Tuesday, February 27, 2007
12) Advance copy of The Origin of Species.
11) Bones from biblical ancestor of Geraldo Rivera.
10) Mysterious new car smell.
9) Ancient flower arrangements reading “Beloved Savior” and “Son of God.”
8) Unpaid bill from Last Supper.
7) DNA evidence proving Mary Magdalene was actually time-travelling Sarah Conner.
6) Engraved stone snapshots from the Honeymoon in Cana.
5) Curse that makes King Tut’s look like a head cold.
4) Report card showing Jesus's son Judah failing theology, with note to teacher saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll put the fear of God in him.”
3) Unopened box of Shroud of Turin knockoffs.
2) Plot for next Dan Brown novel and/or Indiana Jones movie.
1) One hell of a tempest in a Talpiot.
Friday, February 23, 2007
It actually hit 50 degrees this week, which made me feel like dancing. Let’s see if the CJ list can keep me on the floor....
1) “One More Time,” Daft Punk. Okay, it’s hard for me to dance before I’ve had an ounce of caffeine, but God bless Daft Punk for trying. I wish I could talk like the vocals in this song, which are very processed and use a staccato delivery that enunciates every syllable. Hell-o, I am Brand-o. Woul-d you li-ke to dis-cuss th-e bro-chure cop-y o-ne mo-re ti-me? Oh yeah, all ri-ght, may-be lat-er when you'-re fre-e!
2) “Feels Like Rain (Live),” John Hiatt. I saw him on the tour when this was recorded, but he didn’t use our show for this CD. At the beginning, you can hear this one guy going, “Wooooo!” I would love to have a live CD where my hooting got recorded. I would share it with my nonexistent grandchildren. “Look kids, your grandpa used to be young and spunky, before he felt the icy grip of death around every corner.”
3) “I.O.U.,” The La's. Kind of a skiffle-ish tune, but I don’t hear any washboard. I gotta have more washboard, baby!
4) “Transport Is Arranged,” Pavement. Begin quiet, chiming, lazy guitar notes...Add half-asleep vocals...Remain slack for the first half of the song....Now, over the horzion, here it comes...The crescendo...Closer...Wait for my command...COMMENCE ROCKING! Keep rocking, boys! Okay, cease rocking! Resume laid back motif so this doesn’t seem like two discordant music ideas...Congratulations, you have completed your Pavement song construction training.
5) “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” The Beatles. Lennon makes it clear that he wants her, and in fact, wants her so bad. And the group ascertains that she is so heavy. But they never explore this further. Does he want her because she is heavy? Or does he want her, but cannot obtain her because of her heaviness? And what is the nature of her heaviness? Is it weight, or does she have a super-dense molecular structure that prevents him from getting close to her lest he be crushed by her density? When you have 7:39, you need to answer these questions, not just explore the studio space with Hammond organ fills and Ringo.
6) “Wednesday,” Drive-By Truckers. A band name that perfectly fits the band. This is a nice, uptempo number that doesn’t dive headfirst into poverty, desperation, bathtub meth production, or Lynyrd Skynyrd as much as the band usually does.
7) “Town Called Malice,” The Jam. Goddamn you, Billy Elliot. This is a great song that now always makes me think of a troubled English lad dancing. Dance, Billy, dance!
8) “Take a Look in the Mirror,” Toots and the Maytals. Everything sounds better with a Caribbean accent. That’s why people could listen to Billy Ocean without getting out of their cars and getting into the radio stations to slay the DJs that played Billy Ocean. This Toots song is 1/Billy Ocean, which is a very large, positive number.
9) “We Looked Like Giants,” Death Cab for Cutie. A very good song about having sex in a very small car. Paradise by the Yugo lights.
10) “Beating Around the Bush,” AC/DC. Nothing makes my morning like Bon Scott double-entendres. It’s not quite “Big Balls,” but what could be?
11) “Mirrorful,” Jawbox. The great thing about the major label race to sign alternative bands like Jawbox in the 90s, only to then not know how to market their albums and let them wither on the sales vine, is that people like me could later get albums like this for $.99 from Columbia House.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
12) Drummer needs a new liver again.
11) Poured a little too much sugar on her and have to pay the legal settlement.
10) These Bentleys don’t run on back catalog royalties, mate.
9) What better way to celebrate our new marriages and new sobriety than going on tour!
8) Found out we needed much more than a good time if we were going to need nothing but a good time. *
7) Nostalgia for 80s music conveniently complements nostalgia for 80s greed.
6) Finally put aside creative differences with Jughead.
5) When we said we wanted to perform solo, the audience took us literally.
4) They not only threw in free admission to the state fair, they said we could be judges in the hog contest.
3) Because 20 years ago we would have died if we were on VH1...and now we’re dying to get on it.
2) We were motorin’ toward the welfare office.
1) Felt that we let our egos destroy the band before we really accomplished all we could accomplish, and this tour is our way...just kidding, turns out Andy never paid into Social Security.
*#8 is a special dedication to MSF
Monday, February 19, 2007
Inside a woman’s bathroom in a fancy restaurant. Two women stand in front of the mirror. One woman, CHRISTINA, is very thin, while the other, MAGGIE, is a little on the heavy side.
CHRISTINA (rubbing her belly)
Oh, I am so full! That cheese-stuffed Filet Minon was delicious.
Yeah . . . my salad was really good, too. Very fresh asparagus.
And the twice-baked potato? Fabulous!
I really liked my rice – I didn't even miss the butter.
But the cheesecake – I’m telling you, Maggie, there was an orgasm in my mouth with every bite. I could have eaten three pieces, but I didn’t want to seem like a pig in front of the boys.
Christina, how do you do it?
Eat whatever you want and still fit into a size 2? I diet my ass off but it hangs on for dear life. What’s your secret?
Christina looks around, checks the stalls, and makes sure no one is listening.
Okay, Maggie, I'm going to let you in on a little secret I learned from Paris...
CUE SOFT PIANO MUSIC
CHRISTINA (singing slowly)
I tried diets and shakes,
aerobics and weights
And still my thighs were too wide
I tried to be good
but I always would
cheat . . . a little . . . on the side
When I stepped on the scale,
I felt like I failed
I was so upset I could cry . . .
So whatever do you do?
I’ll tell you. I. . .
CUE UPTEMPO BROADWAY MUSIC
Binge and purge
Binge and purge
whenever I splurge
I binge and purge
First I scarf
then I barf
It’s as easy as pie
Mmmm. . . pie
And I don’t have to try
to control the urge –
I just binge and purge
But isn’t that bad for you?
Workouts are work
and dieting blows
if you want to slim fast
look under your nose
They say not to do it
they say that it’s bad
but when you fit into your jeans
you’ll feel so glad
So I gorge on fries
plus a Whopper
down a hot fudge sundae
as a topper
Leave the table
for the bathroom
where I gag myself...
with a spoon
That's right! You just...
MAGGIE AND CHRISTINA (singing)
Binge and purge
Binge and purge
whenever we splurge
We binge and purge
First we scarf
then we barf
It’s as easy as pie
Mmm. . . pie!
MAGGIE AND CHRISTINA
And we don’t have to try
to control the urge –
We just binge and purge
Are you ready?
Christina and Maggie enter the stalls together and shut the doors. There are a pair of flushes and the two emerge, wiping their mouths with tissue. Christina is smiling, but Maggie doesn’t look so good.
See, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
That was awful. And I thought I hated asparagus going down.
That's nothing a little Baskin Robbins can’t take care of! Rocky Road tastes almost the same in either direction.
Oh God! (dashes back to the stall)
Oh, come on, don't be such a baby. This is the only way you can have your cake and eat it too. You just don't get to keep it. And be sure you have good dental. It's a teensie weensie bit hard on your teeth.
MAGGIE (emerging from the stall)
You know what else is hard on your teeth?
She punches Christina and knocks her out cold. Maggie rinses her mouth out in the sink.
If there's one plus to plus-size, it's that it doesn't taste like asparagus.
Friday, February 16, 2007
I bought a couple CDs this week and have now crossed the 6,000 song mark on my iPod. Even if, hypothetically speaking, I only purchased 50% of those songs (hear that, RIAA, I said hypothetically), I feel like I should kick myself in the ass for not buying the kinds of CDs that make money. But then my Friday Random 11 would just be lists of interest rates, which is so not rock.
Here we go:
1) “Scentless Apprentice,” Nirvana. Ooh, it’s going to be a very angry Friday. This doesn’t smell anything like teen spirit. More like a teen who gets paid to take out the garbage, but wants to show he can do more than take out the garbage, yet doesn’t want to lose his garbage allowance. Tragedy ensues.
2) “Guys Like Me,” Aimee Mann. She makes writing pop gems sound so effortless. She probably tossed this off while splitting a bagel with hubby Michael Penn and doing the New York Times crossword. 16 Down: ____, _____, voices carry.
3) “Kalifornia,” Fatboy Slim. Wow, this is only 10 years old but sounds almost as dated as the Fat Boys. The beginning has a Yello, “Oh, Yeah,” feel, like this would be used at the end of Ferris Bueller’s Second Day Off, where Ferris ditches a big meeting at the office. Hilarity ensues.
4) “What Jail Is Like,” The Afghan Whigs. I love this song and the album, but it always makes me grateful I got married early, because I never had to sound like this after a breakup. You can practially taste the bile, and it makes for terrific listening because it's not my bile. Lucky for us eHarmony wasn't around in 1992 or this album may not have ever been recorded.
5) “We’re a Happy Family,” The Ramones. Happy Ramones songs are all alike; every unhappy Ramones song is...also alike. Maybe the first rock band where the drummer outlived everyone else.
6) “New York,” U2. We move from sitting in Queens eating refried beans to sitting in Ellis Island waiting for the...highland? Sorry, that's all I could get from the online rhyming dictionary. In this song, Bono is telling us to celebrate our differences and for the different ethnicities to hug it out, preferably in Manhattan. Just not on St. Patrick's day, because you'll get a pint glass across the nose, you bloody foreigners!
7) “John Saw That Number,” Neko Case. I like Neko Case for a lot of reasons. One is that her voice can melt glaciers faster than Phillies pitcher Jon Lieber’s truck. Second, she is an age-appropriate candidate for my hot list, which is a big relief. For a while, I worried I would have to change my name to Humbert Humbert.
8) “The Bed’s Too Big Without You,” The Police. And the good reunion tour tickets are too expensive for me. I would really like to see them on tour, even though I know I’ll be so far away I’ll only be able to see Sting’s ego. During the Synchronicity tour, my uncle (a big music fan) was going to take me to see them. However, they were playing in old Comiskey Park on the South Side of Chicago, which was odious not only for being home of the White Sox, but site of the famed Disco Demolition Night riot. I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll see them on the next tour.”
9) “(I’m) Stranded,” The Saints. A great bit of 70s Aussie punk. They should be called The Black and Deckers because the guitar in this song is a buzzsaw. Not sure what’s up with the parentheses, though. Parentheses are not punk.
10) “Banquet,” Bloc Party. My most played album of the last two years. I like it so much I’m reluctant to buy their new one because I know I’ll be disappointed. I hate it when that happens. I hope they don’t join the Afghan Whigs and Stone Roses in the We Killed Our Careers Because Our First Albums Were Too Good Hall of Fame.
11) “Concrete Bed,” Nada Surf. This is a catchy, peppy rock tune from their excellent album, The Weight Is a Gift. Nada Surf are like a Culver’s Butterburger: freshy made, always tasty, free of frills, and clogging my heart with their goodness.
Happy Friday! Hope none of you needed penicillin after Valentine’s Day.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
--Actually, Gertrude, it’s a collection.
--No, a short story collection.
--I see. Why short stories instead of a novel?
--That was the form I wanted to work with.
--Did you choose short stories because you felt you couldn’t stretch apples into a novel?
--The apples don’t really have anything to do with the stories. It’s just an expression.
--Do you dislike apples?
--No, they’re quite good, that’s not the point—
--I like red delicious myself, sometimes Rome, or applesauce.
--It’s a figure of speech, Gertrude. It’s rubbing someone’s nose in something that’s happened to them, which is the point of many of the stories.
--I see. But there’s an apple tree on the cover.
--Yes, well, I didn’t choose that.
--If you were a tree, what kind of tree...?
--Vis a vis trees, if you were one...?
--I...would...be...an, uh, elm.
--Not an apple tree?
--No, not an apple tree! The book isn’t....You know, Gertrude, what kind of tree would you be?
--I don’t like trees. I got poison ivy once from a forest. Have you ever had poison ivy?
--I would think it would be difficult to write with poison ivy. Because you’d be itching instead of writing. That’s what Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote about.
--Love in the Time of Poison Ivy. How hard it was to love because of the itching.
--It was Love in the Time of Cholera, Gertrude.
--Yes, that’s the Spanish translation. Like your name would be Juan Jacobs. Or Yay-cobs. You notice that our names have letterracy?
--What on earth are you talking about?
--Letteracy. They start with the same letters. Gertrude Grimmelshausen, John Jacobs. Or Juan Yaycobs.
--That’s called alliteration.
--No, I know I can read, and you just read from your novel.
--It's a story collection! How hard is it to—
--...Should I dare to ask what that means?
--That’s the kind of tree I would be. You can’t get poison ivy from a cactus.
--That’s the first true thing you’ve said this evening.
--So, as you were writing this “collection...”
--Why are you doing that thing with your fingers?
--I’m quoting you, John. That’s what you called it.
--Because that’s what it’s called! A story collection.
--So you were writing this, and then you finished it.
--Is that even a question?
--You finished your “collection.”
--Stop it! Stop making the quote signs with your fingers! Of course I finished it. How could it have been published if it wasn't finished? Now the next words out of your mouth better be a real question, or this “interview” is over.
--It’s been written that our attention spans have decreased, yet the popularity of the short story has also declined. Do you find this to be a paradox?
--That’s your question?
--No apples? No poison ivy?
--We already covered those topics, unless you’d like to revisit them...
--No, no, no. You just surprised me. Um, that’s a great question, and I have a theory that I think explains this...
--A theory our audience would probably love to hear if we were not out of time. You have been listening to Juan Yacobs discuss his latest collecion, How Do You Like Them Elm Trees? I’m Gertrude Grimmelshausen, and thank you for listening to Book Sense, the program for sensible books.
Dedicated to Daniel, who wrangled the "questions" like a pro.
1 finger of white man’s burden
1 dozen sour grapes
3 shots of Mad Dog
Add bitters non-liberally and stir with straw men.
Shake until extra frothy.
Pour over lies in a tumbler of treason.*
Serve with a double standard on the side.
*Watch the ad to read this if you don't subscribe to Salon. It's worth it. Hat tip to teh for finding this.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
9) Picturing John Podhoretz’s back.
8) Asking to be locked in prison until we’re cured.
7) Channeling our sexual energy into new career in pro wrestling.
6) Rubbing on a little Gay-Away ointment we bought from a religious website...then a little more...just a bit more...oh God, where’s the Abercrombie catalog?
5) Taking a cue from the Apostles and going on a fishing trip with 11 other closeted guys.
4) Using an umbrella when it’s raining men.
3) Joining the priesthood/ministry/Boy Scouts/Army/Navy/Air Force/Marines/NBA/GOP.
2) Marrying Liza.
1) Praying. Really hard. So very, very, very hard. Oh God, where’s that Abercrombie catalog?
*Hat tip to midniter at Republic of Dogs for the inspiration for this week's list.
Friday, February 09, 2007
I got a couple rated tunes today. Maybe we’re on the way to shuffle détente.
1) “In the City,” The Jam. The first song I ever heard from them. They had me at the opening riff. I am a hopeless Anglophile.
2) “Asphyxiated Circle,” Guided by Voices. Even my favorite American band is one that goes out of its way to sound British. No one titles their songs like GbV. I could say they have a song called, “The Conspicuous Pecan Log of Mr. Wombat, Esq.,” and even GbV fans would have to stop and double-check the catalog.
3) “Summer Babe,” Pavement. Ten years from now, there will be a commercial with a guy in a flannel shirt going, “Hey, is that Slacker Rock? Well turn it up!” This will be the lead song. It gets megakudos for being about summer, which is nice considering it’s been 10 degrees Kelvin here all week.
4) “Polly,” Nirvana. This acoustic version fits the creepy, claustrophobic lyrics better, but I like the big rock version they would play live. I wish I hadn’t gotten that “Kurt Lives!” tattoo, though.
5) “Crosstown Traffic,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Has anyone playing in a band named after one guy (or gal) ever gone on to be more famous than that person? I can’t think of an instance. Take poor Mitch Mitchell, one of the great rock drummers who delivers an absolutely monster beat during the verses of this song. He’ll always be Jimi’s drummer because the band was named after Hendrix. If Nirvana had been Kurt Cobain and the Flannels, there’s no way Dave Grohl becomes huge later. Keep that in mind when joining a band.
6) “Hazey Jane I,” Nick Drake. Despite sounding so sad, Nick Drake always takes me to my happy place, full of sunny meadows and bubbling brooks and giant televisions with football and video games, with The Lovely Becky bringing me plate after plate of her insanely delicious cookies.
7) “T.N.T.,” AC/DC. Can I get an “Oi!”? How about 16 of them?
8) “It’s Only Natural,” Crowded House. This is from Woodface, the Official Album of the Brando-TLB College Years. It’s a good thing we had the CD because we would have worn a hole in the vinyl. One of our Super Bowl party guests this year was surprised to learn we were big Crowded House fans. We were like, “Dude, we built this city on Crowded House.” The city of us, that is.
9) “Hate to Say I Told You So,” The Hives. And the Grammy for Best Song That Tricks Us Into Buying an Otherwise Mediocre Album goes to...The Hives!
10) “Steamer Trunk,” Alkaline Trio. Yes, they’re emo. Yes, I have all their albums. Yes, I’m about 20 years older than their target audience. Let’s move on.
11) “14 Years,” Guns N Roses. It’s been 14 years of silence, it’s been 14 years of pain. It’s been 14 years that are gone forever and I’ll never have again. It is amazing that Axl wrote a song about the recording of Chinese Democracy before he started recording it.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
I saved all my monthly archives, set up my new Google account, and pressed the convert button with the confidence of an extra on Lost entering the computer code while wearing a red Star Trek uniform. I winced, covered my genitals (sadly, with one hand), and pressed the button.
Two minutes later, Circle Jerk at the Square Dance 2.0 emerged. It's like I was in my own Staples commercial.
I haven't changed the look or anything because I am lazy and a bad artist. But I will probably start labeling the shit out of everything. You can already read every Top Ten Tuesday if you desire.
I think I have most of the stuff back in place, but if you see anything amiss, let me know. And I must tip my cap to the new Blogger -- that was almost as easy as I am after a six pack and an episode of Project Runway.
I initially tried debating him for reals, which was about as useful as starting a land war in Asia. So I did what I always do, which is poke fun.
I didn't want to reveal this here, but the clever detective work of others has left me no choice.
Global warming is a big conspiracy. It is a joint production of the Freemasons and Illuminati, in conjunction with NPR, the National Science Foundation, and Al Franken. The point is to destroy capitalism and replace it with a barter system based on Folger's Crystals. This plays into the hands of the Chinese, who are secretly cornering the market on Folger's. They are also getting help from Hugo Chavez and the Iranians, who are enriching the crystals. By controlling the coffee, they will control every man and woman that has to get up for work in the morning. We will all become their slaves.
A group of albino minions does the work of this global warming society. They secretly control the peer review of the journals and have infiltrated the HR departments of all major universities and research institutions in the United States. They also work as copy editors at most newspapers, replacing stories about water skiing squirrels with exposes on global warming. They are also buying off key members of the media, Congress, governmental environmental agencies, and science foundations.
By getting America to waste precious resources on environmental regulation, our Folger's Crystals production will severely suffer, allowing the Chinese to eventually pass us as the world's superpower.
I am revealing this because one of the albinos, who only goes by the name of Bernie, is holding my family hostage. I hope by getting the truth out, I can save them.
In the meantime, watch the skies! And horde your coffee, for it will one day be the Stimulant of Liberty!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
9) Fancy 2-ply toilet paper for Congress (take that, Pelosi!).
7) Anything that smells like old people.
6) Complimentary pie and hookers for corporate lobbyists (sorry, business, we had to sacrifice something).
4) Brush (that stuff is everywhere!).
3) 50% of compassionate conservatism.
2) Everything that doesn’t shoot, explode, detain, or kick back enough tax money to store our yachts for the winter.
1) Reality (check, please!).
Monday, February 05, 2007
My sister sent me this photo from The Night of the Living Polish Rejects. I look unenthused because I was in the process of liquefying under the asbestos beard and wig. Although I wish I was wearing that today so I could brave the 2 degree temperatures, carcinogens or no carcinogens.
Next year, I also need to make sure the Venetian blinds match the drapes, if you know what I'm saying.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Not pictured but present: lots of Goose Island Honker's Ale
(located somewhere below the Bears logo)
Funny how second place tastes like lasst.
Congrats to the Colts. They were the better team and deserved to win. They played Bears football better than the Bears did. That's the part that bothers me the most.
I have to look on the bright side. It could be worse. I could be a Cleveland Browns fan.*
*With apologies to Blue Girl for the comparison.
Friday, February 02, 2007
I don't know if The Uncanny Canadian is doing a poop shoot at Three Bulls today, but last week's was very good. Of course, he had to one-up me by doing 12 songs, but it's not the size of the playlist, it's the sway of the shuffle. At least, that's what my wife tells me.
Anyway, here's this week's random music:
1) “Echoes Myron,” Guided by Voices. The best British Invasion song recorded 30 years after the British Invasion. A great bouncing bass line, catchy vocals, and an outro guitar that I wish wouldn’t end. One of my favorite songs ever.
2) “Lover’s Spit,” Broken Social Scene. I think the piano in this song is in the key of D, because it just makes me weep instantly. I can’t tell if this is really about oral sex or if I’m projecting (again).
3) “Let It Die,” Feist. First time I’ve heard this song (I “acquired” it from a friend). I need to listen to it more. Reminds me of Sinead O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” but without the shredding of the Pope’s picture.
4) “Paperback Writer,” The Beatles. I wish I could turn that guitar to 11. Funny this came up today because The Lovely Becky and I had a long talk last night about the novel I need to write.
5) “Passenger Side,” Wilco. I hate sitting on the passenger side, too, just like Jeff Tweedy. No one does the “I just woke up and recorded this great song” sound like him.
6) “Noah,” Devendra Banhart. Another one I haven’t listened to but should. Thought this was M. Ward for a second because it also sounds like it’s sung by a 60-year-old hobo rather than a guy who hasn’t reached 30. A slow, croaky bit of folk. Nice.
7) “Giving the Dog a Bone,” AC/DC. And now for something completely different....I think this would be an awesome song for a Milk Bones commercial. I really shouldn’t like this as much as I do, but it touches my inner Beavis.
8) “The Village Green Preservation Society,” The Kinks. That’s more like it. Such great music and clever lyrics. God save little shops, china cups, and virginity. This is one of those songs the conservative munchwagons at National Review would cite as supporting conservative values, because they are born without the irony gene.
9) “Exhuming McCarthy,” REM. I like the sound sample from the Army-McCarthy hearings: Have you no decency, sir? The answer: no. Maybe that’s why Ann Coulter hearts McCarthy so much.
10) “Star Bodies,” The New Pornographers. Here’s my token rated song. I wonder if, once I’ve rated every song, my iPod will just start playing stuff I don’t even have loaded onto it. The harmonies here between Neko Case and Carl Newman kick ass, as do the drums.
11) “Twice as Hard,” The Black Crowes. This would play in the scene of the Cameron Crowe movie where Chris Robinson sits on his couch, looking at a picture of Kate Hudson as he says, “How did I let her get away?” Then he looks in a mirror and says, “Oh yeah, because I’m ugly and smell like Lenny Kravitz. I should have shaved the beard. And showered occasionally.”
Matthew Sweet’s hit streak ends at four, which I think is two more than his professional hit streak (I kid, I kid!). Still no Rush, which surprises me. I anticipate I’m being set up for an all-Rush shuffle, where I will have to talk about related items like Dungeons and Dragons, Piers Anthony novels, and the three decades of torment I’ve endured for liking their music.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
The Etch-a-Sketch depicted William the Conqueror, the famed Norman who conquered England in the eleventh century, with a note, “The Stormin’ Normans are coming to kick your ass, 2/1/07.” One of the red knobbed devices was left on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House.
Bush Administration officials, working with Homeland Security and the CIA, immediately interpreted the message as a threat of a preemptive military strike by France, possibly in collaboration with Al Qaeda. President Bush then ordered an air strike of the Normandy region of France and for the military to prepare an amphibious assault of the country.
However, an intern recognized the image from a poster for The Stormin’ Normans, a sketch comedy troupe based in Washington. After two phone calls and a quick Google search, Homeland Security officials quickly revised their hypothesis that the Etch-a-Sketches foretold a Franco-Qaeda attack. But the discovery was made too late to prevent the Normandy coast from being hammered by bombs and cruise missiles.
Furthermore, the threat was leaked to the press, causing panicked residents to take matters into their own hands. Armed roaming mobs torched every Au Bon Pain bakery in the Northern Virginia and Maryland area, as well as several Panera eateries, which locals thought “sounded French.”
Upon realizing the error, the White House issued a statement, saying, “We’re pretty sorry about bombing you, even though you probably deserved it.”
After the French government declared the apology “as insufficiently empty as man's fate in the universe,” the Bush Administration suggested they were not the ones most at fault. “As anyone who watches 24 knows, we have, at most, 15 minutes to decide if a terrorist threat is credible,” said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. “In this case, the President acted on the intelligence he had available at the time. Therefore, we are holding the guys who drew this responsible for the bombing of France.”
When reached for comment, Norman Krystofsky, founder of The Stormin’ Normans, said, “Mother of God, it was an Etch-a-Sketch! A [expletive] Etch-a-Sketch! How could they attack a country....” Before he could finish, Mr. Krystofsky was pushed into an unmarked white van by Secret Service agents.
While a resolution with France has not been reached, a high ranking government official said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has offered to let the French bomb Massachusetts as compensation.
Deadliest promotions in American history
While today’s episode marks the first time marketing has led to direct military action, many covert promotional tactics have prompted jittery government officials and American citizens to react in extreme manners:
--In 1919, a mysterious series of gasoline cans left behind prominent Chicago buildings convinced Attorney General A. Mitchell Brown that Bolsheviks were planning to burn down the city, leading to the first Red Scare. The cans were actually promoting the comic strip Gasoline Alley.
--A 1939 promotional package for the Little Rascals containing Limburger cheese led New York police to believe Nazi Germany had initiated a chemical attack. City officials ordered officers to shoot anyone in Tyrolean hats or Lederhosen. Seven patrons at a schnitzel bar were killed.
--In 1956, a movie trailer for Invasion of the Body Snatchers, presented as an authentic news reel, caused a nationwide epidemic of insomnia and the pitch-forking deaths of dozens of green bean farmers.
--Several trained Orangutans employed at traffic intersections to promote the film Every Which Way But Loose triggered the Right Turn Clyde Panic of 1978.
--During the late 1990s, several actors were assaulted and one killed while entering a limo, sorority house, the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, and the offices of Death Row Records. The actors were filming commercials for Mentos.
--In 2000, with the help of professional magician David Blaine, actor Kirk Cameron “disappeared” during a television interview about his role the apocaltyptic movie Left Behind. Thinking that the Tribulation had begun, tens of thousands of evangelical Christians fled their jobs and homes in order to sever ties with mistresses, burn porn stashes, and destroy their meth labs before the Savior’s arrival. Property damage was estimated at $25-45 million dollars, depending on the street value of the meth.
--During the 2004 election, the improvisational comedy group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth inadvertently helped President Bush win reelection by promoting their satirical look at John Kerry’s military service as truthful.