Thursday, June 10, 2004

Something About Hamlet: Reviewed By a Guy Who Knew Someone Who Thinks They Saw This Flick

Hamlet (frat boy Adam Sadler) offers a riveting performance as a carefree, college party animal living the good life when he is informed of his father's death and mother's marriage to his Uncle Claudius (Bill Murray in his best role since "Stripes"). Claudius, who has taken over control of Hamlet's father's business empire, immediately orders Hamlet home. Hamlet's funds are cut off and unable to return to the college life he loves, he is offered a tidy sum to court Ophelia (lovely Kate Hudson wearing too many clothes). But her brother Laertes (ferret-like Will Ferrell) suspects Hamlet's carnal intentions and schemes to break up the relationship.

Meanwhile, Hamlet's friend Horatio (high-strung Ben Stiller) sees Hamlet's father's ghost (overacted by Patrick Stewart) and freaks out in his most hilarious neurotic episode since "Along Came Polly". Hamlet eventually has a reluctant conversation with his father's ghost, who informs him he must renounce his slacker ways and get a job in order to save the family business and wrest control from his evil Uncle. However, Hamlet decides instead to fake a nervous breakdown, giving him time to work on his murder mystery screenplay. Suffering from severe writer's block, he decides to use his father's murder as the template for his languishing screenplay.

Claudius is preparing to send his seemingly deranged and extremely annoying nephew off to England to a secluded drug rehabilitation clinic when Hamlet finally finishes and sells his screenplay. Claudius comes across Hamlet's direct-to-video movie on HBO and is furious that he was not included in the credits of this unauthorized biography.
When Hamlet catches Claudius on the phone with his lawyer, he considers killing him then, but decides against it. Instead, he confronts his mother, Gertrude (lantern-jawed Glenn Close in a familiar role) about copyright infringement. But Hamlet suddenly sees the ghost of his father again and freaks out Sadler style in one of the funniest scenes of the entire movie. However, this convinces his mother that drug rehab might indeed be a wise option.

So Hamlet is now hurriedly sent off to England. When he discovers his film has been pirated and bootleg copies are being sold on the Internet, he immediately returns home to file a lawsuit. But back at the castle, Ophelia is grieving the death her father and the emotional abandonment by Hamlet, and like everybody else in this neurotic movie, she freaks out, and drowns herself in one of the movies more poignant scenes. Laertes vows revenge while back on spring break, and plots with Claudius to kill Hamlet with a poison letter opener. Claudius also secures a poison keg of beer, just in case.

As Hamlet arrives home (just as Ophelia is being buried), he tells Horatio that Uncle Claudius has set him up. Horatio (Stiller)....freaks out in a scene reminiscent of his role in "Something About Mary". Laertes suddenly falls through the door and challenges Hamlet. Highly irritated by Laertes' whiny voice, Hamlet goes into a berserker-rage, getting into a room-clearing brawl that imitates the famous Happy Gilmore/Bob Barker fight-scene.
After an intense struggle over the letter-opener, he stabs Laertes in the hand with it. Gertrude, unaware of the poisoned keg kept in reserve in case Laertes is too big a wimp to finish Hamlet off, succumbs to the seductive allures of an ice-cold keg and poisons herself, too. Dying in a drunken stupor, she confesses Claudius' treachery and Laertes nods in silent affirmation.
Hamlet then confronts his Uncle Claudius, who cynically verbally assaults him in the way only Bill Murray could. Indulging the audience, Hamlet kills Claudius with a tire iron and finishes off the keg, expiring with a loud belch of satisfaction that would have Shakespeare turning over in his grave. While not perfect, this film adaptation is sure to please Sadler fans, while insulting any English Literature majors foolish enough to wander in. A sure sign of success in Hollywood.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Rumsfeld's West Point Commencement Speech Translated

Secretary Rumsfeld, the Cabinet gadfly, delivered the commencement speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The self-described 'Survivor" gave the graduating class a glimpse into the future. But no cameras, please.

Rumsfeld: "History may well call upon you at a critical time, at a critical moment, and you will be ready."

Translation: "Hello...hello....? Sure, one moment, please. It's history calling and it's for you."

Rumsfeld: "We are closer to the beginning of this struggle, this global insurgency, than to its end."

Translation: "But, don't listen me. If my original projections had held up, we'd be finished with the invasion of Syria by now."

Rumsfeld: "The civilized world will win the global war against terror because of people like Lt. Hughes, and because of those of you here today."

Translation: "Thank goodness, because if we had to rely on folks like Bush's daughters, we'd really be screwed."

Rumsfeld: "Your love for soldiers must be as unconditional as it is for your own families."

Translation: "Since they've got guns, I wouldn't try treating them like Plebes either. "

Rumsfeld: "Use the skills you learned here to bring out the very best in them, including respect for others. And always fall back on the moral clarity of the honor code that you've learned here."

Translation: "All the non-bogus stuff, I mean."

Rumsfeld: "Enemies have tried many times to pull us apart. They will not succeed."

Translation: "Heck, this Administration is so good at self-destructing, who needs enemies anyway?"

Rumsfeld: "Since you have arrived here, our world has changed dramatically."

Translation: "It's like while you were on vacation, a motorcycle gang took residence in your house. Now get in there and evict 'em!"

Rumsfeld: "Terrorists are trying to tear the world apart, but they will not be allowed to do so. "

Translation: "That's my damned job!"

Rumsfeld: "You have our admiration and our respect. Our country's future is in capable hands.''

Translation: "No pressure or anything."

Rumsfeld: ''As have the brave generations of the past, you, too, will face the enemies of freedom. Because of who you are, and because of what this Academy stands for, there is no doubt of your success.''

Translation: "However, as a Princeton graduate, my job was to throw the entire world into turmoil so you'd have a challenge."

Thursday, June 03, 2004

RESUME of Dr. Alan Greenspan

Seeking Position: High profile government bureaucrat seeks low pressure, secure position within the private sector. Employer must value loyalty and political commitment over sound policy. Strong points include vast vocabulary, rapid reversal of position, incomprehensible innuendoes and aura of authority. Available 20 June 2004. Personal profile provided below.

Name: Dr. Alan Greenspan
Born: March 6, 1926

Current Position: Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. Designated Chairman by Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

B.S. in economics (summa cum laude) in 1948
M.A. in economics in 1950
Ph.D. in economics in 1977; New York University.

Job Experience: Chairman and President of Townsend-Greenspan & Co., Inc. 1954 to 1974 and 1977 to 1987. Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers: 1974 to 1977
Chairman of the National Commission on Social Security Reform: 1981 to 1983

Additional Experience: Corporate director for Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa); Automatic Data Processing, Inc.; Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.; General Foods, Inc.; J.P. Morgan & Co., Inc.; Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York; Mobil Corporation; and The Pittston Company.

Honors: Recognized relevance of former fiscal policy successes in the manifestation of at least one booming economy during sequential terms as Chairman.

Position Sought: Chief custodian of written materials and electronic records within an academic environment suitable for pursuit of economic research and reiteration of previous neo-Keynesian positions in the area of monetary policy.

Reason for leaving current position: Contract negotiations discontinued placing a steady downward pressure on the blame for the bad fiscal policy and ineffective tax cuts, which, as per theory and Administration methodology, have trickled down to my level.

May we contact your current employer: Hell no! Would prefer you contact former president Clinton since the economy was better during his term.

List three personal references: Personal references only able to be contacted through Ouija board or other suitable persistent ectoplasmic conduit to the netherworld.

Hobbies and Interests: Currency aggregation. More specifically removing updated $100 bills with sequential serial numbers from the money supply in order to create a more favorable personal financial projection.

Likes: Other people's money.

Dislikes: The temporary condition characterized by lack of sufficient liquidity to be able to participate in rising housing starts, durable goods manufacturing or to contribute to the GNP in general through higher retail sales.

Favorite Movie: "Mo' Money"

Favorite County/Western Artist(s): Johnny Cash; Johnny Paycheck;

Favorite Rap Artist: 50 Cent

Favorite Cartoon Character(s): Mr. McGoo

Special Skills: Abnormal capacity to insinuate the obvious without explicit verbalization to the contrary.

What do you feel are the outstanding characteristics that qualify you for this job:
My ability to ponder and enact the most dysfunctional executive level suggestions with absolutely no change of expression.

RESUME of George J. Tenet

Seeking Position: Career bureaucrat employed in the security field seeks equivalent, highly paid, low profile position in the private sector. Major strengths include selective objectives, disinformation dissemination, misdirection, targeted threat detection and repressed recollection. Available immediately. Personal profile provided below.

Name: George John Tenet
Born: January 5, 1953
Current Position: Director of the Central Intelligence Service

B.S.F.S. from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, 1976
M.I.A. from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University, 1978

Job Experience:
Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, July 1995
Acting Director of Central Intelligence, December 1996
Director of Central Intelligence, 11 July 1997
Departing Director of Central Intelligence, July 04

Additional Experience: Most of that I can't talk about

Honors: Did a 'superb job' as current Administration's Director of Central Intelligence. Got a metal of freedom out of it. In previous Administrations acted as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs at the National Security Council. Coordinated the Presidential Decision Directives on ''Intelligence Priorities,'' ''Security Policy Coordination,'' ''US Policy on Remote Sensing Space Capabilities,'' and "The Slam-Dunkability Factor in 21st Century Policy."

Position Sought: Senior level executive in charge of security in the Fraud and Loss Prevention department of a major retailer

Reason for leaving current position: Unable to slam dunk and three point shooting dismal.

May we contact your current employer: My sources tell me he is out of the country at this time however the information has not yet been confirmed.

List three personal references:
Ahmad Chalabi, former CIA lackey
Robert Novak, journalist and current CIA lackey
"Mr. Blonde," Nonaffiliated operative with no direct link to U.S. intelligence services

Do you have a criminal record? Will neither confirm nor deny.

Hobbies and Interests: Photography, computers and tap dancing.

Likes: Cool, damp evenings alone on deserted piers, London Fogs, and blowguns.

Dislikes: Congressional Committees

Favorite Movie: "Swordfish"
Favorite Book: "Sum of All Fears"

Favorite Cartoon Character(s): Secret Squirrel. Boris Badenoff

Special Skills: Skilled in card and magic tricks, sleights of hand and making people disappear.

Additional Skills: I know where you live.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Second Horseman of The Apocalypse Holds News Conference

The Second Horseman of The Apocalypse held a rare news conference at his estate today, warning that the Apocalypse Alert level may have to be raised. The Second Horseman met with the reporters arrayed outside the gates of his secluded ranch, arriving in a red Mustang convertible matching his solid red ensemble.
Approaching the crowd with sword in hand, the Horseman created a brief panic before noting, "Opps, sorry, I forgot how jumpy you people are," and idly tossing the sword into the backseat. "I've been asked by the other Horsemen to alert you that it may be necessary to elevate The Apocalypse Alert level in the coming weeks to Florescent Orange," he announced. "That is all, now get the hell out of here!" Before he could drive away, however, the Second Horseman was bombarded with questions from the frenzied press. The clearly irritated Horseman pointed a bony finger towards one of the reporters and barked, "OK, you....what?"

"Mr. Horseman, " the journalist began hesitantly.
"Just call me 'War'," the Horseman interrupted impatiently.

"Uh...OK, Mr. War," he resumed only to be cut off by the Horseman once again.

"Not MISTER War...just WAR..."

"Well...War...isn't this warning that it MIGHT be necessary to raise The Apocalypse Alert level kind of vague in itself? Can we or can't we expect the level to be elevated?"

"Listen to me," War began, "vagueness is the nature of the world. You MIGHT have paid more attention all along. There are dozens of other issues that if you insisted on more clarity at the time, you wouldn't be in this mess now. NEXT!" War glanced around the mob, selecting another with a subtle nod.

"Thank you, Mr. War," she began.

"Just WAR!!!" screamed the Horseman.

"Right.... War. Um...what is this 'mess' that you allude to?" she asked.

"The way the other Horsemen and I see it, you clowns are getting awfully close to falling off the edge of the table, so to speak," the Horseman responded with his characteristic candor.

"Falling off the edge of the table?" she queried subtly.

"Yeah, you know...burning down the house, sleeping with the Dodo, taking the Pompeii Plunge!" the Horseman cynically clarified.

"What happened?" yelled someone from the crowd.

"Paradigm shift. Listen, did you even look at your press kits? Figure 14 shows the projected timeline based on the old model. As you can see property values on this chunk of rock were supposed to continue upwards for the next few hundred years, even when factoring in Global Warming next century. The new model indicates a much shorter timeline ever since you folks decided to go out and get all crazy. See the solid red line falling off the charts into the cosmic crapper? That's you. We're hoping the model shift is just an aberration, but in case it's not, we're prepared to raise the level."

"The First Horseman certainly had a lot better news, " one reporter remarked.

"Well, that's a freaking politician for you," War replied angrily. "I was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other, yada, yada, yada."

"What changes will you enact after the level is raised?" another reporter blurted out.

"As an End-game player not really concerned with the day-to-day details, I've got surrogates for that." War dismissed the question with a bored wave of his hand, signaling for another.

"Has your War Plan changed?" asked a reporter discreetly positioned near the back.

"Completely. What we anticipated as a quick two or three week Apocalypse has now been revised to a long, hard, slog over a generation," War replied matter-of-factly.

"How would you classify our current situation in a nutshell?"

"You're doomed."

"By doomed, do you mean just some of us?"

"No, you're all doomed."

"What if we use a pre-emptive strike?"

"You're still doomed! Come on, people, pick it up bit. You don't exactly have all the time in the world."

"What happens after the Apocalypse?" asked a cub reporter gesturing wildly.

"Not my department," the Horseman replied. Scattered laughter punctuated the crowd, clearly annoying War. "You hicks think you've evolved to the point you can laugh at WAR?" the Horseman muttered incredulously as he abruptly returned to his car. "This press conference is over. I've got stuff to do today." Suddenly the sound of one hundred hounds of hell all howling in unison emanated from the trunk of the car. "If you can't win their hearts and minds with logic, scare their asses with special effects," War mused sarcastically, chuckling as he started the engine.

As the crowd fell into fearful silence, red-tinged smoke emanated from the exhaust, hugging the ground, and rising ominously to the knees of the startled press. "You people just don't get it, do you?" said War, leaning from the car. "If you don't sort this bulls**t out and I end up having to come in to work early, you are NOT going to be happy to see me." With that, War pulled away up the hill, throwing gravel into the crowd and yelling over his shoulder, "And if you think my surrogates are doing a 'Superb Job', just wait until you see what an Old School over-achiever like me can do when properly motivated!"

The next day, the War press conference was largely buried in the one page religious sections of most major newspapers.  However, a small mid-western newspaper gave it the front page headline,  "War Threatens the World". But with a circulation of only 666 it was a moot point.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse Unveil New Alert System

The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse have unveiled a new warning system to relay Apocalypse status to the public. Speaking on behalf of the other three, The First Horseman gave a press conference yesterday in order to present the new system. Wearing a white suit, white Fedora and white bow-tie, the First Horseman arrived in a white limousine and invited reporters to ‘come and see’ the new 5-level Apocalypse alert system.

“As you know, we Horsemen are scheduled to ride across the earth in the days just prior to The Apocalypse. Over the years, we’ve come to realize that most signs of our arrival are greatly exaggerated. In order to simplify the signs for the general population, we’ve come up with a new system, which is patterned after Homeland Security’s highly successful system for terror alerts. We also felt an image make-over was long overdue in order to better relate to modern society, and this will help with that goal”

Referring to a five color display, the First Horseman explained the risk levels. “The levels will be color-coded Emerald Green for ‘Low’, Royal Blue for ‘Guarded’, Mellow Yellow for ‘Elevated’, Florescent Orange for ‘High’ and Candy Apple Red for ’Severe’. We are confident this warning system will better alert mortals to the risk of Apocalypse, allowing sufficient time to atone or whatever it is you people do just before the end of the world.”

When asked to give examples of the various levels, the First Horseman explained, “Well, our current risk level is at Mellow Yellow. Emerald Green would have been applicable sometime shortly after the last Ice Age, while Florescent Orange would apply to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A risk level of Red would have been issued during this year’s baseball playoffs. In fact, we were all ready to ride, but then came the miraculous intervention by Cubs fan Steve Bartman in the 8th inning of Game 6, and the Apocalypse was called off. And there we were, all dressed up in the archaic garb, getting the horses out of the cosmic stables when we got the word. Just goes to show, you never really know.”

Some of the Press questioned the notable absence of the other three Horsemen. The First Horseman explained, “We all agreed on the system but felt a simultaneous appearance by all four of us would cause undue panic. After all, by Contract, the Apocalypse requires an appearance by all four of us. We didn’t wish to send the wrong message by appearing at this press conference together. I mean, face it, you’re jumpy enough as it is.”

When asked what the Horsemen do when not involved with The Apocalypse, the First Horseman replied, “Besides wait? Well, when Famine isn’t spreading drought or plagues of locusts in Africa, he likes to kick back at his villa in Italy, tending to his olive groves and making wine. He likes to stay close to the home office.

The Second Horseman, commonly referred to as War, spends a lot of time in the Middle East, but he also can be found on Wall Street. In fact, he single-handedly created the Military-Industrial Complex and all the industries that feed it.

The Fourth Horseman, on the other hand, hasn’t been feeling well lately, but still finds time to take a cruise, or travel to exotic places. He spent a few months in in Hong Kong last fall but is back in the States this year. And I prefer the world of politics as a diversion because I like to laugh. Some of the best stand-up comedy in the cosmos can be found there.”

But some attest that the system is so nondescript, it is practically useless. “With all that is going on in the world right now, how can you expect us to believe that The Apocalypse isn’t right around the corner instead of at level Yellow as you claim?” asked a reporter.

The First Horseman laughed out loud. “Listen, when we decide to ride down on your asses, you’ll know it.”