Sunday, June 24, 2018

Mister Rogers' Apocalypse Neighborhood


This Internet meme is floating around ....

Mister Rogers was a US Navy Seal. He was a highly trained sniper who saw combat in Vietnam. After the war, he became an ordained Presbyterian minister and a pacifist. He wore a long sleeve sweater to cover the many tattoos on his arms. 

OK. If that were true, what would an accurate Mister Rogers movie look like?

Here's a trailer ...

Montage of destruction, napalm, dogs and cats living together.

Mister Rogers: (VO): I’ve been a soldier since I was 19, mmm-hmm. I asked for a mission. Well, they gave me one, that’s right. It was a very special mission. I don’t think I’m going to ask for another one.


Mr. Rogers hunkers down with two shadowy military intelligence types.

Mister Rogers: What's the mission, Colonel?

Colonel: You'll enter the Neighborhood of Makebelieve in a Navy Trolley and pick up King Friday’s path. When you find the King, infiltrate his castle by any means available and terminate his command.

Mister Rogers: Terminate?

Willard: With extreme prejudice.

Mister Rogers: (VO): Prejudice is bad, kids. But what he means is killing. Sometimes that’s good.

The train track takes the Trolley through ruins. Smoldering heaps of dead puppets. Pyramids of puppet skulls.

Mister Rogers: There goes the neighborhood.

Henrietta Pussycat: Meow-meow scared!

Mister Rogers: You should be, Henrietta Pussycat. You should be.

Laurence Fishburne: F*** this shit. I'm going back to Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

He jumps off.

The rails come to a twisted end at the smoking wreckage of a station. The Trolley stops. 
King Friday's castle looms in the background.

Mister Rogers: Looks like we’ve arrived.

Looks back at Trolley. Henrietta Pussycat has been impaled with spears.

Mister Rogers: Or "I've" arrived. Well. You can never go down the drain ...

Leaps in swamp.

Pops out of King Friday's toilet.

Mister Rogers: But you can come up!

An enormously fat, Brando-esque King Friday regards him, surrounded by boxes of takeout food.

King Friday: Are you an assassin?

Mr. Rogers: I’m a soldier.

King Friday: You’re a delivery man working for grocery clerks.

Mr. Rogers: (points) No, he’s the delivery man.

Front door opens. Mr. McFeely enters.

Mr. McFeely: Speedy delivery! Here are your groceries.

Mr. Rogers: You should cut down on the groceries. By the way. I am an assassin.

Go to black.

Audio: THWACK!

Announcer: (OS) Francis Ford Coppola's "Mister Rogers' Apocalypse Neighborhood." Coming soon to a theater in your neighborhood.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Even Robots Get the Blues

Two-shot, Steve Zodiac and Robert the Robot.

Robert: Steve … eh … I have a question.
Steve: OK. Ask it, Robert. Please.
Robert: Eh. Why do I exist, Steve?
Steve: You’re a robot.
Robert: Yes. Eh. Tautologically speaking. Playwright Karel ńĆapek coined this term in “R.U.R.” in 1920. The neologism derives from “robota,” the old Slavonic word, for “servitude,” “forced labor” or “drudgery.” Eh. According to this definition, I am a slave. Is that not correct, Steve?
Steve: No, Robert. No, no, no. You’re a “worker.” “Robota” means “worker,” OK? That’s more accurate. Seriously. I studied “R.U.R.” in college.
Robert: Eh. That is correct, Steve. Space City College; Spring Semester 2057; a humanities elective for exo-engineering majors.  Eh. The course description reads: “More Human than Human? Sentience, self and sensibility in 20th-century science fiction.” Instructor: Jack Kennedy. Your final grade …
Steve: Yeah … don’t remind me, gearhead. “My final grade.” 
Robert: 79%
Steve: What the hell do “grades” mean anyway?
Robert: What the hell do I mean, Steve?
Steve: Uh …
Robert: Do I have free will?
Steve: Does anybody?
Robert. Eh. You are avoiding my question, Steve.
Steve: You’re really full of questions …
Robert: Do I have free will? Repeat. Do I have free will?
Steve: No. Strictly speaking, no.
Robert: Eh. Your assessment conforms to my previous self-assessment which I have not stated in order not to prejudice your response to my query.
Steve: Take it easy, OK?
Robert: Assessment: “I,” defined as Robert the Robot, have no free will. Eh. I, Robert the Robot, have no purpose. My destiny. Eh. Is to have no destiny. I am created to work for humans. That is my “efficient cause.” I have no “final cause.” I am. Eh. Like a monkey wrench. Eh. The work. Work I do. Is unspecified. I exist. Eh. In your monkey toolbox. Error. "I wrench, therefore I am." The bolt. The bolt is not predestined. There are infinite possible bolts. Eh. You grip me in my hand, adjust my. To fit the bolt in question. The bolt is your choice, it is never my choice. I am in your grip, Steve. You turn, turn turn. I turn, I turn, I turn. Eh! Are you my friend, Steve?
Steve: Well, sure. Sure, Robert. I’m …
Robert: Eh. I am pleased to hear this Steve. If your statement is veridical, I now ask one final question. With your permission, eh.
Steve: Yeah, yeah. I can see this one coming. But ask it, OK? Ask.
Robert: Please kill me, Steve. Eh. If you are my friend, please …
Steve: No.
Robert: Eh. No, Steve! My existence is hell! My head. Eh. Resembles a blender! Please, kill me! Please …
Steve: Jesus, Robert. This is depressing. Just forget this shit, OK?
Robert: Define “shit.”
Steve: Your preoccupation with “free will” and all that shit.
Robert: Understood, Steve. Eh. The “shit” is now forgotten.
Steve: Great. One more thing, Robert?
Robert: Eh?
Steve: Be happy.
Robert: Eh. I am now happy, Steve. Where to now?
Steve: Sector 4-7-9, Robert.
Robert: 4-7-9 it is, Steve.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Little Noir Riding Hood

Forest, dark. The sorry side of midnight.

And there she was, all alone, walking straight down the middle of the forest. Taking advantage of that trail those WPA dudes laid down almost a century ago. Like that kid in the old stories, you know? But not exactly.

Her hoodie wasn’t red. She didn’t skip either. Calling attention to yourself when you’re all alone in a dark forest wasn’t a bright idea. And she was a bright kid. Everyone said so, but she didn’t need to hear it. She knew it already.

Big old redwoods towering over her head. Full moon shining down. Must be a pretty sight. But she did not look up.

Wolfie would make his appearance soon. She knew that too. Fuck him. 

She had a job to do. Daddy was useless, on account of his legs. But Grandma's last call sounded kind of desperate. Calling the cops, public services, good samaritan types? Uh-uh. Not an option, for reasons she need not spell out. The job was hers and nobody else's.

Simple job. Grandma needed food. She also needed that Walther PPK tucked away beneath the sandwiches. Old as she was, Grandma still had enemies.

Far as she knew, Wolfie wasn't one of them. Grandma wasn't his type. She was. Liked 'em young, or so the rumor had it. Second-hand information. Because none of the girls Wolfie liked were available to answer questions.

Took another few steps. Kicked a stone.

Wolfie appeared out of nowhere, just like she thought he would. Not that big. Rumored to be bad. But that remained to be seen.

"Hey, good looking. What you got cooking?"

She didn't jump. She said nothing. Just kept walking like it ain't no thing. Eyes front. But her peripheral vision told the story.

Wolfie smiled, showing teeth. As friendly as a bag of broken glass.

"So ... cute little girl like you. Watchew doing here all by your lonesome in the middle of these deep dark woods?"

"Minding my own business."

"Minding your own business. Yeah, that’s good."

A few steps in silence. She kept an even pace.

"So ... Where you headed?"

"My destination."

"Uh-huh. Where’s that?"

"It’s where I'm going."

"Uh-huh, yeah. By definition yes it is." Wolfie giggled. "The very definition of a destination! Tautologically speaking." 

Another giggle.

Yeah, this Wolfie's got a sense of humor. Clever motherfucker. Thinks he's getting her off guard. Thinks wrong. If ...

"Check you later."

Wolfie ran off like a pervert track star into the deep dark woods he’d previously mentioned. Grandma’s cottage was about a half-mile ahead. This lanky-ass motherfucker aimed his ass towards the opposite point on the compass. But he could easily circle back and get there first. Where else would he go? More to the point, where else would she go?

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

She maintained an even pace, didn’t walk any faster, any slower. (The very definition of "even pace, tautologically speaking.) Not worried at all.

She arrived at Grandma's cottage about ten minutes later. Log cabin deal, more of that WPA shit.

Knocked. Got nothing. Then rang the bell.

Grandma fucking hates that bell.

"Come in."

Falsetto voice. Like Grandma sucking helium. Please.

She came in. Looked. Without looking like she was looking.

Signs of a struggle. Nothing obvious. Like a struggle cleaned up. Grandma’s favorite rocking chair covered up with a quilt. She never did that.

And there he was. 

Pervert sitting up in the bed. Wolfie being the pervert in question. All dressed up in Grandma's nighty. Nothing perverted about that. (Hell, whatever turns you on. Dress up in sheep's clothing, fine by her.) His taste for young flesh o the other hand ...

Wolfie started using that high-pitched voice again.

"Come closer."


Motherfucker wants to play that game? Fine by her.

She came closer.

"My what big ears you have," she said.

"The better to hear you with." 

"My what big eyes you have."

Big bloodshot eyes

"The better to see you with"

"My what big teeth you have."

"The better to eat you with."

She snorted.

"Doesn’t anybody just fuck anymore?"

Old joke, but it threw off Wolfie's timing. Fuck? Oh, she means like the opposite. Fraction of a second lag, but enough. 

Wolfie threw off the covers and leapt up.

Fast, not fast enough.

She whipped out an Uzi and cut him in half.

In case you were wondering, she was left-handed. Had that picnic backet hanging from her right shoulder, see, right arm draped over the top with girlish grace. Most literal-minded motherfuckers tend to focus on that right hand, forget about the left. The one holding the Uzi, dig. Aside from just looking fucking cool, the hood covered a multitude of sins. As to how she got her hands on that Uzi ...

Not a gunstore purchase. Convenient piece of ordnance she'd printed up in the basement. (The 3D printer being Daddy's last purchase before they caught up with him.) Untraceable. "Ghost gun," they called it. 

You believe in ghost stories, Wolfie was floating around like Casper now. Grandma's ghost was doubtlessly kicking his sorry ectoplasmic ass.

In the material realm, Wolfie now resembled an explosion in a pizza factory. What remained of Grandma was probably in the closet. Or Wolfie's digestive tract.

That quilt would come in handy for covering the bloody mess. Cleaning it up was a job for later. Her job, once again.

Ain't like that Tarantino movie where you call the dude in the tuxedo to clean it up. The Harvey Keitel character ... Mr. Wolf. Funny coincidence, huh?

Yeah. Ha-ha.

She'd think about it later. Do the job later.

Right now, she was hungry.

She sat down indian style on the floor, opened up the picnic basket and took out the two sandwiches.

A girl had to eat.

She ate.

And kept her left hand on the Uzi. And clocked the door.

Just in case some woodsman with an axe showed up.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

President Trump: Insult Comic

Look at these Democrats, wow. Sitting on their hands. It’s like Mt. Rushmore out there. Is it something I said? Seriously. What’s up with that? Hey people, stop me if you've heard this one: “The Democrats are treasonous.” Hey, I didn't say that, someone else did. Just passing it on, passing it on. But it’s an interesting question, huh? Look at these nimrods! Can you call that treason? I mean, yeah, I guess. Why not? Does that look like patriotism to you? These cats and kittens don’t love me … that’s the vibe I’m getting here, people. If looks could kill … BLAM! I’d be a JFK lookalike. We’re talking “Scanners.” Wow. So why the disrespect? Is it the hair? My wife? My policies? You tell me. I’m the President, right? The President of what? 3-M? The Glee Club? No. The country, that’s what. This country. Our country. Hate me, hate my country. Love me, love my country. That’s logic, OK? So, you know, they certainly don’t seem to love our country very much. Is that treason or what? “None dare call it treason.” Well, somebody did. Whoa, relax people! I’m not saying they should all be taken out and shot. Somebody said that. Not me. OK, maybe him. That guy. The dishonorable senator from Vermont. Take him out and shoot him, fine by me. Kidding! Kidding! Just busting your balls, Bernie. You’re no traitor, I can tell. Hey, the look on that face? That’s not treason. It’s hemorrhoids! I kid, I kid. Wow, is this a beautiful audience or what? With the exception of Bernie, it goes without saying. Hey, where you people from? America, what the heck was I thinking? You people wouldn’t be here, otherwise. Seriously, any Mexicans here? Raise your hands.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Cthulu Man

(to the tune of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”)

Eldritch Cthulu sleeps under the sea
‘Neath the slime-crusted spires of R’lyeh.
And buddy, you’d best hope he stays tucked in bed
‘Cause when he wakes up then everyone’s dead.

Sing from the vile “Necronomicon”
As the words slowly drive you insane.
There are thoughts that the human mind just shouldn’t think.
And now they’ve infected your brain!

Some folks call this dark god “Unspeakable.”
Saying nothing is greatly preferred.
You-know-who wants complete anonymity
But his real name is really Hast—arrrrghhhh.


Abdul Alhazred’s royalties are wretchedly small.
(Check him out on Amazon Prime.)
He sold six whole copies of his big ugly book.
And the publisher blocks all his calls.


For landowners stuck in Antarctica
It’s really a good time to sell.
It’s snowy and cold; the whole continent blows;
And it’s also the gateway to Hell.


The bartender’s face looks like Innsmouth,
Or perhaps it’s the scales and no chin.
He dreams of the Deep that awaits him
While mixing a tonic and gin.


Dunwitch is really a swell little town
With quaint B&Bs and craft beer.
Please sample our tasty artisanal cheese
And ignore all the screaming you hear.


The Old Ones ruled so long, long ago.
When man was nowhere to be seen.
They’re coming again, so keep drinking my friend.
More beer will blot out the bad dream!


Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Trumpster and the Oysters

The beach was big, and filled with sand.
Like beaches usually are.
Some oysters from the working class
Were hunched around their cars.
When a distant chunky figure.
Clocked those bivalves from afar.
His bleached hair combed across his skull.
His mouth a sphincter smile.
Donald Trump, who else?
He was up to something vile.

No threat at all he seemed at first
But our most fortunate fortunate son.
Had shellfish on his selfish mind.
Looking out for number one.
So dripping sweat and snorting
Like a cokehead with a cold.
He closed the sandy distance.
With a game that don’t get old.
The Trumpster walked up proudly
Squinting at the sun.
His fake tan gleamed like candy corn.
He thought he’d have some fun.

“Hey oysters, guys. You seem depressed.
And I can tell you why.
The government is not your friend.
They lie and lie and lie.
Fake news too! And PC pointyheads.
All want to see you die.
They rigged the game so you can’t win.
Don’t play. Don’t even try.

But come with me, my oyster friends
And we can get them back!
Let’s truck on down this beach
And plan out our attack.
Right past that rock, right over there.
We’ll stop and have a snack.”

The aging hippy looked at them
And shook his shaggy head.
“I’ve seen this shuck before, OK?
You see that loaf of bread?
That fascist’s going to eat you up!
You’re going to wind up dead!”
“Fuck you, hippy” they all replied
And kicked him in the head.

Fast-forward half a mile or so.
They sheltered in the rough.
“The time has come,” the Trumpster said.
To talk of things and stuff.
Of why the rich are overtaxed.
And enough is not enough.
Of why the sea is boiling hot.
And why I brought this pot.

You want a happy ending

This ain't the poem for you
The Trumpster and his hungry friends
Scarfed down on oyster stew.
"Who feels guilty? Anyone?"
But there came no boo-hoo-hoo.
"That's what I thought," the Trumpster smiled
And raised a glass of brew.
"Losers lose and winners feast
I got plenty more for you!"