You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lies, all lies I tell you. I hope, anyway.

I don't why Earl has this fixation on claiming that my main man, Peter Graves (or as he's known in Italy Petrus Gravus), is a flesh-eating zombie. In fact, I have a copy of Who's Who Amoung American Flesh-eating Zombies and he's not even mentioned one time, although there is an entry for his erstwhile brother James Arness. I say erstwhile because obviously if James Arness is a zombie I would think that Peter has severed all relationships with him. So there, I think that answers all of our questions about the possibility that Peter is indeed an undead ghoul who roams the earth in search of man flesh to devour. I can't vouch for James Arness though, I'd watch my butt around him.

I think what the reader today is really wondering is, "What is Earl up to in his mountain retreat?". I thought this would be a good time to let you in on this little corner of Earl's life. Every year he and the family take a trek to a little cabin in the woods formerly owned by this man. They got it really, really cheap. It gives Earl a chance to commune with nature and get in touch with his Euell Gibbons side. His days are mostly filled with trying to find out what parts of a pine cone are edible and picking ticks off of his tender portions.

But it is the night that brings out the excitement in his little backwoods hamlet. The nights are filled with music as Earl and some of the neighbors jam the night away, singing and cooking s'mores over a roaring conflagration of Barbra Streisand records. They dance to the wee hours of the morning... and then pick more ticks from their tender portions (there's really an awfully lot of that actually).

Let's hope he comes back well rested and ready for the remainder of the year.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Peter Graves Obsession - A Question:


I very much appreciated your take on Graves' laconic, iconic, sophmoric approach to childhood (I hear he's a Lucky Strike man, but that's just a quibble), but I have to ask, where is the scene where Graves rises from his deathbed and devours Danny and Uncle Billy before having his brains blown to bits by a shotgun blast from Ms. Partridge... erm, Jones?

Mind you they'd have to use special effects. A real shotgun blast would kill even a powerful member of the undead such as the aptly named Mr. Graves.


Quick note: I (Earl) will be out of pocket this evening at a remote cabin in the woods somewhere. Provided I'm not savaged by a bear or the erstwhile cannibalistic necrotic Mr. Graves, I should be back posting tomorrow. If not, I'm sure Stew will compose a very tasteful, flattering, and completely fictional eulogy.

If I'm converted into a zombie myself, I'll try and warn everyone.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Obsession Part II

I feel that I have fallen behind in my obsession over Peter Graves. One of the problems with having a good, healthy obsession is that Peter hasn’t done a lot of work lately. My attempts to fawn over his work in It Conquered the World or Beginning of the End to people these days usually only returns looks of stunned confusion and pity. Although I like those looks in general it would be better if they all shared my high esteem for the man and his oeuvre.

In an effort to rectify this situation I have begun writing the teleplay for a new situation comedy starring this pillar of the acting community. The plot of the sitcom concerns a middle-aged divorcee played by Shirley Jones who is raising two young boys, aged 12 and 9, with the help of their stodgy old Uncle Billy. Peter plays the nine year old. The two other actors are Danny Bonaduce as Danny and Billy Connelly as Uncle Billy. Please enjoy this snippet from the first episode currently being written.

That’s Just Peter

By Stew Miller

Applause as Peter enters and throws his school bag on the couch and turns on the television.

Peter: Mom, I’m home from school.

Mom: Are you going to sit in front of that TV all night again?

Peter: I thought I might catch a re-run of the classic Mission Impossible or A&E’s Biography. (Laughter)

Mom: Do you want something for dinner?

Peter: Naw, just a glass of scotch and a pack of Camels.

Mom: (Putting her apron on) It’s pork chop night. Go tell Danny and Uncle Billy to come down and get ready to eat.

Peter goes to the stairs and sits in the Liftmaster 3000 which takes him to the top. In Danny’s room we see Danny and Uncle Billy working with pipe bombs and loading bullets into clips for automatic weapons.

Peter: It’s supper time. Hey, what are you guys doing in here?

Uncle Billy: Uh, we’re planning a… hunting trip. Yeah, we were thinking of going up to the Adirondacks and hunting some whippets.

Peter: Aren’t those dogs?

Uncle Billy looks flustered and is about to pull the pin on a grenade. Danny grabs his hand.

Danny: He meant weasels.

Danny grabs a football.

Danny: Peter, go long.

Peter stumbles out of the room making a drunken effort to run down the hall but gets winded after about ten feet. Danny throws the ball (filled with plastic explosives) which glances off Peter’s fingers, breaks a vase at the bottom of the stairs, and explodes killing the families dog Oscar.

Mom: Boys, what’s all that noise?

Danny: Nothing, I think Oscar has the Alpo farts again. (Cue titles)

That’s all I’ve got so far but we’ll work our way toward a presentable pilot from there. I’m thinking of shopping it with FOX, it seems to be similar to a lot of the stuff they’re airing these days. I hope Peter likes it.

I didn't see that one coming...

I have a confession to make. I've done some really strange, possibly illegal, and downright odd things in my life that I am certainly not proud of having done. However, one thing you will not ever find me doing is participating in something called "Pants-off Dance-off". Upon reading the article I had the urge to grab a cylinder of Comet and scour every inch of my body, including my eyes, until the horrible thoughts of Masta Wong were removed from my mind. Let me tell you right now I have no desire to watch Mr. Wong gyrating to rock music and even less desire to find out what he keeps in the dark recesses of his trousers. This is unpleasant like watching Richard Simmons playing a game of Twister with Sir Ian McKellen would be unpleasant.

Tad Low, the crack-pot entrepeneur who came up with this crap, says in the article, "Why hasn't anybody put naked people and rock music together on television before?" said Low, who created the "Pop-Up Videos" series for VH1. "It seems so obvious, like peanut butter and jelly." No it isn't Mr. Low, which I say is the perfect name for this cad. This is more like smearing mayonnaise on saurkraut, stuffing it inside of a weasel, and deep frying the whole lot and serving it with pizza flavored Combos then choking it down with copious flagons of Mad Dog 20/20. The whole experience is unwholesome and will leave you begging for a stomach pump.

But still, you've got to admit that this moron might be on to some kind of craze. Since we're all about the money around here I started thinking about some similarly stupid combinations of unsavory activities.

  • Wax-on Pants-Off - Clean your car with the newest thing in automotive washing and waxing. Don't forget your chamois or you might get chafed.
  • Pants-Off Breakdance - Breakdancing was never as fun as when you did it the first time with your pants off. Headspins aren't so bad but The Worm could be painful.
  • Pants-Off Fly-fish - Watch where you're casting that dry fly. It might be a better idea to keep the fly zipped until casting.
  • Bon-Ton Pants-Off - Who said shopping had to be boring, just use a dressing room and forget to put your pants back on. Can also be done at Kohl's, TJ Maxx, and Big Lots.
  • Pants-Off Lawn Darts - Can really keep you one your toes.
  • Game-on Pants-Off - Wayne and Garth never new the freedom of street hockey without their pants. Party on Wayne, party on Garth. We're NOT worthy!
  • Greco-Roman Pants-Off - "Joey, do you like movies with Gladiators?"
  • Pole Vault Pants-Off - Who said size doesn't matter.
  • Pants-Off Bungee Jump - This one is too painful to think about.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Doggone Drivers

If memory serves (cue Iron Chef music), on several occasions I have mentioned in this blog my complete loathing for the absolutely appalling and erratic driving behaviour of the motorists of the region I live in. Just for the record, I did omit the expletives, if I remember correctly. Now, however, I believe I know exactly why so many vehicles are careening, seemingly out of control, down my local motorway towards me.

They are being driven by dogs.

A woman in Hohhot, China ("Hohhot" is Mandarin for "Extremely hot," by the way) was recently involved in a vehicular crash after she briefly allowed her dog to steer her vehicle. Apparently, the dog, giddy with his newfound autonomy, plowed the auto right into oncoming traffic.

Now, this should really be of no surprise at all. Dogs are the members of the animal kingdom most likely to chase cars, and thus most likely to be run over by them. Even large animals like cows, lions, and blue whales are smart enough to lazily lounge in the pasture/savannah/Mariannas Trench whilst traffic meanders by.

Not the dog. Dogs are so strangely obsessed with the taste of tyre rubber that they dementedly dash after anything that has rubber wheels and might leave a skid mark on their poor, flattened bodies. They are mad for cars, trucks, and bicycles the way Paris Hilton is mad for cheap and unflattering publicity. They fancy tyres the way Rainer Werner Fassbinder fancied Udo Keir, as unpleasant as that is for the rest of us, including our gay readers.

So, imagine the absolute glee of this Chinese pooch when his owner props him up behind the steering wheel and floors it. Obviously, the very first thing any sensibly tyre-obssessed dog is going to do is immediately aim for the nearest vehicle that they aren't themselves driving. Then, provided they've survived the collision, get out and gnaw on the bleeding tyres until they are either:

A) Out of their minds with rubber poisoning


B) Bored.

As B generally takes only about 15 seconds, A is quite rare.

The sad part is that if dogs weren't so dim, they'd simply slam on the brakes, hop out, and chew on their own auto's wheels. I suppose there's no satisfaction of the hunt for them. Plus, no one ever said that dogs are practical.

I should also mention that dogs are horribly inequipped for driving. They don't have opposable thumbs and that, combined with the slobber, makes for very difficult steering.

No, the utter stupidity on display here is that of an owner who who let a dog anywhere near the steering wheel, accelerator, cigarette lighter, or power locks. Such wanton disregard for their safety, the safety of their dog, the safety of those of us also on the road, and their AAA rating is as stupid as, say...a bunch of astronomers demoting Pluto as a planet on specious categorical grounds, simply to piss off NASA, whose next mission happens to be scheduled to go to Pluto. In other words, this kind of irresponsible behaviour makes Robert Downey Jr., MacCauly Caulkin, and Kate Moss look like Rotarians in comparison.

As the accident happened in China, it turns out the driver was immediately placed before a firing squad and shot. The dog was hung.

All right, that was morbidly wishful thinking on my part. No one was hurt and the driver, a Ms. Li, paid all expenses, including whatever tyre damage was done by the greedy little fangs of her beloved canine, once the vehicle came to a rest. All is well in the land of extreme hotness.

Now, back to the question of what this has to do with the drivers in my locale? Well, judging from the way they are veering all over the road, they are all clearly dogs of some sort.

They obviously want my tyres.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Science Becomes Five Times Worse

Science has failed humanity. There, I said it. And I might even say it again. Science has failed humanity. As it turns out, I did say it again. If I say it a third time, don't be surprised. Science has failed humanity. Were you surprised that I said it a third time? I should hope not.

Have you ever just sat down in a cushiony chair and watched people failing you before your very eyes? Have you ever opened the local dark-gray crinkly newspaper and read paragraph upon paragraph of unavoidable failure on the part of scientists? I have. How can any group of people try and succeed so overwhelmingly to fail all of humanity and all of human history?

Here is how! Here is exactly how they fail us in remarkable new ways. By lying about Pluto. Yes, lying about Pluto. They say it is not a planet. That is what they say. Here are some recent quotes from failures of the scientific community.

"Pluto is most decidedly some sort of largish rock, rather than an earth." --Phu Lee, Astronomer, Baverdian Science Department, Sherpa, Nepal

"After seven hours of contemplation and laboratory tests, we have rendered Pluto non-planetoid, but rather now consider it to be a strange doughnut." --Montlehorse Rogers, University of Calcutta, India

"After removing a pencil from my moist nostril, I concurred with my fellow best persons of the science magazine culture in determining that Pluto is, in fact, a smudge of grease on every telescope that has ever existed, and, therefore, not a planet." --Pooter Fint, Southern Chester-Arkansas Community College, Chester, Arkansas

With voices such as these practicing the fine art of miserable failure, how can the children of the world survive? Look, let me lay this out there for you like Ron Popeil laying out the Chop-O-Matics: Scientists are liars and ugly and smell bad. You can send me all the hate mail you want, people, but it won't change the high levels of failure taking place in the world today.

Being Five Times Better, and a representative of the Five Times Better School of Self-Improvement, let me clarify non-failure for you in one simple statement: Pluto is a planet. It is a nice snowy planet full of Santa Claus-style elves and general prancery. Yes, it has all these things and more. Pluto is a winter wonderland of a planet, where yellow Disney dogs caper in the drifts.

So don't let yourself be failed at by these so-called "scientists." When they tell you Pluto is not a planet, just mutter to yourself, "Congratulations on achieving a higher level of failure than before, nerd stink McGee," and go on about your business.

Pluto, I tell's ya's, is a planet.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Emmys go down in flames

Well not really, but they did spark a bit of controversy when the show opened with host Conan O'Brien in a skit where his aeroplane goes down, just a few hours after a commercial airliner went down in Kentucky, killing all but one passenger.

There's no real joke there, except the cosmic one that the Emmys have become. With so many awards and so many winners, getting an Emmy is not as hard as it looks. I myself was up for Best Blogger to Just Miss Making an Appearance on a Moderately Watched Televised Exhibition Match, for my offscreen performance at the Chelsea vs. DC United match last was awarded right after Best Actress in a Comedy, and right before Best Hairstyle in a Rock Mockumentary...anyway, I lost to Herb Schlossman of Topeka, Kansas, who just missed getting on camera during the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

However, even worse is the Emmy's abysmal timing. During the 70's they did a skit with Tony Randall as a radical who kidnaps a very confused Bea Arthur and locks her in a very neat closet. Just hours later Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the Siamese Liberation Army. (Editor's Note: Hearst was actually kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and Bea Arthur was kidnapped by a very sloppy Jack Krugman, who then offered to show her his "cigar collection." I still have nightmares.)

Then in 1984, host Henry Winkler was in a skit about an sprints and jumps athlete who won a bevy of medals at the Olympics and could also turn on a jukebox with a rap of his fist. Carl Lewis was so despondent over the way in which this skit took off the sheen of his own 4 gold medal winning performance in Los Angeles (and over the fact that he couldn't do the jukebox thingy) that he embarked on a acting career, just to punish the rest of us.

So, having planned a skit involving an airliner crash and then having an actual airliner crash on the day of the programme is pretty typical of the Emmy's run of luck. Of course, they could have just cancelled the bit and gone straight to the big show. That would have knocked the running time down by 5 minutes and gotten the programme under 13 hours. (There's a very good reason we don't do a Live Emmys Blog here.)

Meanwhile, 24 and The Office won a yachtload of awards. Keifer Sutherland won something, which I didn't think possible a decade ago but am now happy to admit that he at least deserves an Emmy. (That sounds quite harsh when I read it back, though.) Julia Louis-Dreyfus won an award, but almost forgot to thank husband Brad Hall, who couldn't be there because he was slaving away at the Huffington Post on a blog entry about how Donald Rumsfeld is poisoning the Miss Universe pageant process. Lost was shut out for the most part, and yet again the Academy of Television Sciences and Oprah (the name was changed in 1997 to reflect Oprah's influence on American television...quite frankly, I think they should just shorten it to the Academy of Oprah) neglected to honor America's Wildest Police Chases...the philistines!

Perhaps next year.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The world's hottest chilli is from Dorset???

A Dorset couple have bred the world's hottest chilli. This is incredibly earth-shaking news, as the spiciest thing to come from Dorset before this was the occasional bit of grit in an Abbotsbury Oyster.

Nonetheless, according to the Times, Dorset residents Joy and Michael Michaud have bred a chilli so hot, it would not only knock off your socks, but your knickers, waistcoat, and several teeth too. The chilli is called the Dorset Naga, which is a Bangla (Bengali) phrase that loosely translates as "If you eat this pepper from Dorset whole, you will wind up like one of those psychics in Scanners."

Pepper hotness is measured on the Scoville scale, invented by Wilbur Scoville after he was incapacitated by a Madras curry in 1912. The jalapeno pepper measures around 8,000 units on the scale. The fiery and powerful habanero pepper measures between 100,000 and 250,000 units on average, although the hottest ever was at 500,000. The Dorset Naga registers at a whopping 923,000 units on the Scoville scale. However, this is only an estimate as the pepper repeatedly set the measuring equipment ablaze during tests.

To characterise this in layman's terms, there is a quaint regional saying about the habanero pepper, that "It is a little bit of hell in a pepper." The quaint regional saying that has developed about the Dorset Naga is along the lines of "It's like having a fiery pitchfork shoved up your bum."

According to experts this pepper should only be handled whilst wearing gloves ...and asbestos fire-proofed bodysuits. Also, never, ever mix the Dorset Naga with the following ingredients: TNT, nitroglycerine, uranium, plutonium, petrol, and quail (as in this last example, the pepper squelches the delicate flavour of the bird by setting it on fire).

As a practicing chillihead, and as a service to our readers, I've come up with a few recipes for the Dorset Naga that some people might like to serve to others that they want to do serious bodily injury to. Our in-house lawyer F. Johnnie Lee has expressly warned me to remind readers that under no circumstances should these recipes be served to actual human beings, except in those countries and states that still allow the death penalty, and even then, only by trained executioners and/or chefs.


Naga Surprise

Take 1/4 pound cooked and seasoned ground beef (mince) and place in one prepared meat pie crust. Add one Dorset Naga pepper, whole, in a random part of the pie. Cover the pie with crust and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 177 degrees Celsius. Remove, let cool and serve. The "surprise" is that whoever gets the pepper in their bite of pie gets to ride in an ambulance. Also known as Russian Roulette Naga Surprise when the guests alternate turns taking bites of the pie.


Naga Soup

Take one Dorset Naga, minced and add to 4 cups chicken or beef bouillon. Heat until warm. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour into a decorative serving bowl and set on a table 50 metres from the dinner party. Inhale the intoxicating aroma whilst wearing gas masks. Do not, under any circumstances, actually eat the soup ...unless you have some sort of death wish.


Naga Pudding

Take one plum pudding and rub a Dorset Naga over it for 5 seconds. Serve to mortal enemies. Dance over their charred bodies.