Tricky Wicket

Evoking a crisp country morning, with wool at your chin and the smell of wet hay.

Month: November, 2011

Fuck, We Know The Same People

I think I went to school with a few of those kids, actually.

Charlie? Not sure. What’s he…

Oh, with like the tweed vests, and stuff?

Right. Uh, retrofitted grandpa glasses from the thrift store?

Rat tail, NPR tattoo?

Librarycore? Really?

No, back then he hadn’t hit that scene yet.

I guess we were more, like, fair-trade-gaze.

That’s when I was carrying around a typewriter, my harmonica, and a ceramic Garfield mug everywhere on a bungee cord.

Yeah, it was alright, but now it’s, like, this thing.

It’s like, every day you see someone else getting Chiapas blend pumped into their vintage Ziggy mug–which they probably got at American Apparel anyway–and it’s just this great big self-referential vortex or something.

I guess now I’m sort of between this post-boho-brunchwave vibe and this occupy-wall-street-tentstep thing.

Yeah, not quite like vegan-drinking-wine-and-watching-80’s-fantasy-movie-gaze, but I guess it’s related.

Right, like, dumpsterdiving at Whole Foods obviously but also, you know, about local business sustainability and congressional accountability.

Um, a lot of Charles Bukowski, crust-punk socks–but not that whole depression-era-hobo-circushouse thing. Fuck that.

Um, like, 1970’s Philadelphia Flyer hair.

And a whole lot of craft cheese appreciation. This right here is a Stilton from a totally chill Steely-Dan-farmer-guy from the market.

Yeah, totally favoriteunclecore.

Market Research

Universal Music Group has announced plans to shut down its profitable urban music division, following the release of dire research figures on Wednesday.

The decision will effectively drop hundreds of artists from the label and stop production on at least two hundred slated rap and hip hop releases.

Doug Morris, the founder of the group explains: “In an extensive survey of New York City subways and sidewalks, four million people were asked the same question by our Street Team Investigators:  “Yo man, you listen to hip hop?”

“Quite frankly,” he explained, “not a single person surveyed responded in the affirmative.”

Right, But What If His Last Name Is Also A Common Noun?

Folks, I think we have a real opportunity here to bolster audience recognition.

We’re testing well in our key demographic of 79-96, but we are having some retention issues. Let’s look at these response cards! First I want to be clear: they are loving the show. But on the other side of it, there’s a breakdown when it comes to branding. Here’s a sample from the Phoenix group:

“I like the man he nice and he say a good thing.”

She’s right, isn’t she? Amazing characterization we’ve got, and the dialogue is fantastic. Credit to the new crew down from Harvard on that.

But which man?

Borowitz, the unconventional gardener, who can’t hold a conversation with a human, but speaks through bamboo and hedges with an unmatched eloquence?

Canseco, the butler whose prickly temperament masks his unparalleled desire to please?

Friedmann, the cook who doesn’t chop onions by the book, but possesses a photographic memory of every ingredient present in the kitchen?

Can we blame her?

Thankfully, we were able to clarify with this particular audience member. She was talking about the golden hearted dog trainer who insists on using the mansion’s lawn as a toilet, so as to remove any false separation between him and his beloved hounds.

Can anyone here tell me the name of this character?

The character’s name, as it reads in the pilot, is Alan.

What’s his name, again? Heck if I know!

Names! So difficult to remember!

The other day, I met this gentlemen, and while I remember that he was of the Dominican persuasion, and I do recall him being extra friendly to me at the beach, lending a hand with my difficult-to-sunscreen areas, I cannot, for the life of me, remember his name!

It might have been Carlos or Juan or Julio, but the next time I see him, I am going to have to play it cool when he calls, and just go “Que lo que, guapo!” and hope he somehow works his own name into the conversation or has a penchant for speaking in third person.

Like, who remembers the name of that big vampire guy from the movie? Or the doctor who invented the Frankenstein?

Nobody.

But what happens when I say the word house?

That’s right.

You think of a gruff but brilliant doctor, and you think about the gruff but brilliant doctor television show. And there’s an added bonus: every time you come home from work and look upon your lovely abode, you are going to be thinking gruff but brilliant doctor.

You live, twenty-four-seven, in an advertisement for the gruff but brilliant doctor television show.

Common nouns, people.

You already have them in your head. And no one is actually named Mr. House or Mr. Castle or Mr. Kingdom in real life, that would be ludicrous.

But it works on TV.

Slowly but surely, television executives will have matched an idiosyncratic and brilliant professional to every common noun in the dictionary. We need to get on board.

And so, I propose a bit of a tweak to our naming system, one that capitalizes on the advertising that is already being done for us: the English language.

Research tells us that four of the most common nouns in our language are time, person, year, and way.

And so I propose that our four leads be named Mr. Time, Mr. Person, Mr. Year, and Mr. Way.

The show, and I think this has a real ring to it, will be called Time Person Year Way.

Think of how many times a day our audience will encounter those nouns–I mean names!

The Slow Movement

If you look over here, I think you’ll find… well, this is really something.

With selective breeding over decades and decades, what is available on the market now has almost no horticultural resemblance to what was available a generation ago.

I mean, just look at this samples. The over-sized flora here? It’s almost obscene.  As I’m sure you know, we can thank large-scale, mad-scientist industrial farming and accelerating demand for higher-yield, lower-cost solutions. Thanks, Industrial Era!

Essentially, the natural growth process has been thrown out the window, which is a shame. Because it is our belief that God was a pretty good gardener.

The other guys use hydroponics, asexual propagation, manipulated lighting cycles, and phosphorous-enhanced fertilizers.

The other guys dabble in cloning, selective cross-pollinating, and hybrid breeds.

But at Uncle John’s, we believe in good, old-fashioned natural products.

Right here is our flagship product.

The Heritage Blend.

This is the very same product that you would have found at Woodstock. Not as intense, not as engineered. And most importantly: just like you remember it.

Gemini

So, let’s get this straight, you two are identical twin sisters?

No, yeah, I can see that, I guess sometimes fraternal ones look…

Ha ha ha, absolutely.

I can imagine that I’d get up to all kind of mischief if I had that sort of… arrangement.

Seriously? For three months? That is impressive.

Was it tough growing up, I mean, you two are both so… fetching.

You must have really torn through the boy population.

What? Oh, that was a stupid assumption, you’re right. Which one of you?

Huh?

Both?

Stop, no, really? What are the odds? They say it’s like, one in ten, right? Kinsey reports and all that. Combine that with the odds of being born identical twins, and you’re like super oddities, if you think about it.

Can I ask you something?

Well, I don’t mean to offend you, and we’ve only just met.

Have you ever, you know, just because, I imagine, you know, it’d be something that you’d think about…

No?

Come on, not even in school? You went to the same small liberal arts college, correct?

In that environment, I can imagine there’d be a lot of… pressure… from the kids around you, I guess, did you ever give in, just some night, to all that pressure?

I just can’t imagine a better scenario.

You’ve got this perfect, almost alchemic reality right in front of you.

I know I would do it.

It’d be maddening not to.

Irresistible.

I just can’t believe you two never formed a synthesizer-based indie pop band.

The Crack of the Whip is the Breaking of the Sound Barrier

This might not set your flint aspark as it does mine, but I’ve always found you to be fair in appraisal, so I’ll continue without further preamble.

While I do believe the physical universe to be bound and governed by certain principles–or laws, or whatever you’d like to call them–it seems unlikely to me that such things would be rigid or unyielding.

I’ve been from mesa to mesa, bluff to bluff, and seen the gloried undersides of thousands of trees.

I’ve seen cows born, horses put to their sudden rest, and men lose their minds to the black sky.

Hell, I’d reckon that I’ve seen most everything on this great island of ours–most everything except for one thing: a straight line.

All this, I suppose, is a roundabout way of saying I don’t think the universe deals in absolutes.

I’m not advocating magic here, necessarily, because magic’s often portrayed as having spells, incantations, manipulations, and formulas. What I’m trying to talk about is the unconjurable, the hazy, and the felicitous.

I suppose it’s best articulated as miraculous–and that woman, she was some kind of cosmic outlier.

Light bent around her differently. Her appearance scattered the minds of men.

What she had was something that traveled on breezes and in the sling of subatomic particles.

With women like that, there’s no warning. It’s a great big rug-pull when they leave, and you stand there blinking.

You knew it was inevitable, and you’ll spend the rest of your life thinking back on it.

And that, my son, is why goddamn Lee Meriwether is an unacceptable substitute for the inestimable Julie Newmar.

Cornucopia

Red wine and roast turkey.

Oh, I probably top out at like four glasses of like, a super high-grade varietal.

Merlot will work, yes, absolutely.

Right, you never know what they put in those blends, man.

The tryptophan and the tannins, they kind of, I guess, cross-magnify the effects, or whatever? Straight to your head, and you get drowsier than a motherfucker.

What?

Yeah, some kids call it turkey-flipping.

These Hot Dogs Are So Late Roman Empire

Check this out over here. Bacon fried hot dogs.

I mean, really, what is this, the cena Trimalchionis? Let us feast on a pig stuffed with quails, stuffed with blood sausages. Maybe grab some tiger tongues and otter noses to boot.

Bacon-fried hot dogs?

You know, I love me some extra processed pork product. It really gets my motor going. Pumps my all-American blood extra forcefully through these veins.

But hold up just a second. Is there some way you can render different, fattier pork on the side? And then, in some kind of unholy union of beasts, a la Amphitheatrum Flavium, have them do battle in my stomach? On a nutritionally valueless white bun, preferably.

Oh look, you can get them with chili too.

Could this place be any more pre-Nero? I halfway expect to see some kind of port-a-potty style vomitorium over there, by the popcorn stand.

And what is that? A bouncy castle? Jeez, could this be any more Late Empire?

Coming Soon For You

First saw them in Green Bay when I was seventeen, and you can say what you want about them, I know, but they just put so much energy into their shows, man. They just don't play the holding-back-I'm-a-big-rockstar game, you know? They're showmen. That's exactly right.

Honey, I was able to find the curry powder in bulk.

A lot cheaper that way.

Yeah, the green kind. Whole Foods, yeah. I know, ha ha. The people you run into there.

Right, yeah. You kind of stop and go: am I one of those? No, not yet, I don’t think so.

Yeah, I got them. About six, maybe?

So… Hey, remember when we went to that Foo Fighters show? “Learn to Fly,” right, yeah, I wasn’t really into the opening act either. Just too loud.

Yeah! I get it, ha ha. You’ve got electric guitars. We can hear you, we’re standing right by the speaker.

Ha, yeah, I guess I forgot about that. She’s doing a lot better now, from what I’ve heard. New Mexico. Yeah.

Anyway, so, I was on Amazon earlier, and the recommendation engine there, you know? Right, so I was thinking maybe I could dig up the old…

Uh, yeah, for the air purifier thing? They’ve got those. Are we running low?

Baking soda kind, okay. I’ll just do that now, before I forget.