MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 10

I have another chapter of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction for you, another piece of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. As ever, the whole of the MiSTing should be at this link. and please let me know if something goes missing.

Previously in Grumpy Weasel: Grumpy Weasel challenged Jimmy Rabbit to a race and Old Mister Crow was all over it. Old Mister Crow’s arranged for Jimmy to get a twenty-leap lead and he’s very excited for Jimmy’s inevitable win. But what happens come the day of the race?

The Betty Boop cartoon referenced is “Ha! Ha! Ha”, where yes, the dentist’s laughing gas gets out of control. Lee de Forest was a prolific inventor of the early 20th century, mostly of electrical and radio gear and also scams that maybe didn’t quite break the law but not for want of larcenous intent. The Dick Tracy reference is to something that happened in the strip recently and I plan to talk about it Tuesday. Now, let’s read.

> X

JOEL: Oh no, this chapter’s all about the Quadratic Equation.


TOM: Hey, it’s the Betty Boop cartoon with the laughing gas.

> A great outcry rang through the woods

JOEL: Somebody catch it!

> the moment
> Jimmy Rabbit set out to race Grumpy Weasel and beat him.

TOM: Gotta think about your life when everyone you know wants to see you be worse at running.

> Shouts of "Good luck!" and "Run hard!" and "Hurrah for James
> Rabbit!" followed Jimmy.

JOEL: ‘Hurrah’, because Lee de Forest hadn’t invented ‘Hooray’ yet.

> But old Mr. Crow squawked, "You
> don’t need to hurry!"

CROW: You just need to be faster than the other guy! … Wait.

> He thought that the race was already as
> good as won,

JOEL: Or as good as as good as won would be.

> for Grumpy Weasel had insisted on giving Jimmy
> Rabbit a start of twenty jumps.

TOM: And now Grumpy Weasel reveals he meant elephant jumps.

> Meanwhile Grumpy Weasel glowered.

CROW: A now-obscure word meaning to glow red.

JOEL: Gladiola flowered (glowered).

> But he could not
> glower at Jimmy’s friends,

TOM: He has a strict schedule for when to glower at rabbit friends.

> because he had to watch Jimmy
> himself in order to count the first twenty jumps he took.

CROW: One jump into hyperspace and Grumpy won’t be able to follow, kid.

> When Grumpy had counted nineteen and a half away he started.

TOM: Hey, that’s cheating by half a jump.

> And old Mr. Crow, as he sat staring at the race, declared
> that Grumpy Weasel hadn’t a chance to win.

JOEL: Really wondering what Mister Crow’s angle on this is.

> The company seemed ready to take Mr. Crow’s word for
> it—

TOM: You know the old folklore about crows knowing their rabbit/weasel racing lore.

> that is, all except Grumpy Weasel’s cousin, Peter Mink.

CROW: The polecat.

> He spoke up and said that as for him, he would wait and see
> what happened.

JOEL: The huge vote of confidence that is saying ‘I guess he hasn’t lost yet.’

> He didn’t believe old Mr. Crow knew what he
> was talking about.

CROW: It’s a crow thing, you wouldn’t understand.

> Mr. Crow grew almost a purplish black with rage.

TOM: Is this something to do with eggs? I feel like this is really about eggs.

> "We’ll all wait," he said stiffly. "We’ll all wait.

CROW: Well, Jimmy and Grumpy can’t wait or the race won’t work.

> And when the race is over you will apologize to me."

TOM: [ As Peter Mink ] ‘Jeez, fine, if it’s that important to you then Jimmy Rabbit is gonna win, take a chill pill.’

> Peter Mink merely grinned. He had no respect for his
> elders.

JOEL: [ Gasping at this gossip ] Peter Mink is a cad! And bounder!

CROW: Jimmy Rabbit’s the bounder.

> And now he didn’t appear to mind in the least when
> the entire company let him severely alone.

TOM: It shows real strength of character to disagree with the crowd about who you think will win a footrace.

> Mr. Crow shot a triumphant look

JOEL: Aaah! My antique ceramic Look!

> at him about an hour
> later,

CROW: Mister Crow is on Central Time.

> when Jimmy Rabbit came bounding into sight, with no
> one following him.

TOM: Having got badly lost on the way to the race course.

> "You may as well stop now," Mr. Crow told
> Jimmy. "You’ve as good as won the race already."

JOEL: I know they’re animals but they don’t seem very good at this.

> Jimmy Rabbit said that he thought so, too,

CROW: [ As Jimmy, as The Wizard of Oz ] ‘But I can’t stop my legs, I don’t know how they work!’

> but he
> supposed he’d better keep running a while longer, till Grumpy
> Weasel gave up.

TOM: This was a pretty good scheme for Grumpy to get Jimmy to run an hour away from him.

> So off he hopped again.

JOEL: Next, Jimmy runs up to meet Dick Tracy.

> Everybody except Peter Mink laughed heartily

CROW: Daniel Hart the deer asks what’s so funny.

> when
> Grumpy Weasel came springing up the slope a little while
> later.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I want my two dollars!’

> "You may as well stop now. You’ve as good as lost
> already," Mr. Crow greeted him.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I am not lost, I just don’t know where I am!’

> "Whose race is this—yours or mine?" Grumpy Weasel
> hissed.

TOM: It’s the rat race.

JOEL: No, Billy Rat’s not racing until sunset.

> And off he hurried, without pausing to hear Mr.
> Crow’s answer.

CROW: How long does it take to hear ‘Yours’?

> "We’ll wait a while longer," Mr. Crow told the
> company,

JOEL: How else would waiting work?

> "for the end is so near we may as well see it."

TOM: Is … Is Mr Crow forecasting the apocalypse?

> "Whose end?" Peter Mink asked him.

CROW: *Anyone’s* end, as long as it’s Henry Kissinger’s.

> "I mean the end of the race, of course!" Mr. Crow
> squalled.

JOEL: Oh no, they accidentally looped back, the race is a Moebius strip!

> "Oh! I thought you meant the end of Jimmy Rabbit,"
> Peter Mink replied.

CROW: [ As Elmer Fudd ] o/` End of Jimmy Wabbit o/`

> "Impossible! Impossible!"

TOM: Burgers! Burgers!

> was all Mr. Crow said to
> that. But he began to fidget—which was a sign that he was
> worried.

JOEL: Or he’s stimming, did you think of that, Mr Narrator ?

> And when Jimmy Rabbit appeared again Mr. Crow was
> not quite so cocksure when he asked if the race wasn’t over.

CROW: [ As Mr Crow ] Cocksure? No, no, I’m crow-sure, if I know anything it’s that.

> "It would be," Jimmy Rabbit answered, "but the
> trouble is, Grumpy Weasel won’t stop running!"

TOM: [ As Grumpy, distant ] ‘I’m stuck in second gear! HEEEELP!’

> "Ha!" said Mr. Crow hoarsely.

JOEL: Let me hear what Mr Horse crows now.

> But Peter Mink said,
> "Ha, ha!"

CROW: Almost ended the chapter on the title, neat.

> And there is a great difference between those two
> remarks, as we shall see.

TOM: Hey! The Narrator peeked ahead! That’s cheating!

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 9

Please enjoy another chapter of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, only with Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffs in it. The whole of this MST3K fan fiction should appear at this link. If it doesn’t, and it’s not just because I haven’t written it yet, let me know and we’ll figure something out.

Last time you’ll recall Grumpy Weasel uncharacteristically reached out to any other animal by challenging Jimmy Rabbit to a race. Mr Crow eggs Grumpy on, stirring up what should be an exciting race between the animals. And now is it race time? … Not yet. But see what it is.

Queen Zixi of Ix is a fairy-tale book L Frank Baum wrote while he thought he could sell something besides Wizard of Oz books. It’s pretty fun, starting with a pack of fairies deciding to make a new magical wish-granting item and see what kind of trouble it stirs up. Queen Ozma is also from L Frank Baum’s books, a big player in most of the Wizard of Oz books besides the one made into the movie. It’s Motocross, Charlie Brown is properly known as You’re A Good Sport, Charlie Brown. It’s not in fact much like the described plot.

> IX

TOM: That’s one of those obscure moons of Saturn, right?

JOEL: Looking forward to meeting Queen Zixi.


CROW: For marriage.

> Old Mr. Crow and Jimmy Rabbit had a good laugh over
> Grumpy Weasel’s plan for a race with Jimmy. They thought it a
> great joke.

JOEL: Maybe you had to be there. Wait, we were!

> "He needn’t give me a start," Jimmy said.

TOM: ‘Needn’t’.

> "I can beat
> Grumpy easily."
> "Never mind that!" Mr. Crow advised.

CROW: [ As Jimmy ] ‘Well, I can *not* beat him even more easily!’

> "You might as
> well let him have his way.

TOM: You needn’t make him all grumpy.

> He’ll look all the more foolish,
> trying to catch up with you."

JOEL: Now into your clown suit and remember to let your pants fall down!

> So Jimmy Rabbit agreed to run the race as Grumpy
> Weasel wished,

TOM: Only two more wishes and Jimmy goes back into the magic lamp!

> saying that he was ready to start at once.

CROW: Zoom!

JOEL: [ As Maxwell Smart ] ‘Would you believe starting at *twice*?’

> But Mr. Crow told him he had better wait till the
> next day.

TOM: Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after …

> "That will give me time to tell everybody," he
> explained,

CROW: Including Santa Claus and Princess Ozma of the Land of Oz!

> "and then there’ll be a big turnout to see you
> win—and to jeer at Grumpy Weasel for losing."

TOM: Wasn’t this the plot of ‘It’s Motocross, Charlie Brown’?

> And one could
> tell from Mr. Crow’s remark

JOEL: That he’s one sassy bot.

CROW: He’s different.

> that he liked Jimmy Rabbit and
> that he despised Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Or that he’s playing both sides against the middle.

> The next day proved to be a fine one for the race.

TOM: [ Grumbling ] Man, 25 bucks fine for racing …

> It
> wasn’t too hot nor too cold;

JOEL: It was threatening to be a little too medium.

> and early in the morning the
> field- and forest-people began gathering at Grumpy Weasel’s
> hunting ground,

CROW: Mmm, buffet.

> where the stone wall touched the clearing.

TOM: Watch out for holes!

> About the only persons that objected to the time set
> for the race were Benjamin Bat and Solomon Owl.

TOM: Minor characters get alliterative names, real characters get normal names.

> Benjamin said
> that he could never keep awake to watch it;

CROW: We *get* it, Benjamin, you’re not a racing fan. Stop dissing us who *are*.

> and Solomon
> complained that he couldn’t see well in the daytime.

JOEL: But they’re not *racing* a well.

> But all
> the rest of the company were in the best of spirits, giggling
> slyly whenever they looked at Grumpy Weasel,

TOM: He-he-he-he-hah

JOEL: Mwuh-uh-ha-hah-haa!

CROW: [ High-pitched cackling ]

> who seemed to
> pay scant heed to his neighbors,

TOM: I love whenever Scant Heed To His Neighbors comes up on the indie station.

> though you may be sure his
> roving black eyes took in everything that was going on.

JOEL: Tale of *Greedy* Weasel.

> He
> seemed more restless than ever as he waited for Jimmy Rabbit
> to arrive,

CROW: Well, how restless *is* Ever?

JOEL: Ever Egret.

> walking to and fro on his front legs in a most
> peculiar fashion,

TOM: It’s called warming up, Narrator!

> while he kept his hind feet firmly planted
> on the ground in one spot.

JOEL: Restless *Some* Legs Syndrome.

> Of course he could never have
> moved about in this manner had his body not been so long and
> slender.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon in the background, not moving at all.

> Noticing Grumpy’s strange actions, old Mr. Crow
> looked worried

CROW: No, I figure Grumpy knows what he’s doing!

> and asked him what was the matter.

TOM: Bubble wrap rehearsals.

> "I hope
> your hind feet aren’t troubling you, just as the race is
> about to begin," he said.

JOEL: Maybe his ankles are too tight, ever think about that?

> Grumpy Weasel hissed at the old gentleman before he
> replied:

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Sorry, my tire cap was loose.’

> "Don’t worry! You’ll soon see that my hind feet can
> travel as fast as my front ones—

JOEL: That feels like a threat, somehow.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘And then I’ll show those fools at the Academy!’

> when I want to use them."

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘But when I remove them from their box they lose a lot of value so I want to be sure this is worth it.’

> "Ah!" Mr. Crow exclaimed knowingly.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘I have no idea what you just told me!’

> "He’s saving his
> hind feet for the race."

TOM: Yeah, close enough.

> When Jimmy Rabbit reached the gathering place, coming
> up in a long lope,

CROW: I love those old-fashioned vehicles like jitneys and phaetons and lopes and everything.

> Mr. Crow hurried to meet him.

JOEL: Mr Crow, do you just want to race Jimmy? Is that your game?

> "I advise you to save your hind feet," he whispered.

TOM: Don’t spend them all in one place.

> "Grumpy Weasel is saving his."

CROW: Just in case the boss battle really needs feet.

> Jimmy Rabbit told Mr. Crow, with a smile, that he had
> saved his hind feet all his life—and his front ones, too.

JOEL: El-Ahrairah looking at Jimmy after this going, ‘Eh, I guess. Fine.’

> "I’ve brought them along to-day,"

JOEL: Even though I needn’t.

> he said, "to help
> me win this race."

CROW: My feet, and the weasel-proof tape at the finish line.


[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 8

Now that I’ve reached Chapter 8 of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, the protagonist is really growing on me. I’m still not committing to turning the whole of the book into Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. But whatever I do make from it will be up a this link. Might even finish the book.

The story so far: Master Robin, Mister Meadow Mouse, and Paddy Muskrat have all gotten away from Grumpy Weasel so far. Now to see if anyone else escapes having to interact with Pleasant Valley’s most grumpy of weasels. Or — has Grumpy Weasel done something to surprise us all?

The cryptic riff “`Makes sense,” said Glinn Gusat’ is swiped from the greatest MiSTing project of all, the Marissa Picard stories. They’re a joyfully preposterous set of Adventures where Captain Picard’s adopted daughter becomes Lord High Admiral of the Universe by age fifteen or so. Glinn Gusat’s declaration about how the lead character’s leap of logic “makes sense” became a beloved callback and I’m bringing it back here.


JOEL: It’s King Henry Days at the Satellite of Love!


TOM: [ To the Pink Panther theme ] The dare, the DARE, the dare the dare the DARE the dare the DAAAAAAARE!

> If Grumpy Weasel had been a faster runner

JOEL: [ As the ‘If Woody had gone right to the police’ guy ] … this would never have happened.

> the forest
> people wouldn’t have been so surprised when he dared Jimmy
> Rabbit to race him.

CROW: Also if he had ever chosen to interact with a person.

> Everybody knew that Jimmy was
> swift-footed

JOEL: He had feet like a bird.

> —especially since he once beat old Mr. Turtle
> (but that is another story).

TOM: Oh did he, now? Because I saw a cartoon where it came out different.

> When Mr. Crow, who was a great bearer of news,

CROW: And Mr Bear, who was a great crower of news.

JOEL: Wait, that makes sense.

> told
> Jimmy Rabbit one day that Grumpy Weasel wanted a race with
> him,

TOM: [ As Jimmy ] ‘What do I care if Grumpy wants a race with you?’

> Jimmy Rabbit seemed more than willing to oblige. "Where,
> when, and how far does Grumpy want to run against me?" he
> asked.

JOEL: Seems like you could talk Jimmy into it.

> Mr. Crow said that he didn’t know,

CROW: He just got back from Buffalo.

> but that he would
> make it his business to find out.

TOM: Some bots don’t know how to mind their own business!

CROW: Hey!

> So off he hurried to find
> Grumpy Weasel,

JOEL: Just look for the big cloud of disagreeing.

> for if there was anything Mr. Crow liked it
> was busying himself with other people’s affairs.

CROW: *Also* shiny trinkets!

> He did not have what you could call a pleasant talk
> with Grumpy Weasel.

JOEL: I always thought any talk that doesn’t end with a weasel biting your face off is a pleasant one.

> Once when Mr. Crow alighted too near the
> ground Grumpy jumped at him.

TOM: That *is* a good story!

> And several times he called Mr.
> Crow a nest-robber and an egg-thief, though goodness knows

CROW: He styled himself more a nest-thief and an egg-robber.

> Grumpy Weasel himself was as bad as the worst when it came to
> robbing birds’ nests.

JOEL: But the worst is going to be Fatty Raccoon?

> Although he felt as if he were about to burst with
> rage old Mr. Crow pretended to laugh.

CROW: [ Clearing his throat, and speaking the words, awkwardly, as though giving a bad presentation ] ‘H- hah ha hhaah?’

> He had been having a
> rather dull time, waiting for Farmer Green to plant his corn,

TOM: o/` And I don’t care! o/“

> and he thought that a lively race might put him in better
> spirits.

JOEL: If Grumpy Weasel is in good spirits does that mean he’s *more* grumpy or does that mean he’s …

CROW: Yeah, this is confusing.

> "Where do you want to race against Jimmy Rabbit?" Mr.
> Crow asked.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Around the world twice! Zip! Zip! Hah, I’m done!’

> "We’ll start from this wall," said Grumpy sulkily,

CROW: You … sound like you’re not into this anymore, Grumps.

> "because it’s always better to start from where you are than
> where you aren’t."

JOEL: [ As Mr Meadow Mouse] ‘No running through holes, right?’

> Mr. Crow said that that seemed reasonable.

TOM: ‘Makes sense’, said Glinn Gusat.

> "When do you want to race?" he added.

JOEL: [ As a Knight who says Ni ] ‘When you bring me a shrubbery!’

> "The sooner we start the quicker we’ll finish,"
> Grumpy Weasel snapped.

CROW: And vice-versa.

> "Quite true, quite true!" Mr. Crow agreed.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow, doing Columbo ] ‘I figured it was something like that, sure … now just one more question.’

> "And now
> may I inquire how long a race you want to run?"

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] No, you must ask how wide a race I want.

> "No longer than I have to!" Grumpy growled.

TOM: Is Grumpy posing a riddle?

CROW: Uh, is the answer ‘a hole’? I feel like it’s got to be ‘a hole’?

> "Not more
> than a day or two, I hope!"

JOEL: You know how hard it would be to get a hotel this close to the event!

> Mr. Crow snickered slightly.

CROW: [ Snickering, slightly. ]

> "I see you don’t
> understand my question," he observed.

TOM: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘Let me put it in other words. Gazortnol flebnostrilate chunk bloppily snork nobble?’

> "Are you going to run a
> mile, or only a few rods?"

CROW: A few rods? Look, I know this is 1915 but you’re being old-fashioned for *that*!

> "How do I know?" Grumpy cried,

TOM: Fine, twelve hogsheads, three virgates, and a ha’penny!

> as if he had no
> patience with his questioner.

JOEL: You know if you don’t want to do this you don’t have to do this. *you* started everyone on doing this!

> "How could anybody tell? I’ll
> let Jimmy Rabbit start twenty jumps ahead of me and we’ll run
> till I catch him."

CROW: Wait a minute, is this a race or is he just going to eat Jimmy Rabbit?

> Well, Mr. Crow laughed right out loud when he heard
> that.

JOEL: [ As Mr Crow ] ‘I enjoy watching Jimmy Rabbit die!’

> And he was about to tell Grumpy that he would have to
> run till the end of his days if he raced Jimmy Rabbit in any
> such fashion as that.

CROW: But why start trouble like that?

> But he saw all at once that such a race
> would be a great joke.

TOM: Well, it’s one of those conceptual jokes, where the comedian’s amused but we’re confused.

> And he said to himself with a chuckle
> that the laugh would be on Grumpy Weasel.

CROW: Sounds like you’re the one doing all the laughing here.

> For Jimmy Rabbit
> was so swift a runner that nobody who knew anything at all
> would ever consent to give him a start—

JOEL: What if we gave him a sudden surprise instead?

> much less propose
> such a thing.
> "Very well!" said Mr. Crow with a smirk, "I’ll report
> to Jimmy Rabbit.

TOM: We’ll agenda it on the next Pleasant Valley scrum!

> I’ll tell him where, when and how you want
> to race, and there’s no doubt that your plan will please
> him."

JOEL: His plan is to stand still while Jimmy runs away from him and is never seen again.

> "I hope it won’t!" Grumpy Weasel snarled. "I’ve never
> pleased anybody yet; and I don’t mean to."

CROW: Grumpy Weasel suddenly becomes the voice of our generation.

> And that goes to show what an ill-natured scamp he
> was.

TOM: He reaches out *one* time to do *one* fun thing with *one* person and suddenly it’s a whole megillah. I feel for the guy.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 7

I continue not to promise that I will make Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction out of all of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale Of Grumpy Weasel. Grumpy isn’t as automatically delightful as Fatty Raccoon was. But I’m feeling more inclined to try, now. And all of the MiSTing, however much I finish, should be posted to this link.

The story so far: First, young Master Robin escaped Grumpy Weasel. Then Mister Meadow Mouse did too. Who’ll get away from Grumpy Weasel next? Or will we finish a chapter with someone not avoiding our protagonist? Read on!

This week also hasn’t really called for obscure riffs. Maybe the only thing to footnote is that Barbara Lewis hat a hit song by the name Hello Stranger back in 1963, although you might recognize it from its hook, “Shoo-bop shoo-bop, my baby, ooooh”.


TOM: Chapter Five, Part II.


CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘What’s all this about Paddy Muskrat’s bladder?’

> Sometimes Grumpy Weasel found the hunting poor along
> the stretch of stone wall that he called his own

JOEL: Maybe Grumpy should take up gathering?

> —though of
> course it really belonged to Farmer Green.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘I own it by virtue of working the hunting grounds! Read your Locke!’

CROW: [ Pointlessly hostile ] *You* read *your* Locke.

> And though he
> disliked to wander much in strange neighborhoods,

JOEL: … he likes the way his existing drives the Nextdoor biddies crazy.

> once in a
> while he visited other parts of Pleasant Valley.

CROW: Sometimes he wanders all the way to Simply Passable Hill or Mediocre Brook. Once even to Disappointing Meadow.

JOEL: Mister Meadow Mouse likes it.

> It was on such an excursion to the bank of the mill
> pond

TOM: o/` Down by the old mill pond … o/`

> that he caught sight, one day, of Paddy Muskrat

CROW: I want to call him Paddy O’Muskrat for some reason.

> —or to
> be more exact, that Paddy Muskrat caught sight of him.

JOEL: You know a caught sight is the most dangerous of all.

> Now it was seldom that anybody spoke to Grumpy
> Weasel.

CROW: And when they did it was about who has the deed to the garden wall.

> On the contrary, most of the forest-folk dodged out
> of sight whenever they saw him, and said nothing.

TOM: Wait, nobody likes Grumpy Weasel, nobody likes Fatty Raccoon, does Arthur Scott Bailey have any protagonists he *wants* to spend time with?

> So he
> wheeled like a flash and started to run when somebody called,
> "Hullo, stranger!"

CROW: He’s being visited by the Barbara Lewis?

> One quick backward glance at a small wet head in the
> water told Grumpy that he had nothing to fear.

JOEL: In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be here …

> "Hullo, yourself!" he retorted "And you’d better not
> call me ‘stranger,’ because I’m no stranger than you are."

TOM: Well, how strange are you?

CROW: Anyone who boasts about how strange they are is about as strange as white broccoli pizza.

> Well, Paddy Muskrat—for it was he who had spied
> Grumpy Weasel on the bank of the pond—

JOEL: No, not *that* Paddy Muskrat, the other one.

> saw at once that
> whoever the slender and elegant person might be,

TOM: Nick Charles?!

> he had the
> worst of manners. Though Paddy had lived in the mill pond a
> long time, he had never met any one that looked exactly like
> the newcomer.

CROW: Isn’t that how newcomers work?

JOEL: Not if you’re clones.


> To be sure, there was Peter Mink, who was
> long-bodied and short-tempered,

TOM: [ As Peter Mink, from far off ] ‘Hey! Why pick on me?’

> as the stranger appeared to
> be. But when Paddy inquired whether the visitor wasn’t a
> distant connection of the Mink family (as indeed he was!),

CROW: [ As Emily Litella ] ‘The *Pink* Family?’

> Grumpy Weasel said, "What! Do you mean to insult me by asking
> whether I’m related to such a ragged, ruffianly crowd?"

TOM: ‘Ruffianly’?

> Somehow Paddy Muskrat rather liked that answer,

JOEL: ‘Ruffianly’, yeah, we got us a stranger who says things like ‘ruffianly’.

> for
> Peter Mink and all his family were fine swimmers and most
> unwelcome in the mill pond.

TOM: Just … just because he doesn’t like Peter Mink doesn’t mean he can’t swim.

> And perhaps—who knew?—

JOEL: It is a crazy, mixed-up world.

> perhaps the spic-and-span
> chap on the bank,

CROW: Felix Otter!

> with the sleek coat and black-tipped tail,

TOM: Puttin’ on the ritz!

> was one of the kind that didn’t like to get his feet wet.

JOEL: That he was wearing his swimming trunks suggests otherwise, though.

> Then Paddy Muskrat asked the stranger a silly
> question.

TOM: ‘If you could trade tongues with someone, who would it be?’

> He was not the wisest person, anyhow, in Pleasant
> Valley, as his wife often reminded him.

CROW: Oh you know women, always reminding you of the existence of wiser muskrats in the valley.

> "You’re not a distant
> relation of Tommy Fox, are you?" he inquired.

TOM: Tommy Fox, the lowland tenrec?

> Grumpy Weasel actually almost smiled.

JOEL: [ As Grumpy, hollering in pain ] ‘AAAAUGH!’

> "Now, how did you happen to guess that?" he asked.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Because, man, if that idea ust popped into your head you’re a sack of doorknobs!’

> "Because you’ve got such a sharp nose," Paddy Muskrat
> replied.

JOEL: You know what they say, sharp nose, warm heart.

> And he was quite pleased with himself, for he
> thought that he wasn’t so stupid as some people thought.

TOM: Oh … oh, honey, please, sit down before you hurt yourself.

> "Any other reason?" Grumpy Weasel inquired, stepping
> to the edge of the overhanging bank.

CROW: Look out, Paddy, it’s a trap!

> "You don’t like to get your feet wet," Paddy Muskrat
> said.

TOM: Objection, assumes personality traits not in evidence.

> And feeling safe as anything, he swam nearer the spot
> where the stranger was crouching.

JOEL: Just think of being the phone company guy walking Paddy through moving his SIM card.

> Paddy saw, almost too late, that he had made a bad
> blunder.

CROW: Can’t you even tell a cabbage from a lettuce?!

> For without the slightest warning Grumpy Weasel
> leaped at him.

JOEL: Aaah! Snuggle party!

> And had not Paddy been a wonderful swimmer and
> able to dive like a flash,

TOM: What, *nekkid*?!

> he would never have dashed,
> panting, into his house a few moments later.
> "What on earth is the matter?" his wife asked him.

CROW: [ As Paddy ] ‘NOTHING! Nothing, uh, nothing … listen, we don’t have any holes on us, do we?’

> "I’ve been having a swimming race with a stranger,"

JOEL: Seems more like a diving race to me?

> Paddy explained. "I don’t know his name. But I do know that
> he’d just as soon get his feet wet as I would."

TOM: [ As Mrs Muskrat ] ‘Why would you want to get his feet wet?’

> "Well, why not?" Mrs. Muskrat inquired. "That only
> shows he’s sensible."

CROW: He can see, hear, smell, touch, *and* taste!

TOM: Can’t trust a stranger you don’t ever lick.

> "Does it show I’m sensible, too?" Paddy asked her.

JOEL: I don’t know, can you be licked?

> "Certainly not!" said Mrs. Muskrat.

TOM: D’oh!

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 6

And I continue again! My Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel gets another chapter. The whole MiSTing, whether or not I finish the book, should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: Grumpy Weasel has caught Mr Meadow Mouse poking around the stone wall along his hunting grounds. In trying to escape Meadow Mouse suggests seeing which of them can fit through the smaller hole in the wall. Before Grumpy can sneer the idea down Solomon Owl lands and declares he’ll judge the hole-crawling contest. And now, for Chapter …

> VI

CROW: Chapter Seven, the prequel.


JOEL: Wonder what’s going to happen this chapter.

> Grumpy Weasel did not like Solomon Owl’s offer

TOM: Two wheat and one ore in exchange for Literacy and Mapmaking? What kind of offer is that?!

> to be
> umpire of the hole-crawling contest between Mr. Meadow Mouse
> and himself.

JOEL: … Busier than a one-beaked umpire at a hole-crawling contest.

> He hissed a few times and glared at Solomon Owl,

CROW: Like they say, the people with the free weasels always hiss first.

> up in the hemlock tree.

TOM: Grumpy should run into the hemlock tree’s opposite, the inseam-key tree.

> Solomon Owl did not appear to mind that, but calmly
> outstared Grumpy Weasel without once blinking.

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘I been hissed at by bigger weasels than you, buck-o.’

> "Are you both
> ready?" he asked presently.

CROW: You know this is like the biggest mouse anxiety dream after having to give a presentation in class.

> "Yes, thank you!" Mr. Meadow Mouse answered.

TOM: [ As Meadow ] ‘I’ll just get ready over … there … ‘ [ Makes a ‘whoosh’ noise ]

> And
> Grumpy Weasel gave a sort of shrug, as if to say that he
> supposed he was.

JOEL: Grumpy’s too cool for school.

> "First you may try that hole between those mossy
> stones," Mr. Owl announced, with a tilt of his head toward
> the wall.

TOM: Mossy stones … hm … what’s your game, old Owl?

> "Certainly!" cried Mr. Meadow Mouse.

CROW: Remember to wear your microchip shirt so we can time you down to the millisecond.

> "You go first and I’ll follow," Grumpy Weasel told
> him.

JOEL: Not going to flip to see who goes first?

> And Mr. Meadow Mouse didn’t dare disobey. He whisked
> through the hole spryly and was back again in no time.

TOM: Why, the hole only goes halfway!

> Then Grumpy took his turn.

JOEL: And *only* his turn. He’s not greedy.

TOM: Greedy Muskrat is a whole different book.

> He was certainly quicker
> than Mr. Meadow Mouse.

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘It’s very important I do my *entire* get-ready-to-do-something routine!’

TOM: [ As Meadow, doing Ed Norton ] ‘Hello, hole!’

> Even the umpire, Solomon Owl, had to
> admit that.

JOEL: Solomon Owl is not one to gainsay the obvious.

> "But of course that’s not the point," Solomon
> observed.

TOM: It might be the tiebreaker, though.

> "It’s the one that gets stuck in a hole that loses
> the contest."

CROW: Much as in life, yes.

> Well, after Grumpy and Mr. Meadow Mouse had slipped
> through several holes, each one smaller than the one before,

TOM: They must both be shrinking!

> Mr. Meadow Mouse said that he thought it was only polite to
> let Grumpy go first.

JOEL: That’s the sort of thing that’ll shake him out of his funk.

> Secretly Mr. Meadow Mouse was afraid of
> what might happen if he should have the misfortune to get
> wedged in a hole, with Grumpy Weasel ready to follow him.

TOM: He could just tell Grumpy it’s all right to go around him. Easy.

> He
> had had some trouble getting through the last one and he knew
> that he could never squeeze through one that was much
> smaller.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon wondering what’s all this ‘squeeze through’ talk.

> Grumpy Weasel lost his temper at once.

TOM: Remember, the loser is the one who throws the first punch. Except if you’re boxing.

> "I’ll do as I please on my stone wall!" he snapped.

JOEL: If you wanna find out what’s behind these cold eyes you’ll just have to claw your way through this disguise.

> And he was angrier than ever when Solomon Own said to him,
> "It’s your turn!"

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘Wait, it was that easy all along? I shoulda tried this *holes* ago!’

> Probably no other of the woods
> people—unless it was one of the Hawk family

TOM: Eagle, Goshawk, Tony, and Parabuteo.

> —could have
> made Grumpy Weasel obey.

JOEL: Oh and Jimmy Rabbit now he read that book about hypnosis.

> And now he insisted that if he "went
> first" he ought to be allowed to choose whatever hole he
> pleased.

TOM: [ As Solomon ] ‘Hmm … I’ll allow it. But you’re on a short leash, counsellor.’

> Both Solomon Owl and Mr. Meadow Mouse agreed.

JOEL: What sort of name do you think ‘Meadow’ is?

TOM: What sort of name is ‘Grumpy’?

> So
> Grumpy Weasel popped through a hole of his own choosing, and
> he did not reappear,

CROW: Wait, I was about to *make* that joke!

> though he called to Mr. Meadow Mouse to
> "come on."

JOEL: [ As Grumpy ] ‘You’ll love it here in the Shadow Zone!’

> Mr. Meadow Mouse hung back.

TOM: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Come on, join me in the Never-Was!’

> "You’ll have to excuse me," he stammered.

CROW: [ As Meadow ] ‘I, uh, have a all-hands standup on Zoom in five. Be right back.’

> "What’s the matter?" boomed Solomon Owl. "Do you want
> to lose the contest?"

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘Can you settle for being merely Pleasant Valley’s *second-best* squeezer-into-things?’

> "No!" said Mr. Meadow Mouse. "But Grumpy Weasel is
> still inside that hole. There’s no other way out."

TOM: [ As Torgo ] ‘It’ll be dark soon, there is no other way out.’

> "How do you know?" Solomon Owl asked him.

CROW: You know, one cork could solve the whole Grumpy Weasel problem right now.

> "Oh, I’ve been here before, often," Mr. Meadow Mouse
> replied.

TOM: Often enough to memorize all the one-way holes?

> "Are you sure?" Mr. Owl inquired.

CROW: Look, there’s one hole in the wall that leads to somewhere in the Delta Quadrant where the Caretaker’s sampling species, and that’s the hole. What can I tell you?

> "I’ll go on the other side of the wall and look," Mr.
> Meadow Mouse offered. And thereupon he skipped over the wall.

JOEL: You know, this really seems more like Meadow Mouse’s story here.

> Solomon Owl waited patiently.

TOM: Wonder what Solomon’s whole gambit here is, really.

> And so did Grumpy
> Weasel.

CROW: So did Peter Mink, but you don’t see him making a big fuss over it.

> But Mr. Meadow Mouse never came back. Once out of
> sight he scampered away.

JOEL: [ As Meadow, increasingly faintly ] ‘I’m not scampering away, I’m, I’m, I’m just looking for where the hole should be!’

TOM: [ As Meadow ] ‘Still shakin’ the bushes, boss!’

> And he never trespassed on Grumpy
> Weasel’s hunting ground again.

CROW: Because Grumpy was so impressed with the cleverness they became good friends and Meadow was welcome anytime he wanted to drop in, right?

JOEL: Um …

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 5

I’m still not done making Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fictionout of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole MiSTing should be gathered at this link.

Mister Meadow Mouse assumed that Grumpy Weasel wasn’t going to be near the old stone wall today. He was wrong. A confident Grumpy offers to let the mouse squeeze into some of the smaller holes in the wall — and claims “I want to see if you can squeeze through as small a hole as I can”. Is Meadow Mouse doomed? Is Grumpy Weasel about to eat? Read on and find out!

> V

CROW: The Final, Belated Battle


TOM: He’s wise, not polite.

> Plump little Mr. Meadow Mouse

JOEL: … Came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed …

> wished he had stayed
> away from Grumpy Weasel’s hunting ground.

CROW: Totally bogus to have the ground hunting you. The sky never does that cop stuff.

> He would have
> scampered off, had he not known that Grumpy could overtake
> him before he had made three leaps.

TOM: Hear me out now, what if you take two leaps?

CROW: One leap and a jaunty pirouette?

> So he saw no way out of
> his trouble,

TOM: Maybe declare bankruptcy?

> though he could think of nothing less agreeable
> than trying to slip through a small hole with Grumpy Weasel
> close at hand, watching him narrowly.

JOEL: I don’t know, Grumpy seems to be pretty positive about this.

> Then all at once Mr. Meadow Mouse had an idea.

TOM: Wait, it won’t help if you try and stop Christmas from coming.

> "You
> go first!" he said politely. "Go through any hole you choose
> and then I’ll try my luck."

JOEL: Let’s go inside and take this outdoors!

> But Grumpy Weasel was too crafty to do that.

CROW: He had a huge pile of origami blocking the hole.

> "You’d try your luck at running away," he snarled.

TOM: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘I’d try my skill, too!’

> "You are the one to go first; and we’ll have no words about
> it."

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Can I at least gulp a little?’

> Well, Mr. Meadow Mouse began to shake more than ever.

CROW: He’s getting his groove on!

> "Don’t you think," he quavered, "that we’d better
> wait a few days until I’m a bit smaller?

TOM: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘I’m growing down, you know. It’s like growing up but the other way around?’

> I’m afraid I’ve been
> overeating lately and I might get stuck in a hole.

CROW: Well, what if the hole eats something and grows a bit?

> And of
> course that would be awkward."

JOEL: Oh, we’d pretend not to look, don’t worry.

> "Ha, ha!" Grumpy Weasel actually laughed. But it was
> not what any one could call a hearty, wholesome, cheerful
> sort of laugh. On the contrary, it sounded very cruel and
> gloating.

CROW: Oh, great, he’s an Internet snarker.

JOEL: [ Coughing, embarrassed ]

> "Hoo, hoo!" Another laugh—this one weird and
> hollow—boomed out from the hemlock tree just above Mr.
> Meadow Mouse’s head.

CROW: Huh, huh?

TOM: o/` They’re coming to take me away! o/“

> He jumped, in spite of himself—did Mr. Meadow
> Mouse.

JOEL: A wink of his eye and a twist of his head …

> And so, too, did Grumpy Weasel. Both of them leaped
> for the old stone wall.

TOM: [ As JOEL swings his arms like a baseball umpire ] ‘SAFE!’

> And each flashed into a crevice
> between the stones,

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Oh uh … hi. Funny meeting you here?’

> though Grumpy Weasel was ever so much the
> quicker of the two. They knew Solomon Owl’s voice too well to
> mistake his odd laughter.

CROW: Whose?

JOEL: Naturally.

> "What’s your hurry, gentlemen?" Solomon called to
> them.

TOM: Solomon Grund-Owl, born on a Mond-Owl.

> Mild Mr. Meadow Mouse made no reply.

JOEL: Couldn’t quite nail the alliteration.

> But from Grumpy
> Weasel’s hiding place an angry hiss told Solomon Owl that one
> of them, at least, had heard his question.

CROW: Oh no! Daniel Snake is leaking!

> "Come out!" said Solomon Owl. "Don’t be shy! I’ve
> dined already."

TOM: I just want to snuggle!

> Well, that made the two in the wall feel somewhat
> bolder.

CROW: Going to ruin things if animals ever discover lying.

> And soon they ventured to peep out and gaze at
> Solomon, to see whether he looked like a person who had just
> enjoyed a good meal.

JOEL: [ As Solomon ] ‘I didn’t say I *enjoyed* it, just that I *ate* it.’

> "You’re not as hollow as you sound, I hope," Grumpy
> Weasel remarked with some suspicion in his tone.

TOM: … the heck?

CROW: No, no, the logic checks out.

> As for Mr. Meadow Mouse, he wouldn’t dream of making
> so rude a remark.

JOEL: But he’s already composing his review on Bird Yelp.

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Is that a bird? Y-elp!’

> "It’s a fine evening and I hope you’re feeling
> happy," he piped.

TOM: Is he signalling for a spy? The smoked cabbage never swings the light anchor.

> "Oh, very! Very!" said Solomon Owl solemnly.

JOEL: How does a beak make those ‘V’ sounds?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse was a trusting sort of chap.

CROW: Hardly a week went by a friend didn’t trick him into looking up ‘gullible’ in the dictionary.

TOM: [ Way too defensive ] Not believing it until you saw the word missing is the *opposite* of gullible!

CROW: [ Snickering ]

> He was
> all ready to leave his cranny. But Grumpy Weasel was not yet
> satisfied.

JOEL: Not letting you go until you regret talking to him: the Grumpy Weasel Guarantee!

> "Which one of us are you answering?" he demanded of
> Solomon.

CROW: Was … was there a question?

TOM: No, but you can take an idle curiosity out of petty thoughts.

> "Him!" said Solomon.

TOM: That devil guy from the Powerpuff Girls? The heck?

> "Did you say, ‘Ahem?’" Grumpy Weasel wanted to know.
> "No, no!" Solomon assured him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Well, could you? I’ve go a great joke I need you to set up.’

> "I said, ‘him.’ I was
> answering your friend."

TOM: But Grumpy Weasel is a friend to everybody!

> Grumpy Weasel made a wry face, as if he did not care
> to have anybody speak of Mr. Meadow Mouse as a friend of his.

TOM: Well, almost everybody!

> And he did not quit the stone wall

JOEL: Oh, you can’t just quit a stone wall, you have to give them time to train your replacement wall.

TOM: Replacement well …

> until he had seen Mr.
> Meadow Mouse venture forth in safety.
> "Just by accident I overheard your remarks a few
> minutes ago," Mr. Owl explained.

CROW: Well, Solomon Owl sure wasn’t using any hunting ground.

> "I’d like to watch this
> hole-crawling contest.

JOEL: Pleasant Valley does not have smart phones yet.

CROW: It’s 1915, ‘phones’ are just hollering.

> And I’ll stay here and be the
> umpire—and see that there’s fair play."

TOM: [ As Solomon Owl ] It’s a little weird, but I like weird!

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 4

I hope that you like nice fresh Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. I continue with Arthur Scott Bailey’s Sleepy-Time Tale, The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link, although I don’t promise to do the whole story. We’ll see whether I do.

The story so far: all the animals in Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is grumpy and a weasel. Young Master Robin escaped his plans, but will every animal be so fortunate?

Crow’s riff about ‘flord digorznip’ owes a lot to a Robert Benchley essay warning about speaking improper English. I recommend a fair bit of reading Benchley.

> IV

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two, Part Two.


JOEL: Where the rain gets in …

CROW: You said that.

> Usually Grumpy Weasel did not stray far from a
> certain corner of Farmer Green’s wood lot.

TOM: How much wood does Farmer Green have?

JOEL: A lot?

> He preferred to
> hunt where he knew the lay of the land.

CROW: Pretty sure it just hangs out on top of the bedrock underneath?

> And since he liked
> especially to hunt along old stone walls,

JOEL: Those *new* stone walls aren’t good for anything.

> he picked out a
> long stretch of old tumble-down wall that reached through the
> woods towards Blue Mountain.

TOM: Now why would you build a wall to keep the mountains out?

CROW: West Virginia didn’t and look what happened to them.

> He picked it out as his very own hunting ground and
> never asked permission of Farmer Green, either.

JOEL: Grumpy Weasel fighting back against the Man.

> Now, near the lower end of this wall—the end toward
> the pasture—

TOM: Don’t mistake which end is toward the pasture, it *will* be on the final exam!

> a fat person known as Mr. Meadow Mouse
> sometimes wandered.

CROW: Mr Meadow Mouse sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark —

JOEL: We did that too.

CROW: Why is every name doing this to us?

> But he never visited that spot without
> first inquiring whether Grumpy Weasel had been there the day
> before.

TOM: Why wait a day between asking and going to the place?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse had learned somehow that Grumpy
> usually moved on each day to a different part of his hunting
> ground.

CROW: I’m going to guess he walked, maybe ran to other places?

TOM: Maybe he has a Weaselmobile? Or a tiny helicopter?

JOEL: A series of weasel-bearing trampolines scattered across the yard.

> He was surprised, therefore, to meet Grumpy Weasel
> face to face one time, when he felt sure that that surly
> rogue must be a good safe distance away.

CROW: At the tavern, trying to get the bard to stop picking fights with farmers.

> Mr. Meadow Mouse cast a quick glance around. But he
> could see no place to hide.

TOM: The hiding place was hidden?

JOEL: It does one thing and it does it well.

> So there was nothing for him to
> do but to put on a bold front. He bowed pleasantly enough,

CROW: Everything else has failed, so let’s try courtesy!

> though he was trembling a little, and remarked that it was a
> fine day

JOEL: 35 dollars and two points on his license.

> and that he hoped Grumpy was feeling happy—all of
> which was quite true.

CROW: Yes, it is truly quite.

> Grumpy Weasel glowered at Mr. Meadow Mouse, for that
> was his way of replying to a kindly greeting.

TOM: Ugh, don’t talk to me before I’ve had my morning mouse.

CROW: Arthur Morning Mouse, last seen in The Tale Of Solomon Owl.

> "You’ve not come here to hunt, I hope," he growled.

JOEL: ‘Cause you’re not wearing orange, I’ll have to ticket you.

> "I’ll have you know that this is my private hunting ground
> and I allow no poaching."

TOM: How do you feel about scrambling or omelette-making?

> Mr. Meadow Mouse hastened to explain that he was
> merely out for a stroll.

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] Look, there’s one now! [ CROW leans out of frame, going ‘Whoosh!’. ]

> "I never hunt," he declared. "Of course,

JOEL: ‘Course, I am hunting for an easier way of life, but aren’t we all? Hah ? Ha ha? Ha? … Uh … ‘

> if I happen
> to see a tiny seed I may stop to eat it. But that’s all."

TOM: Got him on a technicality, that’s grazing, not hunting.

> "You’d better be careful what you say!" Grumpy Weasel
> snapped.

CROW: You don’t want to accidentally say something like ‘Flord digorznip flompty hoopnay’, since that’s nonsense.

> "Unless I’m mistaken, you were hunting something the
> moment you saw me. You were hunting a hole."

JOEL: Oh, you can’t get a hole this time of year, they’re all hibernating.

> Mr. Meadow Mouse gasped slightly. He hardly knew what
> to say.

CROW: ‘I wasn’t hunting *a* hole, I’d take *any* hole.’

> "Be very careful where you go around here!" Grumpy
> Weasel warned him. "The holes in this stone wall are all
> mine.

TOM: The stone wall itself is the Monolith aliens’, so, attempt no landings there.

> I shouldn’t want you to use a single one of them
> without my permission."

CROW: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Oh, I’m okay in all the others, though?’

> Mr. Meadow Mouse assured him that he wouldn’t dream
> of trespassing.

TOM: No trepanning, now, that just makes more holes for Grumpy Weasel.

> "And these holes among the roots of the trees—they
> are mine too," Grumpy Weasel snarled.

JOEL: Well now Grumpy sounds like he’s aggrandizing.

CROW: Yeah, some of those holes are historically part of the Badger-Mink Commonwealth’s.

> "Oh, certainly! Certainly!" Mr. Meadow Mouse cried.

JOEL: Maybe!

TOM: I guess?

> He was so quick to agree that for once Grumpy Weasel couldn’t
> think of anything more to find fault about.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Give me a minute, I just woke up.’

> "I’ll let you crawl into a few of the smaller holes
> in the stone wall, if you’ll be careful not to hurt them," he
> offered grudgingly.

TOM: How do you hurt a hole?

JOEL: Same way you hurt anyone, run roughshod over its fillings.

> Mr. Meadow Mouse made haste to thank him.

CROW: [ As Grumpy ] ‘Oh, oh, I can’t have haste anymore. Too much sugar too close to bed.’

> He said, however, that he thought he would wait till
> some other time.

TOM: That’s the sort of thing it’s easy to say when you’re in 1915.

> "There’s no time like the present," Grumpy Weasel
> grumbled.

CROW: That thought is the only thing that’s kept me going lately.

> "To tell the truth, I want to see if you can
> squeeze through as small a hole as I can."

JOEL: [ As Meadow Mouse ] ‘Mr Weasel are you hitting on me?’

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 3

I hope you’ll enjoy another chapter Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel. The whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction based on his book should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: everyone in Pleasant Valley is talking about Grumpy Weasel. Young Master Robin has paid no heed to all the other birds getting so worked up about this. And then a strange, grumpy voice is right behind the young bird.


TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two


CROW: [ As Robin ] ‘Always — I mean never — I mean don’t avoid — I mean make sure not to miss — ‘

> When young Master Robin heard the strange voice that
> sounded so grumpy and so near him he was terribly frightened.

JOEL: Grumpy Bear?

TOM: Oh no, we got Care Bears staring at us.

> He forgot that he thought himself grown up, and very wise,

CROW: Wise people are never cornered by the grumpy!

> and quite able to go about alone. He didn’t even look to see
> who was speaking,

JOEL: Robin sounds ill-mannered.

> but fell backwards off the limb of the
> apple tree.

TOM: Hit every iPod on the way down.

CROW: [ As Robin ] ‘Ow! Ow! Owie! Ow! Ouch!’ Thud!

> It was lucky for him, too, that he fell just when he
> did.

JOEL: [ As Robin, weakly ] ‘It *was*?’

> For a long brownish person, white underneath, took
> Master Robin’s place on the limb so promptly

TOM: Is he wearing an apron? Did a sous-chef just hop in?

> that you could
> hardly have said he jumped into it from somewhere else.

CROW: So put thoughts of claiming he had jumped into it from somewhere else out of your head, you wicked fool, you.

> He
> seemed to have popped out of the tree somewhat as a freshly
> popped kernel of corn bursts forth.

JOEL: Inside a microwave bag?

> A moment ago it was not
> there! You were watching, but did not see it grow big.

TOM: What kind of a knob are you? Why do I have you on staff? Begone!

> Well, all at once there was silence in the orchard.

JOEL: ‘Silence in the Orchard’ was my favorite Jethro Tull song.

> Everybody was holding his breath, waiting to see what
> happened to young Master Robin.

[ Whistles the opening bars from ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly’. ]

> Though he had lost his
> balance and tumbled backward he righted himself quite like an
> old-timer and flew off across the orchard.

CROW: Real Buster Keaton move there, you admire the stone beak.

> "I didn’t know snakes could climb trees," he
> stammered to Mr. Chippy, who had followed him.

JOEL: [ As Mr Chippy ] ‘What do you know about fish that do parkour?’

CROW: ‘Have you ever considered a whale who BASE jumps?’

> "Snakes!" Mr. Chippy piped. "That wasn’t a snake!

TOM: [ As Robin ] ‘Was it two snakes?’

> That was Grumpy Weasel…. And it’s a wonder you ever
> escaped," he added. "I must learn that backward somersault.
> It’s a good thing to know."

CROW: ‘You make it look as easy as falling out of a tree — say!’

> You can see that Mr. Chippy was a very humble person.

JOEL: Well everyone knows to expect humility from a whatever a Chippy is.

> But Mr. Jolly Robin’s eldest son was quite proud. Already he
> began to feel that he had been very skilful in escaping.

TOM: The escape room can’t hold you if you just fly out!

> But
> of course it was only an accident that he got away.

CROW: Yes but given the contingent nature of history aren’t all events ‘accidents’ really?

> For once in his life Grumpy Weasel had been careless.

JOEL: If Grumpy Weasel had gone right to the police this would never have happened.

> It had looked so easy—catching that clumsy young robin! He
> had spoken to Master Robin, not dreaming that he could save
> himself.

TOM: Well if you’re not going to save yourself who do you expect to?

> To make matters worse, Grumpy had found Mr. Chippy’s
> nest empty.

JOEL: Mr Chippy lost everything in the Panic of 1907.

> And Grumpy Weasel was the sort of person that
> liked to find a bird at home when he called.

TOM: When he cawwed.

CROW: [ Turns and looks at TOM. ]

> It always made
> him more ill-natured than usual to make a call for nothing.

JOEL: I mean, who does like making calls these days?

> And now he had let a stupid young Robin escape him.

CROW: Like they say, it’s not the number of breaths you take, it’s the number of stupid young Robins you stop from breathing.

> So it is
> not surprising that his big black eyes snapped nor that he
> said something in a fierce voice that sounded like "Chip,
> chip, chip," but meant something a good deal worse.

JOEL: Soggy chip, soggy chip, soggy chip.

> And to add to Grumpy Weasel’s rage, somebody had
> laughed hoarsely—somebody that sat in a tall elm across the
> road.

TOM: The trees are mocking Grumpy too? That seems excessive.

> If he could have caught Mr. Crow there is no doubt
> that Grumpy would have made that black scamp sorry that he
> laughed.

TOM: Lure him in with comic books and opinions about butter!

CROW: I told you those in confidence!

> But old Mr. Crow was too wary to let anybody
> surprise him.

CROW: I did not expect that!

> "Haw, haw!" he laughed again. And Grumpy Weasel
> actually couldn’t bear to hear him.

JOEL: Wallace Bear, meanwhile, couldn’t weasel to crow him.

> Some of the onlookers
> claimed afterward that they saw Grumpy Weasel start down the
> tree. And that was as much as they could say.

TOM: Somehow he lapped himself and ended up right back up top of the tree.

> No one knew how
> he managed to slip out of sight.

JOEL: Grumpy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

> And the field people say
> that he was never seen again in that exact spot.

CROW: Ah yes, they say weasels never strike twice in the same place.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 2

Though I said I didn’t promise to make Mystery Science Theater 3000 out of the whole of Arthur Scott Bailey’s The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, I did say I might. And here, I did a little bit more. I hope you enjoy. The whole MiSTing, however much there ends up being, should be gathered at this link.

The story so far: The birds of Pleasant Valley agree that Grumpy Weasel is a skinny old critter. And that’s about it; we have yet to meet him ourselves.

I don’t think any riffs here need me to explain them, but if you disagree, let me know. I can probably guess what was in my mind back on Monday or so.

> II

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two.


CROW: o/` Down by the old stone wall! o/`

> Little Mr. Chippy suddenly set up a great twitter.

JOEL: It’s the Rankin/Bass Screenshots Without Context account.

> Anybody could see that he was frightened. And one of Jolly
> Robin’s sons,

CROW: Joel Robinson?

JOEL: Hey! That’s …

CROW: Can’t take it, huh?

> perched in an apple tree near the stone wall
> where Mr. Chippy lived in a wild grapevine, wondered what
> could be the matter.

TOM: Is that reindeer?

CROW: It’s some fox sulking about grapes again.

> Presently, as he looked beneath him, he saw a long,
> slim shape dart from a chink of the old wall, and as quickly
> disappear.

JOEL: Romulans!

> "Huh!" said young Master Robin.

TOM: [ As Alfred the Butler ] As Mister Wayne said you might, sir.

> "Foolish people who
> build their homes on walls must expect snakes for visitors."

CROW: Checks out, yeah.

> And feeling quite wise and grown up, he turned his back on
> Mr. Chippy,

JOEL: You know in the British edition of this book he was Mr Crispy.

TOM: In the British edition Mr Chippy is a nightmarish blob that’s been a children’s show host since 1978.

> as if it really made no difference to him if Mr.
> Chippy did have a dangerous caller.

CROW: Just let it go to voice-mail and then never check it.

> Meanwhile others of the bird neighbors began to echo
> Mr. Chippy’s warning notes.

TOM: Oh, it’s retweeting.

> And young Master Robin thought
> everybody was silly to make such a fuss over the misfortunes
> of a humble person like Mr. Chippy.

CROW: Not caring if a little person gets hurt will never have a bad consequence for a bigwig like me!

> "If they don’t look out they’ll scare all the
> angleworms back into their holes," he grumbled—a remark
> which shows that he knew little about the ways of the world.

JOEL: Youth has such naive ideas about angleworm homes, yeah.

> And when Rusty Wren swerved near him and called to him to
> look out for Mr. Chippy’s visitor

TOM: Look out! Look out! The old man of the Chippy!

> —that he was "a bad
> one"—young Master Robin actually puffed himself up with
> rage.

CROW: You know to the angleworms all the birds freaking out is a good thing.

> "He seems to think I’m in danger of falling out of
> this tree," he sneered aloud. "He doesn’t know that I can
> handle myself in a tree as well as he can."

JOEL: Is … is he drunk?

TOM: [ As a drunk Robin ] ‘You’re all just jealous! You can’t handle me! You all are lucky my *chick* is here!’

> As he spoke,
> Master Robin all but tumbled off his perch.

CROW: Whoops!

> But he caught
> himself just in time, then looked around hastily to see if
> anybody had noticed his awkwardness.

TOM: Shouldn’t have gone bragging how even the Ancient Greek Gods couldn’t make him fall.

> All this time poor Mr. Chippy’s cries continued.

JOEL: [ As Bob Newhart ] ‘So if you see our copilot running up and down the aisles screaming things like, oh, you know, we’re gonna die, maybe put your life jackets on just in case.’

> There was really no reason for his alarm. For his wife was
> away from home, with all their children.

CROW: Ooooh. Yeah, we get it.

> But Mr. Chippy kept
> flying back and forth in a great flutter. He too called to
> young Master Robin that he’d better go home.

TOM: If there isn’t actual danger then this is just cyberbullying.

CROW: Cy-bird-bullying.

TOM: Joel, make him stop.

> Still that knowing youngster paid no heed to his
> elder’s advice.

JOEL: If the tweets are too loud you’re too old, man.

> "If snakes climb trees I’ve never seen them do it,"
> he scoffed.

CROW: You’ve never seen snakes climb trees? It’s, like, the coolest thing! They double up kinda like a paperclip?

> "Hi, there! Haven’t you seen——" Mr. Chippy
> started to say.

TOM: Howdy!

JOEL: Friendly ol’ sucker, isn’t he?

> But before he could finish his question
> Master Robin interrupted him rudely.

CROW: If Master Robin’s like this what do you suppose the Apprentice Robins are like?

> "Certainly I saw him," he cried. "I saw him come out
> of the wall and go in again."

TOM: You sawed him in two?

> "He’ll get you if you don’t go away!" Mr. Chippy
> shrieked.

JOEL: Unless he’s away waiting for you to get there, I mean.

> "Let him try!" Master Robin scoffed. He was sorry
> that Mr. Chippy did not hear him.

TOM: *That’s* the line you come up with?

JOEL: Birds don’t get staircase wit.


> But that distracted little
> person had already hurried off to warn somebody else.

CROW: Mr Chippy’s going to be up for a Pleasant Valley Medal of Honor.

TOM: Sounds like _Tale Of Mr Chippy_ is the book we should be reading.

> It was no time at all before Rusty Wren’s wife gave a
> piercing scream.

JOEL: Rusty Wren’s wrife.

CROW: Rusty Wren wife, Rusty Wren life.

> "That fat Robin boy—he’ll be caught!" she wailed.

CROW: [ ‘Batman’ announcer ] What’s *this*?

> Now, it made Master Robin very angry to be spoken of
> in such a way as that.

JOEL: Fine, ‘That fat Robin boy — he’ll be *captured*.’ Happy?

> "Fat!" he burst out in a loud tone as he stared in
> Mrs. Wren’s direction. "Who’s fat?"

TOM: Fatty Raccoon plummets from a broken branch behind them.

> "You are!" said a strange, grumpy voice right behind
> him—or so it seemed to young Master Robin.

CROW: Is this it? Has Grumpy Weasel finally entered his book?

JOEL: He’s like Columbo, he shows up the latest he possibly can.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: The Tale of Grumpy Weasel, Chapter 1

Happy Turkey Day! I was thinking of things to share here and bring you an all-new, just-written Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction! For this I turn back a century or so and into the public domain for another book by Arthur Scott Bailey. Please settle down with me and enjoy a bit of The Tale of Grumpy Weasel.

I don’t promise, at this point, that I’m going to do the whole of the book. Arthur Scott Bailey doesn’t hate Grumpy Weasel in the way he loathed Fatty Raccoon, so the story hasn’t got that same immediate draw. On the other hand, I felt really good working on this first chapter. Tom’s riff about who wants to be of use in life bodes well to be one of my all-time favorites.

In any event everything that I do with The Tale of Grumpy Weasel should be at this link and if it’s not, don’t make a weasel even more grumpy. You won’t like how that turns out.

The riff with Lum Edwards and Abner Peabody refers to long-running old-time-radio show Lum and Abner. A recurring gag was Abner not understanding one of Lum’s idioms and explaining why the metaphor would not actually work. I promise, the way they performed it the bit was funny. The bit about an animal checking its manual was lifted from one of Richard Thompson’s Cul-de-Sac comic strip. Mr Danders, the class guinea pig, had to look up whether he was nocturnal or diurnal. The “weird Picard laugh” is that throaty huh-huh-huh-huh-huh thing he did in the episode where everyone gets Space Drunk by accident. Picard wasn’t even space-drunk when he laughed like that.


JOEL: Good-night.

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal I already mailed it to myself.


CROW: Terrors!


CROW: Or mild crankiness!


TOM: We’s al what?

> BY

JOEL: Weasels are by Arthur Scott Bailey?

TOM: That’s not as good as the time Beatrix Potter created kangaroos.

> Author of

CROW: The official tales of Forrest Tucker!

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal.


JOEL: Pictures! Your leading image source!




JOEL: Illustrated by Harry L Smith *and* New York?


TOM: Wallace and Grosset?

> Made in the United States of America

CROW: o/` Made! In the USA! o/`

> Copyright, 1920, BY

JOEL: The tire people?


TOM: Malcontents!

> I A Slim Rascal 1
> II At the Old Stone Wall 5
> III Master Robin’s Lesson 9

CROW: A haiku!

> IV Hunting a Hole 13

JOEL: Where the rain gets in …

> V Solomon Owl Interrupts 18
> VI Mr. Meadow Mouse Escapes 23

CROW: A crossover with the _Tale of Mister Meadow Mouse_? Dare we hope?

> VII Paddy Muskrat’s Blunder 28
> VIII The Dare 33

TOM: The Double Dare!

CROW: We do dare!

> IX Saving His Feet 38

JOEL: For marriage!

> X Ha! and Ha, Ha! 42

CROW: They say it’s hard to understand old-time humor but I don’t know, this makes sense to me.

> XI A Long Race 46
> XII Winning by a Trick 51
> XIII Silly Mrs. Hen 56

TOM: Silly Mrs Hen sleeps in the park, shaves in the dark, trying to save paper.

> XIV Grumpy Vanishes 60
> XV The Great Mystery 64
> XVI Guarding the Corncrib 69

CROW: Corncrib?

> XVII Grumpy’s Mistake 73
> XVIII Pop! Goes the Weasel 78

TOM: I bet Arthur Scott Bailey wrote this whole book just for that chapter title.

> XIX Hiding from Henry Hawk 83

JOEL: ‘Enery the ‘Awk, ‘e is.

> XX A Free Ride 88
> XXI A New Suit 93
> XXII Grumpy’s Threat 98

CROW: Wait, we only spend five pages on the new suit?

> XXIII A Bold Stranger 103
> XXIV Fur and Feathers 107

TOM: Sounds like a New Wave band’s big song.

> XXV Peter Mink’s Promise 112

JOEL: I knew a Peter Mink back in high school.

> XXVI How Grumpy Helped 116

TOM: Did he slug someone? I bet he slugged someone.


JOEL: Oh, that’ll make them easier to see.

> Grumpy Weasel and Jimmy Rabbit Run a Race. Frontispiece

CROW: ‘Tis piece, ’tis.

> Master Robin Escapes From Grumpy Weasel. 10
> Grumpy Nearly Catches Paddy Muskrat. 34
> Grumpy Calls on Mrs. Hen. 50

TOM: [ Yelling ] Yo! Mrs Hen!

> Grumpy Weasel Visits the Corncrib. 74

JOEL: Corncrib.

> Sandy Chipmunk Runs from Grumpy Weasel. 98

TOM: Sounds like this book is all people avoiding Grumpy Weasel.


CROW: What kind of animal do you suppose Grumpy is?

JOEL: Oh, he’s a pronghorn antelope.

TOM: Named ‘Weasel’?

JOEL: That’s why he’s grumpy.

> I

TOM: I, Weasel.

JOEL: I M Weasel.



CROW: But a cute little dickens!

> Old Mr. Crow

JOEL: [ Nudges CROW ]


> often remarked that if Grumpy Weasel
> really wanted to be of some use in the world he would spend
> his time at the sawmill filling knot holes in boards.

JOEL: It’s a weird hill to die on, but Old Mr Crow’s chosen it.

TOM: Who wants to be of use in the world? I want to play Animal Crossing and eat cheese.

> "He’s so slender," Mr. Crow would say,

ALL: How slender is he?

> "that he can
> push himself into a knot hole no bigger round than Farmer
> Green’s thumb."

JOEL: Huh.

CROW: Welp, guess that *is* slender.

TOM: Not going to match *any* celebrities on that one. Even Richard Dawson is like, really? You’re leaving me with *that*?

> Naturally it did not please old Mr. Crow

CROW: I don’t know, I feel pretty indifferent about hearing this myself.

> when Solomon
> Owl went out of his way one day to tell him that he was sadly
> mistaken.

TOM: Classic Solomon Owl, though.

> For after hearing some gossip repeat Mr. Crow’s
> opinion Solomon Owl—the wise old bird—

CROW: [ As Solomon ] Bird? Oh, no, no, I’m a dikdik, my family married into the Owls is all.

> had given several
> long hoots and hurried off,

JOEL: Well, you want me to hoot I’ll hoot but that’s your business.

> though it was broad daylight, to
> set Mr. Crow right.

CROW: I tell you, I have no emotional investment in whether Grumpy Weasel should be filling knotholes down at the sawmill.

> "The trouble—" Solomon explained when he had found
> Mr. Crow on the edge of the woods—

TOM: Trouble? In River City?

> "the trouble with your
> plan to have Grumpy Weasel work in the sawmill is that he
> wouldn’t keep a knot hole filled longer than a jiffy.

JOEL: [ As Lum Edwards ] OK, Abner, I was sayin’ Grumpy Weasel *could*, not …

TOM: [ As Abner Peabody ] And another thing, Lum …

> It’s
> true that he can fit a very small hole.

CROW: Or one medium-size divot.

JOEL: A decent-sized pock mark.

TOM: Heck near any rilles.

> But if you’d ever
> watched him closely you’d know that he’s in a hole and out
> the other side so fast you can scarcely see what happens.

CROW: So the whole watching thing is pointless, right?

TOM: The *hole* watching thing.

> He’s entirely too active to fill the bill."

JOEL: No bill-filling. Try a Kyle or a Tom first.

> Old Mr. Crow made a queer noise in his throat, which
> showed that Solomon Owl had made him angry.

CROW: All I can imagine is doing that weird Picard laugh?

> "I never said anything about Grumpy Weasel’s filling
> any bills," Mr. Crow spluttered.

TOM: Good, cause if you fill a bird’s bill how can they talk?

> "Knot holes were what I had
> in mind.

JOEL: If they’re not holes how can you fill them?

> I’ve no doubt, though, that you’d like Grumpy Weasel
> to fill your own bill."

TOM: [ As Solomon ] Wait, are you telling me to eat Grumpy Weasel? Dikdiks don’t eat weasels! I’m pretty sure? Let me check my manual.

> Now, if Solomon Owl had not tried more than once to
> catch Grumpy Weasel perhaps Mr. Crow’s retort wouldn’t have
> made him feel so uncomfortable.

JOEL: Oh, they got *history*.

CROW: Yeah, this is like Will Smith’s slap only about weasels filling holes.

> And muttering that he wished
> when people spoke of his beak they wouldn’t call it a bill,

JOEL: Maybe call it a william, show some respect?

> and that Mr. Crow was too stupid to talk to,

TOM: OooooOOOh! Hey, Crow?

CROW: Shut up.

> Solomon
> blundered away into the woods.

JOEL: Bonk!

CROW: Ow ow owie ow ow who put a tree —

JOEL: Crash!

CROW: My bills!

> It was true, of course, that Grumpy Weasel was about
> the quickest of all the furred folk in Pleasant Valley.

CROW: Also we’re in Pleasant Valley.

TOM: Also the birds count as ‘furred folk’.

> Why,
> you might be looking at him as he stopped for a moment on a
> stone wall;

JOEL: It’s your business, not mine.

> and while you looked he would vanish before your
> eyes.

TOM: *Your* eyes, maybe.

> It was just as if he had melted away in an instant, so
> quickly could he dart into a crevice between the stones.

JOEL: Weasels melt in your mouth, not in your stones.

TOM: What?

> It was surprising, too, that he could whisk himself
> out of sight so fast,

CROW: Is this some introvert-pride brag?

> for his body was absurdly long. But if
> he was long in one way he was short in another.

JOEL: Y’know if you have too much of one spatial dimension the others will shrink to balance out.

> Yes! Grumpy
> Weasel had the shortest temper of all the field- and
> forest-folk throughout Pleasant Valley.

TOM: Short but deep. Dimensions again.

> Even peppery Peter
> Mink was not so short-tempered as he.

TOM: Boy, everybody’s talking about Peter Mink these days.

> So terrible tempered was Grumpy Weasel that whenever
> the news flashed through the woods that he was out hunting,
> all the small people kept quite still,

CROW: Well wait, if they were so small, then they’d compensate by being the widest beasts in town!

> because they were
> afraid. And even some of the bigger ones—a good deal bigger
> than Grumpy Weasel himself—felt uneasy.

TOM: Not from his temper but from his tiresome political lectures.

> So you can see whether or not Grumpy Weasel was
> welcome.

JOEL: Uh … yes?

TOM: I’m going to say ‘no’?

CROW: I’m writing in ‘The Beatles’.

[ To continue … ? ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 12 of 12)

And now to the end of “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction from around 1999 or so. The whole of the series should be at this link.

This is just the closing sketch, because I insisted on doing host sketches back in the day and I’m a little looser on that nowadays. I have the nagging feeling that “Project Skippy” refers to some actual conspiracy theory but I don’t remember what. The reference to Robotman and the Milde family is about Jim Meddick’s brilliant comic strip Monty. The strip started titled Robotman, about a cute alien robot living with the Milde family in the suburbs. Eventually Robotman left the Milde family to live with Monty, and eventually after that Robotman left the strip altogether. It’s a fascinating, weird thing. TV’s Frank holding off his dying because he’s got one left is a Bugs Bunny lick. The closing line about if you or someone you love is a squirrel, run up a tree really fast, is ripped from an article titled something like “Ways To Tell If You’re A Squirrel” that ran in the humor section of The Rutgers Review back when I was an undergraduate, fourteen years before they invented dirt. It wasn’t my joke and I’ve been sad about that ever since.

[ ALL exit ]

[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]

[ SOL. TOM, JOEL and CROW are standing behind the desk. ]

TOM: Well, that story raised issues.

CROW: Oh, yeah. Uh… like…

JOEL: Like, who Skippy’s mother is.

CROW: Right, right. Fortunately it gave us that neat answer.

TOM: Ah, you poor, trusting soul. Do you think we met the *real* mother of Skippy in that piece?

CROW: Are you suggesting a coverup?

TOM: I most certainly am! For you see, recently I have come into posession of certain documents — the source of which must remain anonymous — that tell me a top-secret research program lead to the creation of Project Skippy.

JOEL: I think we all know where this is going, Tom.

TOM: JOEL! You’re going to ruin the dramatic tension!

JOEL: Unless you tie it into where the Milde family in "Robotman" went, it’s just not going to snag us.

TOM: But you’ve gotta! If you don’t… aw…

[ TOM ducks off camera, stage right. ]

JOEL: [ Walking in from stage right. ] I hate to ruin his fun, but…

CROW: I know. You have to be firm.

JOEL: [ Patting CROW ] Let’s go have an ice cream soda.

CROW: Yay!

[ They walk off to stage left. ]

TOM: [ Coming in from stage right, wearing Rocky the Flying Squirrel aviator goggles and a squirrel tail stuck around his back. ] And lo! I am Skippy’s real mom, and I have come to… guys? Hello?

[ TOM looks under the desk, and back up again. ]

TOM: Now I just feel self-conscious.

[ MADS SIGN flashes ]

TOM: Ooh… uh, Major *Tom* to ground control. [ TOM snickers ] For the record, the shirt I wear is — [ abrupt cutoff ]

[ DEEP 13. FRANK is on the ground, writhing. DR. FORRESTER is waiting impatiently for him. ]

[ FRANK wriggles, kicking his feet up and down again, rolling side to side, making hissing sounds, twitching, et cetera. It continues for several beats, maybe too long. ]

DR.F: Would you just get *on* with it already? We *do* have other things to do today.

FRANK: Hold your horses, I got one left!

DR.F: All right, but make it snappy.

[ FRANK pushes himself up as far as he can while lying on his back, takes a loud, deep breath, groans at the top of this arc for several beats. Finally DR. FORRESTER puts his foot on FRANK’s chest. ]


DR.F: Just push the button on the way down.

[ DR. FORRESTER slams FRANK to the ground, as FRANK exhales. ]

                          \   |   /                          
                           \  |  /                           
                            \ | /                            
                            / | \                             
                           /  |  \                           
                          /   |   \

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its related characters and situations are trademarks of and Copyright Best Brains, inc. Skippy, Slappy, Rita, Runt, Hello Nurse, and the Animaniacs characters are trademarks of and
Copyright Time-Warner. Use of copyrighted and trademarked material is for entertainment and satiric purposes only; no infringement on the original copyrights and trademarks is intended or should be inferred. "Skippy’s Mom" is copyright Charles Brown and is used with permission. This work is copyright Joseph Nebus. The B-O-T sketch was developed from an idea by Matthew Miller, who pointed the fanfic out to me and also contributed several jokes. If you determine that you or a loved one is a squirrel, run up a tree really fast.

> "A hospital could do a INK test on you Skippy." Hello Nurse offered,

[ The end .. or is it? ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 11 of 12)

I bring you now the conclusion of “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fresh to you from something like 1999. There’s still a host segment to go, so don’t worry, there’s something to look for next week. The whole of the series should be at this link.

Please do not cut yourself on the razor-sharp commentary about the scripting of the movie Armageddon! There’s a riff about “Who will I kill?” which, yes, references Doctor Forrester’s song after TV’s Frank departed. I thought harder about the anachronism than the riff deserves. The Nieman-Marcus Cookie Recipe is an ancient urban legend. According to it, someone asked for the department store’s cookie recipe and assumed the “two-fifty” cost for it was two dollars fifty cents. On discovering the two hundred fifty dollar charge they made it their mission to reproduce and disseminate this important recipe, especially to computer bulletin boards. I’ve never made it myself.

The story proper is concluded, and author Charles “Runt-Abu” Brown is in the midst of a point-by-point discussion of how the story changed from first draft to published edition. I always find this sort of thing interesting and am sincerely happy he included it.

Some of the odd symbols here are from ASCII art that’s too hard for me to reproduce faithfully here. My recollection is that the ‘quaint little puzzle’ appeared inside a text-image outline of California, but if I’m mistaken, I’ll never know.

> 10.Unfortunatly Susan is slightly mad, no she’s very mad

TOM: Slappy woke her up out of a really cool flashback!

> (Imagine One
> flew over the cuckoo clock with Susan in it…)

JOEL: Okay, now imagine "House of Wax" with Hippety Hopper in it.

TOM: Right. Now imagine "Metropolis" with Betty Boop in it.

CROW: When you’re done with that, imagine "Tron" with Popeye and Olive Oyl in it.

> However Slappy drags
> her back to her treehouse where….
> 11.Skippy the cat is now quite happily living with Rita

CROW: And her cousin Oedipus.

> (and Runt who is
> now also back…)
> Skippy’s mom recognises Skippy (How he know looks like a cat for
> crying out loud!) and even more bizzarly Skippy recognises her. When
> he does hesuddenly flashes with light and becomes

CROW: Rodimus Prime!

> Skippy Squirrel…
> 12.Slappy blows up the hosiptal with Susan Rita’s

JOEL: Meter maid’s!

> and Skippy’s help
> _AFTER_ finding they got the wrong DNA results.
> Now if only they had
> tripled checked….

TOM: They would have discovered the hospital was actually a trout farm.

> (For very observent viewers they may just notice that the bottle says
> <Sample 001 | Feline | Male | Runt > on it….)

CROW: But this ending was omitted for clarity.

> ========================================================================
> ======
> Dedication

JOEL: Perseverance, faith, hope, and love.

> ==========
> As well as the dedication at the start I would also like to dedicate this

CROW: To landing a cartoon–

JOEL: [ Holding CROW’s shoulder ] You’re too late.

> to the following people for trying to keep me sane over the past week:
> MasemJMouse | Keeper | Colin | Plucky | LeloniBunny | DEViaNT |
> Wakkymouse | Wakko | Skippy | ALL (else) at #watertower and ALL at a.t.a.

JOEL: And all the ships at sea! Flash!

> ————————————————————————
> ——

> Unexplainable Plot Descrepencies:
> Okay Chicken Boo morphed into Hello Nurse,

TOM: Now, *there’s* a disguise.

> it does work better with her
> rather then chicken boo.
> Abu (Yes the monkey from Aladdin and map designer from D.N.R.) snuck
> in too this script.

CROW: And if he’s ever caught, he’ll be in a world of trouble.

> Animals can become alert in an instant,

JOEL: But only if you use the can opener.

> so why are Runt and Skippy
> tired at some points in the story?

TOM: Because they have to walk 700 miles without a break?

> Journey to Nevada desert – ‘kay I don’t know where Burbank is and it’s
> geographical closeness to Nevada is a total mystery to me!

CROW: And consulting an atlas would demand minutes of research.

> Susan -> Romana
> DNA is now called INK to reflect the fact they are toons.

JOEL: Ooooh.

CROW: Ah. You get it now?

TOM: Yes! Now I see the INK joke.

> The computer, don’t say anything,

CROW: You’ll just embarass your mother.

> it’s not that far away from what
> computers can do.

JOEL: ‘Cause making up wacky stuff would hurt the realism.

> The plot ends <CLOSED> e.g you know why the INK was such a close
> match for Rita and this story has no chance to be continued

TOM: Unless, say, Skippy’s mom ever has something to *do* with her son sometime in the future.

> (Unlike the
> big horrible daily perodi-stories.) Also I think it’s a lot better
> to finish it with a proper explanation.
> And that’s it more or less this story took a mere 15 hours to write

JOEL: That’s still more than thirty times as long as "Armageddon" took to write.

> and
> a massive 2 days of planning (but that was mostly ’cause I got lost on
> the way

TOM: Turns out *he* was wandering through the Nevada desert, looking for Skippy’s mom.

> and did not know what to write.)
> ==============================================================================

> | Skippy’s Mom 1.1 | 507 Lines | P-S 6 | Ranking 8.6/10 | 9/6/97 21:52
> GMT-1 |
> ==============================================================================

JOEL: It’s good that we were told the exact minute when this story was finished. Otherwise we might miss our orbital window.

> /——————\
> | |Next Week| |
> | \———/ |
> | What will it be? |

TOM: Who will I kill?

> Whilst you are waiting for next weeks fanfic you
> |——————| can try and slove this quaint little puzzle

CROW: What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and… wait.

> |saediynafoledatic | that actually tells you what next weeks fanfic
> |ehtdnarenrawokkay | maybe… Good luck as it’s probably full of
> |ebdluoctirodraugeht\ speeling mistaks!

JOEL: Spelling mistakes? Go on, tell us another one.

> |hplarhtiwydorap \
> |lanmonehpalacimonortas\
> |ebyamtiwollofotessohci \

CROW: I never got into ‘Scattergories.’

> |yrotshcihwnognidnepedtnur \
> |dnaatireruteafottontsrifeht \
> |ebyamcifnafskeewtxenroF<— |

TOM: Why is he sending us the Nieman-Marcus cookie recipe?

> \—————————–/
> ————–29934A6D602B–

JOEL: And that’s a story.

[ ALL exit ]

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 10 of 12)

And now to the last weeks of “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fresh to you from something like 1999. The whole of the series should be at this link. Don’t think I’m not worried about what to replace it with.

Not sure there’s any riffs I need to apologize for this week. That’s a nice change. The Brains used up all Captain’s Log jokes on Star Trek MiSTings, particularly Marrissa Picard stories. Whit Bissell was a character actor who had a small part in, like, every TV show ever. He was the beleaguered space station administrator in the tribbles episode of the original Star Trek, and in the 90s Nick at Nite had a running bit about identifying more Whit Bissell cameos. Slim Pig was a character in this show Cartoon Network would run at like 6 am Sunday mornings. He was a pig flat as a sheet of paper and could roll up or fold up or stuff like that. Jayne Barbera is the daughter of just who you think, and was a production executive on like seven billion cartoon shows, go ahead and guess for which studio. Credits include a couple of Scooby-Doo shows, Pirates of Dark Water, the 80s Jetsons series, and the immortal Heyyy, It’s The King!. Gabby the Town Crier was the only character anyone can remember from Fleischer Studio’s Gulliver’s Travels and got a series of short cartoons of his own that you can find on public domain tapes.

The story so far: a faulty INK test at the local hospital led Skippy Squirrel to think his mother was Rita the Cat. Nope; it was Romana, a squirrel unable to care for her son or much of anyone. So after some mild inconvenience everyone’s gone back to where they were to start. And even though there was an epilogue we have now a …

> Postlogue

TOM: I want to make a Captain’s Log joke, but we’ve used them all up, haven’t we?

JOEL: Yeah, they’re all gone.

CROW: Sorry, Tom.

> ———
> The battered reamins of the hospital where still smoldering gently well
> into the evening.
> A strange looking doctor

JOEL: Identity withheld to protect Charles "Runt-Abu" Brown’s sources.

> came along and picked up a test tube that had
> been remarkably unsmashed in the exsplosion.

CROW: However, it was covered with pasghetti.

> The doctor picked it up and

> read the label: "Sample 01| Skippy| Feline| Male." He looked at the tube
> and noticed that something was wrong with the label,

TOM: Heeeey! This is *diet* test tube!

> there was another
> label stuck on top of it. The doctor carfully peeled it back

CROW: Aw, there’s a wacky Dilbert comic strip on the back!

> but it
> ripped halfway so that only the last bit of it was readable…

JOEL: [ Reading ] "Far, far better rest I go to, than I have ever known"?

> " …line, Male."

TOM: Well? Line? Anyone?

CROW: They need improv classes.

> He held the INK sample

JOEL: I hope he doesn’t turn into the guy from "Cool World."

> up to the light and could just make out the rest of
> it.
> "Sample 03| Rita | Feline| Female."

TOM: Hey, I bet she’s got INK like a cat’s.

> The End…

ALL: Or *IS* it?

> ========================================================================
> ==========================
> |Plot|

TOM: OK, I’m going to secretly build a pneumatic tube system under Manhattan to demonstrate the viability of a subway system there.

> \====/
> This is what I started out with,

CROW: Fifteen Lego blocks, two packages of bubble wrap, seven basketballs, an olive, and three feet of packing tape.

> as you can see it sort of deviated
> from the plot..

JOEL: Yeah, the story never did wrap up the packing tape thread!

> (F.Y.I Sqips -> Skippy ala #watertower.)

TOM: The wet duck never flies after midnight.

> 1. Skippy and Slappy, Sqips asks about his Mom as he can’t remeber (if
> only all stories where this simple…) Slappy can’t remeber either…
> 2. Hall of records, Skippy must have been born

CROW: Unless he’s from the future and came back in time.

> so Sqips and Slappy make
> there way to the HOR to find out about Sqips past,

TOM: They discover it was pumpkin-flavored.

> only imediate
> family are allowed to view records so Sqips is the only one to see
> the record.

CROW: Because letting his legal guardian see it first would be goofy.

> 3. Pointless Cameo,

JOEL: Hey, Whit Bissell works hard. He deserves to be seen.

> yes there has to be at least one gratitus and
> pointless cameo in this case it’s Chicken Boo in the Hall of records.
> 4. Little orphen Skippy. Dark chapter this, Sqips has no record, on any
> database.

TOM: He *is* from the future!

> 5. Echos, Sqips now rather scared goes for a DNA test

JOEL: DNA, ’cause that’s like DN… hey!

> at the local
> hospital being the ever efficent service it will take at least 2
> weeks to come back.

CROW: They should tie it to a cat, so it comes back the next day.

> 6. DNA, so who is Sqips? Well he is called Skippy however his DNA does
> not appear to be that of a squirrel,

TOM: Well, yeah, you can see how you have to be a cat, with a name like Skippy.

> strangly it is more like a cat…
> (See A! opening sequence in the U.K. for details of this bizzare plot
> turn.)
> 7. Kindred spirits. Rita (Sans runt, he’s off recovering from saving the
> world)

JOEL: From… elves… or something.

> is brought in to teach Sqips about being a cat. This is where
> things get strange.

CROW: It turns out Rita is actually ‘Slim Pig.’

> 8. I am not a cat!

JOEL: I am a free number!

> Sqips screams at one point, however his DNA and now
> his apperance is not agreeing with this.
> 9. Skippy’s mom, Ahh, wondering when we would get to this,

TOM: Turns out to be Jayne Barbera in a *highly* embarassing incident.

> Whilst Sqips
> has been learing with Rita. Slappy has been off scouring the desert

> of Navada looking for Skippy’s REAL mom, she finds; wait fot it:

JOEL: Gabby, the Town Crier.

> A
> squirrel by the name of Susan who could be Skippy’s mom…..

CROW: Or could just be his dietician. Who knows?

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Safe Fun for Halloween (Part 4 of 4)

And now for the close of this seasonal re-airing of the “Safe Fun For Halloween” MiSTing. (I’ll get back to my 60s Popeye encore tomorrow or so.) The whole of the series is collected here. Proposed as “safe fun” were activities like giving your friends electric shocks, blackening their eyes, sitting them on collapsing chairs, and stirring up confetti blizzards. Today’s stunts of making people listen to the Monster Mash seem rather socially respectable in comparison.

A Day In The Life Of Dennis Day was a radio sitcom starring Dennis Day. It was pretty much the same show as Mel Blanc’s Fix-It Shop, except Dennis Day does a song every episode and has some extremely long segment where he does a funny foreign accent. If we’re lucky it’s comedy French or German or Russian or something. If we’re not, he’s trying to do a Chinese guy and it is so cringeworthy. Stick with the Fix-It Shop.

> Ideas for Halloween costumes are pictured in Figures 9 and 10.

TOM:Let me guess: executioners and axe murderers?

> The frog suit is an ordinary union suit dyed a light green,

CROW: For everyone who’s got extra union suits laying around.

> with
> dark green cloth spots sewed or cemented on.

TOM: Cemented on, so your friend can sleep with the fishes.

MIKE: That *concrete* you’re thinking of, not *cement*.

TOM: Thanks ever so for saving me from my snarky ignorance.

> Cardboard,
> plywood, wire and doth are all that is necessary to make the
> turtle costume.

CROW: Or every movie we’ve ever seen.

> By cutting the back halves as indicated and
> joining along the ridge with adhesive tape, a very convincing
> shell can be made.

MIKE: Do it fast, before Roger Corman makes a movie out of you.

> The anchor is simply made of plywood and
> cardboard,

TOM: For those ‘floating’ and ‘falling apart in water’ properties every anchor needs.

> and the wearer should be clad in trunks and have
> tattoo figures on arms and legs painted with harmless coloring,

CROW: Harmless? Why start on harmless *now*?

> such as fruit juice.

MIKE: Or strychnine. Sheesh.

TOM: Time to blow this popsicle stand.

MIKE: [ Picking up TOM ] Mercifully.

[ ALL exit. ]

[ 1… ]

[ 2… ]

[ 3… ]

[ 4… ]

[ 5… ]

[ 6… ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. The desk. TOM, MIKE, and CROW are behind it; the decor is much as before, but a bowl of almonds wrapped in aluminum foil is on the desk. ]


CROW: [ Calling, as in the introduction ] MIKE!

MIKE: Bowl of tin foil to chew on, I saw the “dance floor” of greased roller bearings you wanted, and yet, you come out of this party pranking activity with what thoughts?

TOM: I ended up wondering how your grandparents survived to the age of marriage.

CROW: Heck, how did they survive to the age of six?

TOM: Yeah, I mean, magazines telling everyone how to kill each other in wacky party games?

CROW: No concept of avoiding nutritional deficiencies when you ate mounds of butter slathered on fried lard.

MIKE: Wait, that —

TOM: Trolley cars running at 35 miles an hour through packed city streets, never stopping or slowing down except when the piled-up corpses derail the train.

CROW: Black death sweeping across the continent because you won’t stop rubbing rat corpses in your eyes.

MIKE: That was like the 14th century and it didn’t happen.

CROW: Parents figuring the only time they had to touch their kids was for spanking and one handshake when they turned 14 and could drop out of school to throw hay into steam locomotives until the railroad police caught them.

TOM: Feeling a little off? Drink some mercury and drain a gallon of blood.

CROW: Dennis Day starring in _A Day In The Life Of Dennis Day_.

MIKE: OK, at this point I don’t even know what point you’ve wandered away *from*.

TOM: Well, fortunately, humans have robots now, so you don’t have to be stupid on your own.

MIKE: We can be stupid together.

CROW: Yes, and let’s make that our New Year’s Resolution.

TOM: Agreed!

MIKE: [ Shaking his head ] Sure. Thanks, everyone, and from the Satellite of Love, let’s all look into the New Year being a little less stupid together.

TOM: Yay!

[ MIKE pushes the button; the screen blanks out to … ]

CROW: [ Calling ] MIKE!

                            \   |   /
                             \  |  /
                              \ | /
                              / | \
                             /  |  \
                            /   |   \

Mystery Science Theater 3000, its characters and situations and everything are the property of Best Brains, Inc, and don’t think anyone is challenging that at all. The original article is used in what is honestly thought to be a spirit of fair comment and clean sportsmanship.

However you remember the Rankin/Bass special to be, it’s actually a weirder thing than you remember. And let’s be carful out there.

> The result is a sudden shock which is surprising but
> not harmful.

[ The End ]

MiSTed: Safe Fun for Halloween (Part 3 of 4)

To continue the Halloween Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fun, here’s another segment of a Popular Mechanics article from 1936, “Safe Fun For Halloween”.

The whole of the series is collected here. What we saw in the first two parts was a lot of stunts to shock, embarrass, or humiliate partygoers visiting your house for what will be the last time. It only feels like all these stunts are about getting your friends to touch exposed electrical wires.

Uneeda Biscuits were the first big hit product for the newly-merged National Biscuit Company. It had the winning slogan “Lest you forget, we say it yet, Uneeda Biscuit” which is pretty darned snappy for 1898. They were still making Uneeda Biscuits up to about a decade ago. They were sort of like a fat club cracker. Cottolene was a brand of shortening and one of the first mass-produced alternates to lard.

> Figure 4 shows an elaboration of the popular “grab-bag” idea.

CROW: So we just jumped out of order for Figure 11?

> In this case a large carton is equipped with three shelves,
> which fold up against the sides of the box, giving free access
> to the favors for guests in the bottom.

TOM: Ah, the giddy fun of playing The Refrigerator Game.

MIKE: Now that your friend’s inside the cardboard fridge, close the door up and abandon him in a junkyard to suffocate!

> Lights are arranged so
> that the inside of the box is dark.

CROW: Arrange the lights so they’re not on the inside. Got it.

> After two or three
> merrymakers have drawn prizes from the box, an attendant “in
> the know” lets down one of the shelves by means of a concealed
> string.

MIKE: Dropping a 16-ton anvil on your so-called friend.

> This shelf may have on it a shallow pan of lard, or a
> sheet of paper coated with lampblack or graphite and oil,

TOM: Whale blubber and bauxite.

CROW: Uneeda biscuits and cottolene!

MIKE: Greased slime and detonator caps!

> or red
> grease—anything that will not flow when the shelf is in the
> vertical position.

MIKE: What do you have in congealed blood?

> In the laughter which follows the victim’s
> predicament,

CROW: The shrieking, howling laughter of the mad.

> the attendant draws up the shelf and another guest
> is invited to draw from the box,

MIKE: He tears out a fistful of hair.

TOM: Maybe rip off a nose or two.

> this one of course brings out a
> favor.

CROW: A nose or two?

> Eventually the other two shelves are let down to provoke
> more laughter.

TOM: This is in case your parties don’t end in enough brawls.

> A collapsible chair can easily be made from a common kitchen
> chair,

MIKE: And set up above your conveniently available tiger pit.

> and, if others of the same design are placed in the room,
> the tricky one will not be noticeable.

TOM: Apart from how everyone who has dinner with you, dies.

> Remove the legs and
> round off both ends as in Figure 6.

CROW: Figure 5 was lost in a tragic “collapsible Linotype” prank.

> They are then joined in two
> pairs consisting of one front and one back leg connected with a
> rung.

MIKE: The rung snaps open, releasing cyanide gas.

> Coil springs, concealed inside of thin tubes are
> substituted for the front and rear rungs.

TOM: Sure, for *this* we have springs.

> The tubes should fit into the holes formerly occupied by the
> rungs, and are painted to resemble them.

MIKE: You sneer, but this is how the Italian resistance
got Mussolini.

> As soon as a guest
> sits on the chair the tubes pull out and the chair sprawls.
> Strong tension springs should be used.

CROW: Grab a tube and beat your friend even more senseless!

> A most surprising effect is afforded by the “X-ray” helmet
> shown in Figure 7.

TOM: Here, we put 500,000 roentgens into your friend’s brain.

> This, briefly, is a cardboard box with two
> mirrors arranged to throw the vision directly behind.

MIKE: Painted with radium.

> The user
> of the helmet will have the strange sensation of seeing what
> appears to be the foreground receding from him as he progresses,

CROW: He’ll never suspect unless he’s ever looked at a thing before.

> and although there may appear to be an open door ahead, more
> likely he will fetch up against a wall.

TOM: Cover the wall in foot-long pointed daggers.

MIKE: ‘Fetch up’? Did people back then just not know what words mean?

> For a confetti blizzard,

CROW: Only at Dairy Queen.

MIKE: The best 15,000 calories of your between-meal snacks.

> an electric fan is rigged as shown in
> Figure 8. This also can be operated by an extension switch.

TOM: Jab your friend’s fingers into the spinning blades.

> Make a large cardboard cylinder to fit over the fan frame,

CROW: Man, you could do everything with cardboard in the 30s.

MIKE: Also cylinders.

> paste
> a disk of tissue over the front end, just enough to hold it
> until the blast strikes it,

MIKE: Stand out of the way of the shock waves.

> and then fill the space half full of
> confetti.

TOM: No, no, only half. Six-elevenths would be too much!

> When the unwary guest steps in front of the fan, he
> is deluged with a shower of confetti.

CROW: So, this article. Here. This explains the irony of people who read _Popular Mechanics_ magazine not being popular, right?

TOM: Also not being mechanics.

MIKE: Also not being magazines.

CROW: Yeah, that … what?

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 9 of 12)

It’s two-thirds of the way through “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fresh to you from I think it’s got to be 1999 or so. The whole of the series should be at this link.

The discovery of a letter from Skippy’s Mom reveals that she can’t be Rita. Runt, with the help of Abu the monkey, finds his true mother, Romana, living alone in the desert and talking in wacky non sequiturs but not in the funny way. And now it’s a race to get her back to her son before he goes on to life as a kitten.

A binturong is a big civet-like creature from Southeast Asia. They smell like popcorn. Or, since binturongs evolved long before humans domesticated maize, I suppose popcorn smells like binturongs. It’s weird either way. And you see another of my riffs on “if Woody had gone straight [ sic ] to the police”. The Marrissa Picard line refers to Stephen Ratliff’s epic series of Star Trek fan fictions, in which Picard’s daughter ascends high in the Star Fleet Admiralty thanks to a suspicious number of explosions among key people. “Bunnie Rabbot” is from some of the Sonic the Hedgehog shows, and the riff seems weirdly mean since it’s not like it’s that bad a name. I think the line about folding an acorn is ripped from a late-50s Peanuts series where Linus tries folding potato chips or crackers or stuff that won’t fold. The line about being stuffed into Pinky and the Brain references that time they made Pinky, Elmyra and The Brain For Some Reason.

The line about the huge bomb prompted one of my all-time favorite riffs. Now and then I get the voice of one of the Brains.

> Epilogue
> ——–
> Runt and Slappy arrived back with Romana to find everyone else asleep.

CROW: I think that’s a typing school exercise.

> "This way.." Slappy said quietly, tiptoeing past Abu sleeping on the
> couch and into the spare room.

TOM: Which is where they keep all their tires.

> Skippy was snuggled next to Rita in a large padded basket.
> "Skippy…" Romana whispered.
> Skippy stirred in the basket,

JOEL: Added flour, sugar, and cinnamon; baked for 25 minutes. Served six.

> he groaned gently and opened his eyes.
> He stared up at the strange squirrel.
> "Skippy!" Romana shouted running towards Skippy (in slow motion natch!)

CROW: Well, dur.

> "MOM!!" Skippy shouted in return then he also started to run towards
> Romana.
> On the way there Skippy was engulfed in a bright flash of light,

TOM: You know, this was always my favorite scene in ‘His Girl Friday.’

> when
> the light cleared he was a squirrel yet again.
> Romana and Skippy met in the middle

ALL: Bonk!

> and gave each other a huge hug.
> "So why you been a cat?!" Romana asked.

JOEL: Why aren’t you a binturong, like God and Tex Avery intended?

> "That was the hospitals fault, they said my INK was that of a cat…."
> Skippy cried angrily.

TOM: [ Authoritative Voice ] If Skippy had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.

> Slappy looked slightly evily at the mention of the hospital…
> The next morning the hospital which had given Skippy the INK test had
> mysterousily blown up into several thousand peices,

JOEL: Oh, great, now Marrissa Picard will be in charge of Starfleet *forever*.

> fortunatly there was
> a big warning and nobody was hurt (well nobody that wasn’t already
> hurt..)

CROW: And that makes it all O.K.

> "Hi I’m Mary Hartless

TOM: I wonder if she was named by the same committee that came up with "Bunnie Rabbot."

> and you join me live at the 5th Burbank toon
> hospital where last night a huge bomb went off,

JOEL: People got big for blocks in every direction.

> police said they have no
> leads…"

CROW: But they’re making do with the non-repro markers and light inking.

> Slappy smiled coyly at this news.
> "I guess we’ll be leaving then.." Rita said.
> "Yeah, we’re defenitly out of here!" Runt quipped.

JOEL: They have to go do…

> "Hey Aunt Slappy…" Skippy started, it was the first time in quite a
> while that Skippy had called her that.

TOM: Did you know you can’t fold an acorn?

> "Can Rita and Runt come back and visit?" Skippy finished.
> "Well that would only be fair…" Slappy replied.

CROW: Considering how they were inconvenienced by being given a home and family for a month, and now are being thrown out on the street the instant their usefulness is questionable.

> "Thanks Slappy… Thanks for everything…" Rita said.
> "I should be the one thanking you,

TOM: What with the way you tore all the labels off our canned goods and all.

> but before you go tell me; would he
> have made a good cat?"
> Rita glanced at Skippy, "Nah,

CROW: I was just stringing along his hopes to crush them later.

> he did not have the claws for it…" She
> joked. Skippy hearing this tried to pounce on Rita but she moved out of
> the way.
> "See what I mean…" Rita concluded.
> Rita and Runt left waving bye to Skippy, Slappy and Romana

JOEL: Romana mana fo fana…

> as they went.
> "And what of you Romana?" Slappy asked.

TOM: You know…

CROW: Don’t.

TOM: *Romana* … wasn’t bilked in a day!

CROW: Thank you so much.

> "Well I think I’ll try again in showbiz.." she said jokingly. "And then
> who knows…"

JOEL: Maybe they’ll throw me into "Pinky and the Brain" too.

> "You would always be welcome here…" Slappy offered.

CROW: You know, where your *child* is?

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Safe Fun for Halloween (Part 2 of 4)

And here’s the second part of the repeat for my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction riffing on the Popular Mechanics article “Safe Fun For Halloween”. That’s all a coherent thought, I promise. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link. You you can read all the MiSTings that I’ve posted here at this link.

The first part suggested you invite friends over and fingerprint them. But not just that! Have the ink pad rigged to give electric shocks. What else was safe fun for Halloween in the 1930s? Read on.

> To offset suspicion, it is a good idea to place
> the left-hand electrode under a tablecloth.

TOM: Plus, the tablecloth helps you cover up the fried corpse.

> Direct contact with
> the metal is not necessary.

CROW: Just ramp it up to 186,000 volts there, Tesla.

> A long strip of metal along the
> edge of the table is better than a small plate

MIKE: As it’s a much easier cudgel to wave about.

> as any one seated
> at the table naturally rests the left hand somewhere along the
> edge.

TOM: [ In a nerdy voice, as the Victim ] “Do you electrocutify *all* your friends?” [ Whimper ]

> Another shocking episode, which may take place right on the
> “welcome” mat,

MIKE: [ Making air quotes ] “Welcome” mat.

TOM: No solicitors or emergency medical technicians. Thank you.

> is shaking hands with the “ghost host” who is
> a head taller than anyone in the party. See Figure 11.

CROW: Figures 2 through 10 omitted for the giddy fun of it.

> He
> stands near the entrance and extends his hand to the guest who

TOM: … who foolishly came to the party not expecting to struggle for his life.

> takes hold of a cloth glove having four wiggly coil-spring
> fingers.

MIKE: Ah, the Six Dollar And Thirty-Nine Cent Man.

CROW: Hey, in the Depression that was a lot of money.

> These and a metal door mat are the electrodes, and are
> connected to a vibrating coil or a toy shocking machine operated
> by someone behind the ghost.

TOM: I just think it indecent this is how they killed Bruno Hauptmann.

> The ghost has pearly eyes, which
> look as if they were suspended in void space of an empty hood.

CROW: [ As the Victim ] “I’m haunted by Muppets!”

> The next job to get the records straight is mugging.

MIKE: First, fashion your brass knuckles and find a stick as in Figure 24.

> This is
> done in a semidarkened room with a cardboard camera as in Figure
> 2.

CROW: A cardboard camera?

TOM: Yeah, my kid made it in second-grade art class. You get a Polaroid from it by drawing with magic markers.

> The startling effect comes when the light is suddenly
> flashed and a cap pistol is fired at the same instant.

MIKE: Ha ha! Now you’ve shot your friend in the face!

> After
> this, everything tried on the newcomer will be looked upon with
> great suspicion

CROW: [ As the Victim ] “Well, the mugging and the electrocution may have been accidents but *now* I suspect something’s up.”

> but he may be convinced to observe Mars without
> a shock or a scare.

TOM: Yeah, heck, why not?

MIKE: In the 30s you could not lose money asking people to observe Mars.

> He will actually see something through the
> enchanted telescope, pictured in Figure 3.

CROW: Now we’re on Figure 3?

MIKE: The “enchanted telescope”.

TOM: [ As the Victim ] “Are we entering your magic fantasy land?”

> When the star gazer
> first puts it to his eye he sees nothing, and is told to revolve
> it until he does.

MIKE: Ooh hoo.

TOM: I smell the bubbling-over of wacky.

> The eyepiece has a felt rim dipped in
> lampblack, which leaves an interesting ring around the eye.

CROW: Lampblack?

MIKE: Yeah, you know, so you don’t have those pesky “bright” lights.

> However, the victim has his reward for with one complete
> revolution of the telescope,

TOM: I have the sad feeling this isn’t just gonna be a ring around the eyeball.

CROW: I’m stuck on ‘lampblack’ still.

MIKE: It’s for offensive minstrel show light bulbs. Move on.


> a swinging switch lever makes
> contact

TOM: Well, of *course* it does.

> and a small light inside reveals a witch or comic
> figure.

MIKE: And a 75,000-volt discharge right into the corneas!

> To make the telescope, use a mailing tube about 14
> inches long and 2-1/2 inches in diameter.

CROW: Like the dozens you have around your house already.

> Cardboard partitions
> hold the lamp bulb and the revolving switch, which are joined by
> a copper strip.

MIKE: Won’t they notice the little witch figure hanging off the front of the telescope?

> The switch must work freely. By making the
> tube in two parts, the assembly is easy.

TOM: Would it be even easier if I made it in four parts?

CROW: No! That way lies madness!

> Paper wrapped around
> it completes the joint. Four bands of black paper are wrapped
> around the telescope to make the sooty eyepiece less
> conspicuous.

MIKE: The lampblack doesn’t seem to be an important part of this.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Safe Fun for Halloween (Part 1 of 4)

I don’t intend to overload you with the mocking of other people’s writing. But this is the Halloween season so it’s only fair to bring back my MiSTing of “Safe Fun for Halloween”. It’s a handy guide to make sure everyone you know has an unspeakably miserable time at your parties!

The whole of this MiSTing should be available at this link when I post it all>. And the whole of all of the MiSTings I’ve posted are here.

Back in the good old days when blogging was popular Popular Mechanics’s web site reprinted ancient stuff like this, and it was often bonkers. I miss those days.

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. The Desk. The decor is “several days past Christmas” with lingering wrapping and such cluttering the set; wrapping paper even covers the movie/commercial sign lights. TOM and CROW are behind the desk; MIKE is off-stage. ]

TOM: [ Eagerly ] Mike! Hey, Mike!

CROW: [ Gleeful ] MikeMikeMikeMikeMikeMikeMike!

TOM: C’mon, Mike, it’s important!

[ MIKE, carrying some plastic electronic gizmo that’s not working, and a screwdriver which will not improve matters, saunters on screen. ]

TOM: Mike! Mi–

MIKE: Yyyyyyes?

CROW: [ Still calling ] MikeMikeMikeMike!

[ MIKE puts a hand on CROW’s shoulder, making him stop. ]

TOM: Okay. Mike —

CROW: [ Quickly ] Mike!

TOM: Have you given any thought *what*soever into plans for our Halloween party for this year?

MIKE: It’s December 29th.

CROW: Exactly! We have to hurry!

MIKE: The 29th day of *December*.

TOM: Yes, yes, your true love gave to you and stuff. But we can’t just stand in an awkward line in front of haphazardly strewn decorations and call that a party.

CROW: [ Calling ] Mike!

MIKE: Two days to New Year’s.

CROW: So, *MIKE*, we called Pearl —

[ MIKE groans. ]

TOM: Yeah! And she promised to send us a bunch of fun ideas!

[ MIKE groans louder. ]

CROW: And, ah, it’s going to be from a _Popular Mechanics_ articlefrom, like, the Great Depression.

[ MIKE covers his head as he groans. ]

TOM: Plus we have to get into the theater and read it when movie sign goes off or else and you know what else that else is or of.

[ MIKE, face-covered, groans and doubles over. ]

CROW: And, ah, Movie Sign went off like five minutes ago so we’re in *real* trouble.

MIKE: What?!

[ MIKE puts the gizmo down and pulls the wrapping paper off the signs, which start flashing MOVIE SIGN. General alarm among the BRAINS. ]


[ 6… ]

[ 5… ]

[ 4… ]

[ 3… ]

[ 2… ]

[ 1… ]

[ THEATER. All file in. ]

MIKE: Haven’t I told you about having ideas without me?

CROW: Well … no.

TOM: You should tell us about it sometime.

> http://blog.modernmechanix.com/2011/10/28/safe-fun-for-halloween/
> SAFE FUN for HALLOWEEN (Nov, 1936)

CROW: Halloween in November! The best time of year.

MIKE: December 29th.

> Source: Popular Mechanics ( More articles from this issue )

TOM: Well, I hope so.

MIKE: There’s just the one article, thinnest edition they ever printed.

> Issue: Nov, 1936

CROW: Halloween ran a month late in 1936 because of the Depression.

MIKE: 29th day of the twelvth month.


MIKE: New, joy-less fun occupies time while leaving spoilsport parents secure.

> UPON arriving, every member of this Halloween party must be
> fingerprinted and “mugged” as regular routine for
> identification records in the archives.

TOM: Well! Already it’s a merry time.

MIKE: Last party I have planned by J Edgar Hoover and Meyer Lanski.

> The newcomer presses
> the thumb of his right hand down on the “ink pad,” for which
> purpose ordinary carbon paper will do.

CROW: Alternatively, ink pads may be used as ink pads.

TOM: Crow, that’s mad talk!

MIKE: You know, they were hard years, we had to make a single ink pad last through four years of Halloween safe fun!

> This is pasted to a
> piece of sheet metal on a small box which contains two dry cells
> and a Ford vibrating coil,

MIKE: A vibrating coil?

TOM: Man, these Model A’s were *kinky*!

> connected together as shown in Figure
> 1.

CROW: Figure omitted for clarity.

> The “guard” presses a push-button switch

TOM: Shouldn’t he *push* a push-button switch and *press* a press-button switch?

> the moment the
> guest touches the carbon paper and has his left hand on the
> table

MIKE: Oh, did I mention you need a table?

> directly over another sheet-metal plate also wired up as
> indicated.

CROW: A table and *another* sheet-metal plate? Man, fun is too complicated, this is why I like boring.

> The result is a sudden shock which is surprising but
> not harmful.

MIKE: B F Skinner sez, “That’s the Halloween for me!”

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 8 of 12)

We’re almost two-thirds of the way through “Skippy’s Mom”, another Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction that I finished writing somewhere in the late 90s, I’m pretty sure. The whole of the series should appear at this link.

The story so far: After an INK test confirmed Skippy Squirrel was a match for Rita the Cat, the young rodent turned into a cat and went to live with his presumptive mother. When Slappy re-reads the note Skippy’s actual mother left with the foundling, they made an astounding discovery: Rita can’t read. Runt has an idea to find who her mother might actually be.

On the obscure riffs front: Crusader Rabbit and his sidekick Rags the Tiger were Jay Ward’s first cartoon series; it plays as a sort of prototype to Rocky and Bullwinkle, though with slower pacing and less animation. Ignatz Mouse and the brick refers to what George Herriman’s comic strip character would to Krazy Kat. Dervish and Nemi are a pair of coatis, which are sort of long-nosed raccoon (hence the riff), from Jannan V Jenner’s 1980s animal-fantasy novel Sandeagozu. And it’s a bit cheeky of me to call out the original author’s “not wacky non sequiturs, but an incredible simulation” given my struggles with wacky responses. Well, on with the action.

> Chapter 6 – The Nevada desert
> —————————–
> "R?" Abu asked, "Hmmm, Well It’s worth a try."

TOM: All right. Putting aside that Abu is a character from another show, from another company, from another hemisphere, from another millennium… uh… I’m lost; what else is there to put aside?

CROW: That he speaks as intelligibly as Donald Duck the day after he got a dental retainer?

> Abu typed in some characters on the keyboard.

JOEL: Daniel Striped Tiger… Falstaff… and Beldar Conehead. Let’s see what comes up.

> "Right I’m searching for anyone called R who had a baby 8 years ago."
> The computer screen came up with the familer egg timer….

CROW: Search entry found. Deleting data. Have a nice day.

> Several hours later the computer beeped loudly.
> Abu looked around in a daze, "Oh.." He said.

TOM: "I should’ve turned the computer on first, right?"

> Abu typed some more things in and the computer spoke in a mechanical
> voice.

> "Report: Found three matches. Rags Dog, Romana Squirrel and Roz Cat."
> "Okay I think we can rule out Rags to start with…" Abu said ironcily.

JOEL: Separated from his loyal pal Crusader Rabbit and mistaken for a dog, poor Rags the Tiger finds himself unable to even get screen time in an Animaniacs fanfic.

> "What about the other two?" Slappy asked.

CROW: We can rule them out too. What now?

> "Let’s split up, You and Runt can go after Roz. Rita, Skippy and I will
> go for Romana."

TOM: Shaggy and Scooby can check down by the old saw mill.

> Runt and Slappy arrived after an overnight ride on the bus in the middle
> of nowhere, the Nevada desert.

CROW: Oh, this is the one where Slappy and Lucy and Ethel think they found a Uranium mine, and Fred and Ricky try to cheat them out of the claim.

> "This is pleasant." Runt said yawning widely.
> "Hmmm, it could do with some re-decorating…" Slappy quipped.

JOEL: Meanwhile, a horribly confused Ignatz Mouse throws a brick at Skippy.

> "So where is this Romana?" Runt asked.
> "How am I meant to know?" Slappy asked.
> "You still got that letter?" Runt suddenly asked.
> Slappy pulled out half of the letter and showed it to Runt.

TOM: "It’s either an A, an F, an R, or a P. I don’t know which.

> Runt took a
> deep sniff of the letter and then smelt the air around.
> "This way…" He said excitedly.

CROW: Look! There’s a sign that says "This way to Skippy’s Real Mom!"

> Runt lead Slappy to a small hole in the
> ground.
> "THIS IS IT?!" Slappy shouted.

TOM: No, the hole we want is inside this one.

> "Smell’s like it…" Runt replied.
> "Okay then, you’re the one with the nose…." Slappy pointed out.

JOEL: Since Dervish and Nemi are nowhere around.

CROW: Huh?

> A female squirrel poked her head up from the hole.

TOM: Eew! The hole’s got girl cooties now!

> "YELLO!" It screeched.

CROW: Teal!

TOM: Aquamarine!

JOEL: Maroon!

> "Hello, do you know this boy?" Slappy asked showing the squirrel the
> picture of baby Skippy.
> "ME no, I no nothing of cream cheese!" The squirrel replied not looking
> at the picture.

TOM: Not wacky non sequiturs, but an incredible simulation.

> "Are you sure?" Runt asked.
> "Why of course Mr Strawberry top…"

CROW: She’s not mad so much as she is annoying.

> The squirrel started, then it saw
> the picture and calmed down. "Skippy?" She asked very quietly.
> "Yes, Skippy!" Slappy said happily.

JOEL: No, we mean Skippy.

> The squirrel took the picture of skippy and held it close to her.

CROW: "I *loved* Animaniacs back when it was on real TV stations!"

JOEL: "Hey, we’re on Cartoon Network these days!"

CROW: "So is The Funky Phantom."

> "Are you Romana?" Runt asked.
> "Why yes I am." The squirrel replied.

TOM: "I’ll be your court-appointed attorney. Have you ever been in traffic court before?"

> "Romana, your Son needs you…" Slappy said gently.

JOEL: Before he permanently becomes a member of the most media-saturated species on earth.

> "Slappy! I knew I recognised you! Is Skippy all right?" Romana asked.
> "You’ll have to come with us to see if he is okay…" Runt said slyly

CROW: Now, I would believe in Elvis Presley coming back to life *just* to pick other people’s eye boogers on Letterman’s show before I’d believe in Runt speaking slyly.

> to
> both Romana but mostly to Slappy.
> Slappy imediatly so that the dog had a plan

TOM: [ As Slappy ] If I collect enough bendy straws, nobody will care who Skippy’s real mom is!

> and followed his lead.
> "Yesss.. Skippy really needs to see you." Slappy followed.
> "Well come on, what are we waiting for? Let’s go see my son!"

JOEL: After eight years of complete neglect.

> Romana
> yellped.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 7 of 12)

Happy now to rejoin “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fresh to you from somewhere around 2000. The whole of the series should appear at this link.

The story so far: when an INK test shows Skippy Squirrel to be a match for Rita, he leaves his Aunt Slappy for the cat who didn’t think she had any children, but, you know, weirder things happen. As Slappy sinks into lonely depression, Runt — who stayed with her because Rita can only handle so many sidekicks at once — tries to bring her around.

There’s not a lot that needs explaining this time around. Hm. Well, in the late 90s it seemed more mysterious trying to pin down Barney Rubble’s job. The Internet hadn’t tumbled onto figuring out why Clarice was on the Island of Misfit Toys. Percy Crosby is mentioned because he had an influential and, at the time, very popular comic strip named Skippy. The peanut butter people ripped off Crosby’s style for their labels, to suggest his work without actually licensing the character. Crosby’s heirs spent a half-century on and off suing about this. Charles Schulz — who adopted a lot of Crosby’s attitude of treating children’s problems with emotional maturity — testified at one trial about this back in the 80s and wrote about what a weird experience that was. In the 90s at least one of the Crosby heirs got into more than one pointless argument with nobodies on the Internet about this. I think some of the arguments were also over posting then-rare examples of the strip online. (I may have the details off; it was a long time ago and confusing even then.)

I’m happy to say that GoComics runs the original Skippy comic strip, and it’s so worth the reading. It’s a rare pre-World-War-II comic strip you can read and easily see what’s supposed to be funny and why. There were also two movies that occasionally run on Turner Classic Movies; I’ve only seen the first and it is very good right up to something that’s a big spoiler to discuss. I have more thoughts about the movie, though.

I don’t have any riffs I really regret, although there’s some strained ones, like the one mentioning potato chips, that tried for wacky and missed. Could have used a bit more time thinking before I originally published.

> "What, oh it’s you.." Slappy said sadly.
> "I’m worried slappy; about you and about Rita.

JOEL: Why do you wear bagels?

> You just sit there
> everyday doing nothing, the C.E.O. Called,

TOM: Apparently, you have a job.

> he says that unless you come
> in they’ll revoke your pay or play contract and make it play for pay, he
> said the same thing about Rita and Skippy…"

CROW: But if being a wandering homeless cat is just a part why did Rita need a home or…

JOEL: It’s really not healthy to wonder about the metaphysics of cartoons.

TOM: Yeah, if you keep that up you’ll end up trying to establish Barney Rubble’s job.

> He stopped himself
> mid-sentence, "I don’t think anyone has told the studio about him yet."
> Slappy just ignored Runt and stared at an old picture of Skippy.

CROW: I think she’s missed the point of a screen saver.

> Runt snapped his claws and Slappy came around.

TOM: [ As Slappy ] "You know, no matter how packed with peanuts, Snickers just doesn’t satisfy me."

> "Slappy a wise old friend of mine once said actions do things;
> thoughts don’t…" Runt said gently.

JOEL: Coincidentally, Slappy said that too, but not anywhere near Runt.

> Slappy for the first time in a while listened, she sat up.
> "You know something Runt, you’re right…"

CROW: Playing tennis with potato chips is just dumb.

> Slappy replied leaving her
> chair, she walked over to a large desk and opened it, from inside she
> took another key

TOM: Ah, the key to the mystery!

JOEL: There is no mystery.

TOM: That’s why we need the key to it.

JOEL: Ooooh…

> and went across the room to a small drawer which she
> unlocked as well, there where a row of 10 keys she counted along to the
> 8th key and took it

CROW: She then ignored the eighth key and took the first one.

> she then went a picture of skippy and herself hanging
> the wall she moved on it away to revel a safe.

JOEL: It’s a 1/6th scale safe, she had to build it from a kit.

> "I’ve never seen that before.." Skippy suddenly said.
> "No, nobody except me has…" Slappy replied without looking.

TOM: Also except for Acme Safe Installers.

> She put the key carefully into the lock and turned it to the left.
> The safe slowly opened with a hiss of air.

CROW: Inflatable safes. Much cheaper than the real ones.

> "I found this the same time I found you Skippy."

JOEL: Before that you were Hoppy and occasionally Jumpy.

> Slappy said removing
> a small wicker basket from the safe. Inside there was a small tartan
> blanket a picture of Skippy as a baby (Really Cute!!)

TOM: As opposed to the hideous monster Skippy grew up to be.

> and a small letter;

CROW: It’s just a ‘J’ printed two Angstroms high.

> Slappy unfolded the letter, "It’s been almost 8 years since I last looked
> at this..

TOM: And since I found Skippy four years ago…

> /————————————-\
> | Slappy, I know that you are busy and|
> |have a carreer but I am completly mad|
> |and unable to take care of Skippy now|

JOEL: Percy Crosby’s heirs are not doing credit to his estate.

> |I know that you will make a good and |
> |loving mother, more then I could so |
> |take care of my little one and keep |
> |him from the shadows… R|



CROW: Ar! Skippy learns of his pirate heritage!

> \————————————-/"
> She finished reading the letter, "I never knew who sent this, or who your
> mom was." Slappy finished.

JOEL: Course, I never did check the return address. Hey, think that’d be a clue?

> "R? Rita!" Skippy excalimed

CROW: Isn’t that an Italian squid dish?

> brushing against rita.
> Rita backed off and shook her head.
> "I’m afraid not kid, I could not write that letter…" Rita said sadly.

TOM: I swore off R’s after their despicable actions in the Great Vowel Rebellion.

> "Why not?" Skippy asked.
> Rita suddenly extened a claw and cut the letter.

CROW: Here, kid, let me shred the last elements of your identity.

> "Becuase I can’t write…" Rita admitted proudly.
> "Then what does R stand for?" Skippy asked sadly.

JOEL: Skippy’s real mother is Roy Hobbs!

> "I think I know who might know…." Runt interjected.

TOM: [ As Runt ] "But I am the dumbest character on the show, so you may want to double-check."

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 6 of 12)

We’ve reached the halfway point in “Skippy’s Mom”, another Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction fresh to you from sometime in the late 90s or maybe early 2000s, I forget. The whole of the series should appear at this link.

Skippy, taking an INK test, learns that his genetics are a perfect match for … Rita, from Rita and Runt?! In shock the squirrel transforms into a kitten. Rita and Slappy agree to trade sidekicks while Skippy gets in touch with being a cartoon cat.

When I wrote this the idea that every dumb Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the 70s was going to be revived into a movie or new show was fanciful. (I am surprised there hasn’t been a dedicated Speed Buggy or Jabberjaw project, though.) I like the chatter about “we made everything up … it’s the only way to be objective”. The long, confusing riff about “Black even, raider six, green odd, seven” and so on is lifted from a long, confusing bit of dialogue from one of Stephen Ratliff’s famous Marissa Picard stories, the epics that made MiSTings a thing. I have thought a good deal about sharing some of those MiSTings, although those were all riffed collaboratively and people who weren’t me did the final editing and ‘publishing’. The “periodi-stories” were a collection of fan fictions Charles Brown wrote about some kind of teamup between Runt, of Animaniacs fame, and Abu, of Disney’s Aladdin. Despite the tease, so far as I know, nobody ever riffed any of them. Bit of a shame since, as you can see, Brown wrote stories that are riffable but not unpleasant to read.

[ SOL DESK. GYPSY, CROW and TOM are reviewing papers on the desk. JOEL enters, playing paddleball. ]

CROW: Oh, yes, fascinating.

GYPSY: Keen.

CROW: It’s like a blueprint to our futures.

JOEL: [ Continuing to play ] Having fun, guys?

CROW: [ Pretentious ] Fun, Joel? We seek our destiny.

TOM: And it’s real easy to get, too.

JOEL: I’m going to dig deep here and guess you guys have decided to give INK tests to yourselves?

CROW: Of course not.


CROW: We don’t have INK.

TOM: So we took the B-O-T tests.

CROW: And worked them out for ourselves.

TOM: Not just ourselves! Everyone! History belongs to those with the perfect B-O-T sequence coursing through their bloodstreams.

CROW: For instance, it turns out my future will lead inevitably to me being fed ice cream sandwiches all day while watching E! network fashion specials.

JOEL: Uhm… yeah.

TOM: And I shall someday have a lucritive career constructing models of ‘Arcee,’ the sometimes-seen female Transformer, out of everyday articles found around the house while being treated to pudding cups and frozen White Castle hamburgers by my kind and willing servents.

JOEL: Uhhuh. And Gypsy?

GYPSY: I’m going to direct the live-action "Speed Buggy" movie.

TOM:And be Executive Producer for "Jabberjaw: The Next Generation."

JOEL: With an able-bodied, devoted staff of followers, right?

TOM: Follower, actually.

GYPSY: Just one.

JOEL: Would this be the same guy serving Crow and Tom all day?

GYPSY: Oh yeah.

TOM: He’d get regular coffee breaks. With popcorn priveleges.

CROW: Yeah. And it could be any… kindhearted, kinda cute guy, really.

JOEL: But it’s going to be me, right?

CROW: Well, we’d have to work up your BOT tests to know.

TOM: Pump it through the gene sequencer, test sample growth within controlled media, extensive electron microscopy…

CROW: But, yeah, it’s gonna be you.


TOM: No way around it, Joel.

JOEL: Could I see the raw data on this?

GYPSY: We made everything up.

CROW: It’s the only way to be objective.

JOEL: I’ve got to get you three more board games.

TOM: Can we get a DVD player instead?

[ MOVIE SIGN flashes ]

JOEL: Later — we got movie sign!

[ General pandemonium. ]

[ 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. ]

[ ALL file in ]

> Chapter 5 – The start

JOEL: Shouldn’t that have happened before the fifth chapter?

> ———————
> Rita and her new son Skippy had moved in with Slappy almost a month ago
> now,

TOM: No, no, not a month ago now — a month ago back then.

CROW: When, just now?

JOEL: No, we passed then already. It’s nearer now.

TOM: Nearer to now or nearer to then?

CROW: Then, then, or the then just now?

JOEL: Will Rick Moranis please clear the theater? Thank you.

> Skippy had almost forgotten about being a squirrel entirly except

CROW: In restaurants that offer discounts to rodents under the age of ten.

> when late at night he’d wake from a horrible nightmare and not be able to
> remeber it, which was a shame as he would never know if it was the or not
> nightmare remebering which was worse.

JOEL: Black even, raider six, Green odd, seven, Green even, eight, Red even reassigned to nine, Red odd, four, leaders assist as necessary your wings.

> Rita too had forgotten what it was like to be free, as far as she was
> concened Skippy was the most important thing in the world.

CROW: Next to the TV Food Network.

> Much to the amazement of Runt who after saving the world several times

ALL: [ Shaking in disbelief ] Bleahlelalela.

> <See the daily perodi-stories if you really want to know..>

TOM: There’s a periodic table of "Runt" stories?

CROW: I just had a chilling vision of our future.

> had returned only to find that his best friend had new responsiblities.
> Slappy did very little, she mostly just sat in her rocking chair staring
> at Rita and Skippy playing happily like cats normally do.

JOEL: This is the fourth-worst New Year’s party I’ve ever seen.

> "Erm Slappy.." Runt said agian.

CROW: Agian? See?

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 5 of 12)

We’re nearing the halfway point in “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction that I published first sometime in the late 90s. The whole of the series should be at this link, sooner or later.

After finding no trace of Skippy Squirrel’s mother at the Hall of Records, Slappy arranged for an INK test. The results just came back and Skippy Squirrel turns out to be … a cartoon cat!

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was a real TV series, sort of an Australian take on Lassie, but starring just what it says. It got on US cable in the 80s and 90s when stations needed a lot of programming. That’s about all that I imagine needs explaining here, if that even does.

> Chapter 3 – Skippy the cat

JOEL: Or bush kangaroo. Whatever.

> ————————–
> "Well I don’t see how it could be anyone else…" said Hello nurse’s
> distorted voice.

TOM: It *must* be the president calling. He asked about Prince Albert.

> "I think we should check again, I mean she’s never even had a kid so how
> could it be her?" a less distorted voice came from Abu.

CROW: They’re cartoon characters. They reproduce by photocopier.

JOEL: That’s… a pretty deep concept, actually.

> "How ya doing kid?" asked Slappy who’s sounded fairly normal.
> "I had a horrible nightmare Aunt Slappy.."

TOM: I dreamed I couldn’t get the INK joke and I had it repeated to me over and over and over again.

> Skippy started
> "Sorry kid, no nightmare…" Slappy replied sadly she held up a mirror
> for Skippy, a strange looking kitten looked back.

CROW: It’s Winnie Witch’s kid!

TOM: Hi, kid!

> "What, what?" Skippy stammered pointing at the reflection, "Me…?!"
> "Yeah, scary.

JOEL: But evocative of really ancient cartoons like Felix the Cat and his contemporaries, when stretch and squash *meant* something.

> Doc says the fright returned you to your true form…"
> Slappy explained solmely.
> "Look it can’t be her!" Abu screamed.

TOM: "We only dated once!"

> Then suddenly looked at where
> Skippy and Slappy where to see them glaring at him.

CROW: Here are some more words for you. Them are at taping hamster road mill lighting wire on delivery.

> "What they arguing about?" Asked Skippy.

TOM: Hammers. I don’t know why.

> Hello nurse was the one to answer his question, "_I_ think I’ve found
> your real mom…" She said.

CROW: Here, see this web site? http://www.who_skippy’s_real_mom_is_and_how_to_find_her.com?

> "But it can’t be her.." Abu interjected once again.
> "And Abu disagrees with me.." Hello Nurse retorted.
> "So who is my mom…" Skippy enquired tentivly.

JOEL: It’s so awkward when characters ask each other for a first date.

> "Well I think…" Hello Nurse started
> "Even though it can’t be…" Abu interupted.
> "I THINK IT’S….."


> Chapter 4- Skippy’s Mom

JOEL: Hey, I read a story about that once.

> ———————–
> "WHAT?! You can not be serious!!

CROW: Since they’re cartoon characters, you’d hope not.

> How could Skippy be my son?! What; like
> I just happened to forget having a kitten?"

TOM: Who was a squirrel.

> Rita screamed at hello nurse.
> "But the INK test is conclusive, Skippy is a perfect INK match for your
> son…" Hello nurse defended.

JOEL: Hello Nurse took Paul Lynde to block.

> Rita just moaned.

TOM: Rita takes Caroline Rhea to win.

> "I suppose if you REALLY squint and streched out his face, gave him a
> good singing voice, blue eyes and made him a lot smaller

CROW: He’d pass for Frank Sinatra?

> he could just
> about pass for being a cat!" Rita shouted.

TOM: Especially considering he already is one.

> She wondered out of the alley and over to Skippy Squir… <erm..> Cat.

JOEL: A story really shouldn’t be uncomfortable being left by itself.

> Skippy stared at her and then at his "Aunt" Slappy.
> Skippy moved towards Rita slowly, his new longer thiner tail tangled
> up in his feet and he tripped and rolled into Rita’s legs.

CROW: Haha! See? Comedy. Sort of.

JOEL: That’s the fault of the medium. It would’ve worked in animation.

TOM: Maybe.

> Rita picked him up by the scruff of the neck

TOM: Or the nape of his neats.

> and placed him on his feet
> again.
> "Mom?" Skippy asked softly.

CROW: No, just fellow supporting cast.

> Rita looked down at the small kitten and smiled a bit.
> "Maybe kid, maybe…"

TOM: If you’re not afraid of the vacuum cleaner, I have a place for you in my organization.

> Slappy stood looking at Rita and her "new son" with tears in her eyes.
> Rita saw Slappy’s tears and had a great idea…
> "Slappy, I was just wondering, now i’ve a kid _AND_ a dog to look after

CROW: And I have to lead a starship half-crewed with Maquis rebels back across 70,000 light years of uncharted space.

> if we could find a home somewhere, I mean even just a simple TREE house
> would be great…"

CROW: A simple tree house? But Slappy’s tree house has central heating, satellite TV, and no extradition treaties.

TOM: Mm…how’s the rent?

CROW: One abu a month.

TOM: I oughta slug you.

> Rita hevily emphsised the tree bit but it still took
> Slappy a few seconds to recognise what Rita was proposing.

JOEL: [ As Slappy ] Yeah, I can introduce you to Jennifer of the Jungle.

> "I think that would be a great idea…" Slappy said tearfully, but these
> were tears of happiness.

TOM: No. I would believe in Margaret Chase Smith breakdancing before I would believe in Slappy having tears of happiness.

CROW: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

JOEL: Sure thing.

[ ALL exit ]


[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 4 of 12)

It’s now the fourth part, which is somehow the third chapter, of “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction that I published first sometime in the late 90s. The entire the series should be collected at this link. Let me know if they end up not being.

Slappy Squirrel took Skippy to the fabulous Hall of Records, only to learn there’s no trace of who Skippy’s mother is or where she’s gone. They now go to the hospital to learn what an INK test might reveal about the cute young squirrel.

“I’m going to write in ‘Beethoven”’ is surely a Peanuts riff, but I think not to any specific strip. The references to Orgeon and Gabe Kaplan are, I think, from Bloom County strips when Berkeley Breathed needed to fill out a magazine cover joke. You can see where the inspiration from ripping off better comic writers wore off there. “Ask Beth” was a syndicated advice column in the 90s that somehow managed to be less square than Dear Abby or Dear Ann Landers. The My Little Pony referenced here would have been … uh … three? … cartoon shows back of the current one.

There’s no riffs I need to apologize for, but that one about “no, that’s what happens in a cartoon” is more mean than I would write today.

> Chapter 2 – INK
> —————
> Skippy sat nervously in the waiting room, Slappy beside him
> equally as nervous.

CROW: I got edgy just reading that sentence.

> A George Clooney clone

TOM: Clooney cloney Clooney cloney Clooney cloney.

[ JOEL puts his arm on TOM’s shoulder. ]

> walked by causing both of them to stare as he
> went.

CROW: Both of them?

> "Skippy Squirel to room 1, Skippy Squirel to room 1."

TOM: B-14. B-14.

JOEL: Captain Picard to the bridge. Captain Picard to the bridge.

CROW: Service manager to register three, please. Service manager to register three, please.

> The voice came
> over the intercom.

TOM: The face came over the jukebox.

> "No matter what happens inside…" Slappy started speaking very softly.
> "You still be there for me…" Skippy finished.

JOEL: In that Ambrose Bierce way she has.

> The doctor looked very stern as Skippy entered the room, it was pretty
> much a normal ‘toon doctor’s office.

CROW: So we’re not going to waste time with setting.

> If you can call a ‘toon’s doctor
> office normal…

JOEL: If you give a mouse a cookie.

> "Look Skippy, I’ll be honest with you, these results are A) Not good and
> B) very strange."

TOM: Uh… I’ll take A.

CROW: B! I want B!

TOM: B! Maybe!

CROW: I’ll take ‘True’!

JOEL: I’m going to write in ‘Beethoven.’

> The doctor said with great precision.
> "Oh, there’s nothing wrong with me…"

CROW: Eh… nothing an apprenticeship to Rocky the Flying Squirrel couldn’t cure.

> Skippy started, "I’m just here for
> an INK sample.."
> "Yes, I know that, but unfortunatly the tests revealed something we did
> not expect,

CROW: So there’s no point in taking the sample first.

> if you would not mind waiting outside Skipy, I’d like to have
> a word with your Aunt…"

TOM: Specifically, the word ‘anisotropic.’

> Skippy looked up at his aunt with _that_ pleading looking in his eye.
> "Sorry, kid. If the doctor says wait outside,

CROW: You go into the wacky routine where you keep showing up in his coat pockets and his cabinets and his sink and his car until he gives up and tells you the cool stuff?

TOM: No; that’s what happens in a cartoon.

> you wait outside…" Slappy
> finished quickly looking away from Skippy.
> Skippy jumped down off the chair and left the doctor’s office closing the
> door behind him.

CROW: Nice of the doctor’s office to close the door for him.

> He pressed his ear hard against the door but it was sound proofed and he
> could not here anything. So he sat outside

TOM: And found somebody’d stolen the fire escape. Whoops!

JOEL: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuu!

> and waited reading one of the
> terrible magazines that are indigionus to doctor’s offices everywhere.

JOEL: National Geographic report on "Oregon: Idaho’s tricky pal."

CROW: People magazine tells us about the wild life of Gabe Kaplan.

TOM: Popular Mechanics shows us the future of Popular Mechanics covers.

> After reading every magazine several times the doctor’s office finally
> reopened.

JOEL: [ As Doctor ] Are you still here?

> Slappy stepped outsidem something was really wrong as even her flower was
> drooping more then normal.

TOM: Somebody forget to water the squirrel this morning.

> She took Skippy by the hand and lead him in without saying a word.

CROW: I’ve seen better bedside manners from tests of the Emergency Alert System.

> "Skippy, I’ve had a long chat with your ahem, aunt here."

JOEL: And your aardvark over there.

> The doctor
> stared, he said aunt with a tone of disgust.
> "Yes I had noticed…" Skippy retorted.
> The doctor continued unpreturbed by Skippy’s remark. "and well you’ve
> probably already guessed

TOM: What would happen if you sneezed and hiccoughed at the same time.

> that something must be pretty wrong.." The
> doctor continued.
> "Oh boy here it comes…" Skippy whispered.

JOEL: You’re scheduled to guest star in a Due South/Babylon 5/My Little Pony crossover fanfic.

> "The fact is that your INK is not that of a toon squirrel."
> Skippy looked at the doctor in disbelif.

CROW: Yes, I’m afraid your ink is actually distilled "Ask Beth" columns.

> "Come again!" He said shocked.
> "You are not a squirrel, your INK is more that of a toon cat…"

JOEL: Toon cat! The most incredible leader of the pack!

TOM: INK! Get it?!

> The
> doctor concluded.
> "Get real!" Skippy managed to joke.
> "I am quite serious, we checked the results three times, each time they
> came up the same…"

TOM: Your original character design involved bellbottom pants.

> Was the last thing Skippy heard before he
> fainted….

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 3 of 12)

And back to “Skippy’s Mom”, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction that I published first sometime in the late 90s. The whole of the series should appear at this link. So far, though, In the story so far, Skippy is wondering who his mother is, and Aunt Slappy’s decided to take him to the Hall of Records and see. I suppose this means his mom’s not Slappy’s sister but who can say, really?

Let’s see what needlessly obscure references I can clear up here. Hm. John Randolph Bray was an animation pioneer of the 1910s; he held the patent on cel animation, where you have a background and draw the characters on a clear sheet put over it. “I”m only three and a half years old” is an Abbott and Costello catchphrase that a lot of Looney Tunes ripped off. Lottery was a 1980s hourlong drama about people who’d won a million bucks in just what it says there, and how this screws up their lives. SpeedScript was a word processor that Compute! magazine published; you could type it in to your Commodore, Apple, or Atari eight-bit computer and process what words you had. “I don’t go to the hospital, but I play someone who does” references a 1980s commercial for … oh, I think cough syrup … in which someone explained he was not a doctor, but he plays one on TV, so that’s why he can endorse whatever this was. I have never seen an episode of Histeria but I remember everyone who was online in the 90s hating it. On the other hand, everyone who was online in the 90s hated a big friendly purple dinosaur who sang silly songs for the little kids in his audience, so maybe we were bad at evaluating things.

> Chapter 1 – Hall of Records

TOM: [ As Ted Knight ] Here at the fabulous Hall of Records, the Superfriends struggle to complete a property title search.

> —————————
> The hazy sunlight filtered into Skippy’s room, Skippy still asleep
> bundled the blanket around his head to keep the light out.
> "Skippy, it’s time to get up…"

JOEL: C’mon, they spun off Buttons and Mindy to another show and we have to do double duty.

> Slappy shouted from somewhere
> donwstairs.
> "Okay Aunt Slappy." Skippy said tiredly.
> Skippy clambered out of bed

CROW: And awoke with a clatter; he sprung to the window to see what was the matter.

> and headed down stairs.
> "You ready to find out about your Mom?" Slappy asked sarcasticly.
> "Hunh?" Skippy replied still half asleep, in fact more like 75% asleep…

TOM: 83 and 94/44ths percent asleep.

CROW: What, he doesn’t know whether he’s awake or asleep?

JOEL: Must be a school day.

> "Hall of records this morning, no?" prompted Slappy.

CROW: Touch any part of this squirrel to continue.

TOM: "I don’t see the ‘Any’ part."

> "Oh of course…" Skippy said tiredly.

CROW:Adverbs: The bread crumbs of the English language.

> After a filling breakfast of Nutritionly lacking suger coated generic
> ceral

JOEL: Generic cereal. For your generic comedic needs.

> Skippy and Slappy went to the hall of records for all the ‘toons
> in Burbank.

TOM: But they’re in Lompoc.

> "Here we are kiddo, you’re about to meet with your past,

CROW: I *told* you to wash out your lunchbox at the start of summer.

> it may
> be unpleasant…" Slappy intoned.
> "That’s okay, no matter what I find inside,

JOEL: I’ll still have a song in my heart.

> you’ll still be here
> for me Aunt Slappy." Skippy said cheerfully.
> The big double doors to the hall of records swung open

CROW: Hellooooooooooooo…

JOEL: Helloooooooooo…

TOM: Hellooooooo…

> as skippy
> and slappy walked inside.
> "Good morning…" Said a familer voice from behind the counter, it was
> Hello Nurse.
> "What are you doing here?" Demanded Slappy.

TOM: Chapter 18A-65A of the Uniform Fanfic Code requires that as many bit characters as the author can name be jammed into the story somewhere.

> "Oh Warners don’t pay me enogth to work as just a nurse so I work
> here part time to make ends meet, and I’ve not be in a cameo for quite
> some time…" Hello Nurse replied.

JOEL: Say what you want about the rest of the story, but Hello Nurse is showing ten times as much personality here as she ever did on the TV show.

> "Oh Carefull there.." She shouted as skippy was about to step in some
> oil. "Yakko and Wakko came here earlier, they’re still not quite over
> it.." Hello Nurse said pointing to the pools of oil.

CROW: Apparently Yakko and Wakko just joined the Autobots.

> "Yeah yeah yeah…" Slappy said impatiently.

JOEL: [ Flatly ] She loves you; you know you should be glad.

> "Look can you tell
> my nephew here who his mom was?"

CROW: I hope it’s that lethally cute squirrel from that old Chuck Jones cartoon that tried to open a coconut, remember?

> "No." Hello Nurse said promptly.
> "Okaaayy Then what are we doing here?" Slappy asked.

TOM: [ Whispering ] We’re ganging up on "Histeria." Don’t snicker.

CROW: Not a problem.

> "Oh no Miss Squirrel, I can’t tell your nephew,

JOEL: That would be cheating.

> but I can
> show him which file it would be in.." Hello nurse replied.
> "Well, we don’t have all day…" Slappy impatiently muttered.

CROW: It’s the file marked "Who is Skippy’s Mom?"

> "Let me just feed his details into the computer, okay Name,

TOM: John Randolph Bray Process.

> Age,

CROW: I’m only three and a half years old.

> Character

JOEL: Half-orc Fourth-level Paladin/Magic-User.

> and ID#"

TOM: Or monsters of the ID number.

> Hello nurse asked politely
> "Skippy, I’m 8 and I’m a squirrel!" Skippy exlaimed.

CROW: Don’t you watch the show? What’s your problem?

> "My Id number is A1SQIP3"

TOM: Aluminum Squip Oxide?

> "Thank you Skippy.." Hello nurse gently spoke, "The computer is coming
> up with the details now.."

JOEL: Ah, here it is. You’re scheduled for crossovers with the Rescue Rangers, Battlestar Galactica, and Lottery.

> The computer made lots of grindy disk noises,

TOM: You know, DOS 3.3 did include the ‘black pepper’ option.

> Skippy, Slappy
> and Hello Nurse covered thier ears in pain.
> The computer suddenly stopped,

CROW: Looked at the audience, shouted "People!" and ran through the wall.

> Hello nurse looked shocked as she
> looked at the screen.
> "Is something wrong?" Asked Skippy.
> "I’m not sure…"

TOM: "What do words mean, again?"

> She replied. "Look!" She said turning the screen
> around. Skippy stared at the screen, large flashing red letters continuly
> blipped up. "NO RECORD FOUND?!"
> Slappy shouted, "What’s that supposed to mean?!"

CROW: [ Eagerly ] It means anyone who does even *one* upside-down jumping jack on a bed of pizza rolls gets in the Guinness Book!

> "It may just be a system failure I’ll get the mechanic on to it right
> away."

TOM: We must rotoscope the turtle I have Minnesota saw marbles once.

> She said running off to fetch a mechanic.
> A short while later Hello nurse returned with a monkey.
> "Who’s he?" Skippy asked indignetly.

JOEL: Head of programming for UPN.

> "Abu, pleased ta meet ya!"

CROW: We’ve really needed to runt you out to someone!

> The monkey replied, "I’m the mechanic."
> Abu took out a small laptop and plugged it into the large PC that _was_
> the hall of records mainframe.

JOEL: Back in the good old days, before SpeedScript ruined everything.

TOM: What?

> Abu tapped away franticly with the keyboard and it was almost an hour
> before he said anything.

CROW: Maybe he should wiggle the plug?

> "This is not good…" Abu said looking at Skippy.

TOM: I am *so* tanking on NetTrek.

> "According to this there is no Skippy Squirrel…" Abu finished.
> "How can that be?" Asked Skippy tearfully.

JOWL: The crossover you were scheduled to do with "Sportsnight" vanished without a trace, and took you with it.

> "Probably just a mistake at the hospital kid." Abu said trying to
> cheer Skippy up.

CROW: That is a pretty cheery thing to say.

> "A hospital could do a INK test on you Skippy." Hello Nurse offered,

TOM: ‘Cause, see, INK is like DNA for a cartoon.

> "That way we could then match your INK

CROW: Get it? ‘Cause a cartoon has INK rather than DNA.

> to all the INK’s in our database
> and find out that way.."

JOEL: [ Slapping TOM’s shoulder ] HA HA! INK! Get it? INK!

TOM: That hurt.

> "I’m not sure…" Slappy started, but then she saw Skippy crying.
> "Come on, let’s go to the hospital…"

TOM: I don’t go to the hospital, but I play someone who does on TV.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 2 of 12)

We’re finally to the start of “Skippy’s Mom”, the next Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction I have for you. The whole of the series should appear at this link. So far, though, we’ve just had the introductory host sketch. They’re about to enter the theater.

These Are The Days was a short-lived Hanna-Barbera cartoon of the 70s. It was set in a small rural town around the turn of the century and was so well-meaning yet dull. Vitagraph was a silent movie studio — they did newsreels of the Spanish-American War — that Warner Brothers bought in 1925. Warner Brothers slapped the name on some 60s cartoons for mysterious reasons, probably to keep the trademark just in case. The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t is an early 70s Hanna-Barbera move in which Jeremy Squirrel and the squirrel family have to save The First Thanksgiving. Cartoon Network ran it a bunch back in the 90s as part of their campaign to bore the audience away.

[ 6.. 5.. 4.. 3.. 2.. 1.. ]

[ ALL file in. ]

> ————–29934A6D602B

TOM: In the year twenty-nine ninety-three… uh… four A six D six hundred and two B.

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> Due to circumstances outwith my control

CROW: For example, the images in Pringles commercials…

> and the fact that I’m a sick
> puppy (No really I have a killer headcold

JOEL: From outer space!

> …) here _is_ the CORRECT
> version of Skippy’s Mom. (I Hope)
> I would personally like to apolgise

CROW: Maybe ‘correct’ is an exaggeration?

> to anyone who has already read the
> orginal posting

TOM: It’s the latest in fanfic technology, the story that makes fun of itself.

> found that it did not finshed and has given the entire
> plot away.
> Anywho at last a mere 28+ hours over due here is Skippy’s Mom

JOEL: This is good. I’ve always wanted to see a "Family Ties" fanfic.

> ————–29934A6D602B

> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; name="PS6.TXT"

TOM: It’s us-ascii versus them-ascii in an all-out battle for world domination!

> Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

CROW: Shave and an inflation-adjusted haircut.

> Content-Disposition: inline; filename="PS6.TXT"
> /—————\
> | Skippy’s | Charles "runt-abu" Brown would like to dedicate this
> | Mom | story

JOEL: Before the second reel is out, to landing a cartoon character on the moon and bringing him safely back to Max and Dave Fleischer.

> to the following individuals who lived in a
> |An A! Fanfic by| world full of darkness but are now in the light.

CROW: Thomas Edison, Christine McGlade, and Morris Udall.

> | runt-abu | Princess Diana, Mother Teresa and to all those who morn

TOM: Need an Abu but can’t afford to own one? Come on down and runt one, on daily or weekly schedules. Exit 13 on the Northway.

> \—————/ them; This is there space of memorial:
> ========================================================================
> =========================

CROW: Is it naptime?


JOEL: This is the worst Rorschach test I’ve ever seen.


TOM: It is a chance for us to get a spoon and tunnel our way out.

> ========================================================================
> =========================
> Thank you for remebering

JOEL: We forget what.

> ========================================================================
> =========================

> Legal type stuff:

CROW: You know, 14 inch paper, note pads, writs, attainers. *Stuff.*

> This document is Copyright (C) 1997 Charles "Runt-Abu" Brown
> (runt@—.——.–.–). All rights reserved.

TOM: In fact, they’re downright timid. They’ve got to meet new people.

> The characters of the Warner Siblings and related characters are
> copyright and trademark Warner Bros. Animation, and are used without
> permission.

JOEL: Also without socks.

> Their use within this work of fiction is in no
> way, meant to infringe or steal that copyright, nor to dilute the
> characters themselves.

TOM: That happened by accident when I spilled paint thinner.

> No profit on the part of the author is made
> from this document, and this document is used only for entertainment
> purposes. If there are any legal problems with this document,

CROW: Please review randomly selected episodes of "These Are The Days" until your head explodes.

> please
> contact the author to make arrangements to amend these legal
> difficulties.

JOEL: [ Raising his hand ] Uh, waiter? There’s a lawyer in my soup.

TOM: Keep your voice down, or everybody’ll want one.

> This work may be freely distributed in any media

CROW: So if you ever wanted to compose a Gregorian Chant based on an Animaniacs fanfic, here’s your chance.

> as long as it is not; altered for its original
> form, and that no money is charged for the document itself.

JOEL: I like reading these notices just to see credit given to the Vitagraph Corporation.

CROW: [ Announcer voice ] Vitagraph. You know the name, you have no idea what we do, and that’s the way we want it. Vitagraph.

> It may be
> included on any archive collection under the same terms.

TOM: It’s only to be included in free-range archives.

> ========================================================================
> =========================
> ————————————————————————
> ——

JOEL: This is going to be a hard "Hangman" puzzle.

> Prelogue

CROW: That’s it. Did somebody go back in time and step on a butterfly while we weren’t looking?

> ——–
> Skippy Squirrel stared out his wooden window into the dark night,

TOM: Oh, Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo…

> clouds over head covered the half moon and obscured the stars.
> His aunt slappy came in, "What’cha thinking about Skippy?" She asked
> gently.

CROW: [ As Skippy ] Whether the Trix rabbit is actually being tortured by various kids or if he just stumbled across the alien technology from "Forbidden Planet" and is now denied cereal by the monsters of his own id.

> "Oh nothing.." Skippy replied instinctivly.
> "You were wondering about your mom again weren’t you." Slappy said
> softly.

JOEL: The way you never do on the show.

> Skippy’s attitude suddenly changed, became darker, sadder.

CROW: Skippy Squirrel *is* Batman!

JOEL: Or… Bat… Squirrel… Man.

> "Yeah… I.. I just wish I had know who she was.." He whispered.

TOM: Mostly he hopes it wasn’t any of the squirrels from "The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t."

> "Now Skippy what have I always told you?" Slappy demanded.
> "Never to mix up dynamite with candy." Skippy paused for a second;
> "Always use live ammunition

CROW: As a hand lotion?

> and …."
> "And actions do things; thoughts don’t…" Slappy finshed for him.

TOM: Unless your thoughts are being dubbed in for the audience.

> "Tommorrow morning we’ll go down to the hall of records and find your

JOEL: Embarassing 70s glam rock album.

> mom… If you go to bed now…"
> "Gee that’d be great Aunt Slappy!" Skippy said excitedly.
> "Come on kiddo, time for lights out…."

CROW: Our animators ran out of money.

> Slappy said tucking Skippy in.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Skippy’s Mom (part 1 of 12)

I have a fresh Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction to share! Way back in the 20th century I came upon one Charles Brown’s Animaniacs fan fiction “Skippy’s Mom”. Its inspiration: if Skippy is Slappy’s nephew, who is his mother? Answering this sort of question is just what we created fan fiction to solve. Brown’s answer is … not what you might have imagined.

I wrote longer fan fictions back in the day, so this one goes on a bit. This section doesn’t even get out of the introductory host sketches. Those sketches were inspired by watching a bunch of Cartoon Network, as you can tell. Also from my annoyance at bad snarking on Scooby-Doo. There was not a horde of comedians making bad jokes about Scooby-Doo, unless you count people on Usenet having fun. I like think I’m a bit kinder these days to snark that doesn’t meet my high standards, but I know deep down I’m cranky about people doing the same stuff I do. One hazard of MiSTing is it gets very easy to get mean and I’ve tried to get better about that.

Not many references to explain here. Hal Jordan was the Green Lantern when I was a kid. Ken Connell was the hero of the New Universe comic Star Brand, in the 80s. He got a magic alien tattoo that gave him all the superpowers and he accidentally blew up Pittsburgh with it. Ralph Hinkley, or Hanley as they abruptly renamed him for some reason in the middle of 1981, was the star of The Greatest American Hero, or as you might recognize better if you read it while you were eight, only the most greatest TV show in the history of ever. The goofball scenarios they reference were all things the Green Lantern did in the Challenge Of The Superfriends cartoon, keeping this animation theme going. I used to write more thematically unified back then.


[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]

[ SOL DESK. JOEL, TOM and CROW are at the desk, deep in discussion. ]

CROW: I’d say he would grow up with eating habits memorized, but not internalized. He’d eat healthily but not understand why.

TOM: The answer has to depend on whether the child can shapeshift. That changes everything.

JOEL: [ Touching CROW and TOM’s shoulders ] Oh, hey, we’re on, everyone. Hi there, and welcome to the Satellite of Love. This afternoon we’re going to participate in a hideously evil experiment, and before that we’re discussing a ‘Winnie the Witch’ cartoon Hanna-Barbera made in the 60s.

TOM: In this short, stork error delivers a baby to Winnie Witch, a feeble simulacrum of Witch Hazel, and she adopts it.

CROW: But the baby’s reluctant to drink milk, so she turns it into a kitten.

JOEL: And we’re debating the long-term developmental challenges this may inflict on the baby.

CROW: Such as confusion over self-identity and body image.

TOM: And whether it’d ever learn to eat healthily. If habits are learned by storing memories in that big ol’ chemical soup of the human brain, then how are they wrecked by completely rewriting the kid’s biochemistry, from cat to kid and so on?

JOEL: So far we don’t know.

TOM: I’d say it depends if the kid can shapeshift on his own. If he can, then when he’s hungry for — let’s say — Brussels sprouts,he’ll turn into a beaver or whatever eats them. When he needs meat, he’ll become a basset hound or something.

CROW: When he needs plankton he’ll turn into a whale.

TOM: Exactly, Crow, you get it.

JOEL: Uh, guys, humans don’t eat plankton.

TOM: Just because you don’t, don’t assume nobody ever does, Joel.

JOEL: It’s just not something we can eat.

CROW: Maybe that’s the problem. Did anyone ever transmogrify *you* when you were growing up, Joel? [ JOEL shakes his head and starts to answer ] Aha! That’s it!

TOM: Yeah! Your problem isn’t that this kid is getting the benefits of a proper polytheriomorphic childhood.
[ JOEL skeptically mouths the word "polytheriomorphic." ]

CROW: You’re just jealous that you never got to be anything other than a poor little human.

TOM: Aw, Joel, why didn’t you share your pain with us?

CROW: We’d have understood.

JOEL: Guys, it’s not like that. Humans aren’t supposed to —

CROW: No, no, don’t talk.

TOM: We love you no matter what you weren’t in your past.

CROW: We’ll help you through this.

TOM: You can hold us, if you like.

[ JOEL sighs, gives up, and hugs TOM and CROW. ]

JOEL: You guys are true friends. Thank you.

MAGIC VOICE: Commercial sign in five seconds. Cambot and I are here for you too, Joel.

JOEL: Thanks, Magic Voice. I’m sure Gypsy is too.

[ COMMERCIAL SIGN flashes. JOEL taps it. ]

GYPSY: [ Calling from offstage ] You said it!

JOEL: We’ll be right back.


[ SOL DESK. Zoobooks are scattered over the table. JOEL, TOM, and CROW are examining different pamphlets. ]

CROW: How about the rock hyrax?

JOEL: And what’s a rock hyrax?

CROW: We can give you a weeklong tryout with it, maybe try a bush or tree hyrax if you’re not fully satisfied …

TOM: I’m holding out for you as a woylie. It’s a cute little kangaroo that feeds on roots, tubers, seeds, and legumes. See the picture?

JOEL: Yeah, nice. And what’s the hyrax, Crow?

CROW: I… uh… have no idea. But if you became one, then we’d know, right?

TOM: Yeah, unless he got caught in the mouse traps.

[ MADS sign flashes ]

JOEL: Hang on, Loopy the Lion and Hardee Har Har are calling.

[ DEEP 13. DR. FORRESTER has what looks like a plunger mounted on a water gun; TV’S FRANK is in the background, wearing a bullseye target and holding a SCOOBY-DOO T-shirt. DR. FORRESTER is by a table with considerable clutter on it.]

DR.F: Touche, turtle. Our invention this week is based on beating back the horde of comedians who make incredibly trivial comments about ‘Scooby-Doo.’ It’s a high-powered gun designed to stop them. It tracks certain characteristics of people who’ve figured out they can approach being amusing by talking about this overexposed show — rising levels of unjustified smugness, a clumsily jocular air around them, Scooby Snack Powder… who needs details? TV’s Frank will demonstrate.

FRANK: [ Sheepish ] Now?

DR.F: No, Frank, next week.


DR.F: [ Growls, lowers the gun, riffles through the stuff on the desk, making a mess and loud noise. ] NOW!

FRANK: OK, like, you notice how it’s always the creepy old guy wearing a dumb mask? And how these kids don’t have jobs or school or parents or anything? And was Shaggy stoned or what?

[ As FRANK talks, DR. F raises the gun and aims. As FRANK finishes talking, DR. F fires the gun, sending the plunger flying to the bullseye. FRANK, "impaled," begins a prolongued death scene as BUGS BUNNY might do. ]

DR.F: A sharp, thin needle at the end of the plunger makes your displeasure really stick. [ He begins cackling, and suddenly stops. ] Over to you, Hokey.

[ SOL DESK. The brouchures are cleared away; JOEL, TOM, and CROW all have hefty instruction manuals. TOM and CROW’s are opened. ]

JOEL: Anyone who lives long enough, be he Hal Jordan, Ken Connell, Ralph Hinkley, or Joel Robinson, will eventually be host to benevolent aliens who grant one a ring, tatoo, suit, or some other token of almost unlimited power to use for the good of humanity.

CROW: But will you know how to use it?

TOM: Great power carries with it great responsibility, and you must be prepared to use that power efficiently and for the good of all.

JOEL: [ Showing off his book ] Which is why we’ve created the nigh-omnipotent token’s user’s manual!

TOM: Indexed, cross-referenced and with a web site for newly discovered twists, this guide will help any new superhero do his or her best possible good.

CROW: See, here, ‘Earth threatened by gigantic comets’…simply power up and move the comets out of the way.

TOM: Whereas under ‘City threatened by nuclear missiles’… use your powers to turn the missiles into giant sticks of butter.

JOEL: Have to move your entire legion of friends in a hurry? Fire up your token and expand your hands, then fly them all there!

CROW: Keep your excessively large hands out of your line of sight, or flight will become erratic.

TOM: What do you think, sirs?

[ DEEP 13. FRANK is gasping, continuing the act. DR. FORRESTER is at the camera, sneering. DR. FORRESTER makes quote marks with his hands where appropriate. ]

DR.F: Infinitely clever, mes amis. Your pain this week is a beauty of an Animaniacs fanfic entitled "Skippy’s Mom," by one Charles "Runt-Abu" Brown. It’s the heartworming story of Skippy Squirrel as — could you see this one coming — he finds his Mom. Read it and weep, my little Nimrods of the nitrate stocks.

[ FRANK groans ]

DR.F: Oh, suck it in, wimpy.

[ SOL. As before. ]

CROW: Heartworming?

TOM: Runt-abu?

[ MOVIE SIGN flashes ]

JOEL: Later! We got movie sign!

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: The Jovian Jest (part 4 of 4)

And now it’s the final installment of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction of Lilith Lorraine’s “The Jovian Jest”. This short story first appeared in May 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link. Let me know if it’s not.

The story so far: a flying saucer has landed. The amoebic creature from it pokes tentacles into cattleman Bill Jones and pompous professor Ralston, slurping up their cognitive facilities. Now able to talk to humans Amoeboy begins to share where they’re from and what their deal is.

Not much needing explanation here. The Excelsior – Tuebor riff is jumping from Amoeboy’s ‘Forge on’ to the state mottos of New York and then Michigan. Oh, you may think the line about ‘Rock Gulch’ is a reference to the Fallout video games but no, I don’t know anything about Fallout. I forget exactly how I came up with that name but I’m pretty sure it’s an SCTV reference. Maybe to the Six Gun Justice serial they did that weird final season? If somebody knows what I was thinking please let me know. Oh, the Clown Sightings of 2016 … see, back when we thought 2016 was just the worst a year could get there was this weird rash of Mysterious Clown Sightings in summer and early fall. Some weird little mass hysteria that somehow ended abruptly the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November.

Note that despite the title, the alien Amoeboy does not come from Jupiter. It’s from somewhere a million light-years away. ‘Jovian’ refers to the size of the joke played at the end of this tale. Enjoy!

> We can dissolve our bodies at will, retaining only the permanent
> atom of our being, the seed of life dropped on the soil of our
> planet by Infinite Intelligence.

JOEL: Decluttering tip! Shed every part of your existence that doesn’t bring you joy!

> We can propel this indestructible
> seed on light rays through the depths of space.

CROW: However I confess we are not yet able to tell a cabbage from a lettuce.

> We can visit the
> farthest universe with the velocity of light, since light is our
> conveyance.

TOM: *Now* how much would you pay? But wait, there’s more!

> In reaching your little world, I have consumed a
> million years, for my world is a million light-years distant: yet to
> my race a million years is as one of your days.

JOEL: For us three of our popcorn balls are like two of your candy corns!

TOM: To my race seven of your Star Wars movies are like three of our Thanksgiving Day parades!

CROW: Four things that you perceive as green are equivalent to one of our yellowy-blues!

> "On arrival at any given destination, we can build our bodies from
> the elements of the foreign planet.

CROW: We can make them stronger, faster, well, you get the drill.

> We attain our knowledge of
> conditions on any given planet by absorbing the thought-content of
> the brains of a few representative members of its dominant race.

TOM: Isn’t that going to be, like, some microbe?

JOEL: So, the amoebas?

TOM: Oooooooooh.

> Every well-balanced mind contains the experience of the race, the
> essence of the wisdom that the race-soul has gained during its
> residence in matter.

JOEL: The longer that sentence ran the more I dreaded it.

> We make this knowledge a part of our own
> thought-content, and thus the Universe lies like an open book before
> us.

TOM: Even when we’re in the bathroom?

> "At the end of a given experiment in thought absorption, we return
> the borrowed mind-stuff to the brain of its possessor.

CROW: Who’s … uh … us, now! Neat how that works, isn’t it? Thanks.

> We reward
> our subject for his momentary discomfiture by pouring into his body
> our splendid vitality.

TOM: Also a $20 gift card to Jersey Mike’s.

> This lengthens his life expectancy
> immeasurably,

CROW: We hush it up because it would ruin the insurance companies.

> by literally burning from his system the germs of
> actual or incipient ills that contaminate the blood-stream.

JOEL: We leave behind the broken arm, we don’t have an administrative code for that.

> This, I believe, will conclude my explanation, an explanation to
> which you, as a race in whom intelligence is beginning to dawn, are
> entitled.

TOM: So, any questions? Yes, you there.

CROW: The *heck* was that all about?

> But you have a long road to travel yet. Your
> thought-channels are pitifully blocked and criss-crossed with
> nonsensical and inhibitory complexes that stand in the way of true
> progress.

JOEL: Oh dear lord it’s a Dianetics ad.

> But you will work this out, for the Divine Spark that
> pulses through us of the Larger Universe, pulses also through you.

TOM: This might explain why you feel like you’re ticking and also part of the Galactic Federation of Light.

> That spark, once lighted, can never be extinguished, can never be
> swallowed up again in the primeval slime.

CROW: As long as you remember one thing: always — I mean, never — I mean, you have to make sure [ Cough, wheezes ] THUD!

> "There is nothing more that I can learn from you — nothing that I
> can teach you at this stage of your evolution.

JOEL: Nothing at all? Not, like, antibiotics —

TOM: Nope! Nothing to teach you.

CROW: Maybe how to make electronics —

TOM: Negatory! You’ve got all you can handle.

JOEL: Could you give a hint about grand unification theory?

TOM: Nah! What wouldn’t be redundant?

> I have but one
> message to give you, one thought to leave with you — forge on!

CROW: Counterfeit *everything*!

> You are on the path, the stars are over you, their light is flashing
> into your souls the slogan of the Federated Suns beyond the
> frontiers of your little warring worlds. Forge on!"

TOM: Excelsior!

CROW: Tuebor!

JOEL: Here’s mud in your eye!

> The Voice died out like the chiming of a great bell receding into
> immeasurable distance.

TOM: The time is now 11:00.

> The supercilious tones of the professor had
> yielded to the sweetness and the light of the Greater Mind whose
> instrument he had momentarily become.

CROW: And now he’s going back to a career of explaining to waitresses that if the choice is cole slaw *or* home fries he’s entitled to get both.

> It was charged at the last
> with a golden resonance that seemed to echo down vast spaceless
> corridors beyond the furthermost outposts of time.
> As the Voice faded out into a sacramental silence, the strangely
> assorted throng, moved by a common impulse, lowered their heads as
> though in prayer.

CROW: [ As Amoeboy ] “Sorry, ah, this thing usually takes off right away. Think the battery’s a bit low is all.”

> The great globe pulsed and shimmered throughout
> its sentient depths like a sea of liquid jewels.

TOM: [ As the Terminator ] Liquid Jewels.

JOEL: For the Twee-1000.

> Then the tentacle
> that grasped the professor drew him back toward the scintillating
> nucleus.

TOM: [ Amoeboy ] ‘C’mon and gimme a hug!’

> Simultaneously another arm reached out and grasped Bill
> Jones, who,

CROW: Was still in the story we guess?

> during the strange lecture, had ceased his wooden
> soldier marching and had stood stiffly at attention.

TOM: [ Amoeboy ] ‘You give me a hug too! It’s a hug party and everyone’s invited! Not you, Ray.’

> The bodies of both men within the nucleus were encircled once more
> by the single current. From it again put forth the tentacles,
> cupping their heads, but the smokelike essence flowed back to them
> this time,

JOEL: [ Amoeboy ] And what the heck, you’ll cluck like a chicken every time someone says ‘cabinet’.

> and with it flowed a tiny threadlike stream of violet
> light. Then came the heaving motion when the shimmering currents
> caught the two men

[ CROW, TOM scream in agony ]

> and tossed them forth unharmed but visibly
> dowered with the radiance of more abundant life.

JOEL: And they fall down the ravine to Rock Gulch.

> Their faces were
> positively glowing and their eyes were illuminated by a light that
> was surely not of earth.

CROW: They look at each other and say, wulp, nothing to do now but make out, right?

> Then, before the very eyes of the marveling people, the great globe
> began to dwindle.

[ TOM makes a low hissing noise, as a balloon deflates. ]

> The jeweled lights intensified, concentrated,
> merged, until at last remained only a single spot no larger than a
> pin-head,

JOEL: Are we having alien yet?

> but whose radiance was, notwithstanding, searing,
> excruciating.

CROW: Strangely lemon-scented.

> Then the spot leaped up — up into the heavens,
> whirling, dipping and circling as in a gesture of farewell, and
> finally soaring into invisibility with the blinding speed of light.

TOM: Travels for a million years, you’d think it could stay for dinner.

CROW: Got a look at this bunch and headed right out.

> The whole wildly improbable occurrence might have been dismissed as
> a queer case of mass delusion,

JOEL: Like the Clown Sightings of 2016 or the so-called state of ‘Tennessee’.

> for such cases are not unknown to
> history, had it not been followed by a convincing aftermath.

TOM: The alien coming back to ask if anyone had seen its flagellum.

> The culmination of a series of startling coincidences, both
> ridiculous and tragic, at last brought men face to face with an
> incontestable fact:

CROW: If Woody had gone right to the police this would never have happened!

> namely, that Bill Jones had emerged from his
> fiery baptism endowed with the thought-expressing facilities of
> Professor Ralston, while the professor was forced to struggle along
> with the meager educational appliances of Bill Jones!

JOEL: Whoo-hoo-hoo-oops!

TOM: Ha ha!

> In this ironic manner the Space-Wanderer had left unquestionable
> proof of his visit by rendering a tribute to "innate intelligence"
> and playing a Jovian Jest upon an educated fool — a neat
> transposition.

CROW: It’s funny ’cause it’s … I don’t know, playing on elitist pretentions? Something?

> A Columbus from a vaster, kindlier universe had paused for a moment
> to learn the story of our pigmy system.

TOM: Wonder what would’ve happened if it had eaten, like, a raccoon’s brain?

> He had brought us a message
> from the outermost citadels of life and had flashed out again on his
> aeonic voyage from everlasting unto everlasting.

JOEL: A strange visitor from beyond the stars comes to Earth with a chilling message: yeah, do whatever you’re doing.


TOM: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

JOEL: Works for me.

CROW: [ Slowly, seriously ] Dum DA-dum!

[ ALL file out. ]

                             \  |  /
                              \ | /
                              / | \
                             /  |  \


Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and situations are the property of Satellite of Love, LLC, if the footer on mst3kinfo.com doesn’t lead me wrong. I’m still geting used to thinking of Best Brains as a part of the past. I don’t know. _The Jovian Jest_ was written by Lilith Loraine and appeared in the May 1930 issue of _Astounding Stories of Super-Science_ which I believe to be out of copyright. It can be found through Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/files/29809/29809-h/29809-h.htm#The_Jovian_Jest at your leisure. I’m Joseph Nebus and this is 2017 for me.

> The homogeneous force of
> our omni-substance subjects the plural world to the processing of a
> powerful unity.

[ The end ??? ]

MiSTed: The Jovian Jest (part 3 of 4)

Returning now to my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction of Lilith Lorraine’s “The Jovian Jest”, a short story from the May 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link. Let me know if you don’t see it.

That flying-saucer-at-Farmer-Burns’s-place situation heated up last time, as the blobby mass from the spaceship took over the body of cattleman Bill Jones and insufferably pompous Professor Ralston. Using the body of Professor Ralston the creature, calling itself an amoeba of the alien universe, began to explain its deal. Also, sorry about the Bill Jones thing but he didn’t have a sophisticated enough vocabulary to be able to explain what the aliens were up to.

I don’t see any riffs in this segment that need explanation. Even better, I don’t spot any that need apology. So let’s get back to the action, then.

> He possesses more of what you would call ‘innate
> intelligence,’ but he has not perfected the mechanical brain through
> whose operation this innate intelligence can be transmitted to
> others and, applied for practical advantage.

TOM: Oh, c’mon, how many people do you know perfect mechanical brains?

CROW: Joel did!

TOM: Sycophant.

> Now this creature that I am using is, as you might say, full of
> sound without meaning.

JOEL: How we might say? How would you say?

> His brain is a lumber-room in which he has
> hoarded a conglomeration of clever and appropriate word-forms with
> which to disguise the paucity of his ideas, with which to express
> nothing!

CROW: Um …

> Yet the very abundance of the material in his storeroom
> furnishes a discriminating mind with excellent tools for the
> transportation of its ideas into other minds.

TOM: [ Professor Ralston ] Are you calling me stupid?

JOEL: [ As Amoeba ] I’m saying you have an abundance of deficiencies!

TOM: [ Professor Ralston ] Well … okay then.

> "Know, then, that I am not here by accident.

CROW: I had long and fully planned to land my flying saucer at a 50 degree angle in the middle of this corn silo!

> I am a Space Wanderer,
> an explorer from a super-universe whose evolution has proceeded
> without variation along the line of your amoeba.

TOM: Look, I don’t want to nitpick.

JOEL: Of course you don’t, honey.

TOM: Just, ‘evolution’ or ‘variation’, which of those words aren’t they using right?

> Your evolution, as
> I perceive from an analysis of the brain-content of your professor,
> began its unfoldment in somewhat the same manner as our own.

CROW: With cartoons of fish stepping up on land.

> But in
> your smaller system, less perfectly adjusted than our own to the
> cosmic mechanism, a series of cataclysms occurred.

JOEL: Does this involve blowing up the moon and jolting Earth into a new orbit?

> In fact, your
> planetary system was itself the result of a catastrophe, or of what
> might have been a catastrophe, had the two great suns collided whose
> near approach caused the wrenching off of your planets.

CROW: And if their diplomats weren’t able to find a face-saving solution to the crisis.

> From this
> colossal accident, rare, indeed, in the annals of the stars, an
> endless chain of accidents was born, a chain of which this specimen,
> this professor, and the species that he represents, is one of the
> weakest links.

TOM: Is Lilith Lorraine getting back at one of her professors?

CROW: Show *you* to give me a B *minus*.

> "Your infinite variety of species is directly due to the variety of
> adaptations necessitated by this train of accidents.

JOEL: If only no planets had formed then we’d all be amoebas!

TOM: Huh?

> In the
> super-universe from which I come, such derangements of the celestial
> machinery simply do not happen.

CROW: Amoeba-boy’s getting a little snobby there.

> For this reason, our evolution has
> unfolded harmoniously along one line of development, whereas yours
> has branched out into diversified and grotesque expressions of the
> Life-Principle.

TOM: Why, thank you for noticing!

> Your so-called highest manifestation of this
> principle, namely, your own species, is characterized by a great
> number of specialized organs.

CROW: Is … is Amoeba-boy talking about breasts?

JOEL: Oy, aliens, always like this …

> Through this very specialization of
> functions, however, you have forfeited your individual immortality,
> and it has come about that only your life-stream is immortal. The
> primal cell is inherently immortal, but death follows in the wake of
> specialization.

TOM: Also in the wake of being eaten by a bear. Just saying.

> We, the beings of this amoeba universe, are individually immortal.

CROW: So there’s no escape from Great-Aunt Carol and her inappropriate questions.

> We have no highly specialized organs to break down under the stress
> of environment. When we want an organ, we create it.

TOM: From … ?

JOEL: Never you mind!

> When it has
> served its purpose, we withdraw it into ourselves.

CROW: We draw the shades and hide from neighbors.

> We reach out our
> tentacles and draw to ourselves whatsoever we desire. Should a
> tentacle be destroyed, we can put forth another.

JOEL: Our contests of rock-paper-scissors can take years to decide!

> "Our universe is beautiful beyond the dreams of your most inspired
> poets.

TOM: So neener neener neener on you.

> Whereas your landscapes, though lovely, are stationary,
> unchangeable except through herculean efforts, ours are Protean,
> eternally changing.

CROW: [ As an onlooker ] Get me the one they call Heraclitus.

> With our own substance, we build our minarets
> of light, piercing the aura of infinity.

TOM: Your buildings are made out of people?

> At the bidding of our
> wills we create, preserve, destroy — only to build again more
> gloriously.

JOEL: It’s all great fun except when you’re signed up to be the sewer this week.

> "We draw our sustenance from the primates, as do your plants,

CROW: Are they telling us that ferns eat apes?

TOM: That’s how I make it out, yeah.

> and we
> constantly replace the electronic base of these primates with our
> own emanations,

JOEL: Your ferns charge up apes?

CROW: Even for aliens these are kinda weird mamma-jamas.

> in much the same manner as your nitrogenous plants
> revitalize your soil.

TOM: [ Onlooker ] “Um … are you completely sure you landed on the right planet here?”

> "While we create and withdraw organs at will, we have nothing to
> correspond to your five senses.

CROW: Though we have a perfect match for your Five Mrs Buchanans!

> We derive knowledge through one
> sense only, or, shall I say, a super-sense?

JOEL: We know everything through our hyperdimensional sense of taste!

TOM: Thus we travel the cosmos finding things to lick!

> We see and hear and
> touch and taste and smell and feel and know, not through any one
> organ, but through our whole structure.

CROW: You’re making this creepy, Amoe-boy.

> The homogeneous force of
> our omni-substance subjects the plural world to the processing of a
> powerful unity.

TOM: Dilute, dilute, okay?

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: The Jovian Jest (part 2 of 4)

Welcome now to the second part of Lilith Lorraine’s “The Jovian Jest”, a short story from the May 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science. Yes, it’s another of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fictions. The whole of the MiSTing should appear at this link.

Previously, a flying saucer landed at Farmer Burns’s yard, and a strange blobby Thing emerged. The blob threw a tentacle out to the awestruck crowd, grabbed cattleman Bill Jones, and pulled him in to the strange reddish core.

Not much to explain around here. Maybe that the “Too Fast For Love” thing isn’t a non sequitur, it’s a reference to Mötley Crüe. The line about “an abundance of deficiencies” is one of my favorites. I have the nagging feeling I lifted it from somewhere, but I can’t think where. Maybe I don’t believe I can write something I like.

> The absorption of the stone had taught them what to expect, and for
> a moment it seemed that their worst anticipations were to be
> realised.

CROW: Pebbles across the county might be no more!

> The sluggish currents circled through the Thing,

TOM, CROW: Dum DA-dum!

> swirling
> the victim’s body to the center. The giant tentacle drew back into
> the globe and became itself a current.

JOEL: Don’t fight the current! Swim out and then make it to shore!

> The concentric circles
> merged — tightened — became one gleaming cord that encircled the
> helpless prey.

TOM: Is … he turning into Sailor Moon?

> From the inner circumference of this cord shot
> forth, not the swords of light that had powdered the stone to atoms,
> but myriads of radiant tentacles that gripped and cupped the body in
> a thousand places.

CROW: [ Bill Jones, giggling ] No wait stop I’m ticklish aaaaaaugh
[ and breaks down laughing ]

> Suddenly the tentacles withdrew themselves, all save the ones that
> grasped the head.

JOEL: That’s his *hair*.

> These seemed to tighten their pressure — to
> swell and pulse with a grayish substance that was flowing from the
> cups into the cord and from the cord into the body of the mass.

TOM: And from the body of the mass into the grayish substance and
that’s what we call an ‘economy’.

> Yes, it was a grayish something, a smokelike Essence that was being
> drawn from the cranial cavity.

CROW: Mmm, fresh skull juice.

> Bill Jones was no longer screaming
> and gibbering, but was stiff with the rigidity of stone.

JOEL: [ Bill Jones ] ‘Mondays, am I right?’

> Notwithstanding, there was no visible mark upon his body; his flesh
> seemed unharmed.

TOM: [ The Blob ] Oh yeah! Let me work on that.

JOEL: [ Bill Jones ] Whoa hey yeowwwowow!

> Swiftly came the awful climax. The waving tentacles withdrew
> themselves, the body of Bill Jones lost its rigidity, a heaving
> motion from the center of the Thing

CROW, JOEL: Dum DA-dum!

> propelled its cargo to the
> surface — and Bill Jones stepped out!

TOM: And he holds up the eight of diamonds — your card?

> Yes, he stepped out and stood for a moment staring straight ahead,
> staring at nothing, glassily. Every person in the shivering,
> paralysed group knew instinctively that something unthinkable had
> happened to him.

CROW: You suppose Farmer Burns will give him a refund?

> Something had transpired, something hitherto
> possible only in the abysmal spaces of the Other Side of Things.

JOEL: Do … do you think he liked it?

> Finally he turned and faced the nameless object, raising his arm
> stiffly, automatically, as in a military salute.

CROW: Oh, do *not* go there, I don’t have the energy.

> Then he turned and
> walked jerkily, mindlessly, round and round the globe like a wooden
> soldier marching. Meanwhile the Thing

ALL: Dum DA-dum!

> lay quiescent — gorged!
> Professor Ralston was the first to find his voice. In fact,
> Professor Ralston was always finding his voice in the most
> unexpected places.

JOEL: One time he spent a week searching for it before it turned up
in Schenectady.

> But this time it had caught a chill. It was
> trembling.
> "Gentlemen," he began, looking down academically upon the motley
> crowd

TOM: Too Fast For Love.

> as though doubting the aptitude of his salutation.

CROW: ‘It appears the aliens are here to … play.’

> "Fellow-citizens," he corrected,

JOEL: Buh?

TOM: The ever-popular ‘unneeded correction that somehow makes
you sound like a jerk’.

> "the phenomenon we have just
> witnessed is, to the lay mind, inexplicable. To me — and to my
> honorable colleagues (added as an afterthought) it is quite clear.

CROW: Oh, *boo*.

> Quite clear, indeed. We have before us a specimen, a perfect
> specimen, I might say, of a — of a — "

JOEL: You know he’s a professor of accounting, right?

> He stammered in the presence of the unnamable.

TOM: Read the employee badge! Then you can name it.

> His hesitancy caused
> the rapt attention of the throng that was waiting breathlessly for
> an explanation, to flicker back to the inexplicable.

CROW: [ As Ralston ] ‘Hey, stop paying attention to the not-man here!’

> In the
> fraction of a second that their gaze had been diverted from the
> Thing

ALL: Dum DA-dum!

> to the professor, the object had shot forth another tentacle,
> gripping him round the neck and choking off his sentence with a
> horrid rasp that sounded like a death rattle.

[ ALL clap. ]

JOEL: ‘Wait! I needed him to sign my financial aid paperwork!’

> Needless to say,

JOEL: End paragraph.

> the revolting process that had turned Bill Jones
> from a human being into a mindless automaton was repeated with
> Professor Ralston.

TOM: Blob is going to get *such* a letter from the Faculty Senate.

> It happened as before, too rapidly for
> intervention, too suddenly for the minds of the onlookers to shake
> off the paralysis of an unprecedented nightmare.

JOEL: With too much joy from everyone who’s had to listen to
the Professor mansplaining the world.

> But when the
> victim was thrown to the surface, when he stepped out, drained of
> the grayish smokelike essence, a tentacle still gripped his neck and
> another rested directly on top of his head.

CROW: He’s ready for Stromboli’s puppet show!

> This latter tentacle,
> instead of absorbing from him, visibly poured into him what
> resembled a threadlike stream of violet light.

TOM: Heck of a way to pick a new Doctor Who.

> Facing the cowering audience with eyes staring glassily, still in
> the grip of the unknowable, Professor Ralston did an unbelievable
> thing.

CROW: Let’s … POLKA!

> He resumed his lecture at the exact point of interruption!
> But he spoke with the tonelessness of a machine, a machine that
> pulsed to the will of a dictator, inhuman and inexorable!

JOEL: I had this guy for pre-algebra!

> "What you see before you," the Voice continued — the Voice that no
> longer echoed the thoughts of the professor — "is what you would
> call an amoeba, a giant amoeba.

CROW: Would you believe … a giant amoeba with cupholders?

TOM: It’s, it’s, maybe more of a paramecium? Would you buy that?

> It is I — this amoeba, who am
> addressing you — children of an alien universe.

JOEL: [ As the Amoeba ] Are … are any of you buying this?

> It is I, who
> through this captured instrument of expression, whose queer language
> you can understand, am explaining my presence on your planet.

CROW: [ As the Amoeba ] I … you know, this got a better reaction when I tried it at open-mic night.

> I
> pour my thoughts into this specialised brain-box which I have
> previously drained of its meager thought-content." (Here the
> "honorable colleagues" nudged each other gleefully.)

TOM: Mind-wiping is fun when it’s someone else on the faculty senate getting it!

> "I have so
> drained it for the purpose of analysis and that the flow of my own
> ideas may pass from my mind to yours unimpeded by any distortion
> that might otherwise be caused by their conflict with the thoughts
> of this individual.

JOEL: Oh, uh, PS, we’re not the bad guys?

> "First I absorbed the brain-content of this being whom you call Bill
> Jones, but I found his mental instrument unavailable.

TOM: Oh, sheesh.

> It was
> technically untrained in the use of your words that would best
> convey my meaning.

CROW: [ Bill Jones ] Are you calling me stupid?

JOEL: [ As Amoeba ] I’m saying you have an abundance of deficiencies!

CROW: [ Bill Jones ] Well … okay then.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: The Jovian Jest (part 1 of 4)

I am kicking around yet for what to do next around here. I’m thinking of doing another Arthur Scott Bailey novel, although it is hard picking one that compares to the delights of The Tale of Fatty Raccoon. I might pick another story from the public domain, such as this one, which appeared in the May 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science. If I have somehow misunderstood things and it’s not in the public domain, just wait. In the event, I have run this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction before, but that was years ago, Some of you didn’t even know I was writing back then.

My whole MiSTing has a repeated joke of characters going “dum DA-dum” after a mention of The Thing. This riffs on Phil Harris’s 1950 novelty song, “The Thing”, which has a repeated drumbeat refrain in place of describing just what he found. It’s a fun song and itself inspired a science fiction story by Edward G Robles that I dimly remember and a pinball game I think I have played.

Is Twitter Moments still a thing? There is no way to know. The reference to “disco aliens” should have somehow alluded to the web comic Skin Horse, but does not.


TOM: So, an astounding tale from outer space, huh?

CROW: That’s the rumor.

> The Jovian Jest
> By Lilith Lorraine

CROW: Sponsored by the Alliteration Council.

JOEL: You’d think that would be an association.

> There came to our pigmy planet a radiant wanderer with a message —

TOM: ‘Please remove us from your mailing list’.

> and a jest

JOEL: And a jape?

TOM: No, a *jest*. Pay attention.

> — from the vasty universe.

CROW: Vasty?

> Consternation reigned in Elsnore village

[ ALL make grumbly crowd noises. ]

TOM: Rar, argh.

JOEL: Consternation and uproar!

> when the Nameless Thing was
> discovered in Farmer Burns’ corn-patch.

CROW: Fatty Raccoon! Get out of here!

> When the rumor began to
> gain credence that it was some sort of meteor from inter-stellar
> space,

TOM: [ Nerdy ] I *believe* you mean it is a meteor*ite*, thank you.

> reporters, scientists and college professors flocked to the
> scene, desirous of prying off particles for analysis.

CROW: Scientists and college professors! That’s what we’re doing wrong. We never should’ve given all those samples to the pro wrestlers and the guy selling Dead Sea bath salts at the mall.

> But they soon
> discovered that the Thing was no ordinary meteor, for it glowed at
> night with a peculiar luminescence.

JOEL: We need a novelty song! Get Phil Harris, stat!

> They also observed that it was
> practically weightless, since it had embedded itself in the soft
> sand scarcely more than a few inches.

CROW: Also Farmer Burns was growing his corn in the sand.

TOM: It’s a little game he plays.

> By the time the first group of newspapermen and scientists had
> reached the farm, another phenomenon was plainly observable. The
> Thing

TOM: Dum DA-dum!

> was growing!

JOEL: Well, that’ll happen.

> Farmer Burns, with an eye to profit, had already built a picket
> fence around his starry visitor and was charging admission.

TOM: ‘All right, here’s my nickel. Now give me an admission.’

CROW: ‘I’m the guy that clicks on Twitter Moments on purpose.’

> He also
> flatly refused to permit the chipping off of specimens or even the
> touching of the object.

JOEL: ‘Can I lick it?’

TOM: ‘No.’

JOEL: ‘Can I lick it just a little?’

TOM: ‘No.’

JOEL: ‘C’mon, I just want to lick it.’

TOM: ‘Well … okay.’

> His attitude was severely criticized, but
> he stubbornly clung to the theory that possession is nine points in
> law.

CROW: So science is going to need at least a touchdown and a field goal to catch up.

> It was Professor Ralston of Princewell who, on the third day after
> the fall of the meteor, remarked upon its growth. His colleagues

TOM: Were frankly amazed he took that long to get to it.

CROW: ‘No, please, Ralston, talk about growing orbs some more.’

> crowded around him as he pointed out this peculiarity, and soon they
> discovered another factor — pulsation!

JOEL: My god … it’s disco aliens!

> Larger than a small balloon,

CROW: Yet smaller than a large balloon …

> and gradually, almost imperceptibly
> expanding, with its viscid transparency shot through with opalescent
> lights, the Thing

CROW: Dum DA-dum!

> lay there in the deepening twilight and palpably
> shivered.

JOEL: Aw, it’s space-chilly.

> As darkness descended, a sort of hellish radiance began
> to ooze from it. I say hellish, because there is no other word to
> describe that spectral, sulphurous emanation.

CROW: Well *you’re* pretty judgemental there, narrator.

> As the hangers-on around the pickets shudderingly shrank away from
> the weird light that was streaming out to them and tinting their
> faces with a ghastly, greenish pallor,

TOM: Sheesh, they act like they’ve never even tried a death-ray before.

> Farmer Burns’ small boy,
> moved by some imp of perversity, did a characteristically childish
> thing.

CROW: He ran around yelling for a while until he fell down and cried.

> He picked up a good-sized stone and flung it straight at the
> nameless mass!

JOEL: The mass answers back about sticks and stones may break its bones.

> Instead of veering off and falling to the ground as from an impact
> with metal, the stone sank right through the surface of the Thing

JOEL: Dum DA-dum!

> as
> into a pool of protoplastic slime. When it reached the central core
> of the object, a more abundant life suddenly leaped and pulsed from
> center to circumference.

TOM: Welp.

CROW: It’s like pouring sugar in the gas tank, that.

> Visible waves of sentient color circled
> round the solid stone.

JOEL: What’s an invisible wave of color?

> Stabbing swords of light leaped forth from
> them, piercing the stone, crumbling it, absorbing it. When it was
> gone, only a red spot, like a bloodshot eye, throbbed eerily where
> it had been.

TOM: [ As the kid ] ‘Uhm … can I have my rock back?’

> Before the now thoroughly mystified crowd had time to remark upon
> this inexplicable disintegration, a more horrible manifestation
> occurred. The Thing,

JOEL, TOM: Dum DA-dum!

> as though thoroughly awakened and vitalized by
> its unusual fare, was putting forth a tentacle.

CROW: That figures.

TOM: It’s always tentacles. Why is it never, like, sea lion flippers?

> Right from the top
> of the shivering globe it pushed, sluggishly weaving and prescient
> of doom.

ALL: [ As onlookers ] HE DID IT!

> Wavering, it hung for a moment, turning, twisting,
> groping. Finally it shot straight outward swift as a rattler’s
> strike!
> Before the closely packed crowd could give room for escape, it had
> circled the neck of the nearest bystander, Bill Jones, a cattleman,

CROW: Moo.

> and jerked him, writhing and screaming, into the reddish core.

TOM: [ Bill Jones ] ‘Tell my cattle … I love … aaaargh!’

> Stupefied with soul-chilling terror, with their mass-consciousness
> practically annihilated before a deed with which their minds could
> make no association, the crowd could only gasp in sobbing unison and
> await the outcome.

JOEL: You know the *Australian* alien space blob is like twenty times deadlier than this.

[ To continue … ]

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