Friday, February 6, 2009


I first came up with the basic idea for THE WRECKTIFIERS around the time the Roslin Institute introduced the world to Dolly the Sheep... and I have been doodling around with it ever since. I know far less about basics genetics then Gregor Mendel did, but with this brave new world of cloning and genetic experimentation fast approaching, I wondered how geniuses would pervert it. I imagined a world where scientists could rid any family tree of all its genetic diseases and make every baby born free from any chromosomal damage. From there, mad scientists then take over and turn all of Earth and everything on it into one very large Petri dish.

If I had had the opportunity to take steroids in high school, I would have gobbled them down like M&Ms. No matter how much time I spent in the weight room, I still graduated looking like
Arnold Stang (shown here, on the left, with Fess Parker and Peter Lorre), which proved quite embarrassing during those mixed doubles arm and leg wrestling contests put on by our sadistic gym teachers. My win/loss record was no doubt due to the high concentration of testosterone in all the girls I faced.

From my fertile imagination sprang a world far beyond steroids: A world where expectant mothers injected a potion into their fetus; a potion which would, over time, give their newborn child the ability to survive on any substance, drink any fluid, fear no ozone depletion, and live as long as there were replaceable parts.

Granted, these powers were not of the comic book variety, but that wouldn't be the story. The real tale involved how Earth disintegrated when this magic formula kicked back results no one expected, turning all of humanity into a messy mass of devolving protoplasm.

Of course the only people who can rectify this situation are two teens with the secret to Earth's salvation. Hey! This is a cartoon show for kids ages 9-14. To make this story work, the two teens have disappeared from Earth for five centuries. During that time, a science fiction convention of mad scientists have taken cloning, cyborg enhancement, dinosaur making and hybrid creation to a point where we can imagine a massive boys' action toy line and an innumerable number of cartoon episodes.

As you read THE WRECKTIFIERS, remember it is a first draft. A number of structural and character questions are purposely left hanging to give the pitch fewer cul de sacs to stumble towards. The development game is a harsh and unremitting exercise in the multiplicity of ideas. Premises either catch fire with executives or sit there like a lump on a stump; move on to the next concept if no one other than yourself has that captivating twinkle in the eye. In that regard, the less written up front, the better.

7:35 de la Mañana

Around 3 in the morning, I climb down from my column and go into Buñuel's cold coffee and day-old pastry shop and order my favorite drink, the Mi Ultimo Suspiro. Playing on a forever loop in the background is "7:35 de la Mañana," a 2004 Oscar-nominated live action short from Spain. I do not know why.

I wait in line, surrounded by a clientele that communicate with each other by holding up cue cards. They frighten me with their petit bourgeois small talk sameness and their matching purses. I am depressed. My donkeys have died while I was playing piano at a jazz bar; all the women around me have thicker beards than I do. I will speak about this to Freud the next time he blows cigar smoke in my face.

Yesterday, a man dressed as a nun and riding a bicycle cut in line and told me my Andalusian dog was peeing into the morning coffee. I laughed to camera. He handed me an invitation. It was to a party hosted by The Devil, who would steal my soul using a set of pliers after first boring me to death with simple magic tricks involving balloons. I would then be driven to a disco; I should refuse for he is a lousy dancer and a mean drunk. I looked at the invitation. The party was yesterday. My soul remained safe, although I would have enjoyed seeing the balloon tricks.

I order a latte and sing in front of a surprised woman who pulls out a razor blade and threatens to strike me with it 400 times. She asks me whether my name is Jules or Jim. I tell her she is confusing French New Wave with surrealism and avant-garde movie making. She tells me never to fall asleep watching Turner Movie Classics again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

And I Thought I Was Dumb...

I've done some pretty stupid things over the years to aggravate women both in and out of my life. Even this Neanderthal knows better than to (1) make cracks about their looks to their faces; (2) disparage their love for bodice-ripping romance novels; or (3) show any hostility to their cats, bathroom wicker baskets, or the ratty stuffed animals from their childhood that lie scattered around their Laura Ashley-designed bedrooms like Dickensian waifs. Oh, yes! Potpourri dishes of cinnamon and lavender flakes came in handy during those years when I would use them secretly as ash trays.

So why in the name of Walter Camp, when advertisers know that at least 40% of all Super Bowl viewers have the double X chromosome, would Teleflora spend zillions of dollars to run an advertisement this blatantly dumbass, misogynistic, and cruel?

I felt really badly for Diane, the woman in this commercial. Guys like me have a built-in capacity for rejection, dejection, abjection, and self degradation. It's a liquid gurgled daily. It tastes like Shinola. I've lapped it from the horse trough ever since I stopped lighting matches to see if snow would burn.

Someone once sent roses to me at my office. I opened the box. The funny-looking rhododendrons looked dead, but the flaccid stamens lifted their pointy heads and wrote out the sender's message on my pant leg. I was so humiliated I retreated back into my office and swore I would never again date anyone working at Jim Henson's Creature Shop. I took a few deep breaths, then snuck off to the closest gun range to make my feelings known to the local bird and rodent population

If I were the woman in that commercial, I would rent out all but one the talking roses to a high school production of Little Shop of Horrors. Then I would gussy myself up, drive over to the sender and pistil whip the slug with the one remaining flower.

Then I would kick back and choose from any one of these romance novel trailers to weep over while waiting for the police to arrive.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Noir and Sin on Super Bowl Sunday

It's been a tough day already preparing for the Super Bowl. Practicing those expandable stomach exercises while rehearsing the rules of gaseous etiquette for public gatherings takes so much of the fun out of the game. With that in mind, until I can get back into my game, I leave you with two interesting animated pieces.

"Ruby Rocket, Private Detective" (from NiemannWorks Animation)

By late Sunday night, I hope not to have committed any more than four of the seven deadly sins. I might not be a saint, but I'm not that much of a sinner either.

"Los Pecadores" (from Maniac Planet, Dirección: Pablo Polledri)