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The Elevator Trap

elevatorToday the Daily Prompt is “Elevator.” They actually have a more specific approach to elevators in mind, but they’re not the boss of me. One time I got caught in an elevator trap, and possibly a psychological experiment, parallel dimension, or both. You be the judge:

The reason we were driving to Cincinnati was that Rob’s sister was down there with a couple of friends of hers. At eighteen years of age or so, they were a couple years younger than us, and Rob got it into his head that we should drive down there and make sure they didn’t have any dudes in there with them, because that was obviously some of our business. Did it occur to us that once we got down there, they’d have some dudes with them? I don’t know, but we got a case of beer, and piled into DJ’s car.

In a very nice nod to responsibility, DJ drank zero beers on the way down there, while Rob and I pretended his car was our own personal cocktail lounge. His sister was down there for some kind of mind-bogglingly elaborate shopping trip, which okay, they were girls. Shopping was an acceptable motivation for pretty much anything. We drove straight into downtown Cincinnati using only information from Rob’s brain to arrive at the proper hotel, then we stumbled into the front door thinking, man, sure could use a bathroom about now.

Well, let’s get up to the room, use that one. Our experiences as knucklehead twenty year-olds had taught us that people in hotels – or nice places in general – had not much patience for us, usually identifying us as knuckleheads with a single glance.

It was a big hotel, with a lot of polished marble and high ceilings and plush carpets. This notion of driving two hours away to pay what must have been a chunk of change for an overnight room, all so one could go shopping at different stores – this was baffling to us. Nonetheless, Big Brother Protocol was in effect; we kept moving.

Elevator2Rob had the room number written down but I don’t remember it. But it was on the 14th floor. I remember that because we found a long, quiet hallway and followed it to an elevator, and once we boarded the elevator, and the doors closed, I said, “Isn’t the 14th floor really the 13th floor? For triskadekaphobic reasons?”

Yes. We checked, and the numbers went straight from 12 to 14. Good lord – awfully superstitious for 1992, which seemed at the time of course, very modern.

Ah well, 14 it is. We hit the button and did potty dances while the elevator rose silently, then the doors opened and the three of us strode confidently off the elevator, and then we all produced frowns as the doors slid shut behind us.

This wasn’t a hotel. We were in some kind of vestibule with four elevators in it, including the one behind us. To our right and to our left were offices – an architectural firm and a law firm – with heavy oak doors lined by vertical windows. Next to the elevator behind us, a metal ashtray was mounted to the wall, and along the architect’s doors sat a potted plant about the size and shape of R2D2, but it looked nothing like him.

We all put our hands on our hips and Rob, the tallest and shaggiest of the three of us said, “Huh.”

Then we spent ten minutes pressing the button to call the elevator, but the elevator would not respond. It was very, very quiet in the vestibule.

DJ was a skinny little guy like me, except he cared how he looked so he had some product in his hair and was wearing a non-hobo shirt and had shaved. He said, “I guess since it’s after business hours, maybe they lock the elevators, so you can’t call them?”

“They should maybe lock the number 14 button then,” I suggested. “This is a problem.”

We all had beers in our pockets, so we popped them open and sat down for a minute. I looked at the potted plant and said, “I’m going to stand up in about two minutes and pee in that potted plant right there, if you guys want to think about what else to look at.”

We didn’t have phones to look at, so that was something to mull over.

“Huh.” Rob said again.

A half an hour later, all of us had peed in the plant, and I imagine there was an odor. Next to one of the elevators was an emergency panel which would only open if you broke the emergency glass. It was either hang around there all night – or possibly all weekend since it was Friday night – or break the glass, so we crushed our beer cans, stuffed them in the butt compartment of the wall-mounted ash tray, and then I broke the glass with my elbow and opened the panel.

Phone 2Ah – an emergency phone inside. I picked it up and said, “I’m terribly sorry, but we’ve selected the wrong elevator and now we’re trapped on the 14th floor of the business side of your hotel. Can someone..”

But the line was dead. Of course the line was dead.

One more beer each apiece, and the rest was still out in the car. We sat on the floor like you see people doing at the airport when their flight’s delayed, killing our beers and alternating between frowning at each other and cracking up.

“You’d think if you break the emergency glass there’d be some kind of alarm somewhere,” DJ mused. “You’d think that would do something, rather than just being glass.”

I said, “I would think you would turn off the elevator if it went to Weekend Business Limbo.”

Rob said, “Still, my sister is on this floor of this building, just waaaaaaaay around the other side.”

“Close,” I agreed. “We came very close.”

It all became surreal, like a Twilight Zone episode. Was this some kind of experiment? Were we being watched to see how we’d handle the situation? Were we really dolls in a Salvation Army barrel?

Twiligh zone2Suddenly I found myself staring at the door of the law office. We had been sitting in the vestibule for an hour and a half, and not long before, I’d realized that the hinges to the law office doors were on our side.

I said, “I vote we take one of those doors off its hinges.”

Getting up to look through the window next to them, I could clearly see an “”Exit” sign, above another door in there among the desks and cubicles, with the word “STAIRS” on it.

DJ had a pocket knife. We used it to pop the pins out of the hinges, and pulled the heavy door right out of the deadbolt locking mechanism, and leaned it against the wall. Aware that we were officially breaking into a law office, I hit the stairs running, down several flights of stairs before finding an unlocked door. I blasted through it to a short hallway, which led to another vestibule, same layout, similar plant, similar ash tray.

Tapping the call button made a pleasant chiming sound, and the elevator arrived in seconds. I jumped on it, hit 14, and the doors opened up to DJ and Rob standing there, blithely wondering if I was going to be me or a carload of cops. I said, “Hold the door.”

So DJ propped the door open while Rob and I fit the heavy law office door back onto its deadbolt, then into its hinges. We tapped the pins down easily, and I had to use my heel for the bottom one, then we bumbled back into the elevator, hit the button for the ground floor, and down we went the way we came. When the doors opened, we blarneyed past a guy in a black suit speaking into a radio, but he said nothing to us and we located the correct elevator, found his sister, confirmed there were no dudes there, just shopping bags, and got diagnosed as idiots by the three people we’d come here to check on.

They might have been right, and they might have been wrong – it sure felt like a psychological experiment to us, and it was a full day before we shook the surreal feeling – but we never heard a word about the elevator or the break-in, and if Rob’s sister had any unsavory dude-related plans, well, we took care of that.

Brady Bunch 2

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Writing/blogging

 

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Star Trek And The Conservation Of Dialogue Principle

thank you for smokingThere was a movie called Thank You For Smoking, and it had Robe Lowe in it as a Hollywood movie executive, and Aaron Eckhart as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry. In one scene, Eckhart’s character is trying to work a deal with Lowe’s character to get cigarettes placed more prominently and positively in upcoming blockbusters, and Lowe describes a scene he has in mind.

It’s set in space, and the idea is that two superhot A-List actors like say Johnny Depp and Scarlett Johansson have sex in a room with zero gravity, and it’s all sexy and graphic, and then they’re floating there afterward smoking cigarettes, and the smoke is spiraling around them and that’s exactly what Eckhart’s talking about.

“But,” he asks. “Wouldn’t the whole thing blow up, lighting up in an oxygen rich environment like that?”

“Well, yeah,” says the movie producer. “But that’s just like, one line of dialogue. ‘I’m so glad we got the whatever installed so we can smoke in space.'”

Very matter-of-fact, because it’s often that simple, and as far as watching the new Star Trek movie goes, don’t go complaining that they didn’t add the extra lines of dialogue for you. They’re already talking plenty. Some things just aren’t going to make sense, and they’re going to spare us the token explanations as to why.

Like you might be wondering why the Enterprise, which can teleport a grown Vulcan male out of the center of the volcano, can’t remotely operate whatever device he’s got down there with him. I think they may have even muttered something about how they can’t be seen by the natives – but you know, they’re usually teleporting from orbit, where the natives wouldn’t see them.

Well, the crust is rich in radioactive isotopes, and they’re screwing with the sensor array, and the device Spock has is too sensitive – the interference could reverse the polarity and then it wouldn’t work. Only way to do it is by hand.

Star Trek 1Or something like that. On the television show, they get pretty bogged down explaining stuff all the time, acting like this is science and not silliness with science stickers on it. I think the new Star Trek movie makes a pretty good decision realizing that it doesn’t need to explain everything.

Like why they could stun Khan briefly on the Bridge, but Uhura unloaded on him about eight times and he supershrugged it off, even with one Metric Vulcan Asskicking in him. That’s how the action needed to flow, don’t make them explain that. Maybe he took a bite out of a tribble before he left, who knows?

We could quibble about how they were beaming folks out of midair in the last one, and this time they can’t get a lock during the final fight scene because “they’re moving around too much!”

It was already awkward enough when Bones is suddenly had a dead tribble next to him and sort of stretched and said, “Yep. Better inject some of Khan’s weird ass blood into this dead tribble while you guys proceed with your action movie. See what happens.”

Everybody even sort of turns to look at him. Sure, Bones. You do that. Right here, why the hell not?

And of course a little dialogue tap dance regarding the need for an extraneous bra-and-panty shot for Dr. Marcus. Because she’s hot, and her agent said so, that’s why.

The problem always comes in when there’s no line of dialogue that could save them from the problem – like when Iron Man doesn’t have any extra suits. That’s dumb, Iron Man. You’re not dumb. Last time you had an extra suit in your car. Keep extra suits somewhere, you big ding dong.

A fine line I’m drawing there, I guess. Star Trek silliness is cool and you shouldn’t ask questions, Iron Man silliness is questionable but still cool, just not as cool as Star Trek. Also, did you notice that Star Trek wouldn’t even have happened if everyone would have just listened to Scotty with regards to seventy-ish torpedos which no one can see inside, and with regards to taking said torpedos on board?

ScottyHe basically had the whole movie beat if everyone had just said, “Hey, Scotty’s right, like he usually is about engineering and missiles. We usually do all right without mystery torpedos, anyway – right?”

All right, well, that’s my advice, and I’ve thought it through carefully for well over twenty-six minutes, so I can’t imagine there is anything inconsistent or hypocritical about it. I was going to bag on the Pope for a little bit, but I was too tired, and he really does seem nice. I guess just being a Pope freaks me out, that’s all.

Cool, now I’m going to use the gravitational pull of the Sun as a sling shot and go land on my couch. You have a nice evening, blogosphere.

 

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Dan Brown Is Your Problem Now

Hello, blogosphere. Can you guys do me a favor?

I’ve been asked by the collective Art History community to deliver a message to the English Departments of the world, and I was going to encode it and hide it throughout all the great works of literature in history, just because that seems like a natural way to efficiently tell the world stuff. Secret codes hidden in books. There’s no better ad space on Earth – humanity is crazy about them!

Cosmic ChickenAnyway, the Art History community appeared before me in a dream as a giant, anthropomorphic Spirit Chicken, and it looked like it had been drinking. It was ranting about students showing up in Art History class insisting that everything in The Da Vinci Code is Art History. Or worse, showing up and looking at The Last Supper and pretending to spot the bullshit from The Da Vinci Code themselves!

“Wait a second – that’s a girl!” One of them will announce – cracking the Code with a single glance. See, Tom wouldn’t last long as an Art History teacher, and not just because he doesn’t know shit about it.

But the Cosmic Art History Spirit Chicken does, and here’s how much of a load of crap The Da Vinci Code is. Do you know what Leonardo’s last name was? Well, no, it wasn’t Da Vinci. He’s Leonardo From Vinci, or Leonado of Vinci. They didn’t have surnames back then. So even if it was his Code, that would make it the Leonardo Code. Not the From Vinci Code.

And if an error of such basic information is right there in the title, then what can we surmise about how much this person knows about the topic?

Now Dan Brown has a book out called Inferno and it’s about Dante’s Inferno. I assume there is some kind of Code in it, since they call in world-renowned symbologist Robert Langdon to figure it out, with the help of – and I’m just guessing here – a brilliant and beautiful Literary Scholar Chickaroo.

Apparently, according to the Cosmic Art History Chicken, this is a burr up the ass of every Art History scholar in the world, right up there with people who watch the History channel, and then think they just studied history, and also right up there with people who think you can really be a world-renowned symbologist, or even a symbologist. That’s about like saying you’re a cryptozoologist.

I mean – of course you can be whatever you want to be, Billy! You just gotta believe! Except no, they’re not really scholars, just chicks-n-dudes with hilarious business cards.

NelsonSo like I’m saying, they wanted me to send a message to the entire Literary community – I mean, hell, is that what they’re even called? Is the C.A.H.C talking to every single English teacher, Literature Professor, and Librarian in the world?

Better err on the side of safety I guess. Just go ahead and tell everyone you know who teaches literature in any way, that Dan Brown Is Your Problem Now, and that Tom Chalfant Says The Cosmic Art History Chicken thinks it’s funny.

HA!

There. Now, Go, Cosmic Art History Chicken – and trouble my people no more.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Writing/blogging

 

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Daily Prompt: The Very, Very Long Awkward Phase

Going with the old WordPress Daily Prompt here, which is:

You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

Photographers, show us GIFT.

And this one’s easy, because I really did get a gift today that was bittersweet and made me nostalgic. Want to see it?

South of the Border 

Yes. I received this gift on Facebook today, although it was really a gift from the guy on the far left to the guy in the white shirt. We were all 17 in the photo except one of us, which makes this photo twenty-five years old. As you probably guessed, I am the one wearing the stolen hat.

Here’s what happened. For some reason, despite being all children, all of our parents allowed us to take a five-day trip down to Myrtle Beach. I forget which one of us was 18, but that was the reason we were able to rent a motel room. Please bear in mind that six years before, my mom wouldn’t let my sister go to Grad Night at Kings Island overnight. At the time this photo was taken, me and basically the same crew had already been on a weekend trip to New York City, where we ran afoul of stolen merchandise vendors, and were nearly arrested in Chinatown.

Napoleon Dynamite and PedroYes, a bit of a parental double standard, but that’s cause I was a big strong guy, right? Who’s going to mess around with a man with his middle school pants still strapped on over tiny, chicken legs, wearing a baggy sweater in May? You should have seen my arms – like bones with panty hose on them.

Who cares. We drove down, checked in, and there was actually a fifth guy with us at first named Jeremy, who went sort of crazy after drinking a ton of alcohol, and brought a strange, self-proclaimed beach bum back to our room. He was an African-American male with long, tightly braided hair who was in his thirties, told us his name was St. George, and who – although ostensibly there because he had promised for no reason to buy Jeremy more alcohol – kept telling us that he could really use some marijuana.

None of us had any marijuana. It’s unlikely any of us had cigarettes. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing down there, but we had just been talking about the urban legend regarding cops, and how they had to say “yes” if you asked if that’s what they were.

Now, I’m not saying that’s a true urban legend, but I am saying that when I asked St. George finally, after he hung around our room for twenty minutes, if he was a cop, he said, “Yeah. I’m a cop. Psshhh.”

Rolling his eyes. Too early, culturally, for him to make a “W” with his hands, but I’m sure he would have.

That’s odd, I thought. A couple of us froze, exchanging looks. I said, “No seriously, say ‘no’ if you’re not a cop. I’m asking you if you’re a cop.”

Undercover Brother SolidSame answer. “Yeah – I’m a cop. Pshhh.”

And Monte and I freaked.

“Hold on,” Monte repeated. “St. George, we’re asking if you are a law enforcement officer. If you are, would you please identify yourself?”

“Pssshhh. Yeah – I’m a cop.”

Like a recording. Holy. Donkey shit.

So we all leapt to our feet and told him, sir, we do not want you in our motel room anymore. Please leave. We have no marijuana, nor any interest in any alcoholic beverages. We are but pilgrims traveling to learn the complex ways of this world, etc. etc. etc.

And St. George left, with Jeremy trailing him and telling him, come on, man, those guys are dicks. You’re not a cop, you’re my new beach bum pal. Let’s go to the liquor store, forget those guys. But alas, St. George was offended, and left.

Well, not completely. A half hour later, we spied him behind the front desk of the motel, making a phone call. That’s what you had to do in 1989, actually find a phone, and do you suppose the motel made a habit of letting beach bums use the phone whenever they wanted?

It didn’t take Jeremy long to find a couple of dudes who were willing to take him to the liquor store and buy him some much-needed liquor in exchange for paying for an extra bottle for them. Awesome – so off they went, and when they came out of the liquor store, there were cops waiting for them, nice and conveniently. Off to jail for Jeremy!

Now, it may alarm you to learn that we did basically nothing to bail him out. I’m not saying we were intoxicated teenage children who had no interest in going near a jail, but let’s just say it didn’t seem like a good idea to go poking around the police station, and let’s just say it seemed to us Jeremy had basically called a cab and asked to be taken there.

Dazed and ConfusedSo – off to the beach. We screwed around for four more hours, and then all crashed back at the room.

Jeremy arrived not long after, very upset. For a moment, I thought he was going to kick my skinny ass, but Mike explained to him that he would be doing no such thing – thanks, Mike! And then we all slept, and Jeremy slipped out in the wee hours of the morning, leaving a note explaining that he was pissed at us (!), that he owed some guys money (!!), and that they would probably be around looking for it and to “deal with them(!!!)”

Actually, it turns out, Mike has been walking around with the Actual Note From This Story in his wallet this whole time. I know, because he scanned it and sent it to me:

Awesome Curse of Future Tom Letter

So, we all sprang into action. The universe began playing hilarious banjo music while we threw all of our crap into the only car we had left, trashed the room like rock stars for no reason other than being idiots (and now that I think about it, that might have been Jeremy’s credit card), and then we screeched out of the parking lot without so much as checking out.

We got lost on the way home – again, we were jackasses, and there were no magic map phones, there were just maps and eyeballs and signs – and at some point we ended up at a tourist trap called South of the Border, which is where the picture up there was taken. Who took the picture? So far, none of us has any idea.

So today’s Mike’s birthday – he’s the actual first kid I met in Kindergarten, and we lived together in college, and the last time I saw him was a couple years ago, when his wife was frowning at me for stomping around their house in bare, filthy, Huckleberry Finn feet – and because I’m so sentimental, I put up a hilarious photo on his timeline from Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Monte followed suit with this one, and so there I was, looking at my own unbelievably awkward, jackass self from the past.

Wasn’t easy walking around high school looking like some kind of Third World freedom fighter, but it could have been worse and as you can probably guess, I’m like, Super Cool now. Note the blogging and the Star Trek knowledge and the long, bald guy hair – Cool City. Ah yes, we all go through an awkward phase, just for some of us, it lasts decades.

Stand By MeVery Stand By Me. Very nostalgic and bittersweet. Normally what I’d say, if I were in a country song or if I were an introspective writer returning to Castle Rock, is something like, “Man, what I wouldn’t give to go back and do that again.”

No thank you, though. It was fun fellas, but let’s go do something in our forties, with our brains working, and preferably, without our old pal Jeremy. Or I guess if he’s also in his forties and not a jackass anymore, Jeremy can come too.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Knuckleheads, Writing/blogging

 

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Your Own Personal Trekkie

I mean, I guess that’s what I am. I know a lot of Star Trek stuff off the top of my head, and I do have a Starfleet shirt. I once bartended an entre shift on Halloween dressed like this:

Vulcan Bartender 2So yes, I’m a Trekkie so you don’t have to be, because these days, you could be a perfectly normal person who loves the Star Trek movies for non-dorky reasons. You might just like action movies starring hot people, for example.

I love the new Star Trek movies for both kinds of reasons. Sometimes you hear Trekkies bitching because these last two movies deviate in tone and depth and philosophical ambition from the rest of the franchise, but the way I see it, there’s plenty of old Star Trek out there. Just put a bucket outside before you go to sleep tonight, and by the time you wake up, it will be full of old Star Trek. There’s plenty of that.

But this time around, there’s a lot more for us dorks sprinkled in with all the awesomeness, so just in case you have an actual social life and haven’t seen every episode ever made several times apiece, let me take you on a little tour of the Trekkie stuff from Star Trek Into Darkness.

Khan, for example. Khan Noonien Singh. You might notice that his name sounds a lot like Noonian Soong, the guy who created Data from The Next Generation. It turns out that both characters were named after the same pal of series creator Gene Roddenberry, but then on the most recent series, Star Trek: Enterprise, Noonian Soong’s grandfather Arik showed up (played by Brent Spiner, who also played Data and Noonian Soong) and turned out to be messing around with Augments like Khan.

KHANSo maybe Arik Soong interacted with a later-awakened Khan Noonien Singh, and then told his son about him, and then that guy named one of his kids Noonian. Even the spelling in the credits changes on some of the episodes, sometimes it’s spelled like Khan’s name.

See, in the original Star Trek, Kirk and his crew come across the USS Botany Bay with frozen Augmented Khan and his frozen, Augmented pals in it. This was after the Eugenics Wars, which took place in the 1990s, when superhumans like Khan occupied and ruled one quarter of the world. After that, I think we kicked their asses, but killed a lot of people – that’s why in Star Trek: First Contact, civilization had backslid a little.

So in the movie, it’s Admiral Alexander Marcus (played by Robocop!) who finds the USS Botany Bay, long before Kirk did in the original series. That’s because in the two most recent movies, we’re in an alternate universe created by a time travel paradox, in which the planet Vulcan was destroyed. As Starfleet moved more toward a military mindset similar to America post-9/11, they must have altered their missions to more aggressively chart the area, and so that’s why they found Khan sooner.

Also, when Noonian Soong was screwing around, experimenting with Augments he unleashed some kind of virus on the Klingons,altering their physical appearance, which is why Klingons from the old show appear to be smooth-skinned, while the rest of them – even those in Star Trek: Enterprise, which takes place before the original series – have ridges on their faces and generally more complicated makeup. Yes, they bothered to explain that for us.

Doctor MarcusThe hot, blonde scientist chickaroo? That’s not just the Admiral’s daughter, that’s Dr. Marcus from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She’s the one who has a kid with him and then doesn’t tell him for twenty-odd years. Then she calls him up because mind-controlled Chekhov shows up ordering her to hand over the Genesis device.

Also, did you notice that tribble was pregnant? Do you know how I can tell?

Because all tribbles are pregnant. They’re born pregnant. Dr. McCoy explained that to us way back in “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Member? That’s why they were all over the place.

Whale ProbeAlso, there’s a giant, hollow tree-type of probe on the way to Earth still. It’s the one from Star Trek IV, which showed up because it turned out that humpback whales had been communicating with it for centuries, and then they went extinct so it showed up and went all apeshit on Starfleet, like “Where are the whales, guys? Where are the cockadoody whales?!” Except blowing stuff up, too.

So someone’s going to need to go back in time and get some humpback whales. Doesn’t have to be our guys, but since Old Parallel Universe Spock is here, he might want to give someone the old Heads Up-A-Roo. Just two whales are apparently fine. All you gotta do is use the Sun’s gravitational pull as a slingshot, scootch back to the eighties, right before the Eugenics War, which apparently took its toll on the whale population for some reason.

Khan2As for all this talk about who the real bad guy is – the real bad guy is Khan. If you thought Khan wasn’t pure evil at any point, it was because he’s so fucking smart he can reach right out of the fictional world into this one and control your brain. Sure, the Admiral was a jerk and a bad guy. Getting temporarily enslaved by Admiral Marcus doesn’t make Khan a nice guy. Also, he’s Young Khan. Give him about twenty or thirty years. Maroon him on a barely habitable planet for a few years. See what happens.

Also, a Pro Tip for anyone out there with a beautiful and brilliant daughter – she is NOT going to choose your evil plans over the hot, dangerous guy you hate, just because you raised her. Especially if you told her you hate him and he’s off limits. That’s not how it works.

Okay, cool. This Trekkie lesson is over. Go on upstairs and see if your mom will make you a quesadilla.

Just be all like, “MOM! MOOOOMMMMMMM!!!!!”

KIRK 3

 

 

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Welcome To Crazy Town

Driving around outside of Columbus without satellite radio, without any recorded books, with zero CDs and I mean zero, the way I listen to the radio is I hit the scan button and then wait for a reason to stop scanning. Sometimes it’s a song in the general vein I like, and that might mean good news for twenty miles or so. Sometimes it’s somebody British, saying British things.

This time it was a conservative religious talk show, and the three second-snippet which caused me to stop the scanner included the phrase “homo marriage.”

Chet From Weird Science Making EggsI’m pretty sure the woman who used the term – especially since she proceeded to use it repeatedly for the next half hour – believed that it was the proper term for gay marriage. Because if you’re using terms which would seem normal coming out of Chet from Weird Science, then you can pretty much bet the farm your lingo is legit.

Welcome to Crazy Town, is what I assume the show was called, though the key word there is “assume.” In truth, I can’t tell you who these people were or even what station they were on, but that’s where they were broadcasting from, and I’m pretty sure one of them was the Mayor.

The first thing they were doing was hammering down the following point: Teaching evolution in school without also teaching that Maybe It Was Magic, well that’s not teaching science, that’s indoctrinating students into a non-Christian philosophy, just basically cramming the Opposite of The Bible down their throats and then stamping the word “Science” on it.

“The Word of God predates science!”  One of them complained. He’s the one I think was the Mayor, sounding like Pat Robertson thirty years younger with a couple of solid martinis in him.

They all cracked up at how obvious that was, and then to demonstrate how much it was obviously a bad idea to teach Science without the Word of God, the woman – I’ll call her the Reverse Terminator, because she sounded like she had maybe come forward in time a hundred years, and like she knew nothing about technology of any kind, and was perhaps even unaware I could hear her in my car – pointed out that a recent study had shown NINETY PERCENT of young people now believed in Homo Marriage.

Hell in a handbasket, they all agreed. And then suddenly they were talking about the Bill of Rights, unaware of the irony, since it’s the reason you can’t teach Christianity in schools.

Saul GoodmanThey had a special guy on there and again, I was driving a car, didn’t catch his name. Let’s call him Fast Eddie, because he sounded like a grifter and wanted me to go to his website and get his free pamphlet which would teach me the Bill of Rights.

Hmm, I thought. Why don’t I just consult my own copy of the Bill of Rights, if I’m feeling like I need a refresher? Or perhaps I could google it. Me and George W. Bush – we LOVE to do the google.

Fast Eddie wanted to remind us of various agencies which were buying a bunch of hollow point bullets. All of these agencies seemed like weird agencies to be buying bullets, but if you just do the google the way Me-n-W like to do it, you can easily learn that most large government agencies, even the Social Security Administration, have hundreds of special agents who work in connection with law enforcement to investigate various types of crimes. All of these agencies get trained, all of them carry guns, and hollow point bullets are standard issue.

Fast Eddie, the Reverse Terminator, and The Mayor all wanted to talk about hollow point bullets for a while. They called them Killer Bullets, and were very outraged because I guess if you’re going to allow a federal agent to shoot someone in the line of duty, you want him to do so gently.

Hey, is it okay if Zeke from Tractor Supply picks up a few thousand Killer Bullets? Damn Right! It’s the Second Amendment!

But not the government, and certainly not any government agency which doesn’t intuitively sound like they might need them. They didn’t even want the Department of Homeland Security having hollow point bullets.

I mean, what do they need them for? Did anything about the recent gun debate lead them to believe that there were millions of nutcases in America absolutely slobbering for guns, bullets, and something to shoot?

Gun Show

After all, The Mayor reminded me. Obama is now literally a hitman.

Those are two real words he used together. Literally, hitman.

“He’s killing American citizens with these drones!” The Mayor announced, and no, he’s not. Eric Holder just said that it was technically possible – see this previous post about it.

“These drones are going to have scanners,” the Mayor continued. “They’ll be able to see through the walls of your house.”

“Well what are you doing in your house that you don’t want them to see?” Asked the Reverse Terminator instinctively, cracking me up because telling you what you can do in your own house is something these folks generally like to do.

“Well, anything,” said the Mayor. “You could be fixing dinner, chopping up vegetables, facing your wife and then a SWAT team piles through your door thinking you’re threatening her.”

FlandersSo let’s all reflect on what a grasp it takes on law enforcement budgets if we think SWAT teams are going to be called in every time the X-Ray Drones see a knife. And let’s also reflect on how creepy it is that the Mayor went there first – What if the drones think I’m threatening my wife at knifepoint?

Good question, Mayor of Crazy Town. What if the flying robot thinks that, and then the SWAT guys all turn into incompetent bufoons who would do whatever the flying robot says? Say, would you like to talk to some SWAT guys about whether or not they are drooling morons?

Anywho, if that’s what you conservatives are listening to all day, no wonder you’re all losing your minds. And if you’re wondering why no one is as outraged as you about Benghazi, Chicken Little, it’s because absolutely EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS is an Obama conspiracy when you’re broadcasting from Crazy Town.

A nice place to visit though. I imagine one could get a pretty tasty slice of apple pie there, yes sir. But I don’t think I’ll be visiting the local real estate office. And also I think someone should go check on The Mayor’s wife.

 

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Robert Heinlein’s The Number Of The Beast

The Number of the BeastToday I’m sitting around in Cleveland for work-related reasons, drove up here this morning, went through some loan documents with someone, and then I had three hours to kill until doing it again. A hard life,I know, so let’s sit around and read this paperback book I borrowered from someone, called The Number of the Beast by Robert Heinlein.

I’m only about 85 pages into it, but it is the strangest novel I’ve read in a while. It was written in 1980 and it shows – none of the characters can stop talking about sex, and everybody appears to be open to swinging, and even though it’s set in the future where cars fly, there’s not much of an Internet, most things need plugged in, and women are sexually liberated, but mostly aspire to be dutiful wives.

It’s strange – the writing is very convoluted. Long, long paragraphs – sort of typical of paperback science fiction. Sex, sex and long paragraphs. Wonky dialogue and really long technical descriptions of time machines, and even though this one predates Back to the Future by five years, the protagonists build a time machine and mount it in their car so they can travel time and space in it.

They haven’t done that yet though. Traveled through time. They’re just standing around naked, being eighties-style creepy, talking about tax evasion, group sex, and time travel. Okeedokee then.

Here’s the situation. It starts out at a university where a square-jawed American named Zebadiah has just met Deetee, who is the self-described beautiful daughter of a mad scientist. Zeb and Deetee dance a bit, and then decide they should get married. So they go back to her Dad’s house, and he really is a mad scientist, having some history with Zeb, whom he’s invited into town to see his time machine.

Her Dad’s name is Jake and he is married not to Deetee’s mom, but instead to her friend Hilda. Deetee’s mom is dead, and so Hilda stepped up and married him, and everybody’s cool with that. All over the book, they casually banter about trampled sexual taboos. The daughter casually mentions that she’s never had sex with her father but would have been happy to, for instance – gross, Eighties People. Gross.

They all agree that it’s a great idea for Deetee and Zeb to get married, so they go on outside and someone blows up one of their cars, and they all get into Zeb’s car, which flies and which talks and which he calls the Gay Deceiver. I’m not making any of this up, that’s what happens when you have been knocking out classic science fiction books for decades, nobody edits you, not one word.

LibyansWho blew up the car? Well, the Black Hats, we learn. They are aliens who don’t want Jake to invent the time machine. My guess is, they’re aliens or people from Earth’s past who our perverted protagonists are going to screw with later, which will cause them to want to come either forward or back in time to prevent them from building the machine they use to get within screwing-with-them distance.

Black Hats = Libyans, for those of you wanting to speak in Back to the Future terms. Gay Deceiver equals the Delorean, and the Professor equals Jake (who is of course also a professor). Okay, got it?

Cool, so they all pile into the Gay Deceiver, go and get married, and then they head to Jake’s desert hideout which not even the government knows about, and confirm via the Gay Deceiver’s wonky Radio Internet Thing, that everybody thinks they died in the explosion even though there are (presumably) no body parts.

Then they spend the rest of the eighty pages I’ve read having sexual intercourse, discussing sexual intercourse, turning out to be pregnant and drinking wine to celebrate, and mounting the time machine on the dashboard of the Gay Deceiver. They go into incredible detail explaining that there’s no way anyone can find them out there, and then explaining how their time machine works.

Hot Tub Time MachineI don’t know about you, but I prefer not to hear too much about how time machines work. I’m a Flux Capacitor kind of guy. How does it work? It works great, let’s go.

Anyway, they tell me all about it in long, long paragraphs, and I’m just trying to get to the part where they travel through time in it. The reason you’re reading about it is, I’m planning to read the next eighty pages now, but I’m cursed to blog daily about something. Anything. So here you go – a blog post about a creepy time traveling swinger book from the eighties, which is oddly, pretty good and I want to finish now.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

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