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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for July 2011

Open letter to a bicycling asshat

Hey, bicycling asshat,

As you can see in the following Google Maps, de Maisonneuve has four lanes, one for bikes on the left, one for parking on the right and two for cars in the middle.

Last night, around 9:15, I passed you in my Mazda while you cycled in the right-middle car lane. I returned to the right lane and stopped at the red light, as drivers in Montreal sometimes do, at St. Marc. So did the car to my left. You had no room to pass me but instead of waiting behind me or USING THE FUCKING BIKE LANE, you squeezed yourself between our two stopped cars, scraping your handlebars along the side of my car in the process.

I opened the window to hear you sneer, “Je n’avais pas de place pour passer.”

I helpfully pointed out, “THERE’S A FUCKING BIKE LANE RIGHT THERE! CARS HERE, BIKES THERE!”

You dismissed me – “Asshole.” – and cycled through the red light on down de Maisonneuve. Apparently, you were too mentally retarded to decide to use the bike path then, too, and that forced me to drift into the left lane to pass you yet again. I may or may not have been completely over into the left lane.

Best of all, was five blocks later at the corner of Wood and de Maisonneuve when I again chose to stop at a red light. You caught up to us and this time with lots of room decided to press your face on my window and scrape your handlebars against my car again.

Other than the drunk who accosted us on Crescent street a few years back – and that was just a shove – I haven’t been in a physical fight since high school, but you’re lucky my kids were in the car. You may have been a little taller than me, but you can bet your doughy ass that I otherwise would have torn your smarmy Brazilianed facial hair off your chin after I tossed your bike into Alexis Nihon Plaza.

Seriously, you lame fuck up jackass – why the hell do you think they have bike lanes?

And people wonder why the rest of us hate cyclists so much.

Futurama commits clownslaughter

The first season of the resurrected “Futurama” has been disappointing. The first broadcast seasons had me in stitches once the show found its feet after its first four episodes. The episodic movies were OK – they did win the show its reprieve. But since? Meh, as the kids say these days.

I was watching the new crop of episodes that have come out this summer, and I was struck by the laziness in “Law and Oracle“, first broadcast July 7. I’d put the season and date but that show is either season 8 episode 4 or season 6 episode 17, depending on where you look. Its production code is, oddly, 6ACV16.

From plot to jokes, the writing is lazy. The plot is a mash of “Police Academy” and “Minority Report”, with seasonings of “Tron” and “Star Wars”. The plot resolution comes in the form of a deus ex machina: a character without a previous line of dialogue appears and becomes an expository crucial cog.

As for the jokes, here’s a clip:

YouTube Preview Image

There are two jokes there, if you exclude the “Minority Report” setting. The first is the name of the oracle:

SCIENTIST

…We call him Pickles.

FRY

On account of it’s like he’s floating in a jar?

SCIENTIST

Exactly.

Fry’s line is a setup. Having the scientist respond “Exactly” or “Yes” is only an explanation point on Fry’s observation. To confirm his suspicion puts him on an intellectual level of the scientists, which may seem funny, but isn’t. The rules of the show dictate that he’s not the brightest star in the sky. Scientists in the world of Futurama are mad and Rube Goldbergesque, but they are not dumb.

It took me all of one shower to figure out a better response that’s truer to the show in more ways than one.

SCIENTIST

…We call him Pickles.

FRY

On account of it’s like he’s floating in a jar?

SCIENTIST

No, I named him after my wife, who’s a head in a jar. Her name is Pickles.

Here’s another that just occurred to me:

SCIENTIST

…We call him Pickles.

FRY

On account of it’s like he’s floating in a jar?

SCIENTIST

What are you? Twelve?

Or:

SCIENTIST

…We call him Pickles.

FRY

On account of it’s like he’s floating in a jar?

SCIENTIST

No, I just like pickles.

My lines may or may not be winners, but they’re not lazy and they remain within the rules of the show.

The second joke is even worse.

SCIENTIST

Green is larceny. Black is fraud. Red… homicide.

FRY

What’s pink polka dots?

SCIENTIST

Clownslaughter. It happens more often than you’d think.

How on the nose is that? One of only four balls stands for clownslaughter. That fact alone shows the audience that it happens more often than you’d think. Unfortunately, the writers had to add that very statement to save an otherwise too ambiguous joke. It’s on the nose. What they should have done is reworked it.

SCIENTIST

Green is larceny. Black is fraud. Red… homicide.

FRY

What’s pink polka dots?

SCIENTIST

Clownslaughter. That one’s sponsored by the Bumbo Lardbottom memorial chair of criminal psychology at NNYU.

(Where NNYU is New New York University.)

Or:

SCIENTIST

Green is larceny. Black is fraud. Red… homicide.

FRY

What’s white with the red circle?

SCIENTIST

Clownslaughter.

This one makes the joke visible, as the ball resembles a clown face. The scientist’s response holds up better as the punchline. You don’t need the on-the-nose bit that follows.

Your turn. Can you write better than this crop of “Futurama” writers? I bet you can. Leave your attempt in the comments.

Bonus admission:

“The Silence of the Clamps”, the episode that followed “Law and Oracle”, was probably the best of the new episodes.

Categorically perplexed

I’m making changes to links and link categories on my WordPress dashboard and they take fine. The changes are not, however, showing up on the blog itself.

I had just updated to WordPress 3.2.1, if that’s a clue.

Is there any help out there?

Bonus update:

Stupid WordPress. I had to go to the Widgets page and put the new category in as a new Links widget. The links updates just took a while to register.

Every click…
...contributes to world domination.