Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, June 29, 2015

Michael Bay And His Explosive Football

Deranged Self Absorbed Director Threatens to Helm Beloved Children’s Film Adaptation

Los Angeles (AP) There are no sacred cows in Hollywood, it seems. Reporters were summoned to the offices of Digital Domain this week for an announcement by director Michael Bay, whose obnoxious, loud films have been a pestilence for years in movie theatres, including Pearl Harbor, The Rock, and the Transformers series. The director, who never heard of a movie explosion he didn’t like, and who finds himself the most fascinating human being on the planet, has been taking on a swirl of projects, convinced that each one is going to get him Oscars. This reporter was one of a number of real reporters sent in to mingle with fake reporters (otherwise known as entertainment reporters) to hear the announcement. This reporter remains in editor dictated hell for months on end simply because his editor despises everything about him (editor: you laughed at my mother-in-law’s funeral. I never forget, and I never forgive).

At any rate, despite the callous disregard of the editor who should have been relieved to see his mother-in-law battleaxe shuffle off her mortal coil (editor: hey! Watch your mouth!), this reporter knew he’d be stuck with this purgatory of an assignment. On a side note: yes, your mother-in-law was a battleaxe. Now then, we return to the subject at hand. This reporter and a number of actual reporters were subjected to the presence of vacant headed buffoons calling themselves entertainment reporters in the auditorium. Those of us who were real reporters speculated on how many times Bay would look in the mirror, already set up by the podium. Finally a staffer came out, called everyone to order, and announced the arrival of her boss.

Bay came out on stage, waved and grinned in his usual halfwitted way, and stopped by the podium, gazing at himself in the full length mirror and winking. This reporter expected that deep down, Michael Bay was deeply in love with Michael Bay. He was dressed as usual- jeans, blazer, and a denim shirt unbuttoned at the neck. And he had the customary slightly dishevelled hair and three days of stubble. “Hello, everyone!” he called out as he looked over the crowd of reporters, stealing one last glance at himself in the mirror. “It is delightful to see you all here today! Just as much of a delight as it must be for you to be here and hear my announcement. Am I right or am I right?”

The real reporters remained silent. Entertainment reporters applauded. Bay seemed to only notice the latter. He smiled again in that customary halfwitted way of his, oblivious to reality. “You know, I’m a busy man. I always have lots of things on the go, big projects in the wings, and I can never stop taking on a new challenge. That’s what I’m here today to tell you, about my next big challenge.”

“Are you going to take a vow of silence and stop making films?” this reporter asked.

“No! Of course not!” Bay said, totally oblivious to this reporter’s tone. “Oh, you’re such a kidder! Why would I walk away from the world of film? The movie world needs me, after all. What would they do without me? Who else is as good as I am in blowing things up during every film? Nobody! Now then, what I’m here today to tell you about is a new film concept. Something that will blow you away and have you wanting to see right now. A film that is bigger and grander and more explosive than you can imagine.” This reporter wondered if he could get assigned to something less obnoxious. Like the Rachel Dolezal story.

Nonetheless, the ordeal continued. Bay kept prattling on, obviously in love with the sound of his own voice. “You know, there’s a beloved institution out there, a comic strip that we’ve all known and grown up with. I can tell you that yes, I know there’s a movie in the works already about them, but my take is going to be different. For one thing, it’ll be live action, not animated. And for another, it’s going to take the characters and make them adults. Something we would have never seen in the original series, because, hey, let’s face it, comic strip characters generally do not get older. Except for Doonesbury. And that one’s just a little too dry to adapt for a movie. Though I could make something of that Jeff Redfern is the Red Rascal ongoing plotline.” This reporter sighed, imagining just how much of a mess Bay could make of that.

Bay smiled, gazed at himself in the mirror once again, smiled some more, and then turned his gaze back on his audience. “Where was I? Oh, yes. My film. Right. Ladies and gentlemen, my next big project, once I’m done with the other multitude of other projects I’m working on, yes, folks, the one you’ve all been waiting for...” This reporter glanced at his watch, wondering how long the buildup would take. Three minutes and lots of hype words later, Bay finally finished by saying, “I’m adapting Peanuts for the big screen! Yeahhhhh!!!!

There was an audible gasp from many of the reporters. The beloved comic strip by the late Charles Schulz has been part of our lives for decades, featuring the lives of children written with depth and one beagle with an astounding imagination. There is an animated film in the works, but the idea of Michael Bay desecrating the characters in any way seems to be nightmarish.

“Did you just say....?” a Reuters correspondent started.

“Yes!” Bay said gleefully. “But not Peanuts as it is. I mean, for one thing, there’s no way a studio insurance underwriter would let a guy like me make a film with kids- too many explosions, too much risk. So the concept of my film is to take these characters we all know and bring them up into young adulthood and see where they are now. With lots of explosions.”

Bay glanced at his reflection in the mirror again and smiled. “So our central figure, of course must be Charlie Brown. Where is he at this point in his life? Well, he’s grown up to be a pretty good guy. He gave up his baseball dreams, and when he did that, his infamous bad luck finally went away. Charlie got over that childhood bout of cancer and finally grew a decent head of hair. He’s an Army officer, and a bomb disposal expert, so you just know that in a film I’m making that will come in handy.” Reporters gasped and rolled their eyes. “He’s even happily married. No, not to that Little Red Haired Girl we never saw. Instead he got married to Violet, who for whatever reason didn’t get used that much as time went on.”

This reporter wondered, not for the last time before this press conference would end, if Charles Schulz would be rolling over in his grave. Oblivious to all thoughts of reporters, Bay prattled on. “His friend Schroeder is a world famous concert pianist, just as you’d expect, and Schroeder’s a big part of the plot. His other friend Linus is a theology graduate student who tends to smoke weed and has some strange ideas on divinity and the Great Pumpkin. Sally Brown is an award winning playwright about to debut her new musical My Sweet Baboo on Broadway. Pig-Pen has taken his talent for attracting dirt and put it to good use as a Navy SEAL. Franklin’s a hip-hop artist and my token African-American character, because in a Michael Bay film, you always have to have one of those. Snoopy, admittedly, is where I need to suspend disbelief for a bit, because who’d believe a dog would live in excess of twenty extra years? Snoopy’s still around, still picking fights with the Red Baron and leading his Beagle Scouts and writing books that get rejected by publishers and still thinking of Charlie Brown as that round headed kid. And Peppermint Patty and Marcie have finally come out of the closet and are getting married.”

This reporter sighed with dismay, wondering if his grouchy editor would ever stop being annoyed with him (editor: note to you: I never will, you prat!). Bay was still carrying on with his grandiose announcement. “And rounding out the main characters is the key antagonist. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the one, the only... Lucy van Pelt. She who was crabby and grouchy and obsessed with Schroeder as a child has not improved. In fact, she’s become a supervillain, kidnapping Schroeder for her own lustful purposes, and threatening the world with stolen nukes. Which, of course, happens to be the disarming speciality of our hero, Charlie Brown. The big confrontation between two old adversaries, because let’s face it, Charlie and Lucy hated each other. The stakes are much bigger though than a football being pulled away at the last minute. Which reminds me, the title of my blockbuster is Kick The Football, Charlie Brown.

A collective sigh of dismay rose up from the real reporters. Bay still smiled gleefully. “And now, bringing out my cast, starting with our lead actor....”

“Let me guess, Shia LaBeouf?” this reporter asked.

“No, but he is in the cast,” Bay replied. “No, ladies and gentlemen, playing Charlie Brown with the gravity and dignity that the character so richly deserves, an actor I haven’t worked with before, Mr. Channing Tatum!”

Tatum came out on stage, waving at the crowd, his expression being his usual dimwitted hit in the head by the football too many times look. “Hello there!” he called out. “It’s wonderful to play this timeless character in such a fresh and new way. You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to learn that sentence.”

Bay kept speaking. “And playing his wife, a newcomer to my films, but you’ve seen her in lots of films before. Ladies and gentlemen, playing Violet Gray-Brown... hey, those are three colours! Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Emma Stone!”

The actress stepped out on stage, looking awkward. “Look, don’t hold this against me, I was signing lots of documents and it turns out one of them was a one movie deal with this hack,” she said, glaring at Bay, who laughed.

“Such a kidder!” Bay chuckled.

“Yes, well, whatever, and now you’ve got me shackled with this halfwit.” Stone added, looking at Tatum. “And considering I’ve worked with Michael Cera, I know a lot about halfwits.” The entertainment reporters collectively gasped and started tweeting up a storm. This reporter could already see next week’s tabloid headlines: Washed Up Has Been Actor Skewered By A-List Actress. Entertainment reporters are scum, after all, and this reporter wondered why his cranky editor couldn’t work for one of those outlets (editor: for your next assignment I’m having you tossed into shark infested waters without a shark cage).

Bay seemed oblivious. “And now, playing Linus van Pelt, give a big hand and lots of love to one of my favourite actors, Mr. Shia LaBeouf!”

LaBeouf stepped out on stage, waving and grinning like an idiot. “Shia is so pleased to see you!” the waste of oxygen called out, still in that talking about himself in the third person phase. “Shia is a busy actor! Shia is glad for that, so when Spielberg comes and begs Shia to star in a Mutt Williams movie, Shia can give him the finger!”

LaBeouf joined the other actors. Bay continued his announcement of the cast. “I quite often cast this next actress alongside Shia in other films as a romantic interest. Well, not this time. This time Megan Fox is in my cast, playing a character pivotal to the entire film. She’s got the gravity, depth, personality, intelligence, and fortitude as an actress to play this role. Ladies and gentlemen, give a big hand for Megan, who’s been cast as my antagonist, Lucy van Pelt!”

Fox stepped out on stage, waving and smiling in her usual vacant looking way, dressed in her customary much too tight clothing, ample cleavage on display. “Hi! It’s so wonderful to play one of the most iconic characters of all time! I’m going to have lots of fun being the bad girl!”

Bay smiled. “Now then, I do have someone who’ll be voicing the inner thoughts of Snoopy. Someone I thought would be perfect for the part. He can’t be here today- he’s caught up in television show work at the moment- but he’ll be ready to go when the time comes, and his performance will be the stuff of legend. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve chosen Seth McFarlane for that role!” There was silence from the reporters. The real reporters were appalled at such a choice. The entertainment reporters were, as usual, confused in the deepest of ways.

Bay seemed to ignore all that. “I’ve got one more cast member to bring out. I’m still in the process of casting more parts, but I couldn’t ignore this guy. Playing the President of the United States in this tense hair raising thriller... Mr. Nicolas Cage!”

Cage came out on the stage, stumbling and grinning in a dazed way, singing in a slurred way, his hairpiece even stranger than usual. “Hail to the Chief, he’s the one we all say hail to, we all say hail ‘cause he keeps himself so clean! He’s got the power, that’s why he’s in the shower...”

This reporter sighed with dismay. Now Nicolas Cage was ripping off Kevin Kline’s performance in Dave. A glance at the watch was in order, and this reporter found himself wondering how many more years he’d be in editorial purgatory at the hands of an overlord editor with no sense of... (editor: purgatory? You’re in editorial hell!)

Regardless of the overlord editor’s annoying habit of continuing to be an irritating prat (editor: hey! Shut up!), this reporter remained doomed to covering such idiocy. Bay was beaming as he spoke. “Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Kick The Football, Charlie Brown! It’s going to be big! It’s going to be bold! It’s going to be epic! With lots of explosions and barely dressed girls waxing cars and explosions and Aerosmith doing a theme song! Yeah!!!!”

With that, they were off the stage, leaving the reporters and entertainment reporters in their wake. The latter were busy talking about how Emma Stone had skewered Channing Tatum and Michael Cera, while gushing about how epic a movie this would be. Those of us real reporters condemned for one reason or another to cover this nonsense expressed our dismay at the fact that someone as irritating as Michael Bay would have the chance to desecrate Peanuts. This reporter could sum it all up in two words: good grief.

It’s too bad there isn’t a Great Pumpkin. He could stomp all over Michael Bay, and do the same to my cranky editor (editor: you are dead to me. Dead! You hear me? I’m going scorched earth on you until the day I retire).

Like I said: too bad.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Curse Of The Walking Scammers

Some links before getting started today. Norma had posts on Father's Day and a book cover. Eve had poetry. Maria wrote about a certain current event. And Lynn wrote about Mabel.

Will they ever give up? Of course not. The scammers and spammers of the world are a relentless lot, ever hoping to get people to believe them in endless emails and attempted spam comments. Sometimes they get creative and find ways around spam filters- such as copying and pasting a remark by the original blogger and adding on their spam link. Scammers have their own creative tendencies- the recent rabbi scammer trick was a new one to me- but by the large part tend to stick to variations on a script. Such as the case below, which ended up in my junk email.

Dear Friend,

Please forgive me because I'm not internet savvy. My name is Mrs. Bernice Hassan, I am a widow to a late oil & Gas and merchant, and now I'm diagnosed with cancer , The doctors said I have three months to live.

When my husband was alive he deposited the sum of $25 million dollars.(twenty-five million dollars) with a finance company /safety in Europe,currently this money is still with the security company.

Having known my condition i decided to donate this fund to charity,i took this decision because i have no child who will inherit this fund hence the reason of taking this bold decision.

I want you to help me distribute this fund to charity organization in your country.

Please reply me if you can help me distribute my funds and I am willing to give you 20% for your time and effort.

Email me at my email address.  As soon i i get your reply i will give you more details, please also know that any delay in reply will give me more room in sourcing for another individual for the same purpose.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs. Bernice Hassan

Sigh. That's swell, Bernice. You say you're not internet savvy, and yet you've emailed this exact same message to millions of other email accounts despite the fact that we don't want to hear from this week's resident scammer. You also trot out Ye Olde Scammer Ploy- the dead husband who happened to be an oil and gas merchant- though you wrote it as oil and Gas and merchant.... are you not paying attention to grammar? Of course not, you're trying to scam me. Well, nice try, Bernice.

You want me to believe you're dying of cancer. Sure, right, uh huh. And if I believe that, you expect me to believe there's twenty five million in cash you want donated to charity. Wow, your totally non existent hubby has been productive until he kicked the non existent bucket. By the way, you didn't even use the usual sob story about how he died (if we were talking about a former general, the sob story would have involved bullets from those vicious and heartless rebels). And me, being a complete stranger, can get twenty percent if I help you distribute it. Oh, sure, I believe you, anything you say, uh huh... and if you believe that, I've got ocean front property in Idaho you might be interested in.

There's no twenty five million, Bernice. Just as there's no Bernice. You're a front for whatever Nigerian scam artist- or whatever other part of African scammers are plying their trade from this week.

Bye bye, Bernice, or to be more precise whoever you really are. Scammers like you serve no purpose in the world. It's too bad Ebola doesn't do requests, because you could use a good dose of that particular virus.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rampage Of The Overblown Ego

“And lo, in that day, when the third member of a clan of trees will seek the office of highest lord of his land (clan of trees? I really need to stop drinking) and the mother bear and her demented partner will be seeking that office, there will come out of the darkness yet another contender. A demon of the Trumpius clan, the Donaldus... a repugnance with false hair and an inflated ego. He will crow and he will scream at the heavens and he will sneer in those days, for lo, it will always have been for him that he is, in a manner of speaking, the hindquarters of a horse. Not literally, mind you, just figuratively.” ~ from The Book Of Arcane Prophecies, Chapter 62

World’s Biggest Ego Announces He’s Running For President; World Laughs At Him

New York (AP) Real estate and casino mogul, television personality, and narcissistic ass Donald Trump announced his bid for the Republican nomination as President of the United States, taking the opportunity to lash out at the President and fellow Republicans, not to mention numerous world countries and America as a whole, all while stroking his own ego and boasting of his accomplishments and self delusionary glory. 

Trump, who has absolutely no chances in hell of winning the nomination, joins a crowded field of GOP candidates trying to pass themselves off as the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan. Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, and the tag team of Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are among the candidates trying desperately to evoke a back to the past Father Knows Best mentality. Trump, with his massive ego, rampant xenophobia, and embarrassingly bad hairpiece, joins the fray as the biggest clown yet. He has occasionally mused in the past about running for office, and has regularly used Fox News as his venue to complain about whatever annoyed him on any given day. The multitude of comments have often been fodder to point out his supremely overinflated ego, narcissism, and general stupidity.

“It’s not as if he’s actually going to see this through,” Evan Acheson, a public relations expert remarked after the fact. “We’re talking about a man who craves nothing but attention, the spotlight... he’s addicted to it, and announcing a run at the nomination, even though it’ll go nowhere, it feeds his addiction. Frankly, if everyone just stopped paying attention to the hairline challenged toupee wearing blowhard, he’d curl up into a ball and die of neglect. Granted, that would be a good thing.”

Trump made his announcement at his Fifth Avenue Trump Tower, coming down an escalator to the sounds of ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’, oblivious to the irony of the situation and the song and looking like an old, angry man coming down the mall escalator. The Tower is also home base to his Apprentice reality show, lending yet more credence to the suggestion that this announcement was a circus act yet to be followed by more circus acts. He has billed himself as “the most successful person ever to run for the presidency, by far”- yet another example of his rampaging ego.

In a long, rambling speech of rhetorical nonsense and blowhard stupidity, Trump blabbered on about how rich he is, listing off his assets and how great a mogul he thinks he is. He lashed out at Mexicans, the Chinese, Japan, and immigrants, claiming he would make America great again. He spoke about currency manipulation, terrorism in the Middle East, his false boasts of job creation, his excessive wealth, even claiming “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” He sneered as he noted that his attitude is needed after “losers” running the country.

Trump suggested a massive wall must be built at the Mexican border- and paid for by the Mexicans, and spoke of himself in the third person regarding ISIS. “No one would be tougher on ISIS than Trump.” His supporters applauded. Real reporters rolled their eyes and sighed, imagining that at the very least, late night comedians would be pleased by this, regardless of how long it would last. No doubt until the blowhard got bored and decided he’d had enough.

“We need a truly great leader,” Trump boasted, his every remark self centered, clearly believing himself to be that great leader- after all, the center of the world according to Donald Trump is Donald Trump. Those of us who live in reality know better. And yet for the mogul, there is no such thing as modesty or humility.

“Sadly the American dream is dead,” Trump said with his customary sneer as he finally finished up. “But if I get elected President I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before.” A typical Trump boast- the man has often spoken of his real estate ventures in such terms, as well as his own self belief that he’s the greatest human being on the planet. He seems oblivious to the disregard many, even Republican voters, have for him, let alone his complete failure as a human being to be able to empathize with others. He also seems oblivious to how truly ridiculous he looks with that toupee.

And so the campaign has yet another Republican in the mix, at least until he decides he’s had enough. Gambling houses are taking bets on how long before Trump quits the campaign, or how many gaffes he can make in a single day.

Psychologist Eleanor Warren had her own opinions on the campaign. “You know, I could go into detail about megalomania, his inability to feel empathy, his supremely over developed ego and overwhelming narcissism, his lack of manners and tact, his inability to understand humility and grace, his profound overcompensation for certain shortcomings as a man... but really, in the end, what it all comes down to is that the man is a complete jackass.”

Polls of Republican voters show that over half have a negative view of the mogul. Democrats view him as even worse. White House staff noted that since Trump has been one of the main voices fanning the flames of the “birther” movement that called into question the legitimacy of the President, they look forward to seeing him make a fool of himself repeatedly.

The last word must go to the Almighty, since Trump claimed he’d be the greatest jobs president God ever created. This reporter had a sit-down with God, who as it turns out actually looks a lot like Morgan Freeman. “You know, I have no idea what he’s talking about,” the Almighty remarked. “To be perfectly honest, I think Trump’s an asshole.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Day In The Life Of A Cat

Some links before getting started today. Parsnip had a Square Dog Friday. Krisztina had a pizza suggestion. Ivy had a Friday question.

And so it is time to return to the cat's point of view. Treat her well, for she is your overlord and mistress.

7:47 AM. Slowly waking up. Slept exceedingly well. Dreamed of fields of catnip. Sounds in the kitchen. How did the staff get past me without my waking up?

7:49 AM. Good morning, staff. Have you put any thought into providing me with breakfast?

7:51 AM. Disappointed once again. The staff puts down a bowl of field rations. I sigh in dismay.

8:05 AM. Out on the deck. Somewhere in the distance I can hear the barking of that irritating mutt down the road.He’d better stay far away from me today, or by Isis, there’ll be hell to pay.

8:19 AM. Staring up at the clouds. That one looks like catnip. That one looks like a big bowl of milk. That one looks like flying lunch. That one looks like a ball of yarn...

8:38 AM. Back inside. Staff, it is the weekend, which means you belong to me and can’t go off to that work place. And that also means you can’t go off on some shopping excursion and leave me alone. Are we clear on the rules?

8:51 AM. After reluctance and back and forth consideration, I eat some of the field rations. Dry cat kibble is such a burden.

10:48 AM. Waking up from a nap. They do say you should get as much rest in a day as possible, and I strongly believe in such philosophies.

11:36 AM. Engaged in having the staff pay attention to me. Lots of cuddles, lots of purring, lots of affection. Staff, this is nice. If only you learned the value of better breakfasts, because to be honest with you, field rations really aren’t appealing at all. Are you listening, staff? Because this is important.

12:09 PM. Lunch with the staff. Some milk makes up for this morning’s travesty of a breakfast.

12:26 PM. Sniffing the air. I believe I do detect the smell of tuna somewhere.

12:27 PM. The tuna’s in the cat carrier. I pause. This could be a trap. What to do, what to do...

12:28 PM. I go in, quickly eat the tuna... and the door shuts. Staff! Let me out! Right now!

12:31 PM. This is intolerable, staff! How dare you trick me into this cat carrier. There will be hell to pay, staff, you know I don’t like being in the car, and here you are, taking me out the front door...

1:06 PM. The staff has arrived at her destination and is taking me out of the car. I am annoyed in the most ardent terms. I look out the door to see where I am... wait. This building... it’s the vet’s office! Staff! How dare you bring me into the lair of the Arch-Fiend!

1:10 PM. The staff has put my carrier down on a chair. Other cats are in their carriers. Foul hounds here too. And all of them seem to have the same expression of annoyance. Yes, even dumb dogs know this is the vet’s office, the lair of the darkest evil to ever walk the earth.

1:21 PM. A dog passes by, leaving the office. He seems irritable. Wait... it’s that annoying mutt from down the road. And he’s done? I can’t believe this. I’m envious of a dog being finished with the vet’s appointment.

1:38 PM. The receptionist directs my staff into one of the rooms, and for some inexplicable reason the staff takes me along. Staff, this is your last chance. We can still leave right now without being exposed to the presence of that monster...

1:44 PM. The door opens. The evil Arch-Fiend walks in. I hiss and express my venomous dislike of her.

1:46 PM. My staff is keeping me restrained while the monstrous vet conducts her tests. No doubt putting hex spells and curses on me while poking and prodding. That’s just the kind of evil thing I would expect out of the Arch Fiend. One of these days, lady, you’re going to get what’s coming to you...

1:54 PM. The staff is chatting away amicably with the Arch-Fiend, who persists in examining me and doing all kinds of horribly evil things to me. Staff, I cannot believe that you consider this witch to be a friend.

1:59 PM. The Vile, Despicable One gives me a shot. Hey! How’d you like one of those yourself, lady????

2:06 PM. The Arch-Fiend claims she’s done. Had enough torturing me? I hiss and try to scratch her. Don’t try that fake smile of yours, lady! I know how evil you are!

2:42 PM. Back home. The staff lets me back out of the cat carrier. Traitor. If you’re expecting me to forgive you for this travesty, you’ll be waiting a long, long, long time.

6:31 PM. Drawn into the kitchen by the smell of food. The staff has set down a plate of lamb cuts and a bowl of milk. I look at the food. Then I look at her. Then I look at the food again. Very well, staff. I suppose this makes up for the whole betrayal and subjecting me to the vet thing you pulled today.

11:38 PM. The staff is turning off the lights and is on her way to bed. I think I’ll stay down here. I hope to dream of that vet tonight. Meeting a very bad end.