Saturday, June 23, 2007
ACMETV Presents: Looney Tunes – Behind the Anvil
Narrator: The year was 1935. In movie theaters across the nation, a dynasty was being created, all with the antics of a pudgy little pig named Porky. In the following years, he would be joined by other newcomers to the field, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, thus solidifying the foundation of the Looney Tunes. But was everything really all wacky sight gags and innuendos? Starting tonight, we’ll look back on those early years and see what was really happening…. behind the anvil.
Narrator: Perhaps best known for his stammering sign off at the end of each short, Porky Pig was the first breakout star of the series, displacing early troupe members like Buddy and Beans the Cat. Co-star Daffy Duck reminisces.
Daffy: We were on top of the world in the 30s. The fresh faced stars of the future. Oh, if only we knew then what we know now. I mean, Bugs’ greeting aside, none of us were medical professionals. How were we supposed to know that Porky’s stuttering was a sign of dyslexia? To us, the guy just couldn’t talk right. It was funny! Well, it wasn’t funny years later when we were all out of work and the poor guy couldn’t even read the want ads to look for a new job. [Daffy begins tearing up.] Oh God, I can still remember the day I heard the news that he’d killed himself. [The flow of tears streaming steadily down his bill.] Do you know what his note said? Come on, what do you think it said? “Th, th, th” [Daffy tries to get the words out, but keeps choking up. He pauses for a moment to collect himself before continuing.] “That’s all, folks.”
Narrator: A tragic end to one who’s life had been so comedic. If only someone had been able to stop his downward spiral into destruction. Coming up after the break, Bugs Bunny. Just how often did he wear women’s clothes?
Narrator: The most well-known of the group was a whimsical gray rabbit named Bugs. But what was it really like working with The Bunny? Frequent on-screen rival Elmer Fudd tells all.
Elmer: The man was a genius. He was a master of physical comedy, and possessed a wit sharp enough to allow him to impersonate anyone. I truly admire him. But even so, he could be a little creepy at times. Most of them, actually. What was up with all the nudity? I realize they’re animals, but so are the boys over at Disney, and they didn’t parade around in their birthday suits. And I’m no prude, but when you’re chasing someone, it’s kind of disturbing to see their nether regions just flopping away in the breeze. Heck, it seemed like the only time he ever wore clothes was when he was in disguise. He especially seemed to get a kick out of that whole cross-dressing bit. Now what was it that he called it again? Oh yeah, the ol’ stiletto heels and falsetto squeals special.
Narrator: We caught up with Bugs, now going by the name Holly Hare, to hear his thoughts on the early days, and to see what he’s up to now.
Bugs: Oh it was so much fun, it was such a little boys club. We would always be wrestling around and blowing each other up. It was fantastic. And then one day on a lark, Friz [Freleng, director of many of the Looney Tunes shorts] came up with the idea for me to trick Elmer by dressing up as a girl. Well, the gals in makeup and wardrobe did such a fantastic job, that something just clicked in me. That was what I was supposed to be. Before long, I made it one of my go-to gags to fool someone. Eventually the clothes started going on when I was off the set too. When we all got laid off in ’69, I decided to come to Vegas and be a lounge singer. I was already Holly Hare in my private mind, so I decided to make my public persona match that. Now I fill the house every single night. My rendition of “Kill Da Wabbit” will simply cause you to melt in your seat.
Narrator: That closes up our show tonight. Be sure to tune in next time when we look at Speedy Gonzalez. Did his name take on a whole new meaning when he turned to drugs after winning the Oscar in 1955? Find out when we go…. behind the anvil.
The Drug Dealer Stole My Hat
I live in the ghetto. I’ve got abandoned houses and lots next to me, random fires next to broken down vans that happen to be permanently parked in front of my car, and crack hos coming to the door at 2am asking if the lady of the house is home. Actually, since my girlfriend and I were in the middle of some gender reversal roleplay, her query led to quite a deal of confusion. On top of all this, though, there are the omnipresent drug dealers on the corner of my block. This hasn’t been a problem so far. They sling rock, and I sling comics on eBay, so it’s not exactly like we’ve got the same market demographic. Yesterday, however, the peace was broken by the firing of an opening shot by one of the dealers. Luckily it was not a bullet as one might expect. No, instead the fucker went out and bought the same hat as me. In the immortal words of that kid on the episode of South Park where they get served, “It’s on.”
When I first discovered his attack on my personage, I began to wonder what could have prompted him to commit such a heinous atrocity. After all, in some countries, stealing a man’s hat is punishable by decapitation. Why my hat? I mean, it’s a glaringly orange Houston Astros hat. He’s a Philly drug dealer. I bought it because I have a fetish level of favoritism for the color orange. I also like to pretend that the “H” on the hat stands for my last name and not for Houston. Why would the drug dealer, who from henceforth shall be known as “that hat stealing bastard,” (or maybe “Jeff,” because that’s his name), acquire it? It can only be for nefarious purposes. Maybe even ominous ones too. Here are my theories. I have also calculated the likelihood of each one with the utmost scientific precision.
Theory the first: Jeff arbitrarily saw the hat in a store and thought it looked cool. Now, people tell me that I’ve got the ugliest hat they’ve ever seen. I usually counter with the clever rejoinder that their face is the ugliest hat I’ve ever seen. Oooo, BURN! Ha ha ha, I am witty. So why would Jeff purchase such a universally reviled hat? Perhaps he is as colorblind as I am? A possible option, but due to the lack of genetic predisposition of colorblindness among drug dealers, this is doubtful. Likelihood of theory being correct: 8.59%.
Theory the second: He admires my taste in fashion. It would make sense after all. Those fuckers in GQ ain’t got shit on me. I am one smooth individual. Who wouldn’t want to dress like me? This theory can be confirmed or denied by watching Jeff and seeing if he soon picks up a pair of my fashionable running shoes. There really aren’t any holes in this idea. All the pieces fit perfectly. The only real point against it is that it just doesn’t seem quite sinister enough. If Jeff does indeed have a malevolent plan in mind, and I know that shifty-eyed bastard does, then merely copying my suave style just doesn’t strike the right note of terror. Likelihood of theory being correct: 24.931%.
Theory the third: Jeff is setting me up as a patsy for when he gets busted by the fuzz. This one is striking me as highly likely, especially since the cops have already been sniffing around the block for the past few weeks. The stench of bacon has become almost unbearable. And I fucking love bacon, so that’s saying something. And that something is there are lots of cops around. But by purchasing my hat, Jeff has given himself an ingenious alibi for the next time the po-lice come calling. When witnesses say that the dealer was wearing an orange hat, BAM! Jeff points the cops in my direction. Before I know it, they are kicking in my door and looking a bit too closely at the oregano and powdered sugar on my spice rack. Luckily for me, they don’t realize that my class notes are composed entirely on sheets of acid (Go ahead, give it a lick!). Likelihood of theory being correct: 79.3214%.
Theory the fourth: Much akin to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Jeff is from a time in the future where humanity has flourished and prospered, and I am worshipped like unto a god. Clearly, this is the most viable of all the theories, with a predicted likelihood of 98.93214690888887%. After all, I am pretty awesome, and it is quite evident to me that such a future will inevitably come to pass. If this is the case, why then, has Jeff come back? To deliver a warning perhaps? Or, more likely, is he from some rebel fringe faction, and he has come back for my assassination, thereby preventing the utopia I will bring about? Something must be done to safeguard my person and ensure that mankind reaches its true potential under my tutelage. Something, but what?
The only feasible course of action is to lure him into a trap and question him. What can I use for bait? What would a society based on my likes and dislikes find irresistibly attractive? Guitar Hero? Comic books? Sex with my girlfriend? Guitar Hero II? No no, none of these will do. Only the blissful allure of the sweet vocalizations of Canadian rock sensation Barenaked Ladies could possibly succeed. So tomorrow night I will begin playing their discography on a loop. Jeff was probably chosen for his high willpower, but I will break him.
For the good of humanity.
The Legalization of Panhandling
Philadelphia has a long and storied history when it comes to panhandling. The term itself was coined by one Mr. Benjamin Franklin, who noticed that colonial bums would often hold out rusty copper pots when trying to guilt people into paying their stamp tax. However, these founding fathers of filth would not merely beg for the change of others. Nay, they would offer up services such as chopping firewood, raking leaves, or finding more slave women for Thomas Jefferson to sleep with. In our modern society, bums have grown to possess a sense of entitlement. They feel that we owe them our change, and do not want to provide anything in return. And to be honest, I’m tired of it. Therefore I propose that panhandling be legalized.
A similar system to what I envision has already been set up in Nevada, albeit for prostitution, not pilfering people’s pockets. I can see the Bummy Ranch being a hot tourist spot for those doe-eyed suburbanites that come to the city wanting the true grim and gritty experience. Let’s follow the imaginary journey of young William, as he experiences his first encounter with the domicile-challenged.
William enters the lobby cautiously, nervous and yet a bit excited, where he is greeted by the host muttering foul obscenities under his breath. The unwashed odor penetrates his nostrils, overpowering his olfactory organs. William then sees the bums lined up, facial tics and chaotic ramblings going full tilt as they try to lure in a prospective client. Perhaps he is in the mood to be followed by Crazy Cart-pushing Polly. What possible use she could have for all of those tiny shoes? Or maybe William’s tastes lean more toward Overcoat Ollie. Why would he wear five winter coats in the sweltering August heat?
Oh, wait, it looks like our boy Willy has chosen. He’ll be going with Spray-bottle Johnson. A perfect choice for a first-timer! Before they begin their party, William and Spray-bottle will discuss just what William wants to have in his panhandle and then haggle over the price. Spray-bottle is most famous for his window “cleanings,” but also offers a wide range of other services from psychotic threats to rabid conspiracy theories to handjobs. Not wanting too much excitement on his first visit, William decides on a window spray followed by an attempted tire slash. The two talk off together into a backroom where William’s magical scene will play itself out.
Hours later, when he eventually leaves the Bummy Ranch after deciding to experience Shirtless Simmons as well, William finds that he is out three dollars and eighty-two cents. He couldn’t be happier. Of course, he’s not aware that Spray-bottle Johnson will follow him out into the parking lot, knock him senseless with a half-brick, and steal his wallet. But that’s just Spray-bottle’s level of commitment. He always gives his clients the premium package.
The Squire’s Tale: Redux
What the squire said to the Host
“What a tremendous tale,” our host loudly proclaimed. “Surely that will be the winner, for sooth. But what say you, good tradesmen? Perhaps the lot of you can apply your respective skills to construct a tale worthy of our ears.” “I beg your pardon, good Host,” the squire interjected. “Since my own tale was cut short by the esteemed franklin, perhaps I could use this time to continue, dare I say, even finish my tale? After all, we did each give our word to tell the tales, and I will not have my good name besmirched.” Our Host let out a heavy sigh, knowing full well the long winded experience we pilgrims were about to endure. “Very well, good squire. You were indeed unjustly interrupted when last you told your tale. Spin your yarn.” He then muttered under his breath, “Pray, just don’t bore us to death like last time.”
The Squire’s Other Prologue
“My fellow pilgrims, before I dazzle you with my tale, I would like to have a discourse on the topic of interruptions,” the squire began. “It is common courtesy when listening to one’s contemporaries, to allow them to tell their tale to completion. To speak out of turn is a base behavior. And yet, while we have been traveling, I have heard countless interruptions from many of us. I ask, fellow pilgrims, where is our respect? Have we really been reduced to such common doggerel as this? I fear for our society, and its inevitable downfall, if this is our current standard. Now, if the teller is of a lower class, then interruption is only natural. After all, it is our divine province to be born into a higher station. The lower classes are here to serve us. Therefore, we can interrupt them with no fear of being chastised for ill manners. And since they are baseborn themselves, their own interruptions of each other are only to be expected. But on this I have talked enough. Now I shall continue my tale.”
The Squire’s Tale
“Since it has been some time since last your ears were graced by my melodious voice,” the squire started, “I shall provide a brief recap of where things were left.”
King Cambuscan had been instructed on the ways of the magical brass horse. He knew how to utilize its powers of transportation and how to conceal it from view. He was also equipped with the enchanted sword, able to slice through anything. Any wound inflicted by said blade would never heal, unless treated with the flat of the sword. Cambuscan’s final gift was the mystical mirror, which revealed any harm to him or his country.
Canace, Cambuscan’s only daughter, was using her ensorcelled ring to take care of a wounded falcon. Its powers enabled her to not only communicate with the injured raptor, but also provided Canace with the herbal knowledge to tend her wounds. Of Cambuscan’s wife, Elpheta, and their two sons, Algarsyf and Cambalo, not much is known. These characters had not yet seen much action, but this situation will soon be remedied.
Part I – Cambuscan’s Conquests
I shall first tell of King Cambuscan and his exploits. Cambuscan had long been at war with the hated Russians. Blasted communists. With his newfound gifts, he saw a chance to overtake his enemy once and for all. Using the mystical mirror to warn him of attacks, and the enchanted sword to be an unstoppable force on the battlefield, Cambuscan knew that his success was all but guaranteed.
So Cambuscan gathered his armies to march toward Russia. With him was his most trusted friend and advisor, Traytorus. The renown of the two warriors was known far and wide throughout the land. Word of Cambuscan’s new advantages was also spreading like wildfire, sparking a conflagration of civil unrest. The general populace was of the consensus that Russia would soon fall. After all, what did Czar Comrade have to defend against such powerful weapons? Battle after battle was fought, with Cambuscan’s forces cutting a bloody swath through the Motherland. Unable to be ambushed thanks to the mystical mirror, the king’s army seemed an invincible juggernaut. Within a month, they were outside the gates of Russia City, laying siege to Czar Comrade and his remaining troops.
Plotting the assault on Russia City, Cambuscan and Traytorus conspired together within the command tent. “I say, Traytorus, I am right glad that we have sworn a troth of brotherhood,” Cambuscan confided. “Even with my magical aides, these victories would not have been possible without you. I am lucky that you are not on the side of those pinko Russkies.” The flickering light of the oil lamp cast a series of sinister shadows on Traytorus’s face. He rubbed his hands together maniacally. “Yes indeed, you are most lucky, friend Cambuscan. I am certainly not working as a double agent for the Russians, hoping to take you out “accidentally” in the battlefield and rule over Tartary, only to be constantly foiled in my attempts by your accursed mirror. Certainly not.” “Ho ho ho,” chuckled Cambuscan. “You’ve got an odd sense of merriment Traytorus. But now it is time to sleep, for the final battle takes place tomorrow. Since I clearly have no reason to distrust you, I will leave my sword and mirror here in the command tent with you.” Cambuscan walked off to the sleeping tend, leaving Traytorus to his own devices.
Unable to believe his good fortune, Traytorus collapsed in a fit of giggles. “Hee hee hee, the fool! I shall have my victory yet!” Composing himself, Traytorus gathered the two powerful items and snuck off to kill Cambuscan. Reaching the sleeping tent, Traytorus slinked inside, stealthily creeping toward Cambuscan’s bed. He saw the king lying under the covers, already sound asleep, the blankets rising and falling with the gentle rhythm of his slumber. Seizing his moment, Traytorus checked the mirror for any ill portents, and seeing nothing but his own reflection, he ran Cambuscan through with the mighty blade.
Suddenly there was a bright flash , and then Traytorus saw nothing but blackness. King Cambuscan stood over Traytorus’s headless corpse, sighing sadly, the real sword glimmering in his hand. He used the tip of the blade to remove the blankets from the bed, revealing the blacksmith bellows below, which had simulated the king’s slumber. “Poor Traytorus. I had hoped you would not truly be this daft. I’ve got a mirror t hat shows me my enemies. Did you really think I was not aware of your murderous intent? I suppose your name was a bit of a giveaway, but I thought you would be able to rise above your unfortunate identification. I can only imagine what the mirror showed you. Doubtless, it was naught but your own reflection, seeing as how you were your own worst enemy. Clearly our troth meant nothing to you, and this saddens me. But I shall honor our friendship and give you a proper burial as soon as my business here is at an end.”
The sun rose on Russia City the next morning, signaling Cambuscan’s assault. The city was taken quickly and violently, and Czar Comrade was defeated by Cambuscan himself. Russia was now under his control, the generations old feud finally put to rest. Cambuscan and his wife Elpheta enjoyed a long and prosperous rule over both Tartary and their new acquisition. Life remained relatively unchanged for the Russian peasantry. The only new edict Cambuscan had decreed and enforced with brutal tenacity was the elimination of the color red. His only reasoning on the new law was the odd muttering of “Let’s see those Commie rats find each other now.”
Part II – Algarsyf’s Adventures
Tiring of living it up as a pampered prince, Cambuscan’s eldest son Algarsyf decided to go questing in search of a bride. He talked long with his parents about his decision. “Dearest Mother and Father, I have come of a mind that I must find a bride. I have realized that this life in the lap of luxury is not for me. I require excitement and adventure. And what better way to bring excitement and adventure into my life than by seeking a wife? Not only will the journey be worth it for the rich experiences I shall have, but the prize at the end also is of unimaginable value. A good man needs a good woman by his side, to provide sound counsel when his temper is of a choleric nature. Similarly to how an efficient physician can balance the body’s humours, a wife can balance her husband’s moods. And since my mood is currently at the lower end of the spectrum, a wife for me is the perfect solution. What say you, Mother and Father, of my plan?”
Cambuscan glared lovingly at Elpheta. “Indeed son, a wife is a most wondrous creature. Your mother has saved me from many an ill encounter. Why, just last week I was dealt a most vicious injustice. My first inclination was to have the head of that foul knave. But my dear Elpheta cautioned that such might not be the wisest course of action. Ho ho, for contradicting me I nearly took off her own head!” Elpheta scowled longingly at Cambuscan. “Yes dear Algarsyf, your father’s temper was indeed in rare form that day. But he eventually saw that my suggestion was clearly the best. He did not kill the merchant that had mistakenly given him the wrong change. He instead invited him over for dinner, and now the two are the best of friends!” Cambuscan beckoned his son close to him and whispered into his ear. “Actually, I had the bloke clapped in irons and thrown in the dungeon to rot! Men shouldn’t listen to what nonsense women spout off, right right?”
Realizing that his parents were stark raving mad, Algarsyf bid them farewell and began his quest. He knew not where his wife might be, so he readied the magical brass horse, instructing it to take him to the adventures that would lead to his eventual finding of a bride. With a turn of the key and a mechanical whinny, Algarsyf and Brassy were off. Who knew where they would end up? Surely only Fortune, or perhaps Fate, held the answer.
Clouds and sky whooshed path Algarsyf’s head as Brassy traveled at speeds unfathomable to his mortal mind. After what seemed like days, Brassy alighted in an open field. Algarsyf looked around, slightly dazed from his journey. “Where have you taken me, Brassy?” he wondered aloud. “What here could lead me to my future bride?” His gaze stole across the horizon, where he beheld a distant speck bobbing up and down. As the object drew closer, he recognized it as a lone rider on a horse. He gradually was able to discern that the rider was female, and each one of the horse’s strides brought her beauty into more and more definition. She looked as if she were cast from the same mold as Artemis herself. Raven locks cascaded down her back, creating a stark contrast to the porcelain tone of her skin. Slowly, Algarsyf’s eyes drifted away from her heavenly visage to see that she was being pursued by a loathsome beast. A monstrous, three-headed behemoth lumbered along at a clip equal to, if not slightly greater than the maiden’s horse. Algarsyf knew that this was his chance. If he could but slay this creature and save the fair damsel, surely she would acquiesce to be his bride. He quickly devised a plan, and cast Brassy into hiding.
“What ho!” he cried as the two approached him. “I say hold, foul beast! Thou shall not harm this woman!” The woman slowed her horse up and the giant reduced his gait as well. When the woman had ridden past, Algarsyf drew the enchanted sword he had pilfered from his father. The blade went SNACKER-SNICK, and one-two-three! The giant’s heads were neatly severed. Algarsyf turned to face the damsel, expecting to see her showering him with countless praise and adoration. Instead, he was met with a stinging slap across his face. Stunned, he could do naught but stand and submit to her verbal, and sometimes physical, thrashing. “Why the nerve of you! You, you, you unchivalric toad! That beast was my rightful kill! I was luring him into that pit right there. I could have ridden safely across, but the monster’s weight would have caused him to plummet to his doom. My arrows would have finished the deed.”
Algarsyf glanced over to where she had gestured, and saw that she had indeed prepared a crafty trap for the giant. Dumbfounded, he could only stammer stupidly. “Bust, I saw, and you were, I didn’t…..so does this mean you don’t want to be my wife?” She responded with derision. “Your wife? Bah! To even think of such an idea!” She paused for a moment, to actually think of such an idea. A smile slowly crept across her face. “Well, you clearly are a worthy warrior, and this is something I desire in a man. However, you have stolen my kill. If you wish my hand in marriage, you must find a suitable creature to serve as a replacement.”
Algarsyf had a smile of his own spread across his countenance. “Well, I think that is a fair deal, my lady. Come Brassy! We have our adventure!” With the words of summoning, Brassy materialized, causing the woman a start. “Oh my!” she exclaimed. “What a magnificent steed! Shall we race?” Algarsyf shook his head, declining her offer. “Nay, this horse cannot ride like a normal one. But he will take us to your challenge. Algarsyf hopped up astride Brassy, and reached down to help the maiden up. When she had gotten comfortable sitting behind Algarsyf, Brassy was off.
The same exhilarating feeling encompassed Algarsyf as Brassy flew through the air, but this time it was due to the damsel’s tight grip around his waist. When Brassy returned to normal speed, they were high in the mountains, rocky chasms opening up on all sides. Ahead was an ominous cave. The two adventurers stepped down from Brassy and cautiously advanced on the cave mouth. They were met by a horrendous roar, as out of the cave rushed an enormous chimera. The beast bowled over Algarsyf and the warrior woman, swiping at them with its leonine claws, before taking to the air with a beating of its leathery wings. Knowing that this was his bride-to-be’s battle, Algarsyf ducked behind a nearby boulder to watch the woman work her wonders. And work her wonders she did.
Dodging and rolling out of the way of the fiery blasts coming from the chimera’s goat head, the woman unloosed her bow and nocked two arrows to the string. She let them fly, and the barbed shafts pierced the goat head’s eyes. Unable to aim, one of its fireballs caught the lion head’s mane, causing it to burst asunder. Realizing it was wounded, the chimera decided to finish the battle quickly. It swooped toward the woman, its serpent head extended, deadly venom dripping from its fangs. “Sword!” the woman cried. Without hesitation, Algarsyf tossed her the enchanted blade. With one fluid motion, she caught the sword, spun to face the chimera, leaped into the air, and lopped all three of its heads off, as if slicing a hot knife through butter. The decapitated carcass fell to the ground with a sickening thump, the woman gracefully landing beside it. Breathing heavily, she addressed Algarsyf. “That monster was even more deadly than my original foe! Well met! And this blade is truly the work of a master craftsman. It hewed through the chimera’s flesh and bone with no resistance at all. You have upheld your end of the deal. I gladly consent to be your wife.” Overjoyed, Algarsyf commanded Brassy to take them back to Tartary. As he helped her up onto the horse, Algarsyf said, “By the way, I’m Algarsyf.” Extending her hand down to likewise help him up onto the horse, the woman smiled. “Teodora. Charmed.”
Part III – Cambalo’s Capers
Algarsyf’s younger brother Cambalo had grown tired of Algarsyf parading about the castle with his new wife. He decided that they seemed all too perfect, and it would do them both a bit of good to be knocked down a peg or three. Or maybe even ten. It would take a great deal of cunning and trickery, but Cambalo was certain that he could outfox the newlyweds. And perhaps he would even be able to get some action out of all this as well. After all, Teodora was quite the attractive woman. And Cambalo saw how she looked at him. He began to develop his plan.
Cambalo commenced his scheme while Algarsyf was out of the country. He approached Teodora. “You know, dear sister-in-law, the only reason Algarsyf married you was because he was bored of his life here at the castly. To him you are nothing more than a diversion.” “Oh do be quiet, Cambalo,” Teodora countered. “Everyone in the castle knows you are just jealous. We all see how you pine after me. I imagine that you even think I fancy you. Well I don’t. And I shan’t stand here and listen to your lies.” But despite her protests, Cambalo knew he had planted the seeds of doubt within her mind. Now he had to work his guile on Algarsyf.
What the Host said to the Squire
“Enough! Cease your incessant prattlings at once! You can’t even tell a proper fabliau. I’m sure I speak for all of us pilgrims when I award you no points for your tale. In fact, you are banned from the competition! Now, tradesmen, if you would. We should like to hear what tale you can tell. Surely you can beat this squire’s claptrap ramblings. We await your story with bated breath.”
The Adventures of Good Sir Knight
Scene I – Tommy Came a’ Courting
And so, while Arthur and his knights were prancing about the countryside searching for some sort of magic sieve, a true hero came to the court of King Kingly. Tom Troubadour, clothed in the meager garb befitting his peasant status, may have been riding on the back of the refuse cart at the time, but he still came to be there. Now he would be able to achieve his heart’s truest desire, finding a beautiful damsel with which to settle down. Ah, he could hear it now, the strum-strumming of little tiny troubadours. So off he was to court.
The smells of a rich banquet of food wafted to Tom’s nostrils. He’d have to ply his trade and sing for his supper tonight. Literally. Getting in line with the other minstrels, Tom eagerly awaited his chance to perform for King Kingly. Would he prefer a classic love poem, or a more contemporary oratory on the adventures of a knight errant? Maybe something about trees. As he was pondering, Tom’s gaze stole across the high table, coming to a standstill when they locked onto a heavenly visage. Who was this golden-tressed goddess? Why, none other than the daughter of King Kingly himself, Maid Maiden!
Tom knew they were destined to be together from the onset. How to win her over? Aha! A love poem, disguised as a declaration of generic fin amors! The harp was handed to Tom, and he went up to the troubing circle. “Ah, fair midon, my love for you burns like a thousand flaming arrows burning the heathen infidels to death. If I am not to be with you, surely I will perish a death most foul, consumed by the anguish of a love scorned. Say you will be mine and a garden, nay an entire forest, of earthly delights shall be yours!”
The crowd burst into applause, touched by the honesty and sincerity in Tom’s voice. All, save one. Maid Maiden glowered down at Tom, her icy stare chilling the very marrow of his bones. Her nose upturned, she loudly declared, “Why, I would have nothing to do with a base born wretch such as yourself. That is, if I were the lady you were referring to in your poem. I could only ever love a knight, dashing and daring, courageous and caring, faithful and friendly, with stories to share.”
Crestfallen, Tom backed away, exiting the banquet hall and leaving King Kingly’s court altogether. A prideful anger swelling inside him, Tom clenched his fists tightly. “A knight, eh? Oh I’ll give her a knight alright. I’ll give her the knight of her life!” Overhead, a squirrel sniggered at the double entendre while he played with his nuts.
Scene II – Knighty Knight Tom
While traipsing about the forest looking for adventures, Tom came across a knight. He decided that a bit of trickery would be needed in order to become a knight himself. This one looked a gullible sort. He approached Tom. “What ho, churl!” he cried. “Be you the knave that has been assaulting the local woodland creatures?” Tom stood back, mouth agape. “Churl? Knave? Such words for a fellow Christian knight fallen on hard times. I’m the victim of an evil enchantment which has left me with nothing.” The knight removed his helm, revealing his oafish visage. “Pray tell, good sir knight, what is your name?” “Why, Good Sir Knight,” responded Tom wittily. “Er, yes? I asked for your name my good fellow,” replied the knight. Tom countered, “But I gave you my name. Good Sir Knight.” The knight furrowed his brow in anger. “I will not take this mockery! Give me your name, or else we shall joust.” “I don’t know why you don’t know my name, Good Sir Knight. What is the third time I have given it to you, good sir knight,” Tom said. “Very well,” the knight sputtered. “We shall joust. Since I am a knight of honor, I will give you armor, arms, and a horse. Come! To my castle!” And with that, the two went to the knight’s home.
Tom was outfitted with the knight’s second best armor. However, being a mere troubadour, he really had no idea how to joust. Sure, he has watched the knights ride the lists in tournaments, but he had no notions of the mechanics behind it all. How could he possibly win? Tom supposed he would have to mimic the other knight as best he could.
It was time. The knight’s squire led Tom to his horse. At least I know how to ride, Tom thought. Tom and the knight faced off, galloping away and circling back around, making a beeline for each other. Tom tried to keep his spear steady, but it tilted and swirled wildly. The knight’s spear point never even wavered an inch. Tom gulped, closed his eyes, and held his breath, hoping that spears through the side didn’t hurt too much.
Suddenly, Tom felt a jarring impact and then his body was flying forward. An even harder impact occurred, and then one final thump as he fell to the ground. He struggled to his feet, only to see the knight running toward him. Tom thought frantically, we’re both unhorsed, isn’t the sword fighting next? Oh dear. But instead of a blade, the knight met him with open arms. “I say, good show old sport!” he bellowed. “What a brilliant maneuver. I’ve never seen anyone use their own body as a projectile. You’re certainly a wood knight!” Slowly, Tom began to piece together what had just happened. Apparently his horse had stumbled in a gopher hole. Tom’s flailing spear point had bit into the ground, launching him forward like a pole vaulter. His body had then struck the knight, knocking him from his steed. They both struck the ground with a resounding clanging of their armor. Tom could only marvel at his good fortune.
“Now, since we are both goodly knights, tell me your name, friend,” the knight requested. “Sir, my name really is Good Sir Knight,” Tom explained once more. “Now don’t start that again!” the knight shouted. However, recognition slowly crept across his face. “Ah! I understandeth now! That’s a fine name if ever there was one. Myself, I hight Sir Vicewithasmile. We must joust again some day, when next our paths cross.” “For sooth,” replied Tom. “As for now, I must be off. Adventures await!”
Scene III – The Damsel’s Delight
Adorned in his new knightly duds, Tom continued adventuring through the forest. He came upon a fair damsel. “What ho!” Tom cried. “Know you of any adventures to be had, fair damsel?” The damsel ran up to Tom’s horse, clutching Tom’s leg tightly. “I’m Dame Damsel, and I know where some adventures may be found. In my bedroom.” Tom raised an eyebrow, intrigued. “Thine bedchambers? What adventures could possibly be found there?” Dame Damsel batted her eyelashes seductively. “Follow me, and I shall show you.”
The two soon arrived at her manor. Stabling his horse outside, Tom followed Dame Damsel into her room. She quickly locked the door and turned to him, a ravenous look in her eyes. “Now, being a surely noble knight, you must follow my commands, yes?” Slightly nervous, Tom answered, “Well, technically, unless they go against my lady love.” Dame Damsel cackled gleefully. “Oh don’t worry, she’ll never know what goes on in here tonight.” She advanced upon Tom, a cunning predator closing in on its unwitting prey.
The next morning, Tom left Dame Damsel’s manor. “Zounds!” Tom exclaimed. “Never before have I had such a workout in an evening. That Damsel would just not let up!” Meanwhile, back in her manor, Dame Damsel laid back on her bed, a smile of contentment plastered on her face. “Ah,” she sighed. “I just love knights. They really know where to put things.” She glanced around her now spotless room, seeing how everything had been placed into its proper location. She knew the rest of the manor was equally immaculate. “Who needs servants when I can get gullible knights to clean my place for free?”
Scene IV – Hospitality Rules
Tom next came to another manor in the woods. At the entrance, he commanded the gatekeeper. “Prithee, tell thy lord and lady that Good Sir Knight is here, and wishes to discuss with them the adventures to be had in these parts.” The gatekeeper soon returned, leading Tom into the court. The lord of the manor stood up from the table, his voice booming. “Welcome Good Sir Knight! I am Lord Lordly and this is my wife Lady Ladylike. We offer you all our best foods and wines, and anything you might desire. We are honored to house such a noble knight as you, Good Sir Knight.” Tom was amazed that his fame had spread so far already. It had only been a day since he had left the court of King Kingly. Word of mouth must be quite efficient around here, he thought.
Tom sat down at the table and began to eat. Lord Lordly got up and cut his meat for him. “Here, let me do that. Knights such as you should not sully their hands with such menial work.” Lady Ladylike came and cozied up next to Tom. “Would you like me to chew your food for you Good Sir Knight? We wouldn’t want you to think that we weren’t doing everything in our power to be as hospitable as possible.” Tom politely declined. “Nay my lady, I need to keep my jaws in strong condition in case I ever need to gnaw my way out of a dire situation.”
When the meal was ended, Tom retired to the lavish quarters provided him. Lord Lordly and Lady Ladylike were not far behind. “Good Sir Knight, shall I undo the points of your trousers so that you may relieve yourself in the chamber pot?” Lord Lordly inquired. “I don’t even have my armor off yet, my lord,” Tom protested. “Please, Good Sir Knight,” pleaded Lady Ladylike. “Allow me to sleep in thy bed with thee, in case you have any needs throughout the night.” Lord Lordly winked lewdly at Tom. “And she does mean any needs, my good man.”
Despite wristwatches not having been invented yet, Tom glanced at his wrist anxiously. “Oh my, look at the time, it’s way past nones. I really must be on my way.” He rushed past the crazed nobles, grabbed his faithful steed Horsey, and rode away with nary a delay. Lord Lordly and Lady Ladylike ran after him, but could not hope to outpace Horsey’s gallop. They looked at each other, ear to ear grins on each of their countenances. “To Think, we entertained Good Sir Knight himself!” “Wait til we report this to the National Troubadour! The neighbors will be so jealous!”
Scene V – Salying the Dargon
And so Tom continued once more on his quest for adventure. He came across a tranquil forest pool, picturesquely placed in front of a cavern. Tom rankled his nose, noting an odorous stench of sulfur and brimstone in the air. Knowing that all caverns signify treasure and adventure, Tom boldly strode inside to investigate. Immediately, he noticed an increase in temperature. Could his luck really be this grand? He ventured further into the cave, hearing a whistling sound, and directing his steps in that direction.
Tom dropped to the floor as a deafening thunderclap of sound struck him. “Good Sir Knight! You are trespassing in my lair. Leave now or suffer, for I am Dargon the Dragon, and I’ve never let a knight escape my clutches alive.” Tom crept closer, an idea forming in the back of his brain. “Good Sir Knight? Nay, he merely let me borrow his armor. Me, I’m Tom Troubadour.” “A troubadour you say?” Dargon responded. “It’s been some time since I’ve heard a sound other than the screams of my victims and the crunches of their bones. Play me a song, troubadour, and perhaps I won’t devour you.”
Breaking out his troubing harp, Tom began to play, his lilting voice and melodious harmonies gently lulling the dragon to sleep. “Mighty Dargon, go to sleep, when your ears won’t hear a peep. I will slay you til you’re dead, use my sword to lop your head.” Dargon’s head slowly drifted to the cavern floor, his eyes eerily remaining open, despite his slumbering state. Tom unsheathed his sword and severed Dargon’s head from his body. Victorious, Tom decided to return to King Kingly’s court and win the hand of the fair Maid Maiden. The rest of her body would also be welcome.
Scene VI – And You Shall Know Him By the Name on His Shield
And so Tom arrived once more at the court of the good King Kingly. This time, however, he arrived not in a lowly refuse cart, but instead atop a gallant steed. No meager peasant clothes clinging to his frame, he was clad in a fine suit of armor. He rode into the court, announcing that Good Sir Knight wished to see the king. He was brought in with the utmost expediency. “Ah, Good Sir Knight!” bellowed the king. “We have heard much of your great tales of valor.” Next to King Kingly, Maid Maiden swooned. “Oh Good Sir Knight, I have much love for you. Prithee, tell me that you will have me for your wife, or at least your paramour, and I will be the happiest damsel in the land.”
“Hahaha!” Tom laughed victoriously. “Good Sir Knight is naught but a sham! It is really I, Tom Troubadour, who has won these accolades.” The court stared at him uncomprehendingly. King Kingly countered, “What jesting is this Good Sir Knight? Are you under an enchantment?” “Oh for Merlin’s sake,” Tom muttered. “Look, will you?” He removed his armor, standing before them a naked knight. Maid Maiden was the first to speak up, “I say, you’re that odd little troubadour chap who ran out of here the other day. What have you done with Good Sir Knight, knave?”
Tom shook his head sadly. “I’m surrounded by idiots.” He put his armor back on, and instantly the members of the hall brightened up. King Kingly was most joyous. “Good Sir Knight! You have returned! Some foolish churl is running around trying to impersonate you. We shan’t allow him to heave the court alive. Men, to arms!” Tom merely chuckled and grabbed his sword. He had never really wanted to be a troubadour anyway.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Man, that crazy ol' spleen. He really gets the short end of the stick when it comes to the popularity of internal organs. The spleen enjoys quite a rep. After the heart, spleeny is probably the most oft cited organ. However, unlike his amorous cousin, the spleen is always portrayed in a negative light. Just how did this start? What's with all the spleen hate? Just what does a spleen do, anyway? All this, and more, awaits.
To begin, we must trek back to Ancient Times. The exact location has been lost for ages, but we know it was somewhere in that whole Europe/Asia region of the world. It was probably those limey Brits, actually. When angered, and seeking a way to express one's rage, people would launch into drunken tirades at the local pub, espousing their ire at any topic whatsoever, from politics to Fiefdom Idol. This was referred to as "venting one's spleen." Why was this specific turn of phrase coined? Why not "venting one's pancreas"? or "airing out one's gall bladder"? For the answer, we turn to the primitive science field of the time.
You see, after a major battle, there would be hordes of dead bodies all over the place. Lying in the sun like that, the bodies would get all bloated as the gases inside built up, until they would explode, leaving the ground strewn with organs and viscera. It was quite messy, and extremely unhygenic. To deter this, the doctors would wander the battlefield, looking at bodies for signs of puffiness. They would then stab the body in the abdomen, allowing the noxious humors a means of escape. It was obviously known the the reason for the bloating was that dread spirits were taking up residence in the body. Where else would these vile demons go but the spleen? Thus, the term "venting the spleen" was born. Their scientific principles were not entirely sound.
Over time, "venting the spleen" began to be associated merely with people being angry, and voicing their opinions about social situations. The most current form of this being the blog.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
So we're supposed to write a sestina,
It is strict in adherence to form.
Contrary to my nature, I can't even rhyme.
And what good is a poem without that?
Six lines of six, with a final three,
Thirty nine lines is a lot to fill.
Back along route 55 is a landfill
There's a whale there, would he like a sestina?
In verse two, this is line number three.
To me, this doesn't breathe. A dead, lifeless form.
For a metaphor, how was that?
Have I mentioned how hard it is not to rhyme?
This poem has no reason or rhyme,
Just words that do nothing but fill.
Writer's block, can you believe that?
To be honest, I blame the sestina.
Stick to they rules, I cannot shape its form.
This here is the end of the stanza called three.
This is verse four, it comes after three,
I can be numeric, but nary a rhyme.
The other day I had to fill out a form,
And it was a form that I had to fill.
Repetition is good in a sestina.
I think I've picked up on that.
Now how will I ever top that?
I've no more clever uses for three.
Here's another line with sestina.
I'd really like to know why we can't rhyme,
Since, to me, that's a lame requirement to fill.
The Wonder Twins could change by shouting "Form!"
No one will get that reference to form.
The SuperFriends? Anyone remember that?
Reese's cups have delicious peanut butter fill.
Did you know they come in packs of three?
Once again, I lament the lack of rhyme.
Bringing to a close, this pitiful sestina.
I hate the sestina, and its horrible form.
I like to rhyme, I've definitely said that.
Thirteen times three, is the lines I did fill.
As I enter the room, the doubt sets in,
My heartbeat quickens, I get clammy skin.
Because, I discovered, I forgot about my exam,
And my mind is closed up, tight like a clam.
I look at the test, it is multiple choice.
Dial down the center? Or listen to my inner voice?
I go with my instincts, and I’m lead through the fog,
For at the top of the page, helping, are DD and Dog.
Oh those comical characters, with their rapier wit,
Their style, to use cunning guile, so you’ll smile bit.
They are masters of jokes, although they are lame,
They sour good taste, and humor they maim.
But is that not the point? To make people groan?
To provide funny fodder so bad, they only can moan?
Though the jokes are all flops, this poem is tops, it just never stops,
It goes from line to line like a fast rabbit that hops.
Let’s toss in a one-liner, just to add flavor,
What’s a botanist’s fave candy? Why, a leaf-saver!
And on that final note, I must leave you, my friend,
For this poem, you see, has come to an end.
Hearken back to the days of yore,
Of old school Nintendo and the Atari.
Remember the thrill of beating a high score?
Like the joy of seeing monkeys at Six Flags Safari.
Old school Nintendo, and the Atari,
Go even further, all the way back to Pong.
Just like the joy of seeing monkeys at Six Flags Safari,
Pumping quarters into an arcade machine all the day long.
Go even further, all the way back to Pong,
How simplistic compared to the games of today.
Pumping quarters into an arcade machine all the day long,
Is now but a distant memory, much to my dismay.
How simplistic compared to the games of today,
The glory days of the 8-bit, and even 16,
Are now but a distant memory, much to my dismay.
Yet my heart leaps at the thought of the next gen console scene.
The glory days of the 8-bit, and even 16,
Proved a firm foundation, upon which to build.
My heart leaps at the thought of the next gen console scene,
A developer’s playground, for now they’re quite skilled.
There is a firm foundation, upon which to build.
Thrills come from the playing now, not just the score.
The developers have done well, they’ve used all their skills,
No longer must we hearken back to the days of yore.
School is quite boring, the classes are long,
And yet I have reason to break into song.
Awaiting after class, that delectable fare,
Those wonderful lunch trucks! Aromas wafting through the air.
"Chicken cheesesteak, plain." I tell the good vendor,
Proper sustenence after a day-long class bender.
Add an orange Gatorade, the total comes to "5 dolla,"
A price most, fair, and to that I say "Holla!"
My order never changes, in that I'm quite plain.
Get something different? Why sir, that's insane!
I know what I like, and I like what I know,
Chicken cheesesteaks are freaking delicious, yo.
Another big favorite, or others, not mine,
"Bacon, egg, and cheese" a dish most divine.
I'm sure it tastes great, that is no riddle,
But I prefer my bacon, egg, and cheese on a McDonald's McGriddle.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Today is Monday,
The start of the week.
The end's far away,
Yet tonight has a peak.
At 9 of the clock
I flip over to FOX
This comes as no shock,
But 24 really rocks!
Have you seen this show?
It is brilliance distilled.
Lots of action, you know,
Plus lots of people get killed.
My hero, Jack Bauer,
Played by Sutherland, Kiefer,
Saves the day every hour
And he doesn't smoke reefer.
It' s done in Real Time,
That's the show's main appeal.
One time Jack shot a mime,
Just to see how it'd feel.
Ok, that was a lie,
A fabrication by me.
The mime was a spy
And Jack just shot his knee.
Today is Tuesday,
Oh glorious news!
Now get out of my way,
Or I'll give you a bruise.
I hop in my car,
And I drive down the road.
My destination's not far,
Unless you're a toad.
The bright yellow sign,
I espy with my eyes.
What soon shall be mine,
I'll reveal the surprise.
Oh music and movies!
Best Buy is quite groovy,
new releases for me!
My paycheck now spent,
My addiction now fed.
But what about my rent?
Ah! Tell the landlord I'm dead!
I now sink into bliss,
New purchases galore.
Best buy gets blown a kiss,
Oh how I love that store!
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
The decision was mine to make, and mine alone. Should I listen to the countless aeons of human knowledge that had come before me? Or do I dare to defy convention, and t hus make myself a hero for the ages? Good Me and Evil Me decide to chime in from their vantage points on my shoulders.
EM: Dude, it's going to be totally freaking sweet!
GM: Nay, Sean. You know what dangers accompany this feat.
EM: Oh come on! Don't let this pussy talk you out of it!
GM: Will you sacrifice your health and well being for but a few moments of fleeting fame?
EM: Look, I'll give you a dollar.
GM: Do not be tempted by earthly fortunes.
EM: Ok, fine. 5 bucks.
GM: Stay strong Sean! Do not be led astr- wait, did you say 5 bucks?
EM: Yup. I've got my buddy Abe Lincoln right here, pal.
GM: Oh, well then. 5 bucks is 5 bucks. I say go for it man.
With a barest hint of trepidation, I reach before me, selecting the two components of the most dreaded of elixirs. A small tearing of a bag. The hiss of decompressing air. In one deft manuever, I empty the contents of the pouch into the canister. Knowing my window of opportunity is brief, I quickly raise the brew to my lips, chugging as fast as my throat will aloow. I finish, slamming the can down onto the table. The crowd of onlookers waits with bated breath. Thumping sounds are heard as those with weaker constitutions faint dead away. Will I survive this horrific situation? It's been said that many a lesser man has succumbed t just such a concoction as mine, shuffling off this mortal coil. Tick tock, tick tock. 30 seconds, a minute. A sound is heard from the crowd. A single clap. Slowly, it builds up, gaining in speed and volume, until it reaches a deafening crescendo. A man rushes up to me, shaking my hand enthusiastically. "Wow! That was amazing! Pop Rocks and Coke! I didn't think you'd make it, man!" I merely shrug my shoulders, a modest smile crossing over my face. "Well, I am awesome, you know."
Oh marvelous pen! You have functions galore!
Be it writing, or drawing, or twirling and more.
But let's not forget paper, your tried and true friend,
For without him, your usefulness comes to an end.
Oh paper and pen, such a duo dynamic!
Without both of you, I surely would panic.
My pen stays in my pocket, ever ready for use,
Sticky notes in my wallet, their color chartreuse.
Click clack goes your voice, and you're ready to write,
Words of black ink, upon paper that's white.
Clack click, the reverse, you retreat to your home,
for the writing's now done, that's the end of this tome.
I must also note that I am a shameless, shameless whore. I will pimp the hell out of my things, such as my comic, Hutch University.