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Posted on October 11, 2013 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

A few years before the French and Indian War, a surveyor for the Ohio Land Company met with Chief Tusca of a western Delaware subtribe. The surveyor bestowed upon the chief furs, trinkets and gin in exchange for a tour of the valley. His belly full of this bittersweet beverage that tasted like pine berries, the chief obliged and after some less-than-sure-footed hiking, personally led the surveyor to a steep precipice overlooking the river.


As the surveyor fixed his gaze through his spyglass, the besotted chief slipped and slid on his buttocks several feet down the sheer stony slope they had climbed, his loincloth rucking up behind him.


Oblivious to his guide’s pratfall, the surveyor inquired about the landscape still in his focus. “What call you this?”


The language of the surveyor still new to him, the chief mistook the other’s question to be about his wellbeing. He rose to his feet, rubbed his abraded backside, and replied, “Tusca . . . raw ass.”


Nokia Plans to Produce Dumbwatch in Response to Samsung's Galaxy Gear

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Nokia has announced that it is producing a not-so-smart watch called the Nokia Nitwit. The device will have an analog-style circular dial and hour and minute hands that are nonfunctional. The hands can be adjusted with the crown of the watch but are unable to keep time. Each watch will come with an Android app that will send text messages or e-mails to the owner’s phone twice each day to alert them when their watch’s time is correct. While Nokia has not disclosed the device’s price tag, marketing analyst Steve Hammond expects it to be quite reasonable. According to Hammond, the Nitwit is all about strategy.


“It really isn’t that dumb. It’s a clever way of pointing out to consumers that maybe the Galaxy Gear smartwatch isn’t so smart. It, too, requires users to have a smartphone for it to be of any use.”


Billy Bob Thornton Announces Open Casting Call for New Musical

Posted on October 5, 2013 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Crossfire Sound and Pictures, the production company co-owned by Billy Bob Thornton and Dwight Yoakam, will hold an open casting call next month for various roles in the upcoming theatrical production Sling Blade: The Musical. Arnold Robinson, Thornton’s publicist, announced in a press release today that the production is slated to debut Off-Broadway next summer but that a Broadway transfer could be in the offing. Few details of the starring cast have been disclosed, although Robinson has said that the role of Karl Childers, which was played by Thornton in the 1996 Academy Award-winning film, has been filled. The casting directors are primarily on the lookout for dancers, as well as a few actors for minor roles that are still vacant. The script has been finalized and all songs have been composed, so no writers are being sought. Those interested in auditioning should bring a current, non-returnable photograph and a résumé. While a full list of the musical arrangements for the production has not been released, Thornton said on his Twitter account that everyone can look forward to performances of original songs such as “All Right, Then,” “I Call It a Kaiser Blade,” “Coffee Makes Me Nervous When I Drink It,” “Biscuits and Mustard,” and “Not Funny ‘Ha-Ha,’ Funny Queer.” Protocols, locations and dates for the casting call will be announced next week on Thornton’s official website BillyBobThornton.net.

Holistic Baby Huey Banned from Ritz-Carlton, or No Room at the Inn for Smelly Fat Dude in Diaper

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The following is a letter that was mailed to the General Manager of the Cleveland Ritz-Carlton


To Whom It May Concern:


For many decades my family has elected to avoid conventional medical treatment, opting instead to treat most ailments with time-proven, natural remedies. During the Depression my great-grandmother compiled into a journal over a hundred Old and New World cures and restoratives, most of which can be made from inexpensive, easily obtainable herbal and organic substances. Copies of that journal have since been passed down for generations in my family (and several entries have even appeared in Mother Earth News and Natural Health magazines). My grandparents in particular hold tremendous faith in my great-grandmother's remedies. You might say that they are dogmatic in their convictions.


I am writing to you because in two weeks I am to accompany my family to the Ritz-Carlton for the celebration of my grandparents' golden anniversary. However, I am presently suffering from a rather sizable cyst on my posterior. My wife made the mistake of mentioning this cyst to my mother, and now my entire family is aware of it—including my grandparents.


A family remedy for such a cyst is the prolonged application of a poultice. This poultice is composed of large amounts of Limburger cheese and linseed oil (the journal also calls for chicken guano, but nitric fertilizer serves as an adequate substitute). It must be kept hot and moist to ensure penetration of the epidermis. Because the ingredients tend to absorb moisture rapidly, steaming water must be applied at regular, and frequent, intervals. Also, the cyst must be allowed to "breathe."


Here is the problem: The most accommodating means of applying the poultice to the posterior is to wear a large diaper into which the Limburger cheese, etc., is packed. Although along with the diaper I'll be wearing a dinner jacket and tie, I'm afraid that pants are impracticable under the circumstances. They would block the flow of air and make it difficult to apply the hot water. (Truly, I wish that pants were an option; the cheese has a way of oozing from the diaper and running down my legs.)


I would like to know if your restaurant has a policy against customers wearing such a poultice. Believe me, I would rather not wear it myself, given the rancid odor of Limburger. I am a 40-year-old, 300-pound man, and needless to say, a diaper doesn't exactly make me look like an Adonis (I look more like Baby Huey). But my family would never forgive me if I did not both minister to my medical needs and honor the family tradition. My grandparents would be affronted the most; and as it is their anniversary dinner, I wouldn't want to disappoint them.


I hope you have no objections to my diaper. Please let me know.



Ernest Mountebank


The following is the General Manager's reply:

Dear Mr. Mountebank:


I recently received your letter concerning your upcoming plans to visit The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland. I was pleased to learn your family chose our hotel as the location to celebrate your grandparents' golden anniversary.


The hotel does have a policy ensuring our guests are in appropriate attire. This includes pants and we strictly enforce this policy in The Riverview Room. Should you arrive and not be in proper attire, you will unfortunately be denied access to our facility. In addition, any guest who may cause another guest to be uncomfortable, including odor, would be asked to leave our hotel.


Mr. Mountebank, I am sorry that your present condition will prevent you from dining in our hotel. I hope we can be of service to you in the near future.





Movie Review: Sharknado

Posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

We're gonna need a bigger chopper!

Let me just say that I watched this movie to be entertained—not enthralled or hanging on the edge of my seat but just distracted and carefree for a couple of hours. I got what I wanted. Only, I didn't expect to laugh so much. I'm thankful for the laughter, though, because it kept at bay any sort of aesthetic sense that might have interfered with my viewing pleasure.


Regardless of genre, most movies are a construction of thoughtfully planned scenes, each of which presenting plot points and character motivations that, together, form a plausible narrative, allowing for the proverbial "suspension of disbelief." Such careful craftsmanship is never more important than at a film's beginning. The creators of Sharknado didn't bother with any of that.


There is an opening sequence involving a fishing boat on a stormy sea. On board a greedy captain in a raincoat and an Asian man in a three- piece suit squabble about money (presumably for some nefarious service performed by the captain). Handguns are soon brandished, bullets are fired, and chomping sharks are washed on deck by the waves (à la The Perfect Storm). People are shot or eaten, and a massive water spout filled with digitally-rendered sharks stretches into the sky. Then the opening credits begin rolling, and it's as if that scene never happened. Other than the brief preview of the "sharknado" to come at the end of the second act (yes, I'm taking some liberties by using standard film vernacular to describe this storyline), it was as if this scene was jumbled together from leftover footage of some other SyFy shark movie. Did this bother me? Nope. In fact, it wasn't until after the movie's end that I even remembered the ship's captain and the shootout on the water. By then, I was still grinning too much to care.


One grin-evoking moment occurs when Nova, the leading female character played by Cassie Scerbo, stabs a shark to death with a cue stick in a bar. While this isn't the first shark encounter for the protagonists or even the first shark-on-land encounter, it does seem to set the tone for the rest of the movie. Anthony Ferrante, the director, wants everyone to realize that this is not—and does not aspire to be—Jaws.


Though he need not worry about anyone mistaking this shark movie for Steven Spielberg's classic, Ferrante repeatedly makes references to it. I won't use terms such as "allusion" or even "homage" to describe these references. Perhaps "farcical" might be more appropriate, or maybe "comic relief," but even those terms lend themselves to a more contemplative critique than I am attempting.


I think Ferrante's purpose was to preemptively counter all would-be critics who might say things like "This is no Jaws." He could have just titled the movie Another Killer Shark Film That Is Not Jaws. But that would have been too self-effacing and certainly not as much fun.


In carrying out this strategy, Ferrante doesn't waste much time. Moments after the sharks begin plopping onto the streets and docks, Fin—a bar-owner, father and former pro-surfer played by Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills, 90210 fame—makes quick work of one by shooting a diver's air tank that is jutting out of its gullet, causing it and the shark to explode. Remind you of anything? Yep, there's even a corny one-liner: "That's what you get for trying to eat me."


Later we have a quasi-touching expository scene that reveals Nova's pre-established hatred of sharks. The character of Fin's son, Matt, played by Chuck Hittinger, notices an unusual scar on Nova's thigh. To get her to talk about it, he lifts up his shirt and reveals a scar on his abdomen and explains its not-so-dramatic origin. When he asks Nova how she got her scar, she says she had a tattoo removed. Not buying it, Matt prods further and Nova tells a story about going fishing with her grandfather and his friends when she was a little girl. She says that their boat sank and sharks began to circle and attack them. The men managed to lift her out of the water and onto something floating nearby, but a shark still managed to take a hunk out of her leg. In summation, Nova says: "Six people went into the water and one little girl came out. The sharks took the rest."

The scene in Jaws in which Robert Shaw's character Quint tells the tale of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis is arguably one of the most memorable scenes in film history. Ferrante knows this. Nova's scar story, in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, serves to again make the director's statement: I am aware of Jaws, as is everyone in the civilized world, and this is not that movie!


Later, this same point is made again, this time even more comically and pointedly. After fabricating some propane bombs, Nova and Matt take to the skies in a helicopter to hunt the tornadoes. Matt flies perilously close to one of the funnel clouds so that Nova can toss one of the bombs into it. She sees an enormous shark coming straight at them and declares: "We're gonna need a bigger chopper."


If you want to be moderately entertained, then I don't think you will be disappointed with Sharknado. Don't expect too much going into it—and bring with you a willingness to suspend your own sense of disbelief. Most important, keep in mind that this is not Jaws. I don't think that fact will slip you mind, however. The director made sure of it. 

How They Add Up: Jimmy Hoffa, a Soviet Sleeper-Cell, Captain Kangaroo and Dancing Bear

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)


New information has been released regarding the Dancing Bear costume found buried in a grassy field near Detroit during a search for the remains of Jimmy Hoffa. A tag on the costume was discovered and, with the cooperation of CBS and a Captain Kangaroo historian, the costume is believed to have been last issued to Boris Laskin on July 28, 1975—just two days prior to Hoffa’s disappearance.

Fedor Popov, a former KGB agent who was granted asylum and, for reasons authorities won’t reveal, put into the Witness Protection Program, said that Laskin was part of a Soviet sleeper-cell during the height of the Cold War. His mission was to substitute for actor Cosmos Allegretti as the Dancing Bear so that, during the program's telecast, orders could be relayed to other “sleepers” in the country. Laskin used a cryptic form of sign language which, Popov said, usually made the Dancing Bear character look “neurotic, a bit wonky.” Popov went on to say that he thought the plan was ingenious but that he personally disliked the television program. “This silly bear, bunny and moose, not to mention Mr. Green Jeans. Oh, we all hated him. The Captain, he was okay. Fat, silly, yes—but he remind me of a grandfather. No, not my grandfather; he was sent to gulag. Thinking about it, I say he remind me of my grandmother. She had no mustache, if she shave once a week, but both had big pockets on clothes, though hers were on apron, not coat.”

When asked how they could arrange for Laskin to substitute for Allegretti, who played Dancing Bear almost exclusively during the program’s run from 1955 to 1984, Popov said, “Boris gave him laxative—much laxative. Nobody wants to see Pooping Bear while watching Captain Kangaroo and eating their Captain Crunch, no?”

He was guaranteed that no charges would be brought against him for any information he could provide during this investigation, as long as—according to a statement from Popov himself—he did not admit to any violations of the U.S. embargo which prohibits trading with or investing in Cuba. “I have no cigars, yes? You know what I mean? Yes, I have no bananas either.”

Theories and speculation about Hoffa’s being a communist and a Soviet sympathizer have abounded over the years, making Popov’s next statement all the more compelling. When asked if Laskin was ordered to assassinate the Teamsters’ boss, Popov emphatically said, “No. He was comrade. Bear was protecting him.”

When Popov was asked what happened to the other sleeper-cell operatives, the federal agents at the interview promptly intervened. As Popov was being escorted from the conference room, he told the reporters that the other sleeper-cell operatives obtained employment at a large discount department store chain. One reporter asked him the name of the store to which he was referring.

“I can not tell you,” Popov responded, adding: “Let me just say that it has yellow smiling faces everywhere.”

One person at the conference, who can only be identified by a badge on his lapel which said “NSA,” told the reporters: “We may not be able to get Fedor Popov to reveal the name of the store, but we will find it—no matter what it costs or how long it takes. If a Chinese connection really does exist, it will be uncovered as well. You can bank on that.”

Check back to Pop News Feed for more details as they emerge.


Search for Hoffa Reveals Baffling Bear

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)


While the FBI announced Wednesday that the search for the remains of former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa has revealed no evidence of a body buried in a rural field northwest of Detroit, an earlier announcement that authorities were closing down the excavation site appears premature.


“I don’t think we are quite finished here, not yet,” said one investigator who declined to give his name and had no further comments.


When questioned about any new developments in the investigation, a forensic anthropologist at the site, who also requested to remain anonymous, told reporters that an article of clothing has been unearthed this afternoon and that it appears to be a full-body costume closely resembling the character Dancing Bear from the television program Captain Kangaroo.


“It’s been in this field for decades,” the anthropologist replied when asked how long the costume had been buried. “I’d say the bear has been underground since Khrushchev was still in the Kremlin.”


When asked if his usage of the word “bear,” which is a symbol for Russia as well as the former Soviet Union, had any special significance, the anthropologist waved his hand in front of his face, said, “I have said too much,” and walked away from the reporters.


Adding to the intrigue at the scene were rumors that a representative of the National Security Agency had arrived. All reporters there have since turned off their computers and cell phones.

Check back to Pop News Feed for more details as they emerge.