Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What Do You Mean, You Unleashed A Plague Of The Undead?

"Oh no! The dead have risen and they're voting Republican!" ~  Lisa Simpson

"To eat, or not to eat brains, that is the question." ~ Zombie Shakespeare

"Fourteen score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all zombies are entitled to brains." ~ Zombie Lincoln, the Second Gettysburg Address

"Braaaaaaaiiiiinssss!" ~ Malcolm Porter, Rapid City zombie district commander, January 4th, 2021

And so we return once more to the genre of the brain eating slow-witted undead today (no, not the cast of Dancing With The Stars). The zombie. As I've shown you before, the zombie is a strange beast in the horror genre, muttering incoherently (mostly about brains) and shuffling about in large numbers in a post-apocalyptic world, while a small group of humans race to prevent themselves from being the next blue plate special at a zombie smorgasbord.

Okay. Let's say the impossible has happened. You wake up, find yourself in a world where most everyone around you has become a zombie. They're out for brains (if you're still a living breathing person, they'll be after yours, and no, it doesn't matter if you two used to play golf together). So they'll be out for you. I can't imagine that being torn apart by a horde of zombies will be a pleasant death.

What kind of world will you be facing? Well, obviously a bad one. Zombies will be the majority, and they'll get themselves organized. They might even run for elected office.

Of course, that doesn't count out the enemies of the past rising up from the grave and causing their own problems in the world, does it?

 What kind of world will our zombie counterparts carve out for themselves? When they're not carving out the inner organs of the Ludlows down the street (sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Ludlow, but you did have it coming; the pink flamingoes on the lawn really are tacky).

Zombies will, eventually, want to experience some form of culture. So inevitably there will come the rise of zombie movies. Such as Indiana Jones And The Feast Of Brains.

Obviously this idea would have to be taken out by surviving humans post haste. No more of that, thank you very much....

We can't forget the comic books that will rise up in the new zombie order....

Zombie children must be entertained too....

And tween zombies will want their Bieber for some reason. Wonderful. Is it too much to ask for a post-apocalyptic world that doesn't feature the Biebertwit?

Is there room for romance in the lives of zombies?

Well, the zombies do like their pin-up zombie girls....

And there'll also be the zombie pet problem to cope with.

Obviously religious rites will take on a whole new meaning. Communion, for instance...

We can hope it doesn't happen. We can hope that the zombiepocalypse that's foretold in sci-fi and horror never comes to pass. If it does, however, I suggest some things. First, get used to shooting zombies who used to be people. Yes, I know it goes against your nature to shoot your neighbour (at least it should), but Zombie Phil doesn't share your hesitation, and only wants to feast on your grey matter. And your intestines. Your heart too. So suck it up and start shooting. Aim for the head while you're at it. Second, if you've got a weak stomach and are sickened when you see blood, you might as well just give up and cover yourself with barbecue and honey sauce. A patrol of zombies will be along shortly to finish you off. Because if you do have a weak stomach, you're not going to last long in Zombie World.

Lastly... if zombies are chasing you, make sure the guy running with you is slower then you are.

Hey, it's about self preservation!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Spy Master Debriefed

And for the second of my characters taking the knickers challenge, I'm turning to the spy master, Udi Zahavi, director of Mossad, appearing frequently in Heaven & Hell. He's turned up here in passages I've posted from time to time, and I did a character blog from his point of view, which you can find right here.


Mr. Zahavi, thanks for coming to speak with me today.

Zahavi: Is this going to take long? I have a briefing at headquarters this afternoon. They can't get anything done without the Boss around. At least that's how I justify keeping my hands on everything that's going on. And my wife's expecting me at home sometime this month. If it's not one crisis, it's another, and she's probably the only person who'd have put up with my schedule all these years...

No, I swear, just a few questions and that'll be it.

Zahavi: Good. All right, let's get to it.

Right, just answer these questions to the best of your ability. 

1. What do you call your underwear/undergarments? Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?

Zahavi: What the hell kind of question is that?

It's a bit of a game, going around the internet. I answered them myself, had two other characters answer them, and now you, another character.

Zahavi: You think I'm a character?

Well, I did create you out of my imagination, so yes.

Zahavi: I'm the director of Mossad. One of the most relentless intelligence agencies in the world. You mess with my country, and my agency takes you out. No tip-toeing around with niceties. We go all out and don't come home until the opposition is dead. I promise you, sir, I'm no mere character.

Mr. Zahavi, please, just answer the question.

Zahavi: Who the hell put you up to this?

A couple of friends, if you must know. Is that pertinent?

Zahavi: Hell, yes, it's pertinent. I'm going to put them on a watch list.

Look, just answer the question, and we'll continue.

Zahavi: Okay, fine. I wear boxers. Period.

Thank you.

2. Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

Zahavi: Are you serious? Start asking legitimate questions, or I walk out!

Sir, please. Just indulge me.

Zahavi: Consider yourself on a watch list from now on, you smirking bastard.

I'm not smirking, sir...

Zahavi: I have information that you smirk a lot.

Mr. Zahavi, are you going to answer the question?

Zahavi: I might when you start asking serious questions.


3. What is the worst thing you can think of to make underwear out of?

Zahavi: Again, start asking serious questions. Then I'll talk.

Look, they're all expecting answers to these questions.

Zahavi: Who's they?

The readers. Out there beyond the Fourth Wall. See, I really am a writer, and you're one of the characters I created for a book. And it turns out that people find my blogs amusing. You know, you're going to come across as a grouch if you keep this up. That's the impression you're making on all of them right now.

Zahavi: I see. Now I'm supposed to indulge your lunacy? Fine. Whatever. Let's see.  Something bad to make underwear out of? Oh, right, sure. How about underwear made out of cactus?

See, if you play along, it gives them a chance to laugh, and to get to know you. Next question.  

4. If you were a pair of panties, what colour would you be?

Zahavi: You do realize I have better things to do with my time?

Come on, just give it a go.

Zahavi: *sighing deeply* Tan. Like the Negev.

5. Have you ever thrown your underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your underwear at, given the opportunity?

Zahavi: Note to self: have this idiot murdered.

What was that? Sorry, I didn't hear you.

Zahavi: Oh, just muttering to myself. No, I have not thrown underwear at anyone, nor would I. Are we done?

Getting there.

6. You're out of clean underwear. What do you do?

Zahavi: There's an expression in English, isn't there? Go commando.

7. Are you old enough to remember Underroos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?

Zahavi: What the hell is an underroo?

That's what I said! See, we've got something in common!

Zahavi: How lovely.

8. If you could have any message printed on your underwear, what would it be?

Zahavi: *sighing in dismay* Private property, do not trespass.

You're serious?

Zahavi: I wish you'd be serious.

9. How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

Zahavi: Oh, that's it! No more! I'm done with this nonsense!! You think these are the sort of questions you ask an old spy master? No!! You ask him how many people he's killed down through the years! You ask him to recount old exploits! Mind you, it'll be a one sided conversation, because he won't answer anything like that! A goat! What the hell kind of questions are these?

Mr. Zahavi, please, if you'll just...

Zahavi: No! This is absolute nonsense! You can take your talk about Fourth Walls, and characters and writers, and goats, and you can go to hell! Bother me again, and I'll break your neck, you understand me, you smirking bastard???

*Zahavi walks out in a huff.*

Does that mean you won't take the Hippos Versus Musk Ox challenge?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Contessa And The Blowhard Take The Knickers Challenge

You might recall my taking that underwear challenge thing earlier in the month. Well, I'm doing the same thing again, in the first of two blogs, but this time it's the characters who are answering the questions. For this one, I'm going with two characters who are among those who live only here in the blogosphere, and not in a book. Lars Ulrich would have come, but he was too busy beating the hell out of an entertainment reporter.

I've selected Keith Jarrett, the blowhard author of I Know Everything, So Bask In My Eternal Wisdom, Duck And Cover, The Buddhists Are Coming To Kill Us All, How To Cure Ebola, Gosh, I'm So Smart, and Mother Teresa: Tyranical Despot of India. He's being joined today by Contessa Evangelista Francesca Nicolette Viola Divinna, the explosives loving engineer who very nearly destroyed the Brooklyn Bridge.


All right, you two... behave yourselves. That means I don't want to hear about your latest book, Keith. Or I don't want you going around blowing up the Alexandria Bridge, Miss Divinna.

Contessa: That's Contessa Evangelista Francesca Nicolette Viola Divinna. You may call me Contessa.

Keith: But I'm really excited by my new memoir Keith Jarrett: Last Best Hope Of Earth...

Quiet, you. All right, you're supposed to answer a series of questions, to the best of your abilities, and really, Keith, do try to keep to the subject instead of going on and on about how brilliant you think you are. Here we go.

1. What do you call your underwear/undergarments? Do you have any commonly used nicknames for them?

Keith: I call them boxers, because that's what I wear them for. And speaking of boxers, I've been thinking of writing the definitive biography of one of the biggest names in the sport. How does Mike Tyson: Gentle As A Puppy grab you as a title?

Contessa: Panties, of course. Though when I'm out in the field as a demolitions engineer, I have been known to call them knickers. In fact, last week I was all set to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge when I got a call from the city instructing me not to...

Is there a point to this?

Contessa: Yes, I was just getting to it...

Let's move onto the next question, shall we?

2. Have you ever had that supposedly common dream of being in a crowded place in only your underwear?

Contessa: Oh, certainly. I dreamed just the other night of being in Athens, setting charges in that unsightly pile of rocks they call the Parthenon, set to blow it up. For some reason, I was only wearing my polka dot panties and bra while working with the C4. Can you tell me what that dream means?

Keith: Certainly. In chapter 458 of my epic tome I Know Everything, So Bask In My Eternal Wisdom, I delve into the subject of the meaning of dreams...

Keith, stick to the subject. What's your answer?

Keith: Of course, yes. I've had that dream. I was standing in the United Nations General Assembly, making a speech on just how brilliant I am, and the whole audience was enraptured by what I was saying. Audiences just love to hear me talk, by the way. They recognize pure genius when they see it. Anyway, to make a long story short, in the dream, I gave the whole speech while wearing speedos.

3. What is the worst thing you can think of to make underwear out of?

Contessa: Poison ivy.

Keith: I can't argue that. Poison ivy would be horrible for underwear. Which reminds me, I once wrote the definitive work on poison ivy...

Not now. Let's just get through these questions, shall we?

4. If you were a pair of panties, what colour would you be?

Contessa: Orange and red, just like the colour of an explosion.

Keith: Plaid, and in the clan colours of the Clan Jarrett. We've even got our own family crest, all the way back to Glasgow, long history of Highlanders there. In fact, the Jarretts rode with William Wallace at Stirling...

Will you shut up?

Keith: Can I help it if people are naturally fascinated by me?

5. Have you ever thrown your underwear at a rock star or other celebrity? If so, which one(s)? If not, which one(s) WOULD you throw your underwear at, given the opportunity?

Keith: No, I haven't thrown them at anyone. Though I did once write an article for the New Yorker on the phenomenon of knickers being tossed at bands on stage. Perhaps you read it?

Contessa: Only once, and it wasn't a rock star. It was a comedian. Carrot Top. I'll thank you not to dwell on it.

Carrot Top? Are you serious?

Contessa: What did I say about not dwelling on it? I'm a Contessa, and I insist we not talk about such things.

Can I see any proof of your Contessaness?

Contessa: You'll have to take my word for it. 

6. You're out of clean underwear. What do you do?

Contessa: Do the laundry, of course. You know, that's a funny thing to bring up. Last winter, I was down in New Orleans. My demolitions company was working on repairing the levees, and it turns out that local officials weren't all that fond of my plan to blow up the levees. Something about putting the city at risk or something... I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention. Anyway, so there we were arguing, and some of the charges went off. I assure you, the mayor had to change his underwear. Honestly, all I did was put a few tonnes of C4 into the levees...

Keith: Is this a trick question?

You're not going to answer this?

Keith: Not until I know if it's a trick question.

Never mind, let's move on.

7. Are you old enough to remember Underroos? If so, did you have any? Which ones?

Contessa: Do you honestly think a Contessa will admit to ever having an item called an Underroo?

Keith: Yes, I did. I had Napoleon underroos. Mom and Dad must have seen that just like him, I was destined for great things. I think it really had an influence on me. I'm thinking of writing a biography of the Emperor. How does Bonaparte: A Man Of Humility sound?

8. If you could have any message printed on your underwear, what would it be?

Keith: I have a message on the underwear I'm wearing right now. Keith Jarrett, super-genius.

Contessa: Not tonight, dear, I have a headache.

9. How many bloggers does it take to put panties on a goat?

Contessa: Look, I suppose you think such a question has some inherent amusement value, but I don't find it funny. A Contessa like me would never, ever spend anytime around a lowly creature like a goat, let alone dress it in panties. What kind of question is this?

It's supposed to get an honest answer out of you. Something to throw you off track.

Keith: That's an interesting question, and before I answer it, I thought I'd talk a bit about an essay I once wrote, called Goats: What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing. You know, the average goat really is a buffoonish sort of animal, something of a cross between a beaver and a duck...

You do realize you're talking about a platypus.

Keith: A what?

A platypus.

Keith: What's a platypus?

An Australian mammal that's a a strange critter, mix of duck and beaver. Looks like something made out of spare parts. A goat is an entirely different kind of animal altogether.

Keith: You're sure?

Yes, I'm sure.

Contessa: This explains why you got laughed out of the Sierra Club, doesn't it?

Keith: No, that was an entirely different matter altogether.

Contessa: Are we done with these questions?

Yes, I'd say we are.

Contessa: Good. Because I have to go explain myself to the city of Paris as to why my company blew up a bridge over the Seine. Honestly, it was there for hundreds of years! Who cares about something that old?

Keith: Curious of you to mention that. I was thinking I ought to write the definitive history of Paris. How does the title Backwater Of The Cultural World sound?

Paris isn't a backwater. It's a cultural gem.

Keith: It is?

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Dog Days Of Summer

Well, summer's coming to an end. The nights are getting cooler, the days are getting shorter... August is in its final days. The real heat seems to be behind us (knock on wood!), so it's safe to say that we've made it over the gauntlet. Some of us have spent our free time getting suntans. Others have gone camping. We've had heatwaves. We've had mosquito swarms (nasty buggers, the lot of them).

Here in Canada, if we're not dealing with the weather, we're talking about it....

Camping can be such a bear....

During the summer, you might be tempted to go really casual, and wear certain items you find comfortable. Don't worry; you've got a feline overlord to make sure you won't do that...

Everyone needs a vacation. Particularly if you've got the grueling schedule of only working one night a year...

Or maybe you're a very busy Grim Reaper, and just for a couple of days a year, you like getting away to a nice resort in the Virgin Islands...

Even Dark Lords of the Sith need some downtime.

Perhaps camping is your preference instead of lying on a beach.

Just mind the wildlife.

Summer's ending, and I couldn't be happier. The cold's coming. Soon we'll have frost at night. Then snow. Lovely, lovely snow. Did I mention how much I love the winter? No?

I'll leave you with something to get you in the winter mood....