Posts filed under “Popular Entertainment”

A VISIT FROM MRS. PHELPS.

Hi! I’m Mrs. Phelps, of Mrs. Phelps’ Domestic Helps, the widely syndicated advice column for homemakers, here to brighten your life with a great big heaping helping of helpful hints. You remember—you won a visit from me in that contest in Happy Happy Home, the happy happy magazine for happy happy homemakers. By the way, you could get rid of the squeak on that door with only a little WD-40 and an ordinary mascara brush. Don’t thank me—that’s what I’m here for. Do you get tired of this doormat slipping around like that? Just a little bit of chewing gum at each corner can fix it. Put another wad in the center to be extra secure. I must say, you have a lovely living room. Did you know that you can get rid of those ugly fingerprints on the wall with a simple mixture of chlorine bleach and sulfuric acid? Be sure to wear your gloves, ha ha! So this is your desk. When my desk gets to be a mess like this, I carefully sort everything into stacks, label the stacks, tie them up with good butcher’s twine, then pile them in the fireplace and toss in a lighted match. It’s a great way to keep warm on those long winter nights! And did you know you could get those ugly, crusty old bloodstains off your letter opener with nothing more than a can of ordinary paint stripper? Be careful where you’re pointing that, ha ha! If you want to make the sharp end perfectly safe, just pound it about two inches (or five centimeters) into the desk with an ordinary household hammer. You see, the way you’re waving it around now, you could hurt somebody, and we wouldn’t want that to….

ASK DR. BOLI.

Dear Dr. Boli: My cousin the guitar-strummer recently took up the lute, and now she says she’s going to quit her job at the Metro Mart and travel the world with an early-music ensemble. But what I want to know is this: What is “early music”? Is that that stuff the kids listen to at their orgies? And should I be worried about my cousin’s eternal welfare? —Sincerely, Rev. Angus Dour, Minister, John Knox Real No-Foolin’ Presbyterian Church, Trafford.

Dear Sir: You are correct that “early music,” which is commonly taken to mean the Renaissance and Baroque periods, is just about the latest thing in music. This timeline will make its relationship to the overall musical tradition clear:

timeline-of-early-music

As for your question about whether your cousin’s eternal welfare is in danger, you should probably not worry unless she begins expressing an interest in the Romantics, in which case you may have legitimate cause for concern.

L.C.I.S.

ANNOUNCER. And now Runcible Publishing and Finer Meats, Squirrel Hill’s finest publisher and delicatessen, presents…

(Music: “Washington Post” March, in and under for…)

ANNOUNCER. L.C.I.S., the adventures of our brave federal agents in the Library Criminal Investigative Service. Whenever crime strikes our nation’s libraries, L.C.I.S. agents are there.

(Music: In full, then out.)

ANNOUNCER. Tonight we find Agents Pleasant and Cuzzi heading into the Carnegie Library of Grant Borough, hot on the trail of the Swinburne Slasher.

CUZZI. I think you should talk to the librarian first.

PLEASANT. Why me?

CUZZI. First, because you’re the attractive female half of the team, and that makes people trust you. Second, because it gives me the chance to interrupt you with witty banter.

PLEASANT. It’s not really banter unless I do it too, is it?

CUZZI. What do you mean?

PLEASANT. Isn’t the essence of banter the back-and-forth thing? The exchange of barbed remarks?

CUZZI. Shut up and do your job, Pleasant. Ha ha! See? That’s witty banter.

MR. DEWEY. May I help you?

PLEASANT. Federal agents. We need to see your circulation records for all the Victorian poets, especially Swinburne, Tennyson,—

MR. DEWEY. What did that badge say?

PLEASANT. L.C.I.S. We need—

MR. DEWEY. L.C.I.S.? What’s that?

PLEASANT. Library Criminal Investigative Service.

MR. DEWEY. I don’t think that’s a real thing.

PLEASANT. Well, of course it’s a real thing. It’s an important federal agency. Part of the Department of Education. (Pause.) We even have our own TV show and radio drama.

MR. DEWEY. Kermit the Frog has his own TV show, too, but that doesn’t mean he gets to look at confidential library records just because he and Miss Piggy show up here claiming to be federal agents.

PLEASANT. But we have badges.

MR. DEWEY. I have a badge, too. See? It says “Carnegie Library of Grant Borough.” Sometimes we call it CLOG for short.

PLEASANT. No, I mean the kind of badge that’s a little metal shield thingy.

MR. DEWEY. How do I know you didn’t get that out of a cereal box? I haven’t had any coffee, and I’m not in the mood for these games.

CUZZI. Look, uh—what’s your name?

MR. DEWEY. Mr. Dewey. It’s on the badge.

CUZZI. Look, Mr. Dewey, that’s a computer terminal, right? You can look us up. We have a Web site.

MR. DEWEY. Anyone can put up a Web site.

CUZZI. You can look us up in Wikipedia!

MR. DEWEY. Anyone can—

CUZZI. I don’t have time for this. The Swinburne Slasher is still at large. He may be cutting up another book even as we speak. I’m calling the big boss. — Hello, sir.  — Fine, thank you. Listen, we have a matter of national security here. We need to catch the Swinburne Slasher, and we need information to do it, but this librarian here won’t believe we’re real federal agents. — Yes, sir. I’ll hand him the phone.—Here, talk to him.

MR. DEWEY. Hello? — Fine, thank you. — Yes, but you see the problem is that anyone can just pick up the phone and say, “I’m Donald Trump,” but— Yes— Well, if you want to talk about emergency situations, I haven’t had any coffee in three days. Our supply ran out, and the new order won’t come in for a week. It makes me cranky. — What? — Yes, I suppose that would work. — Yes, I guess that would be fair.—Here, he wants to talk to you again.

CUZZI. Hello? — Yes, I— Five pounds? — Well, yes, I suppose I can— Yes, sir. — Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. — Come on, Pleasant. The big boss worked out a deal. We’re going down to Nicholas to get coffee.

PLEASANT. But…the Swinburne Slasher!

CUZZI. Haven’t you ever bought information with coffee before? Come on before it’s too late!

(Music: “Washington Post’” March, in and under for…)

ANNOUNCER. So once again our dauntless agents of L.C.I.S. face down evil wherever they find it in our nation’s libraries. Tune in next time when Runcible Publishing and Finer Meats presents another adventure of our brave and witty L.C.I.S. agents. Friends, when you’re reading a book, do you find yourself listlessly turning pages, or reading the same paragraph over and over? Decreased reading comprehension is one of the first symptoms of protein deficiency. Runcible Publishing and Finer Meats is your source for everything you need for the optimum reading experience. Runcible reminds you: Don’t forget to eat meat while you read!

(Music: In full, then out.)

 

Glossary of Television Terms.

Detective Drama: Police with automatic weapons.

Drama: Two people with automatic weapons facing each other.

Espionage Drama: People with East European accents and automatic weapons.

Fantasy: Zombies with automatic weapons.

Irony: A man waiting with his automatic weapon ready to fire while his enemy sneaks up behind him.

Medical Drama: Doctors with automatic weapons.

Romance: A man with an automatic weapon and a woman with an automatic weapon on the same side of the fight.

Science Fiction: Aliens with automatic weapons.

Serial: Any fictional series in which every episode ends with multiple automatic weapons aimed at the hero.

Suspense: One person with an automatic weapon and one person without facing each other.

Tragedy: An automatic weapon out of ammunition.

 

IN ENTERTAINMENT NEWS.

The music world was stunned today when eccentric rap star MC II Kule used the I-word in what some are describing as a drunken rant about his former friend and college roommate, rap-jazz fusion artist Felonious Thelonious.

“Yes, I say he’s inauth-ntic, and I believe that on the evidence any critic would reach the same conclusion,” Mr. Kule was quoted as saying. “Let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Any hopes of a speedy reconciliation were dashed when Mr. Thelonious, responding to the accusations, used the P-word, describing Mr. Kule as “a bit of a p-seur.”

YOU MAY NOT BE AS AUTHENTIC AS YOU THINK YOU ARE IF…

…you are the man on the store loudspeaker singing a country song about how much more real your life is in real America with your forty acres of corn and your tractor and your barn and your little white church where your daddy and mama got married and your beat-up old Ford and your dog named Bud, and you are using pitch correction.

ADVICE FOR SCREENWRITERS.

If your television show has been running for, say, twenty or thirty years, and you have finally, in a moment of weakness, allowed your romantic leads to marry, you can always create romantic tension all over again by separating the couple. The separation is most easily accomplished by having the female half of the pair declare that she “needs space.” This is inherently plausible, because everyone knows that a female television character periodically “needs space” even though she lives in a Manhattan apartment the size of a cathedral. With careful management, you can build a season-long story arc on the foundation of the woman’s need for “space.” Then, for next season, there’s always amnesia.

A COMPLETELY SCIENTIFIC INTERNET SURVEY.

You bring up a Web site in your browser, hoping to savor the delectable nuggets of entertainment and information to be found there. The first thing you see is a picture—let us say a picture of an okapi—with two or three paragraphs of information beside it. Your interest is piqued. You have always admired okapis from afar, and have been waiting for an opportunity to be better informed on the subject of okapis. You feel as though a long-vacant space in your mind is filling up, and your deepest longing is about to be satisfied: at last, you will soon be up to date on okapi-related matters—

And then suddenly the picture and text make a mad dash for the left edge of your screen. Before you can catch them, they are gone, and you had not even finished the first paragraph. In their place appears something else—something about new fashions in organic fertilizer or six International Style gas stations to see before you die. What happened to the okapi?

You have encountered that pampered darling of Web designers, the slider. Web designers are in love with the slider. They salivate over sliders the way chocolate addicts salivate over triple chocolate mousse cake. “There is literally no better way to make your website look totally stunning,” says the Web site of a company that sells a slider plugin for WordPress.

But does anyone who is not a Web designer like sliders? Anyone at all? Are there any readers who, coming upon a Web site with a slider on the front page, shout, “Hallelujah! At last, here is information presented in the exact form in which I was hoping to find it!”?

Dr. Boli believes that no one likes sliders as a consumer of information; that they are adored only by what one might call the pushers of information: people and organizations that want to put information out there, without actually thinking through the question of whether it is information anybody wants to pick up once it has been put out there.

But Dr. Boli could be wrong. He has been wrong in the past. He was, for example, wrong about ebooks once; and before that, he recalls having been wrong about something to do with Franklin Pierce, though he cannot recall what it was at the moment.

So he puts this question to the Internet at large. Do any of you reading this right now actually like sliders? Vote by commenting below. Web designers may comment, but they must in fairness identify themselves. This survey will produce data exactly as scientific as those produced by other Internet surveys and quoted by respectable journalists as definitive, so vote as often as you like.

One interesting datum Dr. Boli will mention: the Web site he mentioned earlier, the one hawking a slider plugin for WordPress with the claim that “There is literally no better way to make your website look totally stunning.” does not use sliders.

TONIGHT ON DUMONT.

Miss Rutherford Mysteries. When Miss Rutherford comes down with a rare case of Single-Episode Blindness, it’s up to her dog Jemmie to solve the mystery of where she hid the leftover ham. Starring Dame Wilhelmina Frimp as Miss Rutherford, with special guest Anthony Quagga as the dog Jemmie.