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Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Thursday Poem

Was reminded during a conversation last night that Paris Hilton is still in gaol. Actual prison would suit her better I think, except that we'd all have to suffer when the inevitable Paris Does Leavenworth video came out. Well, I wouldn't actually watch it myself, but I would have to suffer through the adverts on Fox Soccer Channel. I'm already sick to death of the one for the Cialis knockoff.

You may know the advertisement I'm referring to. It's the one with the cocktail party and the obnoxiously self-satisfied, obviously middle-aged moron who stands about 5'5". He looks like Chuck Barris on a bad day. Across the room is a tall leggy woman who has what is probably supposed to be a "come-hither" look on her face, but which in actuality is an expression that says, "Hi, big boy. Would you like to inspect my brain damage?"

I believe the most accurate word in the American lexicon of slang for this slightly rancid bit of tail would be "skank." The actress who plays the "skank" might not be "skanky" herself, but she plays the role with a little too much knowingness, if you understand my meaning.

Anyway, the middle-aged git offers up a pathetically insincere smile and a slight nod of the head. A normal woman would most likely respond to this gesture with the finger we in the Fando household refer to as "Mr. Tall Man." However, to the practised skank, this is the universal sign for "Let's go upstairs to the executive lavatory and get well on the job." She slithers across the room and they turn to leave, but just before they do, she turns back to the camera and utters a remark so banal that I can't remember it. However, my best guess is, "Prostitution isn't easy, you know."

I hate that advert.

Where was I? Ah, yes...Paris Hilton. Paris could play the female role in that bit with busom tied behind her back. Anyway, the discussion of her incarceration reminded me of a poem that Max Speebek* recently wrote about it. It is that poem I would like to share with you today:

Paris In the Afternoon, (In the Yard, by the Weights)

I remember the sweet scent of
Canned cafeteria corn on her breath
The lingering single flake of

Instant mashed potatoes on her pouted lip
The smokes she bartered to keep

Big Erma from smashing her face in with a plate
The horizontal stripes that made her look like she

Actually had some meat on her
Brittle, arrogant, bones.
(I read she paid a stand-in to actually eat the

Burger in the Hardee's commercial.)
I remember the basketball bouncing

Off of her head as she
Stared at the open skies,

Through the barbed wire and fence grill
"Ow!" she muttered almost absentmindedly

Before fixing her gaze again
On the open and free firmament.
I remember it all like it was yesterday,

Probably because
It was.

"Britney and Lindsay said to say hello," I shouted
As I drove past in my sleek, ebony convertible,

Not bothering to respond as she
Waved a friendly, single, solitary finger back at me.

*You don't remember Max Speebek? Poet, Philosopher, Composer, Physicist, and Celebrity Party Crasher Max Speebek? Inventor of the 3-bladed knife? Designer of the world's first ferret-powered submarine? To think you call yourself informed.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

R2-D2 said what?

Well, Star Wars* was on the telly again today. It's amazing how one can be sitting down for dinner, channel-surfing, come across an old film and be suddenly glued to it, even when there are perfectly good DVDs of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" and "Black Adder III" on the shelf.

Of course, with the Littlest Fando in the room, Fry and Laurie and Black Adder aren't going anywhere near the DVD player, lest our little one pick up all manner of colourful new phrases or suddenly ask us, "Beloved parents, what exactly is a 'codpiece?'"

Anyway, we were sitting there watching Star Wars for at least the 1,100th time this month, when I suddenly realized that for all these years people have taken for granted that R2-D2's electronic banter is harmless, innocuous chat. The premise is that someone, usually Luke or C-3PO, would say something, R2 would answer in his usual series of electronic chirps, whistles, and beeps, and everyone would giggle and think to themselves, "What a funny little robot!"

As it turns out, this particular view is a complete pile of robot crap.**

After doing a little research though, my sources*** have determined that R2-D2 was in fact voiced by none other than blue-streak comedian Redd Foxx. His original dialogue was, shall we say a bit saltier (like crispy bacon). It was taken out and replaced by the electronic sound effects once the studio realized that the MPAA was considering an "X" rating. The resulting edits got the film down to a "PG." It would have been a "G" rating if not for the size of Carrie Fisher's buns... in her hair I mean.

Anyway, I have procured a sample of some of the more printable portions of the original dialogue. I say dialogue because Mr. Foxx reportedly improvised frequently from Lucas' script. As this is a PG to PG-13 blog, the saucier portions have commented out through the use of traditonal symbology (%$#@&) or replaced with more acceptable euphemisms (in italics).


Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh

C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.

Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.

C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.

Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.

Chewbacca: Grrf.

C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.

R2-D2: $%&#$! that, I'm gonna kick that stinking, &%$# shag rug's (bum, more or less)!!!


C-3PO: Now don't you forget this! Why I should stick my neck out for you is far beyond my capacity!

R2-D2: Listen you old gold-plated &^%$#@ pile of (form of excrement) bolts. I'll bust your metal lip if you don't shut the %#@& up!


C-3PO: Just you reconsider playing that message for him! No, I don't think he likes you at all. No, I don't like you either.

R2-D2: Well, I don't like you either, you @%$##&%, $^%&#, (variant of a particular sexual orientation involving rabid geese) fancy pants! I'll play you like a &%$#$#@ drum, if you don't shut the $#&% up!


C-3PO: I would much rather have gone with Master Luke than stay here with you. I don't know what all this trouble is about, but I'm sure it must be your fault.

R2-D2: You want to see something that's my fault you $#€Σ% (derogatory reference to possibly non-existent personal anatomy) ? You wait until they find your &€%ƒ#$ξ, (suggestion that subject has scabies) metal (suggestion the subject is without scruples or particular organs) head floating in the #√€$Ω% john!

C-3PO: You watch your language!

R2-D2: You watch me ş$%ƒβ %Σ&%€ $♥Ω∂∞ you up, you √βΩξ♣, ŏ$€%≤ξ &Σƒ♠!!!!


C-3PO: Listen to them, they're dying, R2. Curse my metal body. I wasn't fast enough. It's all my fault. My poor master.


*Yes, I know the official title is Star Wars IV: A New Hope, and that it even says that onscreen, but everyone and their brother, and Lucas himself called it Star Wars then, so it's stuck. Of course, Lucas didn't know when he made it that it would be the ginormous success it's become and would make him wealthier than everyone except Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, and the bloke who invented cheese in a spray can.

**Polystyrene and titanium box-springs, if you must know.

*** C-3P0's My Life with That Vulgar Little Wastebin on Wheels: R2-D2, Hyperion, 1987; Carrie Fisher's R2 and Me, a Story of Wild Electronic Love and Emotional Disappointment, Random House, 1995, and Harrison Ford's R2 and Me 2, A Story of Even More Wild Electronic Love and Emotional Disappointment, Scholastic Press, 1997.

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