Thursday, December 14, 2017

TIGER TIGER BURNING BRIGHT, IN THE FORESTS OF THE -- NOT!

It's a real nowhere tooth...
Three years ago, a Canadian dentist paid $31,000 for a molar that, roughly half a century earlier, had been extracted from John Lennon's mouth.

This wasn't just any old addition to a Beatle fan's memorabilia collection. The idea was to one day extract DNA from the tooth in order to clone Lennon and continue his musical genius.

Dentists, even in Canada, need to go through a rather rigorous education, as this page shows. Unfortunately, however, all this training precludes any trace of common sense. Because, unless you were going to recreate the first 21 years of John's life right down to the Strawberry Field orphanage, all you were going to have was a kid who might bear a resemblance to him, and who maybe had a vague interest in playing guitar. Come to New York, you'll be tripping over plenty of kids who fit the description in no time. 

Scientists in Australia, on the other hand, know better than to clone a human:



In case you were looking for that special Christmas
gift for somebody that has everything.
I bet you didn't even know there was any such thing as a Tasmanian Tiger. In fact, the only famous Tasmanian anything is the Tasmanian Devil (left), which doesn't look a thing like its Warner Bros. cartoon counterpart. Oh, and Errol Flynn, who was born and raised there. So that's two Tasmanian anythings.

Flynn, although having died in 1959, still managed to outlive the Tasmanian Tiger by 23 years. The animal has since reached near-mythological status in its homeland, having been wiped out mainly by farmers who were more keen on keeping their crops and sheep flock alive.

So naturally there's something almost romantic about bringing back an animal that disappeared due to the deadliest of species. You'd probably want to see it yourself.

OK, great. Let's say Aussie scientists succeed in their quest, and return the tiger back to the wilds of its homeland. Now picture you and your loved ones taking a hike through the lovely wilds of Tasmania. The air is crisp and clean; the sun is gradually making its way down to the horizon. What a fascinating country! you say to your family. Then you turn a corner, and face this thing:






Your first reaction -- after screaming like a girl and knocking down your children in order to run away as fast as possible -- would probably be something like What the fuck is that thing?

Why, that's the Tasmanian Tiger, friend! Part ferocious feline, part mad dog, part creature from hell. You know, the animal that you cursed your fellow humans for driving into extinction, and you always wanted to see in person. Because it was such a romantic idea. Can you figure out now why farmers in Tasmania did you a favor?

Just because you can doesn't mean
you should.
Obviously, scientists, for all their brainpower, have learned nothing from the endless Jurassic Park sequels -- don't bring monsters back to life! Heck, they could have understood that when they were kids just by watching They Saved Hitler's Brain on the late show. 

Nobody wants to bring back silent movies, UHF, hand-cranked autos, or ice boxes. They're harmless but utterly obsolete. Tasmanian Tigers, on the other hand, are the stuff of nightmares. UHF won't hurt you. Those monsters will.

Bringing them back would be a waste of time, anyway. Because unless you intend to cage every cloned Tasmanian Tiger, sooner or later, farmers are going to make sure they go extinct again faster than you can say, "The dingo ate my baby!"

Australian farmers would like to wipe out kangaroos for the same reason. You might think kangaroos are cute, wacky-looking creatures just hopping around the outback, carrying their youngsters in a natural fanny pack. But to farmers, they're six-foot tall rats with Olympic boxing skills, and would like nothing more than to see them next to the brontosaurus in the "Animals No Longer With Us" exhibit at the local museum.

Yet for the madmen with the test tubes, the Tasmanian Tiger is chump change. What they really want to do is bring back is the woolly mammoth. That spectacle might be rather fascinating from where you're sitting. But try running the idea of giant hairy elephants lumbering across the cold Northern climes past some Eskimo villagers first. See how romantic they think it is.

Memo to the Canadian dentist: Don't introduce John's tooth to Yoko Ono.

                                                     *******************
Woody Allen knew what to do with kangaroos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPqvqPIGFts):


Saturday, December 9, 2017

AFTERLIFE/AFTERLOVE

I remember sitting in my 10th grade science class one day, waiting for the teacher to arrive, and watching the girls walk past the open door. Two guys sitting in front of me were doing likewise, utterly entranced by the sight. One of them sighed, "What do they see in us?"

These days, many women are probably asking themselves the same thing. In fact, some now prefer to see through guys instead. Literally.

Well, heck, who wouldn't?
Women such as Amethyst Realm, for instance. With a name like that, it won't surprise you to learn that she lists her occupation as "spiritual guidance counselor." (If she was anything like the guidance counselors we had in high school, I advise you to save your money and avoid her.) She broke up with her long-time fiance three years ago after having decade-long affairs with ghosts.  Twenty ghosts, by her count. Somewhere in the afterlife, there's a bathroom wall with the scrawled message, FOR A GOOD TIME, CALL AMETHYST, followed by her number.

I've got her number, alright. This dame is some kind of a nut! 

Or, according to psychotherapist Tina Radziszewicz, maybe Amethyst just needs a good nap:


“Such hallucinations [between the transition between wakefulness and sleep] can be extremely vivid and bizarre, and can include tactile, visual and auditory.Stress, anxiety, depression and trauma can make people more prone to this form of hallucination.”



Too bad Bing never met Amethyst




Sorry, pal, you're gonna have to wait another
40 years.

Amethyst is lucky to be living in the 21st-century. If you're familiar with classic movies, you'd remember that the ghost and Mrs. Muir couldn't get it on until after she died. Either cultural rules, even in the spiritual world, have loosened since 1947, or the censors didn't allow a combination of pre-marital, post-life sex. 

And Amethyst isn't the only woman who's getting it on with ghosts. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Sian Johnson had dreams about a hottie who eventually materialized in the flesh -- er, ectoplasm:



C'mon, Sian, wise up! That whole "Call me Robert, I've been dead a century" routine is so corny. 
Right after this photo was taken, the fellow in
the middle did a Kevin Spacey move right down to
their crotches.

However. If these accounts of spirituum sexus are to be believed, you've gotta feel bad not only for Amethyst Realm's ex-fiancé, but any guy unlucky enough to put the moves on Sian Johnson. How would you feel if you couldn't measure up (no pun intended) to a guy who hasn't walked the earth since Woodrow Wilson was president?

Not that prurient poltergeists are entirely different from men alive and breathing. Amethyst, now 27, had her first sexual encounter with a ghost in 2005 -- which would have made her 15 years old at the time.

So, ladies, don't get started getting all hot and bothered about a possible rendezvous with a sexy visitor from the Great Beyond. He's just as capable of being a scumbag as the guy at the end of the bar. Thank God.


                                                    ***********************

Friday, December 8, 2017

STRICTLY ON BACKGROUND, PT. 15: "LAW & ORDER: SVU"

Usually, I have a pretty clear memory of the shows I've worked on. But as I looked over my spreadsheet and saw that I worked on Law and Order: SVU on October 26, my mind drew a total blank.

Other shows I did in the weeks before and after -- Billions, Ronald, The Romanoffs, Bull, Grave Secrets, Madam Secretary, etc. -- were clear as a bell. But SVU? Nothing. Had I become this jaded about extra work that I couldn't remember working on one of the most popular dramatic series of the last 20 years? This certainly must be a sign of success. Or early senility. 

It wasn't until the day before the SVU episode aired that it all came back. Location shooting near the East Village. Two scenes, one mid-afternoon, the other a couple of hours later in the early evening. Holding area in a church across the street from a park. Ah yes, I remember it well...



I wish I had a chance to prepare
before the picture was taken.
The first scene was 1st Avenue and 18th Street. The two SVU leads have each gotten a cup of java from a fancy coffee cart -- the kind that actually grinds the beans in front of you. I've never seen it anywhere else, but I don't frequent coffee carts except on TV shows.

By the way, you might have seen me walk past a coffee cart outside Washington Square Park on Blue Bloods, but I neglected to ask when the episode was going to air. Look for the guy in the Panama hat. The entirely candid photo of me on the left, shot between takes, should help.

But that was then, and SVU was... well, not quite as then. Two months had passed; fall had arrived, necessitating a fedora and overcoat. As usual, the a.d. paired me with a woman, which, if I were single, would be the only way I could get one at my age.


It was rather startling to see me not only unusually clearly, but actually facing front before going for a coffee. For some reason, I'm far more nervous watching me than I ever am working on these shows. I'm always sure I'm going to look like a doofus -- mouth hanging open, shoulders hunched too high, that kind of thing. And I'm never disappointed.

I have no idea what "character" I was supposed to be in that scene, but in the next I was definitely a businessman chatting with colleagues in a downtown bar. We were sitting at a table near the entrance, where I was instructed to remove my jacket.

That was no problem. But unlike my "colleagues", I was placed with my back to the camera. This would not do. Since the three of us were supposed to be conversing, I shifted my chair so that I would be in profile, facing the woman to my right. What some consider scene-stealing, I call method acting.

Although we were just background, we wanted to make it look somewhat realistic; we had already been given pens and pads of paper, so why not use them?


Does this count as a  tax write-off?
We went so far as to quietly discuss a "real" business proposition, which kept changing from take to take. The only "business" I remember was sugarless chocolate (not my idea). My contribution was advising them that if it was going to be sugarless, it better be organic, or else nobody would be interested. Genius.


The other guy at the table was roughly my age, while the woman, as I recall, was 27. Don't get the wrong idea. There was no hanky-panky going on. Not only were we professional, but that's a cop and a prosecutor at the bar. Why do I keep running into them everywhere I go?

                                                *****************************




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

FOR THE LOVE OF BULB

Once in a while you read a news story about a young woman marrying an old codger. It's
Feeling up your fiancé for the camera -- have you no shame?
never because of the money, of course; it's always about love. A love of money

But then there's a 33 year-old Brit named Amanda Liberty. Her fiancé is 90 years old, yet is neither rich, famous, nor powerful. At least not much more than 30 watts-powerful. Amanda, you see, is engaged to a chandelier. 


And if that's not enough to raise alarms for supporters of "traditional" marriage, Amanda is already referring to the lighting fixture -- nicknamed Lumiere -- as her wife, making this, as far as I know, the first lesbian household fixture marriage on record. Great, another politically-correct category we have to memorize: L.G.B.T.Q.G.E.

But just to conform to the stereotypes conservatives have about gay marriages, Amanda is still going to sleep with Jewel, one of her other chandeliers.


Sleeping with a fixture other than your wife  --
what will the children think?
No judging, people! For as Amanda says, "None of my chandeliers are jealous of each other, they understand that I love them all for their different personalities." Ahh, if only all women were so understanding!

One could come up with plenty of reasons for wanting to marry a chandelier. You turn her on. She lights up your life. There's a certain electricity in your relationship. 

No matter what you choose, it all comes down to Amanda being an Objectum Sexual -- a person sexually attracted to inanimate objects. Which would explain all of Hugh Hefner's latter-day girlfriends. 

Amanda's first love was a drum kit when she was 14 -- about the same age Ringo Starr fell in love with his first set of drums, so let's not look askance at her. However, her first major romance was with the Statue of Liberty, from whence she got her name. (Was this her secret first marriage?) As Amanda says, "People often can't understand that this is just a natural orientation for me."


My almost-first wife. Or is it "wives"?
Untrue! People can never understand getting hot and bothered by a chandelier, unless the bulbs are too bright. But even at their dimmest, they couldn't be any dimmer than Amanda.

So in this day and age, when simply living together is more accepted than ever, why is Amanda going through the rigmarole of a wedding ceremony? "I want others to see how happy the chandeliers make me, and how much they've enriched my life."

Look, Amanda, I know how you feel. That's why I used to put my old movie posters on a wall. Otherwise, I'd have had to divorce Chained for Life before getting married to my current wife.

Still, I suppose that compared to the madness we see on the news every day, wanting to marry a chandelier rates pretty low on our list of concerns. In fact, it's more welcome than most everything else. I mean, wouldn't you feel better knowing that, as a 30 year-old, Judge Roy Moore was fondling 14 year-old flashlights?

Well, not if you're from Alabama. Then it would be sick.


                                                                 *************

Monday, December 4, 2017

REEL NOT REAL

There's currently a Christmas-themed commercial where a husband has gifted his wife with a new car (Lexus? Audi? I dunno, I can't tell one car from another). The wife is in the drivers seat, the kids in back, the husband outside the car on the drivers side. 

The wife, instead of being thrilled by the generosity of her husband, instead demands to
She still won't appreciate it.
know why there's so much mileage racked up on the odometer. We then see quick flashbacks to the husband zooming around in the car before he brought it home. 


Being the stereotypical idiot father so often seen in advertising today, he merely shuffles his feet while the wife and the kids smirk with superiority. End of commercial.

Not once do the wife or kids express their thanks. It's all about Why the miles, dope? If this were real life, the husband would bellow to the wife, "Goddammit, I'm sick of you emasculating me in front of the kids!" He would then open the door, push the wife over, and start burning rubber down the road at 95 mph. As the wife and kids scream with terror, the husband laughs maniacally until he loses control. The car goes off a cliff, smashing down the rocks with sickening thuds, killing everyone onboard before it comes to rest at the bottom. Merry Christmas one and all.

There are a few other commercials currently running that could use a dash of real life.

MCDONALD'S: A young, African-American McDonald's employee goes into work with an unopened letter. Too nervous to read it himself, he gives it to his manager. To his and the other workers' delight, the employee has earned a college scholarship.

HOW IT WOULD HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE: The manager, startled by a young black man appearing from nowhere behind the counter, pulls a gun and fatally injures him. Reaction is swift, from the both the left -- which urges a boycott of McDonald's -- and the right, which patronizes the chain for lunch every day in a show of solidarity. Those in right-to-carry states proudly wear guns in their holsters while chowing down on burgers. Pres. Trump weighs in by tweeting, Good people on both sides of McD's debate, but you won't hear that from CNN or failing New York Times! #BigMacAttack.

When the manager is eventually found "not guilty" by an all-white jury, the resulting protests are quickly overrun by a coalition of Black Lives Matter, antifa and radical PETA members, carrying signs that read WE DESERVE A BREAK TODAY, and shouting, "Hey hey, ho ho, Mickey D's has got to go!" They predictably devolve into violence, ranging from smashed windows to arson. The New York Post's front page photo of a McDonald's on fire is headlined MCDONALD'S FRIES. The acquitted manager, now fired, goes underground after receiving death threats. A week after the trial, he's interviewed via telephone on Fox and Friends, whose hosts feel bad for "everyone involved in this tragedy".



KEURIG: James Corden shows up unannounced at a suburban Californian cul-de-sac one morning, where he uses a bullhorn to wake up the neighborhood. The residents happily walk out their front doors to try a cup of Keurig coffee.

HOW IT WOULD HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE: While some neighbors call the cops, others angrily approach Corden, demanding that he leave the neighborhood. Things quickly get out of hand, as words give way to physical altercation. By the time cops arrive, all hell has broken loose.

Twelve people, including Corden, are arrested. In an effort to protect their reputations, both Keurig and CBS fire the British funnyman. Corden, in turn, sues his former employees for a total of $30-million in lost wages, although they soon settle out of court.

His reputation tarnished, Corden waits a year before returning to the air, this time on TBS following Conan O'Brien. Photos of the two with their arms around each other's shoulder circulate in the press. Corden tells reporters that he looks forward to following his "good friend Conan", and enjoying the "freedom that cable offers".

Almost Midnight with James Corden launches with strong ratings, but quickly fades. Viewers are disappointed that former employer CBS claims "intellectual control" over Corden's best loved bits, forcing him to replace "Carpool Karaoke" with "Back Pool Bopping", featuring b-list singers rather than the likes of Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars. Within two years, TBS  cancels the show.

With no other offers available, Corden returns to the UK, where he submits to photos making funny faces at Buckingham Palace guards. "It's good to be home" he tells reporters none-too convincingly.


SYMBICORT: A man is reading The Three Little Pigs to his grandchildren. When he quotes the Big Bad Wolf -- "I'll huff and I'll puff" -- one of his grandkids asks, "Like you do sometimes, grandpa?" He then explains that he has COPD, but is being helped by Symbicort.

HOW IT WOULD HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE: Grandpa, having showed up to the family barbecue already half in the bag, yells, "I'm your grandfather, you little shit! Show some fucking respect!" As the kids run off in tears, Grandpa's adult son has finally had it up to here with his bullshit, and orders him out of the house. Grandpa says, "You better teach those little fuckers how to behave!" before angrily walking to his car.

Grandpa revs up the engine and peels away. However, the stress of the situation proves too much, as he suffers a stroke and loses control of the car. He smashes into a fire hydrant, sending a plume of a water into the air.

Grandpa is in a brain-dead coma for a week when his son and daughter-in-law go against his written wishes by requesting he be taken off life support. The case becomes a cause-celebre, involving the family, the hospital, the Attorney General, and, eventually, the Governor, who supports the "elderly man who can't speak for himself," adding, "Every life is precious." The family starts a GoFundMe page to pay for legal and hospital expenses.

Donors are soon ticked off when their money is diverted to a family vacation to Disneyworld. When asked for an explanation by a TMZ reporter, the son replies, "This case has been hard on us. We needed this time off. I'm asking you to respect my privacy." Grandpa lingers on for a month before dying on his own accord. The family is disappointed to learn that his father left everything to his 50 year-old, ex-stripper girlfriend.

                                                  *************************

Thursday, November 30, 2017

I HAVE COME TO PARSE MATT LAUER

Transcript of Matt Lauer's apology:

There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. 

Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.
Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. It is now my full time job. The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. It's been humbling. I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. I thank them for their patience and grace.

Number of references to himself: 18
Number of references to his victims: 1
With that in mind, let us now take a second look at his statement.
There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions. Which is why my publicist is writing this.
To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. Sorry for blowing my $20-million salary.

As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC. Because not only was I too busy being a predator to understand the possible repercussions, the NBC News brass didn't give a shit as long as the ratings remained steady.

Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized. I never reprimanded that young woman for not giving me a blowjob; I merely expressed my disappointment.

But there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. Of getting caught.

Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. Taking the kids to Disneyland should do the trick, right? 

I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly. See? If those women didn't come forward, all this could have been avoided. Their fault!

Repairing the damage will take a lot of time and soul searching and I'm committed to beginning that effort. Shouldn't take very long, since I don't have a soul to search.

It is now my full time job. Boy, do I miss that 20-mill!

The last two days have forced me to take a very hard look at my own troubling flaws. Thank God I didn't have to spend the previous 20 years doing that.

It's been humbling. True story: I actually had to look up "humbling" in the dictionary.

I am blessed to be surrounded by the people I love. When in doubt, use "blessed" to appear... what's that word? Oh yeah, "humble".

I thank them for their patience and grace. To the wife I've been separated from for 11 years: please don't take me to the cleaners.

                                                      ********************