bad ideas

#21 Bad Idea: Your Dream Stalk of Broccoli

Ladies and gentlemen. We are pleased to announce that from the strontium mists and cobalt lakes of the Central Silica Plain, we have recovered another piece of text from the pre-Error era. It is becoming increasingly clear that these dialogues, while they may not be explicitly religious in nature, are perhaps liturgical and definitely homiletic. It is likely that these texts served as guides to ideal behaviour. They were likely taught to ‘children,’ as prepubescent humans of the time were generally called.

In other news, Drs. Horvath and Kinchy have been spotted wandering the wastes and creeping through the sedge, their minds irreparably scrambled by radiation. We will be leaving food for them just outside the northwest entrance to the Dome. Any contributions will be greatly appreciated.


[Is it evening already? Like the remains of chopped vegetables, the day slowly wilts. Schmutzie at the couch, Palinode (alert for earthquakes) standing in the doorway.]

Palinode: I’ve brought you your choice of stalks.

Schmutzie: What?

Palinode: [holds up five broccoli stalks] I have five stalks of broccoli in my hand. Which is your dream stalk?

Schmutzie: The middle one, of course.

Palinode: [shuffles stalks, holds one up] Then this one will be your dream stalk of broccoli. This one and no other.

Schmutzie: What are you planning to do with it?

Palinode: I’m throwing them out. But I thought I’d make the process special. [goes into kitchen]

Schmutzie: The stalks are high in calcium, you know.

Palinode: And now the garbage is high in calcium.

#19 Bad Idea: The Yarn Hat

Knitters: how many times have you found yourself on the bus or train or trapped in a coffin, needles at the ready, only to find that you have nowhere to put your yarn? Real knitters, the ones who will knit any material in any situation, the ones who will climb the Matterhorn to knit a cozy over its peak, the ones who, stiff-fingered and red-eyed and oblivious to the hours, will knit in the dark and transcribe the night with the clickety-click of their needles, the ones who dream of knitting their cat a sweater out of their cat's hair, need special hats for the purpose.

I don't have my scanner hooked up to show you my illustration, and I don't have pencil and paper to actually draw my illustration, but I have devised a patented and premium headgear technology to aid the serious knitter in those moments when space is at a premium and someone's baby desperately needs tiny socks. The Yarn Hat is a modified aluminum mess tray with a round hole cut in the centre (for the noggin) and regularly spaced holes around the perimeter through which different yarns can be threaded. The skeins fit in the compartments along the brim.

Additional components include a clip on the brim to hold patterns and hooks from which to dangle quivers of needles. You can even glue an mp3 player to the Yarn Hat for additional functionality.

Are there details to be worked out? Will there be issues in marketing my headgear technology? No. I'm going to be so rich from this idea that I'm already rich.

#18 Bad Idea: Buy Death Race on DVD or Blu-Ray Today

What? Why? Seriously. Of all the bad ideas I've offered for consumption so far, this one is the deadliest in that it contains a dose of possibility. You can get up from your chair right now and go pick up a copy of Death Race at your local HMV or Virgin Megastore, even in these recession-hounded times. But why would you?

Death Race is not a bad movie, and therein lies its problem – because it is not a good movie either. It's not bad enough to qualify as much of a guilty pleasure. It's not even bad enough to be bad. But it's not good enough to be good. Watching Death Race is like sitting at the edge of a campfire's radius of warmth in early Spring. The flames are pretty and your nose is pleasantly warmed, but an abominable cold bites at the back of your neck and slowly freezes the flesh of your back.

Why don't you move in a little closer to the fire? Because you'll get a faceful of smoke and sparks, that's why. What are you doing there? Why aren't you doing something you enjoy? And that's what Death Race is: the sick fire of fifty million dollars going up in smoke. In the end, all it does is burn a ninety-minute hole in your life.

#17 Bad Idea: How to Watch Monday Night Television

Christmas-week television, when it's not an endless retread of the same crappy Christmas specials fed to us for the last forty years or more, provides repeats of Thanskgiving-week television. Why are we getting the reheated leftovers of America's last holiday fed back to us? I don't know, but when Two and a Half Men starts up, there's only one way to prevent that show's patented anti-life equation from destroying your fragile human mind:

I made it myself out of a samosa container. The samosas were moist, steaming, delicious and potato-ey. Plus, by dint of the aluminum, they were guaranteed not be infected with alien transmissions that subjugate your will and turn you into a zombie slave of Charlie Sheen.

So what's the reason for the extended fin on the back? To make Two and a Half Men go by faster.

#16 Bad Idea: Tippi In Plastic

Via Boing Boing, I'm not sure that this is a bad idea from my point of view. But someone at Mattel must have been chewing jimson weed when they decided to participate in celebrating the 45th anniversary of Hitchcock's The Birds with this:

It is almost certainly what you only hope to dare it is: Barbie as Tippi Hedren getting attacked by the winged avatars of Alfred Hitchcock's twisted libido. And it's on sale for forty bucks. You don't get the fence posts or the California church in the background (ever notice how Hitchcock's buildings always seem to lurk?), but you can take home Barbie as she is meant to be: frantic but frozen, captured at the apex of the fearful moment, an infinitely prolonged episode of torture for her sexuality. And who better to perform this transposition than Tippi Hedren, who was punished for her frigidity by being frozen out of the movie industry? There's a bad idea in here that keeps tunneling backwards as I try to catch it.

#15 Bad Idea: Lost & Found

Here, at last, is a different breed of bad idea. This is not a terrible comic book idea, a crappy movie premise, or just the cast-offs from the vile worm of my imagination. This is practical lifestyle advice for the economically squeezed. It’s also a really bad idea.

I call it Lost & Found shopping, and it’s pretty much what you think it is. Any downtown contains a number of hotels, malls, doctors’ offices, what have you. Lost & Found shopping consists of going into these places and asking for items that other people have left behind.

There are a few ways to go about this - some worse than others. The worst technique, I think, is to walk in and claim that your “uncle Steve” recently left a box full of random items behind the desk, and you’ve come to pick it up. Even though the contents of the box will definitely match your description, someone will eventually track down your uncle Steve, who never liked you and will relish the chance to blow your story out of the water.

Second worst, and also second best, technique is called The Fake Mustache. The Fake Mustache demands a lot of chutzpah, and a little something that the Latin world calls huevos, which means mustaches.* Its execution is simple: approach the front desk of a hotel, say, and ask for your lost wallet/gloves/nachos. Remember to keep your request vague but convincing. If you’re successful on the first pass, you are said to be at Mustache Zero for the attempt.** If the item sought is not in the Lost & Found, or the clerk is suspicious, leave the area and come back a few minutes later in a “mustache,” which is any convincing disguise. Arrest or eviction from the premises is known in the trade as a Mustache Dozen.

The best technique is to walk in naked and covered and filth, screaming obscenities between sobs. Not only will you be showered with gifts, you may even get a job as the head of the Lost & Found department. Or maybe, if you’re walking into a financial institution, the board of directors will offer you the job of CEO. After all, a naked stinking lunatic can’t do much worse of a job than the recent crop of smooth-haired golfers.

*Lots of people think that huevos means ‘eggs’. This is ridiculous. What better symbol of confidence and courage can there be than a mustache? Eggs are generators of explosive chaos, and as such are better suited to be Spanish for 'Donald Duck' AND NOTHING ELSE. Besides, mustaches, unlike eggs, are never tasty.

**There are two kinds of Mustache Counts: Incidental and Cumulative. The incidental count is the number of passes per attempt; the cumulative count is averaged out over at least ten attempts.

#14 Bad Idea: I Wish I Hadn't Had This Bad Idea

Tonight, exhausted by days of rushed work and wanting to take a bath and fall asleep to the soothing words of Clive James (I'm reading Cultural Amnesia, which as far as I can tell is an 800 page explanation of why France was the best thing about the twentieth century), I couldn't come up with a bad idea. So I thought I'd consult my partner-in-stuff Schmutzie, because if anyone can rescue me from abject desperation, it's Darkseid my wife.

Palinode: I don't have a bad idea.

Schmutzie: Yes you do. You told me earlier today.

Palinode: (searching brain) What idea is this?

Schmutzie: You came up with the idea about the man with the enormous... you know...

Palinode: Oh. God, no. I can't put that on the internet.

Schmutzie: You asked for my help.

Palinode: The Hills was on. My mind was wandering!

Schmutzie: Unless you come up with something better, that's all you've got.

She's right. This is a pretty classy blog for the discerning reader, but I have to go with the debased factory of my mind. I apologize in advance for today's idea about the man with the enormous taint.

I confess that the idea is a bit underdeveloped. Was he born with it? Did he send away in high school for a little booklet on taint-improvement exercises? Is he some kind of hero after all? What if he is the saviour of the world, the apostate redeemed by the signal and source of his might, which just happens to be that crazy novelty-size taint of this? How does he walk, if he can walk at all? These are questions destined to wither on the vine, or be smashed aside by an enormous taint.

Where the hell would you get a booklet on taint enlargement? Please formulate your answer in the comments.

#13: Holiday TV

Now that December is here, we are deep in the unblinking hell of seasonally themed television shows. From Hallowe'en to New Years, every sitcom, soap opera and prime time drama plays off a parade of themed days.

It should never end. And it doesn't have to.

Christmas and New Years may be over, but there's barely a blink before Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes round, followed by Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day, Ash Wednesday, Orthodox Lent, St. Patrick's Day, Palm Sunday, Spring Equinox, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Orthodox Easter Sunday, Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, Victoria Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Father's Day, Summer Solstice, St. Jean-Baptiste Day, Canada Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Labour Day, Grandparent's Day, Vernal Equinox, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, and full-on Canadian Thanksgiving.

So many holidays to string one episode to another! All this without dragging in holidays from foreign countries like Latvia, or Alaska. This is what the police call an embarrassment of riches, although when they say it, it's code for a murder that only a zoo elephant could have committed. Naturally they don't use the phrase very often, so sometimes they use it when they're pinned down by a cop-killing serial killer and they feel pretty stupid about the whole situation. They also use the phrase when they fall in love with a witness or each other their son's teacher. True story.

#12 Bad Idea: Stop Using Friends as a Weapon

Anyway, so what if The Dastardly Scientists perfected a means of turning friendship into a weapon? With those white lab coats and beakers they're always carrying around, not to mention all the judicious pointing at clipboards they do, I wouldn't be surprised.

There are two ways to weaponize friendship: the medieval and the modern method. The medieval method involves having your best pals lobbed at you from a trebuchet, usually on fire and toothless. The fire is tactical; the dental condition is the result of poor hygiene.

The modern method is more complicated. The Dastardly Scientists, if you can believe it, have developed a Friendship Ray, which is capable of delivering the obligations of years of friendship in a single concentrated burst. One moment the enemy is on the march, and the next moment they're catching up on years of Christmas cards, answering hundreds of Facebook friend requests, repaying debts, nurturing hurt feelings and reconnecting with people they haven't seen in forever. As if by magic, the night of the attack needs to be delayed because everyone suddenly has plans to go out with their friends or attend a dinner party, and you know, they'd go to war and everything, but they said they'd go see Quantum of Solace with James a month ago. Yes, we all know the movie sucks, but James is our friend, and it's more about hanging out and having a drink afterward.

Fortunately, I hear that other scientists are working on Shitty Friend pills, which allow you to bail out on plans, not return calls and pretend like you didn't get that text message.

#11 Bad Idea: A Regret

In 1993 I took a course in feminist theory of literature. Unsurprisingly, I was one of three men enrolled in the class. The third guy never spoke, sat in the back and disappeared after about four weeks. The other guy was a gnomish fellow with a downy red beard and a smooth sculpted wave of hair that looked inescapably like a preacher's wig. He was a fundamentalist Christian, and I can only assume that he had taken the course in order to follow Christ's example of hanging out with tax collectors and prostitutes.

Because I was the only other man in the class, he viewed me as an ally and a secret sharer. He took to sitting next to me, making small talk and occasionally floating a timidly misogynistic joke to test the reception. I chose not to respond to the jokes, which I thought would shut him up, but instead he took it as silent encouragement. I should have known that jerks need friends so badly that you basically have to kick them in the teeth to keep them away from you. And the truth was that, beneath the conservative surface, a confused loneliness and a mass of unconscious, unexamined desires turned like a restless sleeper.

Anyway, one day the class was talking about the Lacanian notion of the phallus, and what Lacan was actually talking about (it's not easy to have a clear discussion when you keep throwing the word phallus around) when the red-haired guy leaned over and whispered, just loudly enough for his voice to carry, "If women ran the Pentagon, would the missiles be shaped differently"? The question was so grotesquely asinine, and so far removed from the actual discussion, that I had no adequate response. So I barked out "Shush!", like an angry governess. A couple of heads turned in our direction. The red-haired guy drew back in his seat, utterly confused, and I realized that I had been too kind to him, to the point where he viewed me as being complicit.

The bad idea, in this instance, was not to stand up and drag him by the ear out of the classroom, kick him in the head and maybe whip him with scourges or something. That would have been the right tactic.

#10 Bad Idea: Time Foreclosed

People: it's late and I don't have much time, so this idea is going to be rushed. The economic crisis becomes so bad that one day we wake up to find that the future has gone into receivership. We are allowed to travel forward in time but are forbidden from making purchases, investments or plans of any kind. The world sinks into an eternal present while it waits for a potential bailout from a shadowy cosmic reserve.

Some hopeful steps are made when portions of the past are made available for tourism purposes, in the hope of kickstarting the stagnant space-time continuum. Most people can only afford to visit last month, and even the most obscenely rich are unable to travel to points prior to 1982. The past is open during regular weekday business hours.

Then one day the world wakes up to find that the future has gone bankrupt. A sign, visible to everyone, everywhere and nowhere at once, reads:

Future closed for maintenance! Come back tomorrow.

#9 Bad Idea: Simpsons Restoration Project

Earlier this evening I watched a first season episode of The Simpsons (and as an aside, I'd like to thank Fox primetime for bringing me the best that 1990 had to offer). It was "Krusty Gets Busted," the episode that introduced Sideshow Bob. It wasn't the greatest Simpsons ever - the show had yet to find its tone at that point and the actors hadn't all settled into their characters - but it was smartly paced, funny and engaging. It was also one of the first episodes to engage in signature Simpsons dialogue, with its constant misdirection and reversal of viewers' expectations. Best of all, it was a sheer pleasure to watch the show and remember a better time, before the collapse of the world's economy, when The Simpsons didn't suck.

But it's possible that I may be wrong in my assessment of The Simpsons: that the last eleven years or so haven't been awful television - just mediocre television. It only looks bad in comparison with the first eight or so seasons, when the staff churned out one memorable episode after another. At this point in the show's history, the mediocre has definitely overwhelmed the exceptional, so in the spirit of Ayn Rand I propose that the exceptional be punished and scourged until it sinks into the pit of mediocrity, where seasons 9-20 are stewing. Is that not in the spirit of Ayn Rand? No? Well fuck Ayn Rand. This is my blog. The early episodes of the Simpsons should all be remade with the following rules in mind:

1) The early episodes packed gag after gag into an extraordinarily compact narrative. Well, nuts to that. Jokes should be drawn out, usually past the point of funninesss, but not to the point at which the joke takes on a new life through repetition. It is essential that all gags go on just long enough to hit that unfunny sweet spot.

2) Episodes not about Homer's wacky antics and his crazy new job should be retooled so that they are about Homer's wacky antics and his crazy new job.

3) Homer must whine, snivel and act like a gigantic baby in the hope that this repulsive behaviour will draw laughs from total morons.

4) In the early episodes, no matter how crazy or convoluted the story got, the plot was always driven by and unfolded from the characters. This formula should be reversed so that the characters are pulled along by the plot, as if tied to the back of an out-of-control wagon. If a scene requires that Bart should somehow become a mob enforcer with goons at his back, then so be it.

5) Side characters must have staggeringly uninteresting episodes all to themselves.

6) References to classic cinema must be replaced by references to bad '70s television.

7) Celebrity appearances must be so lame that you feel embarrassed for the celebrities. Whenever possible, have a character introduce the celebrity by saying, "Wow, [celebrity], what are you doing in Springfield?"

8) In the early episodes of The Simpsons, you could tell that the writers were having a great time, that they were creating something fresh and new. That sense of energy and joy must be killed at once. A creeping cynicism must be poured in to replace lost joy.

9) Marge must cease being an interesting and independent character. Instead, her job is to react to Homer. When not reacting to Homer's shenanigans, just make her do and say stuff. It doesn't really matter.

10) Bore us.

Those are just ten simple rules. I'm sure there are many more. Suggestions?

Random bit o' trivia: In "Krusty Gets Busted," the tag on Krusty's prison uniform is 'A113'. A113 is an inside joke used by some of the animators who graduated from the California Institute of the Arts - apparently it was the classroom number. A113 shows up in everything Brad Bird has ever directed and (I believe) every Pixar feature length film. It most recently appeared in Wall-E as the code for Auto's secret directive. It also ends up being Sideshow Bob's prison number in a season episode.

#8 Bad Idea: The Gnome's Tale

In a window of an abandoned house a garden gnome, raised to sufficient height by a stool, watches the outside world. Since the house is near a bus stop he recognizes most of the passersby. Children, for some reason, are scared of him, but he observes that they always steal a glance in his direction before running on. It is a deliberate invitation to fear. It must be a thrill, the gnome decides, and tries to feel some of that delight whenever the children swivel their heads, search out his eyes peering through the haze of grime and water spots, and then dash out of sight, their heads still turned to him. He waits for a careless child to jump out into traffic. It never happens.

One night two teenagers enter the house, drink cheap wine, talk to the gnome and fool around. They light candles for the fooling around part. He recognizes the girl, a pale child with bobbed black hair, fingerless gloves and striped tights disappearing into tall black plastic boots. The next night the two come back, but this time they do not fool around. Instead they wrap the gnome in a blanket and carry him back to her basement room, where he is placed carefully in a corner behind her bed. There he is treated to the intimacies and indignities of an adolescent's private life.

It bores and infuriates him. From his new corner there is no window, no passersby, no frightened children. He realizes only now how much he has missed the children, and hopes that none of them have accidentally run into traffic, as he had once wished. Instead, there is only the room and its many objects, which he memorizes and forgets, memorizes and forgets. And at night there is the girl, reading, smoking, masturbating, inviting the occasional friend over. Sometimes she rolls over in bed and gazes at the gnome with a thoughtful, inward expression, as if a spark of her secret world were arcing between them, which the gnome hates. He wants to inspire fear, not contemplation.

His life changes one more time when she and the boy again wrap him in a blanket and put him in the back of a pickup truck. They take him around from yard to yard, snapping photographs and laughing at each new image. She claps both hands over her mouth and emits a high forceful whine through the grille of her fingers, like a serrated blade screeching through metal. The boy pumps his fist and pretends to high-five the gnome. Then he points and laughs at the gnome's inability to complete the gesture.

At the fifth or sixth photography session, a man comes out of the house and starts shouting at the boy and girl. They run back to the trunk, screaming and hooting, and speed away. The man picks up the gnome and throws him to the ground in anger. The gnome breaks into several pieces. The man gathers up the pieces and takes them to his garage, where he epoxies the gnome back together. A shard is missing from his cheek, but otherwise he looks pretty good. The man puts the gnome out in his front yard. This is the last thing that ever happens to him.

Years later the girl who took photographs of him walks by. The bob and the black clothing are gone, and the face has grown wider and looser, with a slight wrinkling at the outer corners of her eyes. She wears a light yellow pantsuit. As she passes she sees the gnome, but it is clear that she does not recognize him. Please bring children, thinks the gnome. That's who I'm for.

#7 Bad Idea: Nonemto

A man wakes up one day in a world almost exactly the same as ours - but all the n's and m's are reversed. In this world, Dicken's most famous book is about cutlery, Mamma Mia is totally ruined, and 'anemone' is routinely mispronounced so that most people actually say the word correctly. It drives him mad. Which is to say, nad. As a final insult, the doctors pronounce hin imsame amd innure hin im a nadhouse.

In order to stave off the creeping despair at being stuck in an asylun in what is plainly the most ridiculous of all possible worlds, he begins to compile a dictionary of mn-less words. From that dictionary he embarks on a memoir (which he can confidently call an autobiography) that he secretly hopes will build a door back into the world he knew. He works on it for months, scribbling away into the night, carefully avoiding every alphabetically offensive word. Finally he reaches the end, but on the very last page he screws up and writes "THE EMD" in huge caps. "Danmit!" he shouts, but his book becomes a bestselling fantasy novel after the publisher puts a picture of a woman in a metal bikini on the cover.

#6 Bad Idea

This evening I was standing around in the bathroom wondering why I was in there when I was reminded, not for the first time, that most ice cream is not a dairy product but a kind of pustulent ooze that seeps from the pores of a gigantic crab-monster thing that Darwin's ship The Beagle hauled from the tepid Pacific waters off Galapagos in late September 1835. Since then then the crab-monster, dubbed "Son of Neptune" by Charles Lyell, has been housed in a flooded chamber beneath the Thames. It is unfailingly polite and well-versed in geology, the history of China c. 1500-1800, and has a rudimentary grasp of calculus. Its delicious ooze was accidentally discovered by Thomas Carlyle, who fell into an epileptic state on first meeting the monster and licked at its carapace, all the while shouting obscenities and offering to wrestle John Stewart Mill, who was not there. When Carlyle reported on the surprising taste, the crab-monster explained that he was the botched but beloved offspring of God, sent to Earth to provide not salvation but a free alternative to dairy-derived ice cream, which is unbelievably expensive to produce and causes cancer. Today, almost 70 per cent of the ice cream you find in supermarkets is produced by the Son of Neptune.

It got me to thinking: what other secrets do They routinely keep from us? Then I remembered that I had gone into the bathroom to clip the sturdy hairs that sprout from my earlobes.

#5 Bad Idea: Quantum of Nonsense

This afternoon I watched Quantum of Solace, and it's a disturbing experience to spend 100 minutes with an iconic pop culture experience and realize that, out of all the twenty-plus Bond films of varying quality over the last few decades, not one has ever reached so far and grasped so little as this one. What does it mean to feel that the most supremely escapist movie franchise on Earth has produced an installment that feels not just haphazard, slack, campy or stupid, but downright irrelevant?

Could it be that there was no artificially intelligent formalwear?

There's no shortage of films involving magic outfits that transform their wearers into enhanced or superpowered version of themselves, but the Bond films, with their rotating cast of actors and manic insistence on style, elevate the fitted tuxedo and the Windsor knot to a kind of personhood all on its own. So why not launch a Bond franchise with the titular spy wearing a wisecracking, sarcastic tux? Kitt-like and dry, Bond's tux could always be relied on for just the right witty rejoinder. Sample phrases include "Whoah, down boy!" "Would it kill you to put on some deodorant now and then?" and "Take me Cary Grant's drycleaner, stat!"

Ah man. Laughs a-fucking-plenty. It couldn't be any worse than a movie full of Daniel Craig refusing to smile.

#4 Bad Idea

Today's bad idea: not so much an idea as a dyed-in-the-wool belief, a monstrous secret that has taken me years to uncover, nearly destroying my spirit in the process. The secret? Electricity is a lie. It's actually magic.

Who's responsible for spreading this lie? Mickey Rourke, that's who. He planted documents, spread rumours, sowed the seeds of untruth. I mean, come on - what do you think he was doing between Wild Orchid and Sin City? Boxing? Living with a junkie? Alienating everyone in the movie industry? The world as we know it is a hive of illusion, and at the sticky centre Rourke rests, fat with deception and covered in honey (of lies).

On the other hand, he made the '80s very entertaining for us, so I figure we owe him his eccentricities. Plus the trailer for The Wrestler looks great.

"Covered in the honey of lies"

#3 Bad Idea

Wait. This one is a doozy. I scribbled something down on a piece of paper the other day while I was watching TV, and even though I can't really be sure of what I wrote down, I'm pretty sure it says "No. 1 Most Homeless Guy Recommended Product". When people ask me what it's like to make a living from the written word, I don't tell them that much of what I write down is kind of like that. And why don't I tell them? For reasons of personal security.

Anyway, today's idea is: an opera divided into 3.5 acts for kazoo, saw and an old Duran Duran album (maybe Seven and the Ragged Tiger). Lyrics taken from the Xanax product monograph. The action is set in a world much like our own, except homeless people are held in the kind of worshipful slackjawed regard we reserve for doctors. Homeless people drive fancy cars, live like kings and graciously accept money from passersby. Doctors are kicked down the street and pelted with dogshit. Is there a story? Not really. Homeless people tend to suffer from brain damage, alcoholism or mental illness, and it's tough to keep them on message and following a plotline. But there is a thread running through the opera about a homeless guy who recommends a pharmaceutical product, which becomes so popular that he is suspected of being a doctor. He falls in love, soils himself and gets shot, probably in that order. Off to bed with me.

#2 Bad Idea

A television producer summons the Devil (Ach! Der Teufel kommt heran!) in order to procure fame, fortune and a penis with racing stripes. In return, the Devil demands that the producer make the most expensive television show in the world: a revival of TV's Manimal featuring a cast of thousands and taking up most of continental Australia. The producer cuts corners and shoots the whole thing in front of a green screen, with excessive 'flashbacks' that are just segments of the original Manimal.

The Devil loves it but the rights holders to Manimal sue the producer into utter poverty. Penniless and forgotten, he unexpectedly gains notoriety when he appears in a porn film for a few lines of stepped-on cocaine. Soon 'Racerman, The Man with Racing Stripes on His Penis' becomes famous and rich, until the Turkish city of Racerman sues him back into oblivion.

He dies of ill health soon after and goes to hell, where the television only plays reruns of Manimal, and everyone has racing-stripe-enhanced genitalia. Oh, and The Devil turns out to be Simon MacCorkindale. Did I mention that? Well he is.

Here is some footage of Simon MacCorkindale turning into a panther, from the days when all the music came out a computer and the special effects were pure latex:

#1 Bad Idea

Ah yikes. As I do from time to time, I lost the mission on this weblog. A bomb dropped on it and left a hole two weeks wide between this post and the last one. The bomb took the shape of an attempted entry to commemorate the one year anniversary of my back surgery. I was trying to celebrate my pain-free year but instead I drove over an IED of disappointment, depression and petty gripes that tore up my peace of mind for a while. I wrote down all the anger and confusion, but you know who wants to read that? Not you, my friends, even though you may be thinking Hell yeah, let's see this guy get mad a bit. Let's watch this dude throw himself around a bit. Nah, you don't really want that. You don’t want to see me stir the stuff at the bottom and find what bobs to the top. Or as Gerard Manley Hopkins once said, selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. Although he may have been talking about god.

Anyway, I’m thinking that the way out of despond is not self-reflection but flinging the mind outward, into the silly ends of the imagination, which is where I encounter the greatest amusement and the occasional hint that the world may have more to offer than the lunch special at the Sears cafeteria. Today I’m initiating The Year of Ridiculous Ideas. Every day will be devoted to some horrible idea for a television show, film, gum wrapper or moustaches-for-babies marketing scheme. Some of them will be terrible. Some of them will be terrible, terrible genius. But damn it, I’m going to do it. If I can’t come up with a bad idea I will provide one thought about the Terminator franchise, so you’d better hope my brain comes through.

Those what are in the know will tell me that spinning out undeveloped ideas is a terrible idea, and that sooner or later some flicksharp will steal my best eggs from my nest and raise them into idea-chickens of fame and profit. This is unlikely.

First idea: Superman vs. the Mounties. Blue spandex versus red serge! Fists meet outstanding law enforcement procedures! Who will triumph? Well, Superman will triumph. He could wade through a field of these guys and toss them into the stratosphere by their jodhpurs. But think of the PR issues. How could Superman handle the flak that he would get from depleting Canada of its national police force? Is he going to protect Canada in their place? I doubt it. He’s busy enough with Metropolis. And who’s going to take care of the horses? Come on.

The way I see it, Superman gets upset with the Mounties and their incessant parading while he tries to get some rest in the Fortress of Solitude. So he steps out his door and yells at the Mounties to move a little bit further to the south. The Mounties are like, no dice sir, so Superman dropkicks the whole hatted lot of them onto the moon. That’s when his public relations and horse grooming nightmare begins.

Okay, so we’ve got Superman taking care of the RCMP horses and the Mounties on the moon, stuck without a way back or a breathable atmosphere. Evil overtakes Canada and Metropolis. Villains unite them and form the breakaway republic of Fossetralia, where they gather at the stables and make nasty jokes at Superman’s expense.

So what’s the third act? The Mounties come back from the moon, having learned to live without air because of evolution. The source of evolution is on the moon, see, so now they’re flying vacuum-breathing creatures with five heads and one shoulder. They clean up the evil, eat the horses and roost on the high parapets, joking with each other and defecating on passersby. The end. Come back tomorrow for another terrible idea.