Friday, December 30, 2005

When O.J. stopped by for dinner

The day was turning to dusk when the black Hummer limo pulled into my driveway. Looking through the kitchen window, I had no idea who it might be. I wasn't expecting anyone. But who was it? Surely the Jahoveh's Witnesses haven't upgraded from walking to Hummers. After the limo pulled to a stop, I watched as a neverending stream of people stepped out. It was like an entourage. A posse. And then, a tall, familiar figure got out and began walking to my door. "Oh my God," I thought. "It's the Juice."

My brain began to osilate between answering the door and hiding in the laundry closet. Afterall, O.J. Simpson is rumored to have a checkered past when it comes to ringing doorbells. Wahdoidowhadoidowahdoido? ok...Ok...OK...huuuuuuh...oh boy. I took a deep breath and walked to the door. Maybe O.J. is just stopping by to say hi. Or maybe he wants to see if he still has the touch. As I opened the door, and saw the former running back with 20 people in black suits and sunglasses standing behind him, he smiled.

O.J.: "Hey, how are you? I'm O.J. Simpson. We got lost and we're hungry. Could we come in for dinner?"
Me: "Wha..."
O.J.: "Thanks!"

And as The Juice and his posse filed past me, my brain was flatlining. I don't even know how to cook! When I walked back inside, I asked O.J. what he wanted to eat. He replied, "Steak. And lots of it." When I said I don't have any steak, he said, "I thought so," and then snapped his fingers to one of his posse members who walked out to the Hummer limo. Returning with is arms full of steak, the man said no words as he walked to my grill and began cooking.

O.J. stood in my kitchen noding his head and staring contently. When I approached to speak to him, he said, "I know what you're going to ask. Why is O.J. Simpson standing in your kitchen with 20 other people. It's not something you see everyday, I know. But you must understand that I am in the middle of a very important task. I must find who killed Nicole and Ronald Goldman. If it takes a lifetime, so be it. Your town is the latest stop on my worldwide tour. No city, town, hamlet, village or dwelling will be spared. Consider me a modern day Genghis Kham without the pillaging and killing. Well, I will pillage if need be, but I don't want to kill anyone. I want to find the killers. I think the steaks are ready now, son. Say, do you have any A-1?"

After I pointed to the refrigerator, he patted me on the back and walked away. Previously, the thought of O.J. Simpson patting me on the back was a terrifying thought. Now I understood the pain the man lived with everyday. He had a mission. An impossible one. He had to find the killer. And I was going to help him.

Sitting down to eat, O.J. talked to no end on many subjects. How he wished he hadn't left the Buffalo Bills for his last two seasons. How never winning a Super Bowl still frustrates him. How Leslie Neilson is the most underappreciated actor of our time and the "Naked Gun" series has never been fully embrased by the American public. "It's better than three-fourths the crap made today," he said. And, man, he ate a lot of steak.

When dinner was over, we did not bother with cleaning the dishes. I would not be here again. The dishes did not matter. What did matter was my new purpose in life. It is a strange feeling when you abandon your world for something completely new. But when it is an existence as noble as helping an accused and acquitted man find the real killer, it is a worthwhile life to live.

Maybe one day we will find who committed the evil crime. Or maybe we won't. Either way, at least we will have tried. And as O.J. and I walked to his Hummer limo that night, the look in his eye told me that together, we will succeed.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa Claus: The Untold Story

The legacy of Santa Claus is one of the most debated subjects of our time. While most know him as a jolly fat man in a red suit who slides down chimmneys and delivers gifts to children all over the world, others know a different man. Saying he is a man guilty of crimes involving slave labor and animal abuse, Santa's detractors describe him as a white-bearded, fat-bellied tyrant who is unfit for society.

Tonight, we will study this Machiavellian figure who lives in the outer reaches of Earth's Arctic wasteland, the North Pole. Who was he? What has he done? How does he continue to be so successful? It should be noted Santa refused comment for this investigation, but the stories involved come from those with a knowledge of the man known as Santa Claus.

The story of Santa Claus begins before he was known by his commonly recognized moniker. Originally Sherman McBride, he was a resident of West Bend, Wisc. who was known to go on 12-hour drinking binges. While drunk, he would eventually break into department stores, steal toys and then deliver them to houses in the area. He would do this while wearing a bright red leisure suit, and while it was viewed as being cute for awhile and downright heroic by the children, some townspeople and local merchants soon grew weary of McBride's drunk Robin Hoodian adventures.

West Bend authorities did not feel compelled to send McBride to jail, but rather banished him to "areas not suitable for normal human life and a place where he won't damage the social thread of everyday society." Nobody quite knew what this meant, but one day in 1958, McBride was found lying in an alley drunk off his ass and put in the trunk of a limegreen Ford Fairline and driven to the North Pole. Somewhere along the way in the upper reaches of Canada, his captors decided to kidnap a woman named Edna Sanders so McBride wouldn't be alone at the eventual destination. Eventually, they arrived in the North Pole. It was a long journey, and McBride did not quite know what to do. With a strange woman who seemed to not want to be there, McBride decided in the midst of yet another bender to change his name to Santa Claus. It seemed different enough. He did not want to be Sherman McBride anymore.

On a walk with Edna on a mild -25 degree day, Santa noticed a group of elves milling about. He figured that he could use the only residents of this desolate land for his personal bidding somehow. Remembering back to his days of plundering stores, he decided to go on nighttime raids of elf camps where he and Edna would kidnap entire families of elves. Once back at Santa's newly constructed factory and encampment, the elves would be put through rigourous 18 hour workdays (with one 15 minute) break building toys for the next year's Christmas.

Santa decided on Christmas because he could only travel one day a year now with his remote outpost in the North Pole. How to do the traveling was one question he pondered day and night. However, one drunken night, he came to the conclusion that flying reindeer was the answer. So he and Edna rounded up any stray reindeer in the area they could find. While eating dinner, Edna asked Santa just how he planned to make the reindeer fly. Angrily, he said, "Damn, woman! Magic dust, what else?" and commanded her to make magic dust. Surprisingly, she was able to do so, and the reindeer flew.

While vodka plus reindeer torture was one of his favorite pastimes, the reindeer named Rudolph was the one Santa enjoyed ostrisizing the most. Not only did Rudolph have a bright red nose that glowed in the dark, he was not the brightest one of the group. Santa commented regularly that "despite his goddamn red spotlight of a nose, that damn reindeer couldn't find his ass with both hooves in the dark." Only on a foggy night when Rudolph was his only option did Santa give him any benefit. After the successful flight, together, Santa and Rudolph became the stars of the North Pole and Christmas. However, Santa did all he could to prevent his now-prized reindeer from receiving too much credit. At one low point in both of their lives and careers, Santa introduced Rudolph to horrors of heroin and cocaine. While he eventually recovered thanks to the magic workings of the Chief Elf, Rudolph never fully trusted Santa again. Due to Santa's status as an unquestionable figure, he never faced the consequences of his actions.

But despite his being one of history's most infamous elf, labor and animal rights abusers and generally being recognized as an incorrigible drunk prick, Santa remains a beloved figure around the world. Thanks to an ever-expanding public relations campaign, Santa's image becomes softer and more cuddly every year as his real personality becomes increasingly malevolent, darker and disturbing.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Day in the Life of Peyton Manning, Time Traveler: Part 1

As Peyton Manning roared through the worm hole he recently discovered in his clothes closet, he wondered if time traveling was such a good idea. "What if I don't make it back in time for Sunday's game? I can't let them start Jim Whatshisface." But now wasn't the time to think about that.

The time to say "no, jumping into that worm hole might be dangerous" would have been as he stood eating his cereal, staring with a contemplative grimace on his face at the whirring flashes of light. Over and over for what seemed like two hours, he debated if whether he should jump in and see what was within. But with his wife on vacation, Peyton decided that with no one around to advise him otherwise, it might be a good experience. Afterall, worm holes looked pretty cool in the movies. And he was just generally bored and had nothing better to do.

So after putting his cereal away and dressing himself in full pads, Colts uniform and helmet, Peyton jumped. At first, it felt like a curly slide, but then turned into the rollercoaster of death as he tumbled this way and that, falling and rising. "AHHHHHHH!!! I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so....SCARED!" he screamed. Faster and faster he went until, finally, he dropped out of the sky.

"Sweet Jesus's mother killing a grizzly bear! Who are you?" asked a startled man, pointing his musket at Peyton.

"I'm Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Who are you, where am I, when am I and who the hell are they," our woozy hero replied.

"I have no idea what you're talking about, but I'm Davy Crockett, it's March 6, 1836, we're at The Alamo in San Antoino, Texas, that's General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna Perez de Lebron's Mexican Army, and we're about to die come morning," the man said.

Peyton stepped back and pondered why of all times and places he had to come here. Noticing his worm hole about to close, he rushed toward it, but it was too late. The quarterback of an undefeated football team, he would now have to attempt to lead this small band of revolutionaries to victory against Santa Anna's mighty Mexican army.

Just then, General William Barrett Travis sauntered over to Peyton and surveyed him. Travis, angered by the lack of reinforcements he requested, was intrigued at the sight of this stranger. He knew the average size of the Mexican soldier was 5-feet-1-inch, and with this peculiar giant on his side, the rebels might just have a chance. Doubtful, but possible. And so Peyton Manning was put in charge of the Texas rebellion.

Immediately, he began pointing, screaming and waving his arms to the others atop the Alamo. "BLUE 42, BLUE 42! RED DOG! SLANT 2! DOWN SET! HUT...HUT...HUT...HIKE!!!" The soldiers just stood confused at the strange helmeted man standing before them gesticulating like a madman. And Peyton realized this wasn't a football game. He asked Travis what to do.

"Lead them," Travis said, a tear flowing down his weathered cheek.

And Peyton knew the winning answer. Letting out a scream that crossed centuries of time, he summoned help. And with that, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Bob Sanders dropped out of the sky.

"What the hell, man? I was sleeping," Sanders said.

"Bob, hit them," Peyton answered sternly while pointing out at the Mexican troops.

"Peyton, I'm tired, and don't you think that changing the past and messing with the whole space-time continuum thing might not be such a smart..."


And with that, Bob Sanders whirled through the Mexican troops leaving no survivors, and the Texas rebels won and had several rounds of beers and they all lived happily ever after in their new state free from Mexico, and Peyton and Bob found the worm hole exit and went back to 2005, the end and goodnight.

# # #

I'm tired, and I had to end it somehow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Build me a statue

NBA player Vince Carter is going to have a statue of himself built in front of his high school's new gym that will be funded for by the $2.5 million Carter donated to the school. I wonder if there are better ways the money could be used than a life-size statue of Vince Carter.

Although, I suppose that if I were to donate some money to Butler's school of journalism, I would like to have a bigger than lifesize statue of myself built in front of the Fairbanks Center. That would be a fitting tribute to me, the legend that I am. Me up there in marble looking all regal holding my notebook and massacring the competition. It would need a fitting inscription, too. Actually, I don't think I should have to donate any money. I gave them five years of my life, the least they can do is give me a giant marble statue. A couple big fountains would be nice, as well. They could have a water and music show every night with lights illuminating the water and my statue. It would conclude with a fireworks display. While they're at it, they could also just name the School of Journalism after me because, Pulliam? What's a Pulliam? Anybody who reads this and is still at Butler, please bring this up with Dr. Anokwa next semester. It needs to happen.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Snake, snake! It's a snake!

This might be old news, but it's new to me. So, you take a movie with the general plot being an assassin who wants to kill a witness in protective custody by releasing a bunch of poisonous snakes on an plane flight over the Pacific Ocean. OK. That's one of the greatest plot lines ever. No bombs. No guns. No crazed militants. But snakes. And then that movie needs a name. What is chosen?

Snakes On A Plane.

Genius. Snakes On A Plane was the original working title, but it was later changed to Pacific Air Fight 121. And then back to Snakes On A Plane. I don't know why it was ever changed. It's the most amazing movie title in the history of movie titles. People aren't going to remember Pacific Air Flight 121. Snakes On A Plane, yes. It is perfect. Straightforward to a fault. B-movieish, too. You're already ripped into the movie just by the title. So there are snakes on the plane. Now I want to know how they're going to fight the snakes on the plane and what they're going to do to get the snakes off the plane.

And when you read it, it's not Snakes On A Plane. Rather, it's AHHHH! SNAKES ON A PLANE!!! Even better is that Snakes On A Plane stars Samuel L. Jackson. So, now, it's read as, AHHHHH! THERE ARE MUTHAFUCKIN' SNAKES ON THIS MUTHAFUCKIN' PLANE, AND THERE AIN'T A DAMN THING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!!!

And why did Samuel L. Jackson take the role? Because of the name of the movie.

"We're totally changing that back. That's the only reason I took the job: I read the title."

The possibilities for future sequels are endless, too.
Snakes On A Plane 2: Lions On A Bus.
Snakes On A Plane 3: Groundhogs On A Train.
Snakes On A Plane 4: Yaks On A Boat.
Snakes On A Plane 5: Squirrel Monkeys On A Bicycle.
Snakes On A Plane 6: Beetles In A Beetle. (DVD release only.)

I'll stop there, but you get what I'm saying.

This what I'm looking for in a movie. Complete, utter nonsense. Life is just a bunch of nonsense. Too often, movies try to put it all together for us. Well, I don't want it to be handed to me. I like nonsense. I want nonsense. Snakes On A Plane is going to give me nonsense. The theatre release date is Aug. 18, 2006. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's sucking my will to live!

When I was 11 or 12, my mom bought me a Flowbee (a.k.a. Suck Cut) haircutting device for Christmas. If you've ever seen Wayne's World, you'll know basically what I'm talking about. It was the worst Christmas present I ever got.

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The way it was supposed to work is it sucks your hair into the tube, the person cutting determines how much hair should go in, presses a button and cuts. The Flowbee website says you can give yourself a full haircut in five to 10 minutes, and you don't have to clean up afterward because the hair goes in the vacuum. The best line from the website is: "The Flowbee is so neat and efficient that you can give yourself a trim just minutes before a party or that important business meeting!" Hmmm.

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Interesting idea. Bad execution. And I don't think that guy is really cutting his hair. He looks too calm, but that could be a pained grimace. I'm a little thrown off his early 1990s haircut, weird green shirt, quasi-porn mustache and the fact he looks like Randy Johnson.

To picture what enduring the Flowbee was like for me, you must remember what happened to Garth in "Wayne's World." I believe his exact quote when Wayne used the Suck Cut was, "It's sucking my will to live." Basically, that's what it did.

Dad sat young me down in the chair and went to work. It failed. The thing sucked my hair up into the nozzle and got stuck. I cried out something to the effect of, "Ow! It hurts! Stop!" And it cut. Oh, it cut all right. It cut just enough to make me look like a freak. In those days, my hair never was particularly well done anyway, but after that episode, I had to go to the barber to get it fixed as well as it could possibly be fixed.

Mom, being her normal difficult self, said that it wasn't the machine's fault it didn't work. It had to be the operator. She wanted to try it herself, but I wouldn't allow it. Thankfully, it was returned. Or broken into a million pieces and burned. That latter would have been more favorable.

(Side story about my youth and bad hair experiences. When I was in fifth grade, my dad took me to a barber shop in Plainfield where they had done a good job before. However, the second time, they cut the lower part of the back of my head a lot shorter than anyplace else, and it looked like a haircut a lot of the girls at school had at the time. That was a fun experience. Dad wasn't too happy. I wasn't too happy. My enemies, they were happy.)

The invention of the Flowbee was a dark day in haircare. It is amazing that it is still for sale. Even more amazing is that it costs $59.95. I am sure that if I watched enough late night television, I would run across an infomercial for it right alongside the miracle hair remover device where they show the guy with the massive backhair.