It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Miss America goes Vegas!

This year the Miss America Pageant is being held in Las Vegas. What happens when a contest designed to crown a paragon of American womanhood is set in "sin city"? Here's a short run down:

  • Finalists chosen from last ten ladies to "crap out" at the dice table.
  • Attendance doubles on news that the "bathing-suit" category has been replaced with a "topless revue." HBO gets the TV rights.
  • New Host: Wayne Newton! Here She Is, Miss America is replaced with Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast.
  • A pageant judge claims that someone threatened to "break his kneecaps" if he didn't vote for Miss New Jersey.
  • Pageant interrupted by plane crash of psychotic renegade convicts and Nicholas Cage.
  • Pageant interrupted by parachuting Elvis impersonators, including Nicholas Cage.
  • Pageant interrupted when Nicholas Cage leaps onstage and announces he will drink himself to death. Elizabeth Shue offers to console him. Wayne Newton interrupts, beating him with a folding chair, and announces, "We've had about enough of your nonsense tonight, pal!"
  • Several of the contestants complain about the enormous new "Miss America Headresses".
  • Special $9.99 "All Legs and Breasts" chicken buffet just before the pageant.
  • Miss America 2006 wins a Vegas quickie wedding with her choice of Nick Lachey, Tom Green, Kenny Chesney, or Dennis Rodman.
  • Contestants mobbed by "johns" while walking the Las Vegas Strip.
  • Two tables are by the stage this year: Judges and oddsmakers.
  • New Miss America indoor roller coaster.
  • New Finalist question: "If you become Miss America, who will you use your newfound crown to extort in the coming year?"

Friday, January 20, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us! Or would that be Birthday?

The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas is one year old today! We're hoping that our anniversary/birthday present is one of the finalist positions on the 2006 Bloggies, but we're more likely to get fan mail from Ben Affleck and Martha Stewart than for that to actually happen. Hope springs internal though (or is that "eternal"? Who can keep track!)

Anyway, enjoy the festivities. We understand Tom Cruise will be by later to lecture us on the misuse of prozac and do a ripping couch dance with Cameron Diaz. Also, take our Reader Challenge below. Cheers!

June Carter, could you pass me that whoopee cushion?

Being a person that would rather have my nails ripped off with a pair of pliers than watch any awards show except the Oscars, I missed the Golden Globes with much relief. However, being the entertainment hound I am, I did read the list of nominees and winners along with Earl's fine review of the show. The film that stuck out to me was Walk the Line, the biopic of the life and apparently wacky times of John R. Cash or Johnny as we all know him. When I saw that the film had won in the Comedy category at the Globes I was immediately surprised, not thinking that "The Man in Black" was the jovial sort. While I was sure he may have had his moments, a man who only wears black wouldn't seem to exude comedy.

Not having seen the picture myself I decided to call up an old friend at the studio to see if I could get a screener DVD. He was able to procure a disc but it turned out to be outtakes from the picture that didn't make the final cut. I think we do get a glimpse at the man's humorous side in some of these scenes.

Walk the Line - deleted scenes

Scene 1

Slow tracking shots through Folsom Prison. We see empty cells and courtyards and as we move through the prison walls we can hear the laughter of inmates.

Cash: III'mmm Johnny Cash, now excuse me while I blow these balloons up into funny shapes.

Inmate: Can ya make me a key Johnny? (laughter)

Cash: I wish I could son. I wish I could.

Cash: But here's a little poodle instead.

Scene 14

Cash: IIII'mmmm thinking of dropping the watermelon smashing from the act. I just don't think people appreciate it.

June Carter: Johnny, you can't do it. It's your big finale, who does it better than you?

Cash: There's a young guy in California that they say is a natural.

June Carter: Do it for me Johnny.

Cash: (deep thought pause) I could never refuse you June. Get me that sledgehammer.

Scene 15

Cash: (to prison inmates) You boys hungry for some watermelon?

Inmate: Ah, not that old gag Johnny. This guy named Gallagher did that one the other day. He calls it the Sledge-a-matic.

Cash: Did he do it while singing Ring of Fire?

Inmates cheer as the first chords of Ring of Fire resonate through the prisons halls.

Scene 21

Cash: Have ya heard the one about Ghandi, the devil, Calvin Coolidge, and the prison warden?

Inmate: Yeah, Johnny. Ya told that one the last time you were here.

Cash: Welllll, what's the difference between prison and work?

Inmate: We work in prison.

Cash: In prison you spend most of your time looking through the bars wanting to get out and at work you want to get out so you can go inside the bars.

(Silence)

Cash: IIII'mmm Johnny Cash.

(Cheers and uproarious applause)

Cash: (to June Carter) Maybe comedy ain't my bag.

Certainly some funny stuff from Johnny there and I'm sure the movie is filled with even more humor if these scenes were left on the cutting room floor.


Update: I just learned the category was Best Film: Musical or Comedy. I think that might explain Johnny's switch to an all music act in his later years.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

An anniversary challenge to our fan(s)

The first anniversary of the Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas is coming up tomorrow on January, and, in addition to the fireworks, F-16 flyover, and Sandra Bullock and Lindsay Lohan doing the Dance of the Seven Veils (still subject to negotiation with their representatives), we thought it would be a good idea for YOU to get involved.

That would be YOU, the person or possibly persons who actually intended to come to this page, as opposed to "you" the people who accidentally got here via "Next Blog" or a Cameron Diaz search... although you are welcome to participate if it doesn't sicken you.

Here's the deal - We have two things we'd like you to do:

  • Tell us YOUR favorite DOUI post of 2005. We recommend that you start by perusing The Best of DOUI for 2005 and work your way outward from there, but any post that you like will be acceptable. Send them to earlfando@yahoo.com. We'll tabulate the result... erm, I mean results, the thousands and thousands of results!!!... and post the winner, the Best Post of 2005 as chosen by you, our readers, on Wednesday, January 25.
  • Send us an e-mail telling why you enjoy DOUI! Send them to earlfando@yahoo.com and we'll choose the best one and publish it and the winner's name on the blog on the 25th as well. Be as funny or as emotionally moved, or as shamelessly flattering as you like. Please do not submit pictures of yourselves in or out of costume. We just want words, and any cash you care to include. Note: Sending an e-mail for this purpose will automatically constitute permission to publish your full name on the blog.
  • If no one responds to either of these requests, we'll make up something and pretend it's a real e-mail, just to save face. We may be ridiculous nincompoops with a penchant for embarrassing ourselves, but we do have some pride.

So c'mon and get in the show, the DOUI show!!!

Update: Where are you people? We've extended the deadline until Tuesday night.

Niall of the Nine Hostages - The Musical!!!

Stew, I was perusing my threadbare copy of A History of Irish Culture, Music, and Bacon by Christina O'Aguilera when I unexpectedly came across something I think would be of interest to you - right in the middle of page 527, after a history of the potato barnacle in Kinvara, and just before an extensive passage on the role of the pennywhistle in symphonic music.

Apparently, the gentleman you wrote about a few weeks ago (sorry, it was Tuesday) Niall of the Nine Hostages, was the subject of a well-known anonymously composed mediaeval ballad. Since the ballad itself is public domain, unlike Miss O'Aguilera's fantastic colcannon receipe, I decided our readers might like a look as well:
**********

The Ballad of Niall of the Nine Hostages
Translated from the Celtic by Earl Fando
(public disclaimer - Mr. Fando knows approximately two words of
Celtic...possibly)

Oh sit ye down, let me speak of him, a lad who you never could rile
A young man with real stamina, a bloke who's name was Niall
Oh Niall was a mighty rabbit man, a harer brave and pure,
But at the end of the day, put the rabbits away, it's shaggin' time for sure,
three hours sure.

The lasses liked him getting rough, their bonnets Niall would lob,
If not for the forming of the morning dew he'd still be on the job,
still be on the job.

Niall left his mark with the women folk, throughout the Emerald Isle
With Muireann, and Siobhán too, Dearbhaile (who was his wife)
Caitríona, and the rest have all been known by Niall!

**********
Strangely enough, this ancient Celtic ballad can be easily sung to the theme from Gilligan's Isand.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Let the season of patting oneself on the back and tear-shedding begin!

The Golden Globes were on last night, and I know what many of you are thinking: "Who gives a damn?" Some people do though, most notably the celebrities on hand to claim awards that they can proudly set in a place of prominence on their mantle to reserve that space until they finally win that Oscar.

I was busy with more important things last night (I almost have that hole in my sock darned) so I didn't actually watch the programme. I might have had I known that Hugh Laurie was going to win, as we at DOUI are big fans of his and Rowan Atkinson from their Black Adder days. Nonetheless, I've tried to do a quick bit of research, as I feel it's my duty to keep you up to snuff on the elaborate and, quite frankly, meanless and pathetically self-indulgent world of entertainment news. That and Stew is too busy careening through the temporal ether, and Juan Carlos and Zimpter are too busy doing whatever it is that keeps them from blogging these days, which I suspect involves a great deal of sleeping.

So here's the rundown. I'll keep it as brief as possible, and no that doesn't mean I'll flash a bit of undergarment during the piece.

  • Brokeback Mountain won best drama, partially because some of the foreign press thought it was a remake of High Noon, which expalins the chants of "Gary Cooper! Gary Cooper!" when the award was announced. Still though, some were impressed by the film's daring challenge to the conventional, cow-ranching, heterosexual, entertaining western of days gone by. "Long overdue!" exclaimed Franz Ewefondler of the Bavarian Times. Director Ang Lee won the Best Director award, and promised a fusion sequel of this and his other most well known film. The upcoming work is tentatively titled Crouching Cowboy, Hidden Sheep.
  • Walk the Line won best comedy or musical because of confusion with the Broadway show A Chorus Line. In fact, on 70% of the ballots, voters had written in "I Walk the Chorus Line" which led to several Brokeback Mountain jokes, which shall not be repeated here but which provoked gales of laughter from the cast of Capote.
  • Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon swept the lead acting awards for Comedy or Musical with their performances as Johnny and June Carter Cash in Walk the Line. This continues a tradition of acting awards for people playing deceased musical stars: Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (Best Actor), Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in The Doors (Best Ham), Adam Sandler as Keith Richards in Tootsie (Best Makeup), and Dom DeLuise as the Beatles in The Cannonball Run (Best Special Effects).
  • George Clooney won a Best Supporting Actor award for his role in Syriana and picked up another acting award for Best Feigned Surprise at Winning Award. Minsk Star cinema columnist Svetlana Rollofferandplayadeadovich said that she voted for Clooney because, "I am stalking him." Strangely, Clooney used the word "pomade" in his acceptance speech no fewer than 14 times.
  • Mary Louise Parker won a Best Actress in a TV Series - Musical or Comedy, and was no doubt helped by the dearth of current Musical TV series, if you don't count American Idol and The Apprentice. However, the biggest surprise about her win was that she beat out the entire cast of Desperate Housewives, who congratulated Miss Louise Parker by pulling her hair out in knots.
  • Finally, because let's face facts - I'm bored with it, Anthony Hopkins won the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement, for being "the most talented actor thought by the panel to be likely to snuff it sometime soon." Hopkins responded to this death wish of an award by thanking the crews behind the camera: "that wonderful bunch of anonymous people who work harder than anyone" and proceeded to recite the names of several crew members he worked with until reporters realized that he had just memorized a few pages from the L.A. phonebook. "I thought it was a pretty big coincidence that he knew some many crew members with the last initial of Z," confided ace Kathmandu Entertainer columnist Sig Trollophandler.
Transmission ends.

I was less than a twinkle for a second there!

I just managed to extract myself from an alternate dimension in order to thwart Stew's time-travelling experiments in Hibernian birth control. (Apparently the effects were transferred to that dimension... all the police in New York City there are now Chinese.) I know this confuses many of you, since Fando is not exactly an Irish name (I think there are some O'Fandos but I'd have to double-check that), but I do have Irish amongst my varied and complicated lineage, so it was a narrow escape, just.

The moral of the story? I'm not sure there is one, other than that a randy 5th Century Irish rabbit breeder could populate one-twelfth of the most populous metropolis on the planet, after Mexico City, of which one-twelfth of the population can trace their heritage back to the galley lad on Leif Ericsson's longboat.

And all along we thought it was Colin Farrell

The search for Ireland's most fertile male is over and the winner is... Niall of the Nine Hostages? Well, my money was on Colin Farrell of the Phone Booth, but then again I didn't put the scientific research into it that Trinity College did. The article is interesting as far as Irish genealogy, descent, and surnames are concerned but doesn't answer the question that is burning in many of our minds. How many times a day did this guy do it? I mean even if he had twelve sons he still must have been a randy little fellow. I decided to go to the source. Upon reading an ancient copy of Leonardo da Vinci's text on time travel I discovered a map which showed me the way to the plans for a time machine. It helped that the words "Da Vinci's Time Machine" were scrawled on the hidden passageway in The Vatican (got to wonder how they missed that). After constructing the machine with help from Earl I made the great leap backwards.

Ireland 405 A.D.

Niall's House

About noonish

I found myself standing outside a rather humble little hovel that one would not expect to belong to a king. I didn't see anyone but there was a large sign outside on the doorpost.



Searching around I found a local laborer, who had apparently been working very hard at something, coming down the path.

Stew: Excuse me, I'm looking for Niall. I understand that he lives around these parts.

Laborer: (looking nervous) Who's askin'?

Stew: (thinking quickly) Well, actually I'm um... Stew of Miller the Dung Sniffer. I've come to ask him some questions concerning a particularly odorous pile I noticed in the area.

Laborer: Oh, well pleased to meet'cha. The names Niall of the Two Hostages but my friends call me jackrabbit. Sorry about all the filth, I meant to clean the place up.

Stew: Jackrabbit? Why would they call you that?

Niall: Well, I guess because of my breeding habits. It's 5th century Ireland, I've got to have a hobby.

Stew: But aren't you a king?

Niall: Who told you that? Probably the same lot that keeps blaming me for taking nine hostages. I tell'em it was only two, I didn't know the mushrooms would do that to me.

Stew: Yes, right. Anyway I wanted to ask... (a young maiden interrupts)

Maiden: Niall, I need it now. I can't wait any longer.

Niall: Why Mrs. Gallagher, never let it be said I didn't give a woman what she wanted.

At this point they disappeared into the hut. The shuffling of furniture and shouts of "Oh, Niall" fill the air and last for some five minutes. Then Mrs. Gallagher emerges with a small rabbit.

Mrs Gallagher: Don't forget Niall, I'll need two for a stew I'm making Mr. Gallagher next week.

Niall: Don't worry, I'll have'em ready for you by Sunday.

Stew: When you said breeding habits I didn't know you actually bred rabbits.

Niall: What do you think I meant? You know you're a strange fellow. I think we had a dung sniffer through here last week. You sure you're a dung sniffer?

Stew: Well, actually I'm from the future. I read an article that said you were a king in ancient Ireland and that one in twelve Irishmen were directly linked to you. I come back in time and find that all you are is a down and out rabbit breeder who likes to throw the occasional party. How do you explain all of the descendants?

Niall: Well, they got to pay for the rabbits somehow.

Stew: Ahhhhh! On the nose young Mr. Niall. Well back to the future for me. Here though, give these a try sometime. (tossing him a box of Trojans)

I returned to the time machine and after a short run in with Dr. Who and a fellow named Arthur Dent who was asking about towels I arrived in our present day. Anyhow, I was wondering if any of you had seen or heard from Earl. He seems to have disappeared along with all his belongings and the ficus tree in his office. Oh, and the office too.

Monday, January 16, 2006

All right, who here is a mime? C'mon! Speak up!!

A dark and terrible fate has swooped down upon the city of London, England. Even now, as I write this, her streets are infested with an evil so dark, so foul, so brutally oppressive, that mere mortals can dare speak its name. They silently swarm the streets, shops, queues, tube stops, and train stations. Stealthily they bicycle by Buckingham, trapse through Trafalgar Square, waddle within Whitehall, and parade past Piccadilly. What is this awful scourge, this vicious, miserable pestilence that casts a sickening, desperate pall over England's first city?

Those of you who bothered to read the title of this piece already know I'm talking about mimes. Yes, the Annual London International Mimefest has begun, an awful tradition that dates back to 1977, when The Mimes first invaded England from Calais. (They took the ferry over.) Each year they gather together to explore the vast and extremely unnecessary possibilities of mimedom, and also to get beaten up by tourists for horning their way into photo after photo. Police expect to find dozens of mimes in the Thames... as Synchronized Miming is on the schedule this year. (I hope you weren't thinking we were condoning throwing mimes into the Thames? Everyone surely knows that pies are the most appropriate defense against these plucky, white-faced, mute little bastards.)

I sat down with the chief mime behind the Festival, Zuzu the Wonder Mime, to talk about this year's edition:

Earl: Zuzu, I'd like to say it's lovely to see you, but you're a mime, so that wouldn't be very honest of me now, would it?

Zuzu: (Smiles. Pretends to climb an invisible rope.)

Earl: Zuzu, what kind of exhibitions will be featured at Mimefest 2006?

Zuzu: (Silent laughter. Does the "trapped in a box" bit.)

Earl: Sorry, I didn't get a bloody word. Are you concerned about the general public's attitude about mimes?

Zuzu: (Traces pretend tears from eyes. Does the "walking in the wind" bit.)

Earl: Say something, you stupid prat! (Strikes Zuzu in the kneecap with a very real ballpeen hammer.)

Zuzu: Ow!!! (Does the "hobbling about in a circle" bit.) What'd you do that for you rotten nutter?? (Covers mouth in shock.)

At that point Zuzu had transgressed the unwritten law of the mimes by making a noise and had to go off to commit hara-kiri with an imaginary sword. Unable to get any information out of the other mimes, much less Zuzu, who was now pretending to spill his guts out all over Covent Garden, I decided to peruse the itinerary for tomorrow's events. Below is an excerpt revealing that not only is Mimefest the equivalent of a month of someone scratching their nails on a very dry blackboard, it's serious business for full-time mimes:

Tuesday, January 17 - Mimefest 2006

8:00 a.m.
Continental Breakfast - Pretend crossaints with imaginary butter, unreal grapefruit, illusionary assortment of juices - The Savoy Grill

9:00 a.m.
Session A: "The art of annoying people. How to avoid bodily injury. " Presenter: Billy the Mime - The Savoy - The Windsor Conference Room

Session B: "Shields and Yarnell: Mimes, performance artists, or really lame dancers?" Presenter: Marcel Marceau - The Savoy - The Benny Hill Room

10:30 a.m.
Session A: "Walking against the wind in an actual gale" Presenter: Greg Goldston - The Savoy - The Robert Wagner Pavilion.

Session B: "Mummenchanz - Are there really people in there, or miming robots?" Presenter: - The Savoy - The Steve Irwin Ballroom

12:00 noon
Lunch - Fantastic buffet (empty). The sidewalk - The Strand (Mind the constables.)

Very serious business, indeed. Hopefully, the British military will be able to put a stop to it before things get out of hand and mimes invade Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, where they will almost certainly get roughed up by the Liberal Democrats.

I also understand the mimes were going to have a reading of Juan Carlos Vega's most recent book of poetry, Secret Tears: My Year Among the Mimes, but Sean Connery turned them down flat and it was too late to get a non-mime to handle it. That's a pity, as I know JCV could've used the royalties to make bail.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wrinkled old bat? Who are you calling a wrinkled old bat?

The Super Bowl halftime show is being planned, even as I write this, and already it's garnered massive controversy.

The Super Bowl is usually Stew's gig to write about, so I won't go into great detail, but apparently the Rolling Stones, who are doing the halftime show, originally declared that they didn't want any dancers older than 45 in the show.

I am bedeviled by conflicting thoughts at this news. My first thought is to rail at the injustice of wrinkled, burnt-out old prunes like Messrs. Jagger and Richards banning their female peers from promenading about like loons in the same show as them. If we can still put up with Mick doing the chicken walk from an electric wheelchair or Keith Richards playing the guitar on life support (He died years ago...didn't you know that?), why shouldn't a few mildly geriatric dancers be allowed to strut their stuff as well.

On the other hand, Messrs. Jagger and Richards may have a point that the Super Bowl halftime show, which recently has been scandalized with the impromptu appearance of Janet Jackson's nipple and Ashley Simpson's libido-shrivelling rendition of her "hit" single You Make Me Wanna (Grunt), might not benefit positively from the sight of 60-something grannies shaking their groove things to the rhythms of Satisfaction (Not to mention the potential physical injury from all the swinging body parts.) Remember that episode of Star Trek where Spock was mind-melding with the alien lifeform whose appearance caused people to go mad and die? We must ask ourselves whether we want to risk such an occurence with a Super Bowl sized telelvision audience.

So, which to choose...justice for the aged to be treated as equals to their younger, smoother, less droopy sisters...or protecting little Timmy from seeing someone resembling his Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude ("and then there's Maude!") shimmying along Mick Jagger's leg whilst wearing a leotard cut past the navel?

My most heatfelt apologies to all those senior citizens who will feel offended that I have chosen little Timmy's eyesight and mental health over their right to cut a rug with the Stones on national telelvision. However, I have to think about my eyesight and mental health too, you know. I'm getting old as well, and they're both not what they used to be.

Update: After perusing the article a bit more, it appears that the controversy was resolved in favor of older dancers. Memo to self: Wear my darkest shades during the halftime show. Under no circumstances leave them on the com next to Kirk when the halftime show starts.