Tomorrow, a tale on Mars, illustrated

While our Creative Arts department puts away its propaganda material, preparing for morning sketches, let us look at sports that don’t often see the limelight.

And here’s the image du jour…

Well, before I post it, a little background.  You see, after talking with Jenn tonight, we’ve decided to change our outfits for the showcase dance.  I said I was going as a punk rock Big Bird, meaning she could go as her favorite character, Oscar the Grouch:

Big Bird and Oscar 001

But then…well, the craziness kicked in.  She’s going to dare me to dress as a sexy Big Bird, I know it, so I better dare her to dress as a sexy Oscar the Grouch first!  We’ll see who wins the “best costume” contest — me as a drag queen Big Bird or her as a hot Oscar!

Big Bird and Oscar 002

Life is short — wear fur and big feet, eat dessert later!

Up next

Up next, entertainment news…

In a recent off-camera, post-interview, ad hoc hominem about his career, Will Smith admitted his dream would be to remake “Six Degrees of Separation” with his son and introduce the ultimate taboo, a “banned in 100 countries” topic into mainstream cinema.

Upon hinting of this, the ultraconservative watchdogs of mass media added “After Earth” and any other film starring Will Smith to its boycott list without caring what the films are about, even if they’ll be more cotton-candy sequels quickly forgotten by absent-minded filmgoers who can’t tell you the plot of the last movie they just watched five minutes ago, let alone who starred in them.

Up next, a review of the animated short film about a young child chained to a table making New Balance shoes just so a comedy troupe can make fun of the people who buy them without knowing they’re directly funding child enslavement, entitled, “Atlas shrugs at his weight on the New Balance scales.”

Up next, down the elevator to the NeXT computer museum…where a computerised labyrinth traps the human population and manipulates their lives for our entertainment news “up next” segments.

At times like this…

“At times like this, I am reminded of a scene from an SNL skit.”

“Yeah, boss, which one?  The Bassamatic?”

“Nah.  But that was a good one, wasn’t it?  No, I was thinking more about the Citizen Kane parody, where the owner says, while pointing a gun out the window and shooting six times, ‘Take a headline, Bernstein: “Crazed Sniper Guns Down Six!” We’ll have the innocent men, women and children angle an offer for $10,000 for the madman’s capture!’ That kind of parody.”


‘No. Parody.”


“No. Parody.  Parody, parody, parody.  Similar to satire.  You know, sarcasm.”

“Ahh…sarcasm.  That I understand, boss.  Kinda like the way you call me smart when you mean the opposite.”

“Kinda.  Anyway, watching the news, I see these talking heads and the puppet strings that jerk their faces around, then I imagine the producers and finally, the owners.  Take Fox, for instance.  Can’t you see Rupert Murdoch telling his minions, ‘Guys, I need a headline grabber, like this…”

[Video fades to black, cuts to scene from SNL]

Citizen Kane II

Written by: Michael O’Donoghue

Mr. Thompson…..Buck Henry
Nurse…..Laraine Newman
Jed Leland…..Chevy Chase
Charles Foster Kane…..Dan Aykroyd
Mr. Bernstein…..John Belushi
Henri…..Tom Schiller
Delivery Boy…..Garrett Morris

[ black-and-white ]

[open on the dark, moody atmosphere of Mr. Thompson’s room. He lies on his bed reading, as a knock sounds at the door. He rises to answer it, allowing a Nurse to enter the room. ]

Mr. Thompson: Yes? Can I help you?

Nurse: I.. don’t suppose you remember me, but.. I’m the nurse that was with Mr. Kane when he died.

Mr. Thompson: [ momentarily confused ] Mr. Kane?

Nurse: Charles Foster Kane – the big newspaper tycoon.

Mr. Thompson: Of course! You’re the one who told us Mr. Kane’s last word – Rosebud. Huh.. never did find out what it meant.

Nurse: Well.. Rosebud was.. one of his last words.

Mr. Thompson: What do you mean, one of his last words?

Nurse: Well, you mustn’t get angry.. but I just remembered a few more.

<[ theme music crescendos, as the title superimposes on screen: “CITIZEN KANE II” ]

[ Mr. Thompson sits on the edge of his bed, across from the Nurse who sits in a chair ]

Nurse: You see, he was on this all-liquid diet —

Mr. Thompson: Get to the point, woman! What were Charles Foster Kane’s last words?!

Nurse: After he said Rosebud, he coughed a few times, then he muttered: “Henri.” And then he died.

Mr. Thompson: Henri? Henri.. ah! Henri! Of course! A man’s name! Kane’s closest friend, Jed Leland, is still alive in one of those uptown hospitals. Let’s pay him a visit! If anyone knows who thie Henri is, he will!

[ Mr. Thompson and the Nurse rush out of the room, as the music crescendos again and we fade to black ]

[ fade in on the close-up face of an aged, spectacled, moustachioed Jed Leland ]

Jed Leland: [ pondering the clue ] Henri.. hmm.. Henri..

[ pull out to reveal Jed Leland sitting in a wheelchair. He turns to face Mr. Thompson, who sits with his back to the audience and obscured by shadows ]

Jed Leland: You’re absolutely sure you don’t have a good cigar? I’d give anything for a good cigar.

Mr. Thompson: Sorry, Mr. Leland, but what about this Henri?

Jed Leland: Who?

Mr. Thompson: Henri.

Jed Leland: Henri. Well, I’m afraid I don’t know any — nope.. wait a minute. [ suddenly remembering ] Why, of course. Henri. The little French man. I’ll never forget the first and last time I saw Henri. It was the day Charlie took over the Enquirer. My, what a day it was..

[ flashback dissolve to the Enquirer office, Mr. Bernstein standing alone as Charles Foster Kane and a younger Jed Leland enter ]

Charles Foster Kane: [ chuckling ] Well, Jedediah, here it is! My own newspaper, the New York Enquirer. And I’m going to turn this newspaper into something that this own will want to read. Why, just look at this dribble! [ holds up a newspaper ] “Noted Mitten Manufacturer Retires.”

Mr. Bernstein: Why, it must be a slow day for news, Mr. Kane!

Charles Foster Kane: A slow day for news, Bernstein? I’ll show you a slow day for news!

[ Kane points a gun out the window and fires 6 shots below ]

Charles Foster Kane: Take a headline, Bernstein: “Crazed Sniper Guns Down Six!” We’ll have theinnocent men, women and children angle an offer for $10,000 for the madman’s capture!

Mr. Bernstein: Right away, Mr. Kane! [ rushes out of office ]

Charles Foster Kane: Slow days for news —

[ Delivery Boy enters office ]

Delivery Boy: Did anyone order a roast beef on rye with mustard?

Charles Foster Kane: Yeah, I did. Thanks.

[ Delivery Boy distributes the sandwiches, then exits office ]

Jed Leland: Let’s see here, what am I, chopped liver?

[ Henri the printer rushes in with the new front page reading: “Crazed Sniper Guns Down Six – Woman and Children Among Victims”. Mr. Bernstein appears behind him. ]

Henri: Here’s ze new front page, Mr. Kane!

Charles Foster Kane: Well, you certainly took your time about it, boy. What’s your name?

Henri: Henri, sir.

Charles Foster Kane: Henri, you’re fired! We’re running a scandal sheet here, not a newspaper! [ starts to eat his sandwich ] Mmm.. great sandwich.

Henri: Funny.. I thought it was: “We’re running a newspaper, not a tea party.”

Mr. Bernstein: A tea party?! That doesn’t make sense! how about: “We’re running a newspaper here, not a pet shop!”

Jed Leland: Uh, wait a minute. Obviously, we’re not running a pet shop. That’s no good.

[ Delivery Boy re-enters scene ]

Delivery Boy: Who, uh, gets the tea with no lemon?

Henri: How about, uh.. police office!

Mr. Bernstein: Oh, yeah.. hey! That’s a good idea! “We’re not running a newspaper here –”

[ suddenly, Charles Foster Kane fires 5 more shots out the window ]

Charles Foster Kane: Get out an extra! “Sniper Strikes Again!” Double the reward!

[ everyone but Kane and Leland clear the room ]

Jed Leland: You know, since you took over, you certainly have changed the Enquirer, Charlie.

Charles Foster Kane: Change the Enquirer.. change the newspaper.. I haven’t changed anything, Jedediah. I’ve only changed the front page. What about its heart, its soul, its very being? That’s why I’ve set out this Declaration of Principles. [ posts card on the wall ] 1. Sell millions of newspapers by any means possible. 2. Make that billions of newspapers.

Jed Leland: Can I keep that, Charlie? I have a hunch it could turn out to be pretty important some day.

Charles Foster Kane: [ reflects ] Important someday. Yeah. [ looks out the window ] Jedediah, do you think I can hit that organ grinder down there, from this far away? He looks to be about.. oh.. one-hundred, two-hundred yards. Let’s see if I can get a beat on him. [ fires a shot ] Damn! Bernstein!

[ Mr. Bernstein re-appears ]

Mr. Bernstein: Yes, Mr. Kane!

Charles Foster Kane: Get out an extra! “Sniper Kills Organ Grinder’s Monkey, Not Even Pets Safe in Weird Murder Spree.”

Mr. Bernstein: Sure thing, Mr. Kane!

[ Kane admires the copy of his newspaper, as he flash-dissolve back to the aged Jed Leland in the hospital ]

Jed Leland: Yeah.. Henri. That’s who Henri was.

Mr. Thompson: He doesn’t really seem important enough, somehow. I mean, why would Kane’s last words be about some printer he fired fifty years before?

Nurse: Oh, wait.. I’m sorry. I just remembered that Mr. Kane said one more thing before he died. He said: “Rosebud”, coughed a few times, muttered: “Henri”, and then he turned to me and whispered: “With Mustard.”

Mr. Thompson: Wait a minute.. let’s put this all together: “Rosebud.. Henri.. With Mustard.” I wonder what it means.

Nurse: Beats me.

Jed Leland: Well, maybe it was a horse he bet — [ Chevy Chase suddenly cracks up ] It could’ve been a horse he bet on!

Mr. Thompson: Yes, that might be amusing if it were.

Nurse: Maybe a woman he knew.

Jed Leland: Might be.

Mr. Thompson: I guess we’ll never know.

[ dissolve to a fiery incinerator. The door is pulled open, and a hand inserts a menu into the flames that read: “Roast Beef On Rye With Mustard” ]

[ fade to black, up on SUPER: “The End” ]

[ dissolve to SUPER: “Introducing The Cast” ]

[ dissolve to “Laraine Newman as the nurse.” ]

Nurse: You see, he was on this all-liquid diet.

[ dissolve to “Chevy Chase as Jed Leland.” ]

Jed Leland: I’d give anything for a good cigar.

[ dissolve to “Buck Henry as Mr. Thompson.” ]

Mr. Thompson: What do you mean, one of his last words?

[ dissolve to “John Belushi as Mr. Bernstein.” ]

Mr. Bernstein: How about: “We’re running a newspaer here, not an ant farm!”

[ dissolve to “Tom Schiller as Henri.” ]

Henri: Here’s ze new front page, Monsieur Kane!

[ dissolve to “Garret Morris as the delivery boy.” ]

Delivery Boy: Who gets the roast beef on rye with mustard?

[ dissolve to “Dan Aykroyd as Charles Foster Kane.” ]

Charles Foster Kane: Mmm.. great sandwich!

[ fade to black ]

“I don’t know boss.  It’s awfully complicated.”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.  But I wouldn’t put it past Murdoch to fund a few fundamentalist groups and keep their leaders on speed dial when he needs to up his viewership and advertising rates.  Oh, just forget it.  Let’s watch a rerun of ‘The Americans‘ and call it a day.”

Due to climate change…

Due to climate change, Santa Claus has announced that his hideout at the North Pole, for the longest time resting on a solid base of ice, has been moved to an underwater facility, designed to resemble the Atlantis structure from the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.  Don’t forget to buy the merchandise in time for Christmas gifts!!!

Film producers are working on the rights to the book, Waterworld 2, which documents the chase of Santa Claus by a gang called the Notorious Nefarious Nincompoops intent on getting their clutches into the Claus underwater fortress, saved at the last minute by an old warrior played by Kevin Costner along with his young sidekicks, played by unknown actors we’ll probably never hear from again, with a has-been starlet providing a thin plot as a love interest that makes no sense.

Where D.O.A. meets the French Lieutenant’s Woman at The Hours in a Glass-like film score

My wife wanted a chick flick in exchange for attending the UT Men’s Football game with me this past weekend so we sat in a theatre provided by Regal Entertainment and watched “The Words” this afternoon.

Again, I’m at the age where one storyline blends into another, one soundtrack sounds like a previous one and actors’ role are rehashed or recast in one big blur of motion after years of celluloid clicking by and, now, digital imagery indistinct from analogue dialogues.

Too much cellulose, perhaps?

Is DFW a person’s initials or an airport code?

I can’t remember, was it Franzen or Lehrer who was accused of plagiarism?  Or was it faking one’s death? Or joining college students by the millions in cheating on exams?  Or creating the unethical marketing campaign for the Nokia Lumia 920 that failed the newspaper test miserably?

What’s the difference between a person wearing a hidden earpiece and receiving instructions/corrections for/to what that person said and a person wearing an augmented reality/enhanced memory unit?

Will we know when our leaders are not quite human?

When will the first Paralympian or injured soldier have a brain prosthesis and carry enough name recognition to become a publicly-elected leader?

“Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you your one and only multiheaded committee-within-a-world-leader, Steve Austin IV!!!!” [Cue sound effects from The Six Million Dollar Man]

But first, a recap of the film, Chariots of the Gods…sorry, I mean, Chariots of Fire.

Now, back to your constantly-interrupted search on the Internet for that elusive thought in the back of your thoughts that you thought you’d remember if you just…

Living memories

While cleaning out my father’s closet — clawing through his hidden stash of Viagra, box of .22 long rifle bullets of mine from my Boy Scout days, stack of Playboys, old Avon cologne bottles, ziplock baggie of .38 hollow tip bullets, Optimist Club pins, German spy camera, fedora hats from the 1930s/1940s, ties, and other stuff I’ll catalog one day — I found the following:

Picture and role of one of my mother’s early classrooms

Fez for Jericho Temple, as well as this book:

When I get my camera out, I’ll share pictures of an album my father had hidden at the top of the closet, right next to his Viagra stash: The Battle of Sex by Redd Foxx and Hattie Noel.  Partial scan below:


The older I get…

Seems like the confusion just gets worse, the older I get and the longer I’m retired.

Just the other day, I went to see the movie “Moonrise Kingdom” with my wife.

Boy, was I disappointed!

I mean, I saw that a guy named Wes and a gal named Coppola had cowritten the film, Wes had directed it.

So, I assume it’s going to be another Wes Craven story, something along the likes of a gangster horror film.

I don’t know, maybe zombie gangsters, or gangsters that know what you did last summer and haunt your dreams.

Not a single gangster!!

And the closest there was to any real horror was a leftie scissors stabbing, a dead dog, a hurricane, a flood and two lightning strikes!!!

Is that the best they could do to try to scare us?

No scarab beetles stabbed on fishing hooks, coming alive and eating their way into kids’ brains?  No fog rolling in off the sea and stealing souls?  No talking snakes or revengeful Indians on the warpath?

Instead, we get cute, cuddly, fun-to-watch, coming-of-age story about two misfit 12-year olds on an island off the northeast coast of the U.S., shades of “Blue Lagoon” hanging in the air not far from “Lord of the Flies” and [pick your favourite summer camp story on celluloid]?

With a soundtrack based primarily on the scores of Benjamin Britten?

Not a single reference to “Apocalypse Now” or ‘”The Godfather”?

Does Wes or Sofia hope to have a successful film director/writer career based on these facts?

Will the actors in the film survive this debacle?  Has anyone ever heard of Bruce Willis or Harvey Keitel in anything but a good, mindless, testosterone-filled action flick?

Why, when I was a kid, these guys would’ve sliced off an ear or yelled, “Yippie-kai-yea, [Mister Falcon]!,” while machinegunning the bad guys, and then spoken a few clever lines to give us the mere whiff, a subliminal suggestion, of a plot to tie the bloodshed together.

Now they’re sleeping in tents, popping pills and snoring in fifth-wheel campers that aren’t part of the portable dressing room sets that belong to major studios.

I guess we all get old, left to reminisce about our first loves, the perplexity of so-called adults and our invincible belief of being in charge of our lives as soon as we started thinking for ourselves…

If someone recommends I see “Brave,” forget it.  I’m going to watch a marathon run of “Braveheart” ten times in a row to earn back my mancard!!!

= = = = = = = = = =

Thanks to Josh, JoNathan, Cathy, Coldwater Creek cougars, Justin, Robbie, Mr. Thigpen, Spencer and others.