In Search of a Summer Beach Movie – Part 3: Ukulele and Bongos

Bubbles and her friends arrived on the beach once again after a long day of tourist activities including shopping and museums. “Today was just nifty!” Bubbles exclaimed. She admired the sun starting to slip beyond the horizon.

Her friends laid out towels and groaned as they stretched out. “Yep. Now I just want to relax for an hour before the others show up.”

A man chasing a woman in a bikini ran by, kicking up sand as they went.

Bubbles’s second friend watched them go, unsure of how to respond. She then turned her attention on Bubbles. “Aren’t you going to sit for a while? We’re going to probably be up half of the night.”

A group of their other friends who were on a road trip were merging vacations for the evening. The girls agreed to let the rather large group crash at their hotel room and hang out for the day. Bubbles was thrilled with this plan since the idea of so many people crowded into a single space reminded her of a Frankie and Annette movie.

She started to rummage through a large duffle bag she had retrieved from the back of her station wagon. Out came her portable radio, a ukulele, a pair of bongos, and several outfits.

Holding out one outfit to the taller of her two friends, she proudly proclaimed, “Look! I bought you a dress!”

The bright blue garment swayed in the breeze. Thousands of polyester strings layered atop of spandex were thrust into the friend’s hands. “That’s a lot of fringe. I mean . . . A lot of fringe. How many lampshades died to make this?”

“It’s so you can go-go dance. This is going to be the absolute ultimate!”

“Uh huh.” Her friend’s mouth hung open as she tossed the dress into her beach bag and allowed it to fall all the way to the sandy-covered bottom.

The woman being chased by the man went by once again. “Should we help her?” one of Bubble’s friends wanted to know as the pair turned at the end of the beach and vanished into a crowd of families.

Bubbles waved a hand nonchalantly. “Oh she’s fine. They’re just a running gag.”

“What?”

“What.”

Her other friend lifted the bongos and tapped the top to a slow rhythm. “What is all this stuff for?”

“A spontaneous musical number.”

One friend grunted and fell back onto the towel. Her she wrapped the edge of the terrycloth around her neck, pretending to choke herself.

“We have to have a musical number!” Bubbles announced. “Every beach party has a musical number. Look. I have lyrics and parts for everyone as soon as they get here.”

“No one will want to sing, Bubbles.” The friend with the towel around her neck tried to say.

“Of course they will. Look at that ocean and that sunset. The entire atmosphere is going to just want to make people sing. You wait and see.”

The same friend rolled her eyes. “Have you met our friends? The only way you’re going to get them to sing is if you get them drunk first and then I don’t think they’ll sound too great.”

“You’re right. We really need a full band, but I figure this stuff will have to do. I printed out the song and if you want we can practice before they get here.”

“Bubbles—” the first friend whined.

Her other friend slapped hand in the sand and they exchanged a silent, “I’ll handle this.”

She looked directly at Bubbles and gave her a sympathetic smile. “This looks like fun, but I thought you said you wanted a spontaneous musical number.”

“That’s how it usually goes when on the beach. If we were in a club or at a party it would be planned because there’s usually a stage but—”

“Then doesn’t lyrics and rehearsing take away from the spontaneity?”

“I guess . . .” Bubbles’s face fell and she sunk to the sand, tucking her legs beneath herself so she could sit in her pencil skirt.

“So just leave it alone. Like you said, the atmosphere is right. If a song and dance number happens, then it happens.”

And so they waited the hour for their friends to join them. As the others cat-napped, confident that they had escaped another of her cheesy plans, Bubbles sulked and ran the sand through her fingers. The stack of printed song lyrics became half buried beside her. The sun dipped below the ocean around the same time that six other boys and girls arrived in a rented van.

They all gathered on the beach, chatting about their different adventures and what their next plans were. Bubbles stayed mum, smiling weakly as times she thought were appropriate.

Then, a strange thing happened. One of the new arrivals picked up the bongo drums, at first goofing off and then absent-mindedly creating a strong beat. Another boy lifted the ukulele and tried to play a melody that matched the rhythm.

One of the girls found the song lyrics in the sand by Bubbles’s. “What are these?”

“Nothing,” Bubbles answered glumly, barely noticing as the other girl passed out the papers.

After a few more minutes of conversation, two of the newly arrived friends tried singing the words on the paper to the beat of the bongo drum. Two more friends joined in. Soon, a full blown sing-along had broken out.

Bubbles hopped to her feet in joy and started to belt out a verse. Other people on the beach came by and joined in with hand clapping.

Her original pair of friends sat amongst the chorus as the radio was switched on and people began to dance. They shrugged at one another before joining in.

Bubbles grinned at them. “See, didn’t I tell you! Isn’t this just the grooviest!”

In Search of a Summer Beach Movie – Part 2: “You Stupid!”

The following day, Bubbles traveled to a different beach and got her start earlier in the day. She spread out a towel under the flimsy umbrella she had dug into the sand. She nestled beside her wicker purse and removed her book, her deflated beach ball, a portable radio with a long antenna, and a bottle of Coppertone which she was fairly certain had expired in 1967. Within the next hour, her two friends showed up with exhausted expressions.

“Hey, girls!” Bubbles eyed their modern swimsuits with her own criticisms, “Thanks for coming out here with me. You missed a swell time yesterday, believe me!”

One of her friends started to apply sunscreen generously to her nose and cheeks. “Yeah, I’m just really not into surfing. Besides, you should have come with us. The amusement parks here are so much better than at home.” The truth was, both friends worried about having the responsibility of rescuing Bubbles from drowning if she tried to do any tricks on the board.

“How was the surfing?” her second friend wanted to know.

“Oh that.” Bubbles blushed and stumbled to get up. “Hey, who wants to go start a game? I can blow up the ball and—”

“I have to let the sunscreen soak in,” her first friend explained as she ducked under the umbrella.

“And I need to answer this text from Mike,” the second friend answered.

“Is that all you two think about is boys?” Bubbles whined.

“I didn’t say anything about boys,” her first friend pointed out.

“And Mike’s watching my cats. Even if he wasn’t my boyfriend I’d want to hear from him. I don’t trust my roommate to feed them,” her second friend explained.

Bubbles sighed and swung her arms back and forth as if dancing to a song in her head. “You just wait and see. He’s going to try to make you jealous by flirting with your roommate, because he probably thinks you’re out here flirting with all of the muscly beach hunks.”

Her two friends glanced at the other beach inhabitants, most of whom were too old or too young for their taste. At that exact moment, a man in a Speedo strolled by with a metal detector. Tufts of curly, dark hair blanketed him and peeked out from under his tan arms. In unison, her friends asked, “What hunks?”

“They’re around here somewhere. They’re probably planning revenge against some bikers who were on their turf.”

“Wait, I thought your thing was beach movies. Why are you talking like West Side Story?”

Bubbles went on, ignoring the comment. She pointed at a group of men and women in leather vests who had just arrived in the parking lot. “See! There there’s the biker gang!” She started to run towards the group while her friends screamed at her frantically to get back to the safety of the beach blanket.

The group was not the clean cut sort from the movies Bubbles loved. They were all middle aged with long, tangled beards or multiple piercings. Still, Bubbles ran up to the one she assumed was the leader. He had the longest beard and his tattoos more elaborate than the other men or women.

“Excuse me, can you tell me when the rumble will be over?” she asked politely.

The rest of the assembly started to grumble amongst themselves, thinking she was laughing at them. Yet, the man she had spoken to directly eyed the girl up and down, noting her 1960s style swimsuit and her bouffant hair. Removing his sunglasses, he asked carefully, “What did you just ask?”

“You know! Where you all have a slapstick fight against the young summer surfers over some bar or nightclub that’s probably run by a celebrity who had nothing better to do. And why doesn’t everyone in the group repeat you for emphasis?”

Each of the motorcycle enthusiasts went silent as the man she addressed twerked his mouth and leaned his head down into a dark stare. “Do you think I’m Eric Von Zipper?”

“Well, yes,” she replied with complete innocence.

The man couldn’t hold it in any longer. His face broke into a smile and the rest of his friends stared to laugh. When the mirth died down a little, he exclaimed, “I love those movies!”

In Search of a Summer Beach Movie – Part 1: The Surf-ening

Her name was probably something very Anglican and 60s like Susan or Patricia or Sally, but for the summer time she went by a nickname – Bubbles. Now, I was not the 60s and the name Bubbles had absolutely nothing to do with her personality, appearance, or even a love of the Powerpuff Girls. She simply worried about copyright infringement if she started calling herself Gidget. So Bubbles seemed a good alternative.

Bubbles loved cheesy teen beach movies and she was determined that this would be the summer she would no longer watch them – she would live them!

Traveling to the beach turned out to be harder than she thought. Each time she asked someone, the Californians would just point westward. They also seemed less than impressed with the Annette and Frankie music blasting from her radio. It took all morning and lot of colorful driving language, but she finally got her Woodie station wagon to a popular surfing spot.

First, she was shocked by the lack of people playing volleyball or building sand castles. There were no faux-Polynesian style huts surrounded by Tiki torches and the beach bums were actual transients who lived on the beach, not hot college guys having a break from responsibility.

Finding a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, she lifted the ball cap pulled down over his eyes. When she had his attention, Bubbles declared, “Here I am! Teach me to surf!”

The man redirected her to a corporate-owned building on the boardwalk and grunted, “Effing tourists” before returning to his nap.

Still, she was determined. She marched up to the desk and repeated, “Here I am! Teach me to surf!”

The instructor, who not blonde or wearing anything colorful or in possession of a name like Kahuna (his name plaque read “Ricardo”), chuckled at her. “Sure. It’s about $60 to join into the group lesson, but that includes rental of equipment. How does that sound?”

“Fantastic. But I do plan on using part of my allowance to buy my own board someday. That would be the absolute ultimate!”

“Uh huh.” Ricardo answered, not sure of how else to respond. “Um . . . yeah. Our boards are all out back. They are just standard for teaching standing up and paddling—”

“What colors are available? I really want yellow with a white stripe or maybe something with pretty flowers all over it!”

“They’re just plain boards for learning on. We don’t customize them.”

“Oh. I guess that’s okay for today. Maybe by next week I can bring my own board? How long does it take for me to learn how to surf while sitting on someone’s shoulders?”

“We don’t teach that. In fact I wouldn’t recommend that for you at all . . . ever.” He watched her mouth quirk in stubbornness and decided to change the subject. “Let’s get you sized for a wetsuit.”

“Golly gee. Thanks all the same. But I’m going to surf in this!” She motioned to her light pink two piece. The waist of the bottoms reached above her belly button and the sports bra-like top had little white flowers embroidered along the thick straps.

Ricardo, officially having decided he did not get paid enough for this, held his hand against the bridge of his nose and demanded. “Out. Just get out.”

Mystery of Historical Monsters

For those of you that know me well, you know I possess an unhealthy amount of knowledge of fairy tales in general. This fairy tale trivia led me to have an equally unhealthy knowledge of Marshal of France Gilles de Rais.

If you have pushed the 1999 Joan of Arc movie from you mind, allow me to refresh your memory. Jeanne, the French farm girl who led armies against the English during the Hundred Years War and got a warm stake for her troubles, had a commander who served with her. When the war ended, de Rais went home where he squandered his fortune on a play he wrote, defied the church by building a chapel that did not fully conform to the 1430s religious norms, and started to practice occult rituals. Oh! And he was tried then executed for the brutal abuse and murder of approximately 150 young boys. Did I almost forget to mention that part?

Gilles de Rais became the bogeyman of the French medieval world. He was hanged and burned for what is the most evil of human atrocities, and thus became the cautious tale parents told their children. Over the next two centuries, the story of a child killing lord morphed into that of a wife killing lord called Bluebeard who kept the bodies of his victims on his property as de Rais supposedly did. That right! That’s the plot of a fairy tale, for those of you who didn’t know. But you will probably hear me talk more about Bluebeard later.

The mystery I present today is not about the fairy tale or the crimes themselves – it is about how society wants to hold onto the morbid belief in such heinous monsters. Over the last several centuries, it has been suggested that de Rais was framed for his crimes, that he himself was the victim. The same has been suggested of Countess Bathory, the woman walled up in her own castle for the torture and murder of young women because of a belief that bathing in their blood would keep her young. Several historians have wondered if the crimes against Bathory were really a way to knock a woman from her position of power. Remember, the Middle Ages were not huge fans of women in general. Unless you count that woman who was the first to create a foaming, full headed beer. I bet they loved her.

The idea of de Rais’s innocence is that he was targeted by the church and those who wanted his wealth or remaining lands. It didn’t help that Joan herself was burned for heresy or that two of the judges at his trial were men who could legally inherit his property. Every few years, another article or book comes out wondering if de Rais was a legit serial killer or another target in a church “witch hunt”. And every few years, people familiar with the story scoff.

I am not saying which way I side with. I am just wondering why people hold on so tightly to the monsters. Some just want to believe that de Rais and Bathory did these terrible things and don’t want to hear the other side. They want Bluebeard to still be Bluebeard. And why? Why is there insistence that the Hills Have Eyes really is based on a true story and not English anti-Scottish propaganda?  Why are there some who seem disappointed when told the truth of Ed Gein, when what was wanted was a mix of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Silence of the Lambs? Are we that morbid that we need the monsters to be the most monstrous they can be? Is it just the need for bogeymen and a good scare? Or maybe you just said to yourself, “Gross. I do not feel that way.” Fairy enough, but I bet you know someone who does. Even the content of most crime dramas and Lifetime movies would suggest a need for morbid curiosity.

It could just be that everyone needs a good scare once in a while and all of these historical figures are more the stuff of legend than reality. It feels safe to villainize those who were tried and found guilty and safer still when they died hundreds of years ago. Or I could just be way off base here and sufficiently creeped some of you out.

I would tell you to go watch a Disney movie to make yourself feel better. But don’t get me started on the morbid background of those!

Mystery of the Forgotten 80s TV Robot

This week's mystery will be short, sweet, and utterly head scratching: Vicki the Small Wonder Robot.

For you 80s children who used to tune into this little science fiction gem, just bear with me here. Think about it. Vicki was the invention of a set of parents who didn’t want to do housework anymore. At the beginning of the show, she wasn’t quite their kid, but they seemed to care about her beyond just being considered a Roomba in a white pinafore. Although, they technically left it to their son and the oblivious yet obnoxious next door neighbor to teach Vicki about humanity, they kept hinting that she was slowly becoming a part of the family. They even sent her to school and taught her to smile.

If they show had continued, what would have become of Vicki? The dad would have had to keep altering her every few years so the neighbors wouldn't be suspicious of why she was eternally 10 years old. And if Vicki continued to show more signs of humanity, would she have eventually become sentient? And if she did, would she have gone down the path of the Robin Williams or Haley Joel Osment android? Would she have longed for true humanity to the point of depressed desperation?

Or would she have followed the more predictable killer robot route? Would the laugh track have finally driven her over the edge until she dropped couches on every human being?

Think of it. No one would see the Skynet apocalypse coming from a little girl in a pretty red dress. "Hasta la vista, Lawson Family"!

Mystery of the Roanoke Documentary

The mystery of America’s first colony is one of the great unsolved events of this country’s written history.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s the short version. Before Jamestown and that liar John Smith, English settlers colonized the “New World” on an island in North Carolina during the late 1500s. Because they essentially set-up their fort on a swamp and did not adequately prepare supplies for the new environment, their governor John White had to return to England.  Because of politics and armadas and Queen Elizabeth’s lack of interest, it was three years before he came back with help.

And when he did, the whole colony had vanished.

They left behind a single clue, the word CROATOAN carved into a post. White asked the local Croatan Native Americans, but they had no idea where the settlers had gone.

It’s a great story, right! Did they join a Native American community? Did they try to swim back to England? Did they just die out? Did aliens abduct them? The mind reels!

But that is not my mystery this week. Oh no. My mystery is how could any documentary about such a subject be boring?

History Channel aired a special on the controversial Dare Stones. The stones are a series of rocks found in the 1930s which were supposedly clues left by White’s daughter, Eleanor Dare. The stones were determined as fake decades ago, but the documentary wanted to prove that one amongst them could have been authentic.

The television special was essentially two men driving back and forth up the east coast. They talked to the same three or four people while overdramatic music would crescendo at inappropriate moments.

Every once in a while, re-enactors appeared to represent the lost colonists wandering through the woods. They were led by an actress meant to be Eleanor herself. If she was not trudging through the same patch of trees over and over again, she was staring longingly at the sea or down at a rock. That was pretty much it. Three scenes of historical re-enactment played repeatedly before or after each commercial break to buffer the footage of the two men driving.

This went on for an hour and, I confess, I dozed in and out yet could still follow everything perfectly. That should give you an idea of how little was actually said.

At the end of the hour of repetitive hypothesizing and talk of stone testing, the result was (drumroll and spoiler alert) — Inconclusive!

That’s right! All of that hemming and driving and staring into the sea and the only way to find out what they decided is to watch the TWO HOUR follow-up documentary featuring the same men. I don’t think I could do it.

This is nothing against the people on the program or what they were trying to do. The mystery here is how could they take something so fascinating and make it so damn boring

Even the actress playing Eleanor Dare looked bored and she got a free trip to the beach!

Mystery of the Nabob

Last week, the United States pondered the definition of a mysterious word which appeared on Twitter. My next mystery is also a based around a single word, but one which stems from many of our childhoods, not one which adds further confusion to the political offices of our country. To some, perhaps this word was never a mystery. But to those of you who, like me, always wondered here is the answer.

What is a nabob?

The classic, toe-tapper from Aladdin entitled “A Friend Like Me” includes this word. While the Genie sings, Aladdin nearly kisses him the form of a lovely, dancing girl. When the Genie turns back into himself and blushes at the stunned young man, he declares “You big nabob!” For most of my youth I assumed I was mishearing this word. To be perfectly honest, I just assumed Robin Williams was saying stuff to say stuff. I never thought too hard about what a “nanoo nanoo” could possibly be, so why would this be any different.

Then, the older I got the more I wondered because, even though Disney had the foresight to allow the late, great Mr. Williams improvise many of this lines, I doubted that they would allow complete nonsense into their big-budget animated feature.

Instead of wondering in vain, I recalled a tool which allows me to solve such problems within seconds – a dictionary! And by a dictionary, I was course mean, the internet! Did you think I was a Luddite?

It turns out a nabob is a person of “great wealth or importance” or a “provincial governor of the Mogul empire of India”. Many English men who made their fortune through the East India Company were referred to as nabobs. I could detail for you a history of the East India Company, but it’s a long story of economics and opium and cultural diffusion and far too few pirates (despite what movies will have you believe). By the nineteenth century, nabobs apparently were no longer the fashion and the word fell out of use, save for one bizarre time that Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew used it to describe people in the media.

When I looked up nabob on the Merriam-Webster website, it said that the word was in the bottom 40% of their internet traffic popularity, so maybe not as many of you have wondered about this as I have. All the same, mystery successfully solved. Now the only question which remains is do we want to bring it back? It could be our secret word that sounds insulting, but isn’t. For example, did you hear that the nabob tweeted the word covfefe?

Side note: Don’t look up “nanoo nanoo” on Urban Dictionary. Just . . . just don’t.

Mysteries Abound!

This month’s blogs will focus on mysteries. Some mysteries shall be big – the kind which have baffled mankind through the ages! Those will be the sort of epic mysteries which vloggers re-hash within lists and History Channel makes over dramatic documentaries about! While other blogs will be rants about small mysteries – mysteries you might not have even realized WERE mysteries.

This week’s is one of these small mysteries. This is a mystery very personal and important to me. Feel free to comment and help if you can solve it.

Has anyone seen the TV remote? The one that controls the actual television set, not the one to the ROKU or the cable box. Because Caillou is on and I must have the satisfaction of shutting that little bald jerk up from my disgruntled place upon the couch! Therefore, I ask again. Does anyone know where the TV remote is?

Con Well Wishes

All right Phoenicians the day has come the start of another comic con. In just a few

hours the convention center doors will open and people from all different backgrounds

will crowd together into those doors and give the fire marshals palpitations. So, as you

are sweating within that mask, collecting that local art, and getting those

autographs from people you thought only existed on TV, Five Smiling Fish wants to wish

you the happiest and safest 2017 Phoenix Con. Let your geek flag fly! ...and don't forget to come by and see us.

Shhh...

Quiet! Listen carefully. Do you hear that? It's the calm before the glorious chaos that is Phoenix Comic Con.

Here is what you need to do to prepare:

1. Deep breaths

2. Create an easy-to-find meeting place for you and your friends

3. BRING WATER - stay hydrated!

4. Walkie talkies work where cell reception might fail

5. Be aware of local eateries for each night

6. Deodorant - Help keep the con funk under control

7. Vitamin C - Help keep the con crud under control

8. Make the world a better place - It's a crowded convention on a hot day. Tensions run high and sometimes people act like jerks. Don't give in to their behavior and don't let them ruin your good time.

Titles that We Need to Bring Back

There are positions and labels which have faded from use or common cultural recognition. However, as the modern world is. . . what it is, some of these terms really need to be brought back into circulation. Here are 5 I think would hold up well in today’s society.

5. Badger

This one is pretty self-explanatory once you know the history behind it. In early modern Europe anyone who bought food from farmers to re-sell it at market was called a badger (or sometimes bagger). You had to be licensed to do this to make sure you weren’t just trying to make money off other people’s work.  So many possibilities for this one, not just as a double meaning for people from Wisconsin. Think of all of the jobs which are a way to make money from someone else’s labor and how they badger you to buy. Makes sense, right.

4. Lector

In the 1930s, some businesses who wanted to keep their workers from striking hired lectors to read aloud and break up the monotony. No, seriously this was a thing. . . that didn’t really work (see Tampa cigar makers’ strike of 1931). But wouldn’t it be a fabulous title to bring back? That guy who always reads out “interesting” Facebook articles to the whole of the breakroom would no longer be annoying – he would be the “lector”.

3. Reeve

Feudalism produced all sorts of ways to give the illusion of representation and a say in one’s community, while still making certain that all people adhere to their place in the time period. A reeve was like the communicator between the peasants and the nobles who made sure the farms ran smoothly. Reeves were also peasants themselves who had been given a position of power. What if we started to call the heads of homeowners’ associations reeves? I feel this would fully encompass some of their out-of-date priorities. And we could always jokingly refer to them as “reavers” like the mutant killers from Firefly.

2. Bard

I want to be called a bard. I feel this would better explain my financial status as a writer in a more romantic way. When you tell people you are a musician or author, their gaze withers to pity and then they watch you buy the next round of drinks as if you are so brave. If you tell them they that you are a bard, people will either scratch their head and pretend to know what that is or give you a solemn nod of reverence before you continue your travels.

1. Berserker

This is a term for a Norse warrior who fought in a “trance-like state” which turned them into both a fearsome and a completely insane fighter. Clearly, this trance-like state could be applied to many in the modern world. Instead of just crunching numbers and imputing information mindlessly, you could do so with furious bad-ass-ittude! You would be the Berserker of the office and all would revere you!

Things to Celebrate May the 4th Be With You…That You Shouldn't Do at Work

1. Don’t stick cinnamon rolls to either side of your head. Let's face it, not everyone can have that luscious wig they threw on Carrie fisher. But if you come in wearing breakfast pastries over your ears not only will your bosses wonder about your sanity, your coworkers will be annoyed that you didn't bring them any. Plus, you'll attract ants.

2. Just because you're wearing a robe-like white dress without a bra, you are not automatically a princess. Stop trying to put medals on the big hairy guy in the next cubicle.

3. Searching through the art installation rock garden for Kyber crystal will not be taken with a grain of salt by office security. I'm pretty sure this is the workplace equivalent of digging through a fountain for pennies. Security won't understand that you need it for your lightsaber.

4. Don't spend your whole lunch period trying to pick a fight about ending of Rogue One.

5. Don't try to use the Force to throw plastic cutlery at your coworkers

6. When you overhear other people saying that they are not afraid of your boss, don’t go up to them and whisper in a croaking tone, “You will be. You. Will. Be.”

7. Don't tell your supervisor that you sense is great darkness in her/him

8. Don't announce to everyone that you are going to use the restroom by loudly humming the Imperial March 

9. When you steal someone else's yogurt from the fridge and they catch you, don't declare that you are a smuggler and it's what you do, sweetheart. If they question you further, don't then additionally declare that you are only there to get paid.

10. Don't fill out reports while muttering under your breath, “I am one with the force. The force is one with me.”

11. Every time the copy machine acts up, don't start pleading with it by using the words, “Droid please!”

12. Don't tell people to get out of your cubicle by singing the Bea Arthur song from the Christmas special.

13. Don't find your coworkers service dog and try to explain to it what a helmet is (or ask it to raise your orphaned children if you are ever killed upon Endor).

14. Don't reply to every piece of office gossip with, “Nooooo! That's not true! That's impossible!”

15.  And finally when your boss tells you that you have been fired for your strange shenanigans, don't tell them that if they strike you down it will only make you more powerful.

Great NOOOOOOOOO’s in Movie History

We all know the cliché - the long, drawn-out, noise of anguish that characters in movies wail in a moment of true drama. In other words, when the scriptwriter was up at 3am just trying to finish the scene.

So here’s a list of the top anguished cries in movie history (Spoilers ahead):

8. The Panicked Security Guard v. the Steam Roller

The first Austin Powers movie has some pretty good sight gags, but nothing beats that 30 seconds when the security guard stands there with his hand outstretched and his bottom jaw seemingly unhinged to let out his scream. He holds this scream for quite a while as the object of his demise slowly inches towards him from about 6 feet away.

7. The “What’s in the Box” No.

A more subtle no delivered by Brad Pitt, but considering how anguished this Seven performance is, I’m adding it to the list.

6. The Lord of the Rings No.

Any time someone does the long nooooooo in the LOTR trilogy, it’s pretty epic. Even when Sam does it. And Sam was probably the least dramatic Hobbit.

5. The All Eyes NOOOOOO!!!

Independence Day gave us some great action movie moments, including Will Smith crying out when his buddy, Harry Connick Jr., is shot down. What makes this anguished cry standout is the oxygen mask Smith is wearing, meaning he had to express his pain entirely through his eyes. It really does look like his eyebrows are trying to leap off of his head in order to emote.

4. The Point Break Yell and Shoot

This is of course a quintessential anguished cry. Keanu truly makes you feel his frustration and pain . . . And makes you wonder what happens when those bullets come back down.

3. The Hot Fuzz Parody of the Yell and Shoot

Nick Frost’s take on the Point Break moment is still weirdly emotional. In fact, something about the character reliving what is one of his favorite moments in cinema while he is debating shooting someone so close him is much more heartbreaking.

2. That’s Impossible!

Following the loss of his hand, Luke Skywalker’s discovery and then adamant denial of his true parentage feels like an appropriate time to yell “No!” No one wants to admit that the feelings they are searching told them that they guy who just sliced off your limb might be Dad. You’d rather hope that the feeling is indigestion.

1. The Childhood Trauma No!

You’re sitting in that movie theater or in your living room. You’re young and innocent and just bouncing happily to the music of Elton John. What could possibly go wrong? Then it happens. Mufasa plummets into that rampaging heard of water buffalo. And as he falls, Simba lets out a cry which matches the sorrow in your heat.

Honorable Mention: KAAAAAAHHHHHNNNN! Even though this is clearly the greatest of all anguished cries in any movie ever, because this amazing wail is a proper name, I am putting it in the honorable mention category. Thank you, Shatner, for yelling it. And thank you, Ricardo Montalbán, for inspiring it.

In No Way Honorable and Not Worth Mentioning: Where is Padme? Don’t worry about it, because that cry of anguish is not on this list. Total waste of James Earl Jones.

Monkeys of Betrayal

 

                Fictional monkeys. Such good sidekicks. Abu. Boots. Playful Heart Monkey (yes, Care Bears count). So cute. So silly. So loyal. So nothing like what you see at the zoo. Or are they?

Here is my list of top five fictional monkeys who deceived us in some way (spoilers ahead):

5. The Evil Monkey who Lives in Chris Griffin’s Closet

                Even though he was once a good monkey who overcomes his grief to go back to being a good monkey, this Family Guy reoccurring sight gag tormented a kid season after season because he was bitter that his monkey wife cheated on him. I know this is a show of illogical jokes, but who constantly points menacingly from within a closet in stranger’s house? He wasn’t actually evil, but he was most certainly a jackass.

4.  All Organ Grinder Monkeys

                This is a generalized comment on all classic films which featured an organ grinder and his cute little monkey grifter. Don’t be fooled by the man turning the crank and playing the music. The true mastermind behind this sidewalk attraction was always the monkey. You know that little so-and-so was using the ploy to pick pockets and spread fleas just for the fun of it.

3. Jack the Monkey

                I secretly like this buccaneer monkey from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. That being said, let’s face it – he was a little jerk. He was obsessed with cursed gold, he was the minion of a traitor, and he was dressed better than most of the other pirates which, to me, suggests a sort of manipulative deviousness.

2. The Monkey from Raiders of the Lost Ark

                This was the first time as a child when I was not devastated when an animal in a movie died. Granted, I wasn’t thrilled, but it was not the Neverending Story horse or Bambi’s mom scenario. He spied on and was part of a plot to kill Indiana Jones. This was even after Marion was so sweet to him. Enough said.

1. Curious George

                He’s not a monkey! He has no tail! He’s an ape. The Man with the Yellow Hat is in league with a primate of lies!

Blog Generators

Blog generators - apparently, this is a thing. If you can’t decide what to write about you can put in a series words and theses websites will come up with blog topics for you.

Isn’t that the whole point of a blog? You have something you want to rant about so you take fingers to keyboard and rant away? You carefully plan out your thoughts in a way which still bring across your point and yet relates to a vast range of others on the internet who have similar thoughts and interests.

That being said I have no idea what to blog about this week. I think I’ll get some ice cream. It’s good thinking food. May I recommend you do the same.

While I'm Being Rescued

                I was hanging over a pit of doom as a monstrous knight with a disgusting mole hair threatened me when someone broke through the door. Now, there are two knights, Sir Mole Hair versus the new contender. His armor is super shiny. It reminds me of the skim on the top of the slop that my neighbor feeds his pigs . . . Cripes. I need a better social life.

                The new knight is taking of his helmet. Whoops! Sorry. Her helmet. And that evil knight’s jaw just hit the floor.

                “Release your prisoner,” she demands.

                He is just laughing at her. Where is all that monologuing he was doing earlier?

                She looks at me and asks if I’m okay.

                My arms feel like they are going to fall off and I need a chamber pot. The snakes and toads under me are starting to get restless. If I struggle, I might fall in. “No! All month I keep getting kidnapped, eaten, and tricked! I’m sick of it! Why does this keep happening to me?”

                The evil knight is sneering at me. “Maybe it’s the way you dress?”

                The lady knight just unsheathed a sword and shouted. “That’s it! You die now!”

                The evil lord knight is doing the same. There is a lot of clanging. It’s not as exciting as I always thought a sword fight would be. I thought there would be back-flips and parrying. Where’s all the parrying? They just keep smacking the swords together and walking a few steps back in one direction.

                Another step. Another clang. Another step. Another clang. Yawn.

                Oh, I spoke too soon. The lady knight just ducked rather skillfully in that shiny armor and rammed her whole body into Sir Mole Hair’s torso. He did not see that coming, because he is down on the ground and . . . rolled right into the vat of toads and snakes. I didn’t know so many vipers would want to bite the same man at once. He’s getting all puffy and purple. He makes for a very ugly corpse.

                The lady knight carefully lowered me down. She really doesn’t seem too disconcerted by the bloated dead man so I guess I won’t bring it up.

                “Thanks.” I tell her while straightening my tunic and resting my arms.

                My gratitude surprises her. “You don't object to being rescued by a girl knight?”

                “Why would I? I'm being rescued. That's all that matters. I just wish you’d showed up earlier this month.”

                She’s blinking at me with the strangest expression. Maybe she’s starting at the scar on my neck. Should I tell her it’s the result of cuddles from a baby griffin? “You're not going to tell me to stop trying to take down the patriarchy?’

                “What’s patriarchy?”

                “It's a socioeconomic system designed by rich, white men meant to keep everyone else at a lower status.”

                “Did the patriarchy make me a peasant?”

                “Yes, feudalism is definitely a form of patriarchy.”

                I thought over her words long and hard. “Down with the patriarchy!”

                She sheaths her sword and collects her helmet. “Do you want to help me bring down the patriarchy?”

                “I don't know. I’m really tired. I just want to go home and lock my door.”
                “Do you at least want to help me throw rotten eggs that the lord sheriff’s house?”

                “Yeah, why not.”

                As she leads me from the dungeon, she turns and asks, “Not to be gross, but did you see the hair coming out of that guy’s mole?”

No Blog!

Due to the weather and unforeseen calamities involving ticktacktoe, Megan E. Vaughn's blog has gone missing this week. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please address all complaints to your local pharmacy and hopefully they will supply you with chocolate. Thank you.

While I Hang Out... Over a Pit of Doom

                I have been kidnapped. A very scary, large man in rather dark armor rode through the field yesterday, tied me to the back of a horse, and dragged me to his spooky castle where he is proceeding to torture me. This torture consists of hanging me by my arms over a vat of creepy things.

                While I respect that this evil lord does not live his life by stereo-typical gender norms, isn't he supposed to be kidnapping and torturing petite maidens with flowers in their hair? Not a 30-year-old, male peasant who were just trying to bring the wheat harvest in.

                I need to move to a new village. This one is hazardous to my health.

                My arms are tired. And this is stretching out the sleeves of my shirt! I know you must be thinking shouldn’t I be more concerned about the venomous snakes and toads slithering below me. You need to understand, I only own one shirt. I am a peasant after all.

                All of this swaying is making my stomach turn. The smell in this place doesn’t help. It smells like burnt feathers. I don’t like it and neither does my sensitive digestive system. I can’t tell if the gurgling noises I hear are coming from my stomach or from the venous toads.

                Sir Psycho is back. He’s taken off his helmet. Not to be judgmental, but he has one of those moles on his face with a long hair growing out of it. I feel it’s okay to be pointing this out since he did kidnap me. I mean, I have plague scars and I think that mole hair gross.

                “Well, sir. Do you tremble before my power? Soon, I will show the locals to fear me and they will give me control—”

                He’s ranting. I should really pay attention, but ugth! I can’t stop staring at that mole hair. Oh, when he talks, it shakes back and forth like a chapel bell rope. I have an urge to yank it out of his face.

                Oh. He’s laughing manically. And now he’s talking again. Did he just ask me if I’m ready for pie? Should I be listening more carefully?

                Ooooooo! He asked if I was ready to die. That makes much more sense.

                No! Disgusting! He’s twirling his finger around the mole hair now! Why would he do that? I’m going to be sick. I am. I am going to be—

                —          

The good news is, the serpents and toads all scattered to one side of the vat to get away from my vomit. The bad news is, if he lowers me down now, that’s what I’m going to land in. He does not look happy.

                “Sorry. Go back to your evil monologue,” I say wondering how awful my breath must be.

                He’s taking out a sword. His really angry at me. That’s not fair! I apologized. He’s coming towards the rope holding me up. The blade is starting to cut through the hemp. This is not going to be pleasant . . .

                Wait, is that knocking on the dungeon door?

While My Luck Runs Out

            I seem to be the subject of a bet. And not just the subject of any bet, but a bet between a banshee and a leprechaun! The leprechaun had tied my shoe laces together and tripped to me in a meadow by the river. This is even more amazing since before this happened my boots did not have laces.

            He then started clapping his hands, doing a jig, and laughing. Have you ever heard a leprechaun laugh? It’s not a fun sound.

            It was a few minutes after that that the banshee appeared. She started screaming almost immediately. Still, this high pitched noise was less annoying than the lepre-laugh. I'm not sure why she is so angry at the leprechaun. He keeps telling her that he won and then she starts screaming again. Honestly all I want is a pair of ear plugs!

            This grass is wet. I am quite uncomfortable, but I can’t get these enchanted boot laces unknotted. Oh. The banshee just threw a comb at the leprechaun. Bonked him right on his wee noggin. I’m assuming that is proper term for a leprechaun’s head or am I being culturally insensitive?

            Maybe I should worry about the semantics later. The banshee is coming towards me.

            Really not sure what to do here. She is just shrieking. Do I tell her that I don’t speak shriek? Maybe she could mime whatever she’s trying to tell me. I assume mime is an art form mastered by all mythical creatures.

            “I assume you’re trying to tell me when I’m going to die?”

            The leprechaun is frowning at me. “Die? What makes you say that?”

            “There’s a banshee. My ears hurt. I’m sorry if this is presumptuous, but it seems the most logical reasoning.”

            “Oh for the love of—” After picking himself up, the leprechaun is signaling for his rival to quiet herself for a moment. “That’s just how she talks. Everyone always thinks that she’s predicting doom or death, but the truth is that people just act like such eejits when she’s about that they get into terrible accidents after meeting her.”

            The banshee is interrupting him with a short shriek. “Oh, and heart attacks. Her voice does cause a lot of heart attacks,” the little man adds.

            “That’s . . . nice. Can I ask why you two are keeping me prisoner in a field and why you gave me shoe laces?”

            “You can.”

            The banshee is nodding in agreement.

            “Why are you two keeping me prisoner in a field and why did you give me shoelaces?”

            The woman’s red hair iswaving back and forth. It looks like it could wrap around her neck and choke her. She wailing quite a bit. Is this the banshee equivalent of ranting?

            “Will you hush up? He can’t understand you anyway.” They are both rolling their eyes. “You aren’t our prisoner. You can leave whenever you want.”

            “I can? Are you sure, because I’ve been trying to untie these laces ever since your friend arrived and—”

            “I gave you laces and tied them together because I bet this one here three pieces of gold that could get a human to bow down to me.”

            “Not to be rude, but I really didn’t bow. I fell.”
            A giant grin is on the banshee’s face. Uh oh, the leprechaun is turning red. There’s steam coming out of his ears. Can he explode? Is that something leprechauns do? He’s stomping his feet and swearing. I mean, really swearing. He’s saying words that I’m fairly certain are illegal in my village.

            The banshee just screeched something at him. It sounded rather smug and annoyed, which I never knew a screech sound that way. Whatever she said, it made the leprechaun calm down.

            He walking away and answering the banshee t the same time. “Very well. You buying is a good enough prize, I suppose. But I did win.”

            And she screamed back him. They are walking away towards the pub. And they just left me here. In the mud. With my boots tied together.

            Anyone have a knife handy?

While I Scramble

 

                It has happened again! I have been placed in mortal danger. Being a peasant is really getting to be a pain these days!

                This morning a giant griffin flew over my village, picked me up in her paws, and dropped me into a giant nest. Then, she left again to find more food.

                Here I sit in the middle of three eggs and have been sitting for several hours. The eggs sound almost ready to hatch. I keep hearing scratching and cracking. Soon, I will be regurgitated griffin baby food.

                Do griffins regurgitate their food? I would assume so since the head is like a bird. But their stomach is in the lion part of their body. Perhaps they have the innards of a lion as well. If they feed their young like a lion would, I imagine there will still be a great deal of tearing at my flesh before the initial feeding process begins.

                I appear to be fated to be someone’s dinner. If I am going to be devoured by beasties, this is not the worst of it. Babies do need to eat. At least I am helping with the circle of life, right?

                Right.

                Oh! A shell just cracked open. I see a beak! Why am I excited about this? I am about to become baby’s first meal. But this little griffin is just so darn adorable. He is making these peep noises and trying to shake bits of shell off of his skinny, featherless wings. Of course, he’s the size of a border collie so his “peeps” are loud enough to shake the nest.

                He just noticed me! What do I do? What do I do? Do I try to hide behind one of the other eggs? Too late. He’s coming towards me. Better just get this over with. Maybe if I offer my head first, it will all end quickly.

                His beak is moving towards me. I hope it’s sharp enough to—

                And he’s nuzzling me. And purring.

                Griffins purr. Who knew?

                I think I just became an uncle.

                Now? How do I get down?