Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cracking Wise

Some time ago back in the before time at JS, I wrote about the improbability of Karl Marx making it as a Marx Brother. I couldn't imagine him getting half a sentence through explaining "Surplus Value" without the boys destroying him. They certainly wouldn't keep him as a pet a la Zeppo or Margaret Dumont While Karlo would be droning on about the alienation of the worker from his labour Harpo would snip away the bottom of his beard and hand it to a blushing Margaret Dumont to use as a merkin. Groucho would then set it on fire, retrieve it and light his cigar. Then put the flaming merkin back. Which brings me to the cigar chomping man and a few other heroic wisecrackers.

Say, can I buy back my introduction to you?

Groucho was the champion of the witty retort, the razor put-down, the leer, the eye-brow wiggle and basically anything to get a rise out of people. So who else do I rate?

Gotta have Bugs.

Yooh hoo! Say Mac, are you looking for me?

Bugs was master of outwitting a series of bungling fools and giving them a few cool jibes. He was one of my faves. He was tres smart.

As was Colonel Hogan.

Carter, get Klink's car ready. I have a date.

Bob Crane played this role to perfection. Never ruffled and always had an ace up his sleeve. He wasn't averse to giving the Krauts a verbal pasting.

Finally we have Hawkeye.

Hey, Frank! Kellogs want their diploma back.

Hawkeye was great when he had Trapper, Henry and Frank to play with. He was good when BJ came along but with Winchester on board it became all tosserish. Without Henry and Frank the lameness was never going anywhere but north. Hawk simply became too damn preachy, which should have been left to Mulcahy.

I haven't kept track of wise-cracking heroes over the past couple of decades mainly because sitcoms tend to be more ensembles consisting of insipid unfunny people attempting to wring the obvious out of the even more obvious. They don't seem to have a defined front man with the sharp quip and the cunning plan. I may be wrong and you bunch of wisenheimers are free to set me straight. To quote Groucho.
- Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Compromise Caper (A Story From The Chocolate Team Files)

The leader of the Chocolate team, Chocko, was worried. Ice Cream had just been in a big fight which Lollies had won, rendering Ice Cream motivated and desparate for the next struggle. Biscuits were also lurking, looking for a win.

These Impulses were always in conflict with one another, jockeying for position to get the tactical teams on side. The Brain was a very complex place, full of competing factions and bizarre relationships.

Chocko paced around his small cubicle of the cortex figuring out how to emerge triumphant. Well, this is why he got paid all those neurotransmitter hits. Time to get to work. He rallied his team;

"Okay guys. We need the next victory. Our bonuses are at stake. Think. What can we use this time?"

Silence. Chocko noticed a disturbance a few neurons down but ignored it. One of his new recruits, recently graduated from Milk, piped up,

" Why don't we suggest a few tears? Used to work back in the day."

One of the older stagers smirked,

"Listen mate. This ain't kindergarten, tears don't work no more."

The disturbance started getting louder, its cause had come closer. Chocko looked out and saw a band of young'uns dancing up, getting closer. They'd escaped from the Babysitters. This was going to be bad news for everyone. Once they escaped anything could happen whilst the control squads were sweeping all the cortexes. Their chants started to fill the cortex with sing song voices,

"When we were two we did a poo" , followed by;

"When we were three we did a wee".

Chocko ruefully shook his head and hit the Parental Impulse Alarm. He turned to his team, trying to get the meeting back on track

"There's one thing we can try. It won't be a big win but its ..." he was interrupted by the chanting

"When we were two ..."

He signalled over to Ice-cream

"...its something which may be useful for the future."

The chant continued

"...we did a poo!"

The Ice Cream Team Leader came over, "What's happening? Trouble, eh?" eyeing off Chocko with the eyes of a dingo leering at a new born lamb.

"When we were three ...."

Chocko was wondering what had happened to the control nazis. The Young'uns needed a quick smackdown.

"...we did a wee!". They got the last chant out before a line of Beige Shirts swamped them. They vanished into seeming nothingness and then the beige wave simply flowed away.

Chocko restored his composure,

"Look, Icey. Here's the rub. Lollies and Biscuits are getting way too much. We need to come up with a new strategy, because we're both hurting., not getting enough wins. I have an idea."

Icey nodded. Deep down she knew Chocko was on the money. "Okay, Mr Brown. Shoot."

Chocko hesitated, gathering his thoughts.

"Right, here it is. We split this one 50-50. We go for chocolate coated ice-cream."

Icey didn't budge. She was thinking it through. She looked down the cells where the Sex trainees were still in nappies. They wouldn't be a threat for a while. The Senility crew weren't due to advertise for crews for decades yet. Alcohol, Nicotine and Narcotics were barely a bump in the radar. They may never be activated. Incontinence also was a long way off except for rare appearances when Curry or Bad Meat got things wrong. Ice Cream and Chocolate were sure-fire long term career prospects. Together, they could carve out riches for themselves for years to come.

"Okay, we'll split it. I"ll get my team moving, you scope out Tactical." Icey moved off back to her own crew.

Chocko smiled as he turned back to his team,

"This is the dawn of a new era. Today we launch an alliance unheralded in Brain history..."

The ten year old Therbs was next in line as an ice-cream truck pulled up ten metres down the road from his house. He was first in line having tracked its siren song for the past few minutes.
He was oblivious to the battles which had raged in his brain, simply repeating his own prayer;
"Chocolate ice-cream, chocolate ice-cream, chocolate ice-cream,"

He thrust out an eagerly fumbled coin to the dealer.

"Choc heart thanks mate!".

Yum! Everyone wins!