On the website of The Sci-Fi Channel, there were frequent blogs posted by the characters and cast of the show. The following is an archive of the posts.
MST3000 Opens, by Tom Servo
Okay! Here we go! Are you ready for some FOOTBALLLL! I thought not. But are you ready for some MST? Eh? Of course you are! That got you goin'! Welcome then to this new and super-nifty MST Web site, courtesy of your friends and mine at the Sci-Fi Channel. We'll be here with you throughout the new season, chattering, yukking, kibitzing right along side you hearty web-sters and inter-lopers! As our show launches onto the Sci-Fi cable waves, park your mouse here for the latest news and views about your favorite show! Oh, and there'll be information about MST as well. Kidding! I'm kidding, it's a joke!
MST on Sci-Fi is our biggest, boldest and tangiest MST season ever! Freed from the clutches of Dr. Forrester, only to be pursued by his mom! Ever been pursued by a mom! You know what I'm saying, people! Follow us through the Sci-Fi cosmos as we meet creatures of frightening features, do battle with clichés, match wits with tired plotlines, uncover horrid actors and lame monsters, and maybe, just maybe, learn a little about ourselves.
Scully? A guy named FOX?!? Never heard of 'em. Gimme Tom and Crow and Gypsy and Mike and Pearl and The Rest! Gimme movies like Revenge of the Creature and Leech Woman!
So to paraphrase an overweight Englishman whose name escapes me, "Welcome back my friends to the show that (seemingly) never ends!" Oh, and "Oooh, what a lucky man he was."
A Word from Professor Bobo
Is this working? Testing? Hello? Can they really read my words? Hello?
Greetings. I am Professor Bobo, son of Koko and I am dictating this message to my companion, Observer, who says he is transmitting my every word as I say them through time and space with his mind. I don't believe him. I think he may be lying. Yes you are, Observer, you liar...No, don't hit me, I'll whump your brain but good...Look, baldy, if I have to open a can of whoop-ass on you, so be it...
Oh, hi, Lawgiver, we were just playing. I'm sending a message through time and space to the twentieth century and...well, no, Lawgiver, I don't really know anyone there...well, no, I'm not getting paid...I'm exploring, Lawgiver, in the fine tradition of the heroic Ham!... What do you mean, it's a waste of the Brain Guy's time and talent?... No, I don't need to clean out my chamber, I did that weeks ago... No, I am not repeating everything you say so that the Observer transmits it back to the twentieth century so that all those people know how lame you really are. Stop. Stop hitting me. Stop. Ow! Observer, stop dictating! Stop! Ow! Ow! Stop it, ow! Ow, stop! Stop! Ow!
Ow! Ow! Stop! Stop it! Ow! Stop it, mind you! Ow! Thank you, can I finish my message?
Well, that's all from the...where the baboon are we anyway? Well, that's all from the furthest reaches of outer space, I guess. So long for now!
A Moment with Pearl
Pearl Forrester here. How am I? I'm fine, thanks - thanks for asking. Yes, I'm fine now, but I had a very rugged day, I'll tell you that for free. First of all, I showed up for my weekly appointment at Rick! Hair! where I've been getting my hair done for ages. Rick! wasn't there. Now I'm a pretty patient person but when he didn't show up after 90 seconds of me waiting, I was somewhat miffed. I barked at the receptionist gal, Trina, "Where the hell is Rick!?" Trina told me that Rick! wasn't there. Now, I have real good people skills but I reamed out Trina like there was no tomorrow. I think she appreciated it because it will help her to do her job better in the future.
So I got back into the VW where Bobo, my personal ape, and the Brain Guy were waiting for me. I had left them with their Happy Meals, travel Yahtzee and some Highlights magazines, and the window cracked open 1/8 of an inch. Bobo offered to do my hair but I explained to him that I had been going to Rick! Hair! for ages and while appreciated his offer there was no way in hell I was gonna let him near my tresses. To be honest, I think he was just a little too eager to do my hair. Brain Guy offered to do my hair with his mind but he didn't have hot rollers so that was out. We drove over to Rick!'s because I know that he sometimes does hair out of his bathroom but no one's supposed to know, especially the IRS. Rick! answered the door in his robe and I could hear The Ricki Lake Show blaring in the background. I, quite diplomatically, confronted Rick! about my hair. Turns out he'd had a bad night, he wasn't feeling so good. Well, guess what? I don't feel so good every single day of my life but do I blow off all my obligations? No. I still take the time to lovingly berate people for inconveniencing me, and I, very tactfully, yelled that at Rick! Rick! was very understanding and accommodating, and while Bobo and Brain Guy watched Jerry Springer, Carnie and Rolanda, Rick! did my hair and we had a lovely time.
Next week - I get my nails done.
Upcoming SOL Events, by Mike
Hi everyone. Mike Nelson here welcoming you to this web page! Welcome. Let me tell you about some of the special events that we have coming up on the Satellite of Love. Every Wednesday there's an event that Crow set up called Two-Fer-Tuesday, where we get two smoked oysters for the price of one. He holds his Two-Fer-Tuesday on Wednesday because Servo also has an event called Too-Fur-Tuesday which he holds every Tuesday in which we get two pocket gopher pelts for the price of one. It's a lot of fun, but as far as I know, no one has taken either one up on the offer.
Gypsy also has an event on Friday afternoon that she calls To-Fir-Tuesday where you get to plant several trees instead of just one. It gets kind of confusing.
Spring cleaning is also just around the corner, an event we look forward to with no small dose of trepidation. That's because Tom Servo uses this time to beat the coal dust out of the rugs in the traditional fashion. It does no good to mention that we operate on a particulate-free ferro-magnetic heating system, for Tom the feisty would-be-hausfrau might turn on you with a couple of fierce cracks of his rug beater, screaming in his perfect German. Oh, boy! Spring!
Enjoy your time here in moderation.
The Crow FAQ
Hi there, friends! Crow T. Robot here welcoming you to the MST 3K web page!
You know, while I had this opportunity I thought I'd address some of the frequently asked questions that people ask me, well, frequently. Here they are, along with my frequent answers:
1. What does the "T" in "Crow T. Robot" stand for? Alas, it stands for "The." But I'm getting a little bored with that, and am considering changing it to something more substantial. Under consideration: "Tyrannosaurus," "Theremin," "Transcendental" and "Tim."
2. Who in show biz has been your greatest inspiration? It's a toss-up between Miles Davis and Miles O' Keefe.
3. Who do you admire most from history? That would have to be Mahatma Gandhi. And probably for the same reasons that so many other people admire him: his scrappiness under the boards. Definitely not a slouch on his outside jumpers, either. But pound-for-pound one of the best defensive players the NBA has ever produced.
4.What projects do you have coming up? I'm glad you asked. Look to your local branch of whatever multi-tentacled corporate bookstore chain you prefer for my upcoming seven-volume biography, "Remembrance of Things Crow," which traces my roots from a humble mining town in Wales, to my Tin-Pan-Alley days, all the way to my complete world domination of all media, everywhere, forever. (I've taken some poetic license with the "facts," but I think it's far more "truthful" that "way.") Also, I'm currently editing my next picture, "Reservoir Crows," which tells the violent-but-pop-culture-soaked tale of the seedy characters who manage our town's water supply.
5. Can you tell us your recipe for happiness? No.
6. I ask again, can you tell us your recipe for happiness? No! Please, leave me alone or I'll call security.
Nice visiting with you! Now get in there and enjoy the heck out of this website!
Tom Servo's Summer Soup Recipe
Yes, summer is on the wing. The Pomeranians are in full bloom in my garden. The pesticides are dripping off the tomato plants. So head out to your garden and grab what you need, come on back and make my soup.
CHILLED SUMMER SOUP (serves some)
- A egg
- 2 lbs ground beef, bone marrow or cheese
- 2 quarts vegetable stock
- 3 lbs of smallish cucumbers, peeled and sliced
- 3 lbs of potatoes, skinned and sliced
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 thing fresh fennel, chopped
- Snipped fresh dill
- Snipped fresh chives
- Snipped fresh date
- Jeremy Rifkin's phone number
- A splash of Pernod
- A splash of Hai-Karate
- "A Separate Peace"
- Two bottles of Veuve Cliquot Grande Dame Champagne,
- preferably from a decent vintage year.
Beat an egg. Beat the livin' tar out of it. I mean, go at it like Jackie Chan. I wanna see pain in that egg, you wusses, go on and bite the egg's ear off if that's what it takes. Anyway, beat until lemony in color, about three seconds. Set aside.
Brown the ground beef or marrow. Splash on Hai Karate, toss the cheese in with the beef or marrow and arrange date. Have date smell Hai-Karate, eat Marrow-cheese dish and run. Swear off meat and stinky after-shaves.
The next day, resolve to a meatlessness only dreamt of by the likes of Jeremy Rifkin. Call Jeremy Rifkin and talk politics until tender. Simmer the stock, toss in the potatoes, cukes and thing of fennel, pour in the Pernod and cook for about an hour or two. While soup simmers, read "A Separate Peace" until tears form. Mash soup with a masher or sploosh soup in food mill until smooth. Add chopped herbs, chill until chilled.
Serve soup with one bottle of champagne, wrap the other bottle very carefully and send it to me.
Oh, and the egg? Feed it to your dog, it's good for the coat.
Social Notes From Crow
Michael J. Nelson was a guest at Tom Servo's Thursday last. "Mike" happens to be living on the same satellite as Mr. Servo, so it was thought to be convenient that he could stop by. They enjoyed baloney sandwiches.
Mike returned the favor the very next night, that being Friday, and feted Tom Servo with a delicious casserole. The games Mike brought out were enjoyed.
Saturday saw them both back at Mr. Servo's, with crackers, walleye fingers, little sandwiches, a soup buffet, movies and many fine sodas. Gypsy dropped by as well, and later described the evening as "frolicsome." She remarked that three together is perhaps the ideal number for a swell party.
Servo, Gypsy and Mike dined together frequently the next three days in a row. There was even a jolly picnic! Asked to characterize the event, Mike said, "Oh it wasn't anything. I don't think you were around."
Mike, Tom and Gypsy report no particular plans for this evening, although they must check their calendars and so can't commit to a party being arranged by Crow T. Robot, who is also on the Satellite.
The constant temperature has been a joy. Bye bye!!
Hello Fall, by Pearl
Lawgiver Pearl here. Well, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that it isn't summer anymore. And boy, am I glad. I really get sick of people having fun and talking buoyantly as if they're having a good time. I try to go about my business, wearing my winter coat and galoshes as if it were still wonderful winter, but the rest of the upper hemisphere won't cooperate.
Summer hurts me. Admittedly I take summer too personally, but when daylight drags on for more than 4 hours at a stretch I start to feel this gnawing guilt that I should be outside or something. I loathe being outside for I cannot bear the sound of people having fun, unless it somehow involves me. However, I don't want to be involved - still, I don't want others going around having their summer fun with their jet-skis and sunglasses and tawny-ness and outdoor dining and the picnics and open car windows as they drive down the freeway. I mean - how do you think that makes me feel!!!!
To celebrate the arrival of fall, I conducted many of my usual rituals: I left my down comforter on my bed, where it had been all summer and it was there I would snuggle into it, bidding dreams of autumn to come into my head. Then, promptly at 12:01 a.m. September 1 , I got all my sweaters out, refolded them, and stacked them in my closet. I had my car immediately winterized and I have my ice scraper at the ready. And I eagerly await, with burbling anticipation, not leaving my condo for another six months.
Merry Christmas to you and yours but mostly me,
Greetings from Observer
Greetings, you creatures pathetically far down the evolutionary ladder from myself! I welcome you to this "website," this extraordinarily crude form of technology which apparently has most of you all hot and bothered and convinced that you have entered into some demi-paradise of global communication. What poppycock!
Especially when you compare it to what myself and those like me achieved eons ago. For we are those entities unbound by space or time! We are have no names. We are simply fractals of a larger thought collective; part of an omniscient "neural net," if you will.
To you lesser beings, I reveal myself as an "Observer." And to really, really lesser beings, I seem to inspire the moniker "Brain Guy." Which I absolutely loathe, but...
But no matter. We are beyond words...and really dumb, maddeningly insulting nicknames. For we are like amoebas compared to you!...No wait, reverse that.
And we are indeed all-knowing. We are quite literally infallible. Having masterred the very essense of all things—physical, mental, and spiritual - there is literally no way we can ever be in eror.
So - put that in your corporeal pipe and smoke it. But when your tiny mind aches too much from trying to comprehend me, give your unevolved self a break and enjoy this primitive yet amusing web site.
Mike's Shopping Tips!
Greetings! Mike Nelson here! I'm experimenting with using exclamation points at the ends of all of my sentences! It's a comic book technique that I think will work for my particularly dry style of prose!
As the holiday season approaches, I thought I'd share with you some of my shopping tips! First off, get a lot of money! $30,000 should do! Don't skimp! You don't want to be trying to buy Sony on a Realistic budget! Second, buy in quantity! If you're buying your friend a scarf, you might as well go all the way and buy several cases of scarfs! I'd say a pallet load should be enough, 400-500 count! If you buy in bulk, you'll save! I bought my oldest and dearest friend 13 boxes of Wyler's chicken bullion cubes (very heavy!) that were a month away from their expiration date! The Christmas before my girlfriend Ginger left me, I got her 54 boxes of Flav-o-rite Mushrooms, Pieces and Stems! I don't remember what she got me! Some book or something, mushy stuff, hope I didn't look too disappointed!
Buy in bulk for a loved one and cover several Holiday Seasons in one pass! I never need to buy Ginger a present, ever again! Partly because she won't even take my phone calls, but mostly because she can't possibly use up my gift of mushrooms until 2008!
Another technique is to simply feign sickness during the Holidays! You'll get sympathy, plenty of gifts, and you won't have to whittle that $30,000 nut down buying case after case of water chestnuts or pallet loads of pricey soap dishes!
A Message from Ned the Nanite
A Robot's Almanac, by Tom Servo
A Robot's Almanac for February, by Tom Servo
This is Thomas Servo with the Robots Almanac for February.
- In 873, cheese was invented by a convulsive dairy farming serf in the central lowlands of England, in a town which is now called Wessex-On-Cheese.
- In 1380, a medieval water-driven literary machine.
- In 1994, robots discovered a new species of tree kangaroo.
- Also in 1994, a robot clubbed skater Nancy Kerrigan, although credit was taken by whiny, glory grabbing chunk of psuedo-feminine gristle Tonya Harding. Hunh.
- In 1994, a Robot named Dante2 fearlessly went into the belly of a volcano in Alaska and nearly gave up its life. And for what? So that Pierce Brosnan and Linda "Biceps" Hamilton could steal its glory and make a really dumb movie.
Spring, by Mike
It's almost spring! Spring, when the world, as I understand it, is puddlewonderful, and, to the best of my knowledge, the little lame balloon man whistles far and wee. It always puts me in mind of my springs spent in New Richmond, Wisconsin, my family and I scraping the mud off our shoes, hats, backs and from between our toes. Getting the layers of caked-on mud off the cows, tractors and fetal pigs. Farmers love spring, because it means more work. Time spent alone and sullen, when the whack of your scoop shovel against the hindquarters of a Guernsey is all the therapy you need. And the smells of spring! Whey and silage mix with the odors of offal and large, mean stock animals. Even your own smell comes into its own. Blossoms, if you will.
Spring means food, as well. Things are fatted and "put down," sawed into pieces convenient for stewing or boiling. There are "rashers" of things, items are pickled and "put by," and children delight in the flavor of freshly pulled taffy, the excess of which is made into head gaskets for the several old Ford tractors that litter the back forty. My mother used to make something she called "stomperjack biscuits," originally enjoyed by grizzled, New Richmond twine makers. Though memory fades, I believe the ingredients are flour, salt peter, rock salt, flour, and salt. Bake them for a while and enjoy a New Richmond original!
I'm stuck on a Satellite this year, but a large percentage of you aren't! Get out and enjoy spring! Go!
Around the House, by Bobo
Well, it's April, and April is rainy season and where I come from rainy season means just one thing: Time to make a nest! Some of you may not be real good yet at making a nest, so I thought it would be nice for me to give you some advice on how to make a nest. So here's how you make a nest.
I'm talking about a big nest, of course, like for gorillas, not little nests like for birds. (Aren't birds cute, though, with their little nests?)
Find a good stand of straw or African heron grass and gather as much of it as you can into your arms, always being aware of the possibility from attack by dominant males who are trying to protect their females. I was nearly killed once by a real crabby dominant male who saw me carrying an armload of straw and for some reason took it as a direct challenge. Really, I meant no such thing! Had I not so quickly presented, well who knows whether I'd be here today. (So if I were you I would practice presenting, too, as part of my nest-building routine.)
I should take a moment and explain something. It's always possible to use one of those everyday nests, the ones I've heard described as "crude." You know what I mean, we've all done it - you're tired, you've eaten about 70 pounds of who knows what (mostly plants, maybe a dead marmoset) since sun-up, so you just bend a few tree branches into some kind of shape and drop right off to sleep.
Don't get me wrong, those can be great nests. (And if you make 'em big enough for two - wowie!) But as I get older and gain a little more status in the group I prefer your hay or straw, or even your grass. I feel I deserve it.
And there's not much to it, really. Get a bunch of hay or straw or grass and kind of stamp it around and then just lie down, brother! You won't regret the extra effort.
It's May, by Kevin Murphy
Well, to paraquote Lerner and Lowe, "It's May, it's May, a crusty bunch of May." That's right, isn't it? And if not, who the hell cares, it's a musical! We all know musicals exist on the food chain just one peg below satirical puppet shows.
Be that as it "May," this is the month ideally suited for one to go a-Maying. Why? Because it's May, you obtuse collection of brain stems! Every try to go a-Apriling? God only knows what would happen to your immortal soul! My Uncle Frank once tried to go a-Octobering and was arrested on the roof of his own house, naked as a streaker, pitching handfuls of acorns at angry Chicago police. It took four shots to bring him down. So for practicality and safety, please restrict yourself to a-Maying.
How does one a-May? In his History of Medieval Europe, noted historian Norman F. Cantor describes a-Maying as "...dressing in... gauzy poet shirts, jamming hyacinths into your... mid-sixties Anthony Hopkins hairdo and... barreling through the forest preserves, decimating perennial beds, in general acting like the complete and utter ninnies you are." (attributed). I find this analysis rather harsh, as I know many sophisticated men and women who can do a passable job of a-Maying. Why, Norman Mailer has often been spotted during the month of May gallivanting around the Cloisters in Manhattan.
The secret to successful a-Maying is in the gallivant, period. The lollygag and the traipse are for rookies, theater-types and St. John's Wort-popping lame-o's from first-tier suburbs. Gallivanting is downtown. It's da kine. It's where the show begins. Some of your best gallivanters go on to lucrative contracts in the NFL and porn movies.
When gallivanting, keep your center of gravity low, your feet at shoulder width, and a lot of flex in the knee to avoid back injuries. Begin with a light gallivant, through a sylvan copse, lunging aggressively at woodland flowers—your columbine, your wild violet. The name of the game is flower gathering here, with speed and precision. In a while, you may work up to open field gallivanting as your thighs develop strength. If there is neither copse nor glen in your neighborhood, try gallivanting at the farmers market of a grocery store. Snatch sprays of parsley and bunches of green-top carrots as you power through defenders. If someone's in your way, knock 'em down. If you have yelled "It's May!" you're in the clear, liability-wise. But please don't yell "May Day!" or the FAA will be on your sorry a** in a New York minute.
So it's May! Now get out there and go a-Maying, and take no prisoners. Oh and, as always, remember to wear a helmet.
Derecho!, by Paul Chaplin
Well it's June, meaning that for a month or so there is almost nothing less rare than a day in June. I mean we're surrounded by the damn things right now.
Other than that what can you say about June?
Here in Minnesota, right at the end of May, which is very much like June so I feel justified in writing about it, we had an incredible storm. There were "straight-line winds" of 80 mph and more, over a wide area; thousands of trees knocked down, houses destroyed, insurance companies crabbily letting go of a little of our money - yes, it was a real humdinger.
The single most common sight in Minneapolis/St. Paul right now is a tree laying on an Accord. Every block has one.
The problem with this storm was how to talk about it. All the breathless candy-faced remote reporters tried so hard to make "straight-line winds" sound like a menacing phenomenon, but it just doesn't work, which may seem like a small thing but how do you warn the people in the face of a storm like this? Who will respond to a straight-line wind watch? I won't. I would refuse. You have to draw the line; you can't be scared of everything and if I'm scared of straight-line winds I'll faint at the prospect of vertical snowfall or wet rain.
Thankfully it turns out there is a term, according to the weather service. Our storm was a derecho, they told us a couple days after the fact, and I choose to believe they didn't just make it up. Turns out they're very common in Minnesota.
Not so common that anybody had ever heard of them, but be that as it may the only remaining issue is devising a system of derecho watches and warnings, like we do for tornadoes. (This is all Midwestern stuff, by the way.)
We can't just have sirens; there are too many siren-based warnings already. Derecho is a fine Spanish word, as is tornado, of course. The Spanish seem to have a flair for this sort of word.
Thus, a simple and fitting idea would be to use our present infrastructure of massive siren horns to beam mariachi music out across the city in the event of an oncoming derecho. Everybody responds to mariachi music. You can't help it!
Me 'n' Crow, by Bill Corbett
Hi, Bill Corbett here. You know, friends and family congratulate me on having such a great job. And they are certainly right - to a point. What they don't understand is that I wasn't hired by Best Brains Inc. to show up here everyday. No sir. I was hired by Crow himself - after an excruciating and sometimes physically painful screening process. (The cat'o'nine tails seemed a bit much to me.)
I am in fact on Crow's personal payroll. I am here to make life easier for Crow, as he has too many greater responsibilities to attend to. I think of myself as the Jeeves to his Wooster, even though Crow tells me "Don't dignify yourself with the comparison!" He's only joking, of course. Then he yells and curses and spits on the floor in front of me, but he's still just kidding, I think.
It's a tough job, being a lowly mud-crawling lackey (his preferred term) to an ingenious but temperamental small gold robot. Let me share a sampling of the duties I have to Crow (or, as he instructs me to call him, Your Excellency) during the course of the week:
- Fix his favorite breakfast: Fruit Loops with Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee Beef Gravy.
- Drive him to the dog track.
- Help him with his times tables.
- Read the entire medical encyclopedia to him, just for kicks.
- Perform hand puppet shows that he can boo loudly and abusively.
- Oil his beak to keep him in fighting trim for his bouts with bad movies.
- Rent great classic movies so he can shout out highly complimentary remarks. ("Everyone needs to unwind", he says.)
- Be the designated driver when he goes out pub-crawling with Servo. (Yes, I have to wait in the car.)
- Fix his favorite lunch: cranberry cheese melt with Altoids.
- Drive him to the dog track again. Lend him lots of money.
- Ghost-write his scandal-soaked, tell-it-all, sex-filled autobiography.
- Maintain his Kim Catrall correspondence in good order (see item directly above).
- Call and try to get the Dalai Lama to endorse his new line of high-tech whoopee cushions.
- Help him put on his disguise to avoid celebrity gawkers in public. He puts on a Trent Lott mask, and does nothing to disguise his body, so people are generally just frightened.
- Fetch his spear gun and Bowie knife for him and then wait in the broom closet until he tells me I can come out. (I don't know what this is about, and I don't dare ask.)
- Dutifully try to finish off the fights he picks in bikers' bars, even though it means frequent hospitalization for me.
- Actively seek out and call foreign dignitaries who will have him as a pampered celebrity guest. ("Ruthless dictators are the funnest", says he.)
- Fix his favorite dinner: chateau briand, white asparagus, roasted new potatoes and caeser salad. And oh yeah, with Fluff all over everything.
- Review the day with him to see what I've done wrong, very wrong.
- Tuck him in to his waterbed with his Harold Robbins novels, a bottle of single malt scotch and a big handful of Cuban cigars.
It is a good life indeed, if challenging and a bit unhealthy. But if I can be Holmes to his Watson, then... [Ooops. Sorry. Crow just saw me typing this, and finds this analogy a bit off. Correction:] If I can be a tubeworm to his Olympian God, then I'm happy.
Gotta go. Time to polish his scrimshaw collection.
Gimme One of Them Lucky Loons, by Paul Chaplin
The writers have this week off, here at Best Brains, so I'm rising late and taking my coffee on the deck next to the pool and catching up on things in the world. I read (were I to tell you what I read you would be very impressed) and I listen to the radio.
Today's topic on a local mid-morning call-in show was gambling.
Here in Minnesota it's a big deal, this gambling. We have a state lottery, with dozens of dollar and two-dollar games enticing you any time you can't avoid a SuperAmerica, like when you need gas or strange food. We have a whole lot of casinos run by the various tribes, and they're big operations, with parking for hundreds of housewives. We have a horse track and a dog track and charitable gambling nights run (and run questionably) by just about every church in sight.
It's everywhere, and I'm against it. At least I'm against this spread, like creeping charley, of legal gambling everywhere. Sure, were creating a lot more addicts. There's no doubt about that. I don't remember many middle-aged single women robbing strings of banks in rural Wisconsin before all this came about.
But that's not my main complaint. The thing that really bugs me about gambling is that it's just tawdry.
It's like we have no pride as a nation anymore.
You need money to fund education? You want to bring "life" back to a riverfront? Hey, it's easy: gambling! Gambling is the answer!
We're giving ourselves over to weakness, is what it feels like to me. Every other ad is a gambling ad, so you can't get away from the stuff, maybe that's why I'm so crabby; and yet even that is a kind of perverse change in the personality of this wonderful state I live in.
The Megamall doesn't help either, by the way.
Maybe I'm just in a bad mood.
Where Were you When Mark McGwire Hit his Home Run?, by Paul Chaplin
This is one of those moments that you'll always remember where you were when it happened, said a guy named Buck last Tuesday night, I forget his first name but he's the son of Jack Buck, long-time and (it goes without saying) beloved announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals; the son works for Fox.
It's three days later, and so far Mr. Son-of-a-Buck (ha ha) has proven correct, at least in my case. I remember where I was. I was in the basement watching TV.
That pretty much sums up all I can think of to say on the whole McGwire thing.
What I'd like to address, since we've progressed to the new business portion of the agenda, is the trend we have in this country where sons get to just step right in and do what their fathers did. Here's a partial list:
- That Buck kid.
- Two different Carays, son of Harry. One's named Chip, the other Skip, and not only is Chip an announcer, he's an announcer for the Cubs.
- Al Unser Jr., race car driver.
- Michael Andretti, race car driver.
- At least three other race car drivers whose names I can't think of.
- Hank Williams Jr. (By the way, just what is a Bocephus?)
- A handful of Bushes, including Jeb Bush and especially including George Jr., who may well be our next president.
- Jack Nicklaus, Jr.
- A Stockton, son of Dave, also currently making a lot of money winning nothing on the PGA tour.
Unless I miss my guess, isn't the son of Art Wall also a pro golfer?
Here in Minnesota:
- Mike Freeman, son of former Governor Orville Freeman, and currently running for governor Skip Humphrey, son of you know who, running for governor.
- Ted Mondale, equally bland son of Walter, also running for governor.
- Jamie Lee Curtis - technically, not a son, but it's the same basic idea.
I think I've made my point. Oh wait, I haven't. What is my point? Oh heck, as long as I've got the floor I'll go out on a limb and say the proliferation of sons means we're falling apart as a civilization.
This becomes most clear when you consider that George Bush Jr. is going to be president. That's the best we can do? We have somehow developed, and keep in mind it's only ten years later, such fondness for the memory of George Bush that we pantingly rush to his son, a pale imitation of a pale original?
It's the information economy, I tell you. We have an economy based on nothing, so there is no realistic measure of worth anymore. If you got a name, you're on your way.
Mike's Fall Fashion Tips, by Mike Nelson
Hello and welcome. Mike Nelson here. October is here and I have yet to stack my hay in charming cone-shaped stacks. Neither have I loaded my cornucopia with the riches and bounty of the land. If you have, keep it to yourself, okay?
Sartorially, October presents a problem for we Minnesotans. It's not uncommon for the temperature to reach 134 degrees on October 1 and then plummet to zero Kelvin on the 2nd. With the complete lack of molecular movement, one is compelled to bundle up. We are often told to "dress in layers," which, unless I'm missing something, is impossible to avoid. I can't "dress in stacks" and I challenge you to try. I suppose it's possible to use one complete custom-designed unlayered suit, but then, if you were wearing underwear, you'd still be dressing in layers, technically. I hate to be a snot about it, but if you go around pretending to be helpful by telling people to "dress in layers" you're going to have to expect to get some guff.
I myself adopt my "plain but rugged" look in the fall. It involves wearing really old flannel shirts and jeans (worn threadbare by contact with rough branches and lumberjack saws, one assumes), supplemented by a look of lonesome isolation and unexpressed sadness, lacking nothing in depth, mind you. If I concentrate, I can powerfully yet subtly suggest quiet country wisdom and a dignity that calms the city folk, yet awakens yearnings in their heart they didn't even know were there. Men want to be like me-women want to tame me. And I wear thick-soled boots.
It's a tough look to pull off, but it'll only cost you about eighteen bucks at Ragstock. Try wearing khakis and a polo shirt and practice giving off those waves of dignity and sadness, until you feel comfortable enough to put the whole look together. Then cruise the coffee shops dispensing backwoods bromides like "The sky reflects the soul of the land" and "'Fore long, the ground'll be like iron, and men's hearts are soon to follow." Neither one means anything, but the wake of confusion you leave may stir some unfulfilled need in a young filly's heart.
Try it with my compliments.
Paul's Political Perception, by Paul Chaplin
It's now the next morning and it's happened. He' s won. Every single national commentator has interviewed him and made the same joke -- "do we call you Governor The Body?"—but he really is going to run this state.
What is Jesse's appeal? I think it's pretty simple. He looks happy and secure, and seems like he just says what he wants to say and doesn't care whether you agree with him.
That's it. I don't mean to belittle it, either, because it really is true: Most politicians seem, by contrast, desperate to never say anything with which anybodymight disagree. And since people crave drama in politics more than almost anything—more than tax cuts, more than child care subsidies, more even than wise transportation policy—it's a problem when the two major candidates are as predictable and say as little as ours did.
Skip Humphrey, the Democrat, is the product of a kind of political widget factory that just keeps cranking these guys out, and with the single exception of Paul Wellstone, who is at least excitable, I can't figure out why we should be expected to vote for any of them.
The Republican? A former Democrat named Norm Coleman, and maybe he really is in command and stern in his beliefs yet flexible in his approach to problems, and comfortable with all people and delighted with the opportunity to lead, but boy his hair is poofy and his smile sure is forced. Seems like he's trying too hard. And about all he can ever say is "cut taxes, cut spending." That was new in 1980, Norm! And we don't need any more studies of gigantic pig farms!
Sorry, that was a digression, but it really is why I don't like the guy. He opposes a moratorium on huge pig farms, which are stinking up our state. To me, the fact that here in the Midwest we now have vast lakes of liquid pig excrement is in itself an environmental indicator. We don't need to know any more. As a society, we are giving our countryside over to pig s**t. There's something wrong.
So anyway, I don't know if Jesse is going to do anything about that. Nobody here has any idea what he's going to do about anything, in fact. But it sure was fun to vote for him for a day.
Paul's Letter to the Philatelists, by Paul Chaplin
I entered a rehab clinic last week. Then I left almost immediately, because I was looking for the post office, which was next door. Naturally the experience got me to thinking about stamps (briefly, because I don't know a lot about them and I really don't care to learn at this late date) which led inevitably to the hobbies and fixations of my boyhood.
I was a callow youth. At least I assume I was. I mean who wasn't in those days? And I did collect stamps, briefly, but I couldn't avoid the sense of sadness that pervades that endeavor.
Coin collecting, however, there's a muscular undertaking. I did that for a couple years, quitting finally when I acquired an 1857 "Flying Eagle" penny. I figured, what more can I possibly accomplish? And when you take into account that I also successfully owned an 1891-O Liberty dime, well, you can easily see that I was one heck of a coin collector.
What is it about stamps as opposed to coins? The phrase "stamp collector" has become synonymous with any number of undesirable typologies, like "lives with mother" or "has a specific place for his egg cartons," yet for some reason a man who collects coins is assumed to possess a kind of mystery sensuality.
I've thought a lot about it, and here's the deal: Who cares about stamps? They reek of impermanence and loss, and besides they're a dime a dozen: Governments print new stamps like McDonalds cranks out movie tie-ins. Don't even bother me about stamps, is my attitude.
There is no swaying me. I'd have more respect for someone who collects old phone cords.
Bill's New Year's Resolutions for 1999, by Bill Corbett
Corbett here, saying Happy New Year to all! We are now in 1999. I trust you are all partying like it is, in fact, this year. This is the year when Martin Landau and Barbara Bain are supposed to be tooling around Space on Moonbase Alpha. Guess that's not gonna be happening. But still, 1999! That's way up there.
The impressive calendar date makes solid New Year's resolutions all the more imperative. I've done the prudent thing and made a whole mess of 'em. That way I'm bound to hit at least one. Law of averages. Anyway, here are a couple:
- To stop relying on breathing as my main source of oxygen. It's become a bad habit.
- To collect every single copy of Armageddon, even if it takes my whole life, and change the ending so that Bruce Willis dies twice.
- To make more pecan pie. In fact, to make any pecan pie.
- To be loved, and not love in return. That would be so cool! And easy!
- To dance more! Or to watch more dancers down at that club, whichever.
- To find out why Rowsdower's friends were inspired to nickname him "Zap."
- To use staplers more.
- To get off those antibiotics. (A special thanks to India for the assist on that one)
- To be more 'spontaneous,' if I can find the time to pencil it in my Franklin Planner.
- To learn a lot more about Harry Morgan. Who is he? What's he about? What does he want of us? Ask me this time next year and I can tell you.
- To, in general, boil stuff.
It goes on and on and on from there, a couple more dozen. There's no end to the improving and perfecting I need! In fact, I better write a whole bunch more. See you later. Have a wonderful new year and thanks for watching our humble show!
Saint Blaise Day!, by Kevin Murphy
February in Minnesota means two things to me: life threatening sub-zero weather and throat ailments! And since I'm a Roman Catholic (well, Irish Catholic, really, but that's another story), I get to celebrate Saint Blaise Day! Hooray!
See, Saint Blaise (Blasius in the Latin) was a Fourth-Century Armenian bishop and martyr, imprisoned in Sebaste by the Governor Agricolaus during the vigorous persecution of Christians under the Emperor Licinius, but you probably know all that.
But listen to this: Not only was he legendary for curing wild animals of their ailments, but while in prison he performed a miraculous cure on a young boy who had a fish bone irretrievably jammed in his windpipe and was in danger of choking to death. His persecutors thanked the good bishop by torturing him and lopping off his head.
Since then he's turned out to be one of the most beloved martyrs in the Easternsynaraxia and the better European martyrologies and hagiographic texts, and his relics are scattered across Europe like fast-food chains. It's become a tradition on his feast day (February 3—mark it!) to have one's throat blessed in the old Armenian's name.
It's a tradition that I fondly remember from my childhood. We would go to church, stand in line and kneel in front of the priest while he held two unlit candles crossed at the base of our throats and say an obscure blessing: "May the intercession of Saint Blaise preserve you from all ailments of the throat and every other evil."
Think of it! Here I am, seven, maybe eight years old, scared to death of going to Hell for eating my own boogers before Holy Communion (I was a true sissy of a child) and we get this free ride, this no-obligation blessing with none of the draconian rules, the attendant guilt or shameful self-reckoning I had attached to growing up in a Catholic school. Just two candles at my throat, a blessing and boom!
I'd swear I could actually feel my throat being protected. I would hold a vision in my head of the old Vicks cough drop commercials, and I'd see my own throat in cross-section, the blessing of Saint Blaise soothing and coating, protecting me from sore throat and dry hacking cough.
And the nuns loved it, man. There were songs about Saint Blaise; we'd draw pictures of him back there in Armenia, spiriting fish bones out of the throats of kids. And I remember that the swattings and the mental abuse we got on a daily basis would subside for a while, they way they would around Christmas and Easter. What a great feast day.
To this day I have my tonsils, so I get an annual sore throat in which my tonsils become savagely inflamed and pocked with lesions. And I'd say that my issues with the Catholic Church far exceed Luther's 95 Theses. But whenever I get a sore throat, for what it's worth I think of Saint Blaise.
Therefore I invite you to celebrate the day. It's better than Ground Hog's day, in my opinion; and I won't even begin to tell you what kind of confusion surrounds St. Valentine's day. And it may seem entirely silly, and that may be why I brought it up. But keep in mind that our cultures and our very psyches are built around myths and legends far more disturbing and malevolent than this. So go out and get your throat blessed at your local Catholic Church, even if you're not Catholic—I doubt they'll kick you out.
For my part, I hope you enjoy good throat health all your days. And in the words of the tradition, Per intercessionem Santus Blasii Liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo.
In the Not Too Distant Future..., by Paul Chaplin (A Cancellation Note)
You have probably heard by now that our show is canceled. If not, let me be the first to tell you: Our show is canceled.
It's okay. It really is. As the long winter passed here in Eden Prairie, and a hard one it was too, with the wolves creeping in from suburbs even more remote and passing like shadows through our parking lot at night, culling the weakest interns, we were all assuming that this current crop of thirteen shows would be the last. And so it was.
So, yes, we expected it, and therefore you'd think that we would have been planning for this eventuality. We have not.
In a few weeks, when operations are pretty much scheduled to cease, we'll still all be here. This is what we know how to do. Sad, really. I'm not looking forward to it—sitting forlorn, making fun of movies, absolutely no money coming in, and yet I see no other options.
If you feel like stopping by (and if I were you I would not; it'll be too horrible), you can watch; we'll be behind glass, with the lights turned low like a marmoset exhibit at the zoo, one of those indoor displays meant to approximate some odd creature's nocturnal habitat; you'll have to look hard to spot us, of course. There will be Mike, curled up behind the big TV, barely breathing, blended in so perfectly. If you're lucky Kevin or I will suddenly leap out into the open, only to disappear again, chased perhaps (chased certainly, in my case) by Mary Jo.
There will be a bucket with an opening on top outside the display. Your quarters will help.
I'm kidding, of course. Everything's gonna be fine. It's a wild wild world of TV and music and internet and life out there, and we're all getting tossed out into it. We'll probably run into you.
It is true, though, that your quarters will help.