Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Monday, April 23, 2018

All Hail The Mighty Flaming Zeppelin

Director Announces Latest Blockbuster; Real Reporters Wish They Were Anywhere Else

Los Angeles (AP) It can be said that sometimes an assignment is a punishment. When it comes to assignments made by cranky editors, every assignment is a punishment (editor: shut up!). Such was the case this week when this reporter was dispatched to the offices of Digital Domain in Hollywood for yet another announcement by the resident egomaniac otherwise known as Michael Bay. Joining other real reporters and a horde of slow witted entertainment reporters, this reporter wondered how long it might be before his cranky editor went into retirement, or in an ideal world got locked away in a place with padded walls for that whole anger management thing (editor: what did I just say about shutting up?)

The assembled reporters and the dimwitted entertainment reporters gathered together in the facility’s auditorium. Real reporters were comparing notes as to why they had been stuck with this assignment (editor: you know precisely why!) while entertainment reporters speculated about the impending announcement, given how many film projects the director is already involved in. A spokesperson called for the attention of all. “Ladies and gentlemen,” she said. “Give it up for the greatest film auteur in the history of the universe….” The introduction went on for another ten minutes, heaping honours and esteem on a man who clearly didn’t deserve it, no matter what he might think or how much his staff might get paid to say such things. “Michael… Bay!”

The director came out on stage, smiling and waving, basking in the applause of the entertainment reporters, oblivious to the eye rolls and sighs of dismay from real reporters. Bay strode to the podium, saw the full length mirror positioned there, and winked at himself, smiling again like the demented egomaniac that he is (editor: not one more word! Michael Bay is a great director!). He faced his audience.

“Thank you for coming out today! It’s wonderful to see you!” Not so wonderful in the opinion of this reporter, who… (editor: I will find a way to get past that restraining order and strangle you) “You know, I am a busy man. I’ve got so many projects on the go that I don’t know when I’ll get them all done. But I had an idea the other day. Now you know I love disaster films. And epic deaths and fireballs and explosions and babes waxing cars and Aerosmith themes and more explosions. Now there’s a true story out there, one that… correct me if I’m wrong, hasn’t been done before on film. I’m talking about the Hindenburg disaster.” He broke out into a manic grin. The entertainment reporters broke out into applause.

“Actually the Hindenburg’s been adapted before,” this reporter informed him.

Bay stared, and then shrugged. “Okay, but not by me. So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to retell the epic true story of the Hindenburg in a film with the working title: Blowing Up Real Good: Oh, The Humanity! Isn’t that a fun title?”

“You’re using a real life disaster and describing it as fun?” this reporter challenged Bay.

“Oh, come on, spoil sport, what’s fun if you’re not blowing things up?” Bay replied. “Now look, what we’ll have is the story of a big journey across the ocean. Now I know, the experts will tell us that we have to have a German cast and German actors and all that, but really, how will Germans in the lead play in Illinois? Answer, it won’t. So screw staying factual, let’s think American characters in the lead. With a crazy saboteur and the explosion to rival all conventional explosions and the massive death tolls and the hundreds of people on board and the….”

“There was just about a hundred people on board,” a Reuters reporter pointed out.

Bay looked confused. "Are you sure?"

“I’d have to double check, Mr. Bay, but I can assure you that there weren’t hundreds of people on that airship. Those things weren’t built to move hundreds of people,” the reporter assured him. This reporter quickly ran a check on his ipad.

“Stop confusing me with details!” Bay countered.

“Such as the massive death tolls?” this reporter noted. “Thirty six people total killed.”

“You’re interrupting my announcement!” Bay protested. “Nobody cares about attention to facts and details and history in a historical film. They care about explosions and hot babes and Aerosmith theme music and more explosions! They care about how big an explosion I can make go off in a film. They care about my skills as the greatest director of all time! They care about…”

This went on for another twenty minutes until Bay was red in the face, bragging and boasting about himself. Finally he took a deep breath. “Where was I? Oh, yes. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege to bring out my lead actors for this new project. First of all, playing the hero of my piece, the dashing young American doctor and spy heading for home, give a big hand for Shia LaBeouf!”

LaBeouf came out on stage, waving to the crowd, taking a bow. “Welcome! Shia is pleased to see you! You are pleased to see Shia!” Real reporters shook their heads at the demented little twit, who was oblivious to their disdain.

Bay smiled as LaBeouf joined him, and carried on. “And playing the requisite love interest, because what’s a big explosive Michael Bay action film without a love interest? Give it up for Megan Fox!” Fox came out on stage, dressed in the usual way- miniskirt, revealing neckline- taking a bow. She strode over to her two demented colleagues (editor: Michael Bay is not demented! You’re demented! You belong in a lunatic asylum!) This reporter, doomed to work for a cranky editor who’s bound by the terms of a restraining order to never come near said reporter again, must point out the irony of that editor suggesting he belong in a lunatic asylum, since it’s that editor who needs forty or fifty years in a place with lots of sedatives and…. (editor: die already!)

“And playing our chief antagonist,” Bay continued. “He’ll be putting on a German accent for this one, because you can never go wrong making the Germans into villains! By the way, are there any German reporters here today? No? Good. Playing the saboteur, the nefarious Max von Blud… the one, the only… Nicolas Cage!”

Cage came out on stage, stumbling a bit, carrying a bottle of scotch. “Hello! Thanks for coming out! I love working with Michael! It means I get paid, and somebody’s gotta keep Nicky outta the red, after all.” This reporter wondered if it had ever occurred to Cage that drinking excessive amounts of expensive booze and smoking cigars lit by hundred dollar bills might be one reason he infamously went into the red.

Cage joined the others, and Bay smiled. “Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Blowing Up Real Good: Oh The Humanity! Or whatever the **** we wind up calling it. I’m also thinking Death From Above. Give us all a hand!”

The entertainment reporters broke out into rapturous applause. The real reporters shook their heads and rolled their eyes as the foursome left the stage. This reporter wished that he could be anywhere else but on assignments meant to drive him up the wall by a cranky editor who (editor: shut up! Shut up or I swear, I’ll send you back in time and put you on the Hindenburg!)

This reporter wonders if his insane editor realizes time travel is not possible (editor: what did I just say about shutting up? Shut up! Don’t interrupt me when I’m interrupting you! And don’t bring scientific fact into my fantasies about your horrible death!)

For the record: if anything suspicious happens to this reporter, the authorities need merely to point their suspicions squarely at his volatile, unhinged editor.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Old Man Winter Is Having A Snooze

This is something of a follow up to a post from last year featuring the murder and prompt resurrection of Old Man Winter. Enjoy!

Old Man Winter Lingers; Spring Getting Impatient

Toronto (CP) Spring appears to be taking its time establishing itself in many places this year across the northern hemisphere. Snow and freezing rain in April have been commonly seen. Cooler than normal temperatures have been typical. Science notes that the unusual weather can be tied to climate change. On the other hand, climate change deniers, citing snow in April, are trying to use the phenomenon to advance their point of view. “See? That global swarming thing is a hoax!” Harry McCallister, president of the Harry McCallister Carbon Credits Are A Scam Society, bellowed in a press conference yesterday- if you want to call it a press conference. McCallister was actually yelling at passersby at the corner of Yonge and Bloor in downtown Toronto.

Environment Canada insists that spring is right around the corner- something they’ve been saying repeatedly for the last two weeks. David Phillips, the chief spokesman for the government agency, often given to appearing on or speaking to the press whenever there’s an unusual weather related story, is seen by some as the bane of their existence. Others see him as an affable but somewhat eccentric fellow. “It’s very simple,” Phillips told reporters. “The jet stream has been keeping colder temperatures further south, but it’s got to give out soon. I mean, we can’t just go from winter to summer in one day, right?”

Old Man Winter himself is not available for comment. The allegorical figure appearing in the form of an elderly but vigorous man (think Gandalf in Lord of the Rings) is napping as opposed to leaving. Last year he was brutally murdered by the deranged and now incarcerated Kansas City loon Edgar Knickerbocker, and yet recovered quite nicely to come back to life. “You can’t kill a season,” Robert Langdon, a professor of symbology at Harvard, told reporters. “First, they’re allegorical. Second, they’re immortal. Third, who referred you to me?”

And yet Old Man Winter has been found napping on the Canadian Prairies, near the community of Russell, in western Manitoba. He’s sitting in a recliner, hands over his stomach, snoozing away, his appearance matching the late Jerry Garcia. Standing nearby, a young woman keeps watch, arms crossed, one foot tapping the ground the only sign of impatience. Answering to the name Spring, the woman has been occasionally clearing her throat or saying, “ahem.” All while Old Man Winter has continued to snooze. Reporters who have approached her to ask questions have received a gentle reply. “I’m his replacement. I was supposed to get started three weeks ago, but he refuses to wake up. Until he leaves, I can’t get going. Now it could just be a simple matter of giving him a cuff upside the head or yelling in his ear, but really, I’m too polite for that.”

Whether or not Spring and Old Man Winter actually are the seasons in human form, or merely two escaped mental patients who think they are, is another matter. What is certain is that Old Man Winter isn’t waking up. And if we are to take the word of Spring, that season can’t begin until its predecessor leaves. Which means everything about spring is going to be that much later- spring flowers, spring allergies, Irish Spring soap… well, maybe not that last one. Nonetheless, there are complaints from many people about the late spring.

“It’s like this, you see,” Gerald Keen, a member of the Canadian Snowbirds Association, said from his home in central Ontario this week, where he is quite irritated by the cool weather. He dismissively pointed to the golf course that neighbours his property, a course that remains closed, snow residue still to be seen on the grass. “We bought this place specifically because it’s right there by the golf course! My wife and I retired, and we didn’t want to put up with cold weather and not being able to golf. Well, that latter part is me, because I love golfing, and my wife finds it boring. I don’t know why, I mean, what’s wrong with golf? But there we were, living our entire working lives in Canada where it snows and snows and snows and closes up the golf course for months on end. Can you appreciate just how much a guy like me might miss golfing? Oh, golf, I love you so much…”

Keen cradled his putter as if it was the most important thing in the world to him. Which it might well have been. Then he carried on. “So when we retired, we decided to be snowbirds! We’ve got this place in the summer so I can golf twelve hours a day, and then we go down to Florida for the winter starting in October and coming back in April, so I can golf twelve hours a day. Plus whatever Myrtle does with her time… I don’t know, I’m not really paying attention. What’s important here is… I’m living the dream! And when I get back here for the season, I expect that I’ll be able to get out on the course and start playing. And here we are! They’re still closed over there! It’s not fair! I’m missing out on days of golf! I could have stayed another couple of weeks in Florida!”

The last word belongs to Edgar Knickerbocker, another retiree spending time in less cushy surroundings than next to a golf course. A current resident of Prairie Ridge Psychiatric Hospital in the Kansas City area, Knickerbocker infamously shot Old Man Winter in the chest in Minneapolis during the winter of 2017. He was arrested after Old Man Winter rebooted himself and identified his shooter. The winter hating old codger has been locked up and under strict observation ever since. The man behind the former Facebook page Winter Must Die, And Die Horribly In The Most Agonizing Way, a page that has since been removed from the social network, he looks decidedly deranged these days. This reporter had a chance to sit down with him earlier this week at the facility, where Knickerbocker is confined to padded rooms when he doesn’t have visitors, and spends most of his time in straitjackets, heavily medicated.

“I had that goddamned season dead to rights!” Knickerbocker yelled, his eyes suggesting the man was unhinged and that the doctors might consider upping his meds. “Ten slugs right in the chest! I sent Old Man Winter straight to hell where he belongs! And what do I get for it? Indefinite detention in a place full of crazy people! Do I look crazy to you?” He looked off to the right, where no one was standing. “Shut up! I wasn’t talking to you!”

Then he returned his attention to this reporter. “Now I’ve figured it out. There’s one way and one way only to kill Old Man Winter. You’ve got to give him some of his own medicine. You’ve got to stab him in the heart with an icicle.” The orderlies started hustling the deranged old coot out. “Wait! Stop! Why won’t anyone listen to me? Winter has to die! You’ve got to kill it!”

In the opinion of this reporter, Edgar Knickerbocker needs his sedatives increased by a factor of ten.