Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Charlie Brown Joins Starfleet

New Slumgullion! As Philosophy majors know, there are two classic logic puzzles that are basically unsolvable: Can God make a rock so big even he can't lift it? And where does Charlie Brown fit into Star Trek canon? Well, in Episode 81, we solve one of 'em.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Words O' Wisdom


Friday, September 25, 2020

Hot Rod Girl (1956)

 The Prim...and the Pomaded!

Jeff and Scott give their Show & Tell presentations on Star Trek Day ("Teacher says, every time a bell rings, a red angel gets her wings."). Then buckle up for high octane excitement with HOT ROD GIRL!

THRILL! as people talk about racing but never actually do any! 

GASP as Frank Gorshin imitates Cagney and chickens out! 

SQUEAL as Lori Nelson wants coffee but is cockblocked by her boyfriend's need to avoid sex! 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

By the Wondrous Wands of Watoomb!

HIM: I am Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts!

HER: Oh, sorry, wrong door. I'm looking for the podiatrist's office.

MAN: He's in Suite 204. (HANDS CRACKLING WITH ELECTRICITY) I call upon the Ruby Rings of Raggadorr to heal this woman’s unsightly Plantar Wart! 


HER: Oh. Hey, thanks! Do you validate?

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Slumgullion 79: Harley Quinn vs. Star Trek Lower Decks

In this episode, Scott dragged Jeff from his near-deathbed to yak about a couple of cartoons. Because he has kind of a dark side.

Also: Jack Bauer was the worst Doctor Who.


Friday, August 7, 2020

It's "Help Jeff Not Die" Day!

Happy birthday to my friend and co-host of The Slumgullion, writer-performer Jeff Holland! (Okay, it's a real challenge to write those words right now and have them not come off as sarcastic, but I swear, it's just the circumstances, not the sentiment!)

As some of you know, Jeff is in dire medical and financial straits after cancer surgery, and we're trying to raise enough money to stave off eviction until he's healthy enough to work again. 

Thanks to everyone who's donated--looks like we've got August rent covered. If you're just seeing this, please check out the fundraiser here; any help at all will be enormously appreciated.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Man Called Flintstone (1966)

[NOTE FROM SCOTT: Hi guys, just wanted to pop in and introduce a new contributor to WoC: Andrew Leal. I met Andrew through our old friend Ivan Shreve, Jr., and like Ivan he exhibits an encyclopedic knowledge of Old Stuff: Old Time Radio, classic films, Golden Age television, crappy Saturday morning cartoons, and lousy live action Disney flicks from the 1960s, as well as being unusually--perhaps even suspiciously--well-informed on the subject of Character Actors--so much so that he's become my go-to expert if I ever need to tell the difference between, say, a Charles Lane and an Olan Soulé. So please join me in welcoming Andrew to WoC, and enjoy this long-overdue critical reassessment, the first in a series we like to call, Flintstones on Film.]

By Andrew Leal

Ah, Hanna-Barbera. Creators of hat-and/or-tie wearing critters, masters of sitcom past and future, their output dominated TV cartoons for over thirty years. Having saturated the tube, they turned to theatrical features, first with the sprightly Hey There, It's Yogi Bear (1965). The follow-up was The Man Called Flintstone (1966), a considerably rockier (ahem) outing. 

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera never met a trend they wouldn't hop on or a formula they wouldn't copy (even their own, witness the many Scooby-Doo clones). In this case, there were two trends. One, which faded very rapidly, was half-hour TV shows stretched out for the big screen. This included not one but two McHale's Navy flicks and by 1966, moviegoers were faced with Munster, Go Home! as well as Thunderbirds Are Go and Batman (the latter influencing Man's villain, the masked and caped Green Goose).

Bigger than that was the spy craze, which was everywhere in every flavor: the Bond flicks, Man from U.N.C.L.E.The Avengers, the spoofery of Get Smart, and countless imitations and knockoffs. Heck, earlier in 1966, Our Man Flint (no relation) hit theaters. Cartoons got into it from Bullwinkle's Boris and Natasha (their voice actors Paul Frees and June Foray are both in Man) to HB 's own Secret Squirrel and a previous spyjinx outing of... The Flintstones (“Dr. Sinister” from the fifth season in 1964). That outing was a better and shorter spoof, with a villain who *is* green, jabs at “Jay Bondrock” movies, a bottomless pit, and instead of Dr. No, the sometime ally Madame Yes who conveniently abandons Fred and Barney repeatedly (“I'm too important to be captured!”).

The Man Called Flintstone doesn't just rehash the spy stuff, but another plot (done twice on the show): Fred swapping places with an identical double in a position of importance. (When Bill and Joe recycle, they recycle!) But repeating seems fitting, as the series had just moved into almost perpetual reruns a few months prior. Apart from plot devices, also returning are the voices of modern stone-age family: Alan Reed (radio veteran with supporting parts in The Postman Always Rings Twice and Breakfast at Tiffanys) as Fred, and Mel Blanc taking a break from Bugs Bunny to play Barney Rubble, Dino, and assorted bits and beasties. Jean Vander Pyl is Wilma and Pebbles (though arguably her best HB role was Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons), but Bea Benaderet had jumped boxcars to Petticoat Junction, so we have Gerry Johnson as the second, less giggly Betty Rubble.

Even the new spy characters were cast from the series: Harvey Korman, pre-Carol Burnett and then the insufferable Great Gazoo on the home show, plays mostly straight as the government spy boss (“Chief Boulder,” of course) and less so as a Peter Lorre-esque henchman who in moments of excitement starts muttering “bali ha'i” thus revealing himself as the very first South Pacific fan.

But hush, the “it's a living” prehistoric birds are starting the projector, and The Man Called Flintstone begins. The best gag of all is cut from the DVD and current streaming/TV versions due to ownership changes: Wilma in place of the torch lady in the Columbia logo. Then we get the obligatory stylized credits (take that, Saul Bass!) and ballad about our hero's prowess (“he thrives on a diet of daaaanger!”) which is actually pretty fun.

The movie proper (such as it is) opens with an all-too brief burst of near excitement, reminiscent of Jonny Quest (HB's best adventure effort): volcanos erupt, a feral pterodactyl flies overhead, and we watch a car chase between what appears to be Fred and a pair of swarthily painted thugs, Ali and Bobo (Korman and Paul Frees, both with dialects).

By sixties spy movie rules, henchman had to be racial stereotypes who you knew were bad mainly because they were foreign or wore funny hats.

But no, the pursued is actually top agent Rock Slag (Frees in a Don Adams imitation, one of the better gags), who not only looks just like Fred but is wearing the same goatskin outfit and tie (how's that for sitcom cowinkydinks). Rock is ambushed twice by the Green Goose's goons, in action sequences played fairly straight (but also pretty dull, as far as cartoon cavemen receiving grievous bodily harm).

By the laws of sitcom coincidence, Slag is recovering at the only hospital in Bedrock (despite the high rate of boulder and dinosaur-related injuries) while Fred Flintstone is having his head examined (really). The chief goes all Prince and the Pauper and dupes Fred into “picking up a bird” for the government, with the carrot of an all expense paid trip to Eurock (except the actual countries remain un-stone aged: Italy, France, etc.) Fred is asked to take his place to meet a defecting lady agent Tanya (when she finally shows up, she's voiced by June Foray in Natasha mode) to lead him to this green bird.

During Fred's briefing, we get our first song cue (five more to come!) They stop the action cold every time, and most are hallucinations or dreams. The one here, picturing Fred as a suave spy, is catchier and better illustrated than most, including some gorgeous dames who aren't so modern stone age.

There's also a lyric about Fred using karate chops to send a bad guy “beddy bye,” but the visuals show him clearly pushing up petunias. This is the closest the movie gets to a body count, so enjoy it while you can.

After yet another song, Eurock, here we come! Wilma, the Rubbles, and the kids all come along. The familys' pets Dino and Hoppy the Hopparoo were already checked in at the vet's (Hoppy wouldn't be seen again for decades, so I guess Barney forgot to pick him up). On the plane, the Rubbles have last class accommodations (which means riding on the wing and hanging on for dear life), but the bigger surprise was this bit of prehistoric product placement: the plane belongs to Qantas airlines.

There's sitcomish complications in that Rock Slag, despite being identical to Fred, is a chick magnet, attracting a bevy of high-cheeked cartoon babes mostly meant to resemble the kind of European starlets that would show up in the real spy flicks. I couldn't quite decide if one lady was meant to be Elke Sommerstone or Brickette Bardot.

And still the songs continue. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get two treacly imaginary ballads (one with lyrics like “Tickle toddle”)...

...and guest vocalist Louis Prima croons an imagine spot of Fred and Wilma as Romeo and Juliet, in Shakespearean garb and a not-made-of-rocks balcony. One of the kids' songs imagines a knight and a dragon (as well as a Wild West sheriff and a fake Superman). So they're all imagining the future!

In between songs, the characters get what would be location footage in live-action, but here is just someone drawing a twig version of the Eiffel Tower or Fred careening on the Coliseum. The movie also pauses for TV-style gags (Wilma changes a tire just so a turtle jack voiced by Mel can make a wisecrack) which also slows things down.

Visually it's better looking than the show itself, but it's actually below Hey There, It's Yogi Bear

The intermittent action such as it is finally culminates in a showdown with the Green Goose of Paradise at your typical abandoned amusement park hideout, the better to do a chase on rollercoaster cars and into a funhouse mirror (stuff which would actually be pretty exciting in live-action, but for cartoon figures, there's a touch of “That's it?”)  But there are pluses here and there, mostly in the solid voice cast and the background art. There's a gas station with mammoths labeled Ethyl and Regular.

The Green Goose's lair has genuinely morbid flair (and Barney subjected to the rack).

Even the score suddenly gets into it, with a brief snatch of “Funeral March of a Marionette” from Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

But beyond this, the spy stuff is often boringly straight, with chase after chase. The government agency so incompetent it could have been satire (but isn't), although there is this Dr. Strangelove-esque line, in reference to the Goose's deadly missile: “Our anti-missile missile isn't operational yet.” And of course, the Chief's bed has been bugged (why a government agency keeps a bed in his apparently floating office is of course not addressed).

There's also more throwaway gags involving Fred's rear end than one would have expected...

...or desired.

Mostly it just meanders, goes on too long, and just feels phoned in. More heart and effort went into Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, which has better visuals and manages to make one care about the fate of a hat and tie-wearing bear (dealing with typically scheming circus folk and their proto-Muttley dog and the perils of the city). Here, the most genuinely frightening peril Fred faces is an Italian woman and her burly brother who try to force him into marriage (and have absolutely nothing to do with the spy stuff). And yet Hanna-Barbera could produce a cover for the tie-in album which is miles above the movie, perhaps because it doesn't involve anything moving.

Overall, it's the definition of a movie for people who liked the show, or just want to park the kiddies to watch a barefooted neanderthal imperil his marriage on vague government dictates. But at least the end credits are cute, right?

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Slumgullion Episode 78: Artemis Fowl

Jeff, Scott, and Special Guest Fairy Expert MaryC watch Disney's new film adaptation of the beloved YA book series.

At least...it was beloved before this thing came out. I'm not even gonna make the obvious Artemis Foul joke, because I refuse to befowl myself.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

My Heart Belongs to Daddy (Because He's an Organ-Collecting Psychopath)

By Bill S.

It's Father's Day, and, as we do every year, we celebrate by remembering the movie and TV dads who make us grateful for the ones we had. This year, we'll spotlight three memorably awful TV dads (if your own dad was worse, you have our sympathies.)

Billy (Denis Leary) on "Animal Kingdom"

It might not come as a surprise that none of the Cody brothers has the same biological dad. Apparently when Smurf was on the road, she hooked up with a different guy and added a new kid to her brood. (Instead of forming a pop band, like Shirley Partridge, she opted to make petty crime the family business. Probably because the wardrobe was cooler.) It's hard to decide which of Smurf's exes was the biggest waste of space, but I'd pick Billy, the father of youngest son Deran (the "nice" one). After abandoning him for years, Billy drops back into Deran's life, reeking of cheap liquor, skunk weed, and poor judgement (all of which were probably factors in the kid's conception). He nonetheless earns Deran's trust, and repays that trust by sticking around long enough to help the Codys pull off one job, then heading to Deran's bar to help out with some cleaning -- namely, the safe, which he empties, and takes off all over again.

August Cartwright (John Emmett Tracy)/Dr. Ethan Campbell (Sebastian Roche) on "Batwoman"

After witnessing a car plunge into a lake, he dives into the water to rescue 13 year old Beth Kane. He brings her to his home...and holds her prisoner, to be a playmate/pet for his facially deformed son Johnny, who's also basically a prisoner, isolated from the outside world. He turns those children into monsters. As a bonus, he also recovers the body of Beth's mother, and keeps the dead woman's severed head in a freezer, with plans to transplant her face onto his own mother. He later surgically alters his own face to assume the identity of a respected doctor.

This guy would scare the crap out of Norman Bates.

Dr. Martin Whitley (Michael Sheen) on "Prodigal Son"

A prominent surgeon, responsible for saving countless lives. Also, a serial killer responsible for at least 23 murders. When his son discovers one of the bodies, and with it, the truth about his father, he's emotionally scarred for life. 

Michael Sheen deserves an Emmy for turning "My boy!" into the creepiest phrase in the English language. In the Season one finale, we learn Whitley has also done severe damage to his seemingly normal daughter, leading him to proudly beam, "My girl!"

This guy would scare the crap out of August Cartwright.

I'll close with a message to all you Dads out there: Parenting is tough, and you may, at times, wonder if you've made the best choices for your kids. Take heart -- if you're not a murderous sociopath, chained to the wall of a prison cell, wondering when your kids will visit, then you're probably doing an okay job.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Episode 77: Picard's Ass

Scott and Jeff sit down -- on their asses, to preserve the theme -- and talk about the ass-end of Picard (the series, not the character. Although they do have a brief group therapy session about that Speedo scene). Also featuring Special Guest Villain, Time Dick!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Episode 76: May the Fifth Be With

It's All (okay, Mostly) Star Wars on this almost May 4th Adjacent day, as big nerd news sets fan brains a'bubbling and geek tongues a'waggin'.

[Note: We actually recorded this on the 4th, posted it on the 5th, but flacked it on the 6th, because I clearly don't know how the 12 Days of Christmas work...]

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter

It was the most difficult and joyless Easter the kids had ever known, separated from friends and family by the quarantine. But they didn't complain, or lose faith, and the Easter Bunny was so touched by their pureness of spirit and the goodness in their hearts that he rewarded the children by revealing his true form to them. It wasn't as enchanting as they'd hoped, and things didn't improve much when he whisked them away to a shuttered AMC multiplex and made them watch his entire collection of vintage 35MM porn.

How Do You Handle a Hungry Man-Fish?

By Hank Parmer

The Monster of Piedras Blancas (1959)

When The Creature from the Black Lagoon premiered in 1954, it spawned not just two sequels, but an entire sub-genre of amphibious man-monsters (along with the token She-Creature) coming up from the depths to terrorize unwary land-dwellers. And, typically, to lust after the wimmins, a theme that reached its nasty apotheosis with 1980's Humanoids from the Deep* -- but the less said about that one, the better.

The real heyday of this genre's popularity was the mid-Fifties to the mid-Sixties, an era which at its tail-end brought us such timeless classics as Del "I Eat Your Skin" Tenney's The Horror of Party Beach (1964) and the straightforwardly titled The Beach Girls and the Monster (1965).

As for The Monster of Piedras Blancas, it falls somewhere between those and the original Creature, both chronologically and in terms of production values. Producer Jack Kevan, director Irvin Berwick and cinematographer Phillip Lathan were contract workers at Universal-International, which was experiencing a major money crunch at the time. So the studio was willing to look the other way while its people did some freelancing, even going so far as allowing the producer to borrow equipment as well as bits and pieces of U-I's monster suits.

Because of this, the titular critter looks unusually convincing for a low-budget film and Lathan's cinematography -- while nothing to write home about -- was a cut above what what you typically encounter in this sort of outing. I just wish I could say the same about Berwick's screenplay and direction.

The Monster opens with an establishing shot of the scenic Point Conception lighthouse, followed by a quick dissolve to a close-up of a battered tin pan, chained to a stake driven into the rock. An inhuman, claw-tipped hand reaches up from behind the rocks, snatches the pan out of sight. But it's instantly tossed back.

Someone's impatient for their din-dins.

Cut to curmudgeonly loner, lighthouse keeper Sturges (John Harmon). He yells at a couple of teenagers who're hiking along the edge of the cliff to keep away from his light, then hops on his bicycle for a grocery run down to the sleepy coastal community of Piedras Blancas. (Spanish for "White Rocks".)

Down at the beach, Constable George Matson stares glumly at the off-screen corpses of two fishermen, the Rinaldi brothers. According to the guy standing next to the constable, the brothers' heads have been "ripped clean off". Matson remarks their skin is oddly pale, as if there's not a drop of blood left in their bodies.

When the lighthouse keeper pedals past, Joe Exposition mutters to the constable he's convinced old Sturges knows more than he's telling. Matson orders a couple of the men to take the brothers to Kochek's store, so their corpses can be kept on ice until the coroner arrives. (What with the Rinaldis' hemoglobin deficit, Kochek can probably just stack them right on top of the Swanson's.)

At Kochek's meat and grocery market, the proprietor is a garrulous soul, eager to impart the grisly details while he fills Sturges' order. He was the one who discovered the bodies, after all. Although Kochek claims the Rinaldis had their throats cut from ear to ear, not that they were decapitated.

I suppose, technically speaking, if your head's been removed your throat has to have been been cut at some point in the process, but still...

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Pre-Friday Beast Blogging: Quarantine Diary

APRIL 8, 2020: Day 20 in lockdown...
I wonder what my nose tastes like...

Ah! Hm...Mm-huh...

Cat ass...I probably could'a guessed that.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

I Hate Myself

I thought being an introvert would get me through isolation unscathed, but I dunno now...

I've been talking to myself for days, which is fine. Comforting even.

But yesterday I got in a heated argument with myself, and lost.

I still think I had a good point, but I was an asshole about it and had to apologize to myself. But I wouldn't accept it, and went to bed angry.

Now I'm not speaking to myself.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Masque of the Orange Death

Watching Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, it struck me as the most tone deaf, myopic public health policy since Prince Prospero locked himself and a thousand of his richest friends in his abbey and tried to party through the plague. But then I remembered our own Henry Tifft Gage, and his "Business First! Bodies Second!" approach to the San Francisco plague of 1900.

Henry T. Gage was a lawyer from East Saginaw, Michigan who followed the advice of Horace Greeley and went west to seek his fortune. He managed to marry the heir to a minor Spanish Land Grant family, and parlayed her real estate holdings into a single term as California Governor.

Gage served from 1899 to 1903, and is chiefly remembered for his resemblance to Hal Holbrook as Mark Twain, and for his tireless efforts to hush up an outbreak of bubonic plague, fearing the news would be bad for business. And Henry was big on big business; if he'd still held the governorship in 1906, I imagine you would have found him in the smoldering ruins of San Francisco, bitterly denouncing the Fake News and their irresponsible rumors of rubble.

But why would someone in a position of public trust basically commit negligent homicide, especially when there were multiple better options (Gage spent the last half of his term beating the Federal government off with a stick to prevent their assistance). Well, Gage was a Republican, and like others of his kind he paid greater obeisance to his constituents in the boardroom rather than the boarding house. But he was also a pioneer, and faced with a deadly public health crisis, he whipped up an avant garde parfait of science denialism, sociopathy, and personal pettiness which anticipated the Trump Administration by well over a century.

Gage began his political career as a corporate lawyer for the railroads, which basically owned California government at the end of the 19th Century, and proved himself just the kind of grasping, ambitious, morally gray lickspittle the likes of which Cornelius Vanderbilt, Collis P. Huntington, and E.H. Harriman doted on. In 1898 the Southern Pacific Railroad engineered his selection as the Republican gubernatorial nominee, but even with the backing of the railroad barons he only managed to squeak out a narrow victory against his opponent, San Francisco's Congressional representative.

He began his inaugural address by slavering over the spoils of the Spanish-American War, rhapsodizing, "The peaceful acquisition of the Hawaiian Islands, extending our empire beyond our Pacific shore, should be followed as a political necessity by the annexation of the Philippines. The center of commerce must move westward." Which wasn't great for the Hawaiians, and wouldn't have been fabulous for the Filipinos either, but it would certainly have proven a windfall for the railroads, a fact which the press noticed. One newspaper published an editorial cartoon depicting a railroad tycoon leading the new governor around on a leash, and Gage responded by "ramrodd[ing] a censorship bill thru the Legislature, restricting the press whenever editorial content involved politics or politicians." Again, c'est très Trumpy!

Gage demanded the formation of a "western merchant marine for the carriage of our imports and exports, and luring to our markets the nations of the world." Unfortunately, that year one such ship arrived in San Francisco with a cargo of imports that included "rats carrying the Third Pandemic of the bubonic plague."

The disease quickly gained a foothold in Chinatown, and Gage, realizing this could be bad for his patrons' bottom line, snapped into action by denying there was any plague at all, and by defaming the head of the federal Marine Hospital Service, who was in charge of quarantines.

When the U.S. Surgeon General arranged for a commission to investigate the situation, Gage immediately denounced their findings, and "denied the federal commission any use of the University of California, Berkeley's laboratories to further study the outbreak."

Sticking with his belief that "On a scale of 1 to 10, the 1st Amendment has to be the least important, right?", Gage tried to ram through another law, this time making it a crime to even report on the plague. It failed, but other laws gagging the medical community did pass, making it harder for the public to get scientifically valid information.

Republican newspapers in San Francisco backed up the governor's lies, but scandal sheets like the Sacramento Bee honestly reported on the pandemic, even as Gage begged the U.S. President to cancel the quarantine. Rebuffed, Gage took the Trumpian tack of fighting news with rumor. He accused the Federal government, especially the hated head of the Marine Hospital Service, of injecting germs into cadavers to make it look like they'd died of plague. Can a dead body develop a disease? I dunno, and Gage gagged all the doctors who could'a told me, so...

They say money can't buy happiness, and apparently it also can't be used to buy off a virus, because even though "$100,000 was allocated to a public campaign led by Gage to deny the plague's existence", the plague continued to exist. And while the plutocrats holding Gage's leash were happy to pooh-pooh the plague to the hoi polloi, they did actually want the pandemic dealt with, before it killed all their customers.

So Gage backed down in a sulfurous cloud of ill grace, and sent a gaggle of railroad lawyers to Washington to "negotiate a settlement with the Marine Hospital Service", i.e. the federal official Gage had been slandering. Why not just negotiate directly with the man, who was right there across the Bay? For the same reason Trump refuses to meet face-to-face with Nancy Pelosi: his grudge was > the lives of his constituents.

Incapable of doing the right thing for its own sake, Gage devised a means to save face, promising that if the Federal government would only remove the head of the Marine Hospital Service, then "the state would secretly cooperate with the Marine Hospital Service in stamping out the plague outbreak."

You caught that, right? "[T]he state would secretly cooperate" in stamping out the plague the governor publicly declared was a hoax. When they finally went in and decontaminated Chinatown, ground zero for the outbreak, the state denied it was an anti-plague measure and painted the massive effort as routine street maintenance.

And in a final Trumpian gesture, when the feds agreed to remove the head of Marine Hospital Service (remembering that the only thing he did wrong was be right), Gage reneged on their bargain.

"Despite the secret agreement allowing for [MHS head's] removal, Gage went back on his promise of assisting federal authorities and continued to obstruct their efforts for study and quarantine."

Ultimately, the plague--or rather, Gage's response to it--was his undoing.  Business interests appreciated the lies and censorship, but now that other states were beginning to boycott California exports--due to a runaway plague problem obvious to everyone but the governor--the bald-faced denials in the face of fact finally began to wear away at Gage's support among the monied class.

Say what you will about Henry Tifft Gage (and make it profane, I beg you), he was an incompetent and, one might argue, homicidal servant of the people. But he was also a loyal and effective servant of the railroads dating back to his earliest days as a corporate lawyer in Los Angeles, which makes what happened next all the funnier.

Because now Henry T. had a credibility gap, and the railroads had a fall guy. "At the state Republican convention that year, the Railroad Republican faction refused Gage renomination for the governorship. In his place, [they supported] former Mayor of Oakland George Pardee, a German-trained medical physician."

So after spending much of his term harassing the press, stifling the medical community, and stymying public health efforts to contain the outbreak, because the only Red Death he feared was scarlet ink in his patrons' ledgers, Gage was bumped from the ticket in favor of...a doctor. Which led--for me anyway--to a long, richly detailed, Designated Survivor-style fantasy in which our current government is decapitated by the disease, leaving the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as the highest ranking official.
Stay safe, guys.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Birthday, MaryC!

By World O' Crap Special Birthday Correspondent Bill S.

Today we celebrate the birthday of MaryC, and, as always, search for that perfect gift. It's a bit different this year, with most of the country in quarantine. What do you get for the girl who's housebound?
Let's see what we can find in the Carol Wright Gifts catalogue

all sizes only $19.99
This slimming-look, zip-front lounger has lace trim and two roomy pockets.

Best of all, it's stylish!

DELUXE GOPHER Pickup and Reaching Tool
$9.99, additionals $7.99
E-x-t-e-n-d You Reach Nearly 3 Ft.!

Hey, this is a great idea if you have to shop for essentials, such as liquor. Get two of them, grip one with the other, and hold it in front of you to maintain social distancing (and SMACK! anyone who tries to violate your space.)

Why pay $11.99? Ours only $9.99
Your Own Personal Bidet

If the hoarding of toilet paper continues, this could be the biggest seller during the holidays. (A, um, stocking stuffer.)

But what about fun indoor activities? Perhaps we can find something in that other great catalogue, Things You Never Knew Existed

[Note from Scott: Sadly, Things You Never Knew Existed, which has been a part of Bill's birthday posts for many years now, has gone the way of the Steller's sea cow. When you click on the link above, this is what greets you:

So let this last appearance stand, not only as Bill's encomium to Mary's special day, but also as an epitaph for that great American institution, the Catalogue Full o' Bullshit.]

Great Low-impact workout! Tone up your arms and chest muscles without ever leaving your seat! Sturdy fitness device secures to virtually any chair with 21" Velcro straps. Elastic Power Chord bands with cushioned handles--

So basically you sit on a bungee chord and stretch it out? I said a fun activity. Moving on...

Perhaps some light reading...?

EXECUTIONS IN AMERICA Over 300 Years of Capital Punishment
Heavily illustrated with rare pictures of the condemned criminals, their executioners, the official instruments used to carry out the sentences, and in many cases, the actual execution.

300 years? So they're including future executions?

Jeff Dunham and his iconic creations (Achmed, Walter, Peanut, and Bubba J.) travel the world pushing the limits on 5 continents, in arenas few Americans have dared to perform!

Well, that's probably a little bit funnier than the "Executions" book.

[From Scott: Only if it includes photos of Bubba J. in the gas chamber.]

Electronic vinyl keyboard fits around the commode so you can tap out a tune with your toes while you tinkle!
Well, I'd refrain from doing a Jerry Lee Lewis impression, but apart from that, I think we've found our winner!

Happy Birthday, MaryC!

[From Scott: And what's a birthday around here without the traditional Sexy Birthday Lizard!]
This Parson's Chameleon wants you. Bad.