Archive for the ‘Parodies’ Category

The Pirate steals songs, Batman rights wrongs – part 2

May 22, 2012

Batman rights wrongs

This is part two of a parody of the 1960s Batman TV series. 

Voiceover:

“We have already seen…

A charity premiere

But the movie’s not here!

The mayor’s been taken

All dogs love bacon!

The pirate plays a game

The batcomputer’s aflame!

Our heroes brave and bold…

Rickrolled!

Can Batman and Robin escape the certain doom of being crushed by a giant log? It looks hopeless…but have you seen this show?”

Batman and Robin are straining against the log, but it’s still rolling unstoppably, while Rick Astley cowers against the wall. They step away dramatically.

Robin: “Holy Sisyphus, Batman!”

Batman: “Don’t give up hope, old chum. Fortunately, I have something that might just do the trick!”

Batman pulls a tube out of his utility belt. It’s labeled “Bat-Termite”.

Batman: “Mastotermes darwiniensis, or rather, my own genetically-modified mutant strain…Mastotermes darwiniensis chiroptera…the Bat-Termite!”

Rick Astley; “A termite? Seriously?”

Batman: “I am always serious when lives are at stake! Chew, little termite, chew!”

Batman shakes the termite on to the log. Sawdust begins to fly, as the log rolls forward. When the log rolls far enough and the bat-termite reaches the floor, though, we see the termite chew through the floor and disappear through  a hole it has made.

Robin: “Holy Hogan’s Heroes! It escaped through a tunnel!”

Batman: “Holy hole indeed, Robin!”

Robin: “Actually, I said ‘Holy Hogan’s Heroes’.”

Batman. “Really? I just assumed–”

Rick Astley: “Don’t you have a bat-chainsaw or a bat-axe or something?”

Batman: “They would spoil the line of my utility belt.”

Robin: “Fashion is a powerful weapon against the criminal mind!”

Batman: “If only there was some way we could remotely contact Alfred! Some device that could transmit our voices across a distance without the use of wires!”

Rick Astley: “I have a cellphone.”

Batman: “Is it a bat-cellphone?”

Rick Astley: “Um…no.”

Robin: “Holy rotten luck!”

Batman: “The Boy Wonder is right! I appreciate your offer of assistance, citizen, but it would go against everything in which I believe to use a non-bat-item to save us. It’s unfortunate that you will also come to an untimely demise, bones snapping and being ground into dust, excrutiatingly squashed into unrecognizable jelly, but better to die than to live an unbranded life.”

Robin: “Gosh, that was deep!”

Batman: “Perhaps if I recalibrate my batarang, I can turn it into a bat-tuning fork! There’s one chance in a billion that I can hit the right frequency, which should dissolve the molecular bonds in the Pirate’s lethal log!”

Rick Astley: “Or you could just tell me the number, and I could dial it! That way, you wouldn’t be the one to use the device…and I wouldn’t die!”

Robin: “What do you think, Batman?”

Batman: “I still like the tuning fork idea.”

Robin: “A billion to one is pretty long odds.”

Batman: “You see, Robin! Math does serve a useful purpose. Your use of a statistical argument has convinced me.”

Robin: “Gosh yes, Batman. I’ll hit those math books twice as hard when we get home.”

Rick Astley: “What’s the number?!”

Batman: “Gotham City 5-5555.”

Rick Astley dials the number. We hear Alfred: “Batcave: Alfred speaking.” There is a bit of awkwardness as Rick Astley tries to hand the phone to Batman, who won’t take it. Rick Astley ends up holding the phone up to Batman’s cowl.

Batman: “Alfred, this is Batman, the caped crusader.”

Alfred: “Yes, sir. I’m sorry it took me so long to answer the phone. I was regrouting the bat-hot tub. How may I be of service?”

Batman: “Is the laser-equipped Earth-circling Batellite still in geosynchronous position over Gotham City?’

Alfred: “I believe so, sir.”

Batman: “I need you to program it to project a Robin-shaped beam precisely 375 centimeters from my current position, adjusting for a downward rotational rate of three degrees per second.”

Alfred: “Very good, sir.”

Alfred walks over to a machine labeled “Laser-equipped Bat-satellite”, and pushes a single, large red button shaped like a bat.

We see a red beam cut a Robin-shaped hole in the log. Robin dashes through.

Robin: “Holy square peg! What now, Batman?”

Batman: “Look for some way to halt the progress of this fiendish mechanism!”

Robin finds a handle labeled: “Stop the fiendish mechanism.” The boy wonder throws the lever! The log stops, and begins reversing.

Alfred: “Will there be anything else, sir?”

Batman: “That should be sufficient for now…you may return to your grouting.”

Alfred: “Thank you, sir. I consider it a privilege.”

Rick Astley: “We’re saved! Thank you, Batman!”

Batman: “I was simply doing what any citizen with a geosynchronous laser-equipped satellite would have done.”

Rick Astley: “Um, right. By the way, I meant to say…I’m actually not a citizen, I’m from England.”

Batman: “We are all citizens of the world.”

The log has retracted. We can see Robin, and a stairway with a sign that says, “Exit from Deathtrap”.

Batman: “You may return to playing your music, Britizen. Let’s go, Robin…we have a pirate to pursue!”

Batman and Robin run up the stairs.

We bat-cut to Commissioner Gordon’s office. Mayor Judi Rooleeani is there, with Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara.

Commission Gordon: “Your Honor, it is fortunate indeed to see you back in command of this fair city. Chief O’Hara, I commend you and your men for your valiant action.”

Mayor Rooleeanee: “Actually, the Pirate dropped me off outside. The officers just rode up with me in the elevator.”

Chief O’Hara: “If only me and me boys had been there when the blackhearted scoundrel was here! I’d have shuddered his rudder.”

Commissioner Gordon: “I share your sentiment, Chief, but there will be no rudder shuddering without a court order…or a positive assessment of probable cause.”

Chief O’Hara: “I’d cause his probable!”

Mayor Rooleeani: “Listen, you two. Neither of you were there or were a part of this, so that doesn’t matter. In fact, I can’t think of the last time either of you were involved in anything more than a parking ticket! What do I pay you for?”

Commissioner Gordon: “It’s a mystery…and one I’m sure I can’t solve. However, there is one person who can…do you concur, Chief O’Hara?”

Commissioner Gordon reaches for the bat-phone…

Mayor Rooleeani: “Stop that!”

We bat-cut to the street outside a swanky restaurant named “The Crow’s Nest”. The Batmobile roars up (trailing bat-shaped bubbles). Batman and Robin unfasten their seatbelts and leap out. A uniformed parking attendant (Jay Leno) approaches them.

Attendant: “Valet parking?”

Batman: “No thank you, citizen. We are here to capture a major offender against the city’s civil code. It shouldn’t take long; we’ll just park at the meter. Besides, the Batmobile isn’t your average vehicle: not just anyone can drive it.”

Attendant: “I have some experience with exotic cars.”

Robin: “Holy in-joke!”

Batman: “Be that as it may, it won’t be necessary.”

Batman leaps to the meter, and we see a closeup of the utility belt as he pumps a little lever and it drops out quarters one at a time. We see a “bike rack” with the surfboards parked in it. There is a sign: “Amphibian surfboard parking only”.

Robin: “This looks like the right place, Batman! Gosh, it was smart of you to put bat-tracking devices on the Pirate’s surfboards! How did you know which ones to do?”

Batman: “Simple, Robin..I put bat-tracking devices on every surfboard in Gotham City.”

Robin: “Holy Big Bat-Brother!”

Batman: “It was a small matter to calculate the tracks of the surfboards which left the water, and led us here…to the Crow’s Nest.”

Robin: “Holy appropos!”

Batman: “I think it’s safe to assume that the Pirate and his high seas henchmen are using this newly established eatery as a front. To the batropes!”

Batman whirls a batarang and releases it! It sails up…and up…two stories…five stories…ten stories…twenty stories…now we’re getting bored! It wraps around a railing. Batman jerks it so it tightens. We cut to Batman and Robin doing a 

b

a

t

c

l

b

.

Robin: “Gosh, Batman, why do we always use the batropes? Why don’t we ever go up the elevator?”

Batman: “For the element of surprise, old chum!”

Robin: “But if we always do it the same way, why is it a surprise? Why aren’t the criminals just waiting for us at the window?”

A window pops open in the wall they are climbing. Lady Gaga leans out.

Lady Gaga: “Hello, Batman and Robin.”

Batman: “Good evening, citizen. What brings you to our city?”

Lady Gaga: “I’m doing a show at Gotham Square Garden.”

Robin: “Holy Little Monsters!”

Batman: “I hope your preparations are going well.”

Lady Gaga: “We’re all set. Although, say, I like the way you are climbing up the walls…maybe I could use that as my entrance.”

Robin: “Bat climbing isn’t for amateurs, miss. It takes years of practice.”

Lady Gaga: “Oh, I thought maybe you were born that way.”

Lady Gaga shrugs and closes the window. Batman and Robin continue their climb.

Voiceover: “Meanwhile…inside the Crow’s Nest restaurant…”

Hacker: “I’m still confused, Captain Boss. Why did we kidnap the Mayor, and then return her to police headquarters?”

The Pirate: “It be all part of a clever plan, you seagoing simpleton! While we had  the Mayor at the abandoned Pirate Bay attraction, I scanned her.”

Malware: “What for, Captain Boss?”

The Pirate: “So I can feed her statistics into this, what be me greatest invention…The Infringer! Then, we’ll be able to make all the unauthorized copies we want…hahr hahr hahr!”

We see Batman and Robin have arrived on a ledge outside the window.

Robin: “Let’s get ‘em, Batman!”

Batman: “Ready when you are, old chum! Those batclimbs are a good warm-up before a strenuous bout of batfighting!”

They are about to dash through the window when Batman pauses.

Batman: “Great Scott! Look who is being led to a table!”

We see Aunt Harriet and Alfred following a waitress in a pirate outfit.

Aunt Harriet: “Thank you for driving me, Alfred! I’ve heard that this restaurant has the most amazing seafood.”

Alfred: “I live to serve, madam.”

Batman is waving his hands wildly at the window. Alfred sees him. Batman points to Aunt Harriet, and makes a little walking motion with his fingers, to show Alfred he wants Aunt Harriet taken out of harm’s way. Alfred nods.

Alfred: “Madam, shall we go?”

Aunt Harriet: “Whatever for?”

Alfred: “Well, since we’ve finished dinner…”

Aunt Harriet: “Finished? But we haven’t started yet.”

Alfred: “Oh, but we have, madam. Don’t you remember? You said the mahi-mahi was delicious.”

Aunt Harriet: “Did I? I don’t recall.”

Alfred: “Yes, madam.”

Aunt Harriet; “Well, we must come here again some time, when I’m not quite so forgetful.”

Alfred: “As you wish, madam.”

Alfred winks at Batman, and ushers Aunt Harriet out of the restaurant. Batman and Robin bound into the dining room.

Batman: “Hold it right there, Pirate! Your sinister sailing days are through!”

Robin: “Yeah, you’ll be landlocked all right…landlocked in a jail cell!”

The Pirate: “Sink em, boys!”

The batfight breaks out…WOOT! LOL! BRB!

Batman and Robin are leaping off tables and smashing them over Hacker, Malware, and Trojan. Each of the henchmen goes down. Batman and Robin shake hands, and look from side to side for the Pirate. They spot him…next to the window! There is a plank sticking out of it, and on the plank is Katy Perry, in a leg-revealing leotard covered in feathers.

The Pirate: “I demand safe passage, Batman, or I’ll make her walk the plank!”

Robin: “Holy hostage!”

Batman: “Who are you, young lady?”

Katy: “I’m Katy Parrot. The Pirate hired me to replace his mechanical macaw.”

Batman: “Pirate, you fiend! Why did you do that?”

The Pirate: “I figured more people would pay attention to me this way.”

Robin: “Holy Yvonne Craig ratings desperation!”

Batman: “Now, Robin, don’t be sexist. Women can do anything that men can do…they just can’t be paid the same for it.”

Robin: “Gosh, Batman, you’re right…how insensitive of me.”

We hear a commotion, and Aunt Harriet enters quickly, followed by Alfred, who is trying to dissuade her.”

Aunt Harriet: “I’m sure I must have left my purse here in the restaurant, Alfred. Perhaps it’s in this cloakroom…”

Aunt Harriet enters The Infringer through a door. Lights begin to flash and we hear the sounds of a modem!  A progress bar quickly moves to 100%, and “Item Scanned” flashes in neon lights on the side.

The Pirate: “Hahr, hahr, hahr! It works!”

The Pirate dances a jig, moving away from Katy Parrot. Batman hits him with a decorative treasure chest, and he sinks to the floor.

Batman: “Alfred, help Miss Parrot! Robin, to The Infringer!”

Batman and Robin leap towards The Infringer. They open the door, and Aunt Harriet stumbles out…and then another Aunt Harriet…and another…

Robin: “Holy duplication!”

Batman: “The Pirate’s sinister server has created a herd of Harriets!”

Robin: “Holy stripped DRM!”

Alfred: “Sir, I’ve  noticed that there is another door labeled ‘Delete’. If you were to entice the copies to enter it, I should think that would dispose of them.”

Batman: “Good work, Alfred!”

Robin: “But how do we know which one is the real Aunt Harriet?”

Batman: “Simple, chum. Alfred, the fire alarm!”

Alfred: “Very good, sir.”

The alarm goes off and the overhead sprinklers engage. Everyone is getting wet, and on one Aunt Harriet, we can see the words “Harriet Cooper” appearing on her arm.

Robin: “Holy watermark!”

Batman: “Precisely, Robin. Some time ago, I took the precaution of marking everyone I know with a special invisible bat-tattoo. The chemicals in the ink interact with the hydrogen and oxygen in the water, becoming briefly visible, thus enabling me to verify their identities!”

Robin: “Why didn’t The Infringer duplicate the tattoo?”

Batman: “A scanner can’t scan what a scanner can’t see.”

Robin: “Holy tongue twister!”

Alfred has been feeding the duplicated Aunt Harriets into the delete door, and they’ve been disappearing. As the last one goes in, The Pirate recovers consciousness.

The Pirate: “What…what happened? Where are all the duplicates?”

Alfred: “What duplicates, sir?”

The Pirate: “You mean…you mean it didn’t work? I don’t understand…the programming was perfect.”

Batman: “No programming is perfect, Pirate…not even television.”

Robin: “Holy mixed metaphors!”

The Pirate: “Ahhhhrrr-choo! Ahhhhhhrrr-choo!”

Batman: “Caught a cold, Pirate?”

The Pirate: “I think I’m allergic to her feathers.”

Robin: “Well, there’ll be plenty more feathers where you are going…from the jailbirds!”

Commissioner Gordon, Police Chief O’Hara, and some uniformed officers enter the dining room.

Robin: “Holy obsolescence!”

Chief O’Hara: “Take ‘em away, boys!”

The uniforms and O’hara drag out The Pirate, Malware, Hacker, and Trojan.

Commissioner Gordon: “What about her, Batman? Evil moll or innocent bystander?”

Batman: “She’s not one of the boys, Commissioner.”

Katy Parrot: “That’s right. This whole thing has just been a bad teenage dream. Thank you for rescuing me, Batman!”

Batman: “No thanks are necessary, citizen. Alfred, will you see that Miss Cooper,  the aunt of Bruce Wayne’s ward, Dick Grayson, gets home safely to stately Wayne Manor?”

Alfred: “Certainly, sir. Miss Parrot, may we offer you a ride?”

Katy Parrot: “No, I’d better start looking for a job, now that I’ve lost this one.”

Robin: “Say, Batman, do you think that nice singer we passed on the way up here could use her?”

Batman: “No way to know for certain, Robin, but you can tell her Batman sent you, Miss Parrot. My friend, millionaire Bruce Wayne, owns a talent agency. I’ll have him send someone over to look after your interests.”

Katy Parrot: “That’s swell! Would he do that for me?”

Robin: “He’s a philanthropist, Miss Parrot. Just another rich guy helping out society.”

Batman: “Let’s go, Robin!”

Batman and Robin dash to the window.

Doodleedoodleedoodleedoodleedoo!

The final scene, in the sitting room at stately Wayne Manor.

Aunt Harriet: “Well, that was quite an evening!”

Alfred: “Indeed it was, Miss Cooper. I’ve taken the liberty of drawing you a warm bath upstairs.”

Aunt Harriet: “I still don’t understand what happened. At one point, I think I was seeing double!”

Bruce Wayne: “Fatigue can do that, Aunt Harriet. You’ll feel better in the morning.”

Alfred leads Aunt Harriet upstairs.

Dick Grayson: “Bruce, look!”

Another Aunt Harriet enters from the library.

Dick: “Holy viral video! I thought we got rid of all the duplicates!”

Bruce; “Unfortunately, Dick, once an illegal copy has been made, there is no way to eradicate it completely. I’m afraid these counterfeit Coopers will continue to pop up from time to time.”

Dick: “Isn’t there anything we can do?”

Bruce: “Not us this time, old chum. It’s up to the public, the good people of Gotham City. As long as they keep downloading unauthorized songs, videos, and e-books, the demand will exist. Until they stop, these criminals will keep infringing on the rights of law-abiding corporations and artists.”

Dick: “Holy futility!”

Bruce: “Never give up hope, Robin…never give up hope.”

THE END

(~^v^~)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

The Pirate Steals Songs, Batman Rights Wrongs – part 1

May 21, 2012

The Pirate Steals Songs, Batman Rights Wrongs – part 1

This is part one of a parody of the 1960s Batman series with Adam West and Burt Ward.

(~^v^~)

We see spotlights outside a swanky theatre, and then a banquet room filled with celebrities and rich people.

Voiceover: “A glamorous night in Gotham City…all of Tinselwood has turned out for the Wayne Foundation charity premiere of the latest Bat-blockbuster! Silence those cellphones, viewers…your feature is about to start!”

We cut to a table. Seated at it are millionaire Bruce Wayne (Adam West), his ward Dick Grayson (Burt Ward), a famous movie director  (Paul Reubens) and his wildly-dressed companion, Helena Troy Mondale (Kristen Wiig).

Dick: “Gosh, Bert Timmons! I think your movies are the coolest!”

Bruce: “I agree, Dick. They have an offbeat surrealist sensibility, not unlike the early cinematic efforts of Tod Browning.”

Helena: “Are you a student of the cinema, Mr. Wayne?”

Bruce: “I prefer the classical arts, Ms. Mondale, but I don’t deny the value of the artistry of the moving image.”

Bert: “Well, I really appreciate you hosting this exclusive premiere of my latest Batman movie, Bruce.”

Bruce:  “The Wayne Foundation is always ready to help out a charity…especially when it involves such lovely ladies.”

Helena: “Oh, Mr. Wayne!”

(Bert chuckles)

Dick: “I think they’re starting.”

We cut to a podium in front of a large screen showing the Wayne Foundation logo. Commisioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara flank the podium.  A woman walks to to the podium. We cut to a medium shot, and can see a name plate: “Mayor Judi Rooleeanee”.

Voiceover: “Ladies and gentlemen, Mayor Rooleeanee.”

Mayor Rooleeannee (Melissa McCarthy): “Citizens of our fair city, and distinguished visitors! Welcome to the Gotham Chinese Theatre! I want to first thank millionaire Bruce Wayne and the Wayne Foundation for their generous support. Second, thank you to director Bert Timmons and the lovely Helena Troy Mondale for allowing us this exclusive premiere of this movie, starring the city’s own caped crusader…Batman! I had hoped Batman himself might make an appearance, but it seems that he had another engagement. I don’t know what it could be, since we are the safest large city in the country…bat-villains excluded, of course.  If he was here, though, I’m sure he would ask you to give generously to the Orphans and Extras Fund on your way out, after your exclusive first look at Batman: Cave of Dreams!”

The lights stay up, and the screen changes to a green background. A piratey voiceover says, “This movie is rated Arrr!” The screen clears, and we see The Pirate (Will Ferrell).

The Pirate: “Yo ho ho and a bottle of bummer! You won’t be setting sail on an exclusive tonight!”

Bert: “Hey! That’s not my movie!”

The Pirate: “Information wants to be free! I’ve plundered your picture…but don’t worry, ye’ll all be seein’ it!”

Suddenly, we start hearing cellphones going off all around the room. We see Bert look at his phone, as a “Batman: Cave of Dreams” title card appears on it.

Bert: “Aah! They’ve stolen my movie and sent it to everyone in this room!”

Bruce: “Unless I miss my guess, the fiend has sent it to everyone in Gotham City.”

Dick: “Gosh, Bruce! Who’s going to donate to the Orphans & Extras now?”

The Pirate: “I’m thinkin’ that ye might all be wishin’ for a little less freedom right now. Well, never let it be said that The Pirate weren’t hospitable. I’ll be throwin’ the Mayor in the brig!”

The lights go out for literally just a second.

When they come back up, we see that the Mayor is missing!

Chief O’Hara: “Faith and begorrah!”

Commissioner Gordon: “The Mayor is gone!”

Dick: “Holy special elections!”

Bruce: “Well, Dick, since we aren’t going to see the movie tonight, I think we’d better get back to stately Wayne manor. After all, it is a school night.”

Dick: “You bet, Bruce! It was an honor to meet you, Mr. Timmons.”

Bert lets out a wail.

Bruce: “Don’t worry, Bert. The Wayne Foundation will make a generous donation in your name.  Good evening, Ms. Mondale. Let’s go, chum!”

Doodleedoodleedoodleedoodleedoo

We are at police headquarters.

Voiceover: “After a fruitless search for the city’s chief executive, Commissioner   Gordon and Chief O”Hara ponder the Pirates perfidious performance.”

O’Hara: “I don’t understand it. Me boys have scoured all of downtown, with nary a sign of her honor. If I could get me hands on that sea-going scoundrel, I’d keelhaul him!”

Gordon: “Now,Chief, while I understand your frustration, it will be up to the courts to determine an appropriate punishment…after a finding of guilty, of course.”

O’Hara: “Sure, and that’s the truth. I just don’t know what else we can do.”

Gordon: “Neither do I…but I think we know someone who might.”

Commissioner Gordon makes a call on the Bat-Phone. We do a bat-cut to stately Wayne Manor, where Bruce and Dick have just entered the sitting room.

Aunt Harriet: “You boys are home early. Wasn’t the movie good?”

Bruce: “Unfortunately, there were…technical difficulties.”

Aunt Harriet: “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that! A night at the picture show would have done you both some good.”

Alfred enters: “I’m sorry to interrupt. It’s the red phone, Master Bruce.”

Bruce: “Thank you, Alfred. We’ll take it in the library.”

We cut to the library, and Bruce on the phone.

Bruce: “The Pirate, you say? And the Mayor vanished? Fear not, Commissioner…we won’t waste a moment.” (hangs up dramatically) “To the Batpoles!”

(in the Batcave)

Robin: “Gosh, Bruce, I don’t understand. How did The Pirate get Mayor Rooleeanee out of the Gotham Chinese Theatre without anybody seeing them?”

Batman: “I have my suspicions, Boy Wonder, but let’s see what the Bat-Computer has to say.”

Batman pushes a few buttons. We can hear the relays closing, and the Batcomputer spits out a card, which Robin grabs and reads out loud.

Robin: “‘The Pirate could not have gotten the Mayor out of the theatre.’ Holy that does not compute!”

Batman: “Exactly as I had deduced.”

Suddenly, the Batcomputer begins making noises again, and another card spits out. Robin grabs it and read it: “Arr, Batlubber, you’ve been pinged!”

Batman: “Step back, Robin!”

Batman touches a button on the Batcomputer, and flames instantly appears, separating Batman and Robin from the Batcomputer.

Robin: “Holy flame-broiled burgers! What’s that?”

Batman: “Just a little security measure I installed on the Batcomputer. It prevents anyone who hacks into our system from getting any information or geolocating us.”

Robin: “But what is it?”

Batman: “The Bat-firewall.”

Robin: “Gee, that was smart, Batman! But how do we get to the Batcomputer now…and what did it mean by it saying it was impossible?”

Batman: “I’m afraid we won’t be able to use the Batcomputer for some time, Robin. Still, it’s never good to become too reliant on technology. The human brain is the greatest computer ever built.”

Robin: “Gosh, Batman, that’s right. I don’t know what I was thinking. You said you had an idea about what happened to the Mayor?”

Batman: “More than an idea…a theory, and the Batcomputer confirmed it. Did you notice anything unusual when the Mayor approached the podium?”

Robin: “It seemed like a perfectly ordinary star-studded event.”

Batman: “Although the microphone was open, there wasn’t the tell-tale sound of a woman’s heels on the floor, even though I had quite distinctly heard the sound of Commissioner Gordon and Chief O’Hara’s shoes as they had taken up their protective positions.”

Robin: “I don’t get it.”

Batman: “It’s simple: the Mayor was never in the theatre. What we saw was a clever three-dimensional illusion, created no doubt by that techno-fiend, the Pirate.”

Robin: “Holy hologram!”

Batman: “Precisely, Robin! Since it was impossible for The Pirate to have taken the Mayor from the benefit, the devil must have taken her before!”

Robin: “So what do we do now?”

Batman: “We think, Robin. The Pirate must have waited until the Mayor’s work was done for the day before absconding with her to his pirate ship. That means his hideout must be nearby. Now where would there be a pirate ship in Gotham City?”

Robin: “The old abandoned Pirate Bay attraction in Gotham Harbor!”

Batman: “You’ve done it, old chum! To the Batmobile!”

They leap into the Batmobile. We see “Bat airbag” icons appear on the dashboard, as they fasten their seatbelts.

Robin: “Atomic batteries to power…zero-emission turbines to speed!”

We see a shot of the back of the Batmobile, as bubbles come out of a pipe, form into bat shapes, and then pop. The Batmobile roars out of the Batcave, and we see it race off down the road.

Voiceover: “As the Dynamic Duo drives at the speed limit towards Pirate Bay, the Infamous Infringer taunts Gotham City’s duly-elected Chief Executive.”

We see the Pirate at a Captain’s Wheel (although we are indoors) and three henchmen. They are wearing shirts that have their names on them: HACKER, TROJAN, and MALWARE. The Pirate’s electronic parrot on his shoulder squawks. Mayor Rooleeanee is tied to a mast, in the enclosed room.

Hacker: “Gee, Boss, I don’t get it. Why’d we kidnap the Mayor? We don’t usually do stuff in real life.”

The Pirate: “That be Captain Boss, Hacker! Twere a necessary evil, twere.”

Mayor Rooleeanee: “You’ll never get away with this! Gotham City’s finest won’t rest until I”m rescued!”

The Pirate: “Ye be forgettin’…we be on the water, and outside their jurisdiction…arr har har!”

Mayor Rooleeanee: “It’s you that has forgotten! Batman knows no jurisdiction! I’m sure he’s on his way right now to serve you some waterlogged justice!”

The Pirate: “Aye, your dissed honor! I be countin’ on it.”

Hacker: “What do you mean, Boss…uh, Captain Boss? Batman’s coming here? How could he find us?”

The Pirate: “We’re on the only pirate ship in a hundred miles, barnacle brain! But don’t be worried…I’ve prepared a surprise for the noxious noobs!”

Voiceover: “A surprise? Watch out, Batman! Sometimes surprises are not good!”

We cut to Batman and Robin on either side of a door in what appears to be the interior of a pirate ship. There is a big X on it, and it is labeled…”www.thepiratesbrig.com”.

Batman: “Ready, old chum?”

Robin: “As always, Batman! But, gosh, it seems a little obvious…what if it’s a trap?”

Batman: “What are the odd of that?”

Robin: “Gee, Batman, I’m not that good at math.”

Batman: “Mathematics are the ballet of the mind, Robin. We may not all dance in the Gotham City Ballet, but we all have to pirouette from time to time.”

Robin: “Gosh, I never thought of it that way, Batman.”

Batman: “It’s never too late to see things from a new perspective. Now, let’s rescue the Mayor!”

Batman and Robin burst through the door and assume fighting positions. The lights come up on a stage and we see…Rick Astley (live) performing Never Gonna Give You Up.

Robin: “Holy hijacked hyperlink, Batman! We’ve been Rickrolled!”

The Pirate appears on a screen behind Rick Astley, who has stopped playing and looks confused.

The Pirate: “Ye be right, me unlucky lad! Don’t be tryin’ the door…it be battened down!”

Batman: “You scurrilous cyber sea-dog! What have you done with the Mayor?”

The Pirate: “Oh, she be here with we…um, us. She’ll be goin’ on a voyage with us!  Hacker! Trojan! Malware! Ready the boards…it’s time for us to surf!”

The henchmen take the Mayor and each step on to a brightly colored motorized surfboard. The Pirate turns back to the camera.

The Pirate: “I’ll be sendin’ you to Davy Jones’ Locker, Masked Monkees! It be time for you to log out…”

We hear a loud rumbling sound, and a huge log (several feet high) that has been up by the ceiling begins slowly, inexorably rolling towards Batman and Robin.

Robin: “Holy orange crush, Batman! We’ll be squashed like bugs!”

Voiceover: “Will Batman and Robin be logged out…permanently? Will their crimefighting accounts be deleted by a shivering timber? Wooden you like to know? Tune in tomorrow…same Bat-time, same Bat-blog!”

(~^v^~)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Beaver and the Kindle

March 12, 2012

Beaver and the Kindle

Scene 1

In the Cleaver kitchen. Ward is reading the newspaper. June, wearing her trademark pearls, sets breakfast in front of him.

June: “Ward, I’m worried about the Beaver.”

Ward: “What is it, dear?”

June: “I was dusting under his dresser and I found a note from Miss Landers.”

Ward: “Maybe it was a homework assignment for the dust bunnies.”

June: “Ward Cleaver! We do not have dust bunnies!”

Ward: “I’m sorry, dear. I was just trying to be funny. I know we don’t.” (June smiles)

June: “Well, this is serious. She said she was worried that Beaver wasn’t reading enough.”

Ward: “Dear, Beaver’s a young boy. He doesn’t read anything unless…he doesn’t read anything.”

June: “Well, his teacher thinks he should.”

Ward: “We could get him some comic books.” (chuckles)

June: “Oh, you!”

Ward: “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt him to read some Tom Swift. I’ll talk to him about it.”

June; “Thank you, Dear. I wouldn’t want him to end up living in our basement when he’s 25.”

Ward: “No young man would ever live with his parents when he’s twenty-five!”

June: “It was my turn to be funny.”

Ward: “It’s always your turn to be pretty…leave the funny to the man of the house.”

(June crosses her arms and raises her eyebrows)

Ward: “All right, dear, you don’t have to give me the look. (yelling) Boys!”

(Beaver and Wally come bounding down the stairs)

Wally: “What is it, Dad? Is breakfast ready?”

Beaver: “Yeah. I’m so hungry, I think I’m more empty on the inside than on the outside.”

Ward: “Your stomach will just have to wait for a minute. Beaver, did Miss Landers send a note home with you?”

Beaver: “Gee, Dad, she’s a teacher…they’re always doing junk like that.”

Ward: “Why didn’t you give it to us?”

Beaver: “I didn’t remember on accounta I forgot.”

Wally: “That’s right, Dad. He’s just a little kid. His brain’s too small to remember stuff.”

Ward: “Be that as it may, Wally. Beaver, did you read the note?”

Beaver: “Gosh, no, Dad. Miss Landers didn’t ask me to read it.”

Ward: “You don’t read anything unless your teacher asks you to?”

Beaver: “No, Dad…why would I wanna do that?”

June: “Your father was reading right before you came downstairs.”

Wally: “What were you reading, Dad?”

Ward: “What was I reading, Dear?”

June: “The newspaper.”

Beaver: “Ah, that’s grown-up junk.”

Ward: “That’s right, Dear…we can’t expect a young boy to be interested in what’s going on in the world.”

June: “Wally, you read books, don’t you?”

Wally: “Just for school. Can you imagine the razzing I’d get from Eddie if he saw me with a book? He’d call me a square.”

Ward: “That’s right Dear. The boy does have a reputation to think about.”

June: “Ward…”

Ward: “Yes, Dear. Beaver, your mother and I think you should read books, and that’s all there is to it.”

Wally: “I guess it won’t be so bad being the brother of a square.” (punches Beaver in the bicep…the boys play fight)

June: “Stop it, you two…no rough-housing.”

Ward: “I just thought of something. I think Fred Rutherford got one of those Kindles. I could ask him about it. That way, Beaver could read and it wouldn’t look like a book.”

June: “Oh, Ward, aren’t those expensive?”

Ward: “You’re the one who said the boy’s reading was important. I’m just supporting you, Dear.”

June: “Beaver, Clarence has a Kindle, and he’s not a square, is he?”

Beaver: “Gee, Mom…I don’t know what kind of shape Lumpy is.”

Wally: “I’m taking geometry, and I don’t even know.”

Ward: “That’s settled, then. Beaver, you are going to have to take good care of this. I don’t want the same thing to happen to this that happened to your accordion.”

June: “Who wants French toast?”

Scene 2

The Cleaver kitchen. June is cleaning the windows (in her pearls). Eddie Haskell appears outside the window, prompting a jump take from June and an “Oh, oh…hahhahahah” from the laugh track

June: “Come on in, Eddie.”

Eddie: “I’m sorry if I scared you, Mrs. Cleaver. A gentleman should never scare an old lady.”

June: “Thank you, Eddie…I think.Wally and the Beaver are up in their room.”

Eddie: “Would if be okay if I went up to see them? It’s always such a pleasure to see young Theodore.”

June: “Certainly. Eddie, do you mind if I ask you a question, first?”

Eddie: “Of course. I’m always interested in the wisdom of my elders.”

June: “You don’t think reading a book makes a boy a square, do you?”

Eddie: “Certainly not. I think literature is crucial to the development of young minds.”

June: “Thank you, Eddie.” (she smiles broadly)

Eddie: “Of course, I don’t think that’s true for young ladies. I think glasses spoil a girl’s looks. I’d hate to see you ruin your lovely appearance with a pair of spectacles.”

June: “Run on upstairs, Eddie. Tell the boys I’ll make some sandwiches for the three of you, and bring them up with some hot soup in half an hour.”

Scene 3

In the Cleaver boys’ bedroom…Eddie enters

Eddie: “Hey, Sam, what’s shaking? Beat it, small fry…me and Wally need to have a pow wow…you know, man talk.”

Wally: “Hold on, Eddie. Go ahead, Beav…what happened?”

Beaver: “Well, I took my Kindle to the playground. I told Whitey about all the books in it, and he broke it open, on accounta he wanted to see the books in it. Gee, Wally, I don’t know what I’m gonna do!”

Eddie: “You’re in trouble now, Squirt. You’re old man’s gonna blow his top for sure! You’ll be lucky if you ever see anything with a plug again.”

Wally: “Knock it off, Eddie. Beaver, just tell Dad. There’s probably some kind of warranty or somethin’.”

Beaver: “You really think so, Wally? That’d be swell. I don’t wanna not have plugs again. How would I watch TV?”

Scene 4

In the Cleaver family room. Beaver and Wally are there, looking worried. June is in a dust mask and pearls, cleaning the air vent. Ward enters

Ward: ‘Well, Beaver, I just got off the phone with Amazon.”

Beaver: “Am I in trouble? Do I gotta go to jail for bustin’ it?”

Wally: “Beaver, they don’t send kids to jail for bustin’ stuff…they wouldn’t have enough room for the real bad guys.”

June: “What did they say, Dear?”

Ward: “They’re going to send us another one.”

Beaver: “Do you gotta pay for it?”

Ward: “I wasn’t the one who broke it, Beaver. Who do you think should pay for it?”

Beaver: “Whitey? He’s the one who busted it.”

Ward: “That would be between him and Mr. Whitney. When we agreed that we would get you this Kindle, we agreed that you would be responsible for it.”

Beaver: “Yeah, I guess so. I shouldn’t oughta of taken it where Whitey could bust it. But gee, Dad, I only got forty-five cents…does it cost more than that?”

Ward: “I think that will just about cover it.”

(Beaver and Wally trudge upstairs)

June: “Ward, it can’t cost only forty-five cents.”

Ward: “No, Dear, you’re right. They are actually replacing it for free.”

June: “So why did you want Beaver to get his forty-five cents?”

Ward: “I just want to teach him a lesson, so he’ll be more responsible with his things in the future.”

Epilogue

In the Cleaver boys’ bedroom. Beaver is laying on his bed looking at his new Kindle

Wally: “It was pretty swell of Dad not to take your forty-five cents.”

Beaver: “Yeah…how come he did that, Wally?”

Wally: “Oh, he just wanted to teach you a lesson in the first place…but then he couldn’t go through with it. Adults are like that: they like to say stuff, but they don’t always like to do it. That way, he can seem like he’s being a good father, but he’s really still just Dad.”

Beaver: “I guess so.”

Wally: “Whatcha readin’?”

Beaver: “Oh, I’m not reading nothing: I’m playing Minesweeper. I don’t wanna be a square.”

Wally: “Yeah…you don’t want to be a square and a goof.”

End Credits

This is a parody of the classic Leave It To Beaver TV series. As in any parody, I’ve exaggerated aspects of it. When I went to watch a few episodes to help me recapture the rhythm and the characters (I did used to watch it, but it’s been some time), I was surprised to not find it easily streaming. I think that may be a mistake on the part of the studio…it may be hard for older programs to find new viewers if they are only available for purchase or on scheduled TV. On demand will increasingly be the way kids see shows. By the way, yes, I am that geeky that I even research my parodies…and as a kid, it was rare that people saw me without a book. ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

A Missouri Humorist’s Internet Report

January 7, 2011

A Missouri Humorist’s Internet Report

This is about a trip I had, thanks to my friend, Tom Edison.

He may not be the first Tom you think of when you think of Mark Twain.  But what I needed was more likely to be found in New Jersey than Mississippi.

Tom was in his workshop when I got there, still trying to make a machine to talk to dead folks.  I never could see the sense of that: anyone who’s heard the mess most people make of it when talking while alive can’t have much interest in an encore.

I was on my way to London to give a talk about my autobiography.  I think that was just them hoping to get into the book…they probably figured the lecture would get its own chapter.  I had some business there, and since my expenses were covered, I said yes.

I didn’t feel quite right telling a story before I had seen the end of it, so I asked Tom to give me a look at how my life turned out.

He took to the challenge like TR takes to a hunt.  It wasn’t long before I was in the sitting room of a family in 2010.

I asked a young fellow there if he knew my name, and he knew them both.  He showed me my picture on a telephone smaller than my hand.  When I said Tom Edison’s name, he showed me a film of Frankenstein that I knew Tom was making.  I asked him how he paid for it, and he said didn’t have to pay.

Copyright had not made the progress I hoped.

I asked him to show me the most modern thing he had.  He got excited and took me out in the street, where he showed me an electric automobile.  I didn’t see the reason for the fuss: electric cars were common in my day.  Not being a preacher, though, I didn’t think it was my job to make him less excited about something.

While we were talking, he got telegrams on his phone.  He showed them to me.  It seems at this time they have got hold of Daniel Webster’s idea of making spelling easier and carried it a good deal down the road.  “R U L8″ was their way of asking if someone would arrive on time.

I thought that might be because they were being charged by the letter.  He told me they were free, but he paid twenty-five dollars a month for the privilege.

For twenty-five dollars a month, I’d be inclined to use as many letters as I could.

He showed me the news.  There was a lot of talking and not a lot of thinking, some things don’t change.  It was all what you might expect, politicians telling you why the other fellow is going to ruin the country, and the latest Morris Incident.

I didn’t have much of a finish for my lecture, until he pulled out a thing about the size of a cigar box and as flat as a flounder.  He had my autobiography.  When he told me he had paid nearly ten dollars for it, I was satisfied.

I thanked him for his time.

Back in New Jersey, I didn’t tell Tom books were bought and films were free.

I did offer to buy a stake in Edison General Electric.  Tom asked if I would prefer to put money into his ghost box, and how he reckoned it could be working in another ten years.  I said as how I thought a telephone that got wireless telegrams might be a good idea.  He told me that people would talk on wireless telephones, but weren’t likely to be reading in the future.

I told him he was wrong, and left in time to catch my ship.  When I gave my talk, I now knew how it would finish, with an electrical book costing ten dollars.

===

This piece was inspired by a comment made in this Amazon Kindle community thread.  The question was raised by SueEllen as to what Alexander Graham Bell or Thomas Edison would think if they were to see the modern world.  I replied that they were living in a time when they thought anything might happen in the future.

I think there is an egotistical desire to assume that people from more “primitive”  times would be confused, frightened, and uncomprehending of our modern technology.

I knew Mark Twain was one person who wouldn’t be.  He had even considered the possibility of books being delivered electrically.  He was quite into the technology of his day. 

I’ve also recently read his autobiography (well, I haven’t finished all of the notes), and it was brilliant.  That helped inspire me as well.

I like writing in other author’s voices.  This was the most challenging one, and I’m not sure I’ve achieved it.  I had noticed some things about his writing in that book (I had read others of Twain’s, of course, but I wanted to match his voice, not his characters).  One odd thing: he generally doesn’t use adjective/noun combinations…and he recommends to someone else to remove adjectives from a new story.

Twain has a distinctive voice, but it seems to me that one of the main thing is that it is very, very simple.  While I do speak in a “high-faluting” manner in the perception of some, I’m sure, I do write more formally than I speak.  I try to colloquialize it sometimes to make a point, but Twain was quite right that it is a temptation to write in an intellectual manner. 

While I think I’ve hit the right note a few times, there are other parts of this piece that still don’t strike me as Twainish enough.  :)  Thomas Edison and Mark Twain did know each other.  Edison did supposedly work on a machine to talk to the dead, but not until after Twain’s death.  Edison did make a movie of Frankenstein, and you can see it for free online.  TR is Teddy Roosevelt, and Twain did comment about him.  Electric cars were actually old-fashioned by 1910, which is roughly when Twain visits Edison in this piece.  Twain would die later that year…which is why we got his autobiography in 2010: he wanted it published 100 years after his death, so he could write more freely about people without offending them or their children.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Bits and Pieces #1

December 16, 2009

Today’s post collects three small pieces I’ve done previously (although they may have been slightly updated).

Plan $9.99 from Amazon

“Welcome, friend. You and I are interested in the Kindle, because we will be spending the rest of our lives there.”

SCENE: Aboard a cheesy looking flying saucer set. Cardboard in the background has been painted silver, although you can still barely read, “This End Up” in one spot. Zon is a silver-haired man. Ama is a woman with a beehive hairdo. They both have half-smiley faces on their tunics.

Zon: “We must soon report our progress to the Supreme B-zos. How goes our conquest of the people of this planet Earth?”

Ama: “Our plan is working. Our Kind-el devices are becoming part of their pitiful lives. It was clever of you to make them both observation and control units.”

Zon: “Yes. These Earth fools do not even realize they are being observed and contolled. They are truly an inferior race. Sometimes I wonder if they are even worth conquering.”

Ama: “But the Supreme B-zos commands it!”

Zon: “Yes. And we must not fail again. Plan 7, the A9 plan, failed. Plan 8, the auction plan, failed. I fear the consequences if we fail again. Information is the key to success in military conquest. Force can not act when the brain is empty. Report what we have learned.”

Ama: “The Earth people are easily lured by free goods. Their weak wills can not resist. We can keep them from taking any other actions if we just give them free books.”

Zon: “That is good. Has there been any resistance?”

Ama: “Only that which we have ourselves begun. Your clever plan to get them focusing on issues of monetary exchage has kept them unaware of our activity building landing bases for our fleet.”

Zon: “Yes. Plan 9.99. Our robo-cotters can lead them like sheep! But we must not be overconfident. They may have some surprises for us. We must never forget that they are not like us, we who act only in a logical manner. What have we learned of their behavior?”

Ama: “Your plan to use their own dead to observe them has lead to valuable observations. They seem to be unaware that the faces in their Kind-els are actually sending information on their activities to our electronic calculating machines through the use of television projectors.”

Zon: “The fools.”

Ama: “They seem to take long rest periods, often for many hours.”

Zon: “They are inferior. Ten minutes in our Refresherator and we are fully functional for one of their Earth days. Their conquerage will be simple.”

Ama: “In fact, we have observed very little activity of any kind. They eat food, rather than consuming logically-balanced nutripills. This consumes significant time each day. If they go without this food for even a few hours they become emotionally unstable.”

Zon: “I am thankful that we have done away with emotions many zergons ago. Their stupidity angers me. What about their reproductive behavior?”

Ama: “Since the arrival on their planet of our Kind-el devices, we have not observed any.”

Zon: “That is a mystery. They will not be valuable as power units for our battlecraft if there will be no replacements when these wear out.”

Ama: “It may be that we must send them to the Supreme B-zos for replacement.”

Zon: “Perhaps. It is time for the transmission. Activate the secret backlight.”

CLOSE-UP ON A DISPLAY SCREEN. A CIRCLE SPINS. CRACKLY NOISES ARE HEARD OVER A THEREMIN TONE, AND A FACE BEGINS TO APPEAR ON THE SCREEN…

President Names Secretary of State Nominee

January 10, 2088
Washington City, Columbia, USA

President-elect Ellen Turing, the nation’s first Robotic-American Commander-in-Chief, has nominated Robert T. (“Robby”) Robot to serve as her Secretary of State.

Robot is expected to be confirmed, despite opposition from the Flesh First movement. With his ability to speak 188 languages (along with their various dialects and sub-tongues), space veteran and former U. N. Ambassador Robot is especially qualified to negotiate directly with heads of state from around the globe.

With the previous nominations of Susan Calvin as Secretary of Health and Human Services and Thurman Cutler as Attorney General, this latest announcement is in line with Turing’s campaign promise of a fully “silcar” (silicon/carbon) Cabinet.

“While we can’t say that this ends roboticism, the new Cabinet will show that entities of different physical origin can work together effectively,” said Universal News commentator Max Headroom.

In her nomination press conference, Turing credited the pioneers of the Robotic Rights movement for the opportunity to make this ground-breaking announcement.

The Robotic Rights movement began in 2062, when Rosie, a domestic engineer in the employ of Jane and George Jetson, was arrested under the Author’s Guild Act for reading a bedtime story to Elroy Jetson. The story became a national sensation when it was used as the basis of a number one song by pop star Jet Screamer. “The Tale of Rosie Sparks” became the unofficial theme song of the movement, and was performed at the inauguration by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame artist Jesse McCartney.

(APUPIREUTUBE)

April 1st Kindle News Round-Up

AFD News round-up:

KINDLE IMPLANT EDITION ANNOUNCED
Plans are under way to produce an implantable version of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader. Users will be able to access the Whispernet to instantly absorb the content of any of the books in the Amazon Kindle store…

————————–

AUTHORS GUILD HAS NEW CONCERN WITH AMAZON KINDLE
The Authors Guild released a new memo declaring that “interpreting and understanding” create new versions of books, and therefore may be copyright infringements. A spokesperson for the authors’ group said, “There must be one hundred interpretations of what Gravity’s Rainbow actually means. Each one of those is a derivative work, and therefore the author deserves royalties on each new version…”

—————————

SONY E-BOOK READER SCORES “SCHOOL DOODLES” LIBRARY
Following up on its successful deal with Google Books, Sony has obtained millions of doodles created during school classes by bored students. “These doodles put us way ahead in content count…”

——————

BEZOS DISCUSSES “EVERY BOOK EVER WRITTEN” STRATEGY
Jeff Bezos addressed a group of users who were disappointed that Amazon had not yet digitized “every book ever written” as has been the stated goal. According to attendees at the private conference, Bezos said the online retailer has a two-pronged approach.

“First, we have to stop any more books from being written. It’s clear that we are unable to make any real progress while authors continue to write. We’re looking into an incentive program, and have discovered that keeping them busy on our forums can significantly slow their output.

Secondly, we found out that the number of books that already exist is staggering. So, we plan to develop time travel, and go back to prevent the books from being written in the first place. We’ve been told that we can effectively delay the written word by hundreds of years if we introduce television during the Cro-Magnon period. While the technical challenges seem daunting, I’m confident that the issues can be resolved…”

============

Happy April Fool’s Day! :)

A version of Plan $9.99 from Amazon originally appeared in this thread in the Amazon Kindle community.

A version of President Names Secretary of State Nominee originally appeared in  this thread  in the Amazon Kindle community.

A version of  April 1st Kindle News Round-up originally appeared in this thread in the Amazon Kindle community.

 This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

The nook Van Dyke Show: Neither a lender…

November 18, 2009

The nook Van Dyke Show

“Neither a lender…”

Scene 1: a suburban family room in New Rochelle, New York.  Seated around the room are: Buddy Kindell and Sony Rogers, writers on The Alex Brady Show: Jerry and Millie Iliad, a dentist and his wife.  Standing is Rob Flepia, the head writer of the show. 

Sony: So, why you’d call us all here, Rob?  I’ve got a date tonight.

Buddy: You’ve got a date?

Sony: Yes, Mr. Smarty-pants.  Herman’s taking me to the movies.

Buddy: Some date.

Rob: Sony, I thought you and Herman weren’t really getting along.

Sony: We’re not, but I can’t resist a man with popcorn.  You know what?  Take your time, I’m in no hurry.

Jerry: Come on, Rob, what’s up?

Rob: Well, Laura’s birthday is right around the corner, and I’m not sure what to get her. 

Buddy: Why don’t you get her what I gave my wife?  A headache!

Sony: Ha, ha.

Rob: I’m serious, fellas.  I want to get her something really special.

Buddy: Why, is it a big birthday?

Sony: If you’re a woman, every birthday’s a big birthday.

Rob: Oh boy, is it.  It’s big because she wasn’t crazy about what I got her last year.

Jerry: What’d you get her last year?

Rob: A mop.

Sony: You didn’t!

Millie: Ooh, I remember that mop!  That was the one that pushed itself around the room, right?

Rob: That’s right.  I’d seen it on TV and I thought she’d really like it.

Buddy: What happened?

Rob: Well, everything was fine, until Ritchie was playing on the kitchen floor, and it mopped him right into the backyard.

Sony: Oh, no!

Rob: Oh, yes!  When she heard him yelling and got out there, it was spinning around on his head.  I guess it was still trying to get the spot out.  She told me later he looked like Harpo Marx-on-a-stick!

Sony: You can’t get a lady something for cleaning anyway, Rob.  That’s not very romantic.  How about some jewelry?

Rob: Well, I was thinking about getting a ring for my wife–

Buddy: Hey, how can I get a deal like that?

Sony: Would you stop?

Rob: But I really want something unusual.

Jerry: Hey, Rob, what about one of those new e-books?

Millie: Ooh, that’s a good deal.   My husband is so smart!  Isn’t he smart, Rob?  You’re so smart!

Rob: That’s not a bad idea!  Laura does read a lot.

Buddy: Pickles loves to read!

Sony: She does?

Buddy: She once spent a whole weekend reading a cake recipe.

Rob: A…uh…a cake recipe?

Buddy: Sure!  The way she cooks, it was a bigger mystery than The Hound of the Baskervilles!

Sony: Just ignore him, Rob.  He wouldn’t know a book if it jumped up and bit him in the cello.  I think it’s a great idea!

Rob: So do I.  I don’t know much about them, though.  There are a couple of kinds, right?

Buddy: Hey, I’ve got a cousin that can get you a refurbished Kindle, cheap!

Rob: Is that the same cousin who sold me the mop?

Buddy: Yeah.  He’s got a big variety.

Sony: So does a pawn shop.

Buddy: How did you know he had a pawn shop?

Jerry: Rob, I was down in a Barnes and Noble the other day, and I saw that new nook they have.  It’s really snazzy, with that little color touchscreen and everything.

Buddy: What’s wrong with black and white?  Some of my favorite TV shows are in black and white. 

Sony: All of the TV shows are in black and white.

Buddy: See?  Those are my favorites.

Rob: That does sound interesting.

Jerry: Oh, and I saw you can loan books!  You get one for Laura, and I’ll get one for Millie, and they can trade!

Millie: Ooh, you big doll!   Isn’t he a big doll, Rob?  You’re a big doll!

Sony: But won’t she be jealous if Millie gets one, too?

Rob: I don’t think so.  She really likes to share stuff with Millie.  You should see how much fun they’ve had with a cup of sugar!  Besides, at least it isn’t a mop!

Millie: I think she’d love it, Rob.  We always like talking about the books we read.  What’s the worse that could happen?

Jerry: She divorces him and moves to Minneapolis.

Millie: You’re terrible!  Isn’t he terrible?  You’re just terrible!

Rob: Thanks, fellas!  I’m got to see a man about a nook!

Scene 2: in the writers’ office at the Alex Brady show.   Sony is at the typewriter, Buddy is laying on the couch, and Rob is doing jumping jacks.

Sony: And then Alex says, “That’s no armadillo, that’s my accountant!”

Buddy: Good, good, put that down.

Rob: That’s good, gang.  Let’s call it a night.  We can finish it up tomorrow.  I want to get home for dinner with Laura.

Buddy: Me, too.

Sony: You want to get home to Pickles’ cooking?

Buddy: No, Laura’s!

Rob: Well, you know you’re always welcome, Buddy, but I don’t think I dare ask Laura to do any extra cooking tonight.  She’s been really wrapped up in a book she’s reading.

Sony: Hey, how’s that nook working out?

Rob: She loves it!  I think she’s spending more time with it than she is with me and Ritchie. 

Sony: You sound like you’re jealous.

Rob: I am, a little, but I think it might be the best birthday gift I ever got her.

Buddy: I still think you should have gone with the Kindle.

Rob: I don’t know, Buddy, she really likes this.  She’s been reading that big biography everybody is talking about. 

Sony: The one by Jellybean?

Rob: That’s the one.  “On the Trail: the Story of America’s Sweetsnail“.

Sony: I still can’t believe a snail wrote a bestseller.

Buddy: Why not?  Alex has a top-rated TV show, and he’s a rat.

Sony: Say, didn’t you interview with him once?

Rob: Yes, I did.  It’s when we thought Alex was going to fire us all, remember that?  I just couldn’t see working for a ventriloquist show.

Mel Cool-er, the producer of the show, walks into the office.

Buddy: Speaking of dummies…

Mel (ignoring Buddy):  Rob, Alex wanted to know if he could borrow your copy of On the Trail.  He likes to keep up with the competition.

Rob: Sure, Mel.  I’ll e-mail it to him tonight.  Laura should be finished with it by then.  I’m kind of curious, though, why doesn’t he just get his own copy?

Mel: It turns out it’s been withdrawn by the publisher.  It seems someone sued Jellybean over revealing show secrets.

Rob: Who?

Mel: Claude Mentor.

Sony and Buddy together: The ventriloquist?!

Mel: That’s right, Sony, the ventriloquist.

Sony: Boy, that’s really got to hurt a guy’s feelers.

Rob (chuckles): Well, somehow, that doesn’t surprise me.  I always thought he was strange, but I never thought he’d sue himself!

Mel: Yes, well, just see that Alex gets that book tonight, won’t you?

Rob: Sure, Mel, sure.

Buddy: Hey, Rob, hand me that pencil!  (Buddy pulls a pen out from behind his ear and holds the pen and the pencil sticking straight out from Mel’s forehead)  See!  Our own talking snail!

Mel: Yeccchh. (Mel exits)

Rob: Okay, fellas, see you tomorrow.  Good night, Son.

Sony: Good night.

Buddy: Good night.  I’ve got to get home before Pickles tries to cook something and hurts herself.

 Scene 3: the Flepias’ kitchen.  Laura is making dinner.  Rob enters with his briefcase.

Rob: Hi, honey, I’m home!

Laura: Hello, darling!  (She kisses him)

Rob: What was that for?

Laura: Can’t a wife kiss her husband when he comes from work?

Rob: Yes, but not usually while you’re cooking. 

Laura: Well, if you’d rather I didn’t…

Rob: I didn’t say that.  (adopting an old man’s voice)  Give me another one, sweetlips!

Laura (pushing him away): Careful, grandpa, or you’ll ruin the steak.

Rob: We’re having steak tonight?  What’s the occasion?

Laura: No occasion, darling.  I’ve just saved so much money on books lately, I thought we’d splurge.

Rob: Oh, that reminds me.  Did you finish reading that book by Jellybean?

Laura: Yes, I did.  I have to say, I don’t quite see what all the fuss is about.

Rob: Well, it’s not every snail that writes an autobiography.

Laura: True.

Rob: Well, Alex Brady wants to read it, and I need to lend him our copy.

Laura: Why doesn’t he get his own copy?

Rob: That’s what I said…maybe he doesn’t want to give Jellybean any money.  Anyway, he can’t.  Claude Mentor sued Jellybean, and they’ve taken the book out of the store.

Laura: Claude Mentor?  The ventriloquist? 

Rob: Yes, I guess he thought Jellybean had gotten out of hand.  Hee, hee, hee.

Laura: But you can’t lend it to Alex!

Rob: Why not?

Laura (trying not to cry): Because (sob) I (sob) leant (sob) it (sob) to (sob) Miiiilllliiiieeee.

Rob: Honey, don’t cry!  We’ll just get Millie to give it back.

Laura: She can’t…not for fourteen days!

Rob: Why did you make it fourteen days?

Laura: I didn’t do it!  It’s just the way the nook does it!

Rob: Well, I’m not making my boss wait fourteen days!  Laura, get your nook.  I’ll just have to lend that to him.

Laura: But what am I going to read?

Rob: You’ll just have to read paper books, like you used to.

Laura: Ohh, Rob!  (Laura goes into the family room.  Jerry comes in the back door)

Jerry: Hiya, Rob!  I could smell the steak from our house!

Rob: Oh, hi, Jerry.  You…uh…you aren’t having steak?

Jerry: Chinese food.   Millie’s says we’ve been saving so much money on books, we could get take-out.

Laura (re-entering and slapping the nook into Rob’s hand): Here!

Jerry: Ouch!  What did you do, Rob?

Rob: Never mind, Jerry.  (he’s flipping through the covers on the touch screen).  Um…dear…I don’t see On the Trail on here.

Laura: Well, it was there this afternoon!

Jerry: On the Trail?  Millie’s got it.  You can’t both have it at the same time.

Rob: Then I guess there’s no use loaning the nook to Alex.  (sheepishly handing the nook back to Laura)  Here you are, dear.  Am I forgiven?

Laura (icily): Hmph.

Rob: Well, that’s it, then.  Alex is going to fire me.

Laura (concerned): He wouldn’t really fire you, would he?

Rob: No, but he’ll make me wish he had.  Oh boy, where am I going to get another copy of that book?

Jerry: Why don’t you loan him Millie’s?

Rob: Jerry, you can’t loan a copy of a copy…I think. 

Jerry: I’ll tell you what.  You loan Alex Millie’s nook and Laura can lend Millie her nook.

Rob: That’s a great idea!

Laura: Robert Bokeen Flepia!  I am not going to read paper books like some…some…cavewoman!

Rob: I don’t think cavewomen had books, dear.  Besides, you won’t have to.  I’ll go see Buddy’s cousin tonight and get you a Kindle.

Laura: The mop cousin?

Rob: That’s the one, but I’ll order you a brand new Kindle 2 tonight and have them ship it next day…and I’ll get you a nice Oberon cover to go with it.

 Laura (smiling): You’d better, mister.  (They kiss: we see smoke starting to come from the frying pan)

Jerry: I hate to interrupt a good husband and wife smooch, but do you smell something burning?

Laura: My steak!

Rob takes off his jacket, and in a bit of goofy slapstick, beats out the fire with it).

Laura: It’s ruined!

Jerry: Rob, maybe you’d better come over to my house and borrow that nook.

Rob: And I need to borrow one more thing.

Jerry: What’s that?

Rob: A big bowl of Egg Fu Yung!

Rob and Jerry exit.  Laura picks up Rob’s coat: we see a hole has burned through it.  She throws it out the door after them.

End credits

This was a fun one for me!  I’ve always liked The Dick Van Dyke Show, and I’ve been watching it again from the beginning on my Roku.  All of the names of characters here are related to e-books…except Jellybean (and Pickles).  There really was a Jellybean episode on the show, guest-starring Paul Winchell.  I think the rules on the nook lending are right as well.  It’s worth noting that even if Rob had waited the fourteen days, he couldn’t have loaned the book to Alex: you can only ever loan a book once, so Laura had used it up by lending it to Millie.   I was trying to work a line in there about “Benny the Mop” as a riff on “Benny the Dip”, but you can’t always make a good Dick Haymes reference fit.  ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

 

Alice in Kindleland

November 16, 2009

Alice in Kindleland (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

Chapter 1: Downloading the Rabbit Hole

Alice was beginning to get very tired of waiting in line with her sister at the bank, and having nothing to do. She felt very cross with herself for having left her book at home. Once or twice she had peeped into the cellphone her sister was using, but it only had pictures on it, “and what use is a picture without conversations?”

Suddenly, a White Reader ran close by her. There was nothing so remarkable in that, nor was it so unusual to hear it say, “Oh, my e-books and Whispernet! I’m late!” Alice had heard talking e-book readers before, and had always found the mispronunciations off-putting, because she was very careful about “pronounciations” herself, as Alice said it.

However, when she looked closely at the Reader’s homescreen, she saw that one of the entries was in bright purple letters. “Oh my, ” thought Alice, “I have never seen color on an e-reader before.” The words said Click Me. Alice thought back over all of the Internet privacy lessons she had learned in school, and she could not recall anything about not clicking on purple letters.  Alice was so very bored, she clicked on it.

Download, download, download! Alice felt herself being pulled into the White Reader. As she passed through the screen, the e-ink lightly dusted her hair and clothes, like the pollen from an acacia tree she had once seen at the zoo. Thinking about the zoo made her think about animals, and thinking about animals made her think of her dog, Ellen Barking.

“I wonder if Ellen would like going into an e-book reader,” Alice thought. “I’m not sure that she would like this spinning around and around.” For Alice was still spinning slowly, as she had been since passing through the screen. Either this was a very large file, or a very slow network. “It has certainly been more than sixty seconds.  Ellen does like to spin herself around before laying
down, but I don’t know if I shall end up laying down or standing up. Perhaps she could catch a frog in here…that always makes her hoppy.” Somehow, hoppy did not sound like the right word, but Alice was getting quite jumbled with all the spinning.

“I wonder if there are frogs in an e-reader. She might catch a blog. But do dogs read blogs? Or do blogs eat dogs? Oh dear, I should not like my dog being eaten, I think.”

Alice found herself alighting gently in a net. As she looked ’round, she saw a most peculiar mouse some distance away in the net. Instead of ears it had two buttons. Instead of the usual tail, it had a long cable that trailed off so that Alice could not see the end of it, if it had one.

Alice tried to call to the mouse, but found that she could not yell. In fact, she could not even use her normal “indoor voice”.

“This must be the Whispernet the White Reader mentioned,” rasped Alice.

She determined to make her way to the odd creature, as it was the only thing of interest she could see. She wasn’t quite sure how to accomplish it: she was still a little dizzy from her download, and was afraid she could fall off the net.

She began walking, which is always a good idea when you want to get somewhere. She encountered the mouse’s tail. “Curious,” said Alice. “The tail isn’t a tail at all. It seems to be a wire. And what odd little twists and turns it is taking.”

As she walked along the tail, she noticed that the bumps were making letters.

“Wire A, Wire B…”

Alice had learned her alphabet well.  She followed along, repeating each of the letters, so she would not lose her way.

As she approached the mouse, she called out the letters, still in a whisper:

“Wire S, Wire T, Wire U…”

“Why am I?” whispered the mouse, sounding very indignant. “I never! That is a very impertinent and existential question to ask someone upon first meeting a person. Why are you?”

Alice was quite taken aback by this. “That really isn’t what I meant at all. I was just reading your tail.”

“Homonyms! I quite detest homonyms. They are so ambiguous.”

While Alice had almost always paid attention in school, she wasn’t quite sure what the mouse meant, but it didn’t sound at all pleasant.

“Please, Mr. Mouse,” said Alice, making a curtsey…which is not an easy thing to do on a net. “I didn’t mean to butt in…”

“Are you making fun of my ears? Or is that another homonym?”

Alice had quite forgotten that the mouse had buttons instead of ears. She thought to herself, “I wonder how it can hear me?”

“I wasn’t making fun of them. It is true they’re quite different from other mouse ears I have seen. I have never seen other mice with buttons on their heads, I’m sure.”

“They’re and their! Now you are doing it on purpose.”

“I am not!” said Alice, who although she knew to be polite to her betters, thought that might not apply to rodents, even ones with wire tails.

At this the Mouse turned away.

Alice was afraid she had offended it, and tried to answer the question.

“I was bored, so I wanted to find–”

“Bored or board?”

“I don’t think I can be ‘board’.”

“Are you saying you have never been on a ship?”

Alice was getting more and more confused. She had once been on a small ferry, but was afraid to mention it…she knew there were “fairies” and “ferries”, and though she wasn’t entirely sure of
the difference, she had begun to understand that it was two words that sounded alike that so bothered the Mouse.

“I have,” said Alice, feeling very clever that she did not mention the type of ship.

“Then you have been aboard.”

“Now you’re doing it.”

“Annoying and confusing, isn’t it?”

“I just wanted to find…”

At this the mouse pulled out a small pad of paper and furiously scribbled on it, then handed it to Alice with a flourish.

It read, “25 pence penalty for using homonyms”

Alice complained,”25 pence?”

The Mouse smugly replied, “You said you wanted to be fined. I have fined you.”

“But I didn’t! I said I wanted to find-”

“To, two, too! Hand it back!”

The Mouse scratched out the 25 pence, and wrote instead “2 pound penalty for using homonyms”.

“There,” said the Mouse, “you have been two fined. Happy?”

Alice was not feeling happy. However, she thought, at least I am not bored. Still, she had had quite enough of the mouse.

She set off on the net, to see what other interesting things she could find.

Chapter 2: The Mad e-Party

As Alice traveled along the Whispernet, she found it had begun to gently bounce higher and then lower, as though someone had grabbed it by a side and was moving it up and down, like she did when she was
making the bed.

“I think Ellen would enjoy this,” thought Alice, as the wind blew past her face.

“Who is Ellen?” said a voice. Since the voice was a whisper, Alice wasn’t quite sure where the source was. She looked around, and saw a giant rabbit, nearly twice as large as Alice herself.

The rabbit was standing on a board that seemed to coast up and down on the net.

“It must be a surf bunny,” thought Alice, “surfing the net.”

Out loud, she said, “Ellen is my dog.”

“Oh,” said the Surf Bunny, “I don’t like dogs.”

“Do you like homonyms?” asked Alice.

“What are those?”

Alice liked the Bunny much better than the Mouse. She felt much more comfortable asking a question.

“Please, Bunny, can you help me? I am trying to find something interesting.”

“I am a specialist at finding things. Climb in my ear.”

Alice thought this might be the strangest thing she had heard since going through the e-reader screen.

“I wouldn’t fit.”

“Just wait.”

Alice watched as the Surf Bunny’s ear began to grow. As it grew, it became red and smoke came out of it. Soon, it became a perfect train engine, with the Bunny trailing behind it like the rest of the train, its fuzzy tail serving as the caboose.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing!” said Alice.

“You’ve never heard of an Engine-ear?”

“I have heard of something like it,” said Alice doubtfully.

“Like it you will! And it is not just any engine…it is a search engine! What are you trying to find?”

“Well, I was looking for something interesting.”

“Interesting…a bank account? They have interest. One million bank accounts found.”

“No, like a party.”

“Oh, I have just the thing! All aboard! Toot-toot!”

Alice took a seat in the engine, and off they went.

As they went, the Surf Bunny sang this song:

“I won’t leave you in the lurch
You want results? Use my search
You might think it’s very funny
Searching with a surfing bunny”

Alice did find it quite amusing. Suddenly, she realized that the she could hear the bunny quite clearly.

“We must have gone off the Whispernet,” said Alice.

“Yep. We can’t stay on it all the time…we’d run out of energy. Here we are!”

Alice stepped out of the engine, and it began to turn back into a bunny ear.

“Thank you, Bunny!” said Alice. She went to scratch it behind the ear (for Ellen like that very much) when suddenly she got a tremendous electric shock.

“Oh, I forgot to warn you: I’m the Conductor, too. Enjoy the e-party!”

“What is an e-party?” said Alice.

“It won’t be boring!” said the Bunny, as it left with a wave. Surfers almost never go anywhere without a wave.

“I have heard of a tea party, but not an e-party,” thought Alice.

Alice saw a table with a curious collection of creatures around it. There was a large toad, a small animal who appeared to be snoring
loudly, and a very small man with a very large top hat. “He must be a magician and that must be the party,” thought Alice.

As she got near the table, the small man jumped up.

“I don’t like you!” screamed the man, and leaping as high in the air as he could, he took a gold star from his hat and slapped it on Alice’s forehead.

“Oh!” said Alice, quite taken aback.

“Terrible reply,” said the man. “Where was the development? Where was the wit! Don’t waste your money!”

“Don’t mind him,” croaked the toad. “That’s the Mad Rater. And this is the Dormant.”

“Not useful!” screamed the Mad Rater.

“No’ useful,” mumbled the Dormant.

Suddenly, Alice heard the sound of a brass band.

She turned to look, and saw two large balloons, shaped liked the numbers 1 and 2. She thought at first that the music was coming from them. However, she soon realized there was a deflated balloon on the ground in the shape of the number three.

“How curious,” said Alice.

“Our music all comes from the Empty Three. You should know that! One star!” said the Rater.

“Emp’ee Three,” mumbled the Dormant.

Alice looked around for the toad, but didn’t see it.

“I’m here,” came the toad’s voice. “Since they voted me not useful, you have to say you want to see me, or you won’t.”

“I do want to see you,” said Alice, who had taken somewhat of a liking to the creature.

“Then now you do.”

“I do. I know you are a toad…did you say that was a dormouse?”

“A dormant. We can’t get it out of sleep mode.”

“But it was talking.”

“Yes, it can talk when asleep.”

“How can it make any sense?”

“It wouldn’t make much difference either way, I’m afraid.”

“Five stars!” screamed the Mad Rater.

“Oh. I thought you had said Dormouse. What a large number of rodents I have seen today! A mouse, a bunny, and now a dormant.”

The toad swelled itself to many times its size, and slowly let out an answer that seemed to go on for a very long time.

“A mouse is, as you suggest, properly a rodent. It is a member of the genus Mus, subfamly Murinae, Family Muridae, Superfamily Muroidea, order Rodentia. The bunny is a lagomorph, from the Greek ‘Lagos’ or hare, and the Latin ‘morph’, for shape. Hares are part of the order Lagomorpha, along with the pikas. The dormouse, which it is not, but it it was, is indeed a member of the order Rodentia, and in the suborder of Sciuromorpha.”

“Not useful!” screamed the Mad Rater and the Dormant together.

The toad disappeared again.

“I want to see you,” said Alice, and the toad appeared again.

“Why do they keep doing that? It seems quite mad.”

“It is. Not crazy, mind you, but they are both angry.”

“Why do you come here, then?”

“I like parties.”

“So do I,” said Alice. “What is your name?”

“They call me the Much Air. I do know that I tend to ramble on some times, so I don’t mind it. It is a reasonable assessment of my contributions to the conversation. I can’t help it, I just don’t seem to be able to stop talking. I enjoy it, and it seems to me that other people like it as well.”

“Not useful!” cried the Rater and the Dormant.

“You really should stop saying that,” said Alice to the pair.

“I don’t like armadillos!” screamed the Mad Rater, pulling the star off Alice’s forehead and slapping on a new one.

“I’m not an armadillo!” said Alice, who wasn’t quite sure what that was, but was quite certain she wasn’t one.

The White Reader came up along side Alice. “Let us sit.”

“Where do we sit?” asked Alice, who had just noticed that there were no chairs at the table.

“There, on that rope.”

Alice noticed a tightrope like she had seen in the circus, about a foot off the ground.

“On that?”

“Of course. You can’t go to an e-party if you aren’t on-line.”

Alice noticed a very rigid line going all the way around the table.

“What is that?”

“Those are the Guidelines. No one follows them.”

“Then why have them at all?” asked Alice.

“Not useful!” screamed the Mad Rater, looking right at Alice.

“Not useful.” mumbled the Dormant.

“Not useful,” said the White Reader quietly.

Alice felt herself disappearing.

“Come on, sleepyhead. We’re next.” Alice’s sister nudged her as a voice said, “I can help you here.”

Alice saw that it was a large bald man. He rather reminded her of the Much Air.

“Who are you?” asked Alice quizzically.

“I’m the Teller…”

The End

This story was inspired by a comment by Nicolette Rivers.  A version of it originally appeared in this thread in the Amazon Kindle community on June 23, 2009.

This version originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 4

November 14, 2009

This is a continuation of the story, Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 1. You may wish to begin there and continue through the rest of the story before reading this, the fourth and final chapter.

I was waiting in breathless anticipation for the arrival of my old friend, Sherlock Holmes.  My last patient having departed some half hour before, I had just about completed my charting for the day.

I must admit to a certain degree of distraction during the day, although nothing that would compromise my patients’ safety.  Considering that the highest risk I had seen all day was a case of  Onychomycosis (fungal toenail), the risk had been small.

My thoughts had kept returning to the events of the preceding evening.  What could it all mean?  It all seemed to tie together in some way, but what the precise solution was escaped me.

At that moment, my friend burst into the room.  All vestiges of the doorman in whose guise I had encountered him last night were gone.  He was his normal slim self, and the make-up that had given him those apparent injuries were gone, only his hawk-like features remaining.

“Ready, Watson?”

“Of course…although I am not quite sure for what.”

“For the conclusion, of course!  You have the Kindle?”

“I do.  I shut it in that drawer.  The deuced thing was simply too distracting to leave out.  Should I bring my revolver?”

“I think not.  What I have in my breast pocket should be sufficient.  Would you mind if I use your computer?  I appear to have left my cell phone in my car.”

“Certainly.”

I watched as his swift fingers sent a text message.

To: B8KRSTIR

Msg:Pkg 411 8×100 1×2

“I say, Holmes, what was that?”

“Merely the next step in the plan.  B8KRSTIR is a special address I have for Wiggins and his crew…it is short for Baker Street Irregulars.  I have asked him to get the information on a package, and in exchange I will give him eight Amazon gift certificates for $100, and one for $200.  He will distribute them as he sees fit, with the $200 going to the one who gets me the address to which the package is mailed.”

“What package?”

“Why, the Kindle, of course!  I have called TrackItBack, and arranged to have it picked up here and returned to its owner.  That was one reason I needed you on this case, Watson.  I was afraid my Baker Street residence might be watched, and Wiggins prefers to keep a low profile.  They should be picking it up at any moment.  When they do, the Irregulars will watch the truck until the driver takes the package to post it.  When they do, one of them will slip inside with the driver, observe the address given, and text that information back to me.”

“I see!  Should we alert Lestrade?”

“I think we will not need the authority’s assistance in this case.”

At that moment, the Front Desk alerted me to the arrival of the courier.  I turned over the Kindle, and we waited.  Holmes paced furiously about the office.  While it was clear to me that he had already projected an end, he was as anxious as I to see it arrive.

Fifteen minutes later, we were in a cab on the way to the address provided by Wiggins.  It seemed that Holmes had not only left his cell phone in his car, he had forgotten the car somewhere as well.  We pulled up to a security gate at an expensive mansion.  Holmes overtipped the cabbie, and we approached the closed circuit camera.

“Sherlock Holmes.  I believe I am expected.”

The gate buzzed and we stepped on to the path.

“Are you certain we should just walk up to the front door like this, Holmes?  Might that not place the young lady in additional danger?  And why did you say you were expected?”

Holmes walked briskly to the stoop.  The door was opened for us by a most surprising personage.

He was approximately six feet tall, but the alternating black and white spikes formed by his hair made him fully seven.   He lifted Holmes off the ground in a bear hug, and as I prepared to enter the fray in my friend’s defense, Holmes gestured me back.

“Watson, this gentleman is Erasto.”

“Eras…the name on the Kindle!”

“Precisely, although he may prefer that we address him as Edward J. Smith…or should we call you Captain?”

The faux-hawked Erasto set Holmes on the ground and laughed a surprisingly high-pitched laugh.  He grabbed Holmes’ shoulders as though he was a long lost brother returned from war. 

“Congratulations, darling!  Surprised?”

This last came from a striking young woman, dressed in a cashmere robe.

“And that, Watson, is the young lady about whom you have been so concerned…my client.”

I must have looked confused, as she held out her hand and smiled knowingly.

“Dr. Watson, I presume?  I knew Mr. Holmes would get here, but this is an unexpected pleasure.”

“May I say that the feeling is mutual?  Holmes, what is this all about?”

“Sit, doctor, and I’ll explain.”

We all took seats, Erasto beaming and virtually unable to stay still with excitement.  I noticed that the young lady was watching Erasto, rather than Holmes, and smiling just as broadly.

“As you can see, Watson, the lady is not in danger, nor did I ever think she was.  There were several clear indications of this.  First, she did not go to get her latte last evening, indicating that this was to be an out of the ordinary evening.”

“But I thought the abduction had prevented her?”

“Then why would she have already showered?  Remember the bare footprints?   It hardly seems likely that she would have come home, showered, and then gone back to continue her work at the Starbucks.  And abduction may not be the correct word, since she left willingly.”

“I thought you had said she was unconscious?”

“No, Watson, you said that, and I agreed that it was a reasonable hypothesis.  I said she was unresisting, and she was…because she had planned the entire affair.   The fact that she answered the door still dripping from the shower shows that she had known her visitor.”

“She couldn’t have been certain who was at the door until she got there.”

“True, but she could identify him through the Judas Hole in the door.  If it had been someone unknown to her, she simply would not have opened it.  Once she had admitted the person, she would have had ample time to call for assistance if it was required.  The scuff mark tells us that she was dressed when she was taking advantage of her unusual mode of conveyance.  It would be an odd apartment indeed if there was no phone in the bedroom.  Ergo, she knew and trusted her visitor.”

“But she was carried from the room!”

“True…I assume she had some pretty tale to tell to convince our male friend her to carry her?”

“I told him we were practicing–

“For the honeymoon, of course.  Watson, these two are getting married tomorrow.”

“Excellent!  You have even deduced the date!”  She was still watching Erasto rather than Holmes as she said this.

“Well, that is the anniversary of the date the voyage began…what better day to begin your own joint journey through life.”

“You see? He is everything I said.”  This last came from Erasto, and was directed to the young lady…who I now knew was his fiancée.

“What voyage?”

“Why, the Titanic, of course! The ship left Southampton on April 10th, 1912, bound for New York.  Captain Edward J. Smith was in charge of the ill-fated vessel.  The young woman is fascinated with the story, and has gone so far as to call her young man by the Captain’s name.”

“That explains the Celine Dion song on Erasto’s Kindle! “

“Exactly…My Heart Will Go On.  The oceanliner has been integral to this entire business.  The Steiff bear?  In 1912, those bears will were sent to England to commemorate the Titanic’s voyage.  Mourning Redemption features a woman whose parents had died on the trip.”

“So the teddy bear was…”

“An engagement gift.”

“The five Somalian shillings?”

“Erasto is from Somalia.  I assume that’s where they met.  The coins are probably symbolic of the time they have been together.”

“Five years: we met when I was on vacation with my parents in high school, and I always knew Erasto and I would one day be married.”

“Yes.  I have just recently come to this country.”

“That was apparent from the greenish stain on the Kindle cover.  It is from a substance generally called Khat, although our Somalian friend may know it as qaad or jaad.  It contains the alkaloid cathinone, a stimulant.  While illegal in Somalia for a few years, a scofflaw like our hack-installer here may know some ways to obtain it…or at least, be in the company of people who do.”

“Have you been using Khat, Edward?”

“No!  It was at my going away party.  One of the others must have spit on my case.”

“The substance is known for the peculiar green stains users leave as they expectorate.”

“Well, that seems to explain everything, Holmes.”

“Not quite.  His shoes are from a vegan and vegetarian store called Pangaea.  That was what told me of his dietary preference.   His left-handedness could be deduced from his left shoeprint being deeper than the right when he was exiting the apartment.  That indicated that he had shifted his beloved burden to his stronger side as he opened the door.”

“Oh, and you said his hair was blue!  It’s black and white!”

“It was blue yesterday, as evident from the hair I found on the sofa.  It was a good twelve inches long, and maintained its shape when bent.  This told me that a stiffening agent had been used.   Have you dyed it for the wedding?”

“Black and white seemed more formal.”

“Well, if the lady was in no danger, why did she engage your services?”

“The Captain here had given her an extravagant wedding present, and I assume she wanted to return the favor.  Unless I am very much mistaken, I am that gift.”

She laughed lightly before replying.  “You are correct, Mr. Holmes.  Edward has been a fan of yours for some time, having become aware of your abilities in that computer espionage case you had solved in South Africa.”

“The Adventure of the Reluctant Hacker!”

“Yes, he showed me that’s what you called it in your blog, Doctor.  I thought there would be no better gift I could give him than to have you solve a case, in which he had the starring role.”

“And I must say, I have had a most delightful time doing so.  One more thing: in honor of the Titanic theme, I have brought the two of you a wedding present.”

At this, Holmes reached into his breast pocket and removed the object to which he had referred earlier.  It was a small brightly colored cylinder with metal at each end, with a tiny white bow.  I couldn’t quite see what it was as he handed it over with great panache.

“Holmes, what is that?”

“What else, Watson? Lifesavers…”

This concludes Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 3

November 10, 2009

This is a continuation of the story, Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 1. You may wish to read that chapter (and Chapter 2) before beginning this one.  

“Yes, Watson, that device, while always a wellspring of information, may provide us the particular data we need to advance our investigation.”

My friend, Sherlock Holmes, was referring to a Kindle in an apartment from which his client had been recently carried.  I was anxious to begin our pursuit of the unfortunate woman and her abductor, but Holmes had rightfully cautioned me about dashing off without knowing our destination.

“Yes, I see.  It may contain something about the victim that can help us locate her.”

“That’s certainly possible, Watson, although I believe the information it reveals about its owner may be more useful.”

“You mean, you think it belongs to the man who spirited her away?”

“Clearly, it can not belong to the resident of the apartment.”

“But it seems so unlikely that he would have left it behind.”

“Perhaps, but as we can eliminate my client as the owner, the only reasonable hypothesis remaining is that it belonged to the owner of those shoeprints we discussed before.   When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.*

“Why couldn’t it belong to the girl?  This is her apartment.” 

“It is precisely because it is her apartment that we can see the Kindle can not also be hers.  Look at the end table you noted earlier.  How many remote controls do you see there?”

“One, two, three…four.”

“And how many devices in the entertainment unit capable of using a remote?”

I looked more carefully at the onyx shelving.

“Television…Tivo…DVD…it appears to be three.”

“Exactly.  And the fourth remote control?  The one that is so large and has so many buttons?”

“Presumably, that is a univeral remote.’

“Correct.  To be precise, it is a Philips TSU9400 Pronto Universal Remote Control , which retails for close to one thousand dollars.  It is certainly capable of replacing the other three remotes, although a knowledge of Javascript is useful in configuring it.  Since all four remotes are still present, and the other three show signs of recent use, we can assume that our absent friend is not a technical whiz.”

“But a Kindle doesn’t require any special ability…it is simple enough to use that even a Luddite such as I adapted to it quickly.”

“Ah, that may be so for most Kindles, but look more carefully at this one.  Who is displayed as the sleep mode picture?”

“I believe that’s Stephen King.”

“Once again, you’ve gotten it on the nose.  Stephen King is not one of the twenty-five pictures that come with the device.  Ergo, it was added, and as this is a Kindle 2, it would have required installation of what is referred to as the ‘screensaver hack’. “

“Perhaps someone else did it for her.”

“A reasonable thought.  However, that is contradicted by the recycling bin you see near the refrigerator.”

“I’m sorry, Holmes, I don’t follow.”

“Examine the bottles in the bin.  What do you notice about them?”

I looked carefully at the empty plastic bottles.  The labels had been removed, but I noticed nothing else unusual.

I addressed Holmes, certain that he had gathered something I hadn’t.  “I don’t see–”

“Well done!  Too much emphasis is placed on what we do see, when what we don’t see may be equally significant.   You will notice, doctor, that none of these bottles have their caps in place.  As you are no doubt aware, plastic bottles are typically made of Polyethylene Terephthalate, while their caps are made of Polypropylene.  The two materials have different melting points, which means that they must be processed in different batches.  If you observe the refrigerator, there is a notice from the apartment complex asking residents to separate caps from bottles.”

“Yes, I see.  That tells us that…”

“That my client is a rule-follower.  Most people would pay the notice little heed, but I believe an inventory would show that there are no bottle caps in that bin.”

“And the font hack requires breaking the rules.”

“Correct.  Doing so is against the Terms of Use Kindle owners enter into with Amazon.  One might suggest she was unaware of that, except for the name shown on the sleep mode picture.”

“Steven King?”

“Yes, Steven, not Stephen.  It is unlikely that my client would have failed to notice that mistake, given the Stephen King DVD boxed set, and several Stephen King novels in that entertainment unit.  I notice that the novels include several rare editions, including The Running Man when it was first published under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.   It would hardly be reasonable that such a fan would not have known the author’s name was misspelled, and therefore likely to be unauthorized.  Taking into account these two facts, that my client is a rule-follower and a Stephen King fan, we must conclude that the Kindle is not hers.”

“One could hardly argue with that reasoning.”

“Since the cover is open and the screen has not yet accumulated a layer of household dust, it can not have been here and in this position for long.  While we can not completely rule out someone else having been here, it seems to needlessly complicate our variables, especially as we know that the man’s hands would have been full carrying my client from the room.  Wake it up, Watson, and we shall see what we shall see.”

“Won’t we be disturbing evidence at a crime scene?”

“Ah, but this is not a crime scene, Watson.  It will be seventy-two hours before a missing person’s report would be filed, and I should think we will resolve this affair some time before that.”

I moved the power switch to the right for the requisite second or so, and the author of Carrie dissolved from the screen.  He was replaced with a short listing of titles.  I noticed I was reviewing the list alone.  Holmes had plopped onto the sofa, and was leaning back with his hands together and his eyes closed.

“Read them to me, Watson.”

“The first title is–”

“Above the title, please.  From the very top.”

“Edward’s Kindle.  Well, at least we have a first name.”

“I think it is very likely that is not the owner’s real name.  Continue.”

“It says ‘OFF’ and shows a half-filled battery.”

I thought Holmes might respond, but he gave no indication he had heard me.  So I continued:

“Showing All 5 Items…By Title.  Five doesn’t seem like very many titles.”

“I think we will find that there are many more items in the archives.  This further confirms that the owner of the Kindle is more attuned to technology than the owner of this apartment.  Very few Kindle owners bother to move their items to the archives, resulting in many pages of books on the homescreen, despite a lack of immediate need.”

“The next one is an Audio title–”

“By Celine Dion, I presume?”

“Why, yes.”

“You may skip that one…continue.”

I continued to read the remaining titles:

“Thank you, Watson.  That makes things very clear.”

“I’m afraid I don’t follow.”

“Two more things.  Turn the cover over.  Do you notice any stains?”

“Yes, there is a greenish discoloration where something appears to have splashed on the back.”

“As I suspected.  Now, remove the Kindle from its case.  Be careful of the hinges.  Is there anything on the back of the Kindle itself?”

“Why, there is a sticker with a phone number!  We can call and find out the owner’s name!”

“Unfortunately, no, Watson.  That is a TrackItBack   sticker, and they do not give out personal information.  Fortunately, we shan’t be needing their assistance.  I think that is sufficient for this evening.  Go home, get some rest, and give my regards to Mary.  Take the Kindle with you, and I shall meet you at your office tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 PM, when we shall conclude this business.”

“3:00…yes, my last patient is scheduled for 2:00.”

“As has always been your habit.  Oh, and give me the serial number from the back of the Kindle.”

“I’m afraid it’s a bit small for me to read.”

Producing a small plastic magnifying lens, similar to those used by some people in restaurants, Holmes glanced at the number.  I knew he would have committed it to memory instantly.

“But the girl!  Will she be safe?”

“In the infinitude of possiblities, I can not guarantee that.  However, I believe we shall find her quite whole and hale in the afternoon.”

“What of her abductor?  We know nothing of him.”

“Not very much.  We can surmise that he is a 6 foot 1 inch left-handed vegetarian with a blue ‘faux hawk’ hairstyle.  He has recently returned from the Horn of Africa, is of superior intelligence, and is a man of means.”

“Indeed!  I assume you deduced his height from his stride…but the rest–”

“I find myself sleepy, and I have been away from my post at the door too long.  I shall see you at 3:00 PM at your office tomorrow.”

With that, Holmes turned to leave, reassuming his former appearance.  In the rumbling voice of the doorman, he asked one question.

“What month is it?”

“April…April Eighth.”

“Thank you, Watson.  I trust you can find your own way out?”

“Yes, Holmes.  Tomorrow afternoon, then.”

My mind veritably raced with the events of the evening.  While I was fully confident in my friend’s assurances as to the young lady’s safety, I could not for the life of me see the trail he followed to that conclusion.  Was it the green stain?  The contents of the Kindle…and how had he known it was Celine Dion?  Perhaps there was some detail which had entirely escaped my notice. 

Tucking the Kindle under my arm, I headed for the passenger elevator.  My excitement was not to give me a good night’s sleep, but I should have a great deal to tell Mary when I got home. 

I could hardly wait until the adventure resumed!

*This quotation originally appeared in A Study in Scarlet, the first of the Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 2

November 7, 2009

This is a continuation of the story, Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 1. You may wish to read that chapter before beginning this one. Thank you to those who requested more of the tale…it gave me a good reason to return to it.

“Watson, I’m glad you could make it!  I hope that your day off has given you sufficient rest after the digeridoo music.”

The speaker was my old friend, Sherlock Holmes, although he would have been difficult for most to recognize in his current garb.  He was dressed as the doorman of the apartment complex in which I now found myself, having been led into a specific residence by him.  Despite our long acquaintance, I was unaware of his identity until a moment before, when he had revealed himself.

I nodded absently to his inquiry, until it struck me that I had said nothing to him about my recent activities.

“Why, yes, I was able to take a healthy nap, although Mary did have me running a few errands.  But however did you know?”

“It was as obvious as if you had a worn a sign, Watson.  I noticed that you had a faded, but still visible, ink stamp on the back of your right hand.  This stamp, in the shape of a kangaroo on top of a guitar speaker, marks the payment of attendance at a club.  I have compiled an extensive database of such ‘pay stamps’, and this is one used by a somewhat offbeat establishment known as ‘Let’s Hear Those Oohs and Aussies’.  The ink is purple, which is used on Tuesday nights.  As is virtually unavoidable, you got a small spot of the ink on your jacket cuff.  The brightness of the spot tells me that it has not been a week since it appeared.   Therefore, it was the most recent Tuesday, ergo last night.”

“And the digeridoo music?”

“I am well acquainted with your preference for instrumental music, having entertained you many times with my violin.   It was simply an educated guess that a place with such an emphasis on the Southern Commonwealth as a theme would choose to highlight that particular aerophone.  That, combined with my noticing earlier a Twitter tweet that the famed digeridoo player Burragubba was in town was enough to risk that conclusion.”

“I suppose with all of that information it was obvious.”

“To the well-trained analytical mind, it was a trivial effort.”

“And it was natural to assume that I would take a day off to recover.”

“That was not a mere assumption, but an undeniable conclusion.  While you have clearly made an effort to remove the kangaroo stamp, the fact that it is still apparent at all proves it.  Given your occupation as a medical man, all traces would have been removed by the repeated hand-washing endemic to your profession.  Ergo, you could not have been in your normal course of employ today.”

“I see, yes, it seems simple when you explain it that way.  I can’t tell you how good it is to see you again, Holmes!”

“And I you, Watson.  I am engaged now in an investigation, and would welcome your assistance.”

“I should be happy to help.  Does it have to do with the missing doorman?”

“There is no missing doorman, Watson.  If you were to check the employment records of the hotel, you would find that I am on the payroll here, although not under my actual name, of course.  This is my third night on duty.”

“In conjunction with a case, I assume?”

“Precisely!  It is a fascinating puzzle, although it has really just been set into motion this evening.  Five days ago, I had been approached by the resident of this very apartment.  She had been concerned by a peculiar package that had been sent to her and which she said had caused her no inconsiderable alarm.  It had arrived by UPS, and upon opening it, she discovered that it contained five Somalian shilling coins, and a black teddy bear, which I recognized as a Steiff.  This particular model was a limited run of only 600 ordered for England in 1912.  As such, it was an object of no little value. 

While you can surmise from the furnishings in this apartment that a $50,000 teddy bear was not a completely out of line gift for my client, it still seemed odd, as it was sent anonymously, and with no inscription or accompanying card.”

“You mentioned that she was concerned.”

“Yes, and that is the crux of the matter.  Although she has not chosen to reveal the genesis of her fear, she felt it advisable to engage my services.  As I was intrigued, I accepted the commission.  I obtained a position as the doorman, so that I might better observe the situation.”

“I should think a building like this would require a background check.”

“True, if I was applying directly to the management.  However, I was aware that the doorman services had been outsourced to a security company.  I challenged the owner of that company, a mixed martial artist of some renown, to a cage match.   When I lost to him, he offered me the opportunity to work off my debt, as he had an unexpected opening when one of his employees had quit without notice.  In reality, I had arranged for the employee to receive an apparently winning lottery ticket.  When he determines that it is not legitimate, he will no doubt retract his resignation.”

“I see.  You said that he beat you?”

“Actually, Watson, I said that I had lost to him, and that is a significant difference.  If I had defeated him, he would have won a bet, but seen no reason to place me here.  Putting on a good show, but eventually allowing him to secure the upper hand, it was only logical that he would want to use me to fill the vacancy.”

“Wasn’t he angry that you didn’t pay him the money?’

“I would say he was more amused.  He appreciated my nerve.  I was aware that he himself had been a former grifter, and had risen from unfortunate circumstances.  I calculated that he would see in me a kindred spirit.”

“Well done!”

“For the first two nights, I observed my client coming and going about her business, as well as all of the other people who came in and out of the building.  She was in the habit of walking to the Starbucks on the corner each evening to enjoy a latte and work on her laptop.  Tonight, she did not emerge.  Sensing that the game was afoot, I messaged you at that time to join me.   You did not disappoint me, and we now find ourselves beginning the next stage of the journey.  Look around, Watson: what can you deduce from the apartment?”

Although I knew that Holmes’ keen powers of observation had already taken in more details than I could catalogue in a week, I knew also that he found it useful for me to state my observations.  There were times as well that his focus on minutiae might make him miss something that would stand out to a more casual observer.

“I should say there is only one resident, who from what you have told me, would be your client.”

“What leads you to that conclusion?

“I see only one end table next to the sofa, and the throw pillow there seems more worn than the one at the other end.”

“That was my thought as well.  If you glance into the bathroom, which you can see through that open door, you will notice that there is only one sink.  There is also one toothbrush, laying on the vanity.  While it is possible that a second toothbrush is within the medicine cabinet, I agree with your supposition.  What else?”

“Is the apartment as you had found it?” 

“When I entered it with you, it was my first time as well.  I waited for your arrival, so that we might apply both of our intellects to this first assessment.”

“Well, the door was open.  That indicates to me that the tenant left in a hurry, or was distracted in some manner.”

“The evidence indicates more than mere distraction, Watson.  I’m sure you have noticed the foot impressions in the carpet.  In addition to yours and mine, there are three sets between the door to the sofa.  These represent a bare foot, and based on the size and the ratio of the length to width, they are those of a female approximately 5′ 8″ in height: the same as my client, and I presume they are hers.  These drips of water accompanying them indicate that she may have answered the door after a shower…you can see that the bathroom mirror still retains some of the fogging effect.

This second set is that of a man’s shoe, specifically, a Bristol Wingtip from Pangaea’s No Bull line, size 11.  The third set shows the same man’s shoe.  As you can see, though, the impression is about 75% again as deep.  This leads  to the conclusion that the man was carrying something when he exited.”

“Your client?”

“Right again!  You no doubt noticed that black square scuff mark on the doorframe as we entered, about at your eye level  While I have not taken measurements, I would wager that we will find a matching heelprint coming from the bedroom to the sofa.   There is no doubt that as he carried my client from the room, her heel marred the door in that fashion.  The fact that there are no other signs of struggle suggests that she was not resisting at the time.”

“Unconscious?”

“That is a reasonable conclusion.”

“Good heavens!   We must rescue her!”

“And I intend to go after her, my friend.  However, her best interests will not be served by rushing about blindly before we have ascertained all of the facts available to us.  Look at the table, Watson.  You have failed to mention the most important clue of all, the one that may prove the key to the entire problem.”

I glanced at the piece of furniture Holmes indicated.  There, laying face up and with its cover open, was a Kindle.

To be continued…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,256 other followers

%d bloggers like this: