Wednesday, December 29, 2010

ZOMBY!!! goes to the bank (or something)

A ridiculous post about fortune cookie messages

I am pleased to announce that I have made a delightful discovery about the messages contained within fortune cookies. Of course, there is a longstanding comedic tradition of adding the words "in bed" to fortune cookie messages. And I will admit that this is indeed quite funny.


Are "in bed" the only words you can add to your fortune cookie messages? To quote Senator Blutarski, "Hell, no!" Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I suggest that it is every bit as funny -- if not more so -- to add the words "and shit" to the ends of fortune cookie messages. Allow me, please, to demonstrate.
  • Old friends, old wines and old gold are best and shit.
  • Use your talents. That's what they are intended for and shit.
  • Don't wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it and shit.
  • You will spend old age in comfort and material wealth and shit.
  • Fortune smiles upon you today and shit.
  • How can you have a beautiful ending without making beautiful mistakes and shit?
  • Never bring unhappy feelings into your home and shit.

If you are so desirous, you can find these and many more fortune cookie messages at this fabulous website. (HINT: Just keep clicking "Open a Cookie.") And from there, you may feel free to add "in bed," "and shit," or whatever words you choose to the ends of these brief, hopeful missives.

PLEASE NOTE: When you are reading these fortune cookie messages aloud, do not place undue emphasis on the word "shit," because it changes the meaning entirely. The words "and shit" are intended as an especially informal way of saying "et cetera" or "and so forth." No scatological meaning should be inferred from these messages. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A sh*t ton more ZOMBY!!!

Yes, it's nothing but heartache and trouble for our luckless living impaired pal!

Whether he's looking for love...

Taking in a movie....

Or just doing his weekly grocery shopping...

It seems our boy Zomby will never overcome societal prejudice against his kind. Oh, well. There's always reincarnation. Uh... wait... never mind.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In case you missed it...

Yes, folks, I recently made a guest appearance on another blog!

Aaron of the always-astounding Zed Word Zombie Blog asked me to contribute some thoughts about Christmas, and I happily complied.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kittens shouldn't play....

A tribute to a classic...

A very ZOMBY!!! Christmas

In today's hi-larious installment of Zomby, we see that even Christmas can be less-than-merry when you're Living Impaired...

BLOGGER'S NOTE: Is anyone but me amused by this ongoing Zomby series? I wanted to build up this blog's readership or at least maintain a steady audience, and I figured one way to do that would be to have a regularly updated feature, like these cartoons, that people could check in on from time to time. As a longtime reader of the newspaper funnies, this kind of parody interests me... but I am here to serve your interests, not just my own! Please, use the comments section to tell me what you think of this blog and what you'd like to see in this space. Are there living-impaired-related topics you'd like me to cover? I'd really like to know.



Monday, December 20, 2010

Yes, it's more ZOMBY!!!!

And now, for your dining and dancing pleasure, here are two more installments of America's latest cartoon sensation, Zomby...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Comics Feature... ZOMBY!!!

Hello once again, true believers!

Even after two years plus of appearing on the Mail Order Zombie podcast, I realize that the Living Impaired still have plenty of image problems. I sat down to think about how to solve this problem, when suddenly the answer came to me...

A lovable, cuddly living impaired cartoon character!

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce ZOMBY! He may remind you of another Z-named comic character, but this one happens to be living impaired. Through the misadventures of little Zomby, you'll see the various heartaches, frustrations, and disappointments my people deal with on a day to day basis.

Here are a few samples:

So what did you think? Lovable, right? Adorable, right? I'm picturing a whole line of "Zomby" merchandise -- greeting cards, calendars, plush toys. Besides raising awareness of the plight of the living impaired, this little guy could be a cash cow.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

MOZ rarity: a Wayne Kotke script!

Not to shatter your illusions or anything, but my segments for Mail Order Zombie are not being performed live as you listen to the podcast. No, they are scripted and recorded several days in advance. Normally, I do not save the scripts to my computer after the segment is recorded. Once the MP3 has been sent off to Brother D, I delete the script from my hard drive, figuring I won't need it anymore. But occasionally, I forget.

Here, then, is the script for my segment from Mail Order Zombie's historic 100th episode from December 2009. You'll remember that was their big Dawn of the Dead spectacular. My segment was done as a "break-in record," i.e. a phony news report with clips of famous pop songs. The script is actually a little different from what I ended up recording. I don't know why. Anyway, give it a read. Please note that these scripts are typed very quickly and contain numerous typos. I'm leaving them in for the purposes of historical accuracy.

[music: first 18 seconds of "Mr. Jaws"]

Hello once again, this is Wayne Kotke, president spokesman and founder of dead 2 rights an organization fighting for the rights of the living impaired. You've just heard a few seconds of "Mr. Jaws," a Top 10 hit from 1975 by Dickie Goodman. It's an example of a so-called "break-in" record, a novelty record structured like a news report and featuring cleverly-edited samples from various pop songs. Break-in records have been with us since the 1950s, and they've covered topics ranging from UFOs to politics, but as far as I know there's never been one about the George Romero films, particularly "Dawn of the Dead." So on the occasion of Mail Order Zombie's 100th episode, I thought I'd rectify that right now.

So with your kind indulgence, I'd like to present "Mr. Dawn," a break-in record by Wayne Kotke. Hope you enjoy.

[MUSIC: "The Gonk"]

ANNOUNCER: We are not going to interrupt THIS record!

[MUSIC "The Gonk"]

ANNOUNCER: Yes, we are. This is a special news bulletin. As incredible as it may sound, the recently deceased are returning to life as flesh-eating ghouls and are attacking the living. When asked for his assessment of the situation, President Carter said:

[MUSIC: Carpenters - "End of the World"]

["It's the end of the world."]

ANNOUNCER: Meanwhile, Pennsylvania governor Milton Schapp has issued the following statement:

[MUSIC: Shangri Las - "Remember"]

["Oh no. Oh no. Oh no no no no no!"]

ANNOUNCER: We take you now live to our on-the-spot reporter.

[SFX: Zombie growls in BG]

SNIPP: Hello, folks, this is Skipp Snipp, your on the spot reporter with all the news that is news, coming to you live from the parking lot of the Monroeville Mall, where the flesh-eating zombies have gathered in search of living victims. I wish you could see this, folks. There must be...

[MUSIC - Royal Guardsmen - "Snoopy v. red baron"]

["ten 20 30 40 50 or more]

SNIPP: I'm going to attempt to interview one of the ghouls now. Excuse me, sir, what's it like to be a zombie?

[MUSIC - Grand Funk - "Locomotion"]

[I know you'll get to like it if you give it a chance now]

SNIPP: Well, I'll just take your word for it. But first...


SNIPP: Hey, watch it, buddy! You just tried to bite me!

[MUSIC: J. Lennon - "Jealous Guy"]

[I didn't mean to hurt you / I'm sorry that I made you cry]

SNIPP: Well, folks, the situation looks hopeless. I guess we can just about...

[SFX: Helicopter overhead]

SNIPP: Waitaminute, folks. There's something flying overhead!

[MUSIC - Chubby Checker - "Let's Twist Again"]

["Is it a bird? NO! Is it a plane? NO! Is it the twister?"]

SNIPP: No! It's a helicopter! It's landing on top of the mall, and it looks like some survivors are getting out. Wonder how many there are?

[MUSIC - Any Ramones song - "1234!"]

SNIPP: I'm now inside the mall talking with the four survivors. Excuse me, sir, I see your a member of a SWAT team.

[Few seconds of SWAT theme]

SNIPP: can you tell me your name?

[MUSIC: "Peter the Meter Reader"]

["Hi! My name is Peter!"]

SNIPP: And Peter, what is your top priority while you're inside this mall?

[MUSIC: Bee Gees - "Stayin alive"]

["Stayin alliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive"]

SNIPP: What are you going to do first?

[MUSIC: Ike & TIna - "Finger Poppin'}

[I'm goin' shoppin / finger finger poppin on you!]

SNIPP: I'm now talking to Roger, another SWAT team member among the survivors. Tell me, Roger, what are you looking for in this mall?

[MUSIC - Clash - "Police & Thieves"]

[Guns and ammunition]

SNIPP: What kind of food have you found in this mall?

[MUSIC: "Long Tall Glasses" by Leo Sayer]

[There was wine and there was turkey there was caviar and long tall glasses with wine up to hyar"]

SNIPP: Besides the SWAT team members, there are two other survivors here, a lovely young couple, Fran and Steven. Tell me, kids, what's on your mind these days?

[MUSIC: Desi Arnaz - "We're Having a Baby"]

[We're having a baby / My baby and me]

SNIPP: Uh oh! It looks like Roger's become one of the zombies! What's Peter going to do?

{SFX: Bang Bang]

SNIPP: Any last words, Roger?

["Bang bang, he shot me down / Bang bang I hit the ground / Bang bang!"]

SNIPP: Well, those are the breaks, Rog. Life must go on. Oh, isn't that sweet? It looks like Steven is proposing to Fran. I wonder what she'l say.

[MUSIC: Human Beings - "Nobody but Me"]

[No no no no no no no no no]

SNIPP: I didn't quite catch that, Fran.

{no no no no nono no]

SNIPP: One more time.

[No no no no no nono]

SNIPP: Any response, Steven?

[MUSIC: "LOve Hurts"]

[Ooooohhhh, Love hurts!]

SNIPP: News Flash! THere's been a new development int he story! It seems some other survivors have broken into the mall. It looks like a gang of bikers! Who's that out in front?

[MUSIC: "The leader of teh pack. Vroom vroooooom]

SNIPP: Oh, dear folks. Zombies have overtaken the mall, and it looks like they've attacking Steven! Tell us, Steven, what's it like to be bitten by those things?

[MUSIC - Stevie Wonder - Sir Duke]

["You can feel it all over"]

SNIPP: Well, it looks like time is running out for our survivors. It looks like Peter is saying something to Fran.

["We got to get out of this place / If it's the last thing we ever do"]

SNIPP: And why's that, Peter?

["Girl there's a better life for me and you"]

[SFX - Helicopter taking off]

SNIPP: And there they go, headed off in the helicopter towards an uncertain future. I think we can just hear them singing a farewell song...

[MUSIC: Four Seasons - "Dawn Go Away"]

[Dawn go away I'm no good for you (repeat and fade)]


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Remember when you were destined to be ingested?

From time to time on the Mail Order Zombie podcast, Brother D plays the audio from the trailer for Destined to be Ingested, which you can see below:

I always wondered why the music at the beginning of the clip sounded so familiar to me. Then it hit me:

The similarity really kicks in at the 00:15 point in the Lennon song. Listen to both and judge for yourself.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Night of the Living Dead (1968): In defense of Barbara

Judith O'Dea as Barbara in George Romero's Night of the Living Dead

Never let it be said that I am less than chivalrous. I am stepping in to defend the honor of a lady -- namely the character of Barbara in George Romero's original 1968 Night of the Living Dead, as portrayed so brilliantly by Judith O'Dea. First, here's a quote from Danny Peary's classic 1981 book, Cult Movies which puts her character nicely into perspective:
"Barbara [is] one of the few movie heroines who is not required by cinematic convention to get over the loss of a loved one in five minutes of screen time."

Let us dwell upon a certain ugly truth about human nature: some people are just no damned good in a crisis. They panic. They shut down. They freak out. And I'm not just talking about in horror movies. I'm talking everyday life. I know because I'm terrible in crises. I panic easily and am quick to freak out even in relatively mild situations. I have not once had a successful public speaking experience, and the trauma I suffered during all-school spelling bees could keep a therapist employed for years. If shit ever gets real -- i.e. tornado, fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake -- I will be of no use to you whatsoever.

That's essentially Barbara's situation in Night of the Living Dead. Shit gets real, and she shuts down. Not because she's a woman. Not because it's 1968. It's just human nature -- specifically her human nature. Movie characters don't know that they're characters. They don't know they're being watched by us (the audience), so they don't give a damn about being our role models. Barbara doesn't stop to say to herself, "Hey, if my life is ever made into a movie, women in the crucial 18-49 age demographic wouldn't find it very empowering if I lost my cool right now. For their sake, I'd better get my act together." That would be bullshit. But I think we're so used to pandering, false encouragement from our entertainment that we can't quite process it when Barbara freaks out. I don't know how it happened, but somehow over the years we've expected movie characters to be not only our role models but our imaginary friends and idealized surrogates as well.

Female characters are especially tricky because they operate under what's called the "burden of representation." Let's face it -- most characters in American movies are straight, white, and male. For that reason, you can pretty much depict straight, white males any way you want. Positive, negative, whatever. Your choice. But for anyone other than that, there's the unspoken assumption that any female or minority character is a representative of his or her entire demographic. If Romero depicts Barbara freaking out, therefore, it's taken as a slander against all women. No wonder so many female characters get what I call the "female Rambo upgrade" in sequels. It happened to Ripley in the Alien franchise. It happened to Sarah Connor. It even happened to Princess Leia. And I'll argue that if you trace the progression of female heroines from Night of the Dead to Dawn of the Dead and finally Day of the Dead, you can see that they get progressively "stronger" -- which essentially means more masculine. Even Barbara herself got the "female Rambo upgrade" in the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead.

What makes all this necessary is the under-representation of women in film. There are (by far) fewer women than men in movies, so leading female characters especially have to try that much harder to be positive role models. This is a shame, in my opinion. I look forward to a day when characters of both genders are allowed to be themselves, to be human, empowerment be damned.

By the way, to illustrate how badly women are underused in film, I want you to look through your DVD collection and see how many of your favorite movies pass the Bechdel Test, named for cartoonist Alison Bechdel. Here are the criteria:

  1. Does the movie contain at least two women?
  2. Do these women talk to each other?
  3. Do they talk about something other than a man?

I don't know how well your movies did. Mine didn't do so hot.

Either way, here's the original Bechdel Test. Note the reference to Alien.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Remember... the eighth of December!

Zombie John Lennon
(9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980)
(9 December 1980 - ???)

Imagine there's no headshots.
It isn't hard to do.
No bands of well-armed yokels
Taking aim at you.
Imagine George Romero
Joining Dead 2 Rights!
You might say, "They're just zombies,
And they don't mean heck to us."
I hope someday you'll join us...
Or at least make out a check to us.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Givin' the public what it wants -- zombie Justin Bieber!

Justin Bieber: He was, like, "Baby, baby, baby, NOOOOOOOOO1"

Looking over the always-depressing "stats" for my blog, I see that two intrepid individuals have found this blog by searching for "Dead Bieber images," possibly because of my references to Justin Bieber on Mail Order Zombie. Perhaps these were two separate people. Perhaps the same person tried it twice. I don't know. Either way, I'm all about giving the public what it wants. Here are your "Zombie Justin Bieber" images (none created by me):

Here's Justin Bieber as a zombie.

Here's Justin Bieber as a zombie.... again.

I trust these will suffice.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I got dem ol' post-NaNoWriMo blues again, mama!

My fellow citizens of the world,

So here we are, five days into the month of December. The glory that was National Novel Writing Month is now but a flickering ember. (You see? That's just the kind of hackneyed metaphor you can expect from us amateur writer types.) In case you were wondering: yes, I finished my novel, meaning that I limped across the 50,000-word finish line before November 30 and dropped to the ground, exhausted. Here, incidentally, is the cover I designed for my book:

The cover design was inspired by one of Andy Warhol's silkscreens of Marilyn Monroe:

As you can see, the novel I spent a month writing is called Perforated, and it is about the paper towel industry. Specifically, it is a "memoir" written by an advertising mascot named Thirsty Lad. (That's him on the cover.) Essentially, this book takes place in a universe in which advertising characters like Tony the Tiger or the Jolly Green Giant are real and live among humans, somewhat like the 'toons in Roger Rabbit. The book is really meant to be a parody of those quickie cash-in books written by B-list celebrities. I pass by a bookstore on my way to work, and I see these silly, disposable pseudo-books prominently displayed in the window each morning. I guess something snapped in my brain, and I felt the need to parody them as savagely as possible. But I didn't know if I could get 50,000 words out of that premise, so I made it the story-within-a-story. The wraparound story is about how the whole book is actually being written by an insane dentist whose crimes against society are so ghastly, so utterly horrific that they cannot be described. I don't know where the "killer dentist" plot came in, except that I'm afraid of dentists and I'd recently screened both versions of Little Shop of Horrors for an article I'd written on another site.

Anyway, I'm glad to have "won" NaNoWriMo this year, but I mostly learned what not to do if I ever try this again. For one thing, I'm not going to wait until the morning of November 1 to decide on the the subject of the book, and I'm not going to try to improvise an entire novel from scratch with no outline or even a basic game plan. Perforated is an awful mess, probably unreadable, but it does exist. Anyone who is interested in reading it is certainly welcome to do so. Is there some easy, convenient way to post an entire novel on the internet (preferably with formatting)? If anyone has a suggestion, let me know.