Thursday, August 30, 2001

Surfing Mars Dept.

Robo sez: "And don't trust the 'Ghosts of Mars' either. John Carpenter is back, more Carpenter than ever. If you want to see 'Assault on Precinct Thirteen' meets 'Dark Star' meets 'Species' meets 'The Thing' meets 'Road Warrior' meets 'Aliens' then dammit you will be glad you went."
OK. I'll take that as a challenge.
'The Thing' meets 'Road Warrior' meets 'Aliens' coming right up ...
* * *

Desolate Marscape. MAD MAX driving domed car on improbable asphalt road. Sitting next to him, ET.

MAD MAX wants to make time, natch. But the beloved little ET wants him to stop.

ET: ET pee-pee.
MAD MAX: Piss off.
ET: Yes. ET piss off.
MAD MAX: I meant that in the sense of don't piss off.
ET: (pointing to crotch with glowing finger) Ouch.
MAD MAX: Aw, crikey.
ET: ET...VD.
MAD MAX: Spare me the details, mate. Christ. We'll stop at this ice cream stand.

MAD MAX pulls into a convenient X-TRO KONE, stops.

ET puts on breathing mask, runs out of car. Hold a beat. MAD MAX drives away.

MAD MAX: Cheeky little bugger. (looking at seat) Aw CHRIST...he leaked all over the fucking seat!

ET runs to bathroom doors labeled HIS, HERS, ITS, with man, woman and antenna-ed alien silhouettes respectively. ET runs into "ITS" door. Weird liquid noises. ET runs out. Looks around for MAD MAX. Shrugs. Goes up to window to buy ice cream. Takes a second to decide.

Quick flash of menu --


ET makes selection. Tentacle presents him with cone. ET walks away contentedly licking cone. Stops.

Confronted by enormous ALIEN BEACHBALL holding wicked-looking gun.

ET: (offering cone) Friend!

The ALIEN BEACHBALL shoots him in the face. ET falls in a puddle of gore. The BEACHBALL retrieves ice cream cone -- then hands it to the CHICK FROM SPECIES. We know her by voice only, as only her legs and the bottom half of her pregant belly are visible in frame. She takes the cone...

CHICK FROM SPECIES: Fetid Ichor? FETID ICHOR??? (having a hormonal flash) I SAID ROCKY ROBOT, YOU FUCKER!

She kicks him out of the frame.

We see flames, vague shapes of some horde. The POLICE STATION is under siege.


ICE CUBE: (looking out window) OK, motherfuckers. This shit's fucked up. This looks bad.
PAM GRIER: Honey, I can deal with bad...
ICE CUBE: This is bad raised to its own motherfucking power.
PAM GRIER: As bad as "Jackie Brown"...?
ICE CUBE: Worse than that.
PAM GRIER: Worse than "Jackie Brown"...!
ICE CUBE: Bitch, it's worse than that Steven Segal movie you did.
She gives him a dirty look.

Cut to MAD MAX at the wheel of his idling vehicle -- patiently stopped at a diamond-shaped yellow sign with silhouette indicating an alien-possessed HUSKY. The sign reads: CAUTION! ALIEN POSSESSED HUSKY CROSSING. An alien-possessed HUSKY crosses, SNAKE PLISSKEN's head in its jaws.

MAX: Snake!
SNAKE'S HEAD: I guess that pretty much kills it for a third sequel.
MAX: Aw, whatthefuck. Gotta know when to quit, right?
SNAKE'S HEAD: Right, man. Later!


PAM GRIER: You're one cold motherfucker, you know that? So what's the situation? What's so damn bad about it?
ICE CUBE: We surrounded by a gang of alien beachballs.
PAM GRIER: Alien beachballs?
ICE CUBE: Yeah. With sharp teeth. Looks like Marilyn Manson be charge of them motherfuckers.
MARILYN MANSON: (OS) There's no earthly way of knowing...
PAM GRIER: OK, that's bad.
ICE CUBE: And...
PAM GRIER: There's an "and"...?
ICE CUBE: 'Fraid so.

He looks out barred window. Hold a beat. ICE CUBE turns back to PAM GRIER.

ICE CUBE: They playing "El Deguello."

The BEACHBALLS burst through the door. ICE CUBE and PAM GRIER each grab a Big Fucking Gun (BFG for short) and start blasting away. Like the "Coms" on that old "Star Trek" episode, the BEACHBALLS just keep coming and coming. At the height of the carnage, DEAN MARTIN staggers into the room, a SHOWGIRL on either arm. He's holding a partially-consumed fifth of whiskey labelled "Best wishes, Michael Garibaldi"

DEAN: Got any ice?

Still blasting, ICE CUBE silently gestures to a small fridge. While the SHOWGIRLS mug for the camera, DEAN MARTIN walks over, removes ice, finds a glass, puts ice in glass, pours whiskey, drinks. He then goes to the barred window and looks down.

DEANO: (wincing) "El Deguello," huh? (shouting down) You cats know how to stay on key?

MAD MAX, idling at another alien-crossing. He waits as more HUSKIES cross, followed by the BLOB, several GEIGER-ALIENS, the MARTIAN FLYING MACHINES from George Pal's "War of the Worlds," JOHN CARTER OF MARS, an ARMY OF ZOMBIES holding chainsaws labelled "PPTY GEO. ROMERO" and, lastly, ALICE COOPER and a hatless WILLY WONKA.

ALICE: Hey! You seen an army of Alien Beachballs?
MAD MAX: Yeah, I reckon I did, mate. I thought it was a bloody convention. You like the main attraction or something?
ALICE: No. I'm their leader, man. We're gonna find Marilyn Manson and kill him.
MAD MAX: Stole your act?
ALICE: No. He stole my fucking eyeliner.
WILLY WONKA: Don't forget my hat!
ALICE: Where is the fucker?
MAD MAX: Back past the giant head aways. Turn left at the Sea of Dreams. Can't miss him.
ALICE: Thanks.
ALICE runs. WILLY WONKA follows.

ICE CUBE and PAM (each with BFGs) holding off endless stream of ALIEN BEACHBALLS coming towards them in a narrow hallway.

ICE CUBE: Damn this gets old. This shit's why I dropped out of High School in the first place.
PAM: Tell me about it.
ICE CUBE: (shouting) Could I get some ammunition here?

WALTER BRENNAN: (off-camera) I'm coming, I'm coming.

DEANO: And more ice for me.

WALTER BRENNAN: Keep your shirt on.

More carnage to the distant sounds of "El Deguello." Then a sudden silence. The folks in the POLICE STATION react, listen. Far, far away we hear JOHN WAYNE saying "Now you listen to me you alien sons of..." -- abruptly cut off and followed by the sound of eating. It gets loud again. More carnage.

Back to MAD MAX, driving along alone. He speaks to the camera.

MAD MAX; You know what I still don't get? Where's the ghosts, eh? I mean this is supposed to be the "Ghost of Mars," right? Where's the sodding...

Next to him in car --

GHOST: Right here.
MAD MAX: Ahhhhhhhh! Who the bloody hell are you?
GHOST OF RAY BRADBURY: Ray Bradbury -- the noted science fiction writer of such...
MAD MAX: Yeah, yeah, I know who you are. What're you doing here, then?
BRADBURY'S GHOST: I'm doomed to wander the sands of Mars until a filmmaker makes an adaptation of one of my books... (long pause) that doesn't stink on ice.

Long silence.

MAD MAX: Good luck, mate.


ICE CUBE: It's quiet.
PAM GRIER: Too quiet.
ICE CUBE: No, bitch. It ain't "too quiet." Why everybody fucking say that?
PAM GRIER: Hey, you need to back down.
ICE CUBE: How quiet is too quiet? How can you get any more quiet than quiet?
PAM GRIER: You coming at this all wrong.
ICE CUBE: Just on edge, is all. It's too damn quiet.
PAM GRIER: Kiss my black ass.
ICE CUBE: Where'd they all go?

DEANO: (still looking out window) Wouldja believe it? This is starting to spook me...

ICE CUBE: What are they doing?

DEANO: They're... (turning to camera with great significance) They're playing show tunes.

Cut to BEACHBALLS doing the da-da-da-da-da "When You're a Jet" number from "West Side Story." Lotsa spidery finger-popping and unlikely choreography.

Pan up into a starry black sky. Hold on diminutive Martian moons.

Between Deimos and Phobos, a distant SURFER passes.

Long version below jump.

How to Keep an Angry Customer from Dumping You

If You Goof...

1. Listen
Let the customer talk and vent. Don’t respond.

2. Thank customer

Thank the customer for bringing the error to your attention and taking the time to call.

3. Show empathy
“Boy, I can understand how you feel. We promised to do X-Y-Z and didn’t do it. I can see how that messed you up.”

4. Turn the tables.

Insist that you’re the customer and it’s the caller who failed you. When the customer protests, remind them that they’re the ones who called you. When they say “No, I called you,” say “Are you calling me a liar?” then ask to speak to a supervisor and hang up.

5. Enter a state of religious ecstacy.
In your best televangelist imitation start hooting and hollering. “Lord Jesus, this customer call center is not WORTHY in your sight! Lord Jesus, CLEANSE this place of our wickedness,” etc. Begin handling snakes and speaking in tongues.

6. Do your best Robert DiNiro in Taxi Driver imitation.
Rant psychotically. “You got a fucking complaint, you complaining to me?” etc. “Are you in pain? Am I causing you pain?” Offer to end their pain. Offer to go to the customer’s house and kill them.

7. Move from regret to sadomasochism, ultimately offering the customer kinky sexual favors.

“I’ve been a bad customer service representative. I’ll bet you want to punish me. I’ll bet you want to take me out in the street and spank me. Do you want to spank me?” Etc., etc....

8. Commit suicide.
Tell the customer “I am not worthy. I have failed you. I have dishonored myself -- and my house.” Then shoot or disembowel yourself.

9. Convince the customer that nothing exists.
Using the Socratic method, establish that conventional notions of separate “selves” existing in an objective physical “universe” are all illusions. “I am he as you are me and we are she and we are all together. Googoogajoob.” What could be clearer than that?

10. Escalate the conflict to the realm of espionage and geopolitical terror.

In a standard James Bond villain accent say “You’ve won this round. But the game is far from over.” Hang up. Then set fire to the customer’s house while nailing a set of political demands to a nearby tree. Change your identity and move to a foreign country, waiting in hiding for years, calling the customer at random every few years (“Remember me?”) or so to make them sweat....

Saturday, August 11, 2001


(to the tune of Petula Clark’s “Downtown”)

When you are working for a corporate ant farm
You can always be
Your boss may be smiling while a scythe he is sharpening
And you’ll soon be . . .

Just listen to the standard speech “it’s nothing personal” kissoff
Clean out your desk, get severance check, we’ll see you buddy
Piss off
Don’t let the door hit your ass

Your wife is much harsher now
When they cancelled the cable, your kids had a cow
Cause you’re downsized!
Cut up your credit cards
Move to a hippy farm
Collectors are waiting for you

Michael Moore used to bug you but he starting to make sense
Since since the day you were
You cancelled your subscription to the “National Review”
And stealing “Mother Jones”

Your credit debt is up there with the GNP of Benin
Wife and kids have left you like some squatting homeless tenant
Who’s too qualified

Nobody hires you — they see the fear in your eyes
Where’s that gear from the Army — your old 45?
You’ve been downsized!
Someone has got to die!
You’ve got a big surprise!
Downsized . . .
Your boss won't be expecting you ...