Saturday, April 1, 2017

April Fool “Prank” Accidentally Releases Satan from Hell--The Colonel Carries On #77

by T.T.T. Pipersson

Epigraph: “Even a fool can be as a wise man if he but persist in his folly.” --Paddy Thai (“If you are a fool and cannot find the Way, let Folly be your Way and your Teacher. You may yet attain Enlightenment.”)

A local prankster digging a tiger cage for a kidnap victim found he was on a “thin spot” between the upper and lower worlds and accidentally made a hole that let Satan and innumerable demons and damned souls out of their place of imprisonment.

So expect bad weather, acne, crop failures, accelerated income inequality, misconceptions, Coyote sightings, dry, itchy skin, stagflation, health insurance cancellation, doctors’ strikes with illegible hand-written protest signs, static cling, entitlement reform, rudeness from cashiers, and bad roads.

Mother Teresa also clambered out. In a wacky afterworld mix-up, the diminutive saint had been sent to the bad place--Christopher Hitchens may have been involved.

The very last one out before the local man managed to shovel the dirt back into the hole was Hope. So now there isn’t a Hope in Hell.

Did Henry Clay Works write “Work With Me Henry” or was he just the subject of it?

The headline was going to be “Fight Disrupts Anger Management Class,” but then all hell broke loose.

Women writers apparently avoid cliches like the plague. Jane Austen is cliche-free. Men prefer well-trod ground, and the worst is best-selling author James Patterson. His favorite cliche: “You won’t believe it, but.” These findings were the result of a careful prosthesis.

The Onion reports: “Trump Unveils Sprawling New Presidential Retreat Where He Can Escape From Stresses of Mar-A-Lago.”

There is a famous line in Solzhenitsyn: “Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.”

American carnage: six-foot snowplow, four-foot sidewalk. Not just a crack photographer, Ed McKeon also sings a mean “number song.” He wrote the music but the lyrics are traditional. A performance of it has been recorded and archived at the University of Hartford.

Aren’t Canadians mellow enough without legalized pot? More to the point, what will it do to their hockey?

In Switzerland there is a registry of permissible children’s names. A couple wanted to give their daughter the middle name “J” (reminds one of “Harry S-for-nothing Truman,” whose middle name was “S” without a period). A registrar refused the parents’ wish.

“First they came for the J’s, and I said nothing. Then they came for the K’s….” (Credit: Jay “Jay” Nordlinger.)

If you think the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare was a fiasco, just wait for the effort to reform the tax code. The tax code, which Jimmy Carter called “a disgrace to the human race” (wasn’t he poetic?), is not part of the Washington swamp, it is the Washington swamp.

Speaking of poetry, Alan Lomax captured a performance of the following lyrics in the tidewater swamps of the heartland:

“Gon’ cross dat Jordan River/ Gon’ lay me down to sleep/
When my eyes is opened/ No shackles on my feet/
O Lord my God/ Gon’ lay my burden down.”

Notice the approximate rhyme of sleep/feet. A master of approximate rhyme is, surprisingly, Mick Jagger. Check the rhyme scheme in “Some Girls” (emphasis added for emphasis):

Some girls give me money
Some girls buy me clothes
Some girls give me jewelry
That I never thought I'd own

Giving all the lyrics would be tedious, lewd, and probably copyright-violative, so let it suffice that the principal rhymes are as follows: attacks/back; clothes/for; gold/own; clothes/dose; telephone/me at home; mad/jab; tease/sleeves; corrupt/her once; car/star. One stanza stands out:

Yeah French girls they want Cartier
Italian girls want cars
American girls want everything in the world
You can possibly imagine

One suspects that (a) the perfect rhyme of car/star is in there just for laughs, and (b) the “rhyme” of “cars” and “everything in the world you can possibly imagine” is less approximate than nonexistent, a schematic breach signifying the unbounded desires of American girls. This is speculation; if you take offense, write Mr. Jagger, not me.

“I am NOT Princess Leia, so flake off, buddy.”

You novelists out there, when you write speech tags, do you put a character’s name first, then give the verb, or do you give the verb first, then a name? “Count me in,” James said, or “Count me in,” said James? When the speaker is represented by a pronoun, the pronoun of course comes first (“Count me in,” he said) unless you are a very odd duck (“Count me in,” said he).

Here are a few rules to help the budding writer:

(1) Use speaker first, then verb, unless the speaker is a pronoun, in which case use “quotha.”

(2) When you put verb first, use “quoth” to signal to the reader that putting the verb first was not inadvertent, but intentional.

(3) Don’t use pronouns in speech tags; always identify the speaker fully.

(4) Don’t use speech tags at all; they’re clutter. Let the quotation do the work:

“Hands up, Black Bart!”
“Why Hopalong Cassidy, I declare. We all thought you was dead.” “Just another of your mistakes, Black Bart -- maybe your last.”
“Maybe not, Hopalong. Maybe you noticed there are six of us and only one of you. Not much chance of you shootin’ all six afore one of us shoots you.”

(5) When you do dialogue (which should be most of your novel, especially if you hope to sell option rights to a screenplay based on it), put it into screenplay format. In olden times readers might have noticed, but modern readers haven’t the time:

HOPALONG: Hands up, all of you.
BLACK BART: Why looky who’s here. The boys ‘n’ me thought you wuz dead.
HOPALONG: No such luck for you, evil ones. Your numerous errors of judgment and your contemnous brushing aside of basic morality have now caught up with you, and a mighty reckoning awaits.
BLACK BART: Maybe not, mister white hat and smug attitude. If you’re so smart, maybe you kin count t’ six, which is the number of lightnin’-fast gunmen in front a’ ya. What’re the odds you kin plug us all afore one of us puts a big red Christmas present right between yer cussed eyeballs?
HOPALONG: To hear such talk is to laugh. Know you not that I am surely protected by the magic parasol you see me holding aloft?

You get the idea. Sorry to have digressed into another topic (magic realism).

Where’s Waldo? Working on the novel while co-workers at the widget shop complain that he doesn’t pull his oar.

“It disturbs us if the characters of a fictional work can be readers or spectators of the work itself, for it suggests that we readers or spectators can be fictions.” --George Louis Boar-Hayes

“A model that takes account of all the variation of reality would be no more use than a map at a scale of one to one.” --Joan Robinson (1962)

“The best way to describe a story is to tell it. The telling is the map that is the territory; it’s useless as a map.” --Neil Gaiman

Barney Frank said Republicans basically hate government, so asking them to govern is like asking him to judge a beauty contest. “If your heart’s not in it, you won’t do a very good job.”

“Mom, do llamas come from Wales?” “No, my darling, their mothers are Tibetan women, far from the sea.” Do homophones phone home, Mom?
“You are going to learn calligraphy from me if I have to break every bone in your body.”

Princess Di then (top) and as she would look today had she lived.

Hypograph: “History is a novel whose author is the people.” --Alfred de Vigny, poet, playwright, novelist (1797-1863)

Popcorn and The Colonel Carries On are productions of Quality Nonsense, a tiny little division of The Entropy Corporation. “Keeping News Fake Since Before the Internet Was a Thing”

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