Bob Is Shoe

In December of 2002, two things happened. Languatron wrote a diatribe titled “Ron Moore: The Aids Virus Of Television,” and the SciFi.com Board got a moderator who wouldn’t allow Lang’s grotesque nonsense to be posted. Suddenly, Lang’s rants became taboo; his “Aids Virus” post was summarily removed, and Lang, in what would become a regular occurrence in his Internet life, was banned from ever posting there again.

Oh, he tried to sneak back on. He registered a handle named “Light_Ship” who tried to keep things within the appropriate boundaries, but Lang couldn’t resist going over the top. Pretty soon, he was gone for good.

Gone from SciFi.com, that is. But not gone entirely.

SciFi.com, it seemed, had no patience for the fact that most of us in the old guard weren’t particularly excited about Ron Moore’s remake ideas, and the new moderator wasn’t welcoming to our continued resistance to what would become the SciFi Channel’s new signature property. So most of us migrated from that board to another one at cylon.org – which, today, is defunct, but much of the material survives at a new location over at Tombs of Kobol.

Anyway, pretty soon, Lang showed up.

Many of us over there, including me, urged TwoBrainedCylon, the owner of Cylon.org, to ban Lang outright. He wouldn’t do it. But he gave us a wide berth to mock Lang as never before, which resulted in one of the funniest threads in Internet history, which I reproduce here, slightly expurgated to remove material irrelevant to the discussion.

I give you… Bob Is Shoe.

Posted: Thu Oct 16, 2003 6:51 pm by Languatron
Post subject: Daddy Rick Berman Left The Porch Light On

When Ron Moores ego is sufficiently deflated from the mini-series either not airing at all, or receiving unanimous bad reviews, Ronny boy will be riding the bus back home to DADDY Rick Berman really quick.

_______

larocque6689 wrote:

“When Ron Moores ego”

You know, there *is* something about those apostrophe S’s.
By the way, Langy, I’m fighting you on grammar because I am completely helpless dealing with the rest of your post…
_______

Languatron wrote:
My punctuation is correct. It looks like the Black Tower execs are so out of steam-(along with the Sci-Fi Channel B-Board), that they are now trying to correct punctuation that is correct in the first place.
larocque6689: “I’m packing my bags now. My Black Tower office will be vacated in five minutes.”
_______

larocque6689 wrote:
No it isn’t!
Its “Ron Moore’s Ego”, not “Ron Moores Ego”.
_______

Languatron wrote:
Wrongo!!
“Ron Moore’s ego” is an incorrect use of the apostrophe. The apostrophe indicates the omission of letters or figures, or the plural of letters or figures. With the apostrophe, what did you condense down?
“Ron Moore ‘is’ ego” (????)
_______

larocque6689 wrote:

There are cases where using an apostrophe is incorrect: If you are just referring to the decade the apostrophe use is incorrect (i.e.: In the 1980s break dancing was a popular form of choreography.) Where if you said something where you mentioned an event’s occurring in 1980 (i.e.: In 1980’s presidential election) that would contain a possesive and mandate the use of an apostrophe.

Since the ego belongs to Ron Moore, the use of the apostrphe S is possessive and therefore proper.

Ron Moore’s Ego can be decoded as follows: Ego belonging to Ron Moore.
All Hail Ron Moore, Savior of Battlestar Galactica. Its going to be a great miniseries! Leave the popcorn behind and join us!
_______

Languatron wrote:
You misspelled “apostrophe” for starters. My, how the mighty have fallen!!!
You didn’t answer my question. WHAT DID YOU CONDENSE DOWN with the apostrophe?
“Ron Moore ‘is’ ego.” (????) From a punctuation standpoint, that is incorrect.
Possessiveness is shown with the attachment of the affix “s”, without the apostrophe.
_______

JJRAKMAN wrote:
Actually I think Langy is right on this one.
That’s why we write “it’s” and a condensed form of “it is”
And we write “its” as a possessive term.
_______

Dawg wrote:
Nope, Laroque is correct with the definition of the use of the apostrophe.
It is actually used to indicate possessives and contractions – “its” is an exception to the rule.
In this case, “Moore’s Ego”, with apostrophe, is correct usage. Without it, it indicates plural Moores, and so the phrase makes no sense.
_______

larocque6689 wrote:
Quoting Languatron: “You didn’t answer my question. WHAT DID YOU CONDENSE DOWN with the apostrophe?”

Lang, I already answered that:
Ron Moore’s Ego = Ego belonging to Ron Moore.
Although I do like your statement that Ron Moore IS Ego. Perhaps you meant to say that Ron Moore is God?
The new miniseries – its great!
_______

RGrant wrote:
Quoting Languatron: “Possessiveness is shown with the attachment of the affix “s”, without the apostrophe.”

Is this some kind of sick joke? My theory was that he couldn’t write an apostrophe S due to some type of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Is it possible that a grown man doesn’t know what an apostrophe S is used for?

Am I to believe that the source of all our Galactica wisdom doesn’t know what a freakin’ apostrophe S is for?

Students learn what an apostrophe S is in freakin’ third grade!
Mind-boggling.
_______

RGrant wrote:

I’ve been walking around for ten minutes in a state of disbelief. How can a grown man not know what an apostrophe S is? I found this website, which might shed some light on this mysterious subject for Languatron.

http://www.myenglishteacher.net/whoseit.html

Here’s where it teaches little kids how to use an apostrophe S.
This is her book.
This is Joan’s book.
The word Joan’s has another meaning: it is a contraction for Joan is. For example,
Joan is a good girl.
Joan’s a good girl.
Therefore, ‘s can be used for possession or contractions.

My OCD theory gave him WAY too much credit. I thought he was just afraid to physically type out “Moore’s mini” or whatever. I didn’t think he was actually clueless to possibly the most basic element of written English — something that’s taught in the first year or two of school.

All this time I’ve been arguing with the dumbest person on the Internet. Literally the dumbest. And I actually expected him to send a money order to my address!

_______

RGrant wrote:
Quoting Languatron: “It looks like the Black Tower execs are so out of steam-(along with the Sci-Fi Channel B-Board), that they are now trying to correct punctuation that is correct in the first place.”

Second Grade English Lesson #2:
There is NO bizarre dash before the first parenthesis!
(this is how you use parentheses)
-(not like this)
It’s weird. You come up with some bizarre beliefs, but you stick to them with the devotion of a fanatic. Did you just invent that dash one day and make yourself believe it had something to do with real-world punctuation?
A person who wants other people to believe all sorts of weird conspiracy theories should at least take the time to learn basic punctuation. Why? Because the smarter you appear, the more seriously people will take your ideas (especially when they’re eccentric).
_______

RGrant wrote:
I hate to go on about this, but this has been an extremely disturbing post for me. I’ve been having flame wars with a person who all this time has thought that “Bob’s shoe” means “Bob is shoe.”
I’m flabbergasted.
_______

Languatron wrote:
The proper noun/morpheme “Moore” shows possessiveness with the attachment of the derivational suffix “s” without the apostrophe. Gee, I was right all along. The Universal execs can have their temper tantrums elsewhere.
_______

RGrant wrote:
What world do you live in?
What ARE you?
Have you ever read a book?
_______

Languatron wrote:
Gee, simple 5th grade Lexicology sure shut up RGrant. I guess that’s why he LOST ANOTHER ARGUMENT. In GRAMMAR no less!!
_______

HubCapDave wrote:
Lang, you have to use an apostrophe with an s to indicate a possesive, because adding an “s” to a word merely pluralizes it.
_______

RGrant wrote:
Explain this, Mr. Genius. Maybe it’s a conspiracy involving the Lilliputians?
[Here, RGRANT inserts an image of “Gulliver’s Travels.”]
_______

Languatron wrote:
The apostrophe indicates the condensation of two words into one. What two words were condensed into “Moore’s” with the apostrophe?
_______

RGrant wrote:
My G-d, man, an apostrophe S can be used to condense, as in “Moore’s an idiot” but also denotes possession, as in “This is Moore’s mini series.” The way you’re using it, you could write “The Moores are coming over for teas and crumpets.” But that’s it.
At least be glad you’re humiliating yourself online where no one can see your face.
_______

larocque6689 wrote:
Are you sure you don’t mean condensing? Condensation is another thing. A bit of water on the brain?
Its terrible, your continued assault on the language.
Final thought: Moore’s Ego! Moore’s Ego!
_______

Languatron wrote:
Universal executives: “Langy is attacking us again!! What can we do? What can we say? Lets demonstrate a lack of knowledge of Lexicology, grammar, and punctuation!! It won’t help Universal, but it will show Langy!! What it will show him, we don’t know!!”
_______

RGrant wrote:
Quoting Languatron: “Gee, simple 5th grade Lexicology sure shut up RGrant. I guess that’s why he LOST ANOTHER ARGUMENT. In GRAMMAR no less!!”

1. I didn’t shut up. I had just made a post five minutes before you posted this.
2. How can a person be familiar with the word “lexicology” yet not know Punctuation Rule #1 from Second Grade?
3. How could I lose an argument about something so g–damned simple as an apostrophe S?
4. You are a f–king retard.
5. I mean it. Retarded.
_______

larocque6689 wrote:
Quoting Languatron: “Universal executives: ‘Langy is attacking us again!! What can we do? What can we say? Lets demonstrate a lack of knowledge of Lexicology, grammar, and punctuation!!’”

Lang,
Don’t you find it remotely ironic, that after arguing again and again that the apostrophe S is meant to condense two words, that you are still leaving out the apostrophe S in “let’s”, which is a “condensating” of the words “let us”.
Its hilarious!
_______

Languatron wrote:
RGrant: “I’m having my ten-thousanth on-line temper tantrum at the Black Tower. I’m sorry if I won’t be at my desk for awhile.”
larocque6689: “What’s Lexicology?”
_______

RGrant wrote:
Quoting Languatron: “Universal executives: ‘Langy is attacking us again!! What can we do? What can we say? Lets demonstrate a lack of knowledge of Lexicology, grammar, and punctuation!! It won’t help Universal, but it will show Langy!! What it will show him, we don’t know!!’”

Well, if there was ever definitive proof that you’ve been playing a joke on us (and especially me) all these years, then this is it. I admit it. I thought you were just a loon all this time. Now, I see we’re just being played. I don’t understand the game, or the motivation, or what you’re getting from all this, but there’s no doubt in my mind anymore that you’re a sick person.
_______

Languatron wrote:
RGrant: “Is my car double parked at the Black Tower? I’ll go and check since I lost another argument with Langy.”
_______

JJRAKMAN wrote:
I thought earlier that you may have had a point Langy, but Dawg, RGrant, and Larocque I think pretty much proved their case. I think you lost this one.
_______

Languatron wrote:
JJRAKMAN: “If I can be of any more help, dial my Black Tower extension at x6689.”
_______

larocque6689 wrote:
Lang,
Let me get this straight just so its clear. JJ is now a Universal executive and working on behalf of the AIDS Virus of Television?
_______

Languatron wrote:
You said it, not me.
_______

JJRAKMAN wrote:
Oh no! What have I done? :lol:
_______

RGrant wrote:
But you haven’t made his enemy list, JJ.
_______

JJRAKMAN wrote:
Well, he can’t put the entire CA Member list on there, can he?
_______

Languatron wrote:

RGrant: “It’s not looking good for the mini-series. I can’t believe what’s happening to it. Anxiety attack!!! I’ll take it out on Langy!!!”
_______

mattg591971 wrote:
Has anyone definitively proven that Languatron himself does not work in the Black Tower as sort of a double agent? Or that Languatron is indeed one person, not several people using the same login from the same IP address? I think the wild swings in logic, the thickheaded refusal to acknowledge simple grade school facts, etc., may add up to the latter.
_______

jewels wrote:
Apostrophes:
Use to make possesives as in: Moore’s boundless ego
Use to denote the abscence of a century (when the century can be universally assumed to be understood): for the 1970s you use the ’70s
Use to indicate position of missing letters in contractions: Let’s
When is it possessive when does it contract? its is the possessive–it is the exception to the rule; it’s is the contraction of it is.
Langy: I highly recommend looking at your local library for either the “AP Stylebook” or the “Chicago Manual of Style.” The first is used by journalists the second by book editors to standardize the usage of punctuation.
_______

Languatron wrote:
Now that all of the Universal execs have been herded into one place, maybe we can keep them all from making anymore DANGEROUS decisions.
_______

larocque6689 wrote:
Langy, are you suggesting that Jewels is also now a Universal executive, and working on behalf of the AIDS Virus of television?
My curiosity, its getting the better of me.
_______

Stallion Cornell wrote:
This is the funniest thread I have read in a very long time. It’s also something of a milestone. Witness the following:
Languatron, who thinks ‘Bob’s shoe’ means ‘Bob is shoe,’ wrote:
RGrant: “It’s not looking good for the mini-series. I can’t believe what’s happening to it. Anxiety attack!!! I’ll take it out on Langy!!!”

Note the first word in the faux RGrant quote. He does it again in the next sentence, too! To my recollection, this is the first time Langy has ever used an apostrophe S appropriately in over four years. And he does it twice in a row!
Languatron, my friend, I applaud you and salute you. This is a massive step forward for a man with your condition, and you deserve an extra side of pudding from the ward cafeteria tonight.
_______

Languatron wrote:
Let the Universal execs only worry about apostrophes right now. When the mini-series gets pulled, thats-(NO APOSTROPHE, HAH)!!!-when the Universal execs will really start worrying!!
(Those little dashes piss off RGrant as well). I-JUST-WISH-I-KNEW-THAT-A-HELL-OF-ALOT-SOONER!!!
_______

Goldfish wrote:
man i may be new here, but it already seems to me that you are by far the most negative person here….chill out
_______

Commander Taggert wrote:
Beware, Goldfish. You have no idea what you are getting yourself into.
Whether you know it or not, you just became a Universal Executive… and your office is in the “Black Tower.” Most of the time, you will be hiding under your desk, quaking in fear, never knowing when the next Languatron post will hit! Oh, it’s nightmarish!
But, don’t worry… there’s an upside… we all frequently fly together on our private jet, ANTIGALACTICA ONE, to Donald Bellisario’s ANTIGALACTICA RANCH, where we sit around in hot tubs trying to come up with new and different ideas for burying the Galactica property once and for all.
Then we eat pizza.
_______

Goldfish wrote:
do i get a new secretary? do i get a free membership to the evil exceutive conspiracy magazine? that must make me the youngest exec ever

______________________________

Tomorrow: The Bet!!

Languatron: Potential Terrorist?

Well, it turns out Languatron DIDN’T know my real name and DIDN’T know where I lived. As usual, he was full of crap. But the very thought that perhaps he could have known severely unsettled me. These stupid rants were something I snuck into the corners of my busy days, and I had no intention of letting any of it spill over into real life. I had no idea just how far Lang was willing to go with his nutty vendetta. I must say, I saw him as a scary, scary, dude by this point – especially post 9/11.

Why especially post 9/11? Well, 9/11 changed everything – except for Lang. Or maybe especially Lang.

No one wants to see the new Galactica production. No one is
looking forward to the new Galactica production. …
This new production might as well be considered
a “terrorist act” on Battlestar Galactica.

Galactica needs to be seperated from the “political womb”
of Hollywood once and for all via a “bloody abortion”
once and for all.

– Languatron, “Time For Bryan Singer To Close Up Shop,” 10/10/2001

Yes, keep in mind that less than a month after the deadliest terrorist attacks in the history of the world, Languatron was comparing the proposed new production of Battlestar Galactica to a terrorist act. (That’s disturbing enough without the “bloody abortion” metaphor.) In fact, the day after 9/11, Langy was on the boards complaining that Bryan Singer’s secretive pre-production on his Galactica revival had “more stealth than terrorists.” The day after! My goodness, when Glenn Beck started his paranoid 9/12 project, maybe Langy is what he had in mind.

Langy was chastised by all for daring to invoke the 9/11 attacks in his prose, but he was undeterred. On October 16, 2001, Langy even likened himself to a terrorist on Galactica’s behalf, boasting that “a guy can browse through a few books and magazines, get on a B-Board, turn the information he reads into a weapon, and bring down a corporation like the Twin Towers in New York!!”

How would you like it if a guy like that knew where you lived?

Surprisingly, mockery of Lang during this period got much sillier, and my fellow Lang mocker RGrant got in on the whole “attack Lang under an assumed name” thing. Pretty soon, Languatron was using clone handles to fight back, and some of them were pretty amusing. For instance, he created a handle called “Neuromancer2” where “Neuro” would berate himself for being such an imbecile. Another clever Lang handle was “Neuro_Cornell,” who liked to pepper his language with goofy Western clichés. Lang insisted that he was not behind these sock puppets, but every post from these doppelgangers had the same ridiculously tight margins, the same fear of the apostrophe S, the same contempt for grammar conventions, and the joyless rage that was the hallmark of everything Lang wrote. Lang couldn’t hide his tracks even if he wanted to.

Witness, for instance, this post from “Neuromanzrs_Obgyn:”

The Cast

Neuromanzr…….Kevin Arnold
Ob-Gyn/Dr. Mark Twain……….Hal Holbrook
Dr. Twains personal nurse……Yasmine Bleeth

Nurse: “Dr. Twain, we have an emergency!”

(Neuromanzr is wheeled in on a gurney, nine months pregnant.)

Dr. Twain: “He’s fully dialated!”

Nurse: “He’s also fully delusional! Thinks we aren’t on to his “Anti-Galactica Activities!”

(Suddenly there’s the screaming of a newborn infant.)

Neuromanzr: “What is it, Doctor, a boy or a girl?”

Dr. Twain: “Neither! It’s a tiny Universal executive, and look!, he’s already crapping all over this Battlestar Galactica fan. And soon he’ll be doing it on all the others too!!”

Neuromanzrs_Obgyn, “The Birth,” 7/25/2002

Neuro commented to tell Lang that we didn’t want to hear about his feces fantasies, only to have Lang respond under the guise of “Neuromanzrs_Proctologist” to counter with this gem: “mama says that Neuromanzr is a turd.”

Lang is nothing if not witty. And he’s not witty. So you do the math.

[Editor’s note. I just realized I’ve been referring to Neuromanzr as “Neuromancer.” The Z version is correct, and I apologize for the earlier errors. Carry on.]

By this time, too, something exciting/terrifying had happened in Galactica fandom. Singer’s revival had died, and like a phoenix from the ashes, former Star Trek scribe Ron Moore had taken over the helming duties of a revived Galactica, promising, rather than a continuation of the original series, a completely reimagined version with a new cast.

How did Langy take the news?

How do you think?

Take a hike, Ronny Baby!!! Is that plain enough
English for you? I for one am not going to grant
you a civilized reply, because quite frankly, you
DON’T DESERVE ONE.

Le me be the first to say that I am fed up to
the “Orbit Of Jupiter” with the
ENDLESS POLITICAL AGENDAS of YOU,
VIVENDI-UNIVERSAL, and every other
“WALKING AIDS VIRUS” that comes into
contact with Battlestar Galactica?

Keep your SLIMY, STINKY, WART-FILLED
PAWS off of my Battlestar Galactica show!!!
This is my show, because I’m a CONSUMER!!!
This show also belongs to all of the other
CONSUMERS on this board, and consumers
ALL OVER THE WORLD who care about this
show WITH THE ORIGINAL FORMAT, THEMES,
CHARACTERS, & CAST MEMBERS INTACT.

Go away, Ronald D. Moore. If you need a career
boost, ask your daddy-(Rick Berman) to cast you
as a “Borg Drone” in the next Trek movie. The
characters LACK OF PERSONALITY should
match you PERFECTLY!!!

– Languatron, “Moore Control,” 9/05/2002

The AIDS reference was just a hint of the homophobia, religious hatred, and ethnic slurs that would become increasingly important to Lang in the years to come.

There’s Moore on Monday…

The Baltar5 Bloodbath

Every time Stallion tried to engage in battle with Languatron, though, it went nowhere. To him, I was just another Universal Executive, or Neuromancer in disguise. I had to take a different approach.

But what?

During this time, heated rumors about Galactica’s revival prospects were flying all over the place, and everyone on the board was poring over every scrap of possible information that would offer clues about whether Universal Studios was seriously considering Richard Hatch’s plan, or whether they might revive Galactica some other way. Soon, director Bryan Singer and producer Tom DeSanto, fresh of their X-Men success, were attached to the project, and everyone wanted to be in the know.

In the midst of all this, someone named Baltar4 appeared on the boards.

For whatever reason, Baltar4 seemed to have the inside scoop on what was going on. At least, he did to those who were willing to give credence his cryptic statements, which were short, strange, and seriously misspelled. I found it a little more than ironic that people were willing to give such credence to someone with such blatant contempt for the English language.

But, surprisingly, Languatron was paying attention to him, too. And it seemed as if he was able to distinguish between Baltar4 and everyone else. So if I could piggyback on that somehow, I could truly rattle his cage.

So Baltar5 was born.

His first post was titled “lnaguatron=LOSER!”

And here’s what it said:

“OK lets rumble, languatron, you loser. I know who you are and what you stand for. I know your behind in your child support payments. I know that you think BSG is just a big joke and just something to play with. Well I know this to. I know that you suck and that you hate people and that you used to be in the marines. And zathras was there so he can back me up because you suck. Do you want some cheese with your whine loser? LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZER!

Let me tell you something else, “langua-tron” or should I say Vinniy? Because you suck! And you couldn’t suck more if you tried, lou! You know lou zer!

YOU SUCK OUT LOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

– Baltar5, lnaguatron=LOSER, 4/18/2001

I shouldn’t be proud of this, but it makes me chuckle heartily to look back on it a decade after the fact. The poor spelling and grammar is clearly deliberate, and the final YOU SUCK OUT LOD is just a bit much. But Languatron took the bait, all right – he posted the following just minutes after Baltar5’s debut:

How many times have I told you Baltar4? The number
4 comes before 5, and 5 after 4. I guess you missed
that episode of Sesame Street. Now go back to
studying the “Flash Cards” Universal Execs are
issued with their paychecks.

I love your “snappy retorts” in arguments, Baltar4.
Judging from your last post, I don’t have a damn
thing to worry about.

…And you guys are making the movies and tv shows
we all watch? That explains “Josie
& Bullwinkle in Bedrock”…..

– Languatron, “Sesame Street Time for Baltar4,” 4/18/2001

Baltar5 commented on this post, too. In a reply titled “LOU!,” Baltar5 said “Hey, Lou you know lou zer!” To which Stallion Cornell couldn’t help but offer his own reply. “He’s got you there, Languatron,” Stallion said, probably a little too quickly after Baltar5 posted. Languatron ignored Stallion and aimed all his subsequent fire directly at Baltar5.

That set the template for the battle that raged over the next few weeks. Lang and Baltar5 posted nasty things, and Stallion would, every now and again, come in with a quip to make light of the situation. He was joined by Neuromancer – AKA Neuro – and RGrant, perhaps the funniest and most gifted writer to join in on the fun. Other people joined in, too, but I don’t remember them as well.

Here’s a typical Lang missive from the fires of that particular flame war:

How reassuring it is to know, that from the founding
of the studio system in the early 20th Century, to
this very moment, the studios have staffed people
with an utter hatred and contempt for the public
they are supposedly in business to entertain.

Nowhere is this hatred more evident, than within
the confines of Universal Studios. Egomaniacal,
Opinionated, Stuck-up, Chameleon-esque, Schizophrenic, Emotionally Disturbed, Paranoid,
Childish, Self-Absorbed, and Psychotic Executives
at Universal Studios have not only spent 22 years
of their worthless lifes trashing the “Greatest
Space Fantasy Adventure Series” of all time, but
also feel so thoroughly justified in such actions,
they crash B-Boards such as this one under endless
aliases, holier than thou attitudes, and fractured
English personas.

Baltar5 is one of many Universal Executives, who
dearly hates the public his employer manufactures
entertainment for. Regardless of Baltar5’s holier
than thou attitudes, regardless of his hatred for
the public and Battlestar Galactica, and regardless
of his hate filled behavior he feels is justified
for the sake of satisfying Universals Corporate
Agendas, he still has a fragile intellect that was
finally broken via my last post, when he responded
with babbling rhetoric that has nothing to do with
the Battlestar Galactica tv series. Mindless one
moment, rhetorically pointless the next, Baltar5
manifests his hatred for Battlestar Galactica and
the public, in infinite ways mapped out in the
bitter sweet memory of what once was “The Black
Tower”.

The future of Corporate America is indeed here.
-And what I see in Baltar5 disgusts me. A self
justified, corrupt representative of Universal
Studios, who by his very actions, boldly
announces that “Universal Studios can mistreat
Battlestar Galactica anytime they want to, simply
because they own it.” This is what the movie
and tv industry has degenerated into, and Baltar5,
who goes through this life worshipping no God,
adhering to no sense of what is right and wrong,
and only worships what those who sign his paychecks
tell him to do, will find his reward with a worthless
life that will ultimately yield him nothing.

I assume Baltar5’s latest “kick” will now be
flooding this B-Board with rhetorical nonsense
that has nothing to do with the Battlestar
Galactica series, (no doubt a psychological tactic
devised by Studio Execs to ward off criticisms of
their business tactics, and a futile attempt to
project a false sense of authority on B-Boards),
my criticisms of Baltar5 and his employer, will
now intensify.

– Languatron, “And Baltar5 Reaffirms Studio Contempt,” 5/15/2001

As his “criticism intensified,” so did Stallion’s mockery thereof. I wrote the following teleplay right after I read Lang’s post above. It includes appearances by people you may not have heard of, but, rest assured, Lang hated them. That’s all you need to know.

———————-

The movie in Languatron’s mind:

INSIDE THE ANTI-GALACTICA CABAL: A series twenty-two years in the making!

(The scene is a dank, smoky boardroom in Universal Studios. This particular board room is extra dank. Around the table are our cast of villains – Stallion_Cornell, FroidDroid, Zathras_Scorpious, Neuromancer, and some short guy.

Mr. Big is sitting at the head of the table, smoking an illegally imported Cuban cigar. He laughs an evil laugh.)

MR. BIG: Ha ha ha!

OTHER UNIVERSAL TOADIES: Ha ha ha! (The short guy in the corner coughs. There is an awkward silence. Then Zathras_Scorpious whips him with a cat o’ nine tails.)

SHORT GUY: Ouch!

ZATHRAS_SCORPIOUS: Ha ha ha!

SHORT GUY: (With tears in his eyes) Ha ha ha!

MR. BIG: Finally, our fiendish plots have reached fruition! With your last few posts, the wheel will have turned, and Battlestar Galactica will be finally be destroyed, once and for all! Ha ha ha!

OTHER UNIVERSAL TOADIES: Ha ha ha!

SATAN: Ha ha ha!

NEUROMANCER: But what about Languatron, Master? He’s on to us!

MR. BIG; Curses! Languatron, my arch-enemy! Despite all my best efforts, he just KEEPS… ON… POSTING…MESSAGES!

ZATHRAS SCORPIOUS: It’s horrible! He’s going to ruin our chances to drive a final stake though Galactica’s heart!

STALLION CORNELL: Excuse me, but wasn’t Galactica already dead?

(There is an audible gasp.)

NEUROMANCER: What did you say?

MR. BIG: Who dares defy Mr. Big?

STALLION CORNELL: Why, ‘tis I, Stallion Cornell! Champion of the oppressed and father of twins! Plus I look great in a bathing suit!

MR. BIG: You dare question our hatred for the dreaded Battlestar Galactica?

STALLION CORNELL: Well, if you want to kill a TV show that’s been off the air for twenty-three years, I don’t think it’s wise to revive it under the direction of two of Hollywood’s most talented young writer/directors. It sends the wrong message.

MR. BIG: Well, what did you have in mind, smarty pants?

STALLION CORNELL: I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be wiser to just let it sit on a shelf and rot?

SHORT GUY: He’s right! That’s how we finally killed off Sheriff Lobo!

MR. BIG: Silence! This is Universal Studios! We are far too evil for that! Bring out… Baltar5!

(There is an audible gasp. The short guy wets his pants.)

FROIDDROID: Not… Baltar5!

MR. BIG: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

(A large metal door creaks open in the far corner of the room. Fog billows out of the opening, and as the smoke clears, a chimpanzee with a wizard’s hat steps out of the darkness.)

MR. BIG: Give that chimp a computer!

BALTAR5: OOOOO EEEE AH AH AH! (He runs across a computer keyboard furiously.)

MR. BIG: Read that back to me.

SHORT GUY: (looking at the screen) It says “fsxhksvhj;bvuyerjhzknxn”

MR. BIG: Add something like “Languatron, you suck!”

NEUROMANCER: (typing) That ought to do it!

SHORT GUY: But wait! There’s more! Now he’s typing something about creation myths!

MR. BIG: Yeah, well, give a monkey a typewriter, and someday he’ll type the complete works of Shakespeare.

SHORT GUY: That’s in here, too!

MR. BIG: Post it all! All of it!

(There is another audible gasp. The short guy explodes spontaneously.)

ZATHRAS SCORPIOUS: Languatron will have no defense against this kind of keen, explosive hatred!

MR. BIG: Yes, but Languatron is just one man. What can one man do?

STALLION CORNELL: Wait! I just checked the board again! There’s a new message from Languatron!

MR. BIG: What does it say?

STALLION CORNELL: It says he’s on to us, and that his CRITICISMS of UNIVERSAL STUDIOS will now ONLY INTENSIFY!!!!!!!!

MR. BIG: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

(Then the black tower collapses in sensurround. There are no survivors, except the short guy’s mother.)

– Stallion_Cornell, “And Langy is lost in a paranoid miasma,” 5/15/2001

———————-

So what became of such childish sophistry? Pretty soon, Lang announced that he knew who I was, and he knew where I lived.

More to come…

Loon Lang

Languatron was a lone wolf. That is to say, some people agreed with some of the points he made, but nobody interacted with him on a personal basis. He didn’t seem to have any recognizably human characteristics – it was all business with him all the time, and his business was complaining about what was happening to Battlestar Galactica.

Pretty soon, his complaints got more specific – and far, far nastier. The reason Battlestar Galactica was not being revived, it seems, is because the evil executives at Universal Studios were engaged in a massive, worldwide conspiracy to keep the show canceled.

Now, given the fact that the show was canceled over three decades ago, I’m betting that keeping it canceled required minimal effort. Nobody, for instance, has ever been engaged in a conspiracy to keep The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo off the air, as far as I can tell. “Battlestar Galactica Remains Canceled” is about as shocking a headline as Chevy Chase’s Saturday Night Live one-liner: “Our top story tonight: Generalissimo Francisco Franco Is Still Dead!”

But, nevertheless, our friend Languatron was convinced there were evil doin’s afoot, and he was holding everyone’s feet to the fire – especially the Universal Studios executives themselves. And if they got to close to the flame and burned up, well, all the better. Pretty soon, it wasn’t just DVD problems that had Langy all hot and bothered – it was the fact that Universal Studios was defying divine justice.

They aren’t fooling me. I know there is
a Corporate Mission Statement emanating
from Universal Studios Management, which
filtered down to Sci-Fi Channel, to
destroy Battlestar Galactica once and
for all.

So help me God. If Universal Studios and
Sci-Fi Channel harms the Battlestar Galactica
series in any way, I will pray to God, and
won’t stop praying to God, until God punishes
each and every executive responsible for
harming this series. And if these executives
think that they are beyond Gods Dominion,
they had better think again. Because these
executives will suffer Gods wrath at some
point, in their pathetic little lives.
Destroying Battlesar Galacticas original
format and characters will harm the public.
Thank goodness God is Infinite enough to
see it happen, so he can devise the appropriate punishment for each executive responsible for it.

– Languatron, “God and Studio Politics Don’t Mix,” www.scifi.com, 2/7/2001

Batten down the hatches – we’re in full-scale loon mode now.

Let’s step back briefly from the rather disturbing content we’ve found here and take a moment to note some of the tell-tale marks of Lang’s unique style. (Trust me, this will come in handy later.)

First of all, the tight margins are not a formatting choice for this blog – they were present in the original messages. That made Languatron’s posts visually distinctive from everything else published on the SciFi.com Board. In addition, you notice here that Languatron doesn’t use an apostrophe S when he describes “Battlesar Galacticas original format.” His lack of a “T” in “Battlestar” is simply a typo, and a casual observer could, in good faith, believe that his lack of an apostrophe S is a typo, too. But battle-hardened Lang veterans know better. (More on that as we go along.)

There. I think we now have a sufficient buffer zone between Langy’s apocalyptic fervor so that we can dispassionately discuss what he actually said. There’s no question it’s kind of scary, and Languatron used the religious motif for a number of his screeds. One post was written entirely as an online prayer for God to strike down the unholy Bonnie Hammer, the CEO of the Sci-Fi Channel. Seems like a rather harsh consequence to me, although one is left to wonder what the heaven-sent “appropriate punishment” would be for executives torturing a defunct TV show.

Indeed, Languatron’s specific theology is often hard to pin down. For a brief moment, some of his posts cited doctrine from the Christian Science movement, as Languatron posited that perhaps the characters destroyed in the Cylon attack on the Twelve Colonies of Man still lived in the Divine Mind. It was a very powerful argument in favor of an afterlife for fictional people. Or, if not powerful, it was, at least, very, very angry, which is as close to powerful as Languatron tends to get.

For the most part, the Church of Languatron involved lots of smiting. Serious, serious smiting. God will smite those who defy His television show and throw them into a lake of fire and brimstone, and Languatron will be there to roast marshmallows.

Weirdness on this scale is hard to ignore, and soon Languatron found himself in arguments with people who, while Battlestar Galactica fans themselves, were more than a little uncomfortable with having Languatron as their spokesman.

So now we add a new character to our story: a fellow who went by the name of Neuromancer.

Neuromancer, it seems, agreed with me, in that he didn’t think Richard Hatch’s ideas for a Galactica revival were any good. Unlike me, he didn’t retreat when he got flamed by the Hatch supporters, and he was completely unafraid of confronting Languatron head on.

That led to this little gem:

The Devils Horns continue to sprout from
the skulls of Universal Studios Executives,
and their defenders.

Neuromancer is not a Galactica fan. If he
was, he wouldn’t be attacking Richard
Hatch’s blueprint for original format
restoration. Neuromancers real purpose
in Galactica fandom, is to assist Universal
Studios in their procrastination of not
giving Galactica fans what they want.

If you’ll notice, the ONLY TIME Neuromancer
appears, is when Universal Studios Executives
are being attacked. Neuromancer doesn’t
even care if he is attacked personally.
But oh boy!!! As soon as I start jumping
on Universal Studios Executives, and the
company itself, out jumps Neuromancer in
his Halloween mask, and tin foil sword,
ever ready to defend Universal and its
executives like a White Knight with Post
Nasal Drip.

In the entire time Neuromancer has home
invaded our B-Boards, he has done nothing
but criticize and condemn Galactica and
Richard Hatch, whenever Universal Studios
Executives were attacked. That is just too
much of a coincidence, which serves to
prove Neuromancers affiliation with
Universal Studios and Glen Larson.

– Languatron, “Neuromancer Won’t Attack Sci-Fi Channel?” www.scifi.com, 2/12/2001

There’s much about Languatron that is difficult to understand. (Case in point: what’s the significance of a white knight with post nasal drip?) But at the top of the list of Langy conundrums is his obsessive hatred for Glen Larson.

If you watched television in the late 20th Century, odds are the name Glen A. Larson appeared on your screen more than a few times. Mr. Larson was the very prolific television producer who created shows like The Six Million Dollar Man, Knight Rider, Magnum P.I., and, of course, Battlestar Galactica. One would think that our friend Languatron would show a little gratitude to the man who fashioned the object of his obsession. But for Langy, the creation was to be revered, but the creator was to be reviled. In fact, Languatron was convinced that Glen A. Larson wasn’t the creator at all – he ostensibly stole the idea for Galactica and was now part of the grand design to keep Galactica buried.

Consistent with the theme of good vs. evil, there were only two sides in this battle: Languatron and everybody else. Both sides were monolithic; it was impossible that two people could independently conclude that Languatron was off his rocker; all those who opposed him were obviously in collusion. So Neuromancer wasn’t just someone who disagreed, he was “affiliated” with Universal and Glen Larson.

During this time, I remained unaffiliated. But after reading more than my fair share of this stuff, I couldn’t resist jumping into the fray.

Angry Young Languatron

(Editorial note: Perhaps this is boring you. But I’m enjoying writing it. So off I go, knowing that comments will not be thick on the ground.)

When I entered the Battlestar Galactica discussion, I didn’t use my real name, of course. I didn’t want these people to know who I was or where I lived. But I, like everyone else on the Internet, had a fiery opinion that I needed to share, so I did it under the pseudonym that had served me so well back in my college days.

Stallion Cornell made his first appearance on the SciFi.com Galactica bulletin board on September 15, 1999, on a particularly boring day of not working. Here’s the gist of what I said. (It’s surprisingly restrained as I look back on it all these years later.)

Before I get flamed by Hatch supporters, let me establish my bona fides at the outset.

I was 10 when Galactica hit the airwaves, and I’ve loved it all my life. I grew up in Southern California, and I toured the Buck Rogers set the year after Galactica was canned. They still had the original Galactica model in storage, and they let me see it. It was the thrill of my pre-pubescent life. I even watched Galactica 1980 religiously, hoping for a few scraps of the old show I loved amidst the steaming poo of Superscouts and Wolfman Jack. I remember watching the theatrical release of the pilot at the old Valley Circle Cinema in Woodland Hills, CA – in Sensurround! (Anyone else remember that? It involved turning up the speakers loud enough to be able to feel the reverb – a low-tech THX.)

I have nothing but respect for Richard Hatch and his efforts. I haven’t seen the trailer, but I’ve devoured all the still photos at battlestargalactica.com. Mr. Hatch has certainly demonstrated an affection for the show that makes him a great warrior for the cause.

So why the concerns? Two reasons – Richard Hatch’s Galactica books: Armageddon and Warhawk. All the trailer info I’ve seen indicates that Hatch’s new project is based on his execrable novels, which all but the most rabid fan should recognize are fundamentally flawed.

I would hope that Hatch would recognize his limitations and seek additional input from writers and authors who can complement his vision. If he does, he’ll hit it out of the park. If he gets too caught up in a Quixotic ego trip, he may transfer the problems of Armageddon and Warhawk to the screen and do irreparable damage to his efforts.

See? It could have been whole lot nastier! I did manage to work the word “execrable” in there, though.

I was flamed instantly. “Stallion Cornell is an ass,” said a guy named BSGDan. That was one of the more printable responses. Having tried – and failed – to engage in rational discussion, I went back to lurking. I soon discovered that the dominant personality on this board had no tolerance for opposing points of view.

His name was Languatron. He was large and in charge. And kind of nuts, too.

Here’s an example of his early work.

I just filed a complaint against Universal Studios with the
National Consumer Complaint Center on the Internet. I
stated that the Galactica DVD is falsely advertised as being
a Widescreen release when in fact it is not. I stated that
the whole purpose of a Widescreen release is to allow you
to see the entire frame of the movie, just as you would
while sitting in the movie theater. I then urged that the
Galactica DVD be recalled from store shelves on the grounds
of false advertising. If any of you would like to file
a complaint against Universal Studios as well. Go to
“Yahoo”, type in consumer complaints, and the National
Consumer Complaint Center will be listed. After I submitted
my complaint, a message stated that it would be forwarded
to the appropriate Federal Agancy.

–       Languatron, “Complaint Filed/Universal Studios,” www.scifi.com, 8/11/2000

There is no word on what finally became of this particular complaint. I remember, as I’m sure you do, the public outcry about the false advertising surrounding the DVD release of the original Battlestar Galactica television pilot. I remember the fiery editorials, the scathing televised debates, and, of course, the famous Galactica DVD riots of 2003/2004. The Internet’s National Consumer Complaint Center was under fire from all quarters, and everyone took sides. I, personally, became a conscientious objector and watched old reruns of Columbo instead.

What? This doesn’t strike a chord with you?

Well, if you don’t remember such things, you were probably living in the real world at the time, where nobody either knew or cared whether or not a DVD release surrounding a long-dead TV show was, or was not, in proper widescreen format.  You also live in a world where the only reference to a National Consumer Complaint Center you can find on Google is a website with the subheading, “PUSAT KHIDMAT ADUAN PENGGUNA NASIONAL.” Although, here in the real world, I’m sure that upon receipt of Languatron’s complaint, the Pengguna Nasional was truly up in arms.

This message is representative of much of Languatron’s earlier work, and I recognize that I’m being somewhat harsh in my mockery thereof. The writing style here is strident, yes, but it’s not insane. It’s more the work of a focused, belligerent crank than a full-fledged loon. It’s also doesn’t demonstrate the contempt for standard conventions of grammar and punctuation that would characterize much of Languatron’s portfolio in the years to come. Yes, there’s a period where there should be a comma; inappropriate words are capitalized, and “agency” is misspelled, but these are but quibbles.  The guy who wrote this may be stuck on topics that interest few others, but there’s no real indication that he’s incapable of intelligent discourse, or that he’s as loony as he would soon prove to be.

Sadly, yes, there’s more to come…

Enter the Languatron

The dictionary defines a “languatron” as “a Colonial device that acts as a translator, capable of translating speech in real-time.”

No, wait. That’s not the dictionary. That’s the online Battlestar Wiki, which takes jargon from the television series Battlestar Galactica and translates it into English for people who don’t live in their parents’ basements.

There have been two television series bearing the name Battlestar Galactica, and the languatron only appears in the first episode of the first series, broadcast for the first time on ABC television, September 17, 1978. It was the same night that President Carter signed the Middle East peace agreement, which really ticked me off as a kid, because it cut into Battlestar Galactica’s three-hour pilot. I mean, yeah, peace is great, but I was ten years old. I was much more interested in watching things blow up.

The series came on the heels of Star Wars mania and was dismissed by many as a direct rip-off, which even prompted George Lucas to file suit against Universal Studios for copyright infringement. (He lost. That may be the only time he’s ever lost anything, other than the Star Wars Holiday Special.)

Galactica’s premise was rather bleak for 1970s network television – a race of killer robots called Cylons all but exterminates twelve planets filled with billions of people, and the handful of survivors set out to find the lost 13th tribe of humans, which, according to myth and legend, settled a planet called Earth.

That was kind of cool, until they brought the show back two years later as Galactica 1980, where they found Carter-era Earth where they meet Wolfman Jack and discovered that Cylons could be killed by microwave ovens. But that’s another issue altogether.

Back to the languatron.

In the pilot episode of Galactica, the brave young warrior Apollo is looking for a lost little boy, and he consults with some weird-looking bug people called Ovions to find him. Since these bug people have latex rubber faces and mouths that don’t move, they speak with clicks and buggish noises, which filter through Apollo’s languatron to tell him the kid is fine and not to worry about the fact that the Ovions are secretly kidnapping humans and placing them in cocoons so that these bug people can eat them all for Sunday brunch. (Actually, they didn’t tell him about the whole “cocoon-brunch” part, but he figures that out later. The bug guys did, however, say the kid was fine, which makes me wonder why they didn’t eat him as an hors d’oeuvre.)

That was the languatron’s big shot at stardom, its only moment in the sun. It appears in a single shot as a small metal box with a mesh screen and the word “LANGUATRON” spelled out all in caps, like so:
The languatron

In fact, the languatron itself doesn’t really figure into this story much.

Languatron, however, does.

I’m shifting gears here. From here on out, Languatron is no longer a fictional translation device; he is, by all evidence, an all-too-real person. It’s very unlikely that this Languatron uses that name in real life, but given the amount of time the guy spends online, it’s very unlikely that real life figures into his equation at all.

I’ve never met Languatron in person, but I first bumped into him online in 1999, when I went to work for a public relations firm back in Washington D.C. I was hired as a Senior Associate for this firm’s Technology Practice, which sounds very exciting if you overlook the fact that the client I was hired to manage went bankrupt a week before I showed up and pulled their account the next day.

So, just starting out on this new job, I had absolutely nothing to do and all day to do it.

Under most circumstances, I very much enjoy not having anything to do. I can usually fill the time with naps and good books and too many potato chips. But this circumstance was different. I had to be at work every day by 8:00 AM in a shirt and tie, sit in a cubicle and do nothing and try not to look like I’m doing nothing. I had to keep this up for nine hours – one hour for lunch came as a welcome diversion – and it just about killed me.

I knew this couldn’t last, and that either I would find a new job voluntarily or forcibly, once this company recognized that paying me to surf the Internet aimlessly wasn’t helping its bottom line. I eventually found one and left three months after I started, but in the meantime, I occupied my days with discovering all the silliness the World Wide Web had to offer.

Aimless surfing offers a number of interesting diversions. You can find anything on the web – recipes, death threats, bad poetry, blogs about William Shatner’s toupee, rude noises, pictures of goiters, and people with opinions on anything and everything. Internet politeness is strongly discouraged. Those who attract the most attention are those who crank the whole thing up to 11. On the Web, the President of the United States is either the Source of All Truth And Light Who Vexes Those Who Do Evil, or he’s the scum of the earth who ought to go play on the freeway off ramp and put us all out of his misery.

Negative folks get a lot more bandwidth than the positive guys, too. Regardless of who the president is, the Off-Rampers outnumber the Truth-and-Lighters by about a 1,000,087,936 to one, give or take. And that’s not just true of politics. In fact, I discovered it was even true of Battlestar Galactica.

In 1999, even though the original show had been off the air for over two decades, original series star Richard Hatch was pushing the idea of the revival. Hatch played Apollo, the guy with the original languatron who talked to the Ovions. To my knowledge, he is no relation to the Richard Hatch who appeared naked on Survivor and then went to jail for tax evasion, but back in 1999, I’m sure that Apollo Richard Hatch envied Naked Richard Hatch’s show biz career.

Hatch had mortgaged his own home to finance a movie trailer for his proposed vision of a Galactica revival. Titled Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming, it picked up twenty years after the original series left off, with the human survivors still on the run and fighting for their lives against a newer, deadlier form of Cylon. It featured appearances by several of the original series’ stars, and those who saw it at comic book conventions were giving it standing ovations. I didn’t see it back then, because he didn’t have the rights to put it up on the Internet, but it has since surfaced on YouTube, and, even after more than a decade, it’s surprisingly unawful.

Hatch had a host of partisans who had taken to the Internet to convince Universal Studios that they should let sell or give the Galactica copyright to Mr. Hatch so that he could have his way with it and bring back Galactica to the masses. Most of these people were congregating on the Battlestar Galactica bulletin board owned and operated by Universal’s SciFi Channel – now called, inexplicably, the SyFy Channel – and I had a good time following the discussion.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before I joined in.

To be continued…

Reintroduction: Part II

Continued from Saturday’s opus…

Stallion made it possible for me to ignore my instincts and take chances that sensible people would never take. That may be a problem if you’re studying architecture or dentistry, but I was a theatre major, which demanded that I at least appear to be somewhat creative.  So Stallion got me unstuck many a time in the years that followed.

If you’ve ever taken an acting class, then you know the constant demand for new material – especially monologues. People don’t generally speak in monologue form, so most plays focus on one line at a time, not whole paragraphs. Still, every acting teacher or auditioner demands that the actor perform a monologue, and the number of good monologues out there seems to shrink with each passing year.

That actually makes sense if we’re playing it old school. If you’re doing a classical piece, then there are only 37 Shakespeare plays to choose from, and everyone’s heard all the good stuff in them before.  If I have to sit through another Shakespeare audition where some troubled young punk starts with “Thou, Nature, art my goddess” one more time, I can’t be held responsible for who I may harm. (That’s Edmund from King Lear, Act 1, Scene 2. That sounds relatively obscure, I know, but everyone thinks nobody else has heard it. Consequently, we hear it all the time, whereas nobody ever does “To be or not to be.”)

Anyway, since Shakespeare’s been dead for the past few weeks, you can forgive him for being stuck on his old stuff. But the Troubled Young Actor Community is stuck on all the same tired pieces, and you hear the same ones over and over.  You get very sick of them very quickly.

Now I recognize that I could have just written my own piece, and, indeed, some actors did that. But the minute you did, you were being judged not just as an actor, but as a writer. And the actors who did that always looked like pretentious buffoons. Auditioning is nerve-wracking enough without having to have another layer of judgment slathered on top of the first one.

So Stallion became a monologist.

I remember taking the stage on one audition and unleashing Stallion once again.

What piece would I be performing? I was asked.

“An excerpt from ‘The Worms of Hell,’” I answered.

The Worms of Hell? The director cocked his head. I’ve never heard of that.

“It’s by Stallion Cornell,” I said, assuming that he, like anyone who was anyone, would have heard of him. Which is an easy assumption to make, because everyone in the theatre likes to appear well-read and contemporary and comments on books and plays that they’re supposed to have read.

All right, fine, said the director. Go ahead.

So I did.

“What makes you think you’ll ever be able to understand?” I said. I was powerful. Commanding. And, most importantly, loud.

Loud is good.

“I don’t need your pity,” I howled. “I don’t need your sickly sweet smiles–I don’t need you to tell me everything’s all right.

Time?” I laughed scornfully. Scorn is always good, too.

“What is time to a man like me? I’ve seen a nation die–I’ve seen all I’ve ever worked for crumple into one bloody heap! Can you give me time? Time for revenge? For death? For the angry fire that I will never tame? The churning, fiery volcano of hate that burns hotter than the sun itself?”

Oooh, I was cooking now. Time for just a smattering of PG-rated profanity.

“Damn you! Damn you to Hell! And may the infernal demons which slather for your soul consume your very innards in their unyielding flames! I’d offer you a biscuit first, but I don’t like you very much. So die! And let the worms nibble on your bowels.”

I got the part, and the director didn’t get a biscuit.

It was hard to keep my secret from my classmates, but the adults, if they ever caught on, never said anything. And it didn’t hurt that Stallion’s pieces were now being used at several auditions, on campus and off. My fellow actors, it seems, were just as stuck as I was, and more than a little tired of the same old same old.

So it became a simple thing to toss off a ridiculous monologue here and there, and everyone felt like they were getting away with something. One of the proudest moments of mye life was hearing that one of the actresses in my class used a Stallion Cornell monologue to land a recurring role on a soap opera back in New York. And back in Los Angeles, the last week of my tenure at USC, some the best actors in the school gathered in the largest theatre on campus and produced, to a full house, the entire collection of monologues I had written over the past four years, each as scornfully and loudly as possible.

It was billed as An Evening with Stallion Cornell.

My favorite was Jovan Yvan Rameau, now a world-renowned actor who spent that evening in a white spandex unitard, performing a monologue to his dead wife that involved him ripping a KFC chicken sandwich out of his chest and then pretending it was his heart, which he then proceeded to eat with a big mess of ketchup. The guy who videotaped the performance got some pretty rocky footage of that one, because he was trying to keep from rolling in the aisles. Jovan then pretended to die of leg injuries.

It’s all very silly, I know. And silliness isn’t the best or the only way to get unstuck. But it certainly helps to have a means to step outside yourself and see things from a different perspective.

Besides… if I’d never been Stalllion Cornell, I would never have met Languatron.

Reintroduction

Since we’re starting over somewhat, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit where the whole “Stallion Cornell” name came from.

It started out when I was stuck. And being stuck is no fun.

I don’t have to tell you that, but we have to accept that as common ground if we’re going to get anywhere here. Everybody’s been stuck before, but not everyone finds a way out. You may have your own route to freedom, but my way out involved fraud

Not criminal fraud, mind you. Just silly fraud. It’s much less dangerous, but it still makes my mother angry.

In this case, I was taking a Creative Writing course at the University of Southern California, and the assignment was to write a love poem beginning with the line, “My love, if you die, and I don’t…”

I don’t like love poems, as a rule. I find it very hard to take them seriously. If I can’t imagine saying something to someone without giggling, Try beginning a date by reciting the lyrics to any love song by Chicago and you’ll see what I mean.

“Hello, Madge? It’s me, Stallion. I just want you to know that you’re the meaning in my life. You’re the inspiration. What? No, I said you’re the inspiration. Like, when you love somebody ‘til the end of time. Always on mind. Whatever. Look, do you want to grab a burger or not?”

So back to the poetry.

“My love, if you die, and I don’t…”

That line just stared at me for hours on end. Everything that could have possibly come after it sounded exponentially dippier than my previous suggestion. I ended up cobbling something together and turning it in sheepishly.  No fun at all.

See, the way this class worked was that the best selections were chosen and “published” to the rest of the class in a small packet, and then they were discussed as if they were actual works of literature. To date, none of my stories or poems had been discussed. I was hoping to get just a little recognition and attention, but usually, such honors were reserved for the people who wore black and suffered a lot. I was just a shy, quiet freshman, and my work was piddly and trite in a freshmanic sort of way. Nobody was going to agonize over it properly unless I wrote something deep, man. Deep.

“My love, if you die and I don’t…”

I don’t know what I actually wrote under my own name. All I remember is that it wasn’t very good and was summarily ignored. It didn’t do anything to help me get unstuck.

It was what Stallion Cornell wrote that made all the difference.

I don’t know where the name comes from, really. I’ve never been to Cornell, and I don’t know a stallion from a mountain lion. I’ve been told that the name sounds vaguely pornographic, but that was never the intent. It just sounded pretentious and funny to me, like how I imagined all of these self-important artistes thought of themselves.

A couple of years earlier, I had appeared in a variety show, and I was the Master of Ceremonies. Every night, I would introduce myself with a different goofy name. “Stallion Cornell” was the name that got the biggest laugh, and it stayed stored away in the back of my brain, waiting to save me from stuckagery.

“My love, if you die and I don’t…”

Setting aside real life, I adopted Stallion Cornell as my persona and finished the poem the right way. HIS way. The Stallion Way, which read as follows:

My love, if you die and I don’t
I want you to know that I won’t
Forget you. It may seem absurd,
Yet you’re not just one of the herd.
So I’ll let you go back to sleep;
My life. And my love. And my sheep.

Stallion Cornell’s “Ode to Mutton” was at the top of the published works the following week.

It wasn’t – and isn’t – a good poem as far as actual poetry goes. But it was delightfully anarchic and radically different from anything anyone else was writing. It was the only piece with the audacity not to take the class too seriously. And suddenly, everyone was buzzing about who could possibly be the mysterious Stallion Cornell?

I just sat in the back of the room, fighting mightily not to giggle.

Stallion then completed every assignment alongside with me. Back in those days, when this new word processing fad thingee didn’t look like it was going to last, I would type my own pieces in my dorm room and then head down to the Doheny Library and type Stallion’s piece on a school typewriter that used a different font and dropped its Ls. I would make sure that Stallion’s piece was buried somewhere in the middle of the pile, never in proximity to mine.

Stallion’s piece was published at the top of the stack every week.

I remember well the one week where we each had to write a three-line poem, which, from the Goth People, was an open invitation to pretense and self-indulgence. Mine, however, was an elegant, haunting masterpiece, which appealed to all five senses, and not in a good way:

Evening falls.
The moon farts.
Stinky. Stinky. Stinky.

Ah. “The Flatulent Moon.” (It’s the third “stinky” that really sells it.)

If my professor is reading this book, then this will be the first time that she will have uncovered the secret. Nobody suspected the mild-mannered freshman in the corner.
And thus an alter ego was born.

The story continues on Monday…

Rebirth!

Good evening.

Real life has been an absolute nightmare for the past few months, but I wanted to relaunch this blog in style. Rest assured, I’m going to be posting regularly again. I don’t know if anyone cares at this point, but here it is.

Blogger has been a major pain in the tuckus, and they stopped supporting FTP transfer updates, which means I had to host the blog on the blogspot site, which is unacceptable to me. SoI decided to migrate this whole thing to WordPress software, which is much more muscular and customizable. The problem has been importing the old site to the new. The end result is that all the posts are here, but I think I’m missing a bunch of comments. Not to worry, though – the old posts are still there, and mirrors of the previous posts of this blog can still be found at stallioncornell.blogspot.com, as well as stallioncornell.wordpress.com. All the permalinks go back to the old blogger files, which are still on this server. So none of the info is going anywhere. All these new posts, however, won’t be mirrored over at those places. Those are the Stallionic Archives. This is the place to be.

I’ve been anxious to get back to it, whether or not you’re anxious to read it. More tomorrow…