Archive for March, 2010

31
Mar
10

strap your hands across my engines, but please sign this waiver first

It may seem difficult to believe now that the practice is so commonplace, but the ability to switch bodies with other humans was once so unpopular that its developers briefly considered discontinuing altogether the technology which made it possible. The big break occurred when a once-popular singing duo switched bodies for a day as a means to garner publicity for their new record. Despite the nationwide mockery that followed the resulting album’s disappointing sales, the experiment did much to dispel public fears about safety and questions regarding privacy (both seldom-expressed concerns in those times characterized by compulsive sharing of personal information on social networks) that had heretofore been a part of virtually every cocktail party conversation about switching bodies with another person.

The explosive growth of the industry surrounding body-switching in the years that followed more than made up for the trend’s slow germination period. Plainville, KS, home to what was then the world’s only body-switching machine, soon eclipsed Hawai’i, Las Vegas, and the Virgin Islands as an American tourist destination, as those who could afford the luxury “tried on” the bodies of colleagues and friends during stays at one of the dozen top-flight resorts which had been rapidly constructed over eminent domain-seized wheat fields.

Inevitably came the greater availability of body-switching technology in the form of a chain of franchised operations based on the Plainville model. Switching bodies soon became an important rite of passage in the friendships of those who tried it, signifying ultimate trust in another with the temporary stewardship of one’s most valuable possession, their very self.  With time, body-switching increased across more varied social strata, resulting in a greater understanding between people of different walks of life. Thanks to vital research conducted while switching bodies with patients, doctors’ more intimate knowledge of the symptoms of rare diseases greatly improved their ability to treat them. New breakthroughs in the design of items from doorknobs to scissors to bathroom fixtures significantly reduced the statistical likelihood of accidental death among left-handed persons. Cosmopolitan magazine made note of the rise in body-switching between husbands and wives, which coincided with an abrupt decline in anal sex among married couples.

Just as mankind appeared on the cusp of a new golden age of harmonious living, however, a new and troublesome direction developed among users of body-switching technology. Switchers, as they were now called, feeling more and more comfortable living in another person’s skin, soon began recklessly switching bodies with complete strangers, often without keeping track of whose body they were currently occupying, sometimes even switching to another body before switching back to their own first, greatly complicating the process by which they and the person they had originally switched bodies with could return to their own bodies, respectively.

Like all great advances throughout history, body-switching has raised nearly as many questions as it has answered. Indeed, many eyebrows went up once Rush Limbaugh began advocating for inner-city infrastructure and developing a taste for menthol cigarettes. The National Basketball Association faces an uncertain future after its season was cut short this year due to an epidemic of door frame-related head injuries among its tallest players. It seems the only thing we can reliably stake our future on is the resurgence of corner delis, whose existence was once threatened in an economy where fewer people were carrying cash. It has been a source of national hope that these small businesses are thriving once again, as credit card companies worldwide have gone out of business since many of their customers could no longer verify their mothers’ maiden names.

h/t kyle

24
Mar
10

my greatest feat was convincing mankind that I didn’t exist, but you gotta admit that inventing rock and roll was a pretty great second act

My troubles began when her silhouette darkened the translucent frosted glass panel of my office door that reads “Jack Jenkem, Private Investigator” in backwards letters. Actually, my troubles began the day I dropped out of medical school to become a private eye, but there was no going back now. Besides, I couldn’t have returned to medical school. Not after what I was caught doing with that ether-soaked rag in the room where they stored the table-size anatomical skeletons.

She barged into my office and hastily swept her hand across my desk to make a seat for herself, clearing off several weeks’ worth of official documents “borrowed” from city hall for a case I had been working on. Those could be replaced, or at least convincingly forged, but my patience grew thin when I noticed that my half-empty highball glass of store-brand soda and cough syrup had been among the items knocked over. I had had to turn the cough syrup bottle upside down for five minutes just to get enough to make that last nightcap. Angrily, I shouted, “Now what’s all this about, doll?”, failing to note the significance of the fact that our first step on the road of destiny we were irrevokably headed down had been a drunken stagger.

Most people would know better than to get romantically involved with a client, but then again most people have never done 3 to 5 downstate for attempted sex with a vending machine. Ours was an affair that made Last Tango in Paris look like the Great Muppet Caper as she treated me to physical delights more decadent than a Ferrari that runs on Dom Perignon, with baby white tiger skin seat covers dipped in Godiva chocolate. My big mistake was falling for her, since she was just baiting the trap for a heartless double-cross in the toughest case I ever had to crack.

And now, here I lay in a crumpled mess, with three slugs in my gut, and I don’t mean the kind that come from a bottle. I was following a lead into this old abandoned factory, the kind with steam pipes zigzagging from one imposing-looking tank to another, and she flim-flammed me. Indie rock bands are now stepping over my bloody, shivering form on their way to shoot promo photos in here, and I know this is curtains for me. Although this old gumshoe’s got a few regrets in life, I can rest easy as I go to meet my maker, knowing that when my family comes to claim my few earthly possessions, I at least had the foresight to lock away my collection of Hentai porn in my gun safe.

17
Mar
10

net neutrality is what gives us dolphin-free tuna

You accidentally wore your gold spandex pants inside out the other night, then when someone pointed out the error, you told them you were doing it ironically. It was a close save, but later you referred to Wes Anderson’s directorial debut as “Bottle Rockets” instead of its actual title, “Bottle Rocket.” All this after recently confusing Wyatt Cenac with Danger Mouse.

Let’s face it, you’re exhausted.  After a party, your tongue is still orange well into the next afternoon due to your increased tolerance for Sparks. And with your reputation as a scenester always on the line, getting more sleep simply isn’t an option. Something’s gotta give, and it’s not gonna be your late-night adventures with mustachioed drummers in powder blue tank tops (size toddler small).

That’s why FoodChem’s International Division has developed Pocket Paneer: the energy bar that turns the great taste of Indian food into Indian Fuel!  Try any of our three great flavors: Baigan Bharta, Pyaz Ki Kachori, and Murg Noorjehani! Look for our street team in the Pocket Paneer marketing truck, which is a windowless Econoline van with a bunch of band stickers on it.

10
Mar
10

frak to the future

Say, kids, weren’t those some great commercials? We sure have a lot of fun here on Quincy’s Qartoon Qubhouse, don’t we? Of course we do. But now it’s time to talk about something really important, so pay extra close attention. I want to talk to you kids about following your dreams. There are lots of different kinds of dreams: for example, when you’re older, you’ll probably have a lot of dreams about being back in school and running late for your final exam, then finally arriving at the classroom only to realize you can’t remember any of the answers. These dreams will cause you great anxiety that will undermine your entire sense of self during your waking hours, but these aren’t the kind of dreams I’m talking about. I’m talking about your dreams for your future. There are some of you who want to be athletes, singers, actors, even childrens’ show hosts, and it’s important to remember to keep trying, and never give up on your dreams.

No matter what your dream is, you’re going to have to practice, practice, practice. The only way to make your dreams come true is through constant repetition, away from the cheers of the crowd, until you get it perfect. Don’t be afraid to hold yourself to a high standard by becoming your own toughest critic. If you’re gonna make your dreams come true, sometimes you’re gonna have to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself repeatedly what a failure you are. That way, you’ll still be motivated long after all those hours of practice have wrung the last drops of joy out of your dream.

Once you do achieve your dream, don’t rest on your laurels. You may think that once you’ve made it to the top, you can maybe see that Star Wars movie everyone’s been talking about, or finally find out what birthday cake tastes like, but that’s when the real work is just beginning. Just think of all the sacrifices you made to make your dream come true. None of that would be possible if you weren’t constantly honing your competitive edge. When you think of all the rewards that will come with your continued success, kissing a girl for the first time doesn’t seem all that important, does it?  

And no matter what, there will be people in your way who doubt you. Keep a list of the people who didn’t believe in you, then spend the rest of your life crushing these haters. They deserve it for not appreciating your awesome dream.

03
Mar
10

i demand satisfaction, but i’ll settle for 19th nervous breakdown

Excerpted from a 2037 Vanity Fair piece on Larry the Cable Guy:

No less an authority than Jesus Christ observed that no prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown, and so it was for Larry the Cable Guy among his contemporaries in the misunderstood first act of his career. It took a generation for the scales to fall from the critics’ eyes, but when the New Yorker controversially recommended a revisitation of his seminal work, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, he was at last viewed for what he was: the 21st-century torchbearer of a comedic tradition dating to Mark Twain.

Today, the aging man once known as Dan Whitney sits in his office, reminding a guest that the literal definition of the word manuscript is “hand-written,” explaining his chosen medium for which to express himself in the autumn of his life. The shelves in here, stacked twelve feet high, are lined with dozens of leatherbound volumes, each filled with enough material for a century’s worth of posthumous releases, written, appropriately enough for this venerable man of letters, in longhand. The Brahms concerto playing softly in the background in these tranquil quarters might tempt an observer to forget the stakes of the battle being waged daily within its oaken walls, one in which an American treasure is pitted against time, against mortality, in a race to record the fount of ideas that threatens at times to burst forth from his very soul.  

The Mont Blanc pen in his hand was a gift from his onetime mentor Jeff Foxworthy, who in another life played Buster Keaton to Larry’s Roscoe Arbuckle. These days, Larry the Cable Guy is looking quite frail, a condition which owes as much to his advancing age as it does to the physical toll exacted by a slavish devotion to his craft. In an ink-stained smoking jacket (with the sleeves cut off, as is his well-known custom), he has been known to miss days of meals in here while writing, and his signature camouflage ballcap, now a bit ill-fitting, betrays the weight loss incurred while frantically penning the next Witless Protection or Delta Farce as his beef Wellington grows cold on a tray outside the door. 

At the Kennedy Center Honors, at which he has been a ubiquitous presence since his own induction a decade ago, Larry the Cable Guy tried to describe the driving force behind the recent flood of work that has been his obsession. Since entering what he calls his “emeritus period,” he feels a need to make up for those lost years when his work was underappreciated: “I wouldn’t trade my time wandering in the wilderness for anything, for it taught me that the only artistic endeavor worth pursuing is following one’s muse, even to uncharted territory. In my old age, I am given to daydreaming about an afterlife in which I am called upon to account for my life’s work by whatever deity granted me this artistic vision,” says this latter-day Chaplin, wistfully. “When asked if I was a good steward of the gifts entrusted to me, I want to be able to say with absolute certainty that I have gotten-r-done.”