Thursday, May 26, 2005

Spector of Doubt

LOS ANGELES - Four women who claim that Phil Spector pointed guns at them during dates will be allowed to testify when the record producer stands trial on charges of shooting dead an actress at his mansion, a judge ruled on Monday.

A terrified Spector leaves the court house after the judge's ruling

Los Angeles Superior Court judge Larry Fidler said the prosecution could call the women as part of its case against Spector, who has denied murdering an actress he picked up in a Los Angeles nightclub in February 2003. The judge gave no reason for his decision, but prosecutors had argued that the incidents involving the women were "remarkably similar" to the current case against Spector. The ruling was a setback for the reclusive Spector, who prosecutors allege has a history of gun-related violence against women and others.

Spector, 64, best known for his layered "Wall of Sound" recording technique in the 1960s, is free on $1 million bail while awaiting trial in September for the murder of Lana Clarkson at his Los Angeles area home. Spector had met the statuesque Clarkson at Hollywood's House of Blues club, where she worked as a hostess, before taking her to his hilltop mansion in Alhambra.

An autopsy report concluded that a gun was placed in the mouth of the actress and fired. Spector did not deny this, but claimed in a June 2004 Esquire magazine interview that Clarkson had died in a bizarre act of suicide, after "kissing" the gun. At the time police officials scoffed at Spector's claim, calling it "insane and completely unbelievable" before realizing that Spector meant it literally and not as a euphemism for Clarkson having oral sex with him. Meanwhile, most legal experts expected Spector to be acquitted based on that defense since it would be easy to convince a jury that any woman who sobered up to find that she'd gone home with a hideous looking freak like Spector would be suicidal.

Therefore it came as a complete surprise this afternoon when the defense signaled a change in strategy. At a press conference held outside of Los Angeles Superior Court, defense attorney Bruce Cutler announced "We have recently uncovered evidence that Ms. Clarkson may have been murdered by a man who looks - to borrow the prosecutor's term - 'remarkably similar' to my client. We intend to vigorously pursue this avenue of investigation and urge the police to do the same." To bolster his claim, Cutler displayed side-by-side photos of Spector and the suspect, who Cutler identified as Robert Underdunk Terwilliger.

Terwilliger, known as "Sideshow Bob," achieved minor celebrity status in the late 1980's as the sidekick on the "Krusty the Klown" show before being jailed for the attempted murder of Bart Simpson, a ten year old boy from Springfield (state unknown).

On the surface, Cutler's claims do appear to have some degree of legitimacy. Records show that Terwilliger had been transferred to a Los Angeles area prison in early 2002 and that he was participating in a work release program on February 3, 2003, the date of Clarkson's death. Furthermore, Cutler released this photo of Terwilliger and an unidentified man taken on the day of the murder by a security camera outside of a Quickie Mart in the vicinity of Spector's residence.

Terwilliger and 'Mr. X'

Terwilliger is currently serving 15 year prison sentence after his conviction last November on a litany of charges including impersonating a military officer, stealing the Duff blimp, extortion, threatening to detonate a nuclear bomb, kidnapping, the attempted murder of Bart Simpson (again), and stealing the Wright Brothers aircraft.

When reached for comment via phone in Springfield Prison, Terwilliger vehemently denied the accusations calling them "slanderous" and a "complete fabrication." He added that his history shows that he goes out of his way to try to kill people using the most complex, convoluted schemes possible and dismissed the idea that he would shoot someone, saying "A plan that simple is so far beneath my vast intellectual capacity that it's not even worth discussing."

Monday, May 23, 2005

Rumble in the...Bascilica?

VATICAN CITY -- During a recent general audience Pope Benedict XVI reminded the faithful that Satan is no match for God. This speech marked a significant departure from the gentle approach of his predecessor Pope John Paul II and was read by many as an an effort to win laymen back to the church with a cutting edge, in your face attitude that's more reflective of the new millennium.

The Pope went on to say that Satan is still at work in the world unleashing "evil energy" but that God will be the final arbiter of history. "History, in fact, is not in the hands of dark forces, left to chance or just human choices," he told thousands of people in St. Peter's Square. "Above the unleashing of evil energy, above the vehement interruptions of Satan, above the so many scourges of evil, rises the Lord, supreme arbiter of history," the pope said in an address reflecting on the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

However, things took an unexpected turn when he urged Catholics to look for and recognize what he called "hidden divine interventions in history," thereby unwittingly setting off a DaVinci Code like frenzy to uncover proof of God's existence. At one point, it appeared that the elusive evidence had been found, but those hopes were quickly dashed when experts cited eyewitness accounts along with the deaths of 19 million soldiers and 31 million civilians as proof that it was the Allied forces, not God, that had defeated the Axis powers in World War II.

Later that afternoon, Satan called a news conference to respond to the recently installed Pope's speech. Reading from a prepared statement, the Anti-Christ said he was angered by the "hostile" tone taken by the Pope and that he felt "disrespected" by the unprovoked attack. He went on to say that God had been lucky to win their first battle, but that the Lord had let himself "grow old and soft" over the last few millennia. Finally, he closed by criticizing God for speaking through an intermediary rather than "having the balls to say those things" and offered to fight the Lord "any time and any place."

God immediately accepted the challenge and Vatican officials hastily arranged what they billed as "The Ultimate Battle of Good and Evil," which was held last night before a packed house in St. Peter's Basilica. The Church, which had been converted into an arena for the evening, was filled to overflowing with Angels, Demons, and church officials. Due to concerns about security and overcrowding no others were permitted to attend.

The undercard, featurning the Archangels Raphael, Gabriel, and Michael versus three of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse*, was a harbinger of things to come. In the opening bout, Raphael easily outboxed Famine to win a unanimous decision. The second bout belonged to Gabriel who TKO'd Pestilence in the eighth round. Finally, in the last bout Michael knocked Death down three times before finally backing him into a corner and unleashing a flurry of punches to score a tenth round knockout.

The fights were much closer than the results would seem, a fact that most ringside observers attributed to the work of the Archangels cutman, Jesus Christ.** While the Four Horsemen's cutman scrambled furiously to stop his fighters' bleeding via the traditional methods of vaseline, an enswell and Avitene, Jesus was able to instantly heal His fighters by laying His hands on them.

After a brief intermission, the excitement of the preliminary bouts gave way to the elaborate introductions of the fighters preparing to do battle in the main event. As the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" blared over the arena, Satan emerged from a wall of flames wearing a red silk robe and red shorts with black trim.

Not to be outdone, God whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a glorious thunder and lightning show. The crowd gasped as a blinding beam of pure light shone from the tunnel, and broke into a deafening roar as God emerged wearing a white silk robe with white shorts and dancing to Stomp by Kirk Franklin.

Unfortunately, the bout failed to live up to the pre-fight hype. After feeling each other out for the first two rounds the fighters got down to business in the third, standing toe to toe in the center of the ring and unloading on each other. Finally, at the 1:30 mark, God unleashed a thunderous right hook that put Satan down for the count and ended the bout.

During the post fight press conference, Satan claimed to have been slowed by an injury caused when he backed into a pitchfork during training. When asked why he didn't postpone the fight, he said "I didn't want to make any excuses. But now that I lost, I think I need to let people know why I lost. Have you ever gotten burned in the ass by a hot poker? That shit hurts like a motherf***er."

For his part, God expressed his trademark gratitude and humility saying "I couldn't have done it without the support of my main man and representative on earth, Pope Benny. I also want to thank the Angels, Cardinals, and Bishops for coming out to support me. This one's for you, dawgs. Finally, I'd like to thank Me for blessing Myself with the talent to do the things I do. Everything I have, I owe to Me."


*War was unable to attend due to a previous commitment in Iraq

** Noted pacifist Jesus elected not to take part in the undercard much to the relief of His Father who said "He's always talking about turning the other cheek, which is a good way to get your ass kicked in a boxing match."

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Modern Day Romeo

SCENE II. Capulet's orchard.


(muttering to himself) Motherf***ers wanna laugh at me? I'll smoke their asses...

This house must have a hundred windows. How the hell am I supposed to know which one is Juliet's?

(Romeo begins to walk around the house and peer into the windows)

JULIET appears above at a window

It's her!

(Pats pockets frantically)

Where the hell did I put that poem I paid that Cyrano kid to write for me? Here it is. Okay, I hope this works.

(Opens the paper, takes a deep breath, looks up at Juliet's window, and begins to read aloud)

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair than she:

(To himself) Hey that's pretty good. Then again, given the size of his nose I guess he has to have some great lines to even have a slight chance with a woman.

(To Juliet's window)
Be not her maid, since she is envious;
Her vestal livery is but sick and green
And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.

(To himself) Oh no. I knew I shouldn't have let him start drinking until he was done writing. Hopefully she didn't hear that stuff about her vestal livery being sick and green. That just sounds nasty.

(To Juliet's window)
It is my lady, O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold, 'tis not to me she speaks:
Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
Having some business, do entreat her eyes
To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

(To himself) That's much better. For a second there, I thought Cyrano had lost it but I should have known better. He's too smooth.

(To Juliet's window)
What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
Would through the airy region stream so bright
That birds would sing and think it were not night.
See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

(To himself) And that's not the only cheek I'd like to touch...

Ay me!

(To himself) Did she just speak, Spanish?!?! I hope I didn't just read that whole poem to a woman who didn't understand a word I said.

O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Okay, she does speak English.......I think....

I hope she doesn't talk like that all of the time. I was just trying to impress her with that "Arise fair sun" stuff. If that's what she's looking for, I'm screwed.

And ti sounds like she's talking about getting married already! That's sounds a little desperate if you ask me. I mean, we just met! Can't we go on a few dates first? Get to know each other a little?

Maybe I'd better stay quiet for now. If she keeps talking about marriage, I'll just sneak away.

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

(To himself) She's talking about man parts. (Giggle)

Crap. She must not have heard that stuff I read. What a waste of time. I knew I should have waited until she was on the balcony - or at least until she opened the window. Oh well, let me try to talk to her.

(Muttering) Stay calm.....don't blow, she's a cutie......just relax, I go....

(Steps out into the moonlight)

Hey Juliet! Down here! It's me, Romeo. Don't call the cops or anything. I was, erm, just walking by your, uh, balcony and I overheard you talking about me.

Anyway, you know that calling me Romeo thing you were just going on about? Well, to be honest I was never a big fan of my name. When I was in school the other kids used to beat me up every day at lunch because it sounded too much like a girl's name. What I'm trying to say here is that if you want to call me something else, I'm okay with it.

What man art thou that thus bescreen'd in night
So stumblest on my counsel?

I just told you, it's me. Romeo.

(To himself) Why are the hottest women always so dumb?

My ears have not yet drunk a hundred words
Of that tongue's utterance, yet I know the sound:
Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?

Yes, Romeo Montague. How many Romeos can you possibly know? It's not that common a name.

How camest thou hither, tell me, and wherefore?
The orchard walls are high and hard to climb,
And the place death, considering who thou art,
If any of my kinsmen find thee here.

Oh, yeah. The walls. I guess that blows my story about walking by and hearing you. Ok, here's the thing. I saw you tonight and I thought you were really cute, so I climbed the wall to get into your yard. I know this looks really bad, but I'm not a stalker or a pervert or anything. I just, uh, followed you home without you knowing and sat outside your bedroom balcony watching you. Erm, now that I say it out loud, that sounds really bad. I should probably shut up now.

(Awkward silence)

(Tries to change the subject)
Hey, you were talking about your kinsmen a minute ago. You were just kidding about that stuff, right? I mean, they're not really going to kill me if they find me, are they?

I guess I should tell you now that I'm more of a lover than a fighter. That means if I see them, I'm probably going to start running like a scared rabbit.

If they do see thee, they will murder thee.

Murder me??? Just for talking to you?!? That's f***ing insane.

What kind of a family do you have there, Juliet? Sheesh. It's no wonder your so anxious to get married. I'd want to get away from those nut jobs, too, if I were you.

I would not for the world they saw thee here.

Did you ever think that it might help if you kept your voice down just a little? I'm right here and you're shouting like I'm a mile away. Now that I think about it, maybe I should just hide in those bushes and talk to you from there. You're really cute and all, but I'm not sure I want to die for a woman I hardly know.

By whose direction found'st thou out this place?

I told you before, I followed you home.

(Muttering) She can't possibly be this stupid....

Thou know'st the mask of night is on my face,
Else would a maiden blush bepaint my cheek
For that which thou hast heard me speak to-night
Fain would I dwell on form, fain, fain deny
What I have spoke: but farewell compliment!
Dost thou love me? I know thou wilt say 'Ay,'
And I will take thy word: yet if thou swear'st,
Thou mayst prove false; at lovers' perjuries
Then say, Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
I'll frown and be perverse an say thee nay,
So thou wilt woo; but else, not for the world.
In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond,
And therefore thou mayst think my 'havior light:
But trust me, gentleman, I'll prove more true
Than those that have more cunning to be strange.
I should have been more strange, I must confess,
But that thou overheard'st, ere I was ware,
My true love's passion: therefore pardon me,
And not impute this yielding to light love,
Which the dark night hath so discovered.

No, no. Don't be embarrassed. I'm flattered. Really.

Man, you really are pretty hot. I swear, if I ever get my hands on you I'm going to do things that'll make you feel like you're flying to the moon.

O, swear not by the moon, the inconstant moon,
That monthly changes in her circled orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.

Okay, maybe that was a little excessive. I was just trying to say, that I'd love to f*** your brains out.

Do not swear at all;
Or, if thou wilt, swear by thy gracious self,
Which is the god of my idolatry,
And I'll believe thee.

Sorry. No more swearing. I promise.

And I don't wilt. That happened just once - and I was drunk and really tired at the time. Who told you about that anyway?

Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
I have no joy of this contract to-night:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!

Good night? Don't tell me that you're just going to leave me out here like this. A man can die if he gets excited and doesn't have sex, you know.

What satisfaction canst thou have to-night?

Well, if you're not going to invite me up, I guess I could just go home and, uh, take care of myself - if you know what I mean.

I gave thee mine before thou didst request it:
And yet I would it were to give again.

What are you talking about? You haven't given me anything yet, and I'm down here practically begging.

Oh, you're talking about your heart aren't you? I should have known. Women always need a little romance before they give it up.

But to be frank, and give it thee again.
And yet I wish but for the thing I have:
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

(Nurse calls within)

I hear some noise within; dear love, adieu!
Anon, good nurse! Sweet Montague, be true.
Stay but a little, I will come again.

(Exit, above)

Wait! Who the hell is Frank? Dammit! She's gone. What a waste of a night this is turning out to be.

(Begins to pace, but suddenly stops and turns his head)

What's that noise? I hope it's not her psychotic kinsmen coming to kick my ass.

(Romeo hears. He screeches and peers into the darkness)

Who's there? Don't come any closer. I have a gun!

Shit, they'll never fall for that. They know that guns haven't been invented, yet.

(Picks up a small branch)

Uh, I meant to say that I have a dagger. Yeah...that's it...a dagger. I mean it. It, er, just looks like a branch so that I can trick people into coming close enough for me to stab them.

(Pauses and crouches down, squinting into the darkness)

Phew! It's just a squirrel. I'm gonna have a heart attack out here. That's it. No woman is worth all this. I'll give her to the count of three to come back and then I'm out of here. One...two...she is really beautiful....two and a half....two and three quarters...... You know, maybe I should give her to the count of twenty. That's more fair. I mean, she did ask me to wait.

(One hour later)

Three thousand nine hundred ninety nine and three quarters........Okay, I'll just give her until dawn, but if the sun comes up and she's not back, I'm really out of here. I mean it this time.

Re-enter JULIET, above

Three words, dear Romeo, and good night indeed.
If that thy bent of love be honourable,
Thy purpose marriage, send me word to-morrow,
By one that I'll procure to come to thee,
Where and what time thou wilt perform the rite;
And all my fortunes at thy foot I'll lay
And follow thee my lord throughout the world.

[Within] Madam!

I come, anon.--But if thou mean'st not well,
I do beseech thee--

[Within] Madam!

By and by, I come:--
To cease thy suit, and leave me to my grief:
To-morrow will I send.

(To himself) She said"By and by I come". (giggles)

In all seriousness, I'm gonna need to take a long swim in a cold moat if she keeps talking like that.

A thousand times good night!

Exit, above

Ok, ok. You don't have to say good night a thousand times. I can take a hint.


Re-enter JULIET, above

Hist! Romeo, hist! O, for a falconer's voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again!
Bondage is hoarse, and may not speak aloud;
Else would I tear the cave where Echo lies,
And make her airy tongue more hoarse than mine,
With repetition of my Romeo's name.

(To himself) Bondage? Horses? Tongues? This girl's got a little freak in her. I like that.

Who is Echo? Is that the guy with the nose ring that I saw you talking to today? And why does he live in a cave? That's a little strange if you ask me. Hey, while we're on the subject we never did talk about that guy Frank you mentioned before.

I have to be honest here, Juliet. I'm starting to feel like you say this kind of stuff to every guy that comes to your window.


Sorry, but that's how I feel. Look, I should really get going. It's clear that you're not going to invite me up there, and I don't want to sit around here waiting to get my ass kicked by your family.

I'm not sure about this whole marriage thing, but I'd really like to see you again. Let's start slow, though. Maybe we can get together for drinks or something one day.

At what o'clock to-morrow
Shall I send to thee?

Tomorrow? Yeah, I guess that works for me. Uh, I'm probably going to sleep in a little, so try not to send anyone before noon or so. Tell them to let me know where you want to meet.

Its just a suggestion, but Ye Olde Pub is supposed to have a few bands playing tomorrow. I hear The Tempest is going to be there playing "Full Fathom Five" and then my friend Macbeth's band is headlining. You know their song, "Witches Dances"? It's the one with the amazing lute solo.

(Plays air lute and starts singing off-key)

You know it? Anyway, I think the first band comes on at about 10:30, but maybe we can get there early and have a few grogs before they start.

I will not fail: 'tis twenty years till then.
I have forgot why I did call thee back.

Twenty years? What the hell are you talking about? It's only about twenty hours till then.

(To himself) What is it with this woman? I need a translator to figure out what she's saying, she doesn't know the difference between years and hours, and now she forgets why she called me back. If she weren't so damn gorgeous....

(To Juliet)
Well, I'm sure the reason you called me back will come to you. You know where to find me if it does.

I shall forget, to have thee still stand there,
Remembering how I love thy company.

Well, that's really sweet, Juliet. I'm touched. But I really should get going. Like I said before, if your family finds me standing here, there won't be anything left of me to love.

'Tis almost morning; I would have thee gone:
And yet no further than a wanton's bird;
Who lets it hop a little from her hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silk thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

Are you back on that bondage thing? I've never tried it before, but I'd really love to come up and give it a shot if that's what you're into.

Sweet, so would I:
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! parting is such
sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

(Exit above)

Kill me with too much cherishing? I think you're right, maybe we should call it a night. Everyone here seems hell-bent on killing me.

Good night, Juliet.

(Turns to leave)
What a waste of time! Now how the hell am I going to get back over that wall?


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Celgene Crisis

New research shows that Revlimid, an experimental drug used to relieve symptoms of a deadly blood disorder, has ended up treating the disease itself. It was so successful that cancer became undetectable in nearly half the people who took the drug. While this breakthrough marks the first effective treatment for people with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) it has also created a firestorm at Celgene Corporation, the makers of Revlimid.

"Obviously, we're extremely concerned about, and disappointed by, the results." said Brian Gill, Celgene's chief spokesman. "Our mission - and indeed our obligation to our shareholders - is to create drugs to treat the symptoms of disease. We never intend to cure them."

Wall Street reacted quickly to the news, sending Celgene shares plummeting 15% at fourteen times normal volume and causing one prominent analyst to opine "There's an old saying that goes 'There's no money in the cure.' If other pharmaceutical companies follow Celgene's example, they can kiss their profits goodbye. I'm sure that some pretty important heads are going to roll over this debacle." Investors and analysts agreed and by yesterday afternoon they were scrambling to reduce forecasts for the company's near-term earnings and sales growth.

As expected, Celgene dismissed the research and development team responsible for creating Revlimid, citing gross negligence. "Any first year research scientist should have been able to spot this side effect. We simply cannot tolerate such blatant incompetence." said Gill. Indeed, it appears that Celgene is not alone in their harsh assessment of the team's work as rumors circulated that the newly unemployed scientists have been blackballed within the industry. "I don't know how this could have happened," said one. "We thought we'd taken every precaution against accidently curing MDS. I'm so ashamed. I don't think I'll ever be able to face my colleagues again."

Celgene stock took a similar hit last November when it was reported that nearly a dozen patient deaths were recorded during the clinical trial of Revlimid, sparking concern that Revlimid's chances for U.S. approval would be delayed, or derailed, if the deaths were confirmed and attributable to the drug. At the time, there were 148 patients enrolled in the Revlimid study, which would put the death rate at just over 7% if the reports of 11 deaths were accurate. When the report broke Celgene staffers immediately leapt into action, calling a press conference and sending their spokesman out to calm the masses with the following statement: "I, Brian Gill, am not aware of any deaths. I'm not saying there are or aren't any deaths." while at the same time declining to offer a formal Celgene response.

"That was a brilliant move by the Celgene public relations department." said an industry spokesman who preferred to remain anonymous. "Keeping Gill in the dark about the deaths was crucial because it allowed him to claim ignorance while still protecting the company. In fact, they were voted '2004 Public Relations Department of the Year' for that stroke of genius. But I just can't see how they're going to pull a rabbit out of a hat this time."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

From Russia with Love

President Bush's Oil Drive 2005: The Seduction Tour continued this week with a visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin. After being roundly criticized for his dalliance with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah, White House strategists disguised the true purpose of the visit by insisting that Bush was in Moscow to attend celebrations marking the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Recent statements by White House officials regarding "Russia's turn away from democracy" have created some tension in the relationship between the two countries, so Bush knew that a quiet stroll in the garden wouldn't do the trick this time. With that in mind, he geared up to let his Soviet counterpart have a few days of concentrated 'Bush whacking'.

Ever the gentleman, Bush compliments Putin on the way his suit flatters him. "Oh, this old thing?" Putin replies with the forced indifference of a man who's spent hours in the mirror making sure everything looks perfect. "I picked it up at Stockmann years ago. It's just something I put on when I don't care how I look."

The Russian President leans over and whispers in Bush's ear. "Let's see if you still like Middle Eastern men after you've had a taste of Russian meat." This puts Dubya in the awkward position of trying to do his best to look nonchalant while hiding his rather obvious erection. Meanwhile, Putin shows the First Lady the new spanking technique he's been practicing. "Some boys like it rough," he says "and that gives me the chance to put my KGB experience to good use."

Later that day, Putin shows Bush the location of the island of Sakhalin, where they'll be spending their romantic getaway.

"I've booked us a room at the most divine bed and breakfast," he tells Dubya, "and there's an absolutely darling little restaurant about a block away that I've been dying to try. I hear they make the most amazing Kotlety Pozharskie."

"I can't wait," replies Bush. "I understand it's a bit frigid out that way, so we'll have think of some ways to keep each other warm." he says. Uncertain if Putin's translator will effectively communicate his subtle remark, he quickly adds, "I'm talking about some hot man-on-man action in case you didn't catch my drift."

Crisis Alert! As they head to dinner at the Putin residence, Bush realizes that Chinese President Hu Juntao also has his eye on the Russian President -- and that Juntao plans to give him the exact same flowers as Bush! Apparently both leaders know about Vladimir's weakness for carnations.

Thinking quickly, Bush sneaks away and makes a quick run to a Moscow 7-11 to pick up a bouquet of roses . He suavely puts his arm around Putin as he gives him the flowers. The Russian President beams and blushes shyly, telling Bush "Pink and white are my favorite colors. How in the world did you know?" And with that, Bush quickly and decisively wins the battle for Putin's affection.

Bush and Putin bid their wives good-bye as they get ready for what they've termed their "diplomatic sausage-fest."They plan to take the scenic route, possibly stopping off at strategic locations for a little warm-up action.

Anxious to get the party started, Putin surprises the Commander and Chief by reaching over and grabbing Bush's 'package'. "Wow, Vlady!" Bush exclaims, "You've already got my little soldier standing at attention!"

Ever vigilant, the Russian Secret Service provides a security escort for the two prominent world leaders.

Three days later...

After a few days of intense "negotiations," Bush looks a little worse for wear, telling his Russian counterpart "I don't think I'll be able to sit down for at least a week."

Back in Moscow, having grown tired of being left alone while their husbands go on their "diplomatic missions," Laura and Ludmilla decide to do a little experimenting of their own.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

New and Improved!

I'm really excited because I just received the "E-Z Blog Writing Kit" that I purchased on eBay last week. It promises to save valuable time while increasing the quality of my writing by at least 25%. The best part is that I get it all for the low, low price of $124.99, payable in three easy installments of $41.6633333333333333333.

By following their patented five step process, I'll be on my way to writing immortality in no time.

  1. Open box and empty contents
  2. Sort letters, punctuation marks, and symbols
  3. Choose letters and arrange them to create words
  4. Link words together to create sentences
  5. Use punctuation marks to separate thoughts or ideas and symbols to add "spice"

It's so simple even a child can do it!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Monkey Business

The Pirate Captain was married to the sea. He knew the crew joked about it behind his back, but he didn't care. No, he thought, she's just the kind of mistress that every man wants. He enjoyed her unpredictable nature. She was warm, calm, and forgiving at times and cold and biting at others. She let him take control most of the time - allowing him to ride her as hard as he wanted for as long as he liked. However, she occasionally liked playing the role of aggressor. On those nights she heaved with passion as she tossed him around his cabin, denying him even a moment of sleep and leaving him bruised, battered, bleary-eyed and barely able to function the next day. The Captain also admired her for remaining salty despite her majesty. But what made him love her most of all was her deep and mysterious nature.

Yes, if nothing else, one thing was certain about The Capitain -- he sure knew how to beat an analogy to death. In fact, it had gotten to the point where whenever he'd say the word 'like', his crew would suddenly remember that they'd forgotten to hoist the jib or batten down the hatches or some other sailor type duty that allowed them to quickly escape his presence.

On this particular morning, he was standing at the wheel of the ship and thinking about which of his comparisons between the sea and a woman would annoy his first mate the most. You see, they'd had a bit of a tiff the previous evening over which shanty to sing. The first mate suggested the 1640's classic "The Maid of Amsterdam" while The Captain held out for the more modern and jaunty "Get Up Jack! John Sit Down!" Eventually, The Captain won the argument by pulling rank, but he feared that choosing this route, rather than the time honored pirate method of a 60 minute debate featuring an impartial moderator and standard five minute question and response times, had cost him some respect among the crew. It wasn't the prospect of a debate part that bothered The Captain, it was the thought of having to go down "spin alley" afterwards trying to restate his main points and attempting to convince the crew that he'd won.

While he was working on a particularly tortured analogy about how waves (or maybe whitecaps) are like woman's hair, he spied a rowboat with eight of his men making its way back to the ship. This was mildly troubling in that he clearly remembered only sending six men ashore to plunder the small village where, it was rumored, a Spanish Merchant ship had deposited a chest full of pieces of eight for safekeeping while they sailed off into the pirate infested waters to sell their wares.Well, he reasoned, such things were to be expected. After all, he'd sent ashore his toughest men, not his brightest. If history was any indication, they'd probably lost count of how of them there were and had simply dragged along two hapless men from the village who happened to look vaguely pirate like.* No matter, thought The Captain, we can always use a few good men for the upcoming Pirate Talent Show Extravaganza®.

Off in the distance behind the rowboat, he saw smoke rising from the area in which the tiny village had been and he reflected with pride upon how well he'd trained his men in the art of pillaging and destroying. They were so efficient that a small detachment of his crew would often do more damage than an entire crew from another ship. This town was no exception. They had been through, plundering the treasure he'd sent them for before systematically destroying every building, killing every inhabitant, and leaving nary a trace of the town other than a large burnt out clearing.

Of course, had there been any women or children there, they would not have been harmed. He was, after all, a gentleman pirate and this was His Custom.™ His motives weren't entirely altruistic, for he also hoped that in gratitude for allowing them to live, the women would welcome his men with open arms (among other things) if they ever ventured back that way. The fact that it had never worked before - and often resulted in he and his crew being run out of town by a ferocious mob women whenever they returned to try to collect their favors - didn't deter him in the slightest.

As it turned out there had been nothing but men in this town - and damn few of them at that. When he had gone ashore on a pre-looting scouting mission, The Captain had been struck by how well-dressed and impeccably groomed the men were. He also noticed their strange custom of holding hands as they walked and kissing each other periodically - and he hoped it wouldn't catch on elsewhere. With the eye of a connoisseur he noticed that whoever had designed the settlement had gone out of his way to make it as quaint and charming as possible. It seemed that every other building was a bed and breakfast or an antique shop and it was impossible not to notice that the entire village was immaculate and that every dwelling decorated with aplomb. Were it not for His Custom™ of destroying any village he pillaged, The Captain might well have let the buildings stand (while still killing the men, of course). Oh well, what's done is done, he thought. He sighed and made a mental note to have one of the crew paint another one of those cool houses with a red 'x' over it on the bow of the ship to signify another village plundered and destroyed.

The rowboat floated up against the ship and the crew worked to secure the boat. Once done, they began to climb up the rope ladder that had been thrown over the side just that purpose. As they boarded the ship, The Captain was pleased to see that each of the men carried a large canvas bag slung across his back. He'd have been happy with one or two sacks of silver, but eight? Well, that was beyond his wildest dreams. He immediately began thinking of what he'd do with his share of the spoils. There was that new sextant he'd had his eye on when they were in England a few months ago, and he'd also seen a nice gold hoop earring that he hoped to get his hands on to complete his dashing Pirate Captain ensemble.

The rest of the crew patted their brethren on the back as they gathered on the deck and waited for The Captain to show them the booty.** To a man, they hoped that this time he'd skip the part where he stripped and roll around in it kicking and screaming "I'm rich! I'm rich!" as he'd done the past few times they'd come across treasure. He'd said he did it to amuse the men, but most of them secretly believed that he just liked the way the coins felt against his naked body. Afterwards, they were all a little hesitant to handle their shares of the loot for fear that it contained some of the coins that always seemed to get lodged the cracks and crevices of The Captain's body as he rolled around.

Each member of the crew did some mental arithmetic (it's well known that most pirates cannot read or write, but for some reason they're all exceptionally brilliant at math) and quickly calculated his approximate share based on the estimated weight of the bags that now sat on the deck at the feet of The Captain. If they were correct, then not only would The Captain be filthy rich, but each man's share would be enough to allow him his fill of rum and prostitutes for the next year (true to form - they'd probably just waste the rest of the money). ***

"You've done well, me lads" The Captain said in his best pirate-y voice. "Now let's have a look at the treasure ye scurvy wags brought back for us." The crew laughed uproariously at the good natured ribbing even though it wasn't all that funny. He was The Captain, after all and it was only polite to laugh at his jokes. With that, he opened the first sack and emptied the contents on the deck. The laughter of the crew died suddenly when, instead of the expected metallic clinking hundreds of coins, they heard a series of meaty thuds. The same happened with the second sack, and the third - all the way through the eight one. By the time he was finished, The Captain was knee deep in hairy arms, legs, heads and torsos.

He looked at the carnage and wondered what the hell had gone wrong, when suddenly it dawned on him. He wheeled about and faced the men he'd sent ashore - all of whom were still grinning from ear to ear, in expectation of having heaps of praise bestowed upon them. The scowl on The Captain's face and the fury in his eyes told him that not only were they wrong, but that their careers were about to come to an abrupt end with the pirate version of early retirement.****

They shrunk back as The Captain turned the full force of his fury upon them and bellowed:


* The Captain's assessment was pretty much correct. In the worst bit of timing ever, two of the townsmen had dressed as pirates in order to play a joke on the town banker (and because they simply adored pirate fashion). They'd entered the bank just in time to see the banker being run through with a cutlass by a particularly nasty looking pirate. Upon turning and seeing them in the doorway, the pirate readied his cutlass for a thrust that, had it been delivered, would have skewered the two men completely through and creating a faux pirate shish kebob. However, just before he struck the blow one of the men screamed "Arrrrrggghhh" in terror. Mistaking that for the secret pirate greeting the scoundrel sheathed his weapon and replied in kind. He was a bit puzzled by the high and piercing voice the man used in uttering the greeting, but he imagined that it was a quirk of the local dialect. And so, much to their dismay, the men found themselves conscripted into service aboard the pirate ship. Of course, their dismay was greatly diminished when realized that they would be the only survivors from the settlement. By the time they boarded the ship, they had become resigned to playing out the charade and when they saw a crew full men tanned and fit from the manual labor of the sea, they were sure they'd died and gone to heaven.

**Of course, they used "booty" in the traditional pirate sense and not the modern, slang usage - despite what the two newly conscripted pirates had hoped.

***They had no worries about keeping their plans a secret for, unlike The Captain, they weren't married to the sea but were merely seeing it behind his back. Consequently, they reasoned, she couldn't possibly get jealous if they got a little action on the side.

****Walking the plank into shark infested waters

Friday, May 06, 2005

Rhett Dreams

I've just determined that I could never be a script writer. Of course, that's no surprise to anyone who's ever read this blog. However, just to prove my point, I've taken a scene from the dramatic finale of "Gone with the Wind" and re-written Rhett's lines (leaving Scarlett's intact) so that you can see just how bad I am.


SCARLETT: Rhett, wait for me! Rhett, wait for me! Rhett! Rhett!

(Outside the restroom.)

RHETT: Come in. (laughs)

SCARLETT: (opens door) Rhett!

RHETT: What the....? I was just kidding when I said come in. I didn't really mean it. I'm using the bathroom for crying out loud! It's the one place in this house that I can find some peace and quiet. Now close the door and wait outside. I'll be there in a minute.

(Thirty minutes later Rhett flushes and comes walking out with a folded newspaper under his arm)

Sorry. I ate Mexican food last night and you know what that does to my stomach.

Anyway, I understand that Melanie has passed away. That works out nicely for you, doesn't it?

SCARLETT: Oh, how can you say such things. You know how I loved her really.

RHETT: I know. I saw the video the two of you made. You certainly seemed to, um, appreciate her...If you know what I mean.

SCARLETT: Of course I appreciated her. She thought of everybody except herself. Why her last words were about you.

RHETT: She wasn't still mad at me for posting that video on the internet, was she? I gave her 10% of the profits from the fees I charged to enter the site. What more did she want?

(Sighs) Go ahead, tell me what she said.

SCARLETT: She said, be kind to Captain Butler, he loves you so.

RHETT: Who the hell is this Captain Butler? He'd better hope I never find out. I swear to God, I'll kill the bastard if he ever comes near you......oh......wait. She was talking about me, wasn't she? It's just that it had been so long since she used my real name. I'd actually gotten so used to her calling me 'Stupid Mother******' and 'Hey ***hole' that it was a shock to hear her use it. Uh....what else did she say?

SCARLETT: She said...she asked me to look after Ashley too.

RHETT: You mean to tell me that she actually suggested a threesome from her deathbed?!? It's always nice to have the first wife's permission, isn't it? I think I'll have to pass, though. I'm worried that Ashley will use it as an opportunity to try to bugger me.

No matter how many times I've told him that I'm not into that stuff, he just keeps asking. He tries to convince me that "it's okay to experiment" and that sleeping with a man once or twice won't make me gay. Every time I see him it's the same damn thing. "Just try it Rhett. You might like it." It makes me sick, I tell you.

As a matter of fact, I should leave before he shows up and makes another pass at me.

SCARLETT: What do you mean? What are you doing?

RHETT: Erm......I'm leaving. Sorry, I thought I made that clear. Look, this isn't working out for us any longer, Scarlett. I know that you don't love me, so I'm going to let you have a divorce.

SCARLETT: No! No, you're wrong! Terribly wrong! I don't want a divorce. Oh Rhett, when I knew tonight, when I knew I loved you, I ran home to tell you, oh darling, darling!

RHETT: What did you say? All I heard was "No! No..." To be honest, you tend to babble a lot and so my mind wanders almost every time you open your mouth. What was the last part again?

SCARLETT: This last? Oh Rhett, do listen to me. I must have loved you for years only I was such a stupid fool I didn't know it. Please believe me. You must care! Mellie said you did!

RHETT: I do care, but the truth is that I just can't listen to you go on and on about shopping any longer -- especially since you developed your Laura Ashley fetish. Every day you come home with new blouses, jackets, skirts, never ends. It's like you love her clothes more than you love me.

SCARLETT: I......I never really loved Ashley.

RHETT: Well, you'd never know that from the credit card bills. Besides, it's so much more than just that. Remember when I came home from London? I hadn't seen you for months and I was horny as all hell, but you wouldn't even come near me.

SCARLETT: I was so glad to see you, I was Rhett, but, but you were so nasty!

RHETT: For the last time Scarlett, telling you that I want to have sex with you isn't being nasty. I'm your husband for chrissakes!

SCARLETT: I wanted you. I wanted you desperately, but I didn't think you wanted me!

RHETT: I can't believe you're bringing that up again! I told you, I was just under pressure that night because I was wondering how we were going to pay off the huge bills you were running up. Besides, you said that it wasn't a big deal. You told me that it happens to every guy at some point and that I shouldn't worry about it. I can see that those were all lies because now I know how you really feel.

Go ahead Scarlett, admit it. It doesn't happen to everyone and it is a big deal.

SCARLETT: Oh, Rhett, Rhett, please don't say that. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry for everything.

RHETT: Oh man, my stomach is acting up again. I should never have eaten those refried beans.

SCARLETT: Rhett, Rhett where are you going?

RHETT: Back to the bathroom. Where did I put the newspaper?

SCARLETT: Please, please take me with you.

RHETT: Take you in there with me? Ugh, that's disgusting! Now who's being nasty, Scarlett? What is it with you? It's like you've developed some kind of weird fetish or something.

SCARLETT: No. I only know that I love you.

RHETT: Well, there are better ways to show your love than sitting in the restroom with me. Now if you'll excuse me....

SCARLETT: Rhett! If you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?

RHETT: Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. All I know is that if you don't get out of my way, I'm not going to be able to make it to the bathroom in time.


Clearly they're very lucky that I wasn't on hand to help with the original script.*

*Click here if you'd like to see the real script.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Son Spot

There's a rather large contingent of people out there who would have you believe that having a dog is just like having a child. I've had both, and believe me, it's not even close. However, I'm not the brightest guy in the world - and I've never been one to trust my own instincts - so I decided to put their theory to the test.

In the interest of scientific inquiry, I spent last week treating my dog Spot as if he were my child. I've posted the entries from my journal documenting the events that transpired during the week. Rather than forcing my opinion on you, I'll let you read it and draw your own conclusions.

By way of introduction, I should let you know that Spot is a just over 2 years old, which makes him roughly age 15 in human years. Here's how the week went:

I was trying to bond with Spot, so we spent the entire day strolling around Manhattan and chatting about the world we live in and life in general. Well, that's not quite true. I actually did almost all of the talking. Being a teenager, Spot is often quiet and sullen and rarely responds to my attempts to draw him into conversation. At most, he'll bark one two words at me, but that's the extent of our discourse.

While it can be frustrating, I understand what he's going through. After all, I was a young pup once, and I remember what a difficult time it was. I'm sure he's confused about the fur that's recently started growing in strange places, and the hormones coursing through his body probably explain his wild mood swings. Fortunately, his shiny coat does a great job of hiding his pimples. I just wish I could find some way to connect and let him know that I'm here for him no matter what.

Spot and I had our first argument. For some reason, he was hell bent on walking naked around the apartment and jumping at the door like a lunatic trying to get out. It wasn't that the door was locked - he just refused to turn the knob. Try as I might, I just couldn't understand what he was up to. Was it some sort of cry for attention?

I had to find out what was going on, so I sat him down for a talk. As with our "talk" yesterday, he remained silent, leaving me to prattle on endlessly. After about a half hour of lecturing him about the dangers of getting arrested for public nudity, it was clear that he had no interest in anything I had to say. Even worse, he just looked at me as if I were some sort of babbling idiot.

Finally, he got up and started to walk away. That pushed me over the edge, and I yelled at him and grounded him for the rest of the evening. He seemed unfazed by his punishment, so I made it more severe by escorting him to his room and telling him that he wasn't allowed to come out until the morning. I let him know that there was to be no music, no television, no reading, and no talking on the phone. I just wanted him to sit in his room and think about his actions.

It killed me to do it, but he needs to learn to respect me and understand that I'm just looking out for his best interests.

In retaliation for his punishment, Spot defecated on his bedroom carpet last night. For some reason he's been doing that a lot lately and, frankly, I'm a little worried. That's not all. The other night I caught him drinking from the toilet! To make matters worse, he's developed some weird obsession with sniffing at and attempting to urinate on seemingly every tree or fire hydrant we pass. I hope this is just a phase he's going through but even if that's the case, his behavior is a little frightening. I haven't a clue about how to handle it. If this keeps up, I'm going to need to send him to therapy.

You have no idea how hard it is to find a babysitter these days. I know that he should be in school, but I've been unable to register him because I can't seem to locate his birth certificate.

I called in sick to work on Monday and Tuesday because I was a little concerned about leaving him home alone. Unfortunately, I absolutely had to go to the office today and so I spent last night scrambling to find someone to care for him. I called a few friends, but they all acted as if I were insane to even ask them to baby-sit, some even going so far as to recommend that I leave Spot home alone. Can you believe that? They act like he's some sort of animal or something. It made me sick to see how cavalier people have become about child care.

Anyway, after calling everyone I know, I started to become a little desperate. I considered my dwindling options as I walked to the supermarket to pick up some food for dinner. As luck would have it, a flyer from a woman advertising babysitting services caught my eye as I entered the store. I immediately grabbed my cell phone and called her and was relieved to hear that she was available to watch Spot.

In order to make a good impression, I dressed him in a nice outfit and gelled and combed his hair. When the babysitter arrived, I introduced her to Spot and she gave me the strangest look I've ever seen. I guess it wasn't all that often that she was asked to watch a 15 year old.

Seeing her reaction made me glad that I'd had the foresight to set up a "Nanny Cam." My caution paid off when I logged onto the internet to check in on them and saw that she'd allowed Spot to undress himself. As I watched in horror, she forced him to lay on his back while she rubbed his stomach. Cursing myself for not doing a background check before I hired her, I ran out of work and sped home.

By the time I got there, things had spiraled further out of control. I burst through the door only to find Spot wearing a collar and eating and drinking from bowls she'd put on the floor. I tore my eyes from that spectacle and saw her standing over him, smiling and holding a leash. It was even more horrible than I thought - not only was she a pedophile, but she was a dominatrix as well! When I asked her about the leash, she told me that she was getting ready to clip it to Spot's collar and take him for a walk. Outraged, I threw her out of my apartment and quickly called the police.

The responding officers didn't even appear surprised when I told them what happened and I can only surmise that this must not have been the first time they heard about the things this sicko does. In fact, they looked at me like I was crazy for even attempting to file a report and threatened to arrest me if I wasted their time with what they termed "nonsense."

What is society coming to?

After yesterday's events I took another day off so that Spot and I could spend a quiet day together. I went to Blockbuster and rented some of his favorite classic movies. When I returned home, I set up the movies and made some popcorn for us - which almost turned out to be a disaster.

I'd forgotten that Spot chokes whenever he eats popcorn. Sure enough, as the opening credits for "Benji" rolled, Spot began to cough and gag. With cat-like reflexes, I jumped up, grabbed him by the midsection, and performed the Heimlich maneuver. After a few tense seconds everything turned out okay.

Unnerved by that frightening incident, I threw away the popcorn and I made some nachos for us. Being the great kid he is, Spot was more worried about me than he was himself. He tried to lift my spirits by dipping his face directly into the bowl to eat the nachos . Sure enough, it worked. All the way through "The Shaggy D.A." and "Rin Tin Tin" I couldn't help but to laugh each time I looked over and saw his face covered in cheese.

This afternoon, I walked into Spot's bedroom and found him licking himself. I guess I should have seen this coming. After all, he is at that age. Still, are you ever prepared when it happens?

Embarrassed by what I'd seen, I quickly closed the door and went back into the living room. Eventually, Spot walked out and joined me on the couch. While I'm sure that we both would have been more comfortable pretending the incident had never happened, I felt the need to reassure him. I told him that he had no reason to be embarrassed about what he was doing and that it was just a natural part of growing up. To help avoid a repeat, I promised Spot that beginning immediately, I'll knock and wait for his reply before I enter his bedroom. I also put a lock on the door so that he'd know that I respect his privacy.

Lastly, I decided to bite the bullet and have the "birds and the bees" talk that I'd been putting off for the past year or so. In retrospect, it might have been wise to have done it on the day that he jumped up and started humping my neighbor's leg - but I'd been too embarrassed to raise the issue. Now, I hoped that I wasn't too late.

I sighed, pulled a copy of the Karma Sutra from the bookshelf, and settled in for a long talk with him. After a few hours of explaining intercourse - and reminiscing about some of the positions that I had used - I noticed that Spot had fallen asleep with his head on my lap. I rubbed his head lightly and smiled before I carried him off to bed. My little boy is growing up, but those moments of childlike innocence still touch my heart and make me proud to be his father.

After an eventful week, I wanted to do something special for Spot, so we got dressed up and headed out to dinner and a movie. I hadn't mentioned it before because I didn't think it mattered in this day and age, but apparently the color of Spot's fur is still an issue some people.

We went to restaurant after restaurant and every one of them refused to serve Spot. Not only that, but they wouldn't even allow him to enter! No matter how much I argued, they refused to see how ignorant their stance was. It made me so frustrated and angry that it brought tears to my eyes. Of course, Spot remained his usual stoic self. I could see the disappointment and hurt in his eyes, but he just kept looking up at us like he couldn't understand a word we said.

I admired his courage and self-control he demonstrated by refusing to engage them in debate. Instead, he let his silence and quiet dignity do the talking for him. I guess the old adage is true. No matter how old you get, you can still learn a lot from your kids.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Strange Rules at Starbucks

I was in the men's room at Starbucks this weekend when I noticed a sign above the sink that read "Employees must wash hands after using the restroom."

Which is ridiculous. I mean, why they won't just let me wash my own hands?