired me...if this can be called inspired.
Rita (Sung to "Roxanne" by the Police)
You don't have to hammer the rail spike
Those ways are over
You don't have to sweat in your cave all night
You don't have to wear that apron tight
Work that steel for money
You don't care if it's armor for a knight
You don't have to work by the firelight
I loved you since I met you
I came by to order horseshoes
I have to say though you're a heartless schlemiel
I won't share you with another goy
I know you're smithing's Charo
(Is your last name Moreno?)
And though your eyebrows will grow back again
It's a bad way
You don't have to hammer the rail spike
You don't have to hammer the rail spike
Before I forget, I was thinking earlier today about Bank One, the gargantuan financial corporation that eats local and regional banques, the way Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi goes through frankfurters.
Anyway, how on earth did they decide upon the name "Bank One"? Are they really the world's first banque? Was it founded by some caveman, who collected the rocks his contemporaries threw in his cave and then returned them "with interest" the next time one of them got close enough? Was the banque founded by Hammurabi or Methuselah? Did they win a contest for best banque? Even a People's Choice Award, as meaningless as that is? I mean, doesn't adding the number "one" to the name of your organization imply primacy of a chronological or qualitative nature?
This is like someone forming a Baptist church and calling it "First, First Baptist Church". It's nearly as pathetic as those college students who hold up the "number 1" gesture after a football victory, even though their team is 5-6. Why not go the whole hog, as it were, and call the company "The Best Bank in the World" or "The First and Only Bank" or "One Bank to Rule Them All"?
All right, I admit that on the last point we may be mere months from that claim becoming vaild.
I sort of hung you out there with my last post. I realized late yesterday that my suggestion of the inclusion of a heartless, cave-dwelling female blacksmith in the GAN was perhaps a little out of line. I don't want you to think that you have to involve her and upset the balance of the GAN or your direction in writing. If you do want to include her, I have given you a start which sort of ties everything together.
Standing in her dank cave Rita breathed deeply, the pungent air filling her nostrils seemed to reinvigorate her as she squeezed the bellows. The fire roared as she grabbed the tongs and removed the glowing metal from the forge, roughly placing it on the anvil. With heavy hammer strokes she formed the malleable iron as her diabolical mind raced with its sinister purpose. Rita plunged the finished piece into the water, gave out a shriek of delight, and then sat down to admire her handiwork. She reached behind the forge and produced a small box, delicately placed the railroad spike inside, and wrote a terse message in crayon: “To Chester: I hope this works well for you”. As Rita placed the parcel on her table, she wondered if anyone could ever love a callous female blacksmith.
I hope this helps, I did like the name Rita.
Dr Gene Scott passed away today at the age of 75. If anyone is going to heaven by flying saucer, watch him now as he departs.
Dr. Gene was a televangelist, or so he claimed. He was a Christian pastor, led a Los Angeles church, and appeared on T.V. However, he was about as close to the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as Christopher Walken is to Gort the robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still. He was the kind of pastor who would have playfully teased the other two while blowing smoke rings in their face. I suspect he would have smacked Jimmy Swaggart over the head with Jimmy's big, floppy Bible. Jim Bakker would have been growled at within an inch of his life. I can just imagine Dr. Gene running over Benny Hinn in a golf cart.
Dr. Gene's idea of teleevangelizing was to sit in front of the camera in a comfortable chair, smoke several cigars, and occasionally, through the haze of smoke between him and the lens, offer up a devotional or Bible lesson, or suggest that if you've learnt anything from him, you might send in a check of support, or to run video footage of his show horses several thousand times. He had eccentric views on the pyramids and other phenomenon that would have made Erich Von Daniken scratch his head and ask, "Vat ist dat man smoking in his cigars?" Whereas you sensed that nutters like his contemporary Hunter S. Thompson were working really hard, and ingesting lots of chemicals, to create the effect of being eccentric outsiders, Dr. Gene settled into the part as naturally and easily as he sank into that tobacco-stained chair of his.
His views were not always coherent, or even readily available if he was in one of his horse-obsessed months, but he radiated a hypnotic charm and unmistakable faith in his Saviour. This is a chap who launched a several month-long fund raising campaign, to save a downtown L.A. church, just to see the words "Jesus Saves" over the city skyline. He was a televangelist for hippies and beatniks, eccentrics and outcasts, which covers a lot of human ground. 2 a.m. just won't be the same anymore for many of us.
I got a new check card in the mail today and decided that I would activate it this evening. My bank is a relatively small one that hasn't yet been swallowed whole by Bank One, so I wasn't surprised that the first number I called was someone's actual desk. I actually felt sorry for them, imagining them sitting in a cubicle all day saying, "Would you like to activate your card, today?" in a tone of voice that pretends that someone might actually answer by saying, "No, I just called to waste your time and annoy you." (I haven't done that in ages.)
Anyway, the voice mail for that poor individual gave me a number for an automated 24-hour service. I hurriedly memorized it, dialed it, and was greeted by the universal voice of electronic call reception introducing me to the bank's 24 hour service. I do not know who this woman is, but I suspect she doesn't go out much. I can't imagine being whispered sweet nothings by the cheerfully vapid voice telling me that if I wanted to activate a card or report a stolen card that I should dial "7". Activate or report stolen card, there was a risky combo...I'm certain someone, at some point, called into to report a stolen, unactivated card, and accidentally activated it at the precise time the thief was using it to buy a yacht.
I dialed "7" happy to know that I would never have to hear that voice making suggestions about neck nibbling, or explaining what the honeymoon ought to be like. Not unsurprisedly, the same voice returned, only this time explaining that if I wanted to activate the card I should dial "1". Happy, that I didn't have to risk reporting my nice, new card as stolen, and that she wasn't making invitations to investigate her new risque knickers, I dialed "1".
The voice returned and asked, with what seemed to me an infinitely subtle increase in suggestiveness in the voice - although it could have just been my paranoia regarding this person possibly mating with non-androids, if I would enter my card number. Overcoming the natural inclination to suggest that it was none of her ruddy business what my number was, primarily because I wanted the card activated, I entered the number and dutifully pressed the pound key.
I waited a moment and the voice returned and reported to me the following statement, which I shall endeavor to reproduce as faithfully as possible:
What is it about "24 hour service" do these people not understand? Are they on some sort of 25 hour clock, and I just happened to catch them on their one hour off?
We cannot process your request as there has been an error. We cannot process your request because we are closed. Goodbye.
Just a reminder for those 10 people reading today, that in-between helping Juan Carlos Vega write the "Great American Novel", Stew and I, and possibly some others, are planning the DOUI First Annual Live Blog of the Oscars (or DOUIFALBO, pronounced "Oprah").
So, we'll be watching with the rest of you and posting on this site as the evening progresses. Which reminds me Stew, I've got 30 seconds in the "How long will it take Chris Rock to say something the censors don't like" pool. I realize I'm being optimistic. 30 seconds is a long time.
Put me down for 90 seconds in the "Chris Rock F-Bomb" pool. I expect him to show some self-control.
BTW - This is our hundredth post (Cue canned applause).
Since we are helping Juan with the GAN, I thought I might come up with some suggestions for chapter titles. A good chapter title can always tempt the reader and indeed propel them forward in the book. Who did not want to read on when they came to chapter 54 “The Town-Ho’s Story” in Moby Dick? Sure, we learned it was just the name of a ship and not a monologue by Velvet Jones, but we continued reading…and that is the important thing. Juan, I want to assist you in any small way so here are some chapter titles for you to consider for the first few chapters of the GAN.
Chapter 1: The Greatest American Novel Begins
This one will cause them to immediately see your work as THE GAN, forsaking all other pretenders. I just hope it’s not too pretentious.
Chapter 2: How to Turn Lead into Precious Metals
This chapter will keep them captivated and may renew interest in the study of alchemy.
Chapter 3: Mimes Explode
This will entice the reader to advance in the hope of living a vicarious dream.
Chapter 4: Rontinald and the Dapocaginous, Troglodytic Farris
This will at first promote confusion in the reader but ultimately their curiosity will lure them to discover its meaning. You will have to work a heartless, cave dwelling female blacksmith into the story however. Maybe her name could be Smithy or Rita.
Chapter 5: Cute Puppies and Soft Babies
This chapter will fulfill the need some humans have for pleasing ideas or concepts in their reading. I would avoid unpleasant plot twists such as a heroine who, after surmounting overwhelming odds, ends up a quadriplegic who gets her limbs hacked off one by one. Save that for Chapter 27… An Alarming Consequence.
Chapter 6: Free Vouchers for the First 100 Readers
Ok, this is a bit of a desperate move but if it keeps them going, you’ve got to do it.
Chapter 7: Yearnings of a Midget Lover
Alright, I admit it is a bit ribald but you have to keep the freaks onboard with something don’t you?
Those are just a few examples of chapter titles that keep the readers craving more. If you need more just give me a call sometime, I’m sure I’ve got a few more in me.
I was glancing at Juan Carlos' post of this weekend. You really should post more J.C.V. I just get to where I think I know what you're on about and then a week or two goes by and you post again and I'm as confused as ever. For example, you write in your post that "GAN" is coming, and I was thrilled to hear it. Then I realized you were writing about the "Great American Novel" instead of the amazing Gan family of Chicago. I was already to go out and by tickets for their production of Showboat. You haven't lived until you've heard little Johann Gan belt out "Old Man River". What's Paul Robeson got that little Johann hasn't (besides ties to the Communist Party I mean.)
So you're writing the Great American Novel? Good luck to you. Many have tried: Steinbeck, Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Roth, Ellison, Melville, Capote, Joyce, Napoleon, Sun-Tzu, Shecky Green, Minnie Pearl, Bullwinkle, and Ginger the Wonder Seal. Each one, with the possible exception of Shecky, never even got close. They were thwarted by the terrible fact that the Great American Novel had already been written by one Alexis P. Diddle of Sherman Oaks, CA in the late nineteenth century. The title of this history-making tome: The Great American Novel by Alexis P. Diddle (Alexis P. didn't diddle around, despite her surname.)
Sadly, the novel is technically not considered "the" Great American Novel, because its author was tragically cut down in the prime of her life at age 97, when she was run over by a streetcar whilst unicycling. Still, even though half-finished, the 2785 pages that she left us are a testimony to the eloquence of American verbosity (and that J.K. Rowling has some catching up to do in the area of length.) Those who have come across it, have been left in awe of the fact that it was written by an actual human being and not several thousand chimpanzees with typewriters (who, to be fair, are still working on an adaptation of Hamlet.) T.S. Eliot said of this monumental work, "I shall never see another like it, thanks be to God!" and William Burroughs said of its turgid prose, "Roaches, giant roaches everywhere, crawling on my face and sucking out my eyes!" Admittedly, Burroughs was as baked as a 10 pack of Pillsbury Biscuits when he made those comments.
Anyway, since you are facing some form of writer's block concerning your own massive novel-to-be, I thought I'd share with you, and our 5 readers, a few passages from the book. I confess, I've never been able to follow the plot, so extraordinary is this story.
From the Prologue:
Chester A. Arthur stood at the precipice of a new and dreadful age of ballroom dancing and he did not like it one bit. Feeling depressed, he went out to the tool shed and drove a railroad spike through his head. His widow, Marnie, crept silently into the shed with his birthday cake, under the delusion that her beloved husband of 50 years, the former President of the United States of America, was whittling a Pinewood Derby car for their Cub Scout son Siegfried Gotterdammerung Arthur. Upon seeing the sight of her spouse, she laughed, thinking that he was pulling another one of his "little jokes". It was only after she saw, read, and mimeographed the suicide note Chester had written ("I'm am ending it all. My last request is that my remains be made into part of the B&O Railroad. I shall give them a head start, no pun intended. Love, Chester.") and realized that not only was he not breathing, but that he had bits of a railroad spike alarmingly protruding from each ear, that she suspected something might be amiss. By then it was too late, he was already dead, Jim.
Siegfried Gotterdammerung Arthur stood astride history and fate and destiny also, not to mention calamity at being astride so many things at once, and he with his tight hamstrings. Nonetheless, there he stood, he and his faithful dog Novacaine, and his Clydesdale pony, MacMahon. They stood there, proud to be standing there, astride so many things, including Calamity, although she didn't mind as Siegfried was so light for a man of six foot, four inches, with a jaw like the square end of a sledgehammer and dazzling teeth like those novelty teeth that chatter when you wind them up, only his teeth didn't chatter, they just sort of gaped open, just enough for a small, embarrassing amount of drooling, but how could you blame the poor schmuck standing astride so many great things at once. He was lucky his pants hadn't split.
Isabelle slowly moved across the room towards Lanky Jim, her eyes boring into him like a tungsten-carbide drill, only occasionally blinking in a sultry way that drills are really unable to achieve, even with the new ceramic metals that increased her driving distance by 35 yards on hot, dry days like this one. Slowly, beads of sweat accumulated in her ridiculously thick eyebrows. Her lips, moistened and pursed together like a professional lemon-taster's, beckoned him to her. He stood up and hit his head on the roof, so lanky was he, and immediately knocked himself unconscious. Isabelle, sashayed over to him and stole all of his cigars, replacing them with exploding ones. The next day, while playing poker, Jim blew off his head while trying to light what he thought was a Rothschild.
I was at the local amusements and video arcade with Mrs. Fando and the littlest Fando this evening. We began by taking in the cacophony of bells, gunblasts, and screeching tires that is common to these places, and that was just the car park. Seriously, we did browse the video games and skeeball for a few moments. I noted to Mrs. Fando the number of young women taking their turns on the newest attraction at the place, a mechanical bull. As these young ladies rode, I imagined their boyfriends standing around watching them, all visualizing their ladies with a large Hardees burger in one hand. Sad, the Paris Effect, isn't it?
However, the littlest Fando was game for go-kart racing, and as Mrs. Fando refuses these days to ride in anything more jarring than a London doubledecker bus (when we're there, of course), I was elected to serve as the competition for this particular drive. With our sweet urchin in the vehicle in front of me, her hands firmly gripped to the steering wheel and her foot prepared to slam the accelerator pedal of her kart like a stomp box at a U2 concert, we began our race.
Given that our youngster has only driven go-karts a few times I figured I'd sit back and watch how she handled the car, and make a few mental notes for the inevitable driving lessons to come in a few years. I took the corners a bit wide and manuevered back and forth behind her vehicle to occupy myself whilst creating the impression that "Da" was putting up a good race. Our little one did fairly well, running a good line through the s-curves and only struggling a bit with the hairpin curve at the back. (Note to self: steering in parking lots - extra work.)
It was fairly late, so were the only ones on the track and the young men operating the particular track we were on seemed preoccupied, first with a picture cellphone, and then with a young lady they knew who stopped by to see them (soon she was posing for cellphone pictures - good thing it was a kid's place or things could have got out of hand). So we got to drive for ages, Mrs. Fando patiently, if nervously, watching from the sidelines.
Finally, I decided we were going to be out here a good long time and so I'd raise the stakes a little. I came out wide going just before the hairpin curve and cut back inside, taking an aggressive line. The littlest Fando had gone into the curve tightly and came out a bit wide, giving Daddy the opportunity to move in front. I floored the accelerator, lurching up beside her and caught her glancing at me out as she sped forward. I was about zip by her car when suddenly, something happened that I shall remember for the rest of my life.
She cut me off. Just like that, a swerve to the right, Dad slams on the brakes and veers wide and she's off again, leaving me in her wake, silently cursing the "no bumping" rule. After we finished, she exulted in her victory and at least five times she referred to me as "old man".
Our little girl is not only growing up, she's getting way too serious about a nice drive at the go-kart track with Dad.
I did, however, seriously thump her in Skeeball. I have some pride you know.