There Goes the Neighbourhood. Again.

Resurfacing like an unwelcome bout of herpes, Karla Homolka is back. I haven’t mentioned her on this blog in a very long time—not since she was about to get out of prison. She was thinking of moving to my neighbourhood, and reporters were coming to me of all people to see if I had exclusive news about this celebrity relocation. In the end, she apparently landed in Guelph, Ontario instead. But twelve years later someone has noticed…she’s baaaaaaack.

For those of you not up on your infamous Canadian serial killers, Karla and her husband Paul were the Barbie and Ken of sexual predators, kidnappers, and murderers. They were a charming, handsome, blood-spattered couple who did some horrible horrible shit they’ll never be forgiven for. Paul is still in prison and will likely never get out. Karla, however, was given a lighter sentence in exchange for testimony because an innocent little housewife couldn’t possibly be as responsible for these crimes as her monster husband. Except she was, as later post plea-bargain-deal evidence suggests. Oopsie.

Karla still doesn’t actually live in my neighbourhood. Apparently her new abode (to go with her new husband and kids) is in Châteauguay—which may be punishment enough for past sins. Nevertheless, she still comes to NDG to volunteer at her kids’ Christian school just one block over from my own home.

Gotta love those hard-line Christian institutions. They’re very big on forgiving child abuse. In the past, the were mostly into overlooking child rape. Now, they’re giving a pass to child rape AND murder. Very progressive.

This volunteer work has been going on since March, but now that the media has finally caught wind of it, the circus is back in town. Karla sightings are likely to become as frequent and verifiable as Sasquatch sightings. Try not to get caught being a blonde white woman if you’re shopping at the local Provigo. You might get some out-of-season produce launched at your head. Or canned goods, which tend to hurt more.

I remember the good old days in this neighbourhood when the only serial killers living among us were mafia enforcers and mob hatchet men. They mostly kept to themselves, and you wouldn’t hear a thing about them unless there was an arrest or a middle-of-the-night assassination via a hail of automatic gunfire. Salt of the earth.

I can’t imagine they’re very pleased to have Karla in town either, snooping around their kids. Torturing a snitch to death, dismembering the body, and dumping it in the river is one thing. But what she did was sick.

We deserve a better class of psychopath.

You Never Call, You Never Write

Sometimes I wonder why I still own a phone. You know, one of those landlines that plugs into the wall and only ever rings for wrong numbers, telemarketers and old people. I’d chuck it, but it’s the only phone I own. I don’t have a cell or a smart phone or one of those 1967 Star Trek communicator thingies – whatever the state of the art is. Never had one, never wanted one. I have enough things in my life trying to give me a brain tumour.

Sometimes, every few weeks, I’m reminded why I let this thing take up a few inches of valuable real estate on my desk. I get a call. A special call. One of THOSE calls.

A long distance ring, an unfamiliar number on the call display.

I answer. Say nothing.

Caller: Hello?

Me: Yes?

Caller (reading from a script with a heavily accented, halting call-centre voice): Hello, my name is Melvin. I am calling because our records show that your computer is currently downloading an infection.

Me (instant full-volume screaming hysteria): OH MY GOD, AN INFECTION!!!!???!!!!

Pause. Silence on both ends. Momentarily shaken, “Melvin” returns to his script.

Caller: Yes, an infection. We wanted to let you know…

Me (instantly back to full-volume screaming hysteria): I’LL GET RIGHT ON IT!!!! THANKS MELVIN!!!!

I hang up.

My wife missed my performance because she was down the hall, behind a closed door, with the air conditioning and headphones on.

I’m afraid this moment was between you and me alone, Melvin. But it was good for me. Was it good for you?

These guys call at regular intervals. They’re not telemarketers, they’re criminals. Fishing for gullible tech-unsavvy rubes they can remotely manipulate into downloading a virus or malware under the guise of unsolicited technical assistance. What nefarious purpose lies in the code they so desperately want to get onto my computer, I don’t know. Maybe they’re after online banking information, identity-theft data. Or maybe they just want an algo running in the background that will get me to look at more ads for boner pills. I don’t know. I don’t want to find out.

They’re sitting in a call centre on the other side of the planet, safely out of any jurisdiction that might try to come after them, being paid a pittance for what amounts to cold-call sales of evil intent. I’d pity them if they weren’t trying to fuck up my life. But since they are trying to fuck up my life, I might as well milk them for some entertainment value.

Much as I enjoyed my interaction with “Melvin,” it was all over too quickly. I resolved to work on my stamina for the next time I got a call from one of his compatriots. The problem was, I never knew when they might come, when they might catch me. Would I be prepared, would I be on my game, would I be able to slip into character at an instant’s notice? Several weeks later, the phone rang again with another indecipherable number.

I had, I was told, downloaded a new virus that, fortunately, this anonymous stranger could attend to if only I followed his careful instructions.

Me: A virus?

Caller: Yes, I virus. You must take care of this or we will have to shut down your internet.

Me (giving a purposely stilted, absolutely flat line-reading): Please don’t shut down my internet! I sure wouldn’t want that!

Caller: I need you to press a key on your keyboard.

Me: Which key is that?

Caller: You see the key next to the control button on the left-hand side? What is it?

Me: “W.”

Caller: That’s the Windows key.

Me: No, it’s the “W” key. I have a custom keyboard.

I actually don’t, but this throws him.

Caller: Do you have Windows?

Me: I sure do! Box-frame, crank. You can see right through them.

This also throws him.

Caller: What do you see on your screen?

Me: Well, this is rather embarrassing, but it’s pornography.

Caller: What is it?

Me: Porn.

Caller: I am going to get my supervisor. Please hold.

Me: Okey-dokey!

Apparently pornography issues were reserved for a higher pay grade. The next voice that came on the line was a little more polished, a little less accented. By this time I had relocated to my wife’s office so she could listen in on my tech-support call. She’s a tech professional of the less-malignant type, so this shit amuses the hell out of her.

Unfortunately, having her listen to me do an improv workshop with an unsuspecting tele-scammer gave us both the giggles. Chortling into the ear of my long-distance confidence trickster might have spoiled the solemn mood of my serious computer problems and I nearly choked myself trying to supress a laugh. This led to a horrible coughing fit I was more content to direct into the phone’s mouthpiece.

Me (apologizing earnestly): I’m sorry, I have tuberculosis.

Despite upgrading to a “supervisor,” the quality of the crackling phone line remained poor.

Me: You know, for a telecommunications company, this is a terrible connection.

Supervisor: What?

Me (louder, so he can hear over the static): The connection is really bad!

Supervisor: We are having problems with our central communications hub.

Me: That must be very embarrassing.

Supervisor: I will call you back.

Me: Sure thing.

We were reconnected a minute later. The phone line was hardly improved.

Supervisor: Is that better?

Me: No.

Supervisor (undeterred): What do you see on your screen?

Me: As I mentioned earlier, it’s pornography.

Supervisor (unfazed – which is probably why he was the “supervisor”): Press the Windows and R key as in “Roger.”

Me (not doing it): Okay.

Supervisor: What do you see?

Me: I see…The Matrix.

Supervisor: What?

Me: It’s all ones and zeroes and they’re floating up the screen.

Supervisor (baffled): What do you see?

Me: The Matrix. It’s green.

Supervisor: Green, sir?

Me: Yup.

Supervisor: You need to restart your computer.

Me: Oh yeah?

Supervisor: Restart your computer and let me know when it comes back on. I’ll hold.

Me: Okay.

When in doubt, reboot. He sure knew his stuff. I carried the phone extension into the next room.

Me: Are you still holding?

Supervisor: Yes, sir.

Me: Okay, hold the line and I’ll let you know as soon as it comes back on.

Supervisor: Yes, sir.

I set the phone down and returned to my office to continue work. I checked back twenty minutes later.

Me: Still there?

He wasn’t. So I hung up the phone.

They haven’t called back since, and I find myself missing these interactions terribly. It’s been four months since our last exchange, and so far, nothing. Did my sarcasm break through the language/culture barrier and land me on the “Do not call this asshole” list? The possibility has troubled me. I miss Melvin and the rest of the call-centre crew, I really do. Every time an unrecognized or blocked number appears on my call display, I snatch up the phone eagerly, hoping for a repeat performance from my favourite gang of international compu-criminals. But it’s never them. It’s just some routine telemarketer, a wrong number, a robocall. Or family.

How utterly disappointing.

Even as I was in the middle of writing this, the phone rang. It was a local number, but one I didn’t know. I picked up, hoping it was somebody trying to rob me or con me or waste my time.

It was my old university, trying to solicit a donation from me. So I guess it was a little of all of the above.

It’s something. I’ll take it.

The Usual Suspects

Last week, Montreal thespian Tristan D. Lalla got pulled off a city bus by the cops, surrounded by squad cars, placed in handcuffs, searched and questioned. All this in the middle of a busy street, in front of all sorts of strangers, to his great embarrassment. His crime? He matched a vague description of somebody who had just committed a crime. Our intrepid police force, always on the vanguard of criminology, decided their armed-robbery suspect might be fleeing the scene, one stop at a time, on a bus.

You can read the account of his fun commute here. Spoiler alert: he wasn’t the armed robber they were looking for.

It got me thinking: hey, I got detained by the cops once because I matched the description of a suspect they were looking for. No backup squad cars converged. I wasn’t handcuffed or searched. My questioning consisted of a few polite inquiries as to where I was heading, followed by a computer search of my I.D. to confirm there were no warrants or arrest records. After about twenty minutes of waiting, which I’m sure was mostly a test to see if I’d make a run for it, they decided I wasn’t the guy they were looking for and sent me on my way.

It was a very different experience, worlds apart. I wonder why. Well, here’s a hint: the last time I saw Tristan, he was on stage playing Othello.

That’s right, he got hassled because he’s an actor. You, see they’re considered a much greater potential threat than writers. It’s a good thing Tristan didn’t tell them he performed in some of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed games or he would have gotten the taser.

We simply must stop this shameless profiling of actors by the police. I know they have a reputation for being coked-up sexual deviants who deliver bad dialogue in terrible movies, but they’re not all bad. I swear I’ve met some good ones from time to time, and they’re just like the rest of us. More or less. I wouldn’t want one marrying my daughter, but I’d be cool with them being friends. Maybe not best friends but, you know, friendly.

So please, Montreal cops, cops everywhere, stop this persecution of our acting underclass. The deck is already stacked against them and they have enough to contend with. If it’s not you and your petty prejudices, it’s film and theatre critics. Must they face your bullets as well as their barbs? Thank you.

ADDENDUM: This just in. Tristan was not cuffed and searched because he’s an actor. Huh. Well then why else…


Oh dear.


Mike Stamm, director of Ashes to Ashes, has a Kickstarter project going for his short animated film, The Ottoman. I’ve been following this story for years and it looks like the crew just needs that final financial push to bring it home. Fans of Steampunk and mechs smashing each other to bits should take note and check out the production blog and the existing footage.


Breaking Brutal

Unsurprisingly, I’m now officially a terrorist. Oh sure, the NSA and various other American alphabet-soup agencies are quick to label everyone a terrorist for anything these days. Left the toilet seat up? Terrorist. Didn’t replace the bog roll after using the last strip? Terrorist. Didn’t wash your hands after going to the bathroom? Terrorist (this one I agree with).

But now it’s Scotland Yard that’s designated me a terrorist. Why? Because I watched the James Foley beheading video recently released by ISIS as a warning against American military intervention in Syria. According to The Yard, merely watching this video can be considered an arrestable act of terrorism. I wish they’d tipped me off in advance, because I only found out about this decree five minutes too late when doing further research on the incident. Oopsie.

So why, exactly, did I go have a look at this horrible, brutal execution that’s so readily available on the Internet? I mean, other than the fact that I’m a morbid, twisted, sick fuck (obviously). Well, it seems I don’t like major media outlets offering me the latest justification for war while refusing to show me the specifics because it might offend my delicate sensibilities. I also don’t like governments telling me to avert my eyes and take their word for it when they try to sell me on a new war on a new front. They always place the ugly specifics of executions and war crimes on a need-to-know basis. Well, as it turns out, I’m a taxpayer in a democracy. So I need to know. I also need to not be patronized, condescended to, or subjected to state propaganda. But they do a lot of that just the same.

As I’ve mentioned via social media in the past, I have a checkered past with the Four Word Film Review site. They turned down some of the very best material I wrote for them. But I still like the format. Four words can convey a lot about a film. Here’s my four-word film review of the James Foley decapitation video:

Overproduced. Anticlimactic money shot.

Am I making light of the murder of a journalist? Nope. I wish the western news media would pay more attention to real journalists, out in the field, in war zones, getting killed in the line of duty. But they’re too busy pointing the camera at themselves in nice safe studios. You know them, these pretenders who aren’t real journalists, but play ones on TV. Posers like Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Jake Tapper, Wolf Blitzer and anyone who’s ever appeared on Fox News in any capacity whatsoever.

Look around on the Internet and you can find some truly horrific stuff to watch. I’ve written about it in past blog posts, and have already offered the various Islamic extremist groups my critique on their methods when it comes to documenting their own war crimes. I’ve offered no criticism about how they actually execute their fight against The Great Satan because I don’t know shit about IEDs. But I know a lot about film, so once again I have to speak my mind and explain to them, as patiently as I can, why their latest snuff film left me cold.

Okay, jihadists, listen up. I appreciate that you took some of my last round of notes on your decapitation videos seriously. I see a real effort to improve here. You got yourself a better camera. You bought a tripod. The video quality is very nice. So is the lighting (although, let’s face it, it’s the desert, so natural light is kinda plentiful). The audio is crisp, clear. Even the subtitles are well done and spelled correctly (Hong Kong film studios, take note!) But, sorry to say, you didn’t quite nail it this time. I know you thought you hit it out of the park, but this is only a second draft. And I have more notes.

First off, we’re not watching your snuff film to see a recap of Obama speeches. Admittedly, I find presidential speeches pretty scary. I see one, and I immediately flashback to the ‘80s when Ronald Reagan used to pre-empt The A-Team damn near every week with more bullshit. Troubling times. But most political speeches amount to little more than a talking head. We’re here to see heads roll, not talk.

And therein lies my most important note. The beheading. All this build-up and you tastefully cut away from the actual act. Tastefully cut away? For fucksake, you’re ISIS! You’re the guys al-Qaeda thinks are over the top! And you cut away from the deed like it’s a fade-out from a 1948 Hollywood love scene? Look, I would expect you to cut away from a love scene because sex and nudity and love aren’t exactly your cup of tea. But the execution of an infidel? You own that shit. It’s your thing.

I thought the point of this video was to warn America, to threaten all Americans everywhere, to strike fear into their hearts. Trust me on this one, if you’re going to shock America, you have to come up with something more gruesome than, say, any given episode of Game of Thrones. You know, like the one with the duel? And the teeth? And the squishy-squashy skull? That was AWESOME! This…this was not awesome.

Here’s your other problem: Because you didn’t show it, everybody in the conspiracy community thinks you faked it. They’ve gone through your video, bloodless frame by bloodless frame, and they’re calling bullshit. This is not your desired response, I’m sure. You want their reaction to be along the lines of one alternative news-media reporter who referred to the victim being “killed in the most brutal way imaginable.” Okay, clearly he either doesn’t have much imagination or he’s never read any history. He should look up scaphism some time (AKA The boats). Now that’s brutal. And another means of execution from your neck of the desert, I believe. See? You’ve excelled at brutality for thousands of years, so what’s with the no-budget found-footage mockumentary editing? I just don’t get it. Unless the conspiracy community is right and this is some false-flag op meant to escalate tension in the middle east and push for more conflict and military engagement, thereby diverting public attention from an impending global economic collapse.

Nah. I think you just fucked it up. I wouldn’t want to go believing the conspiracy theorists, because the fake reporters on CNN and Fox keep assuring me those people are CRAZY. And the mainstream media triple checks all of their facts and never lies about anything.

Also something in the news I just HAD to mention. Did you hear the one about the high-school student who got arrested for turning in a creative-writing class assignment with a fantastical reference to shooting a dinosaur with a gun? Obviously, everybody is required to lose their shit when any student mentions guns or shooting them. Because, well, think of the poor dinosaurs! That’s probably how they went extinct. I think I heard something about Noah shooting them and dumping them overboard when the last two dinosaurs made a light snack of the last two dodo birds. Something like that. I’ll have to double check my text book from that old Intelligent Design 101 class I sat in on.

If a teenager can get busted by the cops for writing something this innocuous as a school assignment, I’d hate to think what they would have done to me in grade three. I used to write some seriously hardboiled shit back when I was eight – gruesome detective fiction full of tawdry murders and crimes of passion. Then, for art class, I’d draw some mermaids with exposed breasts and my big black dog with an anatomically correct big red penis.

They’d probably sentence me to death by lethal injection – which, depending on which state is botching your execution, could be more brutal than most beheadings. Keep at it Oklahoma, and some day you might get your “humane” executions to last as long as the good old days of scaphism.

Where Nobody Knows Your Name

It’s Halloween, the happiest holiday of the year. For ghouls like me, at least. But when it comes to my traditional gorging on horror movies, I’m going to have dip into my own personal collection. Again. The seasonal offerings at theatres are sparse and lame. Ever since the Saw franchise packed it in, we can’t even count on one of those showing up every October like clockwork.

One of the only genre releases in the offing is just another damn remake. And even for a remake, it already feels old. “You Will Know Her Name,” declared all the posters in the ad campaign that started before the glut of summer movies began months ago. I would look at those posters, some of them damn near ten feet long, dangling from the rafters of the local multiplex, and think, “No, actually. No they won’t.”

I'm sorry, I don't think we've met. And you are...?

I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve met. And you are…?

I knew the film in question was yet another version of Carrie, not some more intriguingly titled terror called You Will Know Her Name (I might have gone to see THAT). But I, unlike, it seems, Hollywood, also knew that the target demographic hasn’t even heard of the original 1976 movie starring Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie. They probably haven’t even heard of the 2002 television remake, since they would have been infants at the time and nobody was watching NBC back then either.

But they went ahead with their ill-advised ad campaign regardless. And if anybody knows Carrie White’s name now, it’s because they saw it etched on her box-office tombstone. Not a twist ending by anyone’s reckoning. From what I hear, it’s a bland, uninspired and incorrectly cast remake. At least the TV remake had Angela Bettis and Patricia Clarkson, who are both odd enough to bring the creepy. And it had my brother-in-law, Jeremy, as editor. Even at a whopping 132 minutes, it worked, the performances were solid, and the key massacre scene took advantage of what modern special effects could offer. I still fondly remember the high angle shot of the water on the floor rippling away from Carrie’s feet before she proceeded to electrocute everyone. Nice touch.

For the record, I begged (BEGGED) Jeremy to cut that awful coda that had Carrie survive her confrontation with Mother and go on the lam with her buddy, presumable to have a series of Incredible-Hulkesque adventures as they travelled from town to town getting into wacky misadventures due to Carrie’s unfortunate tendency to wig out and commit mass telekinetic murder. But it wasn’t his call. Obviously, somebody had the delusional idea that this TV movie might serve as a pilot for a regular show. The Nielsen people quashed that dream in a hurry.

Start the counter, because eventually we’ll have to endure yet another remake (or bad-idea sequel) of the classic Stephen King story. Carrie is still a marketable name, provided you actually mention that name a few times when you’re trying to build hype for your movie. Seriously, ad-campaign monkeys, if you need me to tell you how to do your job, drop me a line. I’m here to help.

Being of unsound mind and sick sensibilities, I like to follow weird crime stories. Not the kind of boring hot-blonde-chick-goes-missing-in-tropical-paradise crap that CNN likes to beat to death over the course of weeks and months of non-stop coverage. I’m intrigued by the seriously what-the-fuck cases out there. And if it has a Canadian connection, all the better.

Witness all those single running-shoe-clad feet that have been washing up on shore in the Vancouver region for years. That case is awesome! Less so if you’re the owner of one of those wayward unidentified and unmatched feet, but otherwise it ranks a solid ten on the intrigue-o-metre.

Then there’s the truly creepy story of Elisa Lam, the 21-year-old student from Vancouver (yeah, that place again). When the story first broke in February of this year, the news media picked it up and showed some of the footage of her acting strange in an elevator, just a matter of minutes before she would wind up drowned in a rooftop water tower of the infamous Cecil Hotel in L.A. Read more about the Cecil Hotel if you have any doubt that some places seem to naturally draw evil bizarro shit like a magnet. More recently, the whole video has been released, but don’t expect the nightly news to show it to you. Four minutes is too much time to take out of their nightly schedule. It might interfere with the sports-highlights reel.

Elisa was only discovered weeks later when tenants of the hotel complained that the water was an odd colour and tasted funny. Setting the inadvertent liquid-cannibalism aside and ignoring the fact that it was effectively impossible for her body to wind up where it did, least of all if it was a suicide, the creepiness factor rises exponentially when you look at the unexpurgated security cam footage. Way outdoing any of the “found footage” horror movies that have infested the genre since Blair Witch in 1999, knowing where this unsettling video ultimate leads makes it absolutely spine chilling.

Unsurprisingly, the L.A.P.D. didn’t bother to come up with any sort of satisfying or logical conclusion and they’ll never solve the case, just file it away. Morbid armchair detectives will continue to mull over the clues for a long time to come, adding it to the list of horrors that have revolved around the Cecil.

Yeah yeah, I know Halloween is supposed by be about fun frights and silly spookiness. But if you want to see the face of real horror, follow the links. If you dare.

Christmas Crime Scene

Case File 11384752-29. Crime Scene Photo 11c: Subject: T. Bread (deceased). Sex: Man. Race: Ginger. Probable cause: Coke deal gone wrong.

“Run, run fast as you can. Can’t catch me, I’m The Gingerbread Man.” Brave final words when you’re on the lam and jacked up on blow. But that’s how the cookie crumbles in the big city.

New World Extradition Order

So they’ve finally brought that criminal mastermind, Roman Polanski, to justice. Well sort of. I’m sure that justice will totally happen once they go through a lengthy extradition appeals process in Switzerland followed by motions to dismiss back in the States. He’s like the Hannibal Lecter of horny French-Poles who shagged some jailbait back in the ’70s. For decades he’s brilliantly evaded police by hiding in plain sight in Europe and cleverly not returning to America, even when they tried to bait him with an Oscar. They only managed to nab him after more than thirty years by baiting him with a lifetime-achievment award in Switzerland. This will, no doubt, go down in history as the greatest law enforcement take-down since Frank Hamer and his men pumped 130 rounds into Bonnie and Clyde by employing subtle Machiavellian techniques such as not offering a fair warning before opening fire.

The fact that Polanski, a holocaust survivor, got busted in Switzerland, the favourite bank for the Nazis and long-time repository for heaping piles of loot stolen from Jews on their way to the gas chambers, shows exactly where the Swiss priorities for justice lie. Murder six million civilians and they’ll happily hold your cash for you and pay interest, no questions asked. Dope up an underage model and fuck her at Jack Nicholson’s house and they will cut your throat the first chance they get.

Of course, it never mattered that Polanski’s victim was paid a cash settlement years ago and has begged, on numerous occasions, for the authorities to drop the issue. Nor has it mattered that the only reason Polanski skipped town was to avoid a hefty sentence after judge Rittenband renegged on the plea bargain agreed upon by the prosecution and defence because he thought it might tarnish his carefully crafted image. And, of course, no one particularly cares that the prosecutor himself still thinks Polanski did the right thing by leaving the country rather than stay and get screwed over by an incompetent and corrupt media-whore judge.

Personally, I’m all for letting some of the genius-level artists among us get away with shit from time to time. Their petty, self-indulgent crimes are eventually lost to history, but the work remains. I know I, for one, can forgive Polanski for something he did so long ago, because hey, it’s not like he raped MY daughter.

For a better perspective on the Polanski rape trial and aftermath, I highly recommend ignoring the commentator hyperbole polluting the airwaves and internet and watching the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired instead.

Pitching Not Catching

We’re all still reeling from the tragic celebrity deaths of late. Any recent dead Kennedys aside, the last week of June was like Christmas morning for dead-pool organizers everywhere. Of course, out of the pile of famous bodies left in the wake of these recent terrible days, one pillar of pop culture towers above all others. Taken from us suddenly at the age of 50, struck down by a surprise heart ailment brought on by a drug overdose, can we really pick up the pieces after the shattering death of Billy Mays?

What? You were expecting somebody else?

Billy sported the world’s most improbable beard and a booming voice that never stepped down from an all-out scream throughout the running times of his many TV spots. Many, many TV spots. Too many, let’s face it.

Although his commercials still play regularly, his ear-shattering voice louder than ever, struggling to be heard from beyond the grave, we’ll never see Billy Mays shill for a new product. Now that he’s gone, there remains one pitchman unchallenged for airwave dominance. I am, needless to say, referring to “Vince” the Sham-Wow guy. Not his real name.

Proud owner of the greatest terrible Jewish name ever, Offer Shlomi, AKA “Vince,” looks like Steve Buscemi and Johnny Knoxville had a love child. As a pitchman, his first infomercial was made to sell DVD copies of his failed film The Underground Comedy Movie — an attempt at humour so poor, my frequent efforts to download it and see for myself have been fruitless since no one out in bittorrent land wants to reseed it. His attempts to turn a profit on the project by suing everyone who contributed to its failure didn’t do the trick, but direct sales finally managed to move a few copies.

Experiencing more success as a pitchman than a filmmaker, Shlomi went on to great infamy and reasonable success as the front man for the Sham-Wow and the Slap Chop. And then, perhaps inevitably, he got arrested for beating up a prostitute who bit his tongue. It’s the old familiar story. Humble beginnings, rise to power, prostitute tongue-biting scandal. Just like Gandhi, Lincoln and Alexander the Great before him. Same shit, different era.

When I read his biographical details I knew, at last, what I wanted my next film project to be. How could I not write this biopic that demands to be made? As biopics go, I’m picturing it as the Lawrence of Arabia of the 21st century. Only without all the sand or camels or Arabs or class or dignity or broad audience appeal or…well, you get my drift. It’s a niche project. Limited release. Straight to DVD, much like The Underground Comedy Movie. So far, I’ve only written the title:

Shlomi the Money: An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Eight words in, I’m practically done. The rest writes itself. It’s a slow burn up to the moment when “Vince,” still coasting on the success of the Sham-Wow, resting uncomfortably on his considerable laurels, lacking the creative direction to find his next masterpiece, consoles himself with the comforts of a woman. For a modest negotiable price to be paid up front.

This at last brings us to the climax of the picture — the moment of divine inspiration after he extracts himself from a particularly bitey prostitute. Slapping her in the face, he declares, “Crazy bitch! Whatcha tryin’ to do, chop my tongue off?” And then that look would cross his face. The look of a man who has been touched by the angels. The look of a man who, in a terrible moment of personal crisis, has rediscovered his muse.

“Wait…chop. Slap? Slap Chop… Of course!”

And then our hero is back on top. After the trip to the hospital, some stitches, battery charges, and sentencing of course. Everybody leaves the theatre happy — or at least ejects their rental DVD from the player not feeling totally ripped off.

Another masterpiece in the can. Pay me.

Billy Mays and Offer Shlomi. There can be only one.
(No I didn’t have to Photoshop this myself — that’s what the internet is for)


Damn. Couldn’t buy the life rights. Go figure. I guess I’ll just have to write that Billy Mays biopic then. At least he’s safely dead and can’t sue.

Tales From The Slab

Breaking news: Michael Jackson is still dead. We’re all freaked out at losing one of the giant icons of the music industry, and one of the very few superstars in the world who actually justified the use of the term “superstar.” Hint: if you won last season’s American Idol, you ARE NOT a superstar, not matter what Ryan Seacrest’s hyperbole tells you. Jackson was an ubiquitous pop culture icon all my life, and it will be weird living in a world where he isn’t around making the world weirder.

The toxicology results are still weeks away, but the autopsy is complete and, as promised, it was a real show-stopper. I called in some favours and got the scoop on the most shocking revelations from the coroner’s report. The bullet points are as follows:

* Malformed conjoined fetus discovered in abdomen indicates that they were really The Jackson Six back in the ’70s.

* Wasn’t a real zombie for the Thriller album, but had been the genuine article since Bad.

* Surgical mask was actually a retractable third eyelid.

* Face was a removable façade worn on a timeshare deal with La Toya.

* 8.75% not of this Earth.

* Navel transplanted to form chin cleft.

* First nose inverted and reattached to form the lining of his mangina.

* Extra nipples plentiful, but original two inexplicably missing.

* Bone structure was actually that of Joseph Merrick.

* Sex: male.

Fascinating revelations all. Some surprising, some fairly obvious, but all destined to become the stuff of medical journal legend.

On the brighter side of things, judging from the reduced amount of news media coverage, Iran’s problems have ceased to exist. Hurray! Good job, Iran! I knew you could sort it all out on your own.

Ill Bill

If you’ve read more than, say, three of my blog entries, then you’ll know I’m morbidly obsessed with celebrity deaths. So waking up yesterday morning, there was a special treat waiting for me on the CNN ticker. CNN, of course, considers itself far too classy to name the cause of death in this case. For that, I had to go searching the internet rumor mill. And I could scarcely believe what the early reports were claiming. Ever since the day Elvis was found dead on the toilet, I’ve been waiting for a major celebrity to find a way to depart this Earth in a more embarrassing way. And at last, pay dirt.

Somewhere out there, there has be somebody who put down David Carradine/Thailand/autoerotic asphyxiation on their celebrity dead pool and just hit the trifecta jackpot.

Now, it’s not like autoerotic asphyxiation is all that uncommon. Any coroner will tell you it happens all the time. But most people only know it as the ultimate fate of Fox Mulder. Fictional characters aside, this cause of death is frequently swept under the rug, even in official reports. Authorities often find it easier and less-shameful to label it suicide, figuring they’re sparing the deceased and their family the embarrassment of calling it what it is: death by tragic masturbation accident.

But for the first time ever, some respectable media outlets were quick to bluntly state the facts. That pleasantly surprised me, because I’m not a fan of euphemisms. Many called it as they saw it and drew the obvious conclusions from the circumstances surrounding Caradine’s death. Others, not so much. My favourites are the ones that referred to the rope found around his “neck and body.” For “body” read “penis.” Creepy as it may be to picture a 72-year-old man pleasuring himself with a combination of asphyxia and masturbation in a Thailand hotel closet, the dodging of the facts that’s been going on in some corners has only served to raise all sorts of unfounded questions concerning suicide or foul play. And I don’t know what’s accomplished by that, other than creating a completely unnecessary mystery over something that’s merely a tad tawdry.

Personally, I’ve only been left with one real question. Who the hell goes to Thailand to masturbate? You go to Thailand for the underage prostitutes. And if you really really need to get in a bit of autoerotic asphyxiation to relieve the monotony of sex with children, then you pay one of the underaged prostitutes a couple of bucks to keep an eye on you in case you start to choke.

Okay, fine. Carradine was in Thailand shooting a movie. It’s not like he was an Australian on a sex holiday or something. But you see how easy it is to start speculating a lot of weirdness when there are inconsistent reports in the media? I’ll swear here and now to knock that shit off. Let David’s memory only be tainted by the compromising position his body was found in, not by the innuendo and misleading statements of asshole bloggers. Or cable news channels.