Take This Snow And Shovel It

The below video depicts what I do when I don’t have a snow shovel. It’s also a fine example of how high my IQ is. For further amusement, you can click here and scroll down to read all the comments that address my genius. Enjoy.

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Attention All Geeks: Don’t Suck George Lucas’ Balls Too Hard

This is where I hate on one of my heroes. I’m not exactly pleased with this. But seeing as how I know his work pretty well (dare I say better than most?), I gotta do it. This is not something I thought I’d ever say but here goes: George Lucas ain’t a genius.

 

There, it’s out. Can’t say I’m exactly pleased with myself either so don’t think this isn’t painful for me. It’s true though, George Lucas really ain’t all he’s cracked up to be. I have my reasons for this though, my statement definitely isn’t unfounded. That would just be stupid if that were the case. See, George Lucas isn’t a genius exactly but he’s obviously way above average and definitely sniffing around the edges of genius. The reason George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, isn’t a genius is because he’s a victim of circumstance; George Lucas was pretty much at the right place at the right time.

 

It’s sometime in the mid-1970s. The film industry is floundering. The post-Vietnam War American attitude is bleak and Hollywood reflects this. Anti-heroes like Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (played by Gene Hackman in The French Connection) and John Shaft (played by Richard Roundtree in Shaft) pepper the cinematic landscape. Hope and heroes are in very short supply and dwindling rapidly. Along comes George Lucas, a self-effacing dreamer from Modesto, California, who changes everything. Lucas comes up with Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and fights tooth and nail to get the film made (he worked so hard on the movie that he actually suffered severe chest pains at one point and had to go to the ER because of this) and, obviously, it’s a smash hit. Star Wars gives the American people reason to believe in hope and heroes again. Despite the wild success of not only A New Hope but The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi later on, Lucas ain’t exactly happy with the movies. He delivered a product the likes of which had never been seen before and the fuckin’ guy wasn’t pleased with himself. Why? Because, according to Lucas, none of the original three Star Wars movies were up to snuff effects-wise.

 

Before I go any further, I need to make a quick digression about the effects used on the original movies. One has to realize that for 1977, Star Wars was the crème de la crème of blockbuster movies. The effects, for that time, were absolutely groundbreaking and set the bar for the blockbuster movies to follow. It isn’t hyperbole when I say that nobody had seen anything like Star Wars before 1977 simply because the effects that Lucas used for Star Wars had to be invented (fucking invented!!) by him and the crew who would later on become the founding members of Industrial Lights and Magic, the A-1 best special effects company in Hollywood today. George Lucas did the absolute best with what he had at the time and the movies that came out of it were fucking brilliant. From 1977-1983, I will admit that George Lucas could definitely be considered a genius. And he would’ve stayed that way. That is, if he didn’t pull the bullshit that he pulled in 1997.

 

In 1997, twenty years after the first Star Wars movie came out, George Lucas decides to re-release the movies. Only this time, they’re cleaned up and re-cut with new effects and new scenes. Now, I always find the expression if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it to be one of the best cornpone expressions ever simply because it’s true; if there isn’t something wrong with whatever, don’t try to improve it. George Lucas, obviously not a fan of old-timey expressions, didn’t pay any attention to the one I just mentioned because he tried to improve three movies that didn’t need to be improved at all. He took Episode IV: A New Hope and inserted a bunch of scenes that didn’t need to be there (such as the infamous Jabba the Hutt scene), put in a bunch of effects that were unnecessary (overly detailed camera pans and other Michael Bay-esque bullshit cinematic wizardry), and chopped Han Solo’s balls off (in the original A New Hope, Han Solo, after being threated by Greedo, that green bounty hunter who confronts Han in the Mos Eisley Cantina shortly after his meeting with Luke and Obi-Wan, quietly unholsters his laser blaster and non-chalantly blows Greedo away and walks out of the cantina, flipping the bartender a coin and uttering “Sorry for the mess.” Han Solo, just by this act alone, is definitely recognized by the audience as one bad, space pirate motherfucker. In the 1997 version of the movie, however, fuckin’ Greedo shoots first, misses, and Han then returns fire, which makes Han look like he’s defending himself instead of aggressively dispatching a lowlife bounty hunter for no reason other than the fact that he annoyed Han. In other words, the 1997 version kind of made Han Solo out to be a pussy, which he ain’t. But I’m digressing). Lucas also inserted the same sort of worthless crap into the other two movies, again fixing what wasn’t broken. A genius wouldn’t have done this. A genius probably also wouldn’t have made episodes I, II, and III the way Lucas did either.

 

In 1999, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is released and fans are frothing at the bit for something that has been the talk of speculation for years. The hype is through the fucking roof. The trailers look stunning. And the actual movie, well, the actual movie is…a complete piece of shit. Everything’s shot against a green screen, one of the main characters, Jar Jar Binks, is annoying enough to make random geeks personally edit him out of the movie later on, the acting is on par with that of a high school play, and it absolutely does not live up to the original three movies at all. In 1999, George Lucas shat the bed and the audience had to lay in it while Lucas raked in fucking millions. Or, hell, billions for all I know (actually, it probably was billions by the time the two subsequent movies came out. Which were – pretty much – just as god awful as the first one, by the by). This all begs the question: why? Why did Lucas fuck up his magnum opus? How did he take one of the best concepts of all time and actually manage to make it nearly unwatchable? The best answer to this question, in my opinion, is to explain how episodes I, II, and III should’ve been made.

 

My friend Brian and I were talking one day a couple years back and somehow we came to the conclusion that The Phantom Menace (episode I), Attack of the Clones (episode II), and Revenge of the Sith (episode III) sucked ass because they were nothing like the original movies. What I mean by this is that, like I said before, 95% of the newer movies were shot against a green screen, the acting was horrible, and Lucas himself directed episodes I, II, and III. If Lucas were really a genius, he would’ve followed the same pattern that made the original movies such a success: A) used as few green screen shots as possible and make huge, elaborate sets – and shot on-location – like he did for the original movies, B) vetted and obtained well-trained actors (to their credit, Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor are A-list actors but they simply weren’t used properly; it ain’t their fault the direction sucked), and C) gotten other directors to direct the second and third – if not all – movies (Lucas only directed Episode IV; Empire and Jedi were directed by Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand, respectively). If Lucas had done that, I can almost guarantee that the newer movies wouldn’t have been as horrible as they were. But, hey, this isn’t what Lucas wanted and it’s always about what Lucas wants, right?

 

George Lucas obviously has a vision, nobody can argue that, the guy has enough vision to fill, well, a galaxy far, far away. What I can argue is that George Lucas’ vision has one mission: to please George Lucas, not the audience. If a genius saw that the audience was happy with the original Star Wars movies, they never would’ve been re-touched. A genius simply would’ve left them alone and made other movies, which Lucas actually did until the technology got to the point where he could take that technology and use it to take a steaming dump all over the originals because he was less than thrilled with them. I mean, I get it, in Lucas’ eyes, the movies weren’t perfect, they weren’t exactly as he envisioned them. But once the product is out there and everybody likes it, is it really up to him anymore? I mean, if the movies were being complained about constantly, that’s one thing but everybody liked the original Star Wars movies, nobody was screaming for a change. Lucas made the changes he wanted to satisfy what I can only imagine is a gigantic fucking ego. He never once thought about the audience, how they’d respond. This is exactly why the re-touched originals and the newer movies sucked balls; Lucas thought about his vision in his eyes, he never thought about his vision in the eyes of the audience. A genius, especially an artistic genius, always stops to consider the audience because, let’s face it, if an artist expects people to shell out hard-earned money for his or her art, an artistic genius makes sure that it’s well fucking worth it.

 

I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan. I love those original movies. I’ve literally watched them dozens of times and they are some of the best movies I’ve ever seen. And every time a new Star Wars tale is introduced into the world, whether a movie, a cartoon, or a comic book, I always give it some consideration because the Star Wars universe has always fascinated me. And let’s face it, that universe is the product of one man: George Lucas. He gave birth to the entire thing. And that’s something that only a few people have ever been able to do well. But the term genius is thrown around way too much nowadays. George Lucas isn’t really a genius. He’s a guy who came up with a genius concept but his ego got in the way and pretty much fucked things up, which simply isn’t an act of genius. In other words, the Force was strong with George Lucas before he turned to the Dark Side.

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Dungeons & Dragons: The Sports Version

I’ve never been into sports; I’ve never played many sports, I’ve never watched many sports, I hardly ever talk about sports. As a kid, I was harangued by other kids in the neighborhood to play sports but I never enjoyed it. I got into street hockey for a while but the enthusiasm for that fizzled out flatter than old soda. In middle school and high school, I ran track and cross country, and I also played lacrosse. I was okay at all of them but I can’t say that I was ever exactly passionate about (or pretty good at) any of them. Not sure what it is about sports that I can’t get into. Maybe I’m not competitive enough to enjoy ’em. Maybe I can’t get into them because, on a subconcious level, I figure what the fuck is the point of being into a game that just goes on and on; there’s always a different winner, nobody ever plays for keeps. Maybe it’s because sports seem too fucking mundane to me. I don’t know, I just don’t dig sports. Conversely, I’ve always been something of a geek; I’m way into comic books, Star Wars, and I’ve seen every episode of Battlestar Galactica (the new version). That being said, it’s no surprise that I think fantasy sports are, for lack of a better term, fucking mind-boggling and, when it comes down to it, quite hypocritical. I might be reaching but stay with me on this one.

Fantasy sports leagues are HUGE these days. Whether it’s fantasy baseball or fantasy football (what I think of as “The Big Two” when it comes to fantasy sports), fantasy hockey or fantasy basketball, fantasy golf or fantasy auto racing (yep, they have those too), fantasy sports have a grotesquely large, intense following. Why? Because everybody who’s into fantasy sports is harboring the soul of a Dungeons & Dragons enthusiast.

That’s right. I don’t care how goddamn manly or “cool” you think you are, if you participate in fantasy sports, you’re a biscuit away from rolling a pair of 8-sided dice and having Reckdor the Ruthless don his cape of invisibility to defeat the Orcs of Verdom. I can hear you now. You’re saying, “Oh but it’s different, it’s grounded in reality.” You’re right, but you’re still no better than a D&D nerd.

See, everybody probably thinks that since fantasy sports are based on real sports and work in tandem with them, that makes it different, and thus much cooler, than D&D. As a geek who can sniff out his own, I can say with 100% certainty that you are dead fucking wrong. Fantasy sports are grounded in reality but let’s not forget that they’re fantasy sports; every time you have a fantasy draft, every time you arrange your fantasy team just so, every time you wheel and deal with a fellow fantasy league participant to trade a player, you’re entering a glorious little fantasy land where you control how things are done. Just like people who play D&D. Actually, those who participate in fantasy sports are, in my opinion, more over-the-top than D&D nerds because D&D nerds, I’m guessing 75% of the time, grow out of D&D. Full-grown men (and some women, let’s be fair) all over the fucking place participate in fantasy leagues.

When it comes right down to it, nerds don’t always stay nerds. Some do, sure, but most of the time the nerds come out of the basement, make a ton of dough in something that probably involves computers, and end up banging the hottest chicks on earth, thus leaving no time for D&D. Fantasy leaguers, on the other hand, are usually adults (usually men but some women) who are completely immersed in that world and participate in it whenever they have a spare minute in order to escape the humdrum that is ordinary life. Now, I know it sounds like I’m just hating on fantasy leaguers but I’m really not. Everbody has his or her own thing that they “geek out” over; if you’re intensely into something (read: ANYTHING), you eventually geek out over it. And that’s cool, it’s awesome to be passionate about something. It seems to me, though, that the D&D nerds get a less-than-desirable rap whereas the fantasy leaguers are embraced without a thought and that’s a crock of horseshit. Why? Because, really, it can all be traced back to adolescence, the root of all things ridiculous.

Growing up, jocks pick on the nerds; the strong fuck with the weak. It’s Darwinism at its finest and, other than in the wild, purest. In the case of jocks v. nerds, however, something was always lingering in the background. Jocks, it would seem, were probably somewhat jealous of the nerds. The nerds, although seemingly weak and certainly vulnerable, were usually much smarter than the jocks. The nerds didn’t have to use their physical abilities or muscles to have fun, they just had to use their minds. On some subconscious level, this probably drove the jocks nuts. More than likely, they wanted to enter a fantasy world too; they, too, wanted to geek out over something. They just had a problem with the word “geek”. They wanted to geek out over something that didn’t obviously seem “traditionally” geeky. Thus, fantasy sports were born. 

You’d think that fantasy leaguers would realize this connection. You’d think. Honestly though, I don’t think fantasy leaguers deserve that much credit. After all, they (most of them, more often than not) have that jock “I’m better than the lowly nerds” mentality. And, like I said, this is biggest load of monkey shit ever; it’s pure, unadulterated hypocrisy.

Could I be wrong? Sure. Could I be stereotyping and basing my opinions on those stereotypes? Certainly. Am I onto something? Bet your ass I am. After all, I’m a geek, I can read between the lines. And I’ve never even played Dungeons & Dragons. I mean, c’mon, comic books and Star Wars are so much cooler than D&D. 

See? I’m a hypocrite too. So, from one hypocrite to another, let’s cut the shit. We’re all sailing on the U.S.S. Nerd.

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Locked Out – A Story of Woe, Self-Degradation, and Just Outright Fucking Stupidity

Two Sundays ago, I locked myself out of the house. What had happened was that I went to take the garbage out around 6pm or so. I had the garbage in one hand and was closing the door with the other. Instictively, I always lock the door behind me and, unfortunately, this time was no different. As soon as I closed the door behind me, I said to myself, “Shit!” as I realized what a stupid douche I was. What follows is the chronological order of events that took place just after I realized I was a douche.

6:05pm – My mind begins to go into crisis mode. I try to think of every possible way out of this awful situation. First, I climb on top of the trashcan and try to reach the roof, thinking that maybe, just maybe, a window might be open. Really, I know this isn’t the case because my parents keep the house locked tighter than Fort Knox because they think we live in Compton. I can’t even make it on to the roof.

6:15pm – After failing to shimmy on to the roof, I decide to haul the trashcan around back to the patio since the patio is about a foot high, all that much closer to the roof. I stack patio furniture on top of the trashcan, scramble up this very unstable structure I’ve constructed, and try once again to hoist myself on to the roof. Like my previous attempt, I fail miserably.

6:43pm – I knock on my next door neighbor’s door, thinking they might have a key. They’re not even home. I pace in the driveway for the next 15 minutes thinking about what I’m going to do.

7:00pm – I think to myself, “Well, my parents should be home in about 3 hours. I can either sit on the porch and wait for them to get home or I can find a phone and try calling a locksmith.” I choose the latter. I go across the street to my other neighbor’s house (who I didn’t really know), knock on the door, and when Mrs. Morganweck, who’s in her forties or so, answers the door, I say, “Hi, I’m Keith Elmy, I live across the street, and this is really embarrassing but I just locked myself out of the house. Is there any way I could use your phone real quick to call a locksmith?” At first Mrs. Morganweck looks at me like I’m a lunatic (and for good reason, my shirt was dirty from trying to climb on to the roof and I was pouring sweat since it was so hot out). Then she says, “Oh, uh, yeah, yeah, c’mon in.” At this point, I’m just thinking to myself, “You’re way out of your comfort zone, Keith, just make the phone call, be really gracious, and get the hell out of there.” So I call a locksmith and the girl at the locksmith place says that she has to page one of the technicians and that she’ll call me back. With great apprehension, I look around the Morganwecks’ kitchen, meekly ask for their phone number (which they kindly gave me), and I relay the number to the locksmith person. Before I hang up, I ask the person how long it should take until I hear back, and the girl says, “Oh, a few minutes or so, not long.” I sit in the Morganwecks’ kitchen for the next 45 minutes waiting for a call back. During that time, I’m carrying on a pleasant conversation with everybody in the family (Mr. and Mrs. Morganweck and their three children: Madeline, Ryan, and Rachel). I even sheepishly admit that I’m almost 30 and live with parents full-time, adding a ton of insult to injury. Meanwhile, in my head, I’m freaking the hell out; I’m way out of my element, completely imposing on these nice people, and feel like a complete boob for locking myself out of my parents’ house. So I say, “I’m gonna call the locksmith once more to see what the deal is” and then I call and the girl who answers is shocked to find out that I haven’t gotten a call back. She then asks if I want her to page somebody again and I tell her to just forget it. I hang up and say to Mrs. Morganweck, “Well, I’m just gonna go back across the street and wait for my parents. They should be home in a couple hours or so.” Mrs. Morganweck’s eyes go wide and she says, “Oh no, just hang out here and watch TV. We were just gonna go get something to eat real quick but you can hang out here.” I politely refuse, thank them for their help, go back across the street to my house, and sit on the front porch. A few minutes later I see the Morganwecks leave their house.

8:15pm – The sun has set, it’s getting darker, and I’m sitting on the front porch like a complete fucking asshole. I’m gross from having been so sweaty earlier, I’m still beating myself up for stupidly locking myself out, and I’m obsessing over what I could have been doing if I hadn’t locked myself out. At one point I actually start singing to myself. I go through a few verses of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen” and “If I Only Had a Brain” and instead of feeling better, it just makes me feel like more of a shithead.

9:30pm – Sitting there, in the dark, I see the Morganwecks pull into their driveway. One of them (I can’t really tell who) comes halfway on to my lawn and calls out, “Keith? You still out there?” It’s Mr. Morganweck. Trying to muster my happiest tone, I reply, “Yeah, I’m still here.” He asks me if I want to come back over and hang out and I politely refuse since the last thing I want to do is impose on these wonderfully kind people again. So he says that I’m welcome to come over if I change my mind. I thank him and continue to sit there. Like a douche.

9:40pm – I see the Morganwecks’ front door open. Ryan Morganweck calls out from his front door, “Keith? My mom wants to make you something, do you want a bagel with cream cheese?” For some reason, this uber-kind gesture makes me feel even worse about myself (remember: I’m a douche) and I call back, “No, that’s okay, I’m good. Tell your mom thanks though!”

9:50pm – Ryan and his younger sister Rachel walk up. Ryan hands me a plate with a bagel on it and says, “My mom made this for you. This side has cream cheese and this side has butter because we didn’t know what you liked.” And then Rachel hands me a red, cold plastic cup and says, “And here’s some lemonade.” So I thank them profusely and say, “Thanks guys! And tell your mom thank you so much.” I sink my teeth pathetically into the bagel and start chewing. Believe or not, my spirits actually begin to lift a bit.

10:05pm – I just finish my bagel and am sipping my lemonade, in the dark, like a slow adult who lives with his parents and has lost the key that he usually keeps on a shoelace around his neck, when my parents pull into the driveway. I tell them the entire story and they laugh so hard that they don’t make a sound. After saying “Oh man, that’s good” and wiping the tears out of his eyes, my dad turns to my mom and says, “Well I’m so glad someone was around to take care of our little boy!” Then the laughter resumes.

10:10pm – I go back over to the Morganwecks’ to thank them once again for their spectacular kindness. We all have a good laugh over it and I tell them that I’m going to Home Depot the next day to get one of those fake rocks to put a key in. That was two weeks ago and I still haven’t gone to Home Depot. Like I said, I’m a douche.

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Local ditz finds car keys and is, like, relieved

WILMINGTON, DE–After an exhaustive 23-minute search on Thursday morning, 25-year-old ditz, Brandy Carr, breathed a sigh of relief after locating her car keys.

 

“I was totally OMM [Out of My Mind] there for a second; I totally blanked on where I, like, put my keys. I looked, like, all over the place; I looked under the couch, in the couch, and, uh, you know, all over the place. I literally almost, like, freaked out,” Carr said, happily twirling her Grey’s Anatomy keychain on her finger.

 

Carr admitted that the crisis might have been averted if she’d had her key locator. “My boyfriend gave me this really cool little key finder thingie for my birthday but I totally lost it. I wish I had a finder thingie for my finder thingie,” she said, giggling.

 

After fretting over the possible location of her keys and how the situation would be different had she had her key locator, Carr had a stunning revelation. “So I’m completely freaking out and totally, like, not finding my keys anywhere, right? So I walk toward the front door, you know, thinking that maybe I, like, left my keys in my car? I get to the door and open it, and I hear this, like, jingly sound in my jacket pocket? I check my pocket and, like, my keys were there, like, the whole time,” she said, giggling. “Like, how crazy is that?”

 

Crazy indeed.

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8-year-old boy sees London, France, underpants

WEST CHESTER, PA–On Tuesday, Johnny O’Meara’s classmates were shocked and amazed when 8-year-old O’Meara exclaimed that he’d seen not only London and France, but Suzie Myers’ underpants as well.

O’Meara’s proclamation even took Mrs. Randolph, 2nd grade teacher at Edward J. Stephens Elementary, by surprise. “To be honest, I thought Johnny had identified London and France on the map that’s hanging up in the front of the classroom, ” Randolph said. “Despite the outburst, I was actually enthusiastic that Johnny, who, truth be told, is usually a bit of a daydreamer, finally took learning seriously. But then he said he saw Suzie’s underpants so I guess I got my hopes up too soon.”

Suzie Myers, whose underpants had allegedly been showing, immediately disputed O’Meara’s claim, citing the “liar, liar, pants on fire” defense. “There’s no way Johnny saw my underwear, ” said 7-and-a-half-year-old Myers. “I asked him what my underwear looked like and he said they were purple with flowers. If he’d actually seen them, he would’ve said that I had Strawberry Shortcake underwear on that day. He’s such a stupid boy.”

O’Meara’s fellow student and best friend, 7-year-old Randy Fleischman, says he was just glad to have a break in the monotony. “Who cares if Johnny really saw Suzie’s underpants? It was hilarious and way better than learning our times tables,” Fleischman said.

Despite the controversy, O’Meara sticks by his claim. “So I didn’t really see London or France, so what? I did see Suzie’s underpants though. They were sticking out the top of her jeans and I saw ’em. Like they say on TV, ’case closed.’”

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The First Kryptonist Church of Pennsylvania—A Press Conference Transcript

The following is a transcript of a press conference taped by a local Philadelphia TV news affiliate.

VOICE-OVER: We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this special news report.

GEORGE KANE (News Anchor): Good afternoon. Over the past few days, there has been both a local and national uproar surrounding the foundation of a new religion that is referred to as Kryptonism. While not much is known about Kryptonism, we do know that it is a religion based upon the worship of the comic book character, Superman. Kept quiet by the worshippers, the religion has apparently been practiced by many for almost a year now. The recent controversy has been caused by the construction of The First Kryptonist Church of Pennsylvania, the first of what is believed to be many other churches to follow. We now go live to Eileen Jacobsen, who is on the scene in front of The First Kryptonist Church of Pennsylvania, where a press conference is about to begin. Eileen, what’s the atmosphere like over there?

EILEEN JACOBSEN (Correspondent): In a word, George, tense. As you can see behind me, the police have barricaded protesters an entire block away so that the press conference can take place in a relatively peaceful setting. People from all different religions have come here today to protest The First Kryptonist Church of Pennsylvania; whether they’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, or even Scientologist, people from all faiths seem to believe that worshipping Superman is heretical. The outrage has reached such a climax that, just last night, the newly-erected church was vandalized with graffiti. A brick was also thrown through one of the windows, with a note attached that said, “Superman is no God. Stop your idolatry or we’ll stop it for you.” Hopefully, Keith Elmy, who is what I’ve been told is the Head Olsen of the church, can provide the public with some answers, hopefully calming everybody down in the process.

GEORGE KANE: I’m unfamiliar with the term Head Olsen, Eileen, is that the Kryptonist version of a priest, pastor, or rabbi?

EILEEN JACOBSEN: Yes, George, that’s correct. While we aren’t certain where the name comes from, many believe that Jimmy Olsen, a character from the Superman comic books, is the basis for the title. (Pausing) Oh, sorry to cut this short, George, but it seems the press conference is beginning.

CAMERA PANS OVER TO THE PODIUM AS KEITH ELMY APPROACHES

KEITH ELMY (Head Olsen of The First Kryptonist Church of Pennsylvania): Good afternoon, and thank you all for coming. While I haven’t had a chance to prepare a formal statement, I would like to say a few words before I take any questions. The Last Son of Krypton, better known as Kal-El, even more widely known as Superman, is my personal savior. This may come as a shock to many and I’m certain that it sounds more than a little crazy but after a lot of soul searching, I’ve come to realize that believing in Superman brings me a sense of peace and balance. It seems that not a lot of people can accept that and that, quite simply, is a shame. Hopefully though, the prejudice against Kryptonists will eventually fade once people realize that we’re no different from anybody else who chooses to practice a religion. That being said, I’ll now take some questions. Yes, you in the front.

WALTER FISHER (Staff Writer, Philadelphia Inquirer): Walt Fisher, Philadelphia Inquirer. To be perfectly blunt, why Superman? Why worship a comic book character?

KEITH ELMY: Why not worship Superman, why not worship a comic book character? Superman stands for everything good in the world; he’s courageous, he fights for those who can’t fight for themselves, he’s kind to everybody, and he expects no special treatment. Not to mention that he’s risen from the dead, he can hear anybody’s cries of anguish and rushes immediately to help them, he can fly, he can see through walls, and he’s indestructible. Sounds like a savior to me. As for being a comic book character, aren’t most saviors found in books? God and Jesus are the subjects of the Bible, Allah is the subject of the Qur’an, is it really so odd that I’ve also chosen to believe in somebody written about in a book, even if it’s “only” a comic book? Just because some people don’t take comic books seriously, it doesn’t mean that all people don’t. Next question…yes, you.

EILEEN JACOBSEN: Eileen Jacobsen, WVXT Action News. Kryptonism has been compared by some to Scientology because Superman is the creation of two comic book writers, while Scientology is the creation of a science fiction writer, would you agree with this comparison?

KEITH ELMY: Of course I agree. It would be both stupid and shortsighted to say that parallels can’t be drawn between Scientology and Kryptonism. They believe in aliens, we believe in an alien; L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction author, created Scientology, Superman was the creation of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, a writer and an artist, respectively. Of course comparisons can be made. Then again, comparisons can be made between Kryptonism and Christianity, Kryptonism and Judaism, Kryptonism and Islam. They all believe in a God that can’t be seen with the naked eye, we’ve never seen Superman with the naked eye; Jesus performed good deeds for thousands according to a book, Superman has saved millions of lives according to a comic book. All religions share at least a few things in common, whether people choose to accept it or not. Next question.

PATRICIA NEWSOME (Correspondent, WPHL): Trish Newsome, WPHL News. Is Kryptonism conducted like most other religions? In other words, do you have Sunday services where you get up and preach “the word of Superman”?

KEITH ELMY (smiling): Sarcasm notwithstanding, Ms. Newsome, we don’t have what I’d call boilerplate services; I never stand at a podium preaching the lessons that Superman has inadvertently taught us. We Kryptonists actually prefer a roundtable discussion of what we’ve learned from Superman and how we apply that knowledge to our daily lives. Thus, the main sanctuary of the church doesn’t consist of pews and a pulpit. Instead, we have chairs that can be arranged into a small circle, a large circle, or several small circles depending on how many believers have gathered. We feel it’s a more organic approach to exploring our faith. We also don’t have any hymns or songs that we sing since….

PATRICIA NEWSOME: Pardon me, Keith, but if the services consist of roundtable discussions, why do you address yourself as Head Olsen? And what exactly are the origins of the title “Head Olsen”?

KEITH ELMY: The title was bestowed up on me by the other believers, Ms. Newsome; I never referred to myself as Head Olsen, please get your facts straight. And don’t be mistaken, the title of “Head Olsen” simply refers to the person who organizes and moderates the discussions, looks after the church, performs various administrative duties, things like that. In other words, “Head Olsen” isn’t synonymous with “priest”, “rabbi”, “pastor”, or “imam”; “Head Olsen” is actually closer to “custodian”. As for the origins of the title, we thought it apropos that we incorporate Jimmy Olsen’s last name into the title simply because Jimmy Olsen looked up to and worshipped Superman more than anybody in the comic books. In all honesty, we just thought it was a clever play on words. Next question, please.

NORMAN BROWNFIELD (Correspondent, Fox News): Norman Brownfield, Fox News. There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the formation of the Kryptonist faith. Specifically, a lot of people have been referring to Kryptonism as “nothing more than a cult.” Care to comment?

KEITH ELMY: All religions are cults, next question.

NORMAN BROWNFIELD (chuckling): Care to elaborate on that statement?

KEITH ELMY: The word “cult” has many negative connotations attached to it; when people think of a “cult”, they think of the Branch Davidians, they think of people who believe in aliens and drink Kool-Aid that kills them. While those groups are cults, they’re actually no different from any other religious group because a cult is simply a group of people who share the same beliefs and ideals. The reason you don’t normally hear Christianity or Islam or Judaism referred to as cults is because “cult” is commonly used to describe a smaller group of people who share the same beliefs and ideals. Since Kryptonism is comprised of a much smaller group of people than, say, Christianity, people scoff and say we’re a cult and that’s true, we are a cult. However, I’m sure that at one time, when Christianity was first established, people probably referred to Christianity as “nothing more than a cult” as well. The same could probably be said for Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or any faith-based religion. The only reason that they aren’t referred to as cults anymore is because they’ve been around a really long time and have accumulated millions of believers. Therefore, given time, Kryptonism could grow beyond “cult” status too. Next question.

MEREDITH YATES (Staff Writer, Time Magazine): Meredith Yates, Time Magazine. Do you think that your cult status has anything to do with the vandalism to your church; do you think people have vandalized your church because they think that what you believe in is heretical?

KEITH ELMY: I find that “heretical” is a very ambiguous word. If I referred to Christians or Muslims as heretical, I’d be pretty much saying that I’m right and they’re wrong; I’d be assuming that what I believe in is an absolute and, therefore, what they believe in is highly questionable and probably incorrect. The fact of the matter is that all faith-based religions, when it comes right down to it, are highly questionable. Nobody has any proof that they’re right or wrong because it’s impossible to know the truth when it comes to religion. After all, that’s pretty much the entire idea behind having faith. So when other religions refer to Kryptonism as heretical, one question springs to mind: what proof do they have that they’re right? Personally, I’d love to hear the answer to that question. As for the vandalism, yes, I do believe that prejudices are driving whoever to vandalize our church. What the vandal or vandals probably don’t realize is that, despite their efforts, they can’t scare us into not believing what we believe in. Now, I’m not saying we’re martyrs because we’re not; none of us are looking to get hurt or injured to prove a point. All I’m saying is that if you want to burn our church down, it’s fine with us as long as nobody gets hurt. But don’t think for a second that we’re just going to stop believing in Superman. Don’t think we won’t find another place to meet to discuss and worship Superman. Don’t think you’re going to scare the hundreds of other believers who are scattered throughout the country to stop believing either. You can’t bully Superman and you can’t bully us. Next question.

RAYMOND WOLFF (Correspondent, CNN): Ray Wolff, CNN. You mentioned there are hundreds of Kryptonists all over the country, how exactly was Kryptonism founded?

KEITH ELMY: Like many groups in today’s age, we started out as a chat room on the Internet. And like any other group, we grew to a point where we wanted to start to get together and discuss our beliefs face-to-face. Thus the reason for the church.

RAYMOND WOLFF: Do you anticipate the construction of more churches all over the country?

KEITH ELMY: Certainly. In fact, I’ve spoken to other believers in other parts of the country and in a few major cities, construction has already begun on other Kryptonist churches.

RAYMOND WOLFF: Which cities are those?

KEITH ELMY: I’d tell you but I honestly don’t want to endanger them. There’s no reason for them to go through the same persecution we’re going though. I will tell you that I wouldn’t be surprised if word got out sooner rather than later though. Next question please.

HEATHER CONLON (Correspondent, WDSR): Heather Conlon, WDSR News. How did you secure the funds to build a church?

KEITH ELMY: Well, we simply all chipped in. Some were naturally able to contribute more than others but it was definitely a group effort. We actually got the building at a really good price and then just all worked together to fix it up. The other churches that I mentioned that are under construction are being built in pretty much the same way. It’s a grass roots sort of effort so we figured that it would be best to get the churches built as frugally as possible. The pomp isn’t important to us, we just wanted a central place to meet. Next question.

WALTER FISHER: Are there Kryptonist missionaries?

KEITH ELMY: No, definitely not. We think that missionaries are, well, intrusive. If somebody wants to become a Kryptonist, they know where to find us. There’s no reason for us to go out and push our beliefs on people. Superman would never do something like that so we won’t either.

WALTER FISHER: What about “mercy” missionaries though; what about the missionaries who just help others? Are there Kryptonists who go out and simply do good deeds?

KEITH ELMY: Oh of course. It’s one our most highly regarded beliefs. Superman spends 95% of his time helping people so we certainly follow suit or, uh, in our case, cape. (Chuckles echo through the crowd) I know, bad joke. At any rate, yes, many of us are involved with Habitat for Humanity, others volunteer at various soup kitchens, and a few of us also volunteer at local hospitals. Speaking of which (looking at wrist watch), I apologize but I must end this press conference now, (tearing off a button-up shirt to reveal a royal blue t-shirt with a red and yellow “S” shield underneath) I’m due at the hospital in about 20 minutes. Thank you all for coming. (Various reporters shout questions as KEITH departs)

EILEEN TURNS BACK TO THE CAMERA

EILEEN JACOBSEN: There you have it. While Kryptonism may seem unorthodox to many, it appears that Kryptonism is here to stay. I’m Eileen Jacobsen reporting. Back to you, George.

GEORGE KANE: Thank you, Eileen. We’ll return with a follow-up report tonight at 5. I’m George Kane, thanks for watching.

VOICE-OVER: We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.

END TRANSCRIPT

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Movie Snobs of the World Unite!

My name is Keith and I am a movie snob. I’ve been a movie snob for a few years now and it seems to be affecting my relationships with people. I watch a movie and can’t help but scoff at the (usually) mindless pap I’m exposing myself to. People wonder what my problem is, they wonder why I’m suddenly so high-brow about the movies I watch. The craziest thing is that they actually think that I’m the one with a problem.

The other day I saw the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth installment in the series, made almost 20 years after the third Indiana Jones movie. When I heard they were making a fourth movie, I gotta admit that I had mixed emotions about seeing a fourth movie suddenly tacked on to what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time. But, hey, I’m a huge fan so of course I wanted to see the trailer. Well, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull looks like one of the Star Wars prequels. In other words, it looks like a lot of hype and absolutely no follow through. Indiana Jones is making joke after hacky joke about his age, Harrison Ford himself grunts and moves, as Howard Stern would say, like Frankenstein, and, oh yeah, Shia LeBeouf (the tool from the Transformers movie) plays Indy’s son. Now, when I was watching this, I let out a sigh and said something like, “Oh geez, looks like they may have screwed the pooch on this one.” The person watching it over my shoulder said, “Keith, your expectations are way too high. You need to do what I do: keep them really low and then be surprised when the movie isn’t that bad.” At first, I honestly thought that maybe I was the one with a problem. Then I realized that I’m just a movie geek who knows better.

Maybe a minute ticked by before I realized that lowering my expectations when it comes to movies was the single worst bit of bullshit advice I’ve ever heard. Why the hell should I lower my expectations? I mean, is it my fault that movies nowadays include hackneyed romantic comedies, soulless remakes, comic book movies that have lost just about all the magic of the actual comic books (that is, except for the first two Spider-Man movies, the first two X-Men movies, Tim Burton’s Batman movies, the first two Superman movies–the ones Richard Donner directed, and Batman Begins, directed by Christopher Nolan), and movies that are about fucking dance-offs? If you wanna give somebody advice, call Los Angeles and tell them to torch Hollywood and start the fuck over. After all, Hollywood is the reason that my expectations are so high, it’s their fault that I’m now a movie snob. For instance, let’s take a hard look at Indiana Jones 4.

I love the Indiana Jones trilogy, okay, I love it. The movies are all (just about) 20 years old and they all still hold up. In another 20 years, I’ll still be watching those movies and I’m sure people from all generations will still think of them as highly as I do, they’re that good. Now I see a trailer for the fourth movie, which I think looks less-than-great and I’m the asshole. Of course I expect a lot, why the hell wouldn’t I? Steven Spielberg and George Lucas (two of the guys responsible for revitalizing Hollywood and revolutionizing filmmaking) crank out three solid, fun, well-written blockbuster adventure movies, consequently setting the bar so high that nobody has come close to making three adventure movies as good as those. Don’t get me wrong, I want to blown away by the new Indiana Jones movie, I really do. But I wanted to be blown away by the Star Wars prequels too and I ended up wanting to murder Jar Jar Binks, strangle the shit out of the uber-whiny Hayden Christensen, and bitch-slap George Lucas for doing everything in front of a friggin’ green screen. See what I mean? Don’t blame me, blame them. Blame George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Richard Donner, and Sidney Lumet. Blame Ridley Scott, James Cameron, and Robert Zemeckis. Blame Quentin Tarantino and David Fincher (I know, I know, but I had to throw Fincher in there, he made Alien 3, Seven, The Game, Fight Club, and Zodiac, all good, solid flicks). Blame all those guys who cranked out great movie after great movie, who made fun, compelling, memorable, relevant, thought-provoking movies that easily stand the test of time. Blame them for setting the bar so high. They’re the reason I have such high expectations, they’re the reason I’m now a movie snob. I mean, since those guys each made a bunch of wonderful movies and did it consistently, am I wrong for expecting the same level of quality out of other filmmakers? I don’t friggin’ think so.

I’ll put it another way. FedEx ensures overnight delivery. Sure, they offer other services now too but for a while there they were the ones known for guaranteed overnight delivery. Let’s say you go to FedEx something one day and the FedEx guy or gal says, “Hey, uh, listen. So you know how we’ve always provided you with overnight delivery in the past? You know how you’ve paid your hard-earned money for our services and expected the same level of quality time after time? Well, hate to break it to ya, but you can go fuck yourself, we’re doing what we want now. You might get overnight delivery, sure, but if you expect that every time, well, your expectations are just too high, you might want to seriously consider lowering them.” If that happened, UPS execs would be giving sexual favors to every FedEx employee, that’s how much they’d appreciate the extra business that FedEx just pissed away. FedEx wouldn’t do this because, well, FedEx knows better than to shit on their customers. Yeah, I know, Hollywood isn’t a buttoned-up corporation but you catch my drift.

Hollywood’s quality control has gone out the window and, unfortunately, I don’t see it returning anytime soon. This is a huge disappointment to me and, honestly, it should be a huge disappointment to anybody who enjoys a good movie. Don’t accept whatever Hollywood has to offer, don’t lower your expectations, and don’t your dare advise me to lower mine.

A home appliance analogy before I sign off: if you had a toaster that wasn’t toasting your bread or did nothing but burn your bread, would you hold on to that shitty plastic Sunbeam because you just figured, “Hey, I’ll get used to it” or would you trash that piece of shit and get yourself a 4-slot, stainless steel Krups with variable toast control so you’d have the same quality every time? I’ll bet that 9 out of 10 FedEx employees would tell you to get a grip, establish some standards, and pony up for a new toaster.

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The Human Fish Tank

I live in suburbia and a few years ago, a T.G.I. Friday’s opened up near where I live. I never imagined that T.G.I. Friday’s could draw a crowd like the one they drew. I remember hearing that there were wait times that lasted something like an hour and a half most nights. Honestly, I thought the waiters and waitresses must’ve been “servicing” the customers (wink wink, nudge nudge) after each meal, the wait was so long. It’s a place that serves watered-down drinks, mozzarella sticks, and Bruschetta Chicken, what was the big fascination? I was perplexed.

Fast forward to about 6 months ago when a chain Mexican restaurant called On The Border opened up nearby, which is actually right down the road from that same T.G.I. Friday’s. From when it opened until about two weeks ago, when I ate there, the wait time was, again, something like an hour and a half. Just like T.G.I. Friday’s, On The Border is a chain restaurant, there’s nothing special about it. Plop one in suburbia though, and the place draws a crowd like it’s Nobu or Spago. Why? Well, the answer’s obvious: suburbanites are bored out of their collective minds.

In suburbia, people quickly run out of things to do. There’s only so many trips to the post office you can make, only so many times you can go grocery shopping, you shouldn’t hit Starbucks more than a couple of times a day otherwise you’ll have to take out a second mortgage and/or you’ll turn into a hummingbird, and if you go to the mall more than 5 times in one week, you’ll be ready to stab those pushcart-operating people in the eyes (don’t they realize that, no, we don’t want to try their stupid hand cream?). After a while, it seems that a quiet night in your quiet neighborhood with your quiet family in front of your less-than-quiet TV seems like the way to go. As far as ruts go, that’s not the worst rut to be in. But it’s still a rut. One day though, out of the clear blue sky, a new restaurant pops up nearby and–gasp!–there’s another option! A new restaurant doesn’t seem like the most exciting thing in the world (lemme put this in solar system terms: if a new restaurant is Earth, the most exciting thing resides on Pluto) but to suburbanites, a new restaurant is like having the Rolling Stones put on an inexpensive concert everyday for an indefinite period of time. And they–the suburbanites, not the Stones–can even bring their kids!

In other words, living in suburbia is a lot like living in a fish tank. From the outside, it looks calm, peaceful, and rather pleasant overall. From the inside, however, it’s the same scenery, the same fish, and there’s only so much to do before you’re forced to hang around the little diver guy with the bubbles issuing from his helmet. That is, until one day somebody plops a big medieval-looking castle–also with bubbles issuing from it–into the water. All of a sudden, it appears as though the fish tank just got a whole lot more exciting. This is actually not the case. Lucky for the fish that they’re too bored to notice.

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“Give Burritos a Chance”–A Public Service Announcement

FADE IN:

EXT. EL TACO LOCO MEXICAN RESTAURANT AND CANTINA–DAY

The front of the restaurant is rundown-looking but still functioning; there are one or two people who go in but they look dirty, as if El Taco Loco is (unfortunately) the best they can afford. Crows are heard “cawing” in the background. With the sign of the restaurant behind him, a young child sits on the curb in the parking lot about to bite into a scrumptious-looking burrito. The child bites in, smiling as he does so. He looks completely satisfied, as if that burrito is the best thing he’s ever eaten. As he chews happily, the camera zooms in on the burrito. The close-up reveals that the tortilla exterior of the burrito looks rather dry. Cracks have started to form up and down the length of the burrito. The red sauce and juice from the meat have started to seep through a bit, widening the cracks. The camera zooms out a bit as the child swallows, smiles, then goes in for another bite. As he sinks his pearly white teeth into the burrito, the aforementioned cracks in the burrito expand even further, then give way entirely, a large portion of the succulent rice, beans, and meat spilling (in slow motion) out of the tortilla and splattering onto the dirty, oil-stained pavement of the parking lot. The child stops mid-bite, strings of saliva stretching from his lower lip to the top of the ruined burrito. His eyes rapidly begin filling up with tears. He doesn’t start bawling, but tiny rivulets creep down his rosy cheeks, his lower lip quivering. The camera zooms out until it stops at KEITH ELMY. The child is still clearly visible in the frame behind him. KEITH is wearing a tan, military-style safari jacket, with a tan button-down shirt under it. A solemn look is plastered across his face.

KEITH: This scene is all too familiar. Everyday, all across the country, burritos are quickly and carelessly constructed, resulting in the horrifying scene you just witnessed. The people who assemble these so-called burritos don’t take into consideration the fact that making a burrito isn’t something you do on a whim, it’s something that takes a steady hand, a keen eye, and a lot of love. All of the pseudo-burrito slingers out there are destroying the lunch and dinner times of men, women, and children who occupy this great country of ours. Seeing young Billy behind me whimper for his botched burrito makes it look like we’ve hit a dead end, as if we’ve run out of hope. I’m here to say that that is certainly not the case. The solution to this problem is simple: education. If everybody learns how to properly make a burrito, we can avoid horrendous episodes like young Billy’s.

CUT TO: INT. A CLEAN, WELL-ORGANIZED KITCHEN

Standing in front of a clean counter top is KEITH, an older, beefy, jolly-looking Mexican woman named JUANITA, and young BILLY. A large metal box, a tortilla, and bowls of various burrito filler are neatly laid out.

KEITH: The best solution is usually the simplest one. Such is the case when making a burrito, right, Juanita?

JUANITA: Si, Mr. Keith. If you don’t want your burrito to fall apart, all you have to do is steam the tortilla before you make the burrito. (JUANITA lifts the lid on the metal box, places the tortilla inside, closes the lid, and presses a button on the outside of the box, causing steam to issue from the rear of the box)

KEITH: That metal box is a steamer, correct, Juanita?

JUANITA: Si, Mr. Keith, that is correct. The steam makes the tortilla soft and, uh, how do you say, pliable?

KEITH (smiling): Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth.

After a few moments, JUANITA takes the tortilla out of the metal box, lays it down on a piece of tinfoil, and begins putting copious amounts of rice, beans, and steak in the center of it. She tops it off with a bit of cheese and fresh salsa.

JUANITA: Mild salsa, Billy, si?

BILLY (smiling): Si, Ms. Juanita.

JUANITA (smiling at BILLY): Now all you have to do is fold the tortilla down over the top, then fold in the sides of the tortilla, then roll the whole thing over and you have a burrito. (JUANITA hands the burrito to BILLY, who takes a large, enthusiastic bite. As BILLY takes a second bite and then a third bite, the camera zooms in on the burrito only to find that it’s completely intact.)

KEITH (looking on proudly): Magnificent. As you can see, the steamed tortilla aids in moisture absorption and also expands along with the filling, which allows for optimum burrito cohesion. And I’ll bet it tastes pretty darn good, too, huh Billy?

BILLY swallows his mouthful, smiles, and gives a thumbs-up to the camera.

CUT TO: EXT. EL TACO LOCO MEXICAN RESTAURANT AND CANTINA–DAY

KEITH, JUANITA, and BILLY are standing in front of the restaurant, BILLY still munching happily on the burrito that JUANITA made for him. KEITH is standing with JUANITA on one side and BILLY on the other.

KEITH: Nobody’s perfect and it’s silly to pretend that we are. Making a perfect burrito, on the other hand, can be accomplished by anybody willing to take the time and effort to learn. That way, we can ensure a future that is free of burrito spillage so that, one day, tragedies like the one that young Billy here had to endure will be a thing of the past. Just remember: making a mess-free burrito is as simple as what, Billy?

BILLY (smiling and holding the half-eaten burrito): Steaming the tortilla!

KEITH (smiling along with JUANITA): That’s exactly right, you wrapped that up perfectly!

KEITH, JUANITA, and BILLY all break into cordial laughter.

FADE OUT

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