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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Storm Coverage

It's amazing, but somehow worthless TV news becomes even more worthless during hysterical storm coverage. The news bobbleheads muscle aside regular programming for hours and give NO useful information. The goofball weatherclown slaps on his serious face, stands in front of his blue screen flapping his arms like a condor with its foot caught in a car door and just keeps squawking that the storm is bad. There's the constant, incredibly annoying scroll at the bottom of the screen for the ADD crowd that echoes pretty much everything the nitwit anchors keep repeating. There's stock footage of people who probably died in a storm twenty years ago nailing plywood to their windows and rolling the gas grill into the living room. There's always the cliched reporter stationed at the beach telling us we shouldn't be standing at the beach. I swear they could film ten minutes and just keep replaying it on an endless loop every storm, but Dennis Hopper might get wise to it and blow the bus up.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "Catspaw"

This week's Star Trek starts with Kirk and Spock standing on the front porch of the Enterprise checking their watches every two minutes and hoping that an overdue landing party isn't dying at the bottom of a ditch somewhere on Jupiter.  Scotty, Sulu and Lt. Expendable have beamed down to a planet for no adequately explained reason other than the script said so, and they haven't checked in.  I'm not sure if Scotty and Sulu will make it, but I have a good feeling that Lt. Expendable, whoever he is, will pull through just fine.

Lt. Expendable calls to say he's beaming back home alone, and when Kirk goes to holler at him for staying out all night without so much as a phone call, Lt. Expendable pratfalls off the transporter platform and dies.  From his dead mouth issues a warning: "Leave this place or you will all die!"  Cryptic warnings from dead crewmen are probably scarier when the extra doesn't have a big chunk of corned beef from the Paramount commissary stuck to the corner of his mouth.

With two of the ship's most senior officers still missing under creepy, fatal circumstances on a mysterious, uncharted planet that is supposed to be uninhabited, naturally the three highest ranking officers immediately go down looking for them.  It's just like all those times during World War II when General Eisenhower took off with Patton and Omar Bradley to find Hogan and Kinch. 

Kirk, Spock and Bones arrive on the planet and are immediately surrounded by 100% of this week's special effects budget.  98.5% went to dry ice, and the remaining buck-fifty went to three spectral apparitions who say things like "Go baaaaaaaaak!" and "Caaaaaaaaptain Kirk!" 

Yes, it's Planet Halloween!  Scary stuff, kiddies.

The three ghostly witches float and howl and are supposed to be scary but don't even look as frightening as Priscilla Presley post-plastic surgery.  Plus I'm pretty sure one of the outer-space Weird Sisters is a transvestite, but they disappear before I can get a good look at her Adam's apple.

Bones notices a spooky house sitting in the middle of the plastic rocks surrounded by so much smoke I wonder if someone left the door to the writer's room open.  If so, the contact high explains everything that happens from here on out.

Inside the house, a black kitty cat leads our heroes over a hole in the floor and they fall into a dungeon with plastic skeletons glued to the walls.  Spock suggests everything they're seeing "terrifies man most on an instinctive level."  Phony fog and Halloween decorations don't scare five year olds now, but in the future some alien reads Kirk's mind and discovers a couple of marked-down party supplies is what scares a starship captain?  Right now the Klingons are kicking themselves for spending a bundle on all those huge ships, dangerous torpedoes and zappy laser beams when they could have taken over Earth with a pair of headlight glasses and a boomerang bowtie.

Scotty and Sulu show up to free Kirk and the others from the dungeon.  I just thank goodness that whoever killed Lt. Expendable knew that Scott and Sulu were regular supporting players or they'd be dead now too!

Kirk realizes that Mr. Scott and Mr. Sulu have been hypnotized, but before he can take his shirt off and give them a flying kick they are all suddenly standing in a cheesy throne room set with cheap curtains on the walls and Mr. Clean in a bathrobe sitting on a throne on one side.  But not the kind of throne you'd naturally associate with Mr. Clean; the Queen of England kind.

Mr. Clean talks to the kitty cat and offers Kirk a plate of prop costume jewelry to eat.  Kirk says he ate fake rubies for lunch, and besides he can make cheap costume jewelry on the Enterprise, and that Mr. Spock sometimes models it on those long stretches between stars when the three-dimensional chess set is on the fritz.  The kitty cat turns into a chick with a huge Lily Munster wig and I start to think this episode is getting kind of weird.

Speaking of bad wigs, up on the ship Chekov is wearing the most bizarre wig he's ever worn, and that includes that sleeping possum he's wearing on his cueball head somewhere out in a Los Angeles soup kitchen right now.

This episode stiiiiiiiiiiinks!  Stiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinks!  Go back and rewriiiiiite it!  It needs maaaaaajor script chaaaaaanges!  Maaaaaaaajor!  Ooooooo!

 On the planet, the kitty cat lady dangles a model of the Enterprise over a flame.  On the ship it gets hot.

Mr. Clean floats the Enterprise model in a cube of clear Jell-O like a chunk of suspended banana.  Up in space the real ship is suddenly in a Jell-O force field.

William Shatner mispronounces "telekinesis" so badly that everybody is forced to surrender.

Sexy music plays as Kirk romances the Lily Munster kitty cat lady while Mr. Clean watches for tips on how to woo kitty cat space ladies through a huge hole in the wall.

Lily Kittycat gets mad when she realizes Kirk is only making out with her to satisfy his own selfish desires, which is so completely unlike any man in the universe that he should be drummed out of Starfleet for ungentlemanly conduct immediately.  Shame on you, Captain Kirk. 

Mr. Clean releases Kirk and Spock from the dungeon with the plastic skeletons and a Styrofoam door falls on him.  Kirk picks up the stick with the Christmas ornament on the end that Mr. Clean dropped, and he and Spock take off.

The kitty cat lady turns into a giant kitty cat that runs through miniature versions of the hallways and makes mountain lion noises.  I realize that, yes, this episode is definitely getting a little strange.

Hypnotized Mr. Sulu shows up to fight Kirk and naturally he knows karate because he's Asian.  But since it's the 1960s this isn't racist.  Later, he gets into a good school on merit alone and does complicated math equations in his head.

The kitty cat lady wants Mr. Clean's stick, but Kirk breaks it and the spooky house disappears.  Mr. Clean and the kitty cat lady turn into tiny little blue yarn puppets on strings and then die.  These yarn puppets killed a crew member, were from another galaxy, read minds, controlled a starship in orbit and could rearrange matter with a magic stick.  I'd think Kirk would want to stick one of them in a jar so they can poke around at it with tweezers, but they leave both of them on Planet Spooky Halloween and take off, probably to go fight a super-smart computerized turkey monster on Planet Thanksgiving.
How on earth was The Mask of Zorro so much fun and the sequel so terrible?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Comedy Today

So much "comedy" these days is vulgar, loud, weird and gross, just for the sake of being vulgar, loud, weird and gross. That's all there is to it, there's nothing behind the ugly surface.

I tried watching a couple of times an alleged comedy that's been on for a few years. I won't name it because I don't feel like being told how funny it is and that there's something wrong with me for not getting the joke. There IS no joke. Everyone on the show is loud, obnoxious and irredeemably stupid; the performances are meant to seem spontaneous but come off high school play-level amateurish; and the contrived, gross-out "humor" is not the least bit funny. I happened to watch a forty year old Bob Newhart Show episode earlier in the evening that was a million times better than this modern, zany, hip, in-your-face, execrable garbage. I'm afraid that comedy, at least what passes for it now, has passed me by.

(Mind you, South Park is frequently vulgar, loud, weird and gross, but before everything else, it's funny. If South Park had nothing else going for it but being vulgar, loud, weird and gross, it wouldn't be funny either.)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

If the Internet has taught me only one thing it is that Africa has more wealthy finance ministers of deposed dictators than zebras.
Before I started writing Crag Banyon #3, I had four ideas to choose from. I picked one and I wrote it and I finished the first draft yesterday, but for the past several days, as work was winding down, I could not for the life of me remember one of the other three Banyon ideas. I just now remembered the third idea, and I'm glad I did because it should be a funny one. So, thank goodness, a future great work of literature has not been lost to my early onset Alzheimer's.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My latest magnificent octopus is now available at Amazon. Amaze your friends! Terrify your enemies! Men, astound the ladies! Ladies, prepare to be astounded! Never since Diarrhetics by Delron Cubbard has one book meant so much to so many! Buy it today and learn what everyone else on your block only wishes he already knew! Or she!
Get Red the Riot Act on Amazon

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "The Paradise Syndrome"

This week's Star Trek answers once and for all that age-old question that has baffled astronomers for decades: are there Indians in outer space?

The episode begins with Kirk, Spock and Bones beaming down to what at first looks like Planet Northern California.  They comment on the pine trees, the nearby lake, the scent of honeysuckle in the air and wonder what the odds are that a planet so far from Earth could produce an environment so similar to Earth's.  I figure the odds are about 1 to 1 since every planet they ever beam down to is loaded with pine trees, maple trees, Nazis, elm trees, ancient Roman gladiators and birch trees.  From what I can tell, when they beam down to Planet Vegas it'd be safe to bet all their dilithium chips that it'll be loaded to the rafters with Earth flora, fauna and Chicago gangsters.

On the planet, they find a giant lawn dart with writing on it and Indians.

We learn that an asteroid is going to wallop the planet and the Enterprise has thirty minutes to warp over and bat it away.  It seems like it would have made more sense to whack the thing off its trajectory before they came to Planet Indian, but Mighty Plot God Who Live In Sky has deemed it be so.

Kirk falls through a trap door into the lawn dart's basement and gets electrocuted in the toupee.

Spock explains to McCoy that they have to abandon Kirk on the planet while they fly off to move the asteroid.  He demonstrates the danger by using two rocks, one to represent the planet and the other the asteroid.  I'm surprised he didn't have Scotty beam down a little dolly in a pretty pink dress to stand in for Kirk.  If I was McCoy, I'd take the asteroid rock and the planet rock and demonstrate what impact might be like with Spock's patronizing head in between.

After Spock and Bones leave, Kirk comes out of the giant lawn dart with a smoking wig and amnesia and is discovered by a white woman in red spray paint who takes him to her father the chief who is also white but with red spray paint.  I recognize him from an Adam-12 episode where he played a senile old man who stole his daughter's car in Los Angeles because he wanted to get home to somewhere.  I don't remember where.  Maybe it was Planet Indian.  If so, good for you, Chief Drives-At-Warp!

A little kid who fell in the lake is brought into the only wigwam in town and the medicine man says he's dead, but Kirk uses the ancient Earth technique of grossly incompetently administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation combined with the "wiggling of the legs" technique to revive the boy.  As a result, he's given the medicine man's scrunchie with the silver ashtray on the front.  Uh-oh.  Me smell heap big rivalry brewing!

I suddenly notice in the background that one of the extras looks like she might actually be an Indian.  Me wonder who let her crash-um party.

Up in space, Spock has reached the asteroid and tries to blow it apart with phasers.  It doesn't break, but he does blow the transmission on the Enterprise so Scotty says they'll have to roll all the way downhill back to the planet and that it'll take two months.  Apparently Spock forgets that the ship is loaded down with a couple of hundred torpedoes, because he doesn't fire even one.  Everyone else forgets too, because no one brings them up.  Or maybe they only have one key to the torpedo supply closet and Kirk had it in his pocket when he fell inside the lawn dart.

Back on Planet Indian, Kirk is suddenly wearing Injun pajamas and the chief is walking around in part of a Little Bo Peep costume.  Kirk is now "Kirock" because getting zapped in the toupee splits one syllable into two, Kemo Sabe.

Kirk dances around alone on the lawn dart's giant cement platform like Mary Tyler Moore spinning around in downtown Minneapolis and hugs himself while telling himself how happy he is in the most bizarre and creepy voice-over since Norman Bates said he wouldn't harm a fly at the end of Psycho.

I wuv you this much!

The deposed medicine man, who looks like Walter Matthau in red spray paint, confronts Kirk.  Not only does he want his ashtray scrunchie back, he wants the chief's daughter, Miramax, who he was supposed to marry before amnesiac Kirk showed up to make-um heap big trouble in paradise.  They fight, but Kirk beats him with that flying kick move that won the West back home.

Kirk gets dressed in plastic feathers and marries Miramax.

Back on the ship, Spock is tired.

On the planet, Kirk has his shirt off again for some reason.  As usual, I forget to time how long it took this week.

On the ship, the Enterprise is nearly to the planet but is still facing the asteroid, which means it backed up the whole way.  I don't hear it going beep-beep-beep! but I figure that's just because the sound is being swallowed up by the cold, unforgiving vacuum of space.  I just hope there aren't any kids playing ball out near that star system where that Klingon kid got hit on his bicycle last year.

Back on the planet, Kirk as medicine man is supposed to open the lawn dart to get it to shoot a laser at the asteroid, which apparently pops in unannounced all the time like Howard Borden on The Bob Newhart Show.  When Kirk doesn't shoot the lawn dart's laser at Howard Borden Asteroid, Walter Matthau seizes his chance to get his scrunchie back by having the spray-painted Indians throw Styrofoam rocks at Kirk and Miramax.  So much for the peaceful-loving "noble savage" crapola Spock was peddling at the beginning of the episode.  Him bad Vulcan snake oil salesman. 

Spock and Bones show up, and Spock asks, "Why were you being stoned?"  I figure it's because they probably sat for five minutes in the writer's room with the door closed that week.

Spock finds Kirk's memory under the sofa cushions and gives it back to him.  Kirk tries to remember what he said two months ago that opened the trapdoor in the lawn dart.  Since Kirk was in contact with the ship at the time of his disappearance, it seems to me that the Enterprise would have the last communication of the captain on file on one of those plastic poker chips they're always carrying around, but that wouldn't be dramatic enough so we have to wait for a guy who has been suffering from amnesia for two months to remember.

Spock and Kirk get inside the lawn dart and fire a laser at the nuisance Howard Borden Asteroid and it goes back to its own apartment.

Back at the wigwam, Bones tells Kirk that Miramax has too many internal injuries to save her.  He just shoved Spock's brain back in his head two episodes ago and in one of the movies he regrew some old lady stranger's kidney with one pill, but Kirk's Indian wife apparently isn't worth the effort to call up to the ship for a prescription bottle of spleens.

Kirk lucks out and Miramax dies before she gets lazy like turtle and fat like buffalo and starts nagging him all day long for a bigger teepee like the Walks-In-Cloudses down the block.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Parks and Recreation

I posted a version of this over on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page in a discussion about this week's irritating episode. It'll get lost quickly there, and I thought it might be interesting to anyone here who was annoyed, as I was, by this episode.

Parks and Recreation had been unique in that it struck a nice balance between the political polar opposites Ron and Leslie; with the very radical (for TV) underlying theme that government is ineffectual. I want to see Leslie chaining herself to gates to save gazebos, not sneering at straw man uptight religious fanatics and closet queens. Agenda-driven stuff only makes half your audience happy. It's not a choice I'd make, Left or Right, especially for a show that's struggled in the ratings. I just hope this isn't the start of a trend. For now, I'm still a Perd-vert.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book news

The release of Red Menace 3: Red the Riot Act was delayed mostly because I got distracted working on Crag Banyon #3. The good news is that Menace 3 should be out this weekend, and that I'm nearly finished writing Banyon 3, so about a month from now Banyon will be back.  Before things go nuts for the Menace, a little plug for Banyon.  If you've read Devil May Care and enjoyed it, a positive Amazon review would help in a lot of ways. If you haven't read it, I'm shocked and appalled.  Available now in Kindle and paperback.


Couldn't Burgess Meredith have picked up a new pair of glasses at a bombed-out CVS?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Harry Potter

Let me get this straight. Harry Potter's school teaches kids superpowers then sets them loose on the world at seventeen and no one thinks that is a terrible idea? I don't want kids DRIVING at seventeen.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goofball Review of Goofball Star Trek Episode "The Enterprise Incident"

At the start of this week's Star Trek, Kirk storms onto the bridge, yanks off Spock's rubber ears, tells Uhura that red miniskirt makes her look fat, and staples Chekov's wig to the bulletin board next to the Enterprise softball tryouts signup sheet.  We learn from Bones in a medical log voice-over that Kirk's gone crazy.  He's so crazy that he orders the Enterprise into Romulan space for no good reason.  I assume that Kirk must actually be crazy and that this can't possibly be a clever act with some sneaky ulterior motive or anything like that.

The Enterprise is quickly surrounded by spaceship models from an earlier season because it's cheaper to write a little expository dialogue and stick it in Scotty's mouth saying that Romulans are now using Klingon ships than it is to build new models.  Hey, don't complain.  The money for the massive special effects budget has to come from somewhere.  Paper mache and silver glitter doesn't grow on trees, you know.

The Romulan commander has Kirk and Spock beam over, and we find out she's a lady.  This must come as a particular shock to Kirk, since there was another episode that said women can't hold command positions in Starfleet because they'd always be sticking their hands out the windows at warp nine to dry their fingernails and dinging their starships' fenders every time they tried to parallel park in spacedock.

Romulans look just like Vulcans because it's cheaper on the makeup department's budget, and both races go heavy on the blue Maybelline eye shadow.  I think it makes Spock look cheap, and just because all the tramps at the Vulcan Science Academy have to gussy themselves up like tarts to make the boys look at them doesn't mean he has to.  He's pretty enough naturally.  The lady Romulan thinks so, too, and she gets Spock to betray Kirk pretty darned quickly.  I'd say it's as suspicious as Kirk's sudden craziness that Spock turns so fast and I'd mistrust his motives, but I'm not a super-smart and accomplished Romulan commander who's been put in charge of three ships, so what do I know?

Kirk gets mad and yells "I kill you!" at Spock, so the Romulans take him down to the brig where he sticks his finger in an electrical socket and falls down.  It takes a human being about two seconds to fall over, yet somehow William Shatner can squeeze five minutes of overacting into it. 

The Romulan uniforms consist of padded gold wrestling helmets, blue hockey pants and brown cable knit sweaters.  They look like they got dressed in the dark in the ship's locker room.

Bones beams over to the Romulan ship and examines Kirk.  He tells the Romulan lady commander that Kirk is depressed, unfocussed, irritable, lightheaded, sweaty, has a racing heart, weak bladder, night shakes, double vision, athlete's foot, halitosis, migraines, herpes, Tourette's Syndrome, itchy palms, flat feet, the bends and wig lice.  Kirk lunges at Spock -- who is now inseparable from his new best pal, the Romulan commander -- and Spock flattens him with the Vulcan Death Grip.  Bones is mad that Spock killed Kirk.  He doesn't have to be all that mad because even I can see that Kirk is still breathing and I'm not a bigshot space-doctor.

 Stop licking my hand

The Romulans allow Kirk's body to be beamed back aboard the Enterprise, where he's revived by looking at that chick who played the nurse and going, "AAAAAAHHHH!"

Kirk has Bones surgically alter him so that he looks like a Romulan, then he tells Scotty to go strip the uniform off one of two Romulans that the Enterprise is holding in the brig as exchange prisoners.  Scotty says, "It'll be a pleasure" with such unbridled joy that it would make Sulu blush.

On the Romulan ship, Spock is drinking orange juice from one of those square plastic display cases pharmaceutical companies put all over your doctor's waiting rooms to hawk Viagra pamphlets.  Spock then romances the Romulan lady commander by sticking his finger up her nose and telling her to change out of her hockey pants.

In the meantime, Kirk in disguise beams back to the Romulan ship.  The Romulans have a new cloaking device technology that Kirk and Spock have been ordered to steal.  The Federation's big plan was for Kirk to only act nutty so that they could disavow his actions if he gets caught.  You know, just like the Russians would completely forgive us if we said one of our Navy captains was nuts after he sailed into their territorial waters and stole a cloaking device off one of their ships and returned it to the U.S. where we kept it.  What do you mean, that's the stupidest thing you ever heard?  Did you see last week's episode where they scooped out Spock's brain to make a Baskin Robbins banana split?

The cloaking device is a giant Styrofoam ball with a garbage disposal stuck on top of it.  Kirk steals it and beams away.

The Romulans run into the cloaking device room.  They are already on alert, which is why they ran in there to begin with.  This is the top-secret room specifically for this piece of equipment, it sits on a case dead-center in the room, yet they look at all the walls, in the closets, at the buzzing florescent lights in the ceiling and in the mouse traps behind all the consoles before somebody thinks to look at the empty spot in the middle of the room where the thousand pound gorilla has gone missing.  Apparently Romulans are pretty closely related to Vulcans in the smarts department.

Scotty installs the cloaking device on the Enterprise using a clear plastic ruler and some licorice.  Chekov and his wig beam Spock back aboard the Enterprise, and the good guys sail away in their invisible ship, regrouping on the bridge for one last hearty guffaw before the Earth and every other planet in the Federation becomes a smoking crater in space thanks to the major international outer-space war they just precipitated.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

That email from a total stranger says "urgent!" in the subject line! Why, I'd better hurry up and click on that hyperlink, and FAST!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Isn't sentencing Jerry Sandusky to 30 years in a men's prison kind of like sentencing Rosie O'Donnell to 30 years in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Facebook Ads

For everyone who sees that Facebook ad for does the picture with the ad look like a guy in a wig? I've seen this ad for months now, and I swear it looks like one of those bad Tootsie-like movies that comes out every few years with a very obvious guy in a wig who somehow fools every idiot in town into thinking he's a girl, but only because everyone in town is a blithering idiot who can't see the new gal on the girl's swim team is six foot three and has an Adam's apple and five o'clock shadow.

Monday, October 8, 2012


No wacky Star Trek commentary this week. I'll try not to sleep through it again next week. I just hope last night's wasn't the one where they scooped out Spock's brain.

Indiana Jones

Hey, wait a minute. If the Ark of the Covenant had made it to Berlin, as soon as it was opened it would have vaporized Hitler and every nearby Nazi bigshot. So by preventing the Nazis from getting the Ark, Indiana Jones was actually responsible for World War II.
It took me 30 years to realize that.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My bank just asked for my ID before I could make a withdrawal. They're racist against pasty Irishmen.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Who knew that an Indiana Jones movie that begins with a three minute Kate Capshaw song-and-dance number would turn out so lousy?

Get Yours Today

Work progresses on Crag Banyon #3. While the world holds its breath in anticipation, what are you waiting for? Check out where the silliness began.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The biggest rule with a Crag Banyon book is that a joke -- no matter how dumb it is -- that makes me laugh out loud stays in. (Yeah, I laugh at my own jokes. SOMEBODY's got to.)