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.

>
> HA! AND HA, HA!

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.

>
> SAVING HIS FEET

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.


>
>
> VIII

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

>
> THE DARE

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”.


>
>
> VII

TOM: Chapter Five, Part II.

>
> PADDY MUSKRAT’S BLUNDER

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.

CROW: Oh.

> 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.

>
> MR. MEADOW MOUSE ESCAPES

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

>
> SOLOMON OWL INTERRUPTS

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.

>
> HUNTING A HOLE

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.


>
>
> III

TOM: Chapter One, Part Two, Part Two

>
> MASTER ROBIN’S LESSON

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.


TOM:
[ 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.

>
> AT THE OLD STONE WALL

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.


> SLEEPY-TIME TALES

JOEL: Good-night.

> (Trademark Registered)

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

>
> THE TALE OF

CROW: Terrors!

> GRUMPY

CROW: Or mild crankiness!

> WEASEL

TOM: We’s al what?

> BY
> ARTHUR SCOTT BAILEY

JOEL: Weasels are by Arthur Scott Bailey?

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

> Author of
> "TUCK-ME-IN TALES"

CROW: The official tales of Forrest Tucker!

> (Trademark Registered)

TOM: Copyright trademark do not steal.

>
>
> ILLUSTRATED BY

JOEL: Pictures! Your leading image source!

> HARRY L. SMITH

CROW: CBS News.

>
>
>
> NEW YORK

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

> GROSSET & DUNLAP

TOM: Wallace and Grosset?

> PUBLISHERS
> Made in the United States of America

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

>
> Copyright, 1920, BY
> GROSSET & DUNLAP

JOEL: The tire people?

>
> CONTENTS

TOM: Malcontents!

> CHAPTER PAGE
> 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.

>
> ILLUSTRATIONS
> FACING PAGE

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.

>
> THE TALE OF 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: Eh.

>
> A SLIM RASCAL

CROW: But a cute little dickens!

>
> Old Mr. Crow

JOEL: [ Nudges CROW ]

CROW: WHat?

> 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: 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. ]

MIKE: So.

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!

                            \   |   /
                             \  |  /
                              \ | /
                               \|/
                            ----O----
                               /|\
                              / | \
                             /  |  \
                            /   |   \

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: 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.

CROW: Oh.

> 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. ]

ALL: MOVIE SIGN!

[ 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.

>
>
> SAFE FUN for HALLOWEEN

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: GALACTIC FEDERATION Update (Part 4 of 4)


And now the end of this MiSTing of the Robert McElwaine GALACTIC FEDERATION Update. I’ll have something else next week, I don’t know what.

MOS Burgers is this hamburger chain I got into when I lived in Singapore. They had a lot of advertising copy about being in harmony with nature and such. Good burgers, including the option to get a “bun” made of steamed-rice patties. The Klindesteron beademungen were friendly but incomprehensible aliens encountered in the James Blish short story “Common time”.

Marissa Picard is of course the hero of Stephen Ratliff’s famous Kids Crew Star Trek fanfic series, the series that also made Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic a thing. Jay Gordon was a supporting character in the series. There was no MiSTing with a host sketch where the Brains made Jay Gordon cry, though. I don’t think there was even a host sketch where they met. Marrissa Picard got a few appearances, though. Sonic the Hedgehog also produced a bunch of fanfic that was good for MiSTing.

The mention of Heidi Klum references a Usenet crank of the early 2000s, who held that the aliens who control human destiny leave hints to the future in the career of Heidi Klum. He’d show up in the relevant newsgroup whenever Klum appeared on, say, Conan O’Brien’s show, explaining how to decode her amiable small talk.


>
> Today, we have discussed segments of our shared history that
> explain your origins and the basis of your present condition of
> consciousness.

MIKE: Next week, remember, we’re doing the Polish-Lithuanian monarchy, so read up chapter eight and be ready with questions, people.

> We ask you to use this awareness to examine how far you
> actually have come!

CROW: I’m suddenly more aware of my tongue.

TOM: You don’t have a tongue.

CROW: Then I’m suddenly confused and distressed.

> Your liberation and new world service are truly
> within reach!

TOM: As soon as you pay up your library fines!

> We now take our leave.

MIKE: [ As Groucho ] I’ve had a wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.

> Blessings, dear Ones! Know, in
> your Heart of Hearts,

CROW: In your Diamond of Diamonds,

MIKE: In your Spade of Spades,

TOM: In your Club of Clubs..

> that the eternal Supply and perpetual Prosperity
> of Heaven is yours!

MIKE: This reads like the advertising materials for MOS Burgers.

> So Be It! Selamat Gajun! Selamat Kasijaram!

CROW: They’re either Malay or the Klindesteron beademungen.

> (Sirian
> for Be One! Blessed in Love and in Joy!)

TOM: And there’s some fine print where you sign up to buy two CDs each month for a year.

>
> Planetary Activation Organization

MIKE: Somebody check the Earth’s batteries. Venus was dead three months before we noticed.


> http:
//www.paoweb.com
>
> This copy was reposted by Robert E. McElwaine

TOM: The `E’ stands for `Extra.’

CROW: Robert E. McExtralwaine?

> PAO Member
> Eckankar Initiate

MIKE: And a good friend.

> B.S., Physics and Astronomy, UW-EC

CROW: Hah … Mike?

MIKE: Not my fault, guys.


> http:
//members.aol.com/rem547 PLUS

> http:
//members.aol.com/rem460

TOM: That adds up to rem 1007.

>


> See also http:
//www.paoweb.com/sn122600.htm ,

CROW: A URL actually created by a snore.


> http:
//www.disclosureproject.org .
>

> P.S.:
PASS IT ON !

MIKE: You’ll never guess which of your close friends is waiting for this very message!

>

> ok

TOM: OK? Is that all you have to say for yourself?

[ 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE DESK. GYPSY, TOM SERVO, and CROW are there, with many papers scattered on the desk. A pencil is wedged into CROW’s hand. ]

GYPSY: You need line 17 from form 8-E.

CROW: I know, I’m just — look, how many amiable characters from the movies and shorts we watch have visited us on the Hex Field View Screen this year?

TOM: 28, including four visits from Marrissa Picard.

GYPSY: You have to tell them how you made Jay Gordon cry.

TOM: Tell them 35.

CROW: I’m not cheating on these forms!

TOM: Oh, like they’ll check?

GYPSY: It kind of goes against the spirit —

[ MIKE enters. They all hush up for a few seconds. ]

MIKE: So. Who wants to —

[ Simultaneously: ]

GYPSY: Crow.

CROW: Tom.

TOM: Crow.

MIKE: Well?

CROW: We realized we haven’t filled in our reports for the Galactic Federation of Light this year yet.

TOM: You wouldn’t believe how many forms it is, either, but it’s worth doing.

GYPSY: It’s an important part of bringing light to the universe.

MIKE: [ Playing along ] Plus you might get to be Head Beagle.

GYPSY: So we’re listing all this year’s light-bringing.

CROW: You got anything you want reported?

MIKE: I, uh, cleaned the burnt pizza stuff out of the toaster oven.

CROW: That’s good! What else do we have?

TOM: We played keep-away with Observer’s brain for like ten minutes.

MIKE: That didn’t really uplift anyone’s soul.

CROW: Well … what about that fun we had playing backgammon? That had to bring something good into the world.

GYPSY: We just moved the checkers around randomly for five minutes, got bored, then you threw them like ninja stars until you broke the McVote McDLT glasses.

CROW: Oh yeah.

TOM: Well … we had to have done something, right?

GYPSY: We didn’t stop anyone from bringing light.

TOM: Yeah!

CROW: OK, I’m writing that in — Mike, you have any stamps? We need to mail this to the Galactic Federation of Light Central Processing Bureau in Menominee, Michigan.

MIKE: Oh, fresh out. Let’s check in on Pittney-Bowes, shall we?

TOM: Four, five — hey, does Sonic the Hedgehog still exist?

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. The stage is filled by shipping cartons of all sizes, marked “LIGHT BULBS” and stacked precariously high. BOBO, PEARL, and OBSERVER are squeezed in front, reading
papers on a business envelope. ]

OBSERVER: Dahdahdaaah … appreciate your filing early … blah de blah … having reviewed your Federation of Light returns this year … yeah, uh-huh … computed against withholding reported in form 671-X …

PEARL: So how much of a light-bringing refund did we *get*?

BOBO: [ Pointing at a line ] Fifty-five thousand, three hundred forty three!

[ A pause, as PEARL simmers. ]

PEARL: That’s our Zip code, you — [ She pinches his nose. ]

[ BOBO barks, Curly style; his left arm windmills around and hits OBSERVER’s brain, which he drops, apparently onto PEARL’s foot as she grabs her foot and hops. She trips into BOBO, who bounces against one pile of boxes, sending it crashing. He rebounds to knock PEARL and OBSERVER into their own huge stacks, which sends off volleys of crashing and imploding light bulb sounds through the credits … ]

                            \  |  / 
                             \ | /  
                              \|/   
                            ---O--- 
                              /|\  
                             / | \  
                            /  |  \ 

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the characters and situations therein are the property of Best Brains, Inc. The essay “GALACTIC FEDERATION Update: August 5, 2003” comes to us from Robert McElwaine and Sheldan Nidle. This MiSTing as a whole is the creation of Joseph Nebus, who intends no particular ill-will towards Robert McElwaine, Sheldan Nidle, or any nigh-omnipotent beings guiding humanity towards a glorious new destiny in the stars, but does enjoy following Kansan’s reports of how they signal their intents through the life and career of Heidi Klum. Come back, Dr. Mike Neylon!

> Greetings, dear Hearts! We return with more interesting topics to
> share with you.

[ The end … for now. ]

MiSTed: GALACTIC FEDERATION Update (Part 3 of 4)


I hope that you’re enjoying this circa-2003 Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction, riffing on Robert McElwaine’s update from the Galactic Federation of Light. You can read the whole of the MiSTing here. If you don’t like it, that’s all right, I’ll have something else running here in two weeks.

“If [someone] had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened” has always been one of my running jokes in MiSTings. It’s a mistaken reference to the Woody Woodpecker cartoons Bronco Busters. In the cartoon, about how Woody gets taken by a scammer time and time again, the narrator repeatedly says “if Woody had gone right to the police, this would never have happened”. But I started using it as a reference ages before YouTube was a thing and there was just no checking these things.

Gurmit Singh’s a Singaporean actor and comedian. There’s no good reason to reference him, just, tossing in some local-for-me-at-the-writing color is all. Blue Kryptonite was harmless to Superman but crippled Bizarro. (Usually; the stories, somehow, were not always perfectly consistent.)

Please do not cut yourself on the razor-sharp edge of my takedown of Star Trek: Enterprise.


> At times, these wars seemed endless.

CROW: It was like watching the History Channel.

> The
> devastation’s intensity was inconceivable. We were always astonished at
> the extent to which the star-nations of Anchara would go in order to
> ‘win’ these wars.

MIKE: Star-nations of Anchara? There’s galactic warfare about whether to accept Captain Archer and Team Bland on `Enterprise’?

> Their fierce stockpile of weapons and unspeakably
> brutal military forces sparked a reign of terror across this galaxy.

CROW: Yet still they can’t explain John Ashcroft.

>
> Eventually, our growing alliances led to the Galactic Federation
> of Light.

TOM: And that’ll have to be enough for you.

> The Galactic Federation was one of a number of organizations
> – neutral, dark or one with the Light – operating in this galaxy.

MIKE: And all striving to become the Master of Orion.

> At
> any rate, the wars produced a vast number of ‘wandering’ star-nations
> that moved about according to the circumstances caused by the wars.

CROW: If the Galactic Federation of Light had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.

> From them, we learned a great deal about the hate and the needless
> actions and divisions caused by limited consciousness

MIKE: You know, like when you overdo the Robitussin.

> and its constant
> train of fear and wrongly-derived assumptions. We found this quite an
> eye-opener.

TOM: It was zesty, and it had a great minty taste!

> We also learned the extent of the Ancharites’ deception.

CROW: The Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Dionne Warwick — none of them ever really existed!

TOM: What?

> Although we were shocked, initially, at how dark this galaxy had
> become, we realized, deep in our Hearts, that this insanity would
> definitely end.

MIKE: Oh, yeah. Superadvanced cosmic being and I bet they just whip out the Ritalin.

> Until that divine moment, we had to do whatever we
> could to stalemate the continuous wars.

TOM: But the Galactic League of Nations proved to be a disappointment.

> Thus, we created technologies
> and strategies that would bring about the required results.

CROW: That seemed too hard, so we started playing Europa Universalis II for a couple millennia to kill time.

>
> Ultimately, just over two million years ago, these wars produced
> conditions that allowed us to colonize your solar system.

MIKE: And we’ve still got half our stuff in cardboard boxes.

> A new set of
> broad-based attacks by the Ancharites, nearly one million years ago,
> destroyed these first human colonies.

TOM: A million years these Federation of Light creeps float about the planet and none of them remembers to not leave sitting ducks all around.

> Later, a counter-attack by
> Galactic Federation forces culminated in the second Earth colony of
> Lemuria

CROW: So Joey the Lemur was a space alien?

TOM: Actually, yeah.

> and the destruction of the Ancharites’ main planetary world.

MIKE: The genocide was necessary, as otherwise some of the Ancharites might have lived.

> Its explosive end produced the asteroid belt that now revolves between
> Mars and Jupiter.

CROW: Explosive ending! No one will be admitted during the last five minutes of the Ancharites’ home world.

> Moreover, many of the smaller moons of Mars, Jupiter
> and the solar system’s other outer planets are the result of the
> carnage from these explosions.

TOM: A couple of them were just tchochkes we picked up at garage sales.

> Indeed, your solar system is a curious
> monument to the violence that was part of these wars.

CROW: Please observe silence while visiting the Solar System.

> It even extends
> to the outer layers of cosmic dust and larger particles that form the
> edge of your solar system.

MIKE: This is all related to Blue Kryptonite, isn’t it?

> Because these clouds were unduly charged,
> the outcome was a constant barrage of comets and asteroids.

TOM: But they do all look really festive come Christmas time.

>
> Even your Sun was not spared the degrees of violence of which the
> Ancharites were capable.

MIKE: And with our powers and a million years to try it was too much work to fix it up again.

> They attempted to permanently disrupt your
> Sun’s interaction with her planetary daughters,

TOM: By being vicious gossips.

> resulting in the highly
> elliptical orbits that still characterize the way your solar system’s
> planets circle your Sun.

MIKE: The tragic result of putting unbalanced loads in the washer.

> Initially, these orbits were almost circular.
> For that reason, a circle has a 360-degree arc.

CROW: Bake your circle at that 360 degree arc for fifteen to twenty minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

> In your world, this
> commemorates the original solar year of 360 days, each lasting 24
> hours.

TOM: Is that mean solar or sidereal time?

> The first colonists of ancient Lemuria decided not to alter this
> situation,

CROW: This reminds me of a story that happened once in … Zobooland.

> and kept this anomaly as a sign to future generations of
> what had actually occurred in this once splendid and beautiful solar
> system.

MIKE: Nice of them to leave us such a hint.

> These wars also caused the conditions needed to plunge you into
> the morass that we know as limited consciousness.

CROW: So, the Federation of Light wants to bring Light to the universe and does it by leaving a broken-down solar system and dropping colonists on it who’ll be too stupid to do any Light-bringing?

TOM: It’s the Galactic Federation of Durrr.

>
> Clearly, the dispersion of humanity into your solar system – even
> your fall into limited consciousness – are by-products of these galaxy-
> wide wars.

TOM: As soon as you leave the solar system, though, you’ll figure out how to travel interstellar distances.

> Furthermore, the Galactic Federation’s acceptance of a
> nearly ‘hands-off’ policy was the result of circumstances brought about
> by these same wars.

MIKE: That hands-off policy that did so well to avoid the war in the first place.

> This policy allowed the Anunnaki to become your
> overlords, and their earthly minions to secretly control you for the
> past 13 millennia.

TOM: Oh, *good* one, Galactic Federation of Light.

> However, this situation was dramatically changed by
> your rise in consciousness and by the Anunnaki’s recent turn to the
> Light.

CROW: And, what the heck, nothing good on TV this week anyway.

> These events have made possible the Galactic Federation’s direct
> intervention in your affairs.

MIKE: The protection money we demand will be reasonable and collected infrequently.

> It has also given us an opportunity to
> assist those forces of Light that are laboring to transform your world.

TOM: Unfortunately, the only agents they have on the scene are Judge Reinhold and Gurmit Singh, so it’s taking a while.

> This has resulted in the agreements that are about to be revealed.

CROW: I’m betting they call for people to wear less black, though.

>
> Heaven and your collective self are co-creating your reality.

MIKE: You put it that way, I feel so *naked*.

> You
> are interconnected Beings who are sharing the same destiny. That
> destiny is to be returned to fully conscious Beings of Light.

CROW: Just two weekends a month, and two millennia a geologic age.

> The
> concluding phase, before this divine transition can be fully revealed
> to you, has taken much too long for our liking.

TOM: Frankly, you’re on the verge of failing this class!

> Finally, the last
> vestiges of the dark have begun to see that their continuing battle is
> truly in vain.

CROW: The movies of Jerry Bruckheimer will get more desperate.

> This acknowledgement has allowed a new energy of
> positive intention to envelop your beautiful, blue orb.

MIKE: Clean it every other weekend with a damp cloth, and keep it out of direct sunlight.

CROW: This is what the Mirror Universe had instead of “Highlander 2.”

> This energy has
> provided additional courage to those who are enforcing the agreements,

TOM: This is all going to end up at the World Trade Organization somehow.

> which guarantee that a new reality can be manifested, now, upon your
> world.

CROW: Watch your doorknobs for signs of opening blue eyes.

> We thank all who have helped and, especially, convey our deepest
> gratitude to all Light workers. Your victory is approaching!

TOM: No, really. Going to be here soon. Can’t see it taking more than another 375,000 years at the *latest*.


[ to conclude … ]

MiSTed: GALACTIC FEDERATION Update (Part 2 of 4)


Thanks for being with me for the next part of this update from the Galactic Federation of Light. The whole Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic based on this rant should be here. Robert McElwaine was one of the great glorious cranks of the Usenet era, often posting things like this which weren’t necessarily bad but were difficult to take seriously.

“The Swan” was a short-lived reality-TV show about taking people who were Hollywood Ugly and dressing them up until they could attract A MAN. This sort of thing seemed important to denounce back then.

The Rydburg constant is from quantum mechanics. It’s part of describing how a hydrogen spectrum looks.

One of my all-time favorite riffs is Crow saying how “one of my most endearing features is how my concepts of cosmology distort the origins of the physical universe”.


>”Robt McElwain” <rmcelwaine@visto.com
> wrote in message

news:87befcb5.0308151233.2e7aa480@posting.google.com…

CROW: It’s the 21st century and we’re *still* getting Robert McElwaine. Could we get some new cranks in here?

>
>
> Update from the REAL Galactic Federation

MIKE: The other Galactic Federation is just full of phonies.

> and The Spiritual Hierarchy
> August 5, 2003

TOM: They’re masters of space, time, and dimension, but their Usenet servers are kept up by turtles.

> Communicated thru Sheldan Nidle of The Planetary Activation Organization

MIKE: So stop teasing him.

CROW: Shel-*dan*?


> http:
//www.paoweb.com/updates.htm
>
> Greetings, dear Hearts!

TOM: Howdy, lovey-kins.

> We return with more interesting topics to
> share with you.

MIKE: And we’ll give you six of them for four easy monthly payments of $24.99 each.

> One of the things that we find most interesting is how
> your concepts of cosmology have distorted the origins of this physical
> universe.

CROW: Why, thank you. I think one of my most endearing features is how my concepts of cosmology distort the origins of the physical universe.

> Its genesis lies not in a ‘big bang’, but rather in a simple
> series of multiple creations.

TOM: This `Big Bang Burrito’ theory we expect will be slow to catch on.

> These creations produce many different
> dimensions and an abundance of realities. The crucial element is

MIKE: Erbium.

> divine
> consciousness. All of us dwell in a living, conscious universe.

TOM: Except for the audience of “The Swan.”

> That
> universe is composed of inter-dimensional Light and Time, which
> combine, in infinite ways, to form space.

CROW: Is this gonna be on the final?

> It, in turn, creates
> realities and shapes physicality’s countless dimensions. The physical
> universe is a magical place.

MIKE: So that’s why everyone’s after me Lucky Charms.

> The only limitations that exist in any
> reality are those that its inhabitants and its heavenly guardians,
> together, permit.

CROW: I already saw “Free To Be You And Me.” Can I go?

> Your laws of physics are a true misnomer.

TOM: They’re more nagging suggestions of physics instead.

> Your growth
> in awareness or new collective perceptions can instantly alter these
> so-called ‘laws’.

MIKE: One morning I took too much Sudafed and the Rydburg constant? Pfft. Out like a light.

> Now, this important process has begun.

TOM: No, no, no, don’t go rushing into anything right now.

> It promises to
> create an entirely new reality for you and indeed for the rest of
> physicality.

CROW: You know, I can’t get “2000 Flushes” to work right.
Should I be part of creating a new reality for everybody?

>
> Creation is a continuously unfolding phenomenon. The divine plan
> has dealt out to us all a multiplicity of sudden twists and turns.

TOM: You are in a maze of twisty divine plans, all alike.

> Now,
> as a direct result, countless sentient species live in the physical
> universe.

MIKE: The Asian short-clawed otter alone occupies four galaxies.

> Their many different languages, cultures and rituals create
> an immensely wide range of traditions and perceptions that center upon
> the origins of their realities.

TOM: Yet they cannot tell a cabbage from a lettuce.

> They have inspired us to closely study
> the residences of this nearly infinite universe. In our galaxy, it gave
> rise to the creation of

CROW: Kickapoo Joy Juice.

> numerous spiritual sciences, dedicated to
> developing a full understanding of this knowledge, and to discovering
> its precise part in the whole.

TOM: In order to make more efficient ABC Afterschool Specials.

> Eventually, this study laid the first
> foundations for a spiritual anthropology and, later, a spiritual
> sociology.

MIKE: And later still, spiritual philately.

TOM: Spiritual geology was a big hit.

CROW: People say spiritual ichtyology is an easy major, but there’s a lot to it you don’t see.

> These sciences gave us a wealth of information about our
> common origins,

CROW: For example, origins turn out to be common.

> which are far greater than the processes that brought
> about human evolution on the third planet of the Vega solar system more
> than six million years ago.

TOM: As of next Thursday.

> Actually, our beginnings filled a physical
> and spiritual niche foreseen by the divine plan.

MIKE: I mean, it’s like they had God or something setting things out.

> Prior to that event,
> we were all spiritual Beings hanging tenaciously to the vast Life-
> streams of Heaven.

TOM: Oh, here it comes.

CROW: Yup. This is the hard sell. How much, McElwaine?

>
> As humanity advanced through this galaxy,

TOM: We started shooting everything we didn’t understand.

> we encountered physical
> Beings quite unlike us in form, culture and language.

CROW: We would have given them the chance to surrender,
but we didn’t want to look weak.

> If we did not
> succeed in bridging these huge differences, war often resulted.

MIKE: And, really, we went out with the best of intentions.

> At
> first, those who aggressively followed the dark principles of their
> creator-Being, Anchara,

CROW: Leader of the Imperium Sweaters.

> distressed us greatly. Suddenly, we were
> involved in an enormous galactic war that had woven itself across the
> breadth of our galaxy for many tens of millions of years.

TOM: A most savage alien race, they were. When we shot them they fought back.

> This struggle
> created a need for many alliances to form with thousands of other like-
> minded star-nations.

MIKE: We had to shoot first. We had them surrounded.

> It also introduced us to the continuing strange
> and violent process that is destined to transform this galaxy from the
> darkness that has engulfed it.

TOM: They’re using the F-U-N-D cheat, aren’t they?


[ to continue … ]

MiSTed: GALACTIC FEDERATION Update (Part 1 of 4)


I’d wanted to move into sharing a fresh Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. I discovered that a folder I thought had a bunch of long-forgotten MiSTings did not have anything of note in it. So, to give me a month to work this all out, please enjoy this mildly forgotten MiSTing. I shared this update from the Galactic Federation of Light back in 2017, but that was like twenty years ago.

The reference here to “Commodore Schmidlapp” is to Doctor Mike Neylon, who had hosted Web Site Number Nine, the center of the MiSTing community in the 90s. About a year before this MiSTing was posted, he took the site down “for a weekend” for some upgrades or whatnot and he hadn’t been seen since. Observer’s reference to a “force-ten brain-imploder” I’m pretty sure was to whatever MiSTing I was working on next. I don’t have records good enough to say what I thought it was. Possibly a Stephen Ratliff piece. I contributed riffs to many of those and there’s at least one that, so far as I know, never got organized and finished into a complete piece. That might be worth sharing if I could be confident that Mr Ratliff, who was always very kind about people filling his stuff with jokes, would not object.


[ OPENING CREDITS ]

[ 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… 6… ]

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE BRIDGE. TOM SERVO is behind the desk. MIKE is sitting up front, near the camera, facing TOM. ]

TOM: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Satellite of Love. I’m Tom Servo, your host. Today we’ve got wonderful news for all of our loving and devoted fans. Starting Tuesday you’ll be able to find our new Special Collectible Crow T. Robot Gold Edition.

[ CROW, looking as he always does, enters from the left. ]

CROW: Hi, everyone. The gold edition me comes complete with netting, fresh-polished nose module, top-of-the-line sarcasm resequencer and an array of opinions on Peter Potamus. But there’s more —

MIKE: [ Raising his hand ] Does that come with director’s commentary?

TOM: Uhm —

CROW: Sure! Lots of commentary.

TOM: Won’t be able to shut him up!

[ GYPSY enters from the right. ]

GYPSY: And with the Ruby Edition collectible Tom Servo —

MIKE: Hold it; does the Crow come with trailers?

CROW: I — uh —

GYPSY: A trailer hitch.

MIKE: Is he in 5.1?

TOM: He’s … in … 8.3. I think.

MIKE: Anamorphic?

CROW: I’ve heard of that.

TOM: Is it good?

GYPSY: I think so.

CROW: Yes! Any further questions?

[ MADS SIGN flashes. MIKE walks back to the table to get it. ]

MIKE: Hang on, the deleted scenes are calling.

[ MIKE taps the sign. ]

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. PEARL and BOBO are at a desk working on a great many forms; BOBO is dressed as accountant. OBSERVER watches the camera, curious. Calculators, notepads, and slide rules complete the table clutter. ]

OBSERVER: Does Crow come with animated chapter breaks?

BOBO: Deducting form 8-E, line 17 …

PEARL: Hello, Mike. Peculiar doll-thingies.

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. ]

CROW: Hey, we’re action figures!

GYPSY: Yeah!

TOM: I’m comfortable being a doll.

MIKE: Ah, what’re you doing, Pearl?

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. BOBO is muttering to PEARL. A bell rings from off-camera. ]

PEARL: [ To BOBO ] Oh, what, *again*? We’ve had him in the dungeon a *year* now and we’re not getting through.

BOBO: For the capital invested in keeping Doctor Mike — you can’t argue the return-on-evil. Look at the figures.

PEARL: Brain Guy, can’t you do this?

OBSERVER: Oh, Pearl, you know Bobo does forms better than I.

PEARL: [ To MIKE ] What are we doing? Oh, wouldn’t YOU like to know?

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. CROW, TOM, MIKE, and GYPSY are there. ]

MIKE: Well … yeah.

GYPSY: [ To TOM ] I just never saw you as a doll before.

[ CASTLE FORRESTER. BOBO is fiddling with a slide rule. ]

OBSERVER: Sorry up there, Mike; we’ve got some reports to fill in.

PEARL: Something *you* will understand perfectly after you get through this week’s experiment — if you DARE!

[ PEARL begins to cackle; OBSERVER pats her shoulder. ]

OBSERVER: [ Low-key ] It’s not all that evil.

PEARL: [ Similarly ] No? I thought we were picking these —

OBSERVER: You have to give them a change-up, something odd and then you let go with the force-ten brain-imploder. It works better.

PEARL: You’re the brain guy, but I want them to suffer more —

[ The bell rings again. ]

PEARL: Oh, somebody get Commodore Schmidlapp his tea already.

[ BOBO hits his palm against the slide rule, launching it to stage right. There follow several crashing glass noises, and then the hissing and bubbling of horrid liquids seeping places. BOBO whimpers. ]

PEARL: Brainy?

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE. As before. ]

GYPSY: They’re getting stranger.

CROW: I just never saw you as a doll.

TOM: You should try accepting an expanded self-image.

[ MOVIE SIGN flashes. General alarm. ]

MIKE: Oh, great, save it — guys, we got movie sign!

[ Screaming and such continues. ]

[ 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… ]

[ ALL enter theater. ]

MIKE: Wait, she’s torturing other Mikes?


>Path:
rpi!uwm.edu!newsfeed.cs.utexas.edu!in.100proofnews.com!in.100

>proofnews.com!news-out.visi.com!petbe.visi.com!feed.news.qwest.net!

>news.uswest.net.POSTED!not-for-mail

>Reply-To:
“Baron Maximillian von Schwartzmeinoppenhause”

CROW: Zany? You’re soaking in it!

><schwartz@baronville.com
>


>From:
“Baron Maximillian von Schwartzmeinoppenhause”

><schwartz@baronville.com
>

TOM: That’s for everyone who missed the zany before.


>Newsgroups:
24hoursupport.helpdesk,alt.alien.research,alt.alien.visitors,

>alt.revisionism,sci.astro,soc.history.what-if

MIKE: The gang.


>References:
<20030814025106.21510.00001411@mb-m07.aol.com
>

><87befcb5.0308151233.2e7aa480@posting.google.com
>

>Subject:
Re: GALACTIC FEDERATION Update: August 5, 2003

CROW: Attention Mister and Missus Galaxy and all the ships at sea! Flash!


>Lines:
159

>X-Priority:
3

TOM: Better tell Wolverine and Professor Xaiver.


>X-MSMail-Priority:
Normal

>X-Newsreader:
Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2800.1158

>X-MimeOLE:
Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2800.1165

MIKE: [ Clapping his hands ] Ole’!


>Message-ID:
<hqX5b.733$Qa.55492@news.uswest.net
>

>Date:
Fri, 5 Sep 2003 02:02:48 -0600

TOM: We get the August update in September?

CROW: They’re pretty laid back in this part of the federation.


>NNTP-Posting-Host:
67.1.139.151

>X-Trace:
news.uswest.net 1062748941 67.1.139.151 (Fri, 05 Sep 2003

>03:
02:21 CDT)

>NNTP-Posting-Date:
Fri, 05 Sep 2003 03:02:21 CDT

MIKE: There, see? Told you it was Central Daylight Time.


>Xref:
rpi alt.alien.visitors:516492 alt.revisionism:1566553

>sci.astro:
445867 soc.history.what-if:738420

TOM: Inside The GPS Signal.


To continue …

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 16 of 16)


And now, finally, the end of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfic “Breaking The Barriers”. And my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfic treatment of it. You can find the whole of my MiSTing here, at last.

The story so far: young author Carrie L— had a portal open between her home and the world of pioneering computer-animated series Reboot. She’s met Bob, the guardian of Mainframe, and the various other important characters, hero and villain. The evil Megabyte’s come to Canada’s mall, turned into a vampire, and bitten Carrie. Then they all went back and got her fixed up again. And now she hopes to get safely home again.

The “indirect-addressing jump opcode bug” is a thing from assembly-language code on the 6502 chip, used in all the cheap home computers of the 80s. It’s about making references to something stored at the end of a page of memory. This annoyed programmers in like 1984 and I don’t think you need to worry about it now. Crow’s Price is Right dream is one that I actually had and thought noteworthy enough to save for some later use. The “times change, and newspapers evolve” is another thing from the undergraduate left-wing student newspaper I was on. I think it started as a sincere statement about how groups must continuously work on their self-improvement. But we also recognized it, and treated it, as the sort of earnest yet pompous reason everyone treated us like that. They ignored us.


>
> * * * * * * * *
> * *

TOM: Even the dumb mice can solve this maze.

>
> Part Twenty-Seven

CROW: Three to the third.

>
> Carrie sat up straight. *Where am I?* she thought.

JOEL: Halfway between H and J.

> Then her
> eyes adjusted to the light. *I’m back home!!* She looked around.
> She was in her room, on her bed.

TOM: It’s a good thing she didn’t get slurped up into a laptop and back.

> *How long have I been asleep?* she
> wondered. Then it clicked.

TOM: I’ve *never* been awake!

> "No!" she whispered, "It couldn’t have
> been a dream! It was so life-like!"

JOEL: Maybe it was just another holodeck episode?

> She flopped back down, upset and
> depressed at the thought that all her wonderful adventures were merely
> a figment of her overactive imagination.

TOM: What’re the odds?

> Suddenly, someone knocked on
> her door.

CROW: Pirates!

>
> "Come in." she moaned.

JOEL: It’s somebody looking for Captain Picard.

> Her mother opened the door. "Carrie,
> Robert’s at the door looking for you."

CROW: Please. Call him Ted.

> Sighing, Carrie got up and
> went upstairs to see her best friend.

TOM: This is going to make Robert feel good.

> "Hi!" he said. "Hi." Carrie
> sighed, staring at the floor. "What’s wrong with you?" he asked. "Oh,
> nothing." Carrie moaned.

JOEL: [ As Bob ] Hey, you’re never gonna believe this, but last night I was fiddling on the computer and I got pulled into the world of Automan!

> Then she looked up. Surprise registered on
> her face. Behind her best friend stood someone who bore a striking
> resemblance to Guardian Bob in his human form. Robert smiled.

CROW: Do you think Robert Guardien is a person in Carrie’s real life?

> "Carrie, I’d like you to meet Bob. He just moved into the apartment
> across from mine last night."

JOEL: And if the landlord ever finds out will *he* be in trouble.

> Carrie stood there, speechless. Bob
> smiled. "Uh…We’ve met already." He whispered. Finally, Carrie
> snapped out of it. She ran forward and hugged Bob warmly.

TOM: Robert begins to suspect they went to school together or something.

> "See," he
> breathed, "I told you I’d see you again." Carrie looked up into his
> eyes. "But why…." Bob silenced her with a quick kiss.

JOEL: I decided it’d be the cruelest thing I could do to Dot.

> "I’m just
> taking some time off." he said. "I got a friend to look after
> Mainframe for a bit."

TOM: Now, if a nanosecond is to them like one second is to us, then every minute Bob spends in our world is, like, nineteen hundred years in theirs.

> Carrie looked at him confused. "A friend?" she
> asked. Bob smiled.

CROW: I didn’t know you had friends!

> "Yeah. His name is Symble,

TOM: Actually, over half his names are Symble…

> and he’s a great
> guy!"
>
> THE END?

JOEL: Uh … yes?

TOM: No! No, it’s not.

CROW: I’m going to write in "Beethoven."

>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JOEL: I could watch the ocean all day.

>
> Ok! So it isn’t a really great ending,

TOM: It’s an ending, dear, and that’s all we ever want from experiments.

CROW: And we only get one about half the time.

> but it’s the only way I
> could come up with to get poor Carrie out of the mess I had her in and
> still let her be happy. If anybody has a better ending, I’d love to
> hear it.

CROW: How about simply accepting not every pleasant fling is meant to be a lifetime relationship?

JOEL: But they shared so much with Mainframe and Canada and all.

> I know that in the end the characters ended up probably
> being out of character, but, Hey!

TOM: It was the only way they could beat the Kobayashi Maru.

> I was really tapped on how to solve
> Carrie’s problem!!

JOEL: Just peek in the back of the book and work it out from there.

> [Without just having her sit up in bed and have it
> all be a dream, ’cause that ending really rots!! : ) ]

CROW: What if it turned out there was no monster?

> If anyone has
> a real major problem with it, just tell Max and she’ll tell me.

TOM: I have never known anybody named Max.

> Don’t
> worry, I don’t get mad about things like that. Critisim does more
> good than harm most of the time anyway.

JOEL: That’s what they all say …

ALL: At first.

> Hope you did like it, even
> though it is kinda weird.
>
> This story was taken from a recurring dream I always seem to
> have after going through my collection of fan fics.

CROW: Please. Don’t commit acts of fan fiction. And if you must commit fan fiction, don’t sleep.

> I never dream the
> ending though. Which makes me mad, but, can’t do anything about it.

TOM: Didn’t A.E. Van Vogt have the same technique?

JOEL: And he’s Canadian too! We’re on to something here.

> I had to make up my own ending ’cause my dreams end even before Carrie
> goes to see Hex!!

CROW: She should set her alarm for about ten minutes later.

> The last part of that dream is when Carrie passes
> out after she attempts to stop the delete command heading for
> Megabyte.

JOEL: Except this one time where they stumbled into Square One Television.

> Everything after that is all my daytime thoughts on how to
> get her out of that mess!!

TOM: That didn’t play like most of the daytime television I’ve seen.

JOEL: Not enough chair-throwing.

> [And besides! Who out there didn’t want
> to see her get together with Bob anyway!?! I know I wanted her to get
> the guy!!

CROW: Or Bob. Whoever.

> ; ) ]

JOEL: Hey, check it out, a double-chinned smiley.

TOM: A happy Marlon Brando winks.

>
> Hope you liked it!!!
>
> Later, sugah!!

CROW: Uh-huh-uh-huh-uh-huh … now, honey honey!

>
> ‘Mouse’ ; )
> (A.K.A. Carrie)

JOEL: Mouse, the sprite named Carrie.

TOM: Versus Carrie, the mouse named Sprite.

CROW: And Sprite, the carry named Mouse.

JOEL: [ Picking up TOM ] Thank you, Carrie, for making us laugh about the indirect-addressing jump opcode bug …. again.

[ They leave. ]

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

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE DESK. JOEL is counting up cash totals. GYPSY, CROW, and TOM are anxiously waiting for the winner. ]

CROW: Before today, I really hadn’t thought about ReBoot much. I’d never thought people would dream themselves into it.

TOM: It’s understandable. Many’s the time I woke up to realize I had just imagined myself the dashing leader of the Autobots.

CROW: Yeah, right. I betcha he really dreams of being Leader One.

TOM: [ As JOEL giggles ] Hey!

JOEL: And Gypsy I bet —

GYPSY, JOEL: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

CROW: What about you, Joel?

JOEL: [ Looking up ] Now and then I picture myself as host of "Saturday Night Live" … I’m standing there on stage, giving the monologue … one of the cast members just stood up as an audience member and asked a question and I’m staring out into the cameras and wading through the dead silence and I start walking out and feeling despair over what’s become of the show.

TOM: We all feel that. Now I remember one particularly vivid night I dreamed I was standing on a beach with Shaggy and Scooby-Doo as the tide was rolling in … I wanted to climb up the rocks and get away from the water, but none of us could move as the water rose ever-higher … and I kinda liked it that way.

GYPSY: Sometimes I dream I’m Popeye. But Crow is Olive Oyl.

TOM: Hah hah!

[ JOEL grins. ]

CROW: Hey!

MAGIC VOICE: My favorite dreams are when I’m narrating Bullwinkle.

JOEL: Fess up, Crow, what’s yours?

CROW: I’m alone in this open curved cement walkway. Suddenly I turn around and there’s a studio audience and a refrigerator. Bob Barker is standing there and he opens the fridge. It’s almost all full of men’s shirts inside plastic boxes, but there are a couple misshapen oranges and limes that look like bananas there. He explains he’s giving me a target price and I have to pick out something in there that’s under that price. The target price is 14 dollars, 95 cents … and I look hard at the shirts and the oranges and the limes and I see there’s a label pasted on the fruits, 35 cents each.

So I ask, I just pick out any single thing that’s less than 14.95, and he says yes, and I look again and the price tags are still on and it makes no sense. I start to ask again but the audience is booing me and I pick the lemon. Bob asks me to repeat it and I do and the audience boos louder. He asks if I really want it and I nod and the audience boos and he tells them they should let me make my pick whatever it is, and he asks one last time if I want to change my mind.But I don’t, and he reveals the price card, and the lime is 35 cents and the music starts up like I’ve won and the audience is mad and Bob waves for it all to stop and says now we play the super round if I want, and I start to say yes but the audience boos so loud I say no, and that just makes them boo *louder*. Bob gives me another chance but I just want to get out as soon as I possibly can.

JOEL: Wow.

GYPSY: Creepy.

TOM: I like Carrie L—‘s TV show dreams better.

JOEL: Me too.

CROW: Yeah. But in the Showcase Showdown my bid’s only four dollars low and I win both showcases, so mine’s cool too.

GYPSY: So who wins the game?

JOEL: [ Tapping the pad ] By forty dollars and the Atlantic City edition of Monopoly —

ALL: [ Quickly, facing the camera for just the word ] Huh?

JOEL: … Cambot!

TOM: [ As CAMBOT nods ] Fix!

[ MADS SIGN flashes. ]

JOEL: Can’t please everybody. What do you think, sirs?

[ JOEL taps MADS SIGN. ]

[ DEEP 13. DR. FORRESTER and TV’s FRANK are still stuck back-to-back. ]

FRANK: What if we just took off our shirts?

DR. F: One of my life’s goals is to never see you shirtless.

FRANK: What if you took yours off?

DR. F: Another is that you never see me shirtless.

FRANK: This is just like a dream I had about The Odd Couple.

DR. F: I’ve never dreamed myself into anything besides 60 Minutes.

FRANK: If we get a little cereal residue in a water pistol, I bet we could make a tractor beam out of Cheerios!

DR. F: It’s time, Frank.


[ DR. FORRESTER and TV’s FRANK shuffle around backwards. Then DR. FORRESTER starts jumping backwards, not making TV’s FRANK move in the least. ]

DR. F: [ As he jumps back ] Come … on! Push … the … button!

FRANK: Oh!

[ TV’s FRANK leans forward, as DR. FORRESTER jumps back and rolls off, towards the camera and into another table and … ]

                      \   |   /                               
                       \  |  /                                
                        \ | /                                    
                         \|/                                  
                      ----o----                                  
                         /|\                                   
                        / | \                                  
                       /  |  \                                
                      /   |   \         

Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its characters and situations are the creation of Best Brains, Inc. "Breaking the Barriers" is by Carrie L— and used with permission. Reboot and its characters and situations are the property of Mainframe Entertainment, if I don’t miss my guess. The MiSTing as a whole is the creation of Joseph Nebus. Despite Gypsy’s claim they would follow the standard rules, the Monopoly game represented herein followed the time-limited rule variation. The management apologizes for any confusion. Times change, and newspapers evolve.

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 15 of 16)


Welcome to the next-to-final installment in my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfic, “Breaking the Barriers”. You can read, and even enjoy, the whole at this link. I haven’t decided what to post next.

The story so far: A portal connects author Carrie L—‘s small Canadian home to pioneering Canadian computer-animated series Reboot. Everyone’s taken some time in the other reality. While Megabyte as a real-world vampire bit Carrie, she isn’t too bothered by it, and she’s back in the virtual world and recovered well. But to get home they have to brave a meeting with Hexadecimal.

Vulture Squadron was the outfit Dick Dastardly and company were flying from when they tried to catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon. Solarians are from Isaac Asimov’s science fiction mystery The Naked Sun. They’re humans who live on a severely and deliberately under-populated planet so people almost never see anyone in the actual flesh. And you see how long ago I wrote this that I thought “web log” was clearer than “blog”.

The Mer-Lion is a giant statue of a part-lion, part-fish that’s an icon of Singapore, where I was living at the time. It’s great to see, especially by night. The Mighty Thornberries is surely meant to be The Wild Thornberries, a cartoon I don’t know why I mentioned at all. It’s not even something I disliked; I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode, unless it was on in-flight entertainment when I wasn’t paying attention.

I have replaced two jokes. One because it was a little more sexist, and hack, than I feel comfortable with now. The other was a quoting from M*A*S*H that I used because it was some nice quick wordplay nonsense. But the underlying joke in M*A*S*H relied on something edging up on gay panic for its delivery. I can do without that, so, I will.


>
>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *

CROW: Kansas (detailed map).

>
> Carrie stood silently at the base of Hex’s tower, staring
> upwards in awe.

JOEL: And David Warner’s in there *somewhere*.

> Lost Angles was definately a place that one had to
> get used to.

TOM: It’s a good place to (ahem) make a point.

> She looked at Bob. "Don’t be nervous." he told her,
> "I’ll be right here with you."

CROW: Besides, you won the heroes over, you won the villains over, all that’s left is for you to win the landscaping over.

> Carrie smiled. "Thanks." she
> whispered, "I really appreciate it."

JOEL: It’s always the little things that count.

> She took a deep breath and
> reached out to press what looked to be some sort of doorbell. Before
> she had a chance to touch it, the door flew open.

CROW: Convenience store doorways of the future!

> Carrie gasped and
> jumped back. She smiled sheepishly at Bob. He returned her smile and
> chivalrously offered her his hand.

TOM: I hope they don’t put those on the wrong places.

> Carrie just looked at him,
> dumbfounded, for a nano, then shyly took his hand.

JOEL: Energy shake, hand shake, it’s literary counterpointing.

> She wasn’t sure
> why he was acting this way toward her, but she wasn’t going to say
> anything. Swallowing hard, she entered into the shadows.

CROW: And she bonks into Megabyte.

>
> As her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, her surroundings
> became familiar.

JOEL: It’s the hangars of the infamous Vulture Squadron!

> This was yet another place that would be forever
> etched into her memory.

TOM: That’s the danger of becoming a sprite, you could get something from cartridge ROM mapped onto you.

> The room was enormous, yet the actual space
> that was accessable by normal sprites was rather small.

CROW: It’s like being at gramma’s, you have to stay on the plastic strips.

> *I guess it
> doesn’t matter whether you have a floor or not when you’re a Class
> Two!* Carrie thought.

JOEL: There’s a thought I wouldn’t have had today if the story didn’t help me along.

> Before them was a large and rather
> uncomfortable looking throne.

TOM: You are what you sit on.

JOEL: No.

> It seemed almost twisted and the back
> was several twisted spires with no bar ajoining them on top.

CROW: That’s not a throne, it’s a bad church organ.

> Bob
> started foreward, heading into the ever present spotlight that floated
> through the room. Carrie quickly pulled her hand from his grasp.

TOM: Shhhhhhweeee… *pop*!

> Bob
> stopped and looked at her. "What’s wrong?" he asked, worried. Carrie
> smiled. "Nothing."

JOEL: Bob Guardian, *this* is *your* life!

> she lied, *It’s just that I would prefer to stay
> on Hex’s good side!* she thought.

CROW: Offer to link to her from your web log.

>
> "Welcome to my Lair." The voice seemed to come from every
> corner of the Throne Room.

JOEL: But … the room is round.

> Carrie’s eyes darted around, trying to
> find the source. Then she saw it. Just a mask floated above the
> Throne before them.

TOM: WHAT would you have of the mighty Oz?

> There was a slight flash and Hex’s form
> materialized,

CROW: Hey, can I learn that trick?

> sitting gracefully on her throne. "I so rarely have
> visitors."

JOEL: She’s Solarian.

> She smiled almost evily and Carrie’s heart jumped. *Hex
> may be my favorite,

TOM: I’ll have to check and get back to you later.

> but she still scares the heck out of me!* Carrie
> thought. Then Hex’s mask changed to one of surprise. "Why, I wasn’t
> expecting you, Guardian!"

JOEL: If I’d known you were coming I’d have calculated a pi.

> Bob said nothing, but smiled slightly.
> Carrie stifled a smile. *I guess I’m not the only one who isn’t
> exactly comfortable around Hex. He’s got a good reason, though!*

CROW: They used to be roommates.

>
> Hex turned to Carrie again. "So," she murmered, "one of my
> many fans finally stands up to be counted."

JOEL: One!

TOM: One, too!

CROW: One, three!

JOEL: There’s one of us!

> "This is my first time in
> Mainframe."

CROW: Oh, make sure you get to see the Mer-Lion by night.

> Carrie whispered, "I really shouldn’t be here."

JOEL: It’s supposed to be my day off!

> Hexadecimal looked at Carrie suspitiously. "Why is that?" she asked.
> Carrie swallowed hard. "I’m….uh…..I’m a…." her throat caught
> and she couldn’t say anything else.

TOM: Her next word was going to be "Ima."

> Hex laughed quietly. "I know,"
> she said, "You’re a User."

CROW: You have it written all over your .plan file.

> Carrie’s head snapped up and she stared at
> Hex in shock. Hex laughed again. "You must know that I know just
> about everything that happens in Mainframe."

TOM: She’s been port-sniffing.

JOEL: No, she’s the *real* Carrie L—! *She’s* been writing this whole fan fiction!

> She waved her hand
> casually and a familiar purring sounded.

CROW: She digitized a tribble!

> Scuzzy zoomed into the light
> and stopped just in front of Carrie. He tilted forward slightly and a
> picture appeared in the top of his head.

TOM: "The Mighty Thornberries"? What’s wrong with you?

> It was Carrie, Dot, Enzo and
> Bob sitting in the diner. Carrie looked up at Hex.

CROW: She has the power to look at flashbacks!

> "I guess I should
> have known that." she said.
>
> "Now!" Hex said, "I know how to get you home." Carrie’s eyes
> sparkled.

TOM: Bring me a couple mice, a pumpkin, and my magic wand.

> "Oh! Thank You!!" she spluttered. Hex waved a hand and
> Carrie quickly subsided into silence. "I ask only one thing." she
> said.

JOEL: You must start a Robert Benchley web site for me.

> Carrie said nothing at first. "If I can, I will do what you
> ask." she whispered. Hex laughed, amused. "It isn’t as difficult as
> you think." she said,

CROW: Scrub the bathrooms. They’re filthy.

> "I want you to tell Megabyte that he still owes
> me ten crystals of neurowine." Carrie stared at Hex momentarily.

TOM: And you have to do it without giggling.

> "Uh…I’ll tell him, but I can’t ensure he’ll listen to me. He has
> already repaid my favor." Hex smiled mischeviously. "Don’t worry."
> she whispered, schemingly, "He’ll listen."

JOEL: It’s not so much conflict and resolution as much as it is a Reboot Convention.

> A vid-window pinged before
> Carrie and she once again found herself playing the messenger. As
> Megabyte’s face appeared on the screen, Carrie suddenly felt her
> confidence returning.

TOM: You’d think being able to direct traffic through the multiverse would give her more to do with her time.

> He actually wasn’t scowling at her for
> intruding. "What can I do for you?" he rumbled. Carrie smiled.

JOEL: She’s going to start with Girl Scout cookies and move up to neurowine crystals.

> "Hexadecimal has asked me to tell you that you still owe her ten
> crystals of neurowine." Megabyte growled audibly. "She won’t let
> that drop, will she?" Carrie just shrugged.

CROW: If she lets it drop won’t they spill?

TOM: Try to keep up with us, Crow.

> Megabyte pondered her
> request for a nano, then scowled. "Very well.

JOEL: [ As Megabyte ] You’ve bested me again. Well done.

> It will be sent to her
> by the end of the cycle." Carrie smiled. "Thanks!" she chirped. The
> window closed and Hex smiled down at Carrie.

CROW: He’ll be paying them Tuesday for that hamburger today.

>
> "Very well done!" she said, "You certainly have won his
> favor!" Carrie said nothing. "Now, your way home."

TOM: Would you like to take this way home, or would you like to trade it for what’s inside this box?

> Out of nowhere,
> Hexadecimal’s Looking Glass suddenly appeared.

JOEL: She’s checking if Snow White is still alive.

> The reflective surface
> shivered slightly, and then a room Carrie knew and loved could be seen
> on the other side.

JOEL: If only they looked.

> She gasped in delight. "…..Home!…." she
> murmered.

TOM: Raths…

> She stepped toward the glass, mesmerized.

CROW: Outgabe…

> Then, she
> suddenly remembered something. Turning, she faced her new friend.

TOM: You mean Bob, Hexadecimal, Megabyte, Enzo, Dot, Phong, Scuzzy, or the binomes?

>
> Bob smiled as their eyes locked. "I’m gonna miss you." Carrie
> whispered.

CROW: I don’t know, it seems like getting from the real world to Mainframe and back is about as hard as catching the 173 bus to the MRT station.

> Bob said nothing at first, then produced a small box.
> Carrie gasped in surprise. "I fixed this for you, and added something
> so you would never forget me."

TOM: Gary Seven uses that to talk with his computer.

> Carrie looked up into his soft brown
> eyes. "I could never forget you." she breathed. "Open it." Bob told
> her.

CROW: Dare you to lick it.

> Her eyes glistening, Carrie lifted the lid on the box. Inside
> sat her necklace with the ‘Mouse’ charm on it, but now, there was
> another charm beside it.

JOEL: Yellow hearts, blue clovers, green moons —

CROW: Huh?

> A small gold and black inverted icon impaled
> by a rose. "It’s beautiful!" Carrie gasped.

TOM: It’s… a glam rock tattoo.

> Bob took the necklace
> from the box and gently placed it around her neck. Carrie admired it
> briefly before returning Bob’s gaze. "I’ll wear it always." she
> whispered.
>
> Bob flashed her his killer smile.

[ ALL gasp, choking, and slump in their seats. ]

> "I’ll always wear mine,
> too." he whispered, and gently pulled the gold chain out from
> underneath the coller on his uniform. It almost the same charm as
> Carrie’s did,

JOEL: Hey, he copied her file!

> except that the icon was the usual black and white.

CROW: And then shift-clicked it.

> Carrie couldn’t hold it any longer. She burst into tears and threw
> her arms around him. Bob returned her embrace, listening to her
> gentle sobs. "I’ll never forget you!" Carrie cried.

TOM: Shane! Come back, Shane!

> Bob said nothing
> for a nano, afraid that his voice would reveal his sorrow. "You…you
> better go now."

JOEL: Ah, Louie Louie, aaah… we gotta go.

> he finally stammered. Carrie looked up into his eyes,
> tears glistening on her cheeks. "Thank you," she breathed, "for
> everything."

CROW: She’s in Mainframe, she’s out of Mainframe, she’s in Mainframe, she’s leaving Mainframe, she needs to make up her mind.

>
> She stepped back, smiling. "If I can find a better way," she
> said, "I’ll be back." Bob laughed quietly.

TOM: This way seems to be working out fine.

> "Maybe you should feed
> your computer more often, then it won’t decide to have you for a
> snack!"

JOEL: I guess we’re lucky Carrie’s computer didn’t just swallow Benny, her hamster.

> Carrie laughed, and turned to the Looking Glass. "See you
> later!" Bob said. She stepped up to it and started to reach out to it.
> "Wait!" Carrie turned to Bob again.

TOM: Oh, just *go* you big silly.

> He stood in front of her,
> looking directly into her eyes. "Just one more thing to remember me
> by." he whispered.

CROW: Besides the experience, the vampirism, the charms, and the interdimensional computer portal.

> Carrie froze as he wrapped his arms around her.
> She held her breath as his warm lips pressed gently against hers.

TOM: See, this is how you spread computer viruses.

> She
> couldn’t believe this was happening. She wrapped her arms around him
> and gently returned the kiss. Then, suddenly, all her surroundings
> seemed to melt away.

JOEL: Global Warming sinks Mainframe.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 14 of 16)


With another week we draw even closer to the conclusion of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfiction “Breaking the Barriers”. You can read the whole of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of it here. No, I don’t know what I’ll turn to after this.

When a strange portal connects author and protagonist Carrie’s small Canadian hometown to the world of Reboot, characters come visit other realities. At the Three Doors Mall, Megabyte turns out to be a villain and kinda bites Carrie before she saves him from something or other. They rush the injured Carrie back to Mainframe for treatment. So things look good for her apart from how Megabyte’s taken her off to the Tor by himself.

The Michelangelo Virus was a famous computer virus of the early 90s that caused people to write newspaper articles about computer viruses. Kevin Kubusheskie was part of the cast of 80s Nickelodeon series You Can’t Do That On Television and shows what I thought would pass for a forgotten celebrity in 2003. “Angle Pozo, the mathematical herring” is a reference to a joke that Ken Goldstein and Keith Fernbach, the two funniest guys at my undergraduate student newspaper, published one time back in the 90s. They would go on to review the rest areas on the New Jersey Turnpike, describing the clientele at one stop as “men on pay phones apologizing to their wives”, which may be the most perfect bit of scene-setting I could ever hope to read. But there was never a chance the “Angle Pozo” riff would make sense. It’s in there for me alone.

Oof, but that riff about a collection of cats is bad. I’m sorry. On the bright side, the riff about Auntie Anne Pretzel Stands is one of my all-time favorites and I’m reminded of it every time I see an Auntie Anne. I’ve never been to one, but I’ve seen them in many malls.


>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *

JOEL: It’s both a punch card and a player piano scroll.

CROW: Another one without a new Part. I bet it’s some tax law.

>
> Bob raced through the Tor. *Why haven’t they tried to stop
> me, yet?* he wondered.

TOM: They must’ve put a homing device on the Millennium Falcon.

> "Glitch!" he said, "Show me Carrie’s
> location." Glitch chirped and displayed a map with a small white dot.
> *She’s only one level above.* he thought.

JOEL: That’s not Carrie, that’s the User from that Indiana Jones and Daisy Duke game a couple chapters back.

> Then another thought hit
> him. "Glitch, show Megabyte’s location." Just as Bob had thought. A
> larger blue dot appeared, directly to the left of the small white one.

TOM: Aw, Road Runner and Coyote are chasing each other through the mining tunnels.

> That meant that Carrie could be in danger. With no thought for
> anything else, Bob sped up and raced toward the room Glitch had shown
> him.

[ JOEL hums the Speed Racer theme ]

>
> Surprising herself, Carrie found herself laughing.

CROW: Caught off guard, she slammed the door shut on herself, making her wait outside until she was ready.

> She
> listened with pleasure as her voice melted together with Megabyte’s
> own deep chuckle,

TOM: Liquid voices.

> finding it melodious and wonderful. *He’s so much
> different than I had thought.*

JOEL: She’s going to end up dumping Bob, I know it.

> In fact, she found him rather amusing,
> in his own way.

CROW: It’s called "evil".

> She looked at him and smiled. He returned her smile,
> and Carrie found herself liking him more and more with each passing
> nano.

TOM: Megabyte’s plan is to seduce Carrie so Bob’s torn between Dot and him?

> Feeling brave, she spoke up.

JOEL: [ As Carrie ] Megabyte, will I go to the dance with me? Uh…

> "You’re very interesting." she
> told him. "There is more to you than meets the eye."

CROW: Robots in disguise!

> Megabyte
> chuckled and returned the compliment. "I never thought I would be
> talking to a User."

TOM: He should take the chance to ask her to uninstall Virex.

> he rumbled, then paused thoughtfully. "But then,
> I never thought I could end up in the User world either."

JOEL: [ As Megabyte ] I never realized the User world was mostly Auntie Anne pretzel stands.

> Carrie
> smiled. "I wasn’t expecting to end up in Mainframe myself."

TOM: So who brought her to Mainframe, anyway?

> she told
> him. *He really is an okay guy once you talk to him.* she thought.

CROW: Now he turns away, smiles, she steps up to him, he reveals vampire fangs and HYAAAAAH!

>
> Bob stopped in front of the door and got off his zip-board.

CROW: Or we cut away to the other story thread.

> He placed his ear to the door. He couldn’t hear anything, and that
> worried him

TOM: It’d be more worrisome if they were in the real world where sounds transmit through objects.

> even more than if he could hear sounds of struggle or
> something.

JOEL: There are some sounds you definitely don’t want to hear.

> Finally, he got frustrated and, raising his foot, kicked
> the door wide open.

TOM: Uh, there’s a doorknob.

CROW: There’s a couple doorknobs.

> Carrie whirled as the door to the Infirmary burst
> open. She watched, shocked, as Bob raced through the door with Glitch
> armed.

JOEL: [ As Carrie, startled ] Bob! What a surprise … uh … you know Megabyte, from the church group … he was … getting a kiss out of my eye … I mean …

> "Alright Megabyte!!" he shouted, "Let her go!!" Carrie stood
> up quickly and walked over to stand beside Megabyte.

CROW: Prelude to a dumping.

> Megabyte simply
> looked down at his hands, casually inspecting his nails.

TOM: He’s this close to pulling a Fonzie.

> "She is not
> being held here." he rumbled, "She is free to leave whenever she
> chooses." Carrie nodded.

JOEL: Are they saying that with their voices merged still?

> "Megabyte saved my life."

CROW: And by "saved" I mean "endangered."

> She said,
> turning to look up at him. She smiled as Megabyte looked over at Bob.
> "Just as she would have done for me."

JOEL: And this emotional turmoil is going on inside all our computers?

TOM: Yes.

CROW: Always.

> Bob lowered his arm, looking
> utterly confused. Carrie smiled and walked up to him.

JOEL: [ As Carrie ] I am your drill thrall.

> "You should
> know that virus’ do have a sense of honour. Remember when you rescued
> him in the crashed game?"

TOM: Oh, SimCity 3000.

> Bob and Megabyte stared at her first, then
> looked at each other.

CROW: It’s a living.

> "He allowed you to leave as a return favor for
> saving him. He could have just deleted you there and won.

JOEL: It’s kind of a Quark and Odo thing.

> But he
> didn’t." She reached out and took Bob’s hand. "I know that he
> wouldn’t hurt me now."

TOM: Megabyte actually left. He’s visiting the Digimon crew.

>
> Then, Carrie turned to Megabyte. "I would like a favor in
> return for my help, though." She said.

JOEL: Help with what?

> Megabyte smiled suspitiously.

TOM: Aah! Don’t *do* that!

> "What would that be?" he asked. Carrie smiled. "I need a way home."

JOEL: Like Glitch and Phong opened up earlier?

> Bob looked at Megabyte. Megabyte was about to answer when Carrie
> held up her hand. "But, you must promise you will not follow me, for
> any reason."

CROW: What if she leaves her wallet behind?

> Megabyte scowled and Bob smiled. *She definatly knows
> about virus’* he thought. "Very well." Megabyte rumbled. Then he
> turned. A vid-window pinged into existance and a small viral binome
> appeared on the screen. "Get me Hexadecimal."

TOM: I can give you two Octals and change.

> Megabyte ordered and
> the binome saluted. The picture changed to that of the dark throne
> room of the Lair in Lost Angles.

CROW: Angle Pozo, the mathematical herring.

> Hexi smiled. "Well, what a pleasant
> surprise!" she murmered, "How nice to see you."

TOM: It’s so *wonderful* that you could be here!

> Megabyte frowned. "I
> have something to ask of you." he rumbled. Hexi gave him a suspitious
> look. "And what would that be, love?"

CROW: This is for 125,000 dollars … What’s the region of Greece where centaurs come from, is it (a) Thrace, (b) Thessaly, (c) Epidaurus, or (d) Epidurmus?

> she asked. Megabyte turned to
> Carrie. "Perhaps you would care to explain it to her?" he asked.

JOEL: So how is this confusing Bob’s priorities?

> Carrie’s heart jumped. *Me?* she thought, *Talk to Hexadecimal?*

TOM: Somebody’s got to.

CROW: You’re carrying that scientific calculator that translates between decimal, hexadecimal, binary, octal, and Swahili, after all.

> She
> began to rub her hands together nervously. *She’s my favorite
> character on the show!*

JOEL: This is a twist Bob didn’t see coming.

> Swallowing hard, Carrie stepped into Hex’s
> view.

TOM: Hey, down in front!

>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *

JOEL: It’s the kind of constellation a Vulcan draws.

>
> Part Twenty-Six
>
> Carrie stood silently, staring into the suspitious mask of her
> favorite virus.

TOM: I remember when I felt that way for the Michaelangelo virus.

> She opened her mouth but nothing came out.
> Hexadecimal frowned. "Well?" she asked.

CROW: Closer to fair than well, thanks.

> Carrie swallowed hard. "I
> need your help." she blurted.

TOM: I have to get Megabyte something for his birthday and I don’t know what.

> Hex smiled. "So, she can talk. What
> sort of help would you be needing?" she asked.

CROW: Enough narrative discipline to get to the story’s end.

> Carrie clasped her
> hands together. "I know you have great power, and that you can form
> portals to certain places."

TOM: This is like James Bond talking with his travel agent.

> Hex smiled. "Why thank you." she said,
> "But why should I help you?"

TOM: You don’t want to be the last one in town to help, do you?

> Carrie looked down at the floor. "I
> have nothing to give you in return." she whispered.

JOEL: She’s going to play for her on her drum.

> "I just hoped
> that since I am one of your admirers, that you might spare me some
> time out of your second to help."

CROW: This same ploy’s used by aspiring actors all the time.

> Carrie knew that Bob and Megabyte
> were staring at her like she had suddenly grown a third arm,

JOEL: [ As Megabyte ] She *did*!

> or
> something, but this had to work.

TOM: ‘Cause girls will do anything if you flatter them.

>
> Hexadecimal laughed. "You see, brother?" she said, "I, too,
> have a following."

CROW: Come *on*. On the Internet, Kevin Kubusheskie has a following.

TOM: On the Internet, Vegemite has a following.

> Megabyte growled. Carrie motioned to him. "You
> promised." she whispered.

JOEL: No followings.

> Megabyte glared down at her, but said
> nothing. Hex looked from Carrie to her brother curiously. "And why
> are you helping this small one?" she taunted.

TOM: She’s under the limit, he had to throw her back.

> Megabyte said nothing
> at first and Carrie held her breath. Then he chuckled. "She is a
> friend who has come to see that I repay a favor she paid me once."

JOEL: He’s repaying her for saving her life?

> Hexadecimal said nothing at first, then her mask changed to one of
> pleasant surprise.

CROW: Wonder who’s underneath all those masks? Carol Channing.

> "Why, I see you have even brought the Guardian to
> help you ask me of this favor!" she murmered, and Carrie glanced at
> Bob out of the corner of her eye. "How nice!"

JOEL: So what’ve we learned this story?

CROW: Carrie’s nice.

>
> Carrie turned to the vid-window again and looked directly into
> Hex’s smiling face.

CROW: [ As Carrie ] I forsee … a large collection of cats in your future.

> "Please," Carrie whispered, "I really want to go
> home."

TOM: I’m tired and I want to go to bed.

> Hex looked down at her, surprised. "Home?" she asked,
> "Brother! If an admirer of mine needs a way to her home system, all
> you had to do was ask nicely!"

CROW: Click her shoes three times, and…

> She laughed at some inside joke and
> the vid-window closed suddenly. Carrie started at the sudden cut off.
> *Boy! she is impulsive!* she thought.

TOM: That’s not impulsive, that’s just rude.

> She looked at Bob. "Why don’t
> we go to Lost Angles so I can get home?"

JOEL: Why can’t she go back the portal she used last time?

> she offered. Bob smiled and
> offered Carrie his hand. She stepped up onto his zip-board and
> wrapped her arms around his waist. She turned to Megabyte once more.

TOM: He’s doing a good job using Bob’s inner turmoil to his advantage.

> "Thank you, very much." she said. Megabyte chuckled again. "I’ll see
> to it that no one bothers you on the way out."

CROW: That just means he validated their parking.

> He glared at Bob only
> briefly before he turned and disappeared into the shadows.

JOEL: Uh, Megabyte, that’s the broom —

TOM: SMASH!

JOEL: Closet.

> Carrie
> smiled. *I love his dramatic exits!* she thought.

CROW: [ As Megabyte ] I think I broke my leg … can somebody please … hello? Anybody?

> Then she turned to
> Bob. "Let’s go." she said.

TOM: Let’s blow this popsicle stand.

> Bob flashed her his killer smile.

JOEL: Gah! Your smile … it’s still … poi … son …

> "Hang
> on." he said.

[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 13 of 16)


And now, after a Halloween hiatus, let’s resume Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfiction “Breaking the Barriers”. All of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of her story should be at this link.

The story so far: a strange portal opens between our author/protagonist Carrie’s home computer and the land of pioneering computer-animated series Reboot. Carrie visits the digital world, where she gets along great with series hero Bob and assistant hero Enzo. and stirs up jealousy from Bob’s not-yet-girlfriend Dot. Even series villain Megabyte likes her, although as someone he can kidnap. The digital world visits her hometown mall, where Megabyte becomes a vampire and neck-bites Carrie. But a return to the digital world and an energy drink get her back into shape. Enzo, angry about all this, has gone off to the Data Dump to find something he can use against Megabyte. And that’s where this segment begins.

One riff mentions Clarabelle Cow as a gossip. I don’t know enough about Clarabelle Cow to say whether she is or not. I know at the time, Disney Channel where I lived was running a lot of segments explaining the minor characters and they said Clarabelle was a gossip.

I trust there was a specific episode of the 80s G.I.Joe cartoon I was thinking of, when Tom asks didn’t this happen in one episode. I no longer remember what. If you know, yeah, I’m curious. Don’t go to any great lengths figuring it out though.

I think Tom’s line about not letting the Tor hit you on the way out is one that gets the Brains’ voice right.

I remember thinking it was a funny concept to delete half a picture window. I now think it’s something where you would concede the logic says this should be funny.

In this segment I’ve replaced one joke. The original riff had alluded to a childhood prank/game that I’m ashamed I ever used. The replacement is funnier. I promise.


[ THEATER. TOM, JOEL, and CROW file in. ]

JOEL: *So* immature.

> As he came around
> the corner, he tripped over something. Pulling himself back up onto
> his feet, Enzo picked up the protruding object.

CROW: He’s found a porn spam!

> It looked like one of
> those old delete commands he’d read about in school.

JOEL: I’m pretty sure there still are delete commands.

> He picked it up
> and brushed it off. It glowed dimly in his hand.

TOM: Couldn’t that kind of delete thing take his fingers off?

> If he remembered
> what Miss Brodie had taught him,

CROW: Our Miss Brodie…

> these old commands couldn’t
> completely delete someone anymore,

JOEL: They’re just called delete commands for the fun of it.

> but they could do some damage.

TOM: So you can see why they leave that kind of thing lying around where anybody can grab it.

> From the look of this one, there was enough energy to at least hurt
> Megabreath.

CROW: The Big Bad Cyberwolf.

> Feeling confident, he leapt onto his zip-board, and
> zoomed away.

JOEL: The implication is, when your computer garbles your e-mail files, it’s the acts of venegence from your graphics display elements.

>
> Back at the Diner, Dot was watching Bob as he comforted
> Carrie. She was not impressed. Suddenly, the door burst open and
> Enzo walked in.

CROW: So Enzo went to the Data Dump, found the Delete command, and got back in about seven seconds.

> Dot, Bob Carrie and Megabyte all turned to look at
> him.

ALL: NORM!

TOM: Norman.

> Enzo strod in, his hands hidden behind his back.

JOEL: He just does that so they don’t have to draw his hands.

> He stopped a
> few feet from Megabyte and smiled slyly.

CROW: OK… got a riddle for you. If an egg and a half can raise a day and a half in a chicken and a half … wait.

> Megabyte simply looked down
> at him. "Enzo!!" Dot said, "Where did you go?" she asked.

JOEL: Was it cold? Did you wear your warm clothes?

> Enzo only
> stood there, smiling at Megabyte. "Enzo, what are you doing?"

CROW: He didn’t even go to the Data Dump, it all happened in his mind.

> Bob
> asked as Enzo stood ready, the delete command held tightly in his
> hand.

JOEL: As his fingernails dissolve.

> "Giving this guy what he deserves!" Enzo shouted, and threw the
> command at Megabyte with all his strength.

TOM: Unfortunately his aim’s bad and he deletes the salad bar, the soda fountain, and half a picture window.

>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *

CROW: A long cold front ending in a small vortex.

>
> Part Twenty-Five

TOM: There is no joke to make about that fact.

>
> "Noooo!"
>
> Megabyte stood, surprised, as Enzo whipped the command at him.

TOM: Here’s a role reversal from the usual dodgeball.

> Then, before he could move, a figure jumped in front of him.
> "Stop!!" she screamed.

JOEL: In the name of love!

> Carrie had placed herself between Megabyte and
> the rapidly approaching command.

CROW: You know it’s serious because we’re moving in slow motion.

> Bob watched in horror as Carrie
> stood with her arms stretched out, protecting the virus.

JOEL: But Megabyte ducked.

> "Glitch,"
> Bob ordered, "Catch!!"

TOM: Unfortunately Glitch was owned by Bill Buckner, and…

[ CROW wimpers ]

> Glitch chirped and caught the command in an
> energy beam. Carrie looked over at him and smiled. Then she moaned
> quietly and collapsed.

JOEL: She’s had a hard day what with becoming a transparent Canadian vampire and all. Let her rest.

>
> Megabyte looked down at Carrie’s fallen form in wonder, then
> picked her up gently.

CROW: [ Singing ] What have I done? … I’ve killed da WAB-bit…

> Bob and the others watched in surprise as
> Megabyte placed her on the counter once again.

TOM: Lucky thing Bob, Enzo, and Megabyte *are* the lunch rush.

> Then, he opened a
> vid-window. A viral binome saluted as he realized it was Megabyte.

JOEL: Hey, aren’t binomes the creepy guys that stole the Enterprise in the good episode from Next Generation’s first year?

> "Yes, sir?" he asked. "I want my limo at Dot’s Diner now. And get
> the infirmary ready for an incoming patient." Megabyte ordered.

CROW: So he’s taking her to the infirmary after she was hurt after taking her to the diner after she was hurt. What a sweetheart!

> The
> binome saluted and Megabyte closed the window before he could answer.

TOM: Ooh, communications breakdown. Their relationship’s in trouble.

> Bob stared as Megabyte picked Carrie up once again, and started toward
> the door.

JOEL: Hope he remembers to turn sideways before going through the door.

>
> "Wait!" Bob said, and Megabyte turned.

CROW: [ As Megabyte ] Uh, I’m *busy*.

> "Where are you taking
> her?" he asked. Megabyte frowned. "To the Tor." he rumbled.

TOM: [ As Bob ] Well, don’t let the Tor hit you on the way out.

JOEL: [ As Megabyte ] Ow!

> Bob
> looked confused. "Why?" he asked. Megabyte simply looked at him.

CROW: Because if we stay here any longer we have to order something.

> "She just risked her life to save mine. That is something that does
> not go unnoticed."

TOM: Didn’t this same thing happen with G.I.Joe once?

> He turned and left, entering his waiting limo.
> Bob raced outside and watched as Megabyte’s vehicle zoomed away. He
> pulled out his zip-board and took off in pursuit.

CROW: They’d get there faster if they just dropped themselves into another folder icon.

> Inside the Diner,
> Dot was talking to a very depressed and upset Enzo. "Why did you do
> that and where did you find that command?"

JOEL: Revenge; and Big Denny’s Discount House Of Loaded Firearms, Defective Firecrackers, and Hair-Trigger Mines.

> she asked. Enzo didn’t
> answer. Dot reached out and put her hand on his shoulder. "What’s
> wrong?" she asked, worriedly.

TOM: Uh, Dot, you were in the scene just passed, right?

> Enzo looked up at her, tears filling
> his eyes.

CROW: Now why would a sprite need to cry?

JOEL: Because he was assigned to Smurf Adventure as the bottom half?

> "I didn’t want to hurt Carrie,." he sobbed, "just
> Megabreath!!"

CROW: It’s only *technically* attempted murder. He *needed* killin’.

> With that, he began to weep and Dot held him, not
> totally sure what to say.

JOEL: A cautionary tale about venegence, or just three more chapters?

>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
>
> Carrie wasn’t sure what had happened,

TOM: Hey, why doesn’t that break rate a separate Part?

> but what she did know
> was that when she awoke, she found herself in a room she had never
> seen before. "Ah, you’re awake."

CROW: [ As Megabyte ] We downloaded you into a chicken. That OK?

> The voice came from the darkness
> that surrounded her. She knew who it was as soon as she heard it.

JOEL: Unicron!

> "Megabyte." she whispered. He walked out from the shadows, smiling.

TOM: They always walk out of the shadows, smiling. Don’t any supervillains pay the electric bill?

> Carrie took no comfort in his smile. "Why did you bring me here?" she
> asked.

JOEL: He’s hoping to collect the five cent deposit.

> "Now, now." he said, "I mean you no harm." He walked up to
> the side of the bed she was on and looked down into her eyes.

CROW: Don’t worry… We won’t hurt you…

> Carrie
> stared back, mesmerised.

TOM: Sleeeeeeep!

> Megabyte’s eyes were cold and hard, yet,
> somewhere deep below the surface, there burned the fire of feirce
> emotion.

JOEL: Fierce yet generic emotion.

TOM: It’s dull surprise.

> She couldn’t move. It were as though she had been
> hypnotized.

CROW: Brrrrrrr….rruk … cluck cluck cluck cluk cluk…

> Her mind told her that Megabyte was bad news, yet
> something about him intrigued her incredibly. He offered her a hand,

[ JOEL claps ]

> and she took it cautiously. He pulled her up into a sitting position,
> and she swung her legs over the side.

TOM: This is the tender, loving side of Megabyte.

>
> Suddenly, an alarm went off and they both looked up quickly.

JOEL: Klingons!

> A vid-window pinged into existance before them. "Sir!" the viral
> binome saluted, "There’s an intruder on the third level!"

CROW: Sonic the Hedgehog is breaking in!

> Megabyte
> frowned. "Show me."

TOM: Here’s a bunny, and here’s a butterfly, and here’s a puppy dog.

> The viral saluted again and quickly pushed a
> button. The screen switched to a shot from above the intruder,

JOEL: It’s like watching soccer coverage.

> zooming along on a zip-board. "Bob!?!" Carrie said. Megabyte
> frowned, then signaled the viral binome again.

CROW: Why can’t they just learn to not hang up?

> "Should we stop him,
> sir?" The viral asked, excitedly.

TOM: Have they ever been able to stop him?

> "No." Megabyte rumbled. "Allow
> him through."

JOEL: First make him say "Pretty Please with Sugar and Spice on Top."

>
> "Allow him……?" The binome started. "Ahem. Yes sir!" The
> viral saluted again, and the window closed.

TOM: I bet you ten bucks when we get out of here that guy shows up on the hex field view screen.

CROW: You’re on.

> Megabyte turned to Carrie
> and smiled. "It seems the Guardian is concerned about you." he
> chuckled.

CROW: The Mirror doesn’t give a dang, and the Daily Mail barely acknowledges you exist.

> Carrie just looked at him, uncomprhendingly. "What do you
> mean?" she asked.

TOM: What part of that sentence didn’t she get?

> "Well, it’s none of my business, but it seems that
> there already was a significant other in Bob’s life before you came
> along."

JOEL: I didn’t figure Megabyte was a gossip.

CROW: The Clarabele Cow of Mainframe.

> Carrie stared at him in shock, then gasped, covering her
> mouth. *Of course!* she thought, *I forgot about Dot!*

TOM: And here she is, a huge fan of the show, and she forgets its basic emotional dynamic.

> She looked
> down at the floor. *I must really be causing trouble.*

CROW: Aw, the story wouldn’t be the same without you.

> Megabyte
> smiled as he watched Carrie. Perhaps if he could occupy the Guardian
> with his female problem,

JOEL: Oh, yeah, like computer guys have anything to do with girls.

> he would be too busy to bother with stopping
> any attempt at the Supercomputer.

TOM: Maybe Megabyte should try taking over something easy, like a Street Fighter arcade game, and then work his way up to supercomputers.


[ To continue … ]

MiSTed: Safe Fun for Halloween (Part 4 of 4)


And now, let me bring this particular Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction to an end. So far “Safe Fun For Halloween” has suggested a bunch of merry pranks for the season. These include giving your friends electric shocks, blackening their eyes, sitting them on collapsing chairs, and stirring up confetti blizzards. That last doesn’t sound so bad, really. Still, it all sounds like a fun way to cut down on those pesky invitations to Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s events.

A Day In The Life Of Dennis Day was a radio, starring Dennis Day, all about how to make the most generic sitcom possible. Day won’t marry his longtime girlfriend, who loves him despite how every week he has to get out of a scrape with her father by doing some schtick where he puts on a foreign accent. This went on for five years at like 39 episodes a year.

Next week, and next month, I figure to share the final quarter of the MiSTing of Carrie L—‘s “Reboot: Breaking the Barriers”. Enjoy!


>
> 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. ]

MIKE: So.

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!

                            \   |   /
                             \  |  /
                              \ | /
                               \|/
                            ----O----
                               /|\
                              / | \
                             /  |  \
                            /   |   \

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)


I hope you continue to enjoy this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction. Those who’ve missed the end of Carrie L—‘s “Reboot: Breaking the Barriers” have not; I figure to get back to that in November. For now, I want to finish off looking at a Popular Mechanics article from 1936, “Safe Fun For Halloween”.

If you don’t want to go back and re-read the whole thing, here’s what you’ve missed: 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. There’s also ones about getting lampblack around their eyes or pretending to take a picture and instead blasting a cap gun at them. Fun!

Uneeda Biscuits, mentioned here, were the first big hit product for the newly-formed National Biscuit Company. Say the name aloud and you get the advertising hook for them. Also now if you encounter an early-20th-century humor piece and someone talks about having a Ueata Meal or buying a Udrivea Car or something, now you know what they’re riffing on. Nabisco was still making Uneedas through about a decade ago. They were kind of an extra-thick club cracker. Not quite salty enough to my taste but, I could get it. Cottolene was a brand of shortening and one of the first mass-produced alternates to lard. So these references are well-researched to this article’s original publication and are therefore funny.


>
> 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: Safe Fun for Halloween (Part 2 of 4)


Welcome back to my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction riffing on the Popular Mechanics article “Safe Fun For Halloween”. The whole of the MiSTing should be at this link, as I finish posting it over the month. And you can read all the MiSTings that I’ve posted here at this link.

In Part 1 the author suggested a fun thing for your Halloween party is have your guests submit their fingerprints. But it’s not just the fun of a simulated arrest: the ink pad’s to be rigged up to give electric shocks! The author swears this is “surprising but not harmful”. If that isn’t fun enough for you, just 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.

CROW: Oh.

> 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 hope you’ve all been enjoying my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fanfiction treatment of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfic “Breaking the Barriers”. I want to put that on pause, though, to bring you something more seasonal.

“Safe Fun For Halloween” was an essay published in Popular Mechanics 85 years ago. It’s got a staggering variety of activities, all billed as safe, all of which seem to involve electrocuting your friends. So I’m giving you the chance to enjoy these wild and, the magazine insists, safe pranks with homemade electrical-shock devices.

In the early part of the last decade ModernMechanix.com had a regular feature of showcasing odd stuff from old magazines. Sometimes it was fascinating, like 1960s plans for the city of tomorrow. Sometimes it was hilarious, like advertisements for potato-peeling machinery that supposedly would net you money. And sometimes it was an article like this that makes you wonder the heck was going on in 1936 anyway.

I meant this to be a low-key piece, which is why there aren’t even Mads sketches. Just a simple introduction and closing sketch. I published it near the end of the year and got a fair bit of mileage out of using that fact.

The whole of this MiSTing should be available at this link when I post it all>. And if you want to see all of the MiSTings I’ve posted, they’re here. And I’ll get back to “Breaking the Barriers” in November.



[ 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_ article from, 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. ]

ALL: MOVIE SIGN!

[ 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.

>
>
> SAFE FUN for HALLOWEEN

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: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 12 of 16)


A mysterious portal connects young protagonist Carrie’s Canadian hometown to the world of 90s computer-animated cartoon Reboot. Series villain Megabyte, who’s a vampire in Canada, bites Carrie. Back in the digital world, she becomes half-erased. As Carrie is not just the protagonist but also our author, which might prevent the story from ever finishing. But series hero Bob thinks he can rescue her, if series villain Megabyte keeps to a deal whose terms I don’t think I understand …

And that’s about where we are in Carrie L—‘s fan fiction “Breaking the Barriers”. Also in my Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction treatment of it. The entire MiSTing should be available at this link and if it’s not, something will be, I’m sure.

I don’t think there are any riffs that need explanation this time. Somehow the Peter Potamus and the Skeksis references became less obscure than they were in 2003. In the host segment the game that Tom and Crow try distracting Joel and Gypsy with is a mish-mash of old-school games. The twisty maze of passages, or maze of twisty passages, references the 70s game Colossal Cave Adventure. The Vogons and the aspirin are, of course, from the interactive-fiction version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. That’s a game I sometimes got as far as the second room in. The ampersand was the character used to represent an enemy in … I want to say Rogue? I forget if there were a specific reference for the treasure room (Adventure?) and the chair by someone’s side. Hacking a game to turn off sprite collisions would let you get through a round without touching the bad thing killing your guy. But that could keep you from killing the badnasty jumpjumps, too.

I know it’s a bad idea to fall in love with your own writing. But the host sketch here, oh, I love it. I feel like it’s one of the times I captured the voice of the actual show. Crow’s unmotivated wanderings off-camera are there to give the stagehands time to put the stick in or take it out of his hands. I like host sketches that plausibly read like ones they might have been able to record. I also feel like I had a weakness for writing Joel sketches that end with a group hug but I don’t know if the statistics bear out that I wrote more of those than the average MiSTer did.


> * * * * * * * *
> * *
>
> Part Twenty-Four

CROW: I hope we get up to part 28, ’cause that’s a perfect number.

>
> Bob stood silently at the entrance to Dot’s Diner, Carrie
> lying limply in his arms.

TOM: They should just revert to the last saved copy.

> He looked up at the sign, and turned to
> Megabyte. "You have to be patient." Bob told him.

JOEL: I thought Carrie was the patient?

> "This is the only
> way we can return her to normal." Megabyte smiled slyly. "Don’t you
> trust me, Guardian?"

CROW: So if they pushed her back through the portal she’d be a translucent Canadian vampire.

TOM: That could get her a four-year run on UPN.

CROW: You’re right, we’ve got to stop her!

> He asked sarcastically. Bob frowned, and turned,
> pushing the door open. The place was almost deserted.

JOEL: Must be after the dinner rush — see, ’cause it’s … deserted…

> The only
> people there were Enzo and a rather frazzled looking Dot.

CROW: Yakko and Wakko have gone too far!

> As Bob
> entered, Enzo looked up. "Bob!!" he shouted jumping down from his
> stool. He was about to tackle Bob

TOM: Enzo’s veering dangerously close to Scrappy Doo territory.

> when he saw the half-erased sprite
> in his arms. Then his face turned fearful as he saw Megabyte
> following behind.

CROW: This is a weird parade.

> Bob carfully placed Carrie on the counter and Dot
> looked at her in shock.

JOEL: Hey, dead girl *off* the table.

> "What happened?" she asked, "Magnetic
> erasure? Like last time?"

TOM: [ As Carrie ] Last time?

JOEL: [ As Bob ] She was an ADSR waveform, she meant nothing to me.

> Bob shook his head. "It’s a long story,
> right now we need to help her.

CROW: Megabyte zapped her. Hey, that’s not so long.

> What she needs is pure energy." Dot
> nodded.

JOEL: If they download a Jolt ad I’m leaving.

> She didn’t even bother to ask Cecil,

TOM: She’s not getting The Straight Dope?

> she jumped down off her
> stool, and went to get it herself.

CROW: Let’s see… Pure Ivory Soap, pure baking soda, pure vanilla extract, pure table salt, pure baking powder, pure karo syrup, pure … this is harder than I thought.

>
> Bob looked down at Carrie, gently brushing her hair away from
> her face.

TOM: You know, Bob, this could be the chance for some upgrades…

> Enzo came and stood beside him. He looked up at Bob. "Is
> Carrie going to be okay?" he asked, worriedly. Bob smiled down at
> him, hiding his own fear.

JOEL: She has to be, or else one of the Skeksis has to die too.

> "She’s going to be fine." Enzo turned to
> Megabyte, gathering his nerve.

CROW: Aw, he’s gonna ask Megabyte out on a date!

> "You did this, didn’t you?" he asked
> bravely.

TOM: This is how you start an awkward conversation.

> Megabyte looked at him, then chuckled richly. "Of course."
> he rumbled, "Who else could do someting like that?"

JOEL: Taking a wild guess, L. Frank Baum in one of the lesser Oz books.

> Enzo bit his lip,
> struggling to fight back his tears. "How dare you!" he shouted,

TOM: [ As Megabyte ] Yeah? How I *double* dare you!

> shocking both Bob and Dot, who had returned with an energy shake.

JOEL: So now she’s got tea and no tea at once, right?

> "She’s my friend!!"

CROW: She is?

JOEL: Remember that earlier scene where she talked to him?

CROW: Oh, right, that’s friendship.

> Enzo stood right in front of Megabyte, to angry
> to be afraid of the imposing virus.

TOM: Enzo is going to have to try Peter Potamus’s patent-pending Hippo Hurricane Holler.

> He looked up at him defiantly,
> "You can’t do that!!"

JOEL: On television!

> Megabyte simply stared down at him, as Enzo’s
> eyes flooded with tears. "I won’t let you."

TOM: Never gonna let you go, I’m gonna hold you in my arms forever…

> He turned and ran out of
> the Diner. "Enzo!!" Dot wailed as she watched her little brother whip
> out his zip-board and zoom away.

CROW: So how is Enzo keeping Megabyte from hurting Carrie?

>
> Bob watched as Dot sat down on a stool, obviously drained by
> what had been happening.

TOM: Take two double A’s and call me in the morning.

> Suddenly, Carrie moved slightly, and her
> eyes began to flutter open.

JOEL: Maybe Enzo was thinking of somebody else.

> Bob stood near her, as she opened her
> eyes slightly. Dot looked up as Carrie tried to lift her hand towards
> Bob.

TOM: Hey, how come her arms get to work?

> He smiled and took it, holding it gently. "How are you
> feeling?" He asked her. Carrie smiled weakly. "Not too bad."

CROW: A touch small-Endian.

> she
> whispered. Bob reached out and touched her cheek. "You gave me quite
> a scare back there." he said.

JOEL: Stop telling people you see snakes everywhere. They’re scary.

> Carrie sat up with Bob’s help, and she
> swung her legs over the side of the counter. Dot frowned.

TOM: I hope she didn’t bleed electrons all over the menus.

> Why was
> Bob acting like this toward Carrie? What had happened back there? She
> stood up with the intention of asking Bob exactly those questions.

CROW: But first, this word from our subplot.

>
> After he had fled from the Diner, Enzo had gone to Old Man
> Pearson’s Data Dump.

JOEL: Sounds like the setting for a Scooby-Doo video game.

> He knew that he could find something, or
> someone, that could help him get even with Megabyte. He had never felt
> so determined.

TOM: It’s called an "off" switch.

> All he knew was that Carrie was one of the only
> sprites older than him that had treated him as an equal, not some
> little kid.

CROW: He’s a little too impressed by a girl who talks to him.

> Now she was hurt, and he wanted to seek vengance on the
> one who had done that to her.

TOM: And he’ll do it by wielding an old e-mail bulletin of the cafeteria’s menu at Megabyte!

> He smiled slightly. *I like that.*

CROW: It’s silly. Heheheheheheh…

> he
> thought. *The daring and brave Guardian Enzo seeks help to have his
> vengance on the viral evil of his system.*

TOM: Hey, isn’t that giving in to the Dark Side?

JOEL: Bad Enzo. No Dark Side. Bad Enzo.

> His imagination continued
> to whirl as he approached Sector 1001.

CROW: That’s Sector 1001 spelled backwards.

> He stopped infront of Old Man
> Pearson’s trailer. "Frisket!!" he called, "Frisket!!"

JOEL: Frisket? I hardly even *know* it…

> He jumped down
> off his zip-board and began to search for his pet.

TOM: Try looking under CBM.

[ JOEL picks up TOM; they and CROW leave. ]

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

[ SATELLITE OF LOVE DESK. The Monopoly game continues; about half the tiles have houses and hotels on them. TOM stands in front of the desk and, below desk top, has a rope tied around his hand. TOM’s token is in jail. JOEL, standing next to GYPSY, finishes moving MAGIC VOICE’s token onto an empty square. ]

CROW: Oh, I don’t believe it.

JOEL: [ Rolling dice ] Magic Voice lucks out again.

MAGIC VOICE: No need to sulk, Crow. Elvis edition never lets me down.

[ JOEL moves his piece ahead, to a square with one house on it. ]

JOEL: OK, that’s my second free landing on one of your squares. I get one more.

CROW: Yeah, yeah, all right. Just roll.

[ JOEL rolls; he moves CROW’s token onto one with a hotel. ]

JOEL: All right, Crow, that takes you to the Yankees edition, mine, hotel, you owe me 700 dollars.

CROW: Oh, gosh, well … uh … I think I’m a little short on cash…

JOEL: We can work it out. Now, what say I get two more free passes on your squares —

GYPSY: Ah-hem.

JOEL: — Right, yeah, I get one and Gypsy gets one of mine.

MAGIC VOICE: Hey!

JOEL: Right. I’ll need three, I owe Gypsy two of them, and then she passes one to Magic Voice.

TOM: Crow?

CROW: Yes, now.

TOM: [ Turning to face CAMBOT, and sliding to the side so the rope he holds goes slack ] WARNING! DANGER! INCOMING GAME!

GYPSY: What?

TOM: [ Continuing to warn ] INCOMING GAME! INCOMING GAME!

CROW: [ Sidling away, as a large cardboard box wrapped in aluminum foil drops over JOEL and GYPSY ] You’re going to have to defend us, guys, before this zone gets de-rezzed!

JOEL: [ As he is covered ] Guys, this isn’t going to —

CROW: It’s too late! You’re in a maze of twisty passages and the Vogon constructor ships are … uh … and there’s an aspirin in your pocket and everything!

GYPSY: [ Also covered ] I thought it was a twisty maze of passages?

[ CROW slides off-camera ]

TOM: Yeah, and you have to get to the treasure room fast.

JOEL: We’re just going to turn off sprite collisions, you know.


[ CROW, with a stick in his hand, slides back and taps the hotel off his token’s square; he swats TOM’s token out of jail quickly and slides back off screen. ]

TOM: Uh … um … that’s fine, you advance a level … and there’s a chair over by your side and what do you want to do?

[ A beat; GYPSY and JOEL stay silent ]

TOM: There’s a nasty-looking ampersand chasing after you too.

[ CROW, without his stick, slides back on screen. ]

CROW: And… I … I think they’ve beaten the user, then, right?

TOM: Oh, definitely … guys? You can come out now.

[ A beat. ]

CROW: Joel? Gypsy?

TOM: Magic Voice? Are you in there?

CROW: Just lift the box off…

TOM: Uh… game’s over. You can reboot.

[ CROW and TOM look at each other. ]

CROW: Give it a tug.


[ TOM turns around, pulling his rope. The box lifts, revealing JOEL kissing GYPSY’s cheek. ]

CROW, TOM: Gah!

JOEL: [ Noticing them ] Oh, hi there.

TOM: Well — what — what are you doing?

GYPSY: Gotcha!

JOEL: You were trying to cheat!

TOM: No! No, no, no —

MAGIC VOICE: Crow moved the pieces.

[ CROW growls. ]

JOEL: Guys, you can’t put Magic Voice in a box. She’s like Springtime, or children’s laughter, or green. You should know better.

CROW, TOM: We’re sorry.

GYPSY: That’s gonna cost you two free turns, Crow.

JOEL: Each.

CROW: Grr… aahhh…

TOM: I recommend surrender.

CROW: [ Angrily ] I’ll take it.

MAGIC VOICE: Commercial sign in five seconds.

JOEL: Now what did we learn here?

GYPSY: Don’t use "Reboot" to cheat in board games.

JOEL: Exactly. Give me a hug, guys. We’ll be right back.


[ JOEL hugs GYPSY and CROW as COMMERCIAL SIGN flashes. JOEL taps TOM’s head, and then COMMERCIAL SIGN. ]

[ COMMERCIAL BREAK ]

[ to continue … ]

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 11 of 16)


I hope that you’re still enjoying this MiSTing of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fan fiction “Breaking the Barriers”. I’ve enjoyed looking back at this Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction I wrote around 2003. You should be able to read the entire MiSTing at this link.

In the story so far Carrie has discovered a portal between small-town Ontario and the digital world of Reboot. Fortunately she lives in small-town Ontario and has a great time meeting the show’s heroes. Unfortunately the show’s villains emerge into small-town Ontario and threaten Melonville’s mall. She with the help of series hero Bob is able to get Megabyte back into the computer, but the digital virus Symble is getting into the action, and maybe even the mall.

If I wrote this today I wouldn’t use the leadoff joke about “can we go?” “No”. I feel the jokes about being stuck watching the source material work in the context of the actual show. Joel/Mike/Jonah and the bots are trapped watching. But, here? It’s harder to disbelieve that I chose to spend my time reading this, and that I must enjoy it enough to continue reading it. Plus it might give my readers ideas.

Houghton is a small town in Michigan’s upper peninsula, at the base of the Keweenaw Peninsula, which pokes out into Lake Superior. I used to know someone who went to school there. That said the last actual Radio Shack I saw in Michigan was around 2016 in Suttons Bay, a tiny town off the Grand Traverse Bay in the lower peninsula, and I think they were having a going-out-of-business sale.

I no longer remember the meaning of the “Thinkit” reference. Enik was the “good” Sleestak from the original, 1970s, Land of the Lost series. Yes, I know, he was actually one of the Altrusian forebears of the Sleestak propelled by a time-portal accident into (for him) a post apocalyptic future he hoped he could escape and somehow prevent, but it’s important not to add unenlightening complications when you explain something.

The Compute!’s Gazette thing about undoing the ‘NEW’ command. ‘NEW’ was the command you typed in to erase whatever program was in your Commodore’s memory. But it didn’t really erase your program. It just put zeroes at the start of the program’s memory, the code for ‘end of program’. If you started typing a new program, that would replace what used to be there. But if you didn’t? If you used the ‘POKE’ command you could change those zeroes back to a sensible start of your program, and undo this ‘erasure’. Learning this kind of thing is what I did in the 1980s instead of having fun.

You can tell this is my sort of humor writing because no successful writer would leave in a joke about tariff rates within the British Commonwealth.


>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
>

JOEL: That’s actually a very funny joke, but only on Hollerith cards.

> Part Twenty-Two

CROW: The house is busted. Can we leave?

TOM: No.

>
> Bob stood silently, watching the computer screen for any sign
> that Symble had succeded.

CROW: The smiley face isn’t sign enough?

> He had teamed up with him in the hopes that
> Symble would be trustworthy enough to keep helping him.

JOEL: That’s probably wiser than teaming up with Phong, Dot, and Enzo.

> He had heard
> rumours about a sprite and a virus initializing a child, but he had
> passed it off as fanciful speculation.

TOM: Mixed dating? Unthinkable!

> When Symble told him he was a
> hybrid, he had remembered all those rumours and whispered stories.

CROW: But after he met Symble’s lovely parents Sarek and Amanda, he underestood.

> Suddenly, Carrie’s computer began to beep,tearing him from his
> thoughts. Bob looked over at Megabyte. "That should mean that
> Glitch was successful."

TOM: Or that she’s wanted on Yahoo Messenger. I’m not sure.

> he told him, "This should take you to
> Mainframe. I’ll follow after."

CROW: [ As Bob, snickering ] Right behind. Yup. Just head on in…

JOEL: Doctor *Robotnik* wouldn’t fall for a stunt like *this*.

> Megabyte looked down at Bob. "I
> trust you wouldn’t try to doublecross me."

TOM: Even though he’ll never get as good a chance again ever.

> He rumbled, suspitiously.
> "I can’t." Bob said. "I don’t belong here either."

CROW: I’m not even supposed to be here today.

>
> Bob turned and walked over to Carrie. "I’m going to go after
> Megabyte

JOEL: [ As Carrie ] But he’s right here.

TOM: [ As Bob ] No, I mean I’m going in after him.

> so I can keep my end of the bargain." Bob said,

CROW: The bargain was he’ll let Megabyte go.

> "You’ll be
> okay. Won’t you?" Carrie nodded. "I know about vampires."

JOEL: How?

> she
> assured him. "He didn’t do enough damage to seriously hurt me.

CROW: She can replicate spare parts and be back to operational in just a couple star dates.

> But I
> want to go with you!!" Bob shook his head. "I don’t want you to be in
> any danger." He whispered, "You’ll be safer here."

TOM: Besides, I don’t want to tell your parents about the vampire thing.

> He turned to see
> Megabyte being pulled into the computer screen.

JOEL: It’s a good thing Carrie has a wide screen monitor. Can you picture them all squeezing into a Macintosh SE?

> Carrie forced herself
> to sit up.
>
> "I’m going with you." She told Bob, then pulled herself up
> onto her shaky legs. She lost her balance, and started to fall.

JOEL: Looks like she picked the wrong week to start roller skating everywhere.

> Bob
> caught her, and Carrie wrapped her arms around him, startled by her
> inability to stand.

TOM: [ As Bob ] Carrie, uh, me leaving is more effective if I go.

> "Be careful!" Bob said. Carrie looked up into
> his eyes as he supported her weight.

CROW: Meanwhile Megabyte’s had enough computer time to conquer the mainframe ten times over.

> She hated not being able to
> recover quickly, but yet, she loved being held by Bob.

JOEL: Like she was the entire walk back from the mall.

> She smiled at
> him sheepishly, and he returned it with his killer smile. Carrie’s
> imagination began to fly. She had hoped for this moment for so long!
> To be held by Bob was a dream come true!!

TOM: To hold Bob here while Megabyte conquers his home computer and all he holds dear!

> She continued to stare into
> his eyes, hoping he would sweep her off her feet, like he did in her
> dreams.

[ ALL hum theme from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ ]

> Instead, he picked her up and put her back on the couch.
> "You just stay here."

JOEL: Or I’ll turn this computer around and take you right … oh, you’re home.

> he said, softly brushing her cheek. "I’ll be
> seeing ya!" And he dove through Carrie’s computer screen.

TOM: Wait, they should’ve swapped e-mail addresses.

>
> Carrie wasn’t about to be left behind. She got to her feet
> again, and dove towards her computer before her legs could give out.

CROW: Unfortunately, only her head and torso made it through before the portal closed again.

>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *

JOEL: It’s an ergonomically designed light saber.

>
> Part Twenty-Three

TOM: Skidoo!

>
> Symble stood warily as this virus approached him. He didn’t
> like the way she was looking at him.

JOEL: He’s creeped out by that popping out the eye and waving it around.

> It made him feel like a peice of
> hardware on sale in the shops lining Picadilly Circuits.

CROW: Picadilly? I hardly even know a … wait.
[ JOEL puts a hand on CROW’s shoulder. ]

TOM: Since this story was written Picadilly Circuits has become a Radio Shack in Houghton, Michigan.

> "Who are
> you?" he asked. The virus smiled, revealing sharp teeth.

TOM: Martha Ray, Denture Wearer.

> Symble
> stepped back cautiously. "You needn’t fear me yet." Hexadecimal said.
> "I am Hexadecimal,

JOEL: Thinkit will be so glad to know.

> and I control Lost Angles, for now." She stepped
> closer, and Symble hissed warningly, baring his fangs.

CROW: Wouldn’t it be funny if his teeth fell out right now?

TOM: The vampire fangs would be scarier if he didn’t have the kooky googley eye glasses and Groucho nose too.

> "I may be half
> virus, but don’t provoke me.

TOM: Unless his other half is Neville Chamberlain.

> I will erase anyone who threatens me.
> Virus or Sprite." Hexadecimal giggled.

CROW: Hey, they’re chattering vampire teeth!

> It was a rather unpleasant
> sound, and it made Symble all the more uncomfotable around this virus.

JOEL: He should change his laugh sound to that charming ting noise.

> He was getting very close to the portal now, and he could feel the
> energy radiating from it.

TOM: [ As Bela Lugosi ] PULL the STRINGS!

> "Come now." Hexadecimal said. "You’re new
> around here, and I want to know who you are."
>

CROW: Why not check his web site?

JOEL: There’s spiders in it.

> Suddenly, someone stepped out of the portal. He was a virus
> once again, and he prefered it that way.

TOM: We now join our plot already in progress.

> He looked over to find the
> virus that had sent him through the portal in the first place standing
> in front of Hexadecimal.

JOEL: Enik?

> This virus was poised defensively, and he
> could tell that Hex found this rather amusing.

CROW: It is … oh, you kind of have to be here.

> Megabyte extended his
> claws.

TOM: I bet it’s a real bad day when that happens by accident.

> Virus or no virus, this newcomer had meddled in business other
> than his own, and he would pay dearly. Before Megabyte could do
> anything, he was hit from behind.

JOEL: Uh … woops … I meant to say, ‘Fore’ …

> He was thrown to the ground, and he
> could feel someone standing on his back. "Attack my partner?

TOM: Please!

> I don’t
> think so." Bob looked down at Megabyte, and then stepped off him.

CROW: This way Megabyte can escape and wreak havoc again.

> "I
> agreed to get you here, but I’m still not going to let you hurt anyone
> ." Megabyte stood up, and casually brushed himself off.

TOM: Oh, he’s doing his classic "Little Tramp" routine.

> Symble
> turned and looked at Bob. "So, you’ve returned." He said. "I guess
> this means the next move is mine."

CROW: They’re playing checkers by e-mail.

>
> He turned toward the portal, fully extending his blades.

JOEL: And he’s embarassed because today he only put on the cheese slicers.

> Before he could reach it, someone came diving through it.

TOM: Uh-oh … we could be looking at a Carrie-ka-bob.

> Symble
> caught the figure, and looked into the face. It was Carrie. She was
> unconcious and partially erased.

CROW: Fortunately, Bob read the article in Compute!’s Gazette about how to undo the ‘NEW’ command.

> Symble turned to Bob as he ran
> forward. "Oh no!" Bob said, "I told her not to follow me!"

TOM: Maybe this was pure coincidence.

> He took
> Carrie from Symble and picked her up. She was very weak. Her energy
> had been almost completly drained.

JOEL: The Pizza Hut didn’t save her life after all?

> She was even becoming transparent.

CROW: Aw, that’s just because her skin’s the Chroma-Key color.

> *I have to get help!* he thought. He pulled out his zip-board.
> Before he could get on it, Megabyte grabbed his arm. "Guardian." he
> said.

TOM: You said you’d call.

> "You still have your end of the bargain." Bob just looked at
> him. "I’ll keep my end." he told him.

JOEL: Look, it’s the fifth door on the right, just after the bathroom. Sheesh.

> "But first, I have to help
> Carrie." Megabyte frowned. "Only if I go with you." he rumbled,
> ominously.

TOM: Or what, he’s going to attack Bob and almost kill Carrie?

> Bob started to protest, then thought the better of it.
> "Alright." he said. "Let’s go."
>

TOM: Did they even need to *go* to Canada?

JOEL: With those scenes the story qualifies for better tariff rates in the Commonwealth.

TOM: Oh.

[ to continue … ]

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 10 of 16)


Welcome to part 10 of my Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fanfic, “Breaking the Barriers”. You can read, and I hope enjoy, the whole story at this link. You can read, and I hope enjoy, all my MiSTings at this link.

A mysterious portal opened between our protagonist and author Carrie’s home and the world of Reboot. After journeying into the pioneering animated series, its characters went and pioneered right back into Carrie’s small Canadian hometown. Big series bad guy Megabyte, translated into the real world, turns out to be a vampire and to hang out at the mall. And what’s on at the food court but Carrie?

Back when I wrote this around 2002, that Google could give you results in any language or even “Elmer Fudd-ese” was a new and fresh and weird discovery. The Thundarr the Barbarian riff alludes to one episode where Ariel magically gigantifies some dimes so they can be shields. I have replaced one riff that I think was too easy to mis-read as sexist. And otherwise I’m not sure there are any other riffs that could benefit from explanation. So, failing that, please enjoy.


>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
>

JOEL: Hadrian’s Wall, the early years.

> Part Twenty
>
> Carrie’s mind began to whirl. Nothing like this had ever
> happened to her before.

CROW: Except that one weekend she saw Yancy Street.

> She began to panick, kicking and fighting
> feebly against Megabyte’s iron grip. She could feel herself losing
> conciousness, when Megabyte suddenly pulled away and looked at Bob.

TOM: His venom turned her into Silver Age Lois Lane.

> "Now, Bob." he rumbled, " Your friend will not be harmed any further
> if you do as I asked."

JOEL: Hey, should Carrie and Bob have garlic breath that chases him off?

> Carrie hung limply in Megabyte’s arms. She
> tried desperately to speak or lift her head, but she had no energy.

CROW: Her neck deflated!

> She could see Bob out of the corner of her eye, and she watched in
> horror as he looked down at the ground, submissively. "Alright,
> Megabyte."

TOM: Megabyte is *this* close to crossing the line.

> He whispered. "I’ll bring you back, but you have to allow
> me to look after Carrie." Megabyte chuckled.

CROW: [ As Megabyte ] "Dilbert" was really funny today!

> "You are in no position
> to bargain, Guardian." Then he smiled, "But, I am not totally without
> mercy."

TOM: Aren’t you supposed to be?

> He held Carrie out for Bob to take. Carrie could feel Bob’s
> arms, and suddenly she was free of Megabyte’s grip.

CROW: [ As Megabyte ] Whoops — slipped!

>
> She felt safer in Bob’s arms, yet she was terrified at the
> same time.

JOEL: Megabyte doesn’t have a way of soothing people around him.

> Bob couldn’t let Megabyte into the Supercomputer!! He
> could conquer any system if he got into the Armory!

TOM: Within days the world could be flooded with spam and dopey online petitions.

> She struggled to
> force her body to move. She had to tell Bob not to do it!! Then she
> realized something.

JOEL: Turning into a vampire could be really cool.

> If Bob had Glitch, then the tear wasn’t a portal
> anymore.

CROW: That’s a sentence we’ve never seen before.

> How had Bob gotten through?

TOM: Maybe the tear was still a portal.

> Did he have someone helping
> him? Her mind was a jumble of questions as they entered her house and
> went down into the basement.

JOEL: [ As Carrie ] Why does Megabyte want my laundry?

> As they approached her computer,
> Carrie’s fear grew.

CROW: They might find her archive of naughty Animaniacs pictures!

> This meant that Bob really was going to allow
> Megabyte into the Supercomputer to save her. She had to stop him!!

TOM: They’re not saying a lot on this hike home.

JOEL: It’s that awkward silence where they were quiet too long to just start talking again.

>
> "Now, Bob. I want a portal to the Supercomputer’s Armory."
> Megabyte demanded.

CROW: [ As Bob, bargaining ] I know how to make Google’s translate-to-Elmer-Fudd your home page.

> Bob gently placed Carrie on her couch, brushing
> the hair off her forehead gently. "Don’t worry," Bob whispered to
> her. "I know what I’m doing."

TOM: First time for everything, huh?

> Carrie smiled weakly, "I don’t want you
> to let him through just to save me." She whispered hoarsely.

JOEL: But a promise is a promise…

> "Now,
> Guardian." Megabyte interrupted. Bob stood up and turned to Megabyte.
> "I’ll do it." Bob said,

TOM: But before I do, I want you to sing "You’re A Grand Old Flag." Two verses.

> "But you have to allow Carrie to stay behind,
> to make sure she’ll be okay."

CROW: [ As Bob ] Uhh… will you fall for that?

> Megabyte smiled. "Certainly," he said
> softly,

TOM: We wouldn’t want to keep his hostage around until after his demands are met.

> "We wouldn’t want her to suffer, would we?" Bob pulled Glitch
> from his pocket and opened it.

JOEL: Scotty, beam us up.

> He quickly pressed the ‘send recorded
> transmission’ button Glitch had provided.

TOM: He’s pirating free TV!

> Silently, Glitch sent the
> message to Bob’s accomplice waiting on the other side.
>

JOEL: Unfortunately, it’s mistaken for that Nigerian financial scam.

> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
>

CROW: It’s a road map of Shipshewana, Indiana.

> Part Twenty-One
>

TOM: This is the chapter Charles van Doren helped with.

> He stood silently, peering at the tear before him. *Why do I
> always do this?* he thought.

CROW: For the love of the game?

> *I have better things to do.* He
> crouched down, extending his right blade slightly, and started to draw
> in the dust on the ground.

JOEL: If Marvel Comics owned Marvin the Paranoid Android.

> He was just becoming interested in his
> doodles, when his Web-Echo Collector chirped softly.

CROW: He accidentally created Flash animation.

> Looking around
> quickly, Symble made sure there were no more viral binomes around.

TOM: He sent them all back to Newton for binomial expansion.

> He
> had dealt with the ones that had followed Megabyte quickly enough that
> they had no time to call for backup.

JOEL: And by ‘dealt with’ we mean ‘killed.’

> He pulled the small Collector
> from his belt and listened to the message from Bob.

TOM: [ As Collector ] Bob Bob bo bob, banana fana fo fob, mee mi mo mob —

CROW: Click! Bzzzzzzz…

> ‘Symble,’

JOEL: Shephard.

> his
> Collector said, ‘I need you to open a portal to the Chalo Omega
> System’s energy transport.

TOM: Wouldn’t it solve the problem to beam Megabyte to whatever company owns Amiga this week and let them go bankrupt?

> You have to be ready for Megabyte.’
>

CROW: How scared can we get of a villain who fits on one three and a half inch floppy?

> The transmission ended and Symble stood up. He walked toward
> the tear, and extended both blades.

JOEL: Oh, this scene’s just here for the symbolism.

> He stopped just in front of it,
> and closed his eyes in concentration.

TOM: Ohwaaaaa…

JOEL: Tagooooo…

CROW: Siammmmm…

> His breathing slowed and he
> lifted his blades toward the tear.

TOM: If those are conductive blades he could be setting himself up for a *nasty* shock.

> As they approached the sides, he
> opened his eyes again. They had become completely silver.

CROW: The sides, the blades, or his eyes? You make the call.

JOEL: Silver the color, or silver the metal?

> He looked
> forward unseeingly as his blades touched the sides of the tear. The
> energy began to course through his arms, and then his body,

CROW: Found the capacitor!

> yet he
> didn’t react in any way. He stood like that for a nano, then
> something incredible happened.

JOEL: He was hired as acting coach for "Enterprise."

> The tear flickered briefly, then
> became a silver sphere,

CROW: It’s a giant dime! Thundarr the Barbarian was looking for those!

> the same silver as Symble’s eyes had become.
> He stepped back and, blinking, his eyes returned to the usual black on
> red.

JOEL: This is a strange form of color-blindness to catch.

>
> Another person was looking on, quietly from the shadows.

CROW: Polonius!

> She
> had witnessed the whole scene with Megabyte and a sprite she had never
> seen before.

TOM: It’s Carrie’s mom, she’s reading the story!

> The Guardian had followed behind, after foolishly
> testing this new virus.

JOEL: These British newspapers are quirky.

> What she couldn’t figure out was why this
> virus had helped Bob follow her brother. Hexadecimal was glad to see
> him go.

CROW: Binary, octal, and sexagesimal were torn and undecided.

> Now she had all of Mainframe to herself. Yet, she felt
> compelled to simply sit and watch the virus as he guarded the portal.

TOM: It’s not the virus so much as it is the flying toasters.

> She found him intriguing, almost as though she knew him from
> somewhere.

JOEL: She saw him on an earlier episode of the show!

> What she found especially facinating was the fact that
> this virus could also form portals, but by using tear energy, rather
> than his own, as she did.

CROW: Never underestimate the power of a good cry.

> *I must meet this new one.* she thought,
> then stepped from the shadows.
>
> Symble’s ears turned as they picked up a sound behind him. He
> whirled and looked around warily. "Who is out there?"

CROW: Carrie hasn’t decided yet who to have in the story. Sorry.

> he asked the
> silence, "Show yourself!"

JOEL: At least do some funny shadow puppet tricks!

> He stood, poised on the balls of his feet,
> ready to pounce, when a very feminine virus stepped out from the
> shadows.

TOM: What makes a computer virus feminine?

CROW: When she holds your files you only pay 71 cents on the dollar ransom.

> "You don’t have to worry about me." she murmured,

JOEL: I worry for me, so you don’t have to!

> "I pose
> you no harm…yet." Symble watched as her mask changed to a
> suspitious one.

TOM: [ Laser noises ] Ptoo… ptoo ptoo…

> "But, what are you doing in my brother’s territory?"
> Symble looked at her, surprised. "Your….Brother?"

CROW: Luke?

[ to continue … ]

MiSTed: Reboot: Breaking the Barriers (Part 9 of 16)


We’ve reached the halfway point in my current Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction. This is of Carrie L—‘s Reboot fan fiction, “Breaking the Barriers”. You can read the whole MiSTing here, and I hope you enjoy it. The mysterious portal that brought Carrie into the world of beloved animated series Reboot has returned, dropping her, Bob, Glitch, and the villain Megabyte in her Canadian hometown. And now — Megabyte has gone to the mall!

This was always one of my favorite MiSTings and the whole mall sequence is one of my favorite parts. I felt, at the time, like everything was landing well, and I still think so. The mall riffs have dated, but gloriously so. I couldn’t have written the jokes to be so late-90s/early-2000s if I’d tried. The host sketch to open this is also a weird delight. I kept up the conceit of playing out the Monopoly game while talking about other stuff. I think the Adam West jokes were from a first draft at a show-opener sketch that I could’t make work. But it served as a great introduction to Tom Servo’s thing. This sketch is packed with local riffs, and they’re based on Troy, New York, where I had just finished grad school. So the Latham Circle Diner, the 76 Diner, and the Chinese restaurant just south of it were real places. As the name suggests they were near, though not attached to, the Latham Circle Mall beloved in dead-mall … circles. Shalimar’s was this Pakistani-Indian restaurant in downtown Troy that I never ate at enough, but enjoyed each time I did, and am delighted to learn is still there. (Also the comic book shop across the street is still there, somehow.)

Kaya buns, meanwhile, are this kind of Malaysian/Singaporean treat, bread buns with sweet coconut jam filling. Also in the early 2000s Coke experimented with flavors like Lemon Coke, thus, the Durian Coke riff. Scooter Computer and Mister Chips (they’ve got the answers at their fingertips) was a set of public service advertisements ABC ran on Saturday mornings in the 80s trying to explain computers to kids. The “Kirsten to Bridge? Kirsten to Engineering?” riffs reference the legendary Stephen Ratliff Kids Crew/Marrissa Picard stories. I participated in the riffing on many of those. I’d like to share them, but I’m not sure if I ought without permission from the co-authors. At least the editor. (Where possible. Bill Livingston, one of the greatest MST3K fanfic writers of the era, died about a decade ago, for example.)

This segment closes on the riff “If Carrie had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened”. This was a line I put in pretty near every MiSTing I wrote for a long while. It was drawn from the Woody Woodpecker cartoon Bunco Busters, a cop show spoof, in which Woody keeps falling for Buzz Buzzard’s cons while the stern narrator tells us how this could have been avoided. Turns out I got the line wrong. The narrator says “If Woody had gone right to the police, this would never have happened.” The difference is tiny but it hurts me that I got it wrong. But it had been like fifteen years since I’d seen the cartoon, and it was basically impossible to watch videos online in 2002, even if Woody Woodpecker cartoons had been online. So I must live with a misquoted riff in, like, everything I wrote. Too bad.

Alex Trebek was from what is now Greater Sudbury, Ontario. This fact exhausts what I knew of the place in 2002 as well as what I know now.



[ SATELLITE OF LOVE DESK. The Monopoly set is still on the desk, with the pieces pretty well moved around; a few houses are scattered around the board, including one on Free Parking. GYPSY, CROW, and JOEL are waiting. CROW seems deep in thought. ]

MAGIC VOICE: Why is it always the guy whose turn it is who goes missing?

GYPSY: Would you notice if somebody else left?

JOEL: OK, we give him another minute then go on.

[ TOM SERVO pops up. ]

JOEL: Hey, Magic Voice, can I buy the Peanuts edition from you?

MAGIC VOICE: But you can’t do anything with it.

JOEL: I know, but I like Peanuts.

MAGIC VOICE: Give me a turn to think it over.

JOEL: Fair enough. Hey, Crow, buddy, you awake?

CROW: [ As JOEL nudges him. ] Oh! Joel, do we really know that Ariel (Disney’s The Little Mermaid) and Adam West were different people?

JOEL: [ Taken aback ] Well, one was a cartoon, who could sing, and who was surrounded by colorful and zany characters.

GYPSY: And the other was a mermaid.

CROW: Yeah, but did we ever see them both at the *same* *time*? And if we did, did we know the ‘Adam West’ wasn’t a robot or Alfred in disguise?

JOEL: Uh … well …

[ As ALL ponder this, TOM jumps up. ]

TOM: Greetings!

JOEL: Ah, Tom, it’s your turn. [ He rolls the dice. ]

TOM: Please, do not be alarmed by my presence!

CROW: We’re not. We want to know if you’re buying the Disney edition.

TOM: Yes, I am Thomas Servo. I come to you from the “real world”! In it, you are all the beloved characters from a famous television show.

[ Two beats. ]

CROW: All right, Tom, and where are you going with —

TOM: I’m new to this world! Don’t fear me.

GYPSY: He’s not gonna buy the title.

JOEL: [ Giggling ] So would you like some of our un-real food?

TOM: Why, yes, please.

JOEL: OK. So what do we give a visitor to our reality?

CROW: Ten seconds to go or pass.

GYPSY: How about a RAM chip?

JOEL: Or a block of cheddar cheese?

TOM: White Castle burger would be nice.

CROW: Roll for Cambot, Joel.

[ CAMBOT quickly nods. JOEL rolls; he moves the piece. ]

JOEL: You know what I’d like, my first meal in a new dimension? A thick chocolate shake.

CROW: Fine, then. Kaya buns.

GYPSY: Hey, that’s my square. [ JOEL takes $80 from CAMBOT’s pile and gives it to GYPSY. ] Maybe we should take him to a restaurant?

JOEL: Old Country Buffet for somebody from another dimension?

TOM: I’d be fine with Popeye’s too.

CROW: Now, see, I’d say the Latham Circle Diner or Shalimar’s is more representative of our reality.

GYPSY: Or the 76 Diner, on Route 9.

JOEL: The Chinese buffet just south of there.

[ JOEL rolls, advances GYPSY’s token. ]

MAGIC VOICE: The one with the pizza slices? And the Philly cheesesteaks?

GYPSY: Yeah!

JOEL: That’s the one.

TOM: Yes, this will do nicely.

CROW: Ok, you going to drive, Joel?

JOEL: Yeah, let’s go.

[ JOEL starts to leave; GYPSY and CROW follow, leaving TOM alone. ]

GYPSY: Shotgun!

MAGIC VOICE: [ A moment behind GYPSY ] Shotgun!

CROW: [ Leaving camera ] Aw, you always get shotgun.

JOEL: [ Leaving camera, voice fading ] The rules are the rules. Hey, what’s with this Adam West/Little Mermaid thing?

GYPSY: [ Off-camera, fading ] Usually you think like that at the start of the day’s experiment.

CROW: [ off-camera, faint ] I don’t know, it just came up is all.

[ Several beats. ]

TOM: I don’t think I’m interacting with this reality well.

[ TOM looks around. ]

TOM: Hey, the Coca-Cola edition’s mine! Crow owes me!

[ MOVIE SIGN flashes ]

TOM: And now we’ve got movie sign too… JOEL!

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

[ THEATER. TOM is by himself. ]

>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *

TOM: It’s a very confused trail of ants.

>
> Part Eighteen

TOM: This was the original title of Part Twenty-Two.

>
> As Megabyte wandered through the crowd, he wondered if
> everything about him had changed.

TOM: You ever feel like the world’s Manhattan and you’re Greater Sudbury, Ontario?

> He certainly felt different. His
> normal viral impulses had given way to stronger and stranger ones.

TOM: He’s becoming a compulsive spender.

> For some reason, all these people surrounding him, seemed like prey.

TOM: Even his bunny books seem empty to him.

> Yet, they only talked to and interacted with each other. He could see
> no evidence that anyone looked upon him as a predator.

TOM: Maybe Canadians just don’t naturally distrust mall-walkers.

> And he also
> had this knowledge that he was now able to infect them, but not as a
> virus.

TOM: So interdimensional portals give you a lot of exposition?

> Unsure of these feelings, he simply continued to wander
> through the crowds.

TOM: And he’s attacked by a focus group that wants to know if he likes new Durian Coke.

>
> As Carrie and Bob ran into the crowd of people, they began
> looking for Megabyte.

TOM: He’ll be easy to spot, since he’s the only guy at the mall with a proper name.

> "Can you see him?" Carrie asked. "No." Bob
> said.

[ JOEL, CROW file in. JOEL cracks open a fortune cookie. ]

TOM: About *time*, guys.

JOEL: "Your friends are often surprised by your kindness."

TOM: That’s an ambiguous fortune.

CROW: It’s your cookie, Tom.

[ JOEL feeds the cookie pieces to TOM. ]

> "He’s no where in sight." "Maybe we should split up and look
> for him that way." Carrie said. Bob thought about that for a second.

JOEL: Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma can check the basement. We’ll check the attic.

> "O.K." he said, "But, I’m giving you Glitch’s extension peice. If you
> find him, call me through Glitch. Don’t confront him alone."

CROW: Yeah, that advice will last for seconds.

> Carrie
> blushed at his concern for her well being. "Thanks," she said, taking
> the extension. "I’ll be careful."

MAGIC VOICE: [ Startling JOEL, TOM, and CROW ] Fifteen seconds until Carrie is captured. Fifteen seconds.

JOEL: [ Recovering his composure ] I knew that.

TOM: Did *not*.

> Bob smiled shyly, then did
> something really unexpected. He stepped close to Carrie, and kissed
> her gently on the cheek. "I don’t want you to get hurt."

CROW: But it is, after all, Ape Law.

> He
> whispered, then turned and entered the crowd. Carrie just stood there
> for a moment, shocked and pleasantly surprised.

JOEL: [ As Carrie ] Boy, this couldn’t be any better, nothing could possibly happen to me now …

> *I’m glad Dot’s not
> here.* she thought, *Or I’d be in BIG trouble now.*

CROW: [ As Carrie ] I’m glad I started wearing high heels today. And this chic tight skirt, sure, I can’t run, but I look great!

> Smiling, she took
> off in the other direction to look for Megabyte.

TOM: [ As Carrie ] It’s going to be a nice easy shift, and good, ’cause it’s just two days until my retirement.

>
> As Bob ran swiftly through the crowd, his mind raced at an
> even greater speed.

JOEL: Did you know the fastest computer in the world is a PDP-11 that’s been dropped from a helicopter?

> *Where did that come from?* he wondered, *Why in
> the world would I kiss Carrie, and never Dot? Is she so different?*

TOM: [ As Bob ] Maybe it’s me. Maybe *I’m* Carrie, and she’s Dot. Does that make sense?

> His mind was a flurry of questions as he realized something. He
> didn’t even know what Megabyte looked like as a human.

CROW: D’oh!

TOM: Just because he’s the Guardian of Mainframe doesn’t mean he can handle a Kaybee Toys.

> Carrie hadn’t
> told him. *Well, no wonder,* he thought, *After what you did, how
> could she be thinking straight?*

JOEL: ‘Cause girls turn stupid when they kiss.

> Bob knew Carrie liked him. He
> turned, deciding to see if he could find her.

CROW: You left her ten seconds ago, how hard do you have to look?

> *Wait,* he thought, and
> pulled Glitch from his pocket. "Glitch," he said, "communication to
> extension."

JOEL: Kirsten to Bridge?

> Glitch beeped, then processed the request. After a
> couple of seconds, it beeped again, this time, puzzledly.

JOEL: Kirsten to Engineering?

> ‘Connection
> unsuccessful. No reply.’ Glitch displayed. Bob stared at the screen in
> shock.

CROW: Bob’s the kind of person who hangs up on the second ring.

> "Glitch, trace location of extension." Glitch displayed a
> small map with a blinking dot.

TOM: You’re here, and she’s got the traveller’s cheques there.

> Closing Glitch, Bob ran to the spot it
> had shown him. Looking around, Bob couldn’t see Carrie anywhere.

CROW: I bet he wishes he had traceroute up and running now.

> Then, he looked down at the ground. There was Glitch’s extension, and
> it was crushed.

JOEL: Absolutely heartbroken!

> The gravel on the ground showed signs of a struggle.

TOM: Yes, Carrie’s pager fought back brilliantly.

> *No!* Bob thought, then something else caught his eye. Picking it up,
> he realized what it was.

CROW: Shiny things are pretty!

> It was a broken necklace, bearing the name
> ‘Mouse’.

TOM: [ As Bob ] Somebody else had a "Mouse" necklace too!

>
> * * * * * * * *
> * * *
>

CROW: Couple more pieces and we can make a Lego axe.

> Part Nineteen
>
> Carrie struggled and fought against Megabyte, trying
> desperately to break free.

JOEL: She should trace a little green marker around his edge.

> "Now now," He rumbled, "You know that
> won’t do you any good."

TOM: You’d think this could attract the attention of the mall cops.

> Carrie continued to fight, hoping to loosen
> his grip enough that she could slip away. *If I can just get to Bob,
> or tell him about this somehow!!*

CROW: [ As Carrie ] Oh, why couldn’t I have been pulled into the world of Scooter Computer and Mister Chips?

> she thought, *He could get me out of
> here.* Megabyte dragged Carrie behind one of the generator trucks,
> and set her on the ground. "If you scream," Megabyte said,

TOM: You’ll be in SOOOOO much trouble…

> "Your
> punishment will be very severe." Carrie’s eyes widened as he spoke.

JOEL: He’s not a very good makeout artist.

> *Oh, God!!* she thought. Megabyte was no longer a virus, but he
> wasn’t human either.

TOM: Not to suggest that all Armani-wearing white guys are evil inhuman monsters out to destroy the world.

CROW: There are nearly two dozen guys who aren’t.

> He looked normal, except for one thing. He had
> fangs. *Just like a…Oh No!!* Carrie’s mind raced. Only one kind of
> creature had teeth like that, but they weren’t supposed to exist.

CROW: They’re not real, like Megabyte.

> They were myths!! *He’s a….a ….Vampire!!* Carrie’s mind screamed
> at her. She sat unmoving as Megabyte removed his hand from her mouth.

TOM: Oh, sheesh… now cut that out!

JOEL: I dunno, I could buy it when the computer pulled Carrie into "Reboot," but this is getting kind of out there.

> "Good." he said, standing up straight. Carrie looked up at him.
> "What do you want with me?" She asked him. He chuckled richly. "You
> are the bait to catch a Guardian." He said.

JOEL: You and this can of mealworms.

> "You are my ensurance
> that he will send me back to Mainframe."

TOM: You just *left* Mainframe.

> He thought silently for a
> few seconds, then smiled, evily. "Maybe even to the Supercomputer!"

CROW: Did he even have to *go* to the mall?

JOEL: His plan was to get out of Carrie’s bedroom, lose Carrie and Bob, wander around, find Carrie and Bob, and get to Carrie’s bedroom.

>
> Carrie pulled her knees up to her chest, and hugged them
> tightly. *What am I going to do?* she thought, *I can’t let this
> happen!*

TOM: Dare him to squeeze into a wireless networking card!

> She started to try and come up with a plan. If she could at
> least get him away from the Carnival, that would help.

CROW: What good luck — outside the Hudson’s Bay they just opened a new "World of Garlic and Silver Bullets"!

> She looked
> over at Megabyte. he was turned, looking at the Midway, expecting Bob
> from that direction.

TOM: We all expect Bob from one direction or another.

> *Maybe I can get away by going around the other
> way.* She straightened her legs, silently, then tried to stand up.

CROW: With her legs straightened that’s kind of tricky.

> "I wouldn’t try that if I were you." Megabyte said, not even turning.
> Carrie looked at him, surprised. *How did he know?* she wondered.

JOEL: He’s got eyes in the back of his head!

TOM: It’s not well known, but Megabyte *is* a Mom.

>
> Suddenly, Megabyte was hit in the chest by a flying brick.

CROW: Ignatz Mouse is *way* off base this time.

> He
> stumbled slightly as Bob came racing around the corner of the booth
> beside the truck. "Alright, Megabyte."

TOM: I’d give Carrie ten bucks to put Dig Dug here instead.

> He said, "This ends here!"
> Megabyte picked up the offending brick, and casually tossed it to the
> side. "Now, Bob."

JOEL: You could have hit someone with that. In fact, you did!

> He rumbled, "If you want your friend returned in
> one peice, I suggest you take me into the Supercomputer."

CROW: And, uh, any supplies of Krazy Glue you have would be appreciated.

> Reaching
> over, Megabyte caught Carrie before she could even attempt to run.
> Carrie turned to Megabyte.

TOM: [ As Carrie ] Oh, yeah, big strong guy, you can catch a girl who’s *sitting*.

> "I don’t care what you do!" She shouted at
> him. "I would rather have you kill me then see you get into the
> Supercomputer!!"

JOEL: [ As Bob ] Don’t look at me, I don’t know how you get into the Supercomputer from here.

> Megabyte smiled evily, and Carrie began to tremble
> with fear.

CROW: [ As Megabyte ] Run that first part by me again …

> "I don’t have to kill you," he said, "I have another
> ability I can use."

TOM: He can apply his extensive knowledge of Gilbert and Sullivan.

> Carrie’s eyes widened in fear as he once again
> clamped his hand over her mouth. He lifted her off the ground
> slightly, and pulled her head to the side.

JOEL: Bob’s got other things to do this scene.

> Smiling quickly at Bob, he
> opened his mouth, revealing his long fangs, then his head descended
> towards Carrie’s neck.

CROW: How does he know to do that?

> *Nooooo!!!* Carrie’s mind echoed Bob’s scream
> as she felt Megabyte’s fangs sink deeply into her skin.

JOEL: We’re veering dangerously close to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" territory now.

TOM: If Carrie had gone straight to the police, this would never have happened.

[ to continue … ]

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