Don’t be a fool tomorrow

A clever April Fool’s joke is always welcome, especially when it’s just plain funny, like an Onion article, where you first go “This can’t be real!” and then you realize it isn’t. If you can pull off that kind of joke, more power to you.

However, too many people simply post a lie and then after everyone believes you, you say “April Fools!” It doesn’t take skill or talent to say “Oh no, I broke my leg! Ha ha, April Fools.”nobodys-fool

That’s not clever and distracts from people who really do have serious things happen to them tomorrow.  Posting that you had something terrible happen to you may simply remind people who have had that terrible thing happen to them about it, and what’s the fun in that? You’ve just made people sad instead of entertaining them.

For instance: The same year my wife and I got married, we made invitations exactly like the ones we sent out for our wedding, except these invited everyone to come to our divorce, to be held at the Suffolk County Courthouse, on April 1. It went over well, because people first thought it was an official invitation to some special event, then they went “Whaaaaa?” then they laughed.

Anyway, please be clever if you’re posting an April Fool’s joke. Thanks.

First Drafts: Movie Titles

Our previous first draft contest (“band names“) gave us some hilarious responses. This time, I asked for the first draft of movie titles, and here’s some of my favorites and the ones that got the most “likes” (in no particular order except me first):giphy

Michael A. Ventrella:

  • Moon Wars
  • WALL-F
  • The Wizard of Ounce
  • Bravespleen
  • The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Hours
  • Howl’s Moving White Castle
  • The Credibles
  • Apocalypse Whenever
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Kidney Stone
  • Hectopussy
  • Aunt-Man
  • Indiana Jones and the Penultimate Crusade
  • The Halfback of Notre Dame
  • The Perfect Stormy Daniels
  • Plan 9 From Altoona, PA

Savannah Luther:

  •  Ladychicken

Esther Friesner:

  • The Spare Change of the Sierra Madre
  • Debbie Visits Dallas
  • Hi, Noon!

Brandon E. Kumm:

  • Die In A Somewhat Difficult Way

Jay Pennington:

  • Prince Kong
  • Moulin Eyeliner
  • The Ten Suggestions
  • Lord of the Friendship Bracelets
  • A Barely Worth Mentioning Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Force 10 from Toblerone
  • Permitted Planet
  • Lawrence of Flatbush

Terri Lynn Coop:

  • All’s Chill on the Western Front
  • The Streets of Conshohocken

Pam Smith:

  • The Jungle Pamphlet
  • Raging Cow

Daniel Persons:

  • Star Trek 3: The Search for Sporks
  • The Seven Year Staph Infection

Rachelle Stein:

  • Some Like it Lukewarm

Eric Hamilton:

  • Irate Max
  • Logan’s Amble
  • Children of a Lesser Dog

David Edward Martin:

  • It’s a Fairly Annoyed, Kind of Annoyed, Pretty Annoyed, Really Annoyed World

Jesse Hendrix:

  • The Okay Dictator

Glenn Haumann:

  • Indiana Jones and the Temple Of B’Nai Brith

Marcus Dark:

  • Awe Woman

Rebecca Morris:

  • Rosemary’s Tween
  • The Devil Wears Chinese Rip-offs
  • Call of Doody
  • Minority Post-it Notes

James Ryan:

  • The Shiny

Carl Montano:

  • Children of the Zucchini

Jason Harris Vichinsky:

  • Anxiety and Mild Disdain in Las Vegas

Steve Vaughan:

  • You’ve Got Texts
  • Crochet Your Wagon
  • Conan the Bartender

Andrew Sugermeyer:

  • Undocumented Immigrant Kane

Michael Engler:

  • A Fistful of Dollies
  • Slightly Soiled Harry

Maria Solly Engler:

  • Ghostadmonishers

Jason Leon:

  • The Fast and the Slightly Perturbed
  • Dances with Irish Setters
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grill
  • Escape from New Brunswick
  • Snakes on a Plain

Sarah Adams:

  • The Penultimate Jedi

Susie Guarino:

  • Where Eagles Consider
  • Air Force Two
  • First Lieutenant America

Mike Guarino:

  • Illinois Jones and the Shrine of Moderate Peril
  • Shaving Private Ryan

Kevin Irwin:

  • Drizzle Man

Donald Smith:

  • Larry of Arabia
  • The Wildebeest in Winter
  • Lab Assistant Zhivago

Michael Kaspszyk:

  • A Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Neighborhood

Sorry I couldn’t post them all! Be a friend of mine on Facebook for the next one.

“Black Panther” and white audiences

The new Marvel movie “Black Panther” looks great from all the previews. I’m looking forward to it, as are many fans of a good superhero film.

But you watch — as soon as it is released, you’re going to see articles from Hollywood types acting surprised that a film with an almost-entirely black cast is so popular with white audiences as well.


I still remember when Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” was out, and I was reading articles from Hollywood “experts” saying that it was an “urban” film (that’s their code word for “black” — as if there are no white people living in urban areas) and that white audiences couldn’t relate to the film.

As it was, I lived not far from the neighborhood where that movie was filmed. I can guarantee you that I could relate more to the people in that movie than I ever could to some white British aristocrats in 19th century England, yet no one ever says “White people can’t relate to ‘Pride and Prejudice.'”

In any event, what we really want are good movies. I don’t have to be black to enjoy a movie with black characters any more than I have to be Jewish to enjoy a Woody Allen movie or an animal to appreciate “Zootopia” or a hobbit to appreciate “Lord of the Rings.” And I think, despite what Hollywood executives may think, most Americans feel that way.

But just watch out. The articles acting surprised at the film’s success will soon be here.

Freedom from ads!

I’ve been running this blog for five years or so now, using WordPress. In exchange for giving me a free page, they’d run ads everywhere.cache

But they never showed me the ads. I’d just get a message saying, “Some of your readers may see an ad here.”

I recently looked at this page on my phone and then again from a computer where I was not logged into WordPress automatically and was surprised at how often these ads popped up.

So I finally gave in and paid the extra yearly fee so you won’t have to see any ads.

You can thank me by maybe buying one of my books — they make good holiday presents, too.

Wait, was that an ad?

Real people complaining about fictional people

The new Doctor Who has been announced, and it’s a woman. So of course, some fanboys (and some fangirls) are complaining. “But the Doctor is a man!”

No, the Doctor is fictional.

The biggest complainers are the ones who get an idea in their heads and decide that X version of a fictional character is the only one possible, and any variation is blasphemy. “Superman can’t be black!” they scream, ignoring the fact that Superman isn’t even human — he could be green and polka dotted (although that might make his secret identity a bit tougher to hide).

Sometimes it really matters whether a character is male or female, black or white … if it’s important to the plot. And sometimes the writer/director/producer decides to go against the expected to make a point or to do something different with the character.

Re-interpretations of fictional works happen all the time. Look at how many times Shakespeare has been done in a new way. Characters can change race and sex; the story can take place in the present or the future — it’s fiction. You can do that.

With Doctor Who, it’s even easier to change, because the Doctor changes. Since the show has been going on for 50 years or so, the same actor has not played the part and so the writers came up with “regeneration” where the Doctor sheds his old body and takes on a new one. I’ve never understood plot-wise why that has to happen, but I certainly understand why that needs to be done for TV’s sake. And there is nothing in the established history of the show to indicate why the Doctor regenerated as male the last dozen times (or, for that matter, why the aliens always seem to be attacking London, but that’s a separate issue). So what’s wrong with a female this time?  Statistically speaking, shouldn’t that have happened long ago?

For that matter, what’s wrong with changing real, actual history for dramatic purpose? Hamilton features minority actors playing the white Founding Fathers, and they did that to make a specific point, as well as to say, “Who cares what color the actor is that plays this part?”  The story is still plenty strong, the characters are believable and real, and so what if they don’t look exactly like the people they’re portraying?

So let’s stop complaining when we get a black Santa Claus or a black Hermione, or a female Doctor Who. It’s fiction.

Hodor Forever

The story of how I “predicted” the Hodor plotline has apparently gained me another 15 minutes of fame, as it’s once more recounted on Cracked’s web page today in an article called “6 Throwaway Jokes That Ended Up Predicting Huge Plot Twists.”

If you don’t know the story, click here for the background.

George was of course a great sport about it all and gladly posed for a joke picture afterwards:


Star Trek: IDIC

“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”

Celebrating the differences that make us great and accepting those differences was one of the key concepts in the original Star Trek. So I’m glad to see that the official Star Trek merchandise now includes pride

There have been complaints, of course, because there are who claim to be fans of Star Trek who really aren’t, because they don’t get the whole theme of the show. In fact, for most of science fiction (apart from dystopian stuff), when you look to the future, you see more acceptance of different cultures, not less.

When Star Trek first began 50 years ago, it was a shock to see a female officer, and even moreso to see a black female officer. Well, yes, she was in charge of “communications” which, in many episodes, made her just a glorified receptionist, but then there were those where Uhura went on those missions alongside the men, fighting right beside them. Every once in a while, we’d get other female officers and even a black admiral or two. “No way the future would be like that!” some people claimed in 1966, never imagining that within their lifetime it would be unusual not to see people like that in power.

We clearly haven’t reached the goal of true equality, but like the Vulcans, we should always strive for infinite diversity in infinite combinations.  Live long and prosper.