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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Is Castro All Right? (Eez all right.)

Fidel Castro, dictator, revolutionary, murderer, baseball fan, is still sequestered in hiding and still no one is sure just how ill the cigar-chomping, fatigues-wearing bugger is.

Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, self-professed "Bush Exorcist," and Mussolini impersonator, says that Castro is doing just fine and will be out of bed any day now, doing one-arm push ups, swimming Guantanamo Bay, curtailing Cuban civil rights, and giving Bush the "V-sign" as usual.

To test Chavez's theory, I set up an interview with the eccentric Venezuelan.

Earl Fando: Presidente Chavez, you said that Castro was not dying and that his recuperation was going slowly. How can we take this seriously if Castro hasn't been seen in weeks?

Hugo Chavez: (Via translator Bucky Dent) You imperialists are all the same. You twist the words of the people's representatives in order to further your power and ill-gotten wealth!

Earl Fando: Actually, I just help run a little humour blog and...

Hugo Chavez: How dare you belittle the health of my loyal friend and companero Fidel! You are a pig. You are worse than a pig! You are a dog! You are a pig dog!

Earl Fando: Well, I...

Hugo Chavez: You talk too much, too! (pause) Pig dog!

Earl Fando: So, is President Castro...

Hugo Chavez: (under breath) pig dog.

Earl Fando: ...still alive? Don't wait for the translation!

Hugo Chavez: Que?

Bucky Dent: What?

Earl Fando: Sorry, I've just always wanted to say that. Plus, it did shut your gob for a moment. So, has Castro snuffed it or not?

Hugo Chavez: Listen, pig dog, I can prove without a shadow of a doubt that my friend Fidel is alive and well! He is here with me now!

(Chavez pulls out a large Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist dummy, dressed in fatigues, with a large, greying bottlebrush beard, and a cigar. For some strange reason, he is wearing a monocle. He sets the dummy on his knee.)

Hugo Chavez: Hello, my dear friend Fidel! Tell this pig dog how you are feeling.

Hugo Chavez: (through clenched teeth and in a slightly lower voice) I mm feelming ike I have the stremgth of mten mmmen, my mood friendm. (Pause) Where arem the wommenmm!!!

(The eyebrows on the dummy go up and down excitedly. The monocle falls off.)

Earl Fando: Well, how could I have ever doubted you?

Hugo Chavez: Wait pig dog, I want to do this next bit where my good friend Fidel calls you a pig dog while I drink a glass of water.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Speaking of Franken-steen...

Peter Boyle has passed away. Our condolences and prayers for his family and friends. I'm almost tempted to spill hot soup on myself in tribute.

That's Franken-steen.

Livescience.com has a rather interesting (if older) article on strange lab animals. After reading about mice with an extra (human) ear, sheep with human organs, spiderweb-lactating goats, mice with human brain cells, and Suessaphilian swine, I have come to the following conclusion regarding genetics researchers:

Genetics researchers are congenitally deranged*

The human ear on the mouse was what put them over the top. Dr. Frankenstein was an amateur by comparison. Just think, if he'd given his monster bull horns.

Mind you, there has to be some value in genetic experimentation on animals, beyond a desire to pass the initiation test for The Island of Dr. Moreau Fan Club.

So, with an eye on helping mankind, and trying to prevent researchers from all morphing into the bloated, insane doctor that Marlon Brando effortlessly portrayed in the film (mainly because he didn't have to act), here are some suggestions for really valuable genetic monstrosities ...erm ...I mean, freaks.

  • Rhinocerhorse - A work animal that can plough from the front. Sure, machines can do it faster, but what about the Amish need? (And what a conversation piece at the next barn-raising! "Martin, dost thou see thine horse prong?")
  • Greyhoundhare - Perfect for the dog track, this is one rabbit that the hounds will never catch. Also, it would be quite amusing to watch this one chase its little cotton tail.
  • Porkosnake - No, this isn't the title of a Russ Meyer film, you naughty people. Rather, it's the answer to the world's baby-back rib' needs. These little beauties will have dozens of them.
  • Rotttiger - Combine a Rottweiler and a tiger and what do you get? A sharp uptick in burglar fatalities. Imagine a giant, striped Rottweiler that purrs.
  • German Spiderherd - Another variation on guard dogs, this one can trap its prey in a massive, sticky web, right before it chews it to ribbons. Also, the two-dozen eyes will keep this canine-arachnid sharply alert, if not psychotic.
  • Chickenpede - Frustrated because you've run out of chicken legs at dinner. Never again with this multi-footed fowl. Perfect for Southern American and Chinese restuaranteurs.
  • Bullion - Ay, Caramba! The toreador who can stand up to this menace will be renowned for ages. Is it a bull, or a lion? Sharp horns, teeth, and claws will make it seem like a living buzzsaw to the bullfighters and bull-runners who cross this nasty beast.

*All rights reserved, 2006, 2007. I think this will catch on.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Sublime Inflections of Varietyese

While I'm on about Variety (please, no jokes about it being the "Show Biz Bible"), if you've ever read even a page or two of the fabled entertainment periodical, you'd know that the people at Variety speak a very peculiar brand of the Queen's English.

Take for example this article, on Mel Gibson's new film Apocalypto (which is not about Jesus going on a blind date). There are several terms in it that would baffle people who aren't film buffs, producers, or Jiminy Glick. In order to help you, our dear readers, make sense of the article, I have included a handy list of terms and definitions, in order of appearance:

  • pic - Short for picture, or film
  • helmer - Director
  • offset antics - Run in with police that couldn't be covered up by the studio
  • notices - Reviews, includes both legitimate reveiwers and those so desperate to appear on the DVD boxed set that they include the word "Oscar-lypto-riffic" in their review
  • PR push - Public Relations drive, usually consisting of attempts to get members of the media drunk enough to forget what they were covering before they saw the film
  • $370 million domestically - More money than you and I will ever see in our lifetime, even if we win the lottery twice
  • Cameron Diaz - Box office gold (also an instant 30% uptick in hits on this blog)
  • rookie - new film, OR L.A. police who've never encountered a celebrity
  • frame - A set period of time, such as the weekend, over which grosses are counted (Not related to bowling...no one in Hollywood bowls except in the movies)
  • B.O. - Box office, unless the subject is Steven Segall
  • self-distribbed - independently distributed by the film's creator (Admit it, you thought it was something to do with thingy)
  • foreign front - Kate Winslet
  • cume - Cumulative total (You were worried about that one, weren't you?)
  • rollout - the introduction of a motion picture to a particular market, OR Jack Black, just after the bar closes
  • demo - demographic, OR what every celebrity who wants to be a singer is currently working on

Who'd have better chemistry with Jesus? Cameron or Drew?*

Universal Studios has decided to make a romantic comedy about a woman who goes out on a blind date with Jesus.

No that's not Jesus Alou, former baseball player with the San Franscisco Giants. The woman goes on a blind date with Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph. That's Jesus, as in the Son of God, Messiah, the King of Kings, etc. I've heard many a high concept before, but this time they went right to the top.

The film will be produced by Brian "Sparkplug" Grazer and written by his wife Mimi Levangie Grazer and noted VH1 executive Mimi James. As long as there's no nepotism, I suppose.

According to the Variety article linked above, the plot "revolves around a workaholic single woman who is set up on a date by her mother. Her date, a handsome, kind and caring carpenter who works at Ikea, turns out to be Jesus Christ, who's returned for Armageddon and settled in contemporary Los Angeles."

I'm certainly not an expert on the Holy Bible, but I'm fairly certain nothing in the Book of Revelations directly or even symbolically refers to Ikea. Could you imagine if the people at Ikea found out? The adverts would be appalling. ("Ikea - Fine Furniture from the Hands of God" or "Ikea Furniture by Jesus - Isn't it Divine?")

Even more strange though is the notion that Jesus would allow Himself to become entangled in a blind date. This is the same Jesus who predicted His death and resurrection, who perceived the minds of the Pharisees as He debated them, and who performed miracles with greater ease than it takes the average human being to open a 2-litre of fizzy pop. So why should anyone believe that He would be easily confounded by some matchmakerly matron in His building into dinner and a film with her career-minded, worldly daughter? Surely, He'd just reference the part about rendering unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's (or whatever the woman's name is, let's say for argument's sake that in this case it's Mrs. Portnoy, ) and then get back to preparing for the imminent eschaton.

Of course, He would also be well placed to recommend a suitable substitute.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Portnoy, you're daughter Jane is a lovely woman, although too preoccupied with her job, the affairs of this temporary world, and Brad Pitt's anatomy. However, Michael in 234A would be a perfect partner for her, having similar interests in the advertising world and tennis, and he has no psychological abnormalities beyond mild germophobia and obsessive teeth-brushing."

(Not that Jesus would sound this flippant, of course...I was just trying to channel Gigi and Mimi, should they have a change of heart and go for more realism.)

Also, why would Los Angeles be the optimal settling spot for Our Lord? I realise that most film executives naturally assume that if and when Armageddon comes, it will start with the failure of their latest, biggest project (the latest Rocky sequel is a good candidate in my view), but does this make practical sense? No, of course not. There, I've said it. Someone needed to. (Sorry, Zimpter.)

No, the more likely spots would be Israel, or possibly the United Nations, or perhaps Radio City Music Hall, but only if it were a musical.

According to the article, Gigi Grazer explained that they were not seeking to offend. "It'll be a disarming romantic comedy, a story of unrequited love, sort of like 'Splash.'"

Grazer also said she got the idea for a romantic comedy about the coming Armageddon from driving around L.A. and "Britney Spears showing her crazy monkey to everybody." Well, that's two "crazy monkeys" in one article.

No word on whether Mel Gibson will direct or not.

*Lord have mercy on me for this one.