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My Memories of The Three Little Pigs

27 Jul

July 27, 2014

My Memories of The Three Little Pigs

An installment of Fairy Tale Theater

3 pigs

Once upon a time there were three pigs that lived in the woods and stop right there. The woods? Do pigs live in the woods? I don’t really know. In Lord of the Flies there’s a wild boar that lives on an island, and I know that for awhile people kept pot-bellied pigs as pets (why????) but do pigs live in the woods? I don’t know. I’m a city guy. I’ve only seen pigs in farms on TV. We must be talking about the same woods in which talking bears steal pic-a-nic baskets. And wear ties and porkpie hats.

So these three pigs, seemingly against all odds, lived in the woods. And to up the unbelievability ante, they A- talked, B- walked upright, and C- lived in their own, mortgage free houses. Plus they wore shirts but no pants, Porky Pig style.

Things were pretty good for these pigs. They were lazy and didn’t do a lick of work all day. Their houses were long-ago paid off, and their meals were brought in by local volunteers who delivered food to shut-ins. Oh sure, most days they spent by the pool drinking pina coladas and texting selfies to each other, but when it was time for their meals to arrive, they hopped in their totally unnecessary wheelchairs, affected coughs, and waited by their front doors, forks and knives at the ready.

Well, as you’d imagine, there were other people- er, animals- in the woods who were pretty mad at these 1 percenter pigs. One in particular, a wolf, had a real mad on and wanted to redistribute some of the pigs wealth right into his belly, preferably after roasting them over a spit. This wolf was once a part of the Occupy The Enchanted Forest movement, so you know he had never worked a day in his life. But really, can we blame him? If your parents had named you Big Bad, what chances of getting a job in a Fortune 500 company would you have? Will the New York Stock Market ever gain ten points at the thought of Big Bad Finklestein being named CEO of Bloomberg Media LLC? I think not. So go easy on The Big Bad Wolf. He’s a product of his environment.

One day The Big Bad Wolf was particularly hungry. He was also particularly smelly too, but hey, that’s just another day in the Occupy movement. So one day, as he watched one of the pigs lounging by his pool and ordering new smart phones to give out at Christmas to all his rich friends, the wolf reached his limit. That pig was just so fat and succulent that the wolf just couldn’t take it anymore. “That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” he said, stealing one of Popeye’s catch phrases. He should have kept his mouth shut because that totally gave him away and the pig ran into his house, slamming the door right in The Big Bad Wolf’s face. (Snout? Whatever.)

Problem was, the pig’s house, like his fortune, was made out of straw. The pig wasn’t really a rich 1 percenter, and could only afford to build a house out of straw. All he cared about was appearances. And those smart phones he was ordering? He was way over his credit line anyway.

The wolf knew that no straw house would keep him out, so he huffed, and he puffed, and no, you really can’t blow a house of straw down, but he was able to more or less rip it apart with his bare hands. (Paws, claws, whatever.)

The pig ran off screaming.

The hungry wolf pawed through the straw but the only food he found was pimentos and Fresca. He took off after the pig, who had zoomed to his brother’s house and locked the door.

The second pig had done a little better for himself in the stock market and built his house out of wood, which I think we can all agree is much more sensible than straw. On the other hand, this pig was also a big Selena Gomez fan and spent a lot of time writing nasty letters to Justin Bieber, for which there was a restraining order against him. If he had spent more time on his investments and less time threatening Bieber he could have had a better home made of brick, but wood was still ok.

The wolf showed up and he was still determined to eat the pigs. Unfortunately, wood is a little harder to tear down than straw. The wolf tried to go in through the window, but the house was in a sketchy part of the forest and the windows were barred.

“Ha ha ha!” the pigs laughed, and it sounded just like that- ha ha ha, like in a comic book. “What are you going to do now, loser? Huff and puff and blow the house down?”

The wolf, being more of a wolf of action than words, took an axe and brought down the front door. “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” he cried, in a reference to Jack Nicholson in The Shining that most kids today won’t get. The pigs started squealing like, er, pigs, and ran out the back way.

The pair of bacony porkers ended up at the gated community where the third brother lived. There was a sauna and hot tub, and there was even a really good Thai restaurant so none of them had to leave if they didn’t want to. The Big Bad Wolf showed up but the security guards chased him off. He was last seen harassing Little Red Riding Hood, because seriously, what are the odds that there would be two wolves like this?

The moral of the story? Eat the rich is more than just an expression, some of them are full of flavor.

 

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Pro Wrestling Smackaround!

20 Jul

July 20, 2014

Good evening everybody and welcome to Wrestling World Congress Smackaround! I’m S. Sterling Samuels and we’re in beautiful downtown Compton for tonight’s show. Let’s welcome in my partner Paul Bunyon Jr!

Give me that mic, time to let a real man talk! We’ve got a great show for you tonight. We’re starting off hot with a title match- Sean “The Irish Taliban” O’Reilly will be taking on The Dismangler and this ought to be a good one!

That’s right Paul. The Dismangler has had his sights set on The Irish Taliban since he stole The Dismangler’s lucky horse shoe.

After that it’s a tag match with Biff and Tad, The Preppy Punks.

Yeah, tonight they’re fighting Iron Moose Johnson and Refrigerator Raymond, and Biff has promised that after the match, Moose is getting a makeover.

You don’t want to miss that! And speaking of don’t miss matches, we’ve got a match coming up with a really unusual stipulation.

This has been a long time coming, the bad blood between these two goes all the way back to last year’s pay per view, WWC Wrestling Implosion! Shakespeare Romeo is taking on The Diamond Ninja in a loser gets deported match.

Yes, and there’s some controversy here since The Diamond Ninja was born in Illinois. If he gets deported, where is he going to go? He’ll be a man without a country!

Later tonight Ace Rocker takes on El Hijo De Tuna, but first, let’s go to the ring for our first match. It’s a rematch from their famous 2013 bout, the Thrilla in Akron. It’s Ghetto Rodney vs. Muttonchops McFly in a loser buys dinner for life match!  Fans, let’s go to the action!

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My Review of Fibber McGee and Molly

17 Jul

July 17, 2014

Fibber McGee and Molly is an Old Time Radio show, meaning that no one under the age of 50 has heard of it. Well, that’s not entirely true. OTR has a thriving sub-culture of radio show collectors, each hoarding old and rare copies of shows that originally aired from about 1935 to 1963. You and I don’t get to listen to these. Old records (called “transcription discs”) are treated like gold, only rarer, and are only played once every epoch when wizened old men pay homage to The Great and Terrible Victrola and play these discs while taking their communal liver pills.

Aside from that, there is a ton of old radio shows available out there for free and they aren’t hard to find. Are they in the public domain? Trust me; you are better off not asking. Move along.

I’ve got some favorites and even though they date back decades, you are very familiar with at least one of them, a guy you may have heard of called Superman. And another favorite isn’t quite as big but he is currently being published and can be found pretty close to ol’ Supes, The Shadow. I also enjoy The Jack Benny Show and Abbott and Costello, just to name a few.

There are also some shows I really don’t care for, and I recently came into possession of a free collection of one of those shows, Fibber McGee and Molly. Now, I do tend to be a discriminating snob, but on the other hand, free is free, and who am I to look a $40 value in the mouth? I decided to give it a listen because my favorite comedy, The Great Gildersleeve, was a spin-off of this show and I was eager to hear his early appearances.

Gildersleeve does not appear in these shows.

I am nothing if not a fair man and I have to admit that, in all honestly, while I have not come to love Fibber McGee and Molly, I have come to hate them.

Fibber+&+Molly+V7

Fibber McGee is- wait for it- a fibber. He lies. He exaggerates, He makes himself out to be a big man and he is not. (But if he has no influence, why does the Mayor always drop by his house? I have no idea, the Mayor hates him.) Molly is his wife who affectionately calls her husband “McGee.” She’ll also lovingly refer to him as “Fibber” or “Himself,” as in “Himself has been thinking of flying an airplane.” She has a habit of laughing hysterically whenever an actor flubs a line, which seems to happen quite a lot on this show.

Most of the humor of the show comes from the broad characterizations of the supporting characters and Fibber’s (Jim Jordan) less-than-subtle wordplay. While the audience laughs at even the least funny pun, very often some of the jokes come and go without a whisper of a laugh, a point even Fibber will sometimes remark on. Marian Jordan, who played Molly, battled alcoholism most of her life. And while that isn’t a laughing matter, it is amusing to try to guess how far in the bag she is during any given performance. Sometimes she laughs so hard at some of the jokes (especially the flubs) that you wonder what show she’s listening to that only she can hear.

One of the conceits of this show is that everyone in town stops by their house, for no reason, at any time. This includes The Mayor, Mrs. Carstairs, who is the local rich woman and sounds like Margaret Dumont from the old Marx Brothers movies, Doctor Gamble who is not and is never funny, and other assorted neighbors with funny voices. There’s the wimpy guy who sounds like Droopy Dog, the old guy who sounds old, and the little girl who messes up the English language and is obviously voiced by a middle-aged man. (Actually, Molly provides her voice, and what does that tell you about Molly?)

And don’t get me started on Harlow Wilcox, the Johnson Wax salesman who is so annoying even Fibber seems to dislike him- and that’s the sponsor’s product!

Everyone takes a shot at insulting Fibber and out of all of them, the doctor is the least funny. He’ll walk in and say “Hello, trombone,” or “Hello Molly, hello tennis shoe.” Is that funny? No, it is not. There is no context for any of that. Why is he calling him “trombone?” There is no set up for it, no rhyme or reason. If Fibber was playing in a band, ok, maybe.

arthur-q-bryan-dr-gamble

Although the show is generally not funny, and gets less funny the more Molly opens her mouth, the more I listen the more annoying it gets. Like I said, people just drop by all the time and that’s how Fibber gets to interact with them. Fred Allen used to walk down Allen’s Alley and knock on doors. This is the same thing except Fibber stays home and everyone comes to him.  But there is almost never any reason for them to drop by. There will be a knock on the door, Mrs. Carstairs will walk in and immediately get caught up in the McGee shenanigans, then say she has to get going and leave. Why did she stop by to begin with? We never find out. Then The Old Timer will stop over, Fibber will badger him about something and he’ll leave, and we’ll never know why he came by. Then Wallace Wimple would come and go, and why we’ll never know. (BTW, he calls his wife “Sweetie Face,” which just sounds ridiculous.) OK, maybe I’m being picky. After all, this is a silly sitcom and all the coming and going is just to set up McGee for jokes anyway. But on at least one occasion it was glaringly stupid.

In one particular episode, it was ten degrees below freezing and Fibber, with his usual false bravado, was threatening to go out for a brisk walk by the lake. Of course, he had no intention of going. Did I mention it was also snowing and hailing outside, with a wind strong enough to knock over tress? Then there is a knock on the door and Doctor Gamble comes in. After a few “jokes” Fibber tells him he’s going for a walk, and the doctor tells him that it isn’t fit for man nor beast outside, that he saw a snow drift as big as a house, that Fibber would freeze before he got three feet. The doctor then said goodbye and left. So what was he doing out? What did he want at the McGee’s? Where was he going? No clue. Seemed like he just went out to tell Fibber not to go out. I would have just used the phone. Then Mrs. Carstairs stopped by, said it was so cold her butler froze and left, as mysteriously as she arrived. Then everyone else did the same thing. If it was so nasty out, what were any of them doing outside? We’ll never know.

You know, if the jokes were funny, if the show made me laugh, none of this would have bothered me.

Overall, and seriously, Fibber McGee and Molly really isn’t bad. I have gotten one or two chuckles out of it, but in the long run, I’ve gotten more laughs from watching some baby ducks on the side of the road.

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