Monday, November 30, 2009

Take this and swim with it.

I’ve dreamed up the best TV channel ever, and I’m offering my idea gratis to any entrepreneur out there looking to stake her claim in the Oprah vacuum. It’s a reality show -- but unedited, real-time, and more addictive than heroin. Here’s all you need:

1) one empty TV channel

2) one really long cord with a light and camera attached

3) one seaworthy boat from which to dangle said cord

You lower the camera into the dark, dark depths of the ocean and just leave it there. All day, every day. I promise you that millions will quit their jobs to stay home and wait for those fanged, transparent, glowing, deep-sea Satanic fish to swim by the camera. It may only happen once a week, but they will watch and they will wait. It will be the best horror flick ever: viewer as prey, waiting in a dark alien realm with no narrator or soundtrack warning him when the monster will strike -- just the maddening sound of his own pounding heart hour after hour. Buh-bum, buh-bum, buh-bum.

Or for a more lighthearted direction, you could interview the fishies backstage, learn their heartwarming backstories, do makeovers (lipstick on a lanternfish!), and have viewers vote them out of the ocean.

I'm the biggest cheapskate in creation and I don't like scary stuff, but I would actually pay for TV service if I could get the Evil Fish Uncut channel.

Come on – someone get on this, already.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanknesses III: return of a lame title.

All previous blessedness, plus:

Thanksgiving dinners with complimentary stomach pumping service. Ugh.

Repentance, from gluttony and other failings.

Text recognition software + old newspapers.

Temples, temples everywhere! Coming soon to Rome, and a city near you!

Full beards: finally winning the holy war against goatees.*

The grand feeling of newly-waxed arms. (Don't ask.)

Good, good family. God will surely ask me why I failed to singlehandedly eradicate war and hunger, given my great advantages of birth. I love you, my genetically-similar dearies (and married-into-the-clan dearies).

A long procession of kind and funny and brilliant girlfriends from gradeschool to the present. Not one catty drama addict in the lot. I love you, genetically-dissimilar ladies.

Genetically-dissimilar menfolk, here and there. (Hoping will have more to say on this by next Thanksgiving.)

Bizarre immunity to insomnia. More of a superpower, really: Super Snoozer at your service. I make your problems disappear by teaching you to sleep through them!

Healthy enough to donate blood, but never yet needed any (knock on wood).**

David Brooks, the only newsman I would trust to tell me how to vote. I would also trust him with my infant and the keys to my yacht, if I had either an infant or a yacht.

Triumph, for brilliantly taking on my primary pet peeve, pun intended.

The last person I met at the Halloween party, who was also the first person who understood my costume. Thanks, dude. ***

Googling my friends and finding stuff like this. Yes, I've probably Googled you, too.

Lovely night, and mystic fields with stars bedight.****

* Goatees are the mullets of facial hair, my friends. I'm not saying that a goatee makes you a bad person, but I am saying that you must shave it off for the good of humanity.

** Bloodbanks get desperate during the holidays -- needs go up and donations go way down. Particularly platelet donations, which are only good for five days. So think about it, if you're less than busy this weekend...

*** "Well of COURSE I know what a Jabberwock is! Slithy toves and mome raths and all that. Do you take me for a complete Philistine?"

**** My favorite line from a Thanksgiving song I learned years ago.

Friday, November 13, 2009

In which Cousin Jennifer sends me a boxful of destiny.

It looks like ordinary beauty cream.

But no!

It is magical. Dangerous. It offers a Choice, and upon this Choice turns the fairy tale.

You all know that if you are walking through the woods and meet a warty old woman who asks for your last dry biscuit, you must ALWAYS give it to her, right? Of course you do -- you all passed Happy Endings 101. Well done.

Well, this enchanted youth cream is from another folk tale trope. In case you’re not familiar with it, it goes like this:

Plucky plebian opens the door of her humble hut and sees a peculiar package. In it are three thingies –

the elixir of youth,

a book of cursings,

and a book of rejoicings.

There is no note explaining the purpose of these three gifts, but no note is needed, for they were forged in the Cosmic Smithy and exist only to reveal the girl's character and assign her destiny.*

Three Paths diverge from the mysterious box.....

PATH THE FIRST: If the heroine ignores that liquid loveliness and reaches first for the book of cursings, if she chooses to giggle over descriptions of twitchy death-by-jimson-weed, she will thereafter hold the power to destroy her enemies in delightful ways. She will become the sadistic sorceress in a thousand bedtime stories.

But hope remains for her despite this dark decision, for one day her up-creeping ugliness might remind her of her mortality. She might have a witchy midlife crisis, pull that dusty box from under the jar of pickled newt spleens, open up the book of rejoicings, and let it transform her into a nice ugly witch. The sort of ugly witch that wanders into other people’s fairy tales, plants herself by the byway, and trades nifty dragon-proofed swords for lousy dry biscuits.

PATH THE SECOND: If she ignores the youth juice and reaches for the book of rejoicings, then she chooses to seek for beauty in the ugly, to wonder in her weakness, to linger lovingly over the shape of scissors and the browning of bread, and her hair will gray into silver and her face will line into labyrinths and she will become the Wise Woman in the Willows. Wannabe white knights, damselbound, will cheerfully drop $39.95 (plus their last dry biscuit) for her self-helpings in hardback.** She might even score her own Oprah spinoff show.

PATH THE THIRD: If she reaches for the seductive elixir of youth (oh, Wail! oh, Doom!), nothing thereafter can save her soul. No power over life nor death will move her, for she will no longer love life nor dread death – she will only prize praise.*** No waking death will frighten her, so long as it wears a lovely face. No tortured life will concern her, so long as its catwalk stride is strutty. The moment she touches the vial of vanity, she becomes a hollow shell.

Nay, worse: a shadowy shell, shallow, sure to shatter.

So I stare into this wondrous box that appeared on my doorstep.

What will I reach for first? What will be my fateful fate? Will my ending be Disney or the grimmest Grimm?

Buzz off, ye Joseph Campbellites! I will not be your cautionary Everychick! This morality tale is going offline til further notice!

Must consult the OprahTM Omniscient Oracle Object**** I scored with my last dry biscuit.

Oprah will have the answer. And if not Oprah, then one of her many minions.


* And were mailed to her by her sweet and classy cousin who apparently is actually a sweet and classy double agent, hired by the nosy gods to sift her very soul. Why, Cousin Jennifer? Why? I’m She's not ready for the truth, and you know it!

** Popular titles include Melt Monsters with the Power of Positive Thinking, French Knights Don't Get Fat, Passive-Resistant Dragonslaying for Dummies...

*** She might also adore alliteration. Just a jot.

**** In Ostentatious Onyx -- collect all five fabulous finishes!