"Humor Me" says Robert S. "Bob" Wieder

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I was watching the Gay/Bi/Etc./Etc. Pride Parade on TV just now while the coffee warmed up, and my thoughts turned to the Rev. Fred Phelps, the crackpot homophobic media whore who likes to wave "God Hates Fags" signs at funerals, and as I watched a group of latino drag queens in prom gowns prance by, I thought, "When that old bastard dies, I hope to God his funeral procession looks EXACTLY like this."
I really, really do.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


On the one hand, I'm thinking that I would dearly enjoy seeing Ann Coulter's head on a pike.
On the other hand, I'm thinking hey, why spoil a perfectly good pike?

Actually, I was reading an item about all the delightful and highly-deserved negative blowback that Trannie Ann (a popular San Francisco reference) is getting for that shit-flinging rant in her latest book that vilified a group of authority-questioning women whose husbands were killed in the World Trade Center attack, and I got to wondering. Has the rightwing harridan finally overdosed on her own vitriol? Will this be the high-water mark of her influence, followed by long and inexorable decline in visibility? Much as prescription drug addiction was to Limbaugh?

I feverishly hope so. I hope it cripples her so thoroughly that it becomes part of the popular lexicon. Like "jump the shark," based on a "Happy Days" episode, became shorthand for pitiful overreach by the mass entertainment media, after which "jump the couch," based on Tom Cruise's chimp impersonation on Oprah, became shorthand for overreach by audience-cultivating celebrities. I'd like to see "jump the widows" become shorthand for overreach by unprincipled, vulgarian culture warriors.

Then again, it occurs to me that that "jump the widows" may already be well-established shorthand--among those middle-aged professional dance partners who work in the cruise ship industry.

Monday, June 19, 2006


If you have somehow managed to avoid encountering any reference in the media to a forthcoming film titled, with all the seductive subtlety of a Karl Rove speech, "Snakes On A Plane," you are a better man, whatever your actual gender, than I am. This thing is everywhere, from Newsweek feature articles to the name of the rotisserie baseball team fielded by the eminent blogger and lapsed Pentecostal Michael J. Robertson. (See link to "Darwin's Cat" website.)

The specifics of the plot may or may not have been already irretrievably revealed to the general public. It doesn't matter. Nobody cares. There are snakes and they are on a plane. The sheer flagrancy of the psychological and mass-cultural opportunism and manipulation at work here is breathtaking, even admirable in its raw gall. There won't be an empty seat for the first six showings, wherever you live. People will go in droves to see "Snakes On A Plane" for the same reason they will open e-mail bearing the subject line "Money owed to you." They know they're being hustled. But so what. "Money" and "you" are a linguistic combination beyond our power to resist.

Ditto "snakes" and "plane." Which stars, incidentally, Samuel L. Jackson, a man who seemingly cannot get himself cast in a movie that does not turn into a revenue churn. You could put Samuel L. Jackson in a remake of "Ishtar," or for that matter, "Victory at Sea," and finish in the black. Probably just from the action figure royalties.

Anyway -- aside from the irresistible shamelessness of the concept, the snakes on a plane premise is really just the latest take on the time-honored "trapped with something terrifying" theme. Specifically, "Snakes...Plane" is essentially the original "Alien" plot transplanted from deep space into routine daily life, and made all the more horrific, or at least creepy, because we can easily envision ourselves in the setting.

This basic plot setup has been practically bulletproof over the years, and there's absolutely no reason to think it won't be eternally lucrative. With that in mind, I'll soon be filing with the Writer's Guild to register under my name the following storyline derivatives of the Snakes template.

"Tarantulas On The Richmond BART Line" -- Giant arachnids threaten carnage but ultimately find themselves vastly outgunned by plucky bands of Richmond youth determined to protect their drug turf.

"Giant Squid In A Hot Tub" -- A festive group honeymoon at a luxurious Napa Valley spa goes horribly awry as assorted newlyweds are dragged one by one to a watery doom, despite the lodge's fantastic wine selection.

"Wolves At Brunch" -- Savage lupine marauders choose a particularly untimely Sunday to turn the sumptuously gala atmosphere of the Redwood Room at the Saint Francis Hotel into a veritable Mother's Day from hell.

"Veloceraptors At A Sensitivity Training Seminar" -- Management trainees and their personal assistant interns are torn limb from limb even as they attempt to find and eliminate the source of their savage predators' anger and uncontrollable violence.

"Insurance Salesmen In A Stalled Elevator" -- The horror, the horror. The helpless "prospect" passengers must ultimately draw lots to see who will climb up through the car's ceiling hatch and use the emergency fire ax to sever the cable, thus sending the car and its passengers to their tragic but welcome deaths.

"Dick Cheney In A Duck Blind" -- Away from civilization and ensconced in close quarters with the Veep seemed to be these lobbyists' dream come true, until someone began passing the schnapps around "to cut the chill" and they realized that to the Wyoming were-Republican, everyone was "fair game".

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


It's a rare day when something written about something or someone does not give me chills. The honor today goes to a news item about two graduating seniors at Northpoint (N.Y.) High School who managed to slip quotes into their yearbook, under their respective photos, which were openly attributed to Adolf Hitler. The quotes are real, right out of Mein Kampf, and school officials are tapdancing like Bojangles Robinson on kitchen meth to explain how the quotes got past them, but the chills factor lies in the substance of the quotes themselves. To wit---

"Strength lies not in defense, but in attack."
"The great masses of people...will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one."

Why chills? Because the first quote could easily pass for the fundamental principle of Bush's approach to foreign policy, while I'm frankly surprised that Karl Rove doesn't have the second quote tattooed on his ass. Indeed, quote #1 is a fairly accurate summation of this administration's approach to governance in general, while #2 is the crux of their political strategy.

And, come to think of it, vice versa.

And here, I always thought Dubya's role model was Churchill.

IN OTHER NEWS, according to a widely-reported and fairly massive study of medical and health plan records by the Kaiser folks, people who drink a cup of coffee each day are at 20 percent less risk of contracting alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver, while those drinking four cups a day lower their risk by a full 80 percent. Naturally, being a wine enthusiast, I now drink four coffees a day.

Okay, they're Irish coffees...Is that a problem?

Monday, June 12, 2006


Again, we reiterate the basic tenets of this concept: (1) Each of these items are are, if not airtightly (almost a word!) verifiable , at least so help me God from eminently legitimate mainstream sources (major dailies, pollsters, newsmagazines, out of my ass), and (2) strictly for personal amusement and not intended to serve for either sexual gratification or political demagoguery. Okay, some political demogoguery.

Embry Group, Triumph, Ordifen and every other company producing bras in China report that after years of primarily producing A- and B-cup bras, they are now having to turn out increasing numbers of C-, D- and even E-cups, thus adding a new dimension to the term Developing Country.

According to a CBS News survey, only 31 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Christian fundamentalism. Only 19 percent have a favorable view of Islam. Only 8 percent have a favorable view of Scientology.

One in every 400 students who apply for federal financial aid for college are turned down because of a drug conviction; 189,065 since the restriction was instituted for the 2000-2001 school year.

Because such medications are covered under its contract with the UAW, General Motors spends $17 million per year on Viagra, Cialis and other erectile dysfunction drugs for its employees, retirees, and dependents. " Hard up for a job" keeps popping...er...appearing in my mind.

The amount Dick Cheney was paid last year as Vice President: $205,031. The amount he was paid by Halliburton: $211,465.

The amount of Homeland Security funds spent on safety-educational clowns and puppet shows by the Onalaska, Wisconsin fire department: $8,000. By the Des Moines, Iowa fire department: $69,000.

Three-fourths of all day laborers in the US are illegal immigrants. 43 percent of those who hire them are contractors. 49 percent of those who hire them are individual homeowners.

In April, the women of Cyprus linked together a 70-mile-long chain of almost 115,000 bras, easily busting the old bra-chain record of 79,000 held by the women of Singapore. You open with bras, you close with bras. Thus the great circle of life.

Monday, June 05, 2006


According to CBS News, magician David Copperfield has announced his plans to impregnate a woman live, onstage, without physically touching her. Mind you, this phenomenon is scheduled to occur in Germany, where such a feat is not that much of a stretch. But still. Here are the first headlines that came to my mind. Numerous others will, I'm sure, occur to you, whoever you are.

Bleak Magic (or) Where's the Magic in That?

Hocus, But No Pocus.

Deep Trick.

Obviously Has Nothing up His Sleeve.

The Gland is Quicker Than the Eye.

"Oh God, Oh Honey, It's Even Better Than Being Sawed in Half!"

The Great Houduner

Thursday, June 01, 2006


A few days after racing's current poster horse, Barbaro, suffered that grievous shattered lower leg in the Preakness, I had this idea to enter a post to the effect that Senate Majority Leader and MD Bill Frist had viewed films of the accident and declared the horse to be not only in surprisingly good health but ready to run at the Belmont Stakes. But I procrastinated, and then something came up, and then something else, and now it just wouldn't work. Timing is everything in satire. This is probably why my sitcom based on the Kennedy assassination was never optioned.