May 29, 2012

Trivia Blog: Darth Banker

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

That's some hometown pride, right there...

These are tough times we found ourselves in these days.  Money is tight.  Unemployment rates are still abysmally high.  Familiar bursts loom on the horizon for our tech and real estate markets.  We all know this.  And we all know that in times like these, some turn towards criminal activity to fatten up their stacks; turn towards the dark side, if you will.

That concept has never been made as clear as in this story about a man who robbed a bank in Toledo, Ohio... dressed as Darth Vader... and then rode away on his bike.  Now, a few things about this story:
  1. This happened in my hometown, which... Way to go, guys.
  2. The idea that Darth Vader had to make his getaway on a Schwinn strikes me as a sadder fact than his downgrade to petty crime.  I know that with gas prices being what they are, it's hard to justify ever taking your star destroyer out of the garage, but where's your dignity, man?  I like to imagine that as he pedaled away, cape billowing behind him and loose $20 bills fluttering in his wake, he was making spaceship noises with his mouth.
  3. Choosing Darth Vader as the villain persona to adapt whilst robbing a bank is inspired, sure, but flawed.
Let me expand on point #3.  I'm sure that this guy had a vision of striding through the bank doors dressed as Darth Vader, like a motherfucking boss, and thought everyone would drop with fear and start throwing money at him left and right as the trumpets of the Imperial March blared away.  In reality, though, that mask is going to be a severe hindrance to your ability to see a guard or some hero bank-goer sneaking up behind you.  You're also pretty easy to spot in a police lineup, given the black getup and the heavy asthma.  Also, what if your cape gets stuck in the revolving door as you make your escape?  And although it might not affect you, but think of the disappointment you'll instill in your hostages if you reach under your cape and pull out not a lightsaber, but an ordinary gun.  That's no moon, Darth.  That's just shameful.

Instead of going the Vader route, then, consider these other movie villain bank robber personas:

Hannibal Lecter
Pros:  Your razor-sharp mind gives you a psychological advantage over the bank teller, leading to the potential of getting money without ever raising a gun.  Plus, if you need a getaway identity, you're handy with making a mask out of anyone who A) is nearby and B) has a face.
Cons:  If you go for the big entrance, someone's going to have to wheel you in strapped to that furniture dolly, and if shit get's real, you're going to have a problem getting away quickly.

Freddy Krueger
Pros:  Your knives-for-fingers gloves are totally scary and badass.
Cons:  Your knives-for-fingers gloves make handling paper money treacherous.

Zeus or Hades from those Clash of the Titans Movies
Pros:  You'd be a god, which probably makes getting around bank security pretty easy.  Also, yelling out "Release the kraken!!" as you burst in to rob a bank is pretty sweet.
Cons:  You're Greek.  So that money is useless to you know that your economy has devolved into a system of rock- and hug-based transactions.

Johnny Lawrence from Karate Kid
Pros:  Your ability to sweep the leg instills the kind of fear in a bank manager that can get you the cash you want.
Cons:  Billy Zabka isn't exactly doing great these days, so he might already be suspected in a bank robbery or two, making guards wary of your presence as soon as you walk through the doors.

The Shark from Jaws
Pros:  No one's going to play the hero when a goddamned shark is asking for money.
Cons:  The lack of underwater branches offered by most major banks is going to wreak havoc on your whole "need water to breathe" thing.  Also, no thumbs.

May 15, 2012

Trivia Blog: Mom-entous Moments

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

A brief look at some momentous Mother’s Day moments throughout the years…

May 9, 1914 – In an effort to honor her recently deceased mother, Anna Jarvis works with Congress to establish the first official Mother’s Day in America.  Florists around the country unexplainably achieve simultaneous erections.

May 8, 1934 – Sally and Tommy Harper of Rochester, New York, present the first-ever gift of a macaroni necklace to their mother, Martha Harper, in lieu of being able to afford something that she actually wanted.  Scholars deem her response of “Oh, this is lovely, I’ll wear it every day!” to be a watershed moment in the history of parents lying to their kids to try and preserve their feelings.  The discovery of the macaroni necklace in the trash later that week, however, kicks off a lifetime of bitterness and enmity towards women on the part of Tommy.

May 10, 1957 – After burning off his left eyebrow and ruining several egg pans, Albert Jones of Fort Wayne, Indiana utters the first “Honey, since you cook for us so often, we’re taking you out for a Mother’s Day breakfast, my treat!”  Denny’s managers around the country unexplainably achieve simultaneous erections.

May 9, 1968 – Claire Stevens, an unwed, single, 38-year-old woman from Carson City, Nevada declares the first “Non-Mother’s Day,” stating that women who “didn’t ruin their lives and sacrifice their bodies in order to bring a few more screaming brats into the world” deserve a day of recognition as well.  The country responds, “Good for you,” and goes back to brunch with their loving, life-affirming families.

May 7, 1969 – Claire Stevens’ second-annual Non-Mother’s Day turns out to be a much sadder affair than the previous year’s, as she awakens to open the presents she bought for her cats to “give” to her and finds herself feeling alone.  So very, very alone.

January 26, 2009 – Nadya Suleman, later known in the media as “The Octomom,” gives birth to octuplets and immediately begins to simultaneously neglect and exploit them. The sanctity of Mother’s Day is threatened.

April 30, 2012 – The Octomom files for bankruptcy, claiming to have more than $1 million in debts, causing social workers to begin work on a case to remove the eight children from her care.  The sanctity of Mother’s Day is restored.

May 1, 2012

Trivia Blog: Battleshit

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...

You sunk my faith in marketable, well-written original screenplays…

So the calendar has once again turned and brought us into the month of May and all the goodness that comes with it.  The NHL and NBA playoffs will carry on, with the Rangers hopefully being cheered on to the Stanley Cup by everyone sitting at home in New York (including the Knicks).  Soon we’ll be free of the lingering cold and rain of March and April and be awash in the slightly warmer cold and rain of May.  In a mere 5 days, I’ll turn the ripe old age of 29, and spend the next 365 days staring into the yawning chasm that is my 30s.  And, perhaps most importantly of all, in just a few weeks we’ll all be witness to the cinematic wonder that is the action-packed, big-screen adaptation of the not-at-all-action-packed board game, Battleship.

It’s a sad state of affairs when we’re turning to board games to help fill up our movie marquees.  I could go on about how pathetic this is when so many writers with innovative, original script ideas are turned away in favor of a few pieces of property-licensed plastic.  I could go on about how this is looking like a not-so-great year for Taylor Kitsch, who’s relying on the box office draw of Battleship to help save his marketability following the epic failure of his other 2012 entry, John Carter.  (Although if this leads to another season of Friday Night Lights, I’ll gladly root for his continued cinematic failure.)  Instead, I think I’ll embrace the coming change and try to milk some of that Hollywood money for myself, as I present my ideas for the next board game movie adaptations:

Operation: The Movie
The Pitch:  If the never-ending Saw/Hostel franchises have taught me anything, it’s that graphically horrific, torturous violence is box office gold.  (Just don’t show any boobs.  THAT is where they draw the line.)  This seems to be the way a movie based on Operation would go; it’s literally a game in which you harvest organs from a clearly terrified, non-anesthetized man.  I envision a movie where a psychotic, disgraced surgeon stalks unsuspecting victims under the delusion that he must remove things like “Butterflies in the Stomach” and “Writer’s Cramp,” maladies that definitely have not been recognized by the American Medical Association.  And only Mark Wahlberg can stop him.  Or something.
The Tagline: The doctor is in.  Your time is out.

Chinese Checkers: The Movie
The Pitch:  I see this as a ripped-from-the-headlines global thriller.  The marbles being jumped over in a game of Chinese Checkers will here represent our American economy, stuck in stasis while our debt-holding Chinese counterparts surge ahead of us towards economic supremacy. And, for some reason, Chris Tucker co-stars.
The Tagline:  Hey, where’d our money go…?

Pictionary: The Movie
The Pitch:  Channing Tatum stars as a hotshot lawyer who doesn’t fully appreciate his longtime fiancee, played by Kate Hudson or Rachel McAdams or Anne Hathaway or whoever’s free in the rotating cast of rom-com female leads.  A terrible accident leaves Tatum’s character unable to speak, and he discovers that the only way he can communicate is through the drawing of pictures.  Along the way, he learns how to love his lady again, how to prioritize what’s really important in life, and that it’s really hard to draw hands.
The Tagline:  Picture your life in a whole new way.  (OR:  Ladies… Shirtless Channing Tatum?  Eh?  Eh?)

Mouse Trap: The Movie
The Pitch:  It’s basically just Ratatouille 2, but Pixar wanted to suck in the extra licensing rights and the money that would come from the merchandising.  Also, this avoids the awkwardness of the inevitable “Rata-2-ille” posters that the marketing department would generate.
The Tagline:  GIVE US YOUR MONEY!!

Ouija Board: The Movie
The Pitch:  Wait… This is already a movie in development?  This isn’t like a parody movie that the Wayanses are doing, or, like, a porn version…? I was just joking around, but really, Michael Bay…?
The Tagline:  You people will see anything, won’t you?