Sunday, April 24, 2011

Animal Rights Groups Get New Mascot

Animal rights groups have a new plan for teaching children about animal cruelty this Easter holiday. While many are familiar with the legend of the Easter Bunny, animals rights groups want to replace him with their own mascot, the Draize Test Rabbit (AKA: “Mr. Testy”). We spoke with Petard leader Elizabeth Dickfree about the new campaign.
“The legend of the Easter Bunny is morally offensive. Here you have an animal being forced to hop down the bunny trail bringing candy to greedy and corpulant children. In France they have a bell that flies through the air bringing gifts to people which at least makes sense. Of course Americans base their folklore on expecting animals to be our slaves. We want to show children the real role of rabbits and how they are used in animal testing. Mr. Testy is designed to look like a rabbit who has been through several experiments. Some of his wounds actually ooze blood when functioning properly.”

The campaign nearly didn't see the light of day for Easter of 2011 due to manufacturing problems with the five Mr. Testy suits the company will be sharing with other animal rights groups.

“Due to Union specifications the costumes had to be made at one location while the full head masks were made at another” Dickfree reveals. “There was confusion, the people at the mask company did not realize the measurements were in inches rather than centimeters. It is very difficult to find people with heads small enough to fit into the mask.”
“We have had to employ microcehalics to wear the costume.” adds Tofu Brainphuk director of publicity for the organization.
“There again..” interjects Ms. Dickfree “Modern science and animal testing has all but made these beautiful anomalies of nature dissapear. We've had to go to Pakistan where pinheads are worshipped.”

The result is that most of the employees in the suit do not understand any English and are profoundly retarded. They often misunderstand what is happening and become violent, sometimes throwing the children on their laps several feet into the air. But according to Ms. Dickfree this is nothing to be alarmed over and adds to the child's experience:
“Our research has shown that children learn best when frightened. We want them to be affected by this experience for the rest of their lives. When we hear them screaming we know they're getting it.”
“We are making an impact” adds Tofu.
“Sometimes we will have a very good natured toddler who is resistant to fear. One of us will have to rush up behind him and scream to startle him. We'll do whatever it takes because we know that if they are not hysterical, we're just not getting through to them.”
“But when we do get through it is so rewarding.” Says Tofu with a warm smile. “We know it's working because immediately after the children have spent about ten minutes with Mr. Testy we offer them a bottle of shampoo. they want nothing to do with it. If we hand it to them, they will even throw it at us. It's simply amazing, ”

I asked if this was similar to the results that they have had with their prenatal vegetarianism program.

“Oh yes!” Elizabeth proclaimed triumphantly. “We've had amazing results with that! We project images of vivisected animals on the bellies of pregnant women during the last month of gestation. When the babies are born we offer them a steak. In five years not a single infant has had any interest in the steak, not one!”
“We call that success.” crows Tofu who then sums it all up:

“When the children are taken away in their parents arms crying and kicking, it breaks our hearts a little but we know that most, if not all of them, will never use shampoo or soap. When we go home to our cats, we can feel good about that.”

Mr. Testy will be appearing in selected Walmarts and True Value Hardware stores throughout the Inland from March 28 through April 31.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I am Not a Man From Kazakhstan!

I started playing MMROPGs (Massive multiplayer, role playing games) in 2004. It all started innocently enough with Disney's Toontown, a game designed for seven year olds but notorious for luring their parents to play and become hopelessly addicted. I made friends that I knew only in the gaming world, friends I played four different games with over the years. I grew tired of waiting for Toontown to get new content and began exploring other games. I eventually ended up in the black tar of gaming addiction: World of Warcraft (AKA: WoW).

WoW was a real game with real battles but it was no Toontown, it was difficult and yet I hear that it is a relatively easy game. (This makes me feel very stupid) I started out rolling a Mage (creating a character who's profession was to be a mage) and I really sucked at playing. Glutton for punishment, I didn't give up. I loved the world of WoW. It had great graphics. I could get on a bat and ride in the moonlight and do lots of things besides dying in battle. Now and then, I would go back into Toontown and see my friends and be a big toon who was well respected. I'd fill myself with the swagger of success then go back into WoW and be just pathetic. Lacking any victory to give me a thrill, I decided to engage in the kind of behavior that could at least provide me a laugh: role playing. Being a huge fan of
Da Ali G Show I created a character based on Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat. This was before the movie.

My Borat was a Tauren, which is an enormous species in the game that is a half man, half cow hybrid. I walked around the beautiful scenery of WoW as my Bovine Borat harassing women while learning to play the game. Eventually I got better and I was asked to join a guild.

A guild is a group that goes on quests and raids together. Guilds can chat while playing and I thought it would be real fun to stay in character. The Borat movie was in the works, I knew eventually these people would know what I was doing but for now I thought it would be fun to make it seem real. I told them  that I was a journalist and the 2nd most famous man in my home country. I was here on a mission to gain “Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”.  I had a lot of fun with my Borat character in WoW. The guys I played with seemed to be college students, mostly male and I was surprised that nobody caught on to what I was doing. It seemed that nobody had seen “Da Alli G Show”; but I knew in time the movie would be out and that would sort of be my punchline. I let my guildies know that they were making a movie about my mission and that I would soon be famous in America. “I will be movie star! You will be so proud you know me! You will tell all your friends! You will tell your sisters!” They reacted to that like I was just some weird, foreign guy telling tall tales.

I never did play well but I was funny so they liked me and would bring me along on raids for my limited healing ability and comic relief. Since all these guys had leveled way beyond me, I didn't engage much in battle but stayed back to heal them. The result of this is that if the team “wiped” (were all killed) I would be left alive because I had never posed a threat to the boss - the big enemy that it is the mission to kill. They would be dead and I would be alone with this creature. I would then narrate my sexual exploits with the creature while my comrades ran from the graveyard to find their bodies and resume the battle. I remember going into great detail about how I was finally left alone with this dragon we were fighting. “Oh she like me! She have very bad breath but she good kisser, I like fork tongue!” They would type “Eeew gross! Borat don't fuck the dragon, you don't know where she's been!” etc. My guildies liked me and I've always enjoyed the company of young men. I was having fun.

When we got a web page for us to organize our group endeavors we needed to use pictures of ourselves as avatars in the forums. Most of these guys used photos of their character or a favorite band. I used a photo of “myself”. It was a picture of Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat wearing a large cowboy hat. I started getting comments in game.
“Hey Borat is that you in your avatar?”

“Yes, is me! I have handsome, yes?”

One guy named “Darigaz”, kept saying “Man you look like a pervert!”

I would insist, “No that is my cousin Bilo, he is pervert. I am nicest guy!”

Dari would comment every now and then that I was just plain creepy looking with my mustache. I posted other photos of Borat that were even creepier just to mess with Dari.

I would tell them my movie was coming along great but sensed that they didn't really believe that I was soon to be a star of the silver screen. I decided to really flesh out this farce by looking online to see if there were any photographs of Sacha as Borat with the cameras around. I wanted to post something on our forum board to prove I wasn't making things up. When I looked around, I found something much better; I found stills from the now famous scene where Borat and Assamat are naked and fighting. This was wonderful! Borat and a fat guy, naked. This was just way too good! I had to send it to Dari to really freak him out. I decided not to share it with the guild but to send it to Dari by private message, that would make everything all the creepier. I included a note saying, “This is me and my good friend, Assamat, having recreations. I hope some day to meat you. Kindest Affections From Your Friend and Guild Mate, Borat” (note spelling of the word, “meat”)

Later that day I was in the game and some other guildies came on. I could see their dialogue in the text scrolling past me. They were discussing mathematics. After a while it seemed clear that they were working on some homework.
“Hey are you two in a class together? I asked
"Oh so are you in college?"
Oh dear, these guys are still in high school? They're just kids! Wow, that's a surprise. The game I had played just before WoW required people to be over 21 and this WoW was harder. I never thought these might be kids.
“So you're in High School?”
"Not yet."


“How old are you??” I asked in fear.
The reply for both was “14”. I asked what I was afraid to ask, “You know Dari in real life don't you? Is he only 14 too?”
“No ...he's 13”
Oh dear God in heaven. I have sent naked pictures to a child! I will get banned from World of Warcraft! Damn, I might get in trouble with the law! I had to do something. I had to tell them what I'd done.
 “You guys I have something to tell you! I am not a man from Kazakhstan! I am a middle aged MOTHER!” They thought I was kidding. After going on about how Borat can't be a Mom I finally got them to believe me. I explained what I had done and asked if they could tell Dari to just delete the email I sent him and we can all laugh about the joke. Now I understood why Dari kept saying he thought I was a pervert, poor kid, he was actually concerned!

“Dari's going on vacation and he uses his Dad's computer.”

Sweet buttered Jesus! That's it, there is no hope. The tabloids will love this! “America's sweetheart trolls the internet posing as a Russian man sending naked pictures to young boys” As if my career wasn't sad enough, this will kill it. I was panicky. The leader of our guild was a really sweet boy who I always assumed was a man because he was so fair and diplomatic and a good leader. He was 14 as well and he got on later in the day and told me that he was Dari's neighbor. He assured me that he met him after school and got him to delete the email before they went on vacation and before his Dad saw it. Of course they opened it up together and had a good laugh.

The final result is that we all had a good laugh and if anything I was maybe even cooler because I was a middle aged Mom who played WoW. They also now understood why I sucked so bad at the game: because I'm a middle aged Mom who plays WoW. Nice boys. My Toontown Friends soon joined WoW and we made our own guild “The Lords of Kazakhstan”. I felt safer knowing these people were old farts like me and I could be as lewd as Borat wanted to be. But I liked my little pals. Every now and then I would see one of them and they would tell me they saw the  Borat movie. They would ask if I had screwed any dragons lately and I would say “Yes! I liiiiike!” None of them ever knew that I had an identity beyond that of a middle aged mother and that I was also a little girl with a lisp that they could see on TV.

I think that would have been just too much.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Youngest One in Curlers

Yes indeed, that is me at the age of two at the beauty salon, getting a perm. 

Our mother couldn't love a cat with short hair. A prerequisite for any kitten we acquired was that it would grow to have a long beautiful coat. Mom liked pretty things. No stray cats for her, and no stray hairs. Everything was well coifed and beautiful. Mom was a beauty herself. Appearances were of obsessive concern to my mother who made sure that she was well groomed and had full makeup on when she delivered her children. She was greeting us looking her best and it was hoped that we would do the same. Our appearances were a source of pride for Mom; having beautiful children was her claim to fame. We were all so nice to look at that we got hired to be put in movies and TV so other people could look at us. One can't help but wonder what might have happened had my mother given birth to <gasp> an ugly child. It seemed that with me, her fourth and last offspring, she had done just that. I was not a pretty baby. My fathers exact words when seeing me for the first time were, “We should have quit while we were ahead.” Then he softened the remark with “Well, she's not our prettiest baby but she sure is sweet.” Dad was not obsessed with appearances at all. He was just very innocently and brutally honest. Fortunately my countenance improved day by day so my mother never had to consider the heart wrenching choice of leaving me on the doorstep of an ugly family so that I could be raised by my own kind. 

As much as she couldn't love a cat with short hair, she seemed unable to tolerate a child with straight hair. Her first born had beautiful ringlets like a cherub. Mom was determined that we all be that beautiful. While I know this makes her seem terribly superficial and she was obsessed with appearances, she was also the deepest, most profoundly wise and wonderful person I've ever known. The contrast of her obsession with appearances coupled with a true ability to see beyond all physical matter into the spiritual essence of everything provided a gentle but persistent confusion that made me have to think harder and I am grateful for it. I saw the world in layers before I ever got my hands on a copy of Photoshop. I knew from an early age that things are not always as they seem, you have to look closer, you must look deeper. If you only look at the surface, you are missing all the important stuff. Still my mother's philosophy was that nobody would ever look beyond the surface if that wasn't as good as it could possibly be.

And in her defense I must say that when I grew up and fulfilled my rebellious desire to have a short haired cat, my mother loved him as much as any grandkitten. So I would assume if need be she could have found it in her heart to love a child who's hair did not curl - but why bother when there are such things as curlers to correct this unfortunate situation? With the same sense of mission one would have clamping braces onto the legs of a crippled child, my mother put curlers in my hair in an effort to correct nature's hideous mistake. When I had grown just enough hair to cover the circumference of a curler, one was was installed. The look was called “The Boston Curl” It strongly resembled the style worn by members of the Lollipop Guild in Munchkinland. As I grew, so did my hair and my mother's dissapointment in it. While it was blonde like my brother, there were no lovely ringlets. Something had to be done. 
What you see in the photo is me getting a perm at the age of two.Well it only made sense, I had an agent by then and was doing commercials. It's difficult to get a baby to sleep in rollers and questionable to risk burning them with a curling iron. Pouring chemicals on Baby's head would seem to be the safe and sane solution. In the photo I am demonstrating the temperament that got me jobs – I was not fussy. On my first job a bee stung me on my lip. I never cried. The director told my mother to put champagne in my bottle that night because I had been such a pro. (I doubt she carried out his instructions) I don't remember being praised for my behavior during this “first perm” but I clearly remember my second. I sat with a towel up to my face trying to keep the fumes away. My eyes burned, I cried, I became very “fussy” My mother admonished me lamenting over how good I had been before. With the hindsight of an adult I realize that the distress I heard in my mother's voice was not anger directed at me for my temperament, it was concern that she was doing something wrong. But I didn't know that. I thought she was angry. I felt ashamed for being a big baby, I wanted to be brave and strong but the fumes were overwhelming me. I tried, I really tried my best but I just couldn't handle it. I remember her and the beautician discussing how it was the same formula that had been used before and all had gone so well, why was it all so different now? The choice was made to neutralize me before the timer went off. My relief had a price, for the next few weeks I had to listen to Mom complain about how that perm just didn't “take” because we neutralized too soon and this is why I had to sleep in curlers. So this was my punishment for not enduring the sting of amonia vapors.

My hair would become an analogy of my life, Sleeping in curlers assured that not only was my hair being curled but my subconscious mind as well. There was a constant need to look act and be different than who I was . The focus on my appearance contributed to making me who I am today – a miserable slob. Wouldn't you know I would become known to millions as “the youngest one in curls”. But my hair is straight dammit! At last the truth can be told! By the way, there are no violins playing in the background. This is not a sad story. Begging for coins to get enough to eat is a sad story of childhood. Sleeping in curlers in middle class America is nothing to get fussy about.