The Ballad of Stallion Cornell

“The Ballad of Stallion Cornell” was written during my freshman year at the University of Southern California. I had just gotten my first guitar, and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. I only knew about three or four chords, and I played them over and over, which resulted in the OOM-chuck-chuck 3/4 waltz that forms the backbone of the song. Since these four chords constituted the entirety of my guitar abilities, I could practice and improve my proficiency, or I could just write a song that made do with the limited skills I had.

And I? I took the path of least resistance, and that made all the difference.

At about the same time, I was taking a beginning guitar class that was as boring as it was useless. It was astonishing to me how many people knew even less about the guitar than I did, and I found myself trying to find ways to make the class more entertaining. Our final exam consisted of a performance of any piece of our choosing, so I thought it would be fun to perform an original composition.That gave me a cause and a deadline, two things which are essential when it comes to my songwriting. That’s the reason the Stallion Cornell Songbook is as short as it is, because I need a reason to write a song before I’ll commit the time and energy to make it happen, and over the course of a varied lifetime, those reasons have been few and far between.

Anyhoo, I had the music in place. My four chords were ready to go. Given my playing style, my ditty wasn’t going to be a hard rocking anthem. As I chunked out the chords, I kept thinking of this grizzled gray hippie who used to sing on a television commercial in Southern California for some children’s camp. He’d smile at the camera with his long white beard, his Santa suspenders and his painted banjo and cheerfully croon, “Come sing with the Rainbow Man.” (I’m reasonably sure that Mr. Rainbow Man had done enough drugs in his life to allow himself to sing any song with a smile.)

As a father myself, I make it a rule never to expose my children to men with banjos and beards. I decided, however, to write a demented version of a song the Rainbow Man might sing.

It had to be a story song, then. All of those creepy guys sing folksy stories about little bears or trains or blue whales who make good.

But what story?

At the time, I was still enamored with the name Stallion Cornell. I was using that name as my nom de plume in my creative writing class, and I think I came up with the line “Stallion Cornell was a sad lonely fella” before I came up with anything else. I was something of a sad, lonely fella myself at the time,so that seemed as good a place to begin as any.

I have no memory of how I proceeded from that point. Looking back on it, it’s clear I was robbing from “Color Your Dreams,” where you meet the boy in the first verse and the girl in the second, where a lover’s advances are promptly rejected. Except in “Color Your Dreams,” the boy gets a new girl in verse 3, whereas in “The Ballad of Stallion Cornell,” the boy gets turned into a lizard rat.

There’s also, once again, obesity mockery. In later years, I changed the line “She was fat as a tortoise” to “she weighed more than Texas.” By amping up the absurdity, I delude myself into thinking it’s less offensive to real-life tubby people who might, indeed, be as fat as a tortoise.

This was the first song I felt comfortable singing in public, and the ridiculously simple guitar accompaniment made it easy for me to perform it without much preparation. Unlike “Color Your Dreams,” which has essentially been shelved since high school, I still like “Stallion Cornell” enough to sing it to this day. I recently performed it for an LDS youth conference just last week – changing, as I often do, the word “slut” to “nut” in order to accommodate community standards. I hate doing that – the tortured rhyme of “slut” and “hermit” (her-mutt) is great fun, and the word “slut” is inherently funny. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

The song was first performed at my guitar final, which I aced, and it made its debut in public at the Marks Hall Dormitory Talent Show in the spring of 1987. I have successfully used it as an audition piece, and I tried to incorporate it into the Playmill Theatre’s Variety Show in 1993. (The founder’s wife heard the word “slut” and nixed the whole thing.) It’s since been performed in venues large and small – mostly small – and audiences are ostensibly appreciative.

The singalong verse – “Stallion, oh Stallion, etc.” – was added years after the initial song was written, but it’s great for audience participation, and it’s one of the reasons I lean on this song so much, even after all this time.

This demo was recorded at the Tuacahn Center for the Arts in the summer of 2001 as part of an epic recording session that took place while the rest of my family was out of town.

Behold – “The Ballad of Stallion Cornell.”

Color Your Dreams

Adolescence was not kind to my songwriting career.

“I Am A Cow” showed real promise, but as the years dragged on, every other song I attempted to write was crap. The problem was that I was trying to be soulful and get chicks, so my songs were all about how deep and sensitive I was. Except that I wasn’t deep and sensitive – I just wanted to make out. So I wrote songs that I was too embarrassed to actually sing.

I found these lyrics in my journal to one travesty called “Alone,” which includes the couplet:

I want to share my hopes and fears
But I keep crying silent tears.

Gyaaaaagh.

Or there was this one, from the song titled “I Still Care:”

The world is always giving us new love songs to sing
But each one fails to express the loneliness love brings.

Oy.

There’s more, but you can’t read them, because saccharine has been known to cause cancer in rats. All I wrote during puberty were self-pitying, whiny little screeds that still make me itch, almost three decades later.

In fact, the next song in my repertoire that doesn’t give me hives wasn’t written until 1985, when I was Senior Class President at Calabasas High School. I was in charge of the Homecoming Dance, and, given the fact that I had never attended a school dance, I was somehow at a loss for how to go about the planning process. That’s a story in and of itself, but the song came into play when we needed to select a Homecoming theme.

Usually, themes were based on preexisting music. My middle school graduation theme was “Don’t Stop Believin’,” despite inappropriate lyrics about the smell of wine and cheap perfume, and long before we knew it would be the most downloaded song on iTunes.

But what should be the song for Homecoming?

Well, I’m not sure how it happened, but the theme we chose was “Color Your Dreams.” I think the class secretary thought that would help with the décor. And since there was no song called “Color Your Dreams,” I volunteered to write one.

Stepping back for a moment…

The summer preceding my senior year in high school, I was in a show called The Video Zone, where, on closing night, I was part of an improv where I was making up lyrics to a blues riff. So I started singing randomly about some fat guy named Irving who used to bounce up and down a Laundromat.

Several of my early songs cruelly make fun of fat people. I don’t know why. I guess I just thought fatties were an easy target. Now that my own gut continues to spread, I realize just how unfunny mockery of lard really is. So much for my deep sensitivity.

So when it came time to color my dreams, I went back to Irving and fleshed out his story, so to speak. He was in love with Matilda, who was 105 years old. That gave me the best line of the song – “at the age of 105, they mistook her for mold.” Matilda rejects Irving, but in the third verse, he catches a girl named Lucinda on the rebound. She’s freakishly tall and “used to trip and fall across the Chinese wall.” It was stupid, but it was supposed to be stupid. Then there’s a chorus about coloring your dreams that’s insipid and has nothing to do with the rest of the piece.

The song makes no pretense of being anything other than moronic, which is probably why I still like it. The one thing I can’t stand more than anything else is pretense and sanctimony. That’s why all of my songs that I enjoy are asinine.

I debuted the song in a pep assembly for the whole school, and it was a smash hit. I had male dancers in drag throwing flower petals at the audience, and the school band joined in at the end and segued seamlessly from “Color Your Dreams” to the Scorpions’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” It probably helped that the lyrics were impossible to hear in the echo of the gymnasium, but it was still gratifying.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have a recording of this. It’s not my best stuff, but I think it ought to be recorded for posterity. So I slapped a demo together this morning.

Enjoy.

I Am A Cow

I’ve always maintained that “I Am A Cow” (1979) is the very first song I ever wrote, but that might not be accurate, as it was contemporary with the song “Chop Up Your Grandma,” which had lyrics as follows:

I’m gonna chop up your grandma
Da-na-na-na-na
I’m gonna put her in a microwave oven
I’m going to serve her up as a SOU-fflé
I’m going to put her on the menu for ten people
She’s gonna be today’s special
Da-na-na-na-na
[Spoken:]  Today’s special – new Grandma Stew. Just liked Grandma used to make.

Actually, the origin of “Chop Up Your Grandma” is itself in question, as the initial two lines originated with Foodleking, and the reference to the ten servings provided by Grandma came, I believe, from My Esteemed Colleague. I’m not sure if either party knew that I appropriated their pieces to compose the rest. Maybe I stole the whole thing. I doubt I can specifically recall who had a hand in what.  Perhaps the squabble over royalties is the reason the song has never been recorded.

“I Am A Cow” has no such confusion, as it was composed in real time – that is to say, it’s about a two-and-a-half minute song, and it took less time than that to actually put it together. It was a response to a challenge from a girl named Amber, who had written a song that had the lyrics “stinky butt” in it.

She dared me to do better.

Granted, “stinky butt” sets the bar pretty high, but at that moment in the winter of 1979, I retired to the bathroom at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre for a brief moment of urination and/or composition. The result?” I Am A Cow. “

My Esteemed Colleague participated in the composition, too, and, perhaps, he was even in the bathroom at the same time.  (Coincidence? YES!) I believe he was the one who came up with the “Doo doo doo doo” refrain, and, given the geography of the song’s creation, you can’t really blame him.

Behold the lyrics:

FIRST VERSE: I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)

SECOND VERSE: I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)

BRIDGE: When you’re a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
You don’t meow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
You don’t bow-wow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
You moo, like a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)

THIRD VERSE: I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
I am a cow
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
How now…
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)
…green cow!
(Doo doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo)

The song, unlike the snippet of punk rock parody that is “Chop Up Your Grandma,” is a fully realized song with a classic AABA structure and a melodic bridge.  It‘s a simple melody that has held up well over time. It’s unpretentious and profound, especially if you’re a cow.

The bit that still rankles me is that last line about “How now, green cow.” I thought, at age 11, that changing “How now, brown cow” to “How now, green cow” was funny, because, you know, the cow was green.  It no longer strikes me as funny, but I refuse to change it for sentimental reasons.

The recording of “I Am A Cow” took place sometime in 2005, when I was fiddling around with this new MBox that my wife gave me for Christmas. That’s my son Corbin, then age 4, giggling in the background.

Take a listen…

Is the American Musical Dead?

Stephen Sondheim is arguably the greatest living composer of musical theatre. Certainly he is the most respected by the arts community. He burst on to Broadway in 1957 as the lyricist for the new musical West Side Story. His credits include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A Little Night Music, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Company, Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park With George, and many others.

He has announced that the American Musical is dead.

Proclaiming that he has “outlived the genre itself,” Sondheim stated in an interview that ”you have two kinds of shows on Broadway — revivals and the same kind of musicals over and over again.”

The same article details how Sondheim made his career as “a rebel advancing a cause: a new, jarring, adult kind of Broadway musical.”

Reading this article becomes quite depressing until you challenge the central assumption. Is the American Musical dead – or have most theatergoers just lost a taste for the “new, jarring, adult kind of Broadway musical?”

These new musicals inflicted on Broadway are, by and large, edgy mood pieces that have marginal appeal to the public at large. The more ambitious pieces can be huge hits in New York and flops everywhere else. Other shows have not even managed to appeal to the jaded New York crowd. Paul Simon’s The Capeman reverently chronicles the true story of Salvador Agron, a gang member who murdered two boys in a school playground. The show was perhaps the most expensive failure in Broadway history.

Is it any wonder producers rely on “revivals and the same kind of musicals over and over again?” Regional theatres do the same thing, for the same reason: These are the shows people want to see.

The success of Disney movie adaptations  demonstrates that the hunger for the satisfying family entertainment of the great Broadway musicals has not died at all. If anything, it has increased! In the absence of anything new, families are willing to drag their children to the same stuff again and again – in high schools, in local community theatres, and, yes, on Broadway. Why?

Because there’s nothing else to see. Or, at least, there’s nothing else they want to see.

So why don’t talented people like Stephen Sondheim step in and fill the need? The answer is quite simple: it isn’t what they want to do.

”What’s happened to the theater,” says Sondheim, ”is one thing that does depress me a lot. Now it makes you not want to write because you think the audience isn’t there anymore. The audience that is there is not an audience who would either like or respond to the kind of stuff I write.”

Simply put, those who write musicals have contempt for the audience that enjoys them.

Sondheim contrasts his work with that of famed lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, one of his mentors. “‘Oscar’s lyrics are often flat-out sentimental, lacking in irony, which is the favorite mode of expression of the latter part of the 20th century. And I happen to love irony.”

But do audiences?

With the exception of his earliest work, every single one of Sondheim’s shows has lost a substantial amount of money. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sonmdheim’s 1979 musical, tells the story of an angry barber who murders his customers and then bakes them into pies. Considered by critics to be the Last Great American Musical, it is the work of which Sondheim is most proud. I dig it immensely, but it lost millions of dollars in its initial Broadway run, and it is a box office failure whenever it is revived by ambitious regional theatres, who enjoy the show far more than the audience does.

Theatre has become the playground of the elite, and those who write for the theatre are far more interested in entertaining each other than they are in entertaining us. Their worldview is dark and cynical, and their tastes are far more vulgar and profane than those of Middle America.

Why should they write musicals that appeal to the rest of us? Why should we expect them to?

Taking the Name of the Lord in Vain

George Burns’ geriatric career went into overdrive when he appeared in a magnificent movie, playing the Almighty Himself.

The problem was that I wasn’t allowed to say the name of the movie.

Why? Well, it was called “Oh, God!” and repeating that title was taking the name of the Lord in vain. I would describe the movie to my friends as “Oh, Gosh!” and they had no idea what I was talking about.

We Mormons, and a large number of Christians, Jews, and religionists of every stripe, are often warned against taking the name of the Lord in vain. It’s the Third of the Ten Commandments, for the love of Pete! (Notice my non-vain-taking sleight of hand there?) I think, by and large, that not using the name of the savior of the world as a profane epithet, is very good counsel, but I’m also convinced that people are missing the point.

I believe that the real problem with taking the name of the Lord in vain is not in the recounting of the title of the George Burns movie. I think the thing that God has a beef with is those who invoke His name to pretend to authority they do not have.

Case in point: Robert Tilton.

I used to watch televangelist Robert Tilton back in the early 90s with a toxic mixture of awe and horror. This man was so deeply shameless. There was a certain amount of perverse majesty in his ability to prey on the good impulses of stupid people.

The premise of his show, titled “Success N Life,” was that if you sent Robert Tilton a thousand bucks, Jesus would make you rich. That was it. There was nothing in his show about turning the other cheek or going the extra mile or welcoming a returning prodigal. The whole Gospel of Jesus Christ boiled down to how much cash you could send to Robert Tilton.

Tilton promised that he would take each of your “prayer requests” and pray over them personally in the name of the Lord, and he spent a great deal of airtime doing just that. Sometimes he would pray in tongues, spouting gibberish like “allabondo delasoya,” and then he’d move on to the next one.

His empire unravelled when ABC exposed the that most of these “prayer requests” were piling up in dumpsters, unopened and unread, with the checks ripped out of them and the rest of the piece discarded.

Tilton vigorously denied this and insisted that he’d had several small strokes as the result of all the ink that had seeped into his hands from personally handling every prayer request. But the jig was largely up – “Success N Life” collapsed, and Tilton faded. But he never went to jail. And he still has a huge mansion, a beautiful young third trophy wife, and an Internet show that continues to bilk the ignorant.

Tilton is a classic example of taking the Lord in vain.

Who authorized Robert Tilton to personally accept the Lord’s cash? What gives him any more power than you have to call upon the Lord for miracles and material wealth? Every single time he screams something ridiculous “in the name of Jesus,” Robert Tilton is taking the name of the Lord in vain. He is using the name of Jesus to rob people and line his own pockets.

I can’t judge anyone’s immortal soul, but if there is a Hell, I shan’t be surprised to discover Robert Tilton burning in it.

There is one upside to this whole thing, however. Tilton has become the subject of a series of Internet videos entitled “Farting Preacher” or “Pastor Gas.” They have greatly improved on Tilton’s original message.

I present the premiere installment of the series for your spiritual edification:

Narnia Movies

The first trailer for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was released not too long ago, and I’m actually surprised that it looks as good as it does.

The story on the Narnia movies was that the second movie had a bigger budget and a smaller box office, so Disney punted the franchise over to Fox, who slashed the budget for the third film. Fortunately, the two-minute trailer doesn’t look cheap, and this entry looks to be consistent with the first two films.

I wish I were more excited about it than I am.

The fact is that the Narnia books are a very mixed bag. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first in the series, the best of the series, and the centerpiece of the entire Christian allegory. Many of the other books feel like afterthoughts. The Magician’s Nephew is marvelous with its quirky focus on the creation, and The Last Battle is a pretty groovy depiction of the last days.

The rest of the books, including Dawn Treader, are essentially filler.

People were concerned that Caspian made so much less than Wardrobe, but the cold, hard fact is that Prince Caspian is a far less interesting story.  It wasn’t the filmmakers’ fault, really – the movie was an improvement on the source material in many respects. In the book, the setup takes about half of the total time, the larger war is only hinted at, and the one-on-one battle between Peter and Miraz is a single-sentence throwaway.  It’s a slight, insignificant tale that would not have been able to sustain a film adaptation without the alterations that upset many Narnian purists. They made a valiant effort, but it still wasn’t enough to turn Caspian into a blockbuster.

As you may have noticed, I’m of the opinion that of all the Narnia books, Prince Caspian is the worst of the lot.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a much better book, but it’s essentially a collection of short stories with very little in the way of a central narrative.  You follow a bunch of folks going from island to island and having goofy adventures. The tone of the book is whimsical and light, with the exception of the terrifying story of Eustace’s transformation and redemption. My guess is it will prove to be a much more difficult adaptation than Caspian and probably a bigger box office failure.

I’ll go see it, though. I’m hoping they can get past the filler books and get into the good stuff. The next book, The Silver Chair, would make a much better movie than Dawn Treader or Caspian.

But if Dawn Treader flops, we’ll never get to see it.

Toy Story 3, or, Why Return of the Jedi Sucks

There is a moment at the end of Toy Story 3 where you realize unequivocally that this is the finest film of the series. It’s a moment that involves a simple gesture and no words. I don’t need to tell you any more than that. I promise you, you will know it when you see it. And if that moment doesn’t make your eyes moist, then you have no soul.

Indeed, Toy Story 3 has established its own unique sequel pattern. It is part of that rare film trilogy where each film is outstanding on its own terms, and each film that comes after is better than the one before.

And by “rare,” I mean “no other film trilogy has even come close.”

As I’ve said before, Lord of the Rings doesn’t count. Those aren’t sequels – it’s one story broken into three parts.  When they make the Deathly Hallows films, no one will consider the second part a “sequel” to the first. I’m talking about stand-alone movies that get better with each sequel installment. Nobody has yet been able to get to number three and still maintain the momentum.

But somehow Toy Story has.

The problem with sequels, overall, is that the people coming to the second film are the ones who are enamored with the first. Consequently, they expect consistency from their franchise: they essentially want an experience much like the one they had with the original.

Problem is, that’s impossible, because so much of the charm of the original was the fact that it was original.

You can’t recapture that newness and surprise, and most sequels don’t even try. Instead, they laboriously attempt to improbably engineer events to put their characters in the same situation they were in the first time and essentially remake the first movie over and over again. At the end of every one of his films, Rocky Balboa triumphs against all odds, only to discover that he’s once more the you-can’t-win underdog at the beginning of the next film. Home Alone II is beat-for-beat, note-for-note the same film as Home Alone, and the main character relearns all the life lessons he learned in the previous film as if the first film never happened.

For a sequel to work, there has to be more story to tell and something new for the characters to do. Yet both directors and audiences are terrified of straying too far from the brand they establish with their first installment, and understandably so. The results can be disastrous, as is the case with, say, Babe and its almost entirely unrelated sequel Babe: Pig in the City. Everyone loves the first film and has essentially forgotten that there’s a sequel. That’s not to say that the sequel is a bad film – Roger Ebert thought it was one of the best films of the year. What it means is that the two aren’t really of a piece. Caddyshack and The Wizard of Oz are both great movies, but giving The Wizard of Oz a new title and calling it Caddyshack II doesn’t make it a sequel. (Although it would be a better sequel than Caddyshack II, which is so acrid it makes your eyes water.)

The Star Wars sequel pattern usually involves a retreat with the third film. Empire Strikes Back set off in bold, new directions from Star Wars, only to have Return of the Jedi throw out all of the advances of film #2 for a tepid remake of film #1. Han Solo and Princess Leia became complex and interesting characters in Part II. In Part III, they play second banana to a bunch of teddy bears. Luke’s odyssey in Part II has him running off half-cocked and unprepared. By the time Part III starts, Luke is a virtual demigod – ObiWan from the first film – and all the tension between him and Vader is transferred to the Emperor, who is simply a retread of Vader from Part I – pure villainy and nothing more. Darth Vader, a fascinating character in Empire, does nothing in the third film but brood and die. And if you liked seeing Luke defy all odds to blow up the Death Star, wait until you see a bunch of secondary supporting characters/puppets do it the second time around!

Meh.

Toy Story 2 walks the retread/renewal line better than any film I’ve seen before. In some ways, it’s essentially a remake of the first film – a reluctant toy learns to accept his place in the world. In the first film, it was Buzz. In the second film, it’s Woody. But the second film takes the same theme and deepens it, expanding the story’s scope without skimping on the jokes and visuals that delighted audiences the first time around. Buzz doesn’t know who he really is in Toy Story, but Woody knows exactly who he is in Toy Story 2 and begins to question his own mortality and purpose. It’s much more existentially challenging than the first film, yet it maintains the tone of its predecessor.

The third film takes it several steps further.

I don’t need to rehash plot points. On paper, they look quite a bit like the first two films: toys in peril, daring rescues, and friends who stick together. But so much more is at stake here. The existential questions raised in #2 become major life-or-death struggles, taking this movie in some very dark directions. (My five-year-old was too terrified to watch much of it.)  You discover just how much these characters have come to mean to you over the years. The ending is note perfect and tremendously satisfying, but you’ll probably sniffle a bit during that part, too. Pixar has yet to make a bad film.

Bottom line: the Star Wars prequels smell like moose turds.

My Esteemed Colleague’s Online Dating Profile

courtthejester
39 / M / Straight / Single
Beverly Hills, California
Essays
Details

My Self-Summary:
I have five donut shops in five countries. Each of them are controlled by remote-control in a secret mountain base hidden beneath my neighborhood laundry-mat. From there, I coordinate which distributors of powdered sugar, glaze material, sprinkles and so forth will win the contract for the following year on our donuts.

I believe in having a self that has a mission in life that serves the people. My donut shops will strategically bring entirely organic, homeschooled donuts to all five continents in each of two ways : 1) Through actual baking, 2) Through re-broadcast on all channels of donuts you’ve actually eaten in the past so you may relive your experience! In this way there is a quality control guarantee.

What I seek is a Queen who wishes to rule over this clandestine empire with me, coordinate it while we wash clothes or seem to wash clothes to the eyes of the unknowing, and rake in the dividends, not only of the immense profits, but of the humanitarian satisfaction in bringing the organic to the folk. Thank you.

What I’m doing with my life:
I bake fish for a living inside my portable submarine. I have added vulcanized rubber tires on the outside along with an electric-powered engine, for environmental support, that enables the submarine to move about on wheels throughout the streets in search of albatross and various barricudi. I ask for sauce from kindly passersby to add a kind of “special ingredient mystery” element to the baking of the fish.

I have done this continuously for every second, for every minute, for every hour, for every day, for every week, for every month, for every year, for every life that I have been alive, and there has been 100% satisfaction on all fronts, in every way, all the time, without any trace of discord or negativity, and I invite you into this private, yet quite lucrative imperial jurisdiction for all experiences, love included.

I’m really good at:
Calculating precise probabilities of various distributions of diverse fish populations in a given, yet entirely random, cubic meter of ocean water. This has proven fantastically hilarious at parties!

I also have invented several vinyl, separately detachable toe-guards to place upon barefoot feet, entirely transparent so the illusion of free and uncumbered foot never is lost, that prevents all toes, even the ones you have, from ever getting stubbed! Isn’t that incredible?

I also have developed, quite deliberate skill in launching vegetable-oriented products upon a 2.347 ratio demographic, lustre the ooze-correlate minus the inverse square root. It makes, garishly and repetitiously, for a scrumptious meal! Bon voyage!

The first things people usually notice about me:
The PVC brightly-sequined basket I have attached to my backside carrying my puppy Joe. He likes to be carried upon my back as I go about my various businesses. Joe is a cross between a terrier and a wolf-spider, and passersby love to pet his multiple tentacles! It is a wonder-laugh, reassured!

Then it would seem, from all reports, that my mechanized, highly mobile, rotating ear-guards, completely satellite-controlled, and polished chrome to an almost sterling quality, draw the attention of many of the plebian audience.

Next, individuals note my common-sense exterior, my textile brocade Firewall 2.0 protection, and various tents of several colors I carry with me everywhere! That exclamation point is to make you happy!!

My favorite books, movies, music, and food:
Books : May Corn Be Your Favorite Intercostal Deodorant? by Hallow Krogz, Lipid Fantasia is My Rockabilly Bone Marrow, by Pseudhe Fied, New Rational Strategies for Quintecimal Probability Product Placement, by the New Order Church Production Facility Lab Kennel of 1974.

Movies : I Am Your Vegetable, Sony Bono Meets the Bear, Twix Commercials Like You’ve Never Seen Them, Rabid Dog : New Pet.

Food : I am partial to twined yogurt, or any goulash that has sprinkled fish on it. I am vegan.

The six things I could never do without:
Air, water, food, sleep, hot showers, and BOOKS. If it ever came down to you or books, well … there’s always another girlfriend.

I spend a lot of time thinking about:
William Shatner. His toupee. (And your stance on Shatner is a dealbreaker. Don’t slander the Shats.)

On a typical Friday night I am:
reading.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit:
I love you. I’m totally in love with you. I don’t even know you yet, and I feel totally smitten.

You should message me if:
- You believe that your life up to this point has lacked a certain “imperial entrepreneur” flavor and you are hoping to make up for the heretofore complete foolishness of your existence by diving in nose-first into the plausible and likeable realm of co-rulership of the commercial stanza with yours truly

- You have absolute certainty of your own ability to navigate aquatic obstacle courses utilizing one raft of variously twined balsa logs and/or specially treated bamboo, pulled by a team of swans.

- You utilize punctuation and/or spelling with the meticulous compulsion of a laboratory rat animal fed some kind of food-colored and quite aged cereal. Have you spent nights wondering about the ultimate constituents of bread mold? Let’s get laid.

Stallion Cornell: The Movie

A few years back, I wrote a full screenplay titled “Stallion Cornell.” It will never be produced, largely due to the offensive nature of this first scene. But if you’ve seen the opening to Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, this won’t be too startling.

Enjoy!

EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE – DAY

Wide shot of a WOMAN climbing up the side of a steep mountain in a burqa. The wind is howling around her as she struggles up the peak. Her back is to the camera.

CUT TO:

CLOSE-UP of the WOMAN’s hands. She grunts and strains as she makes her ascent. Her face remains concealed.

EXT. MOUNTAINTOP PLATEAU – DAY

The WOMAN arrives on top of the mountain, which is an impossibly tiny plateau with a steep drop-off – a few steps and the woman would fall off the other side. She is only visible in wide shot. For the first time, we see that she is pregnant – very pregnant, indeed.

The WOMAN, back to the camera, squats and grunts, as if taking a dump.

A gush of blood falls from between the folds of the burqa. It is followed by a newborn baby. The WOMAN picks up the baby and yanks off the umbilical cord.

The baby cries.

The woman lays the baby on the plateau. She pauses. The baby continues to cry. The woman then takes a step backward and leaps off the other side of the plateau, screaming as she falls.

MAIN TITLES: STALLION CORNELL

TITLE: FORTY YEARS LATER…

That’s all you get… for now.

Soccer Noise

My sons are athletes. They’re even good athletes.

Given one-half of their genetic makeup, that’s an astonishing fact. When I used to play right field in little league, I got bored and sat down during most of the innings. In contrast, my twins are the stars of their competitive soccer team, which often leads me to wonder who their real father is.

As athletes, particularly soccer athletes, my boys are following the World Cup with rabid interest. The USA’s tie with England was cause for celebration, and they sit and watch the games on the only channel we get that carries them – channel 12, the Spanish-language channel that includes rather interesting, if incomprehensible, Budweiser commercials.

Real Salt Lake, the Major League Soccer champions, play at a stadium about five minutes from our house, and we try to attend as often as we can afford. We were at a game about two weeks ago where Real beat Kansas City by 4-1. (Because Real scored three goals in a single game, each of us got a coupon for a free Burger King croissanwich! Good, good times!)

I enjoyed watching the game, mainly because there are no time outs and the whole thing is over in less than two hours.

I’ll tell you what I don’t enjoy, though – the drums.

Over on the south goal, groups of die-hard fans spend the entire game pounding on drums. Lots of drums. Loud, big, thumpy drums. The drumming begins at the beginning and ends at the end, with only a brief respite during intermission. Except these drummers decided to walk around the stadium during intermission and parked themselves directly behind our family and pounded like mad.

It’s not spirited or exciting. It’s not pleasant. It’s just frickin’ LOUD.

Why? Dear Thor, WHY?!!!

I thought of this again this morning as I read the Drudge Report links to articles about the Dr. Seuss-named vuvuzela horns that are destroying the World Cup. Patrons are calling it the “worst sound in the world.” Apparently, France is saying that the vuvuzela noise is the reason they lost. I don’t doubt that, even though it’s French people saying it. Even the name is annoying, at least on paper– I mean, who wants to type vuvuzela?

It’s fun to say, though. Maybe people should just chant “vuvuzela” instead of blowing on those infernal horns.

Bottom line: I empathize. Empathy is my middle name. Except that soon, I’m going to change it to “vuvuzela.”