Archive for the ‘Parodies’ Category

Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 1

November 3, 2009

There are times when I’m not quite sure what I should post here.  I’m a pretty normal person, happily married, a doctor in private practice.  True, I’m a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and did sustain a leg injury there, but I’ve already written about that.

However, regular readers will know that my best friend is not at all ordinary.

I’ve known Sherlock Holmes since college when we were room-mates.  While I was studying medicine, Holmes could have been a case study for several papers, should I have had the need and inclination.

He is a substance abuser, with his arms showing the marks of needles employed both in the injection of cocaine and morphine.  These two substances may seem contradictory, one increasing activity and the other suppressing it.

A comparison of the two agents is not unlike meeting Holmes on different days.  He is a casebook manic depressive.   He may spend a week at a time on the couch, leaving only for the most necessary biological functions.  Seen in this state, he is the classic slacker.  

I still have a large and comfortable chair that was in our common living room during our college days.  One arm was quite broken down from where Holmes would hook a leg over it, as he lolled back, apparently incapable of responding to questions or carrying on a conversation.  My wife tried having it reupholstered to no avail, and it has since been banished to the garage.

Met in this condition, perhaps not having showered or shaved in days, no respectable person would have thought to engage him in any occupation.

However, in reality, his services are highly sought after by the rich and powerful, and he can command the most astounding fees for a few days work.

His reputation is well-founded.  He has the most incredible mind, and is a remarkable problem solver of a unique sort.  It takes only the proper sort of intriguing mystery to rouse him from his stupor, and his energy is boundless until it is resolved.  For a short time, his brain engaged in correlating the tiniest details with his own seemingly limitless store of trivia, he can be so active as to make a humminbird seem a sluggard in comparison. 

Lest you think he is simply an intellectual, he is an amateur prize fighter, a fencer, and capable as well of incredible feats of agility.  I myself have seen him scramble up the side of a building, jump from roof to roof, and conclude with a leap on to the branch of a tree in a manner that would make a vervet monkey jealous.

During these times, it seems as though he is superhuman.  His clients believe he can resolve their difficulties in a nonpareil manner.  They believe nothing can stump him, that he can accomplish any task, and unfortunately, they may be correct.

Why do I say unfortunately?  Once the problem has been resolved and the mystery over, he returns to that listless state which I have described earlier.  I sought once to dissuade him from indulging in an injection of cocaine (which he had offered to share with me), and he replied:

“My mind rebels at stagnation.  Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere.  I can dispense then with artificial stimulants.  But I abhor the dull routine of existence.”*

As a medical man, I can not condone his use of chemical stimulants.  I know the negative consequences that accompany the psychoactive effects Holmes’ finds some substitute for challenge.  Holmes himself, who has made an impressive study of pharmacology (along with several other disciplines), certainly knows them.  I have never understood why he will allow this significant impact on his perhaps unprecedented mental faculties, and yet eschews romantic involvement for fear of dulling his mind by complicating it with emotions.

It may be that the one enigma unsolved by Holmes is Holmes himself.  In fairness, it is perhaps a topic to which he has never turned his full attention. 

So it was that I reacted with some selfish excitement when I received a summons from my old friend to meet him at a stylish apartment in one of the better areas of the city.  While I am quite satisfied with my life, Holmes brings a dash of paprika to my meat and potatoes  existence of treating abdominal pain and upper respiratory infections.

When the taxi left me outside the appointed address, I saw no one on the street.  I approached the doorman…this being a complex that housed a number of foreign diplomats, they had retained that charming tradition.

“Excuse me,” I ventured.  “I am Doctor John Watson–“

“Doctor?  Medical doctor?” the doorman rumbled. 

He was an odd fellow.  He seemed to have the build of a wrestler, and his face showed the results of his presumed former trade.  His nose had been broken and not set properly, and one eye showed the clear evidence of some poorly-healed traumatic injury.  His stance suggested a lightness of foot surprising in such a large man.

“Yes, medical doctor.  I was supposed to meet a friend here–“

“A medical doctor is just what we need.  Please follow me.”

With that, he swiped a card through a security device, and the door opened.  While I did not want to miss the opportunity to meet with Sherlock Holmes, I felt I could not in good conscious refuse the doorman’s request.  It might be that my assistance was actually needed, and I could stabilize the patient until other help arrived.  My guide would undoubtedly return to his station after conducting me, and I could give him a message to let Holmes know where I was.

Following him was easy…his rollng gait made it seem as though he filled the  entire hallway.  I don’t believe I could have passed him had I so desired.  We approached the main elevator lobby, but then turned suddenly through some double doors.

“Freight elevator,” he said.  “Don’t want to disturb the tenants.”

We stepped into an elevator with steel halfway up the walls, not unlike an elevator that would be used to move a gurney to a different ward in a hospital. 

“May I ask what the nature of the emergency is?”

The big fellow must not have heard me properly.  He pushed a button and replied, “Seventeenth floor.”

Our conveyance seemed to jump a bit more than those to which I was accustomed, and to transit the floors more rapidly.  My injury gives me a certain lack of equillibrium, and I found myself concentrating on not tumbling to the floor too much to think much more about the situation.

We lurched to a stop, and the back doors (opposite to those through which we had entered) opened.  “This way.”

We passed a police officer.  Not a security guard, but a member of the city force.  He nodded briefly at my companion as we passed.

We paused outside Apartment 1704.  The door was open and we stepped inside.

“I say,” I began, “if this is a police matter, we may not want to do anything without officers in the room.  They should have already summoned medical assistance.  I may not be the appropriate person for this task.”

“Oh, but you are.  I shouldn’t want anyone else with me in a situation such as this.”

That seemed a most peculiar thing for someone to say whom I had just met, and not properly at that.  I was about to question him further when he appeared to transform before my eyes, becoming slimmer and shorter, seemingly losing inches in both girth and height.   I realized then that his size had only been an illusion, brought about by the skill of a consummate actor.  It had been the theatre world’s loss that the man before me had not chosen that venerable profession. 

There could be no doubt, and I shouted in my enthusiasm:

“Holmes!”

Continued in Chapter 2.

* This quotation is almost word for word from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1890 (and second) Sherlock Holmes’ novel, The Sign of the Four.  While I have contemporized some elements of A Kindle Abandoned, I have not exaggerated Holmes’ drug use, and Dr. Watson was actually a veteran of the Afghan war…the second Afghan war, to be more precise.   If you want to read the original Holmes stories, you can find them free, or this edition has them all with an interactive Table of Contents: Sherlock Holmes Complete Collection. If I do continue this in a second chapter, a Kindle will be involved.  I hope the Holmes purists will indulge me in using some Americanisms (like refererring to an elevator instead of a lift).  Feel free to let me know if you would like to read more of this.  If I continue it, it won’t be right away…I do like to keep it varied.  Update: I did continue this story in this post.

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

Sony, the Kindle Slayer

September 15, 2009

For every innovation, there is an opposing one.

It will try to take the buyers, the bloggers, and a share of the market.

Sony is The Slayer.

SCENE: Sonydale High School: the library.  Sony, a cheer-reader, has transferred into the school just before the winter break.   She enters the emply library, where she has been told she can pick up her textbooks.

Sony: “Hello?”

A tall British gentleman with glasses addresses her.

Librarian: “Hello, Sony.”

 Sony: “How did you know who I am?”

Librarian: “It’s a small town.  There are very few readers in it.”

Sony: “Who are you?”

Librarian: “I’m OverGiles, the librarian.  I believe I have what you need here.”

OverGiles puts a large, leatherbound book on the counter.  It appears to be very old, and in fancy script is titled, “To Kill a Kyndle.”

Sony: “Don’t get all Oberon on me with your Gucci book bag.  I’m just here to get my textbooks.”

OverGiles: “Readers don’t have textbooks.  And you know what a Kindle is.  You’ve faced them before.”

Sony: “Maybe I have, and maybe I don’t want to do it again.   Maybe I just want to mind my own business.”

OverGiles: “But Sony, Kindles are your business.  You know you’ll have to face them eventually.”

Sony:  “Why don’t you do it?”

OverGiles:  “I am only the librarian.  However, I can help you.   Together, we can defeat them.  The Kindles don’t have a librarian.”

Sony:  “Yes, and I’m sure that’s what all the cool kids care about.”

OverGiles:  “The Cool-er kids don’t have a librarian, either.”

Sony:  “Funny.  I was here before the Kindles, but they totally took over my table in the cafeteria.  What chance do I have?”

OverGiles:  “You have a touch screen.”

Sony:  “Skeevy, much.  I think I’ll go hang with the Playstations.  Gotta e-book.”

OverGiles:  “Wait!  Don’t abandon hope yet.  I have recently found a way to give you a wireless connection.”

Sony: “You mean, I’ll be able to go anywhere I want, just like the Kindles?”

OverGiles:  “Well, no.  But you will be able to get books without a cable…”

Sony: “I can get Pride and Prejudice while they’re on Facebook?   Yes, that is the same.  Look, I’ll think it over.”

Sony turns and leaves.  In the hallway, she bumps into a small reader, knocking her over.  Sony helps her back up:

Small reader (in a quiet, mousy voice):  “Oh, I’m sorry.  I should have looked where I was standing.”

Sony: “It was my fault.  You don’t need to apologize.”

Small reader:  “Oh, sorry.”

Sony:  “What’s your name?”

Small reader:  “I’m Plastic Willogic.  Thank you for helping me up.  You’d better get going.   You may not want to be seen with me.”

Sony:  “Let me worry about that.  Who’s your friend?”

Willogic:  “Oh, I’m sorry, I should have introduced him.  I was just so distracted, what with the falling and all.  He’s IRexander.”

Sony:  “Hello.”

IRexander (smiling):  “That’s the most a Sony has said to me all year.  You don’t mind if I write that down, do you?”

Sony:  “Suit yourself.”

IRexander:  “Listen, I couldn’t help overhearing what you were saying with the librarian.  Well, I could have, but I didn’t.  Are you really going to fight the Kindles all by yourself?”

Sony: “Well, if you two aren’t doing anything, I could use some help.”

IRexander: “Not doing something is one of the things I do best.”

Willogic: “Don’t mind him.  Would you really want us to help you?”

Sony: “Sure!  I think we could be a great team!  What good is Scooby without Shaggy and Velma?”

IRexander: “Wait.  Which one am I?”

Sony (to Willogic):  “Does he do that all the time?”

Willogic: “Yes.  He thinks he’s funny.  He might be…I’m not a very good judge of humor.”

Sony: “Come on, you two.  Let’s go back and see OverGiles.  This looks like the start of a beautiful friendship.”

IRexander:  “And a horrible battle which none us might survive.”

Willogic (to Sony): “Is that true?”

Sony: “It isn’t not true.  But look: has school ever been anything else for you?”

Willogic smiles slightly and shakes her head no.  The three of them re-enter the library.  OverGiles is putting a book on a shelf, and speaks as he turns.

OverGiles: “May I help you?”

Sony: “That’s what you wanted to do five minutes ago, right?’

OverGiles: “Sony!  I’m so pleased you’ve returned.  Have you made a decision?”

Sony: “We have.  These are my friends.”

Sony, Willogic, and IRexander smile.  After a hesitation, OverGiles joins them.

THE END

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

Star Trek parody: The Kindle Encounter

September 1, 2009

THE KINDLE ENCOUNTER

Captain’s Log: stardate 20090524.5

A remote probe has detected a weak signal in the KDX quadrant.  Starfleet Command has asked the Enterprise to investigate.  Our sensors have indicated a small, previously unknown planetoid as the source.

Science Officer Spock has identified the signal as being eerily similar to a type used on Earth in the early 21st century.

I am leading a landing party, consisting of Spock, my Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy, and Security Sub-chief Camisa Roja.

Also in our group:  Historian 3rd Class LOLie Poster, an expert in internet era culture. While she has never been on a field mission before, I believe her expertise may prove helpful.

EXTERIOR: WE SEE THE LANDING PARTY MATERIALIZE ON WHAT APPEARS TO BE A TYPICAL 21ST CENTURY AMERICAN SMALL TOWN STREET. THERE IS NO MOVEMENT, NO SIGNS OF LIFE. SPOCK IS USING HIS TRICORDER.

Kirk: Have you identified the source of the signal, Spock?
Spock: Uncertain, Captain.  It appears to be a non-localized carrier throughout this entire area.
Kirk: That doesn’t help us much.
Spock: I shall continue scanning.
Kirk: Bones?
McCoy: Well, Jim, I’m picking up quite a few life signs, but they’re very faint. I’d say there’s something in every one of these buildings, but I don’t what it is. I guarantee you, though, we’ve got company.
Spock: On further analysis, I’ve found the signal is not entirely consistent. At irregular intervals, the signal is stronger in different domiciles.
Scotty: It’s just a short burst, and then it’s gone.
LOL: Captain, if I may make a suggestion?
Kirk: That’s why you’re here, historian.
LOL: The generalized signal may be an Internet of some kind, while the short bursts would be people downloading information.
Scotty: Aye! Like a data transporter!
Spock: While your analogy is imprecise, Mr. Scott, it does convey the essence of what I can determine with the data we have accumulated so far.
Kirk: Well, gentlemen, let’s see if we can’t get Mr. Spock some more data. Phasers on stun: it’s time we see who’s at home.
McCoy: I don’t think we’ll need the phasers, Jim. These life signs are about as a sleepy as a Kentucky hound dog on a mid-summer day.
Kirk: It pays to be prepared. Historian Poster, pick a building.
LOL: These all seem to be single-family dwellings…there could be people in any of them.
Spock: A burst of activity is just completing…there.
LOL: That could mean a download has just finished.
Kirk: Then that’s our first stop. Phasers drawn.

INTERIOR: AN ENTIRELY WHITE ROOM, WITH BROWN CARDBOARD BOXES STACKED EVERYWHERE. A BLOBBY HUMANOID IS SEATED IN A WHITE CHAIR, WITH A SMALL DEVICE WITH A SCREEN PROPPED ON A PLATFORM NEARBY. MCCOY IS EXAMINING THE HUMANOID WITH A MEDICAL TRICORDER.

Kirk: Is he alive, Bones?
McCoy: If you mean is he breathing, yes. His vitals are all below normal limits, but they are there. It’s his mental activity that concerns me. It’s there, but it never seems to change.
Spock: That would suggest, doctor, that he is in an altered state of consciousness.
McCoy: I know what it means, Spock, but whether he’s sleeping or in a coma or communing with my Great Aunt Tille, I can’t tell you.
Kirk: Can you wake him up?
MCCoy: I could, but I don’t know what it would do to him.
LOL: Captain?
Kirk: What is it, Lieutenant?
LOL: I think he may be on-line. I’ve read about it, but I’ve never actually seen it before.
Kirk: Perhaps you’d care to enlighten the rest of us?
LOL: Oh, sorry, Captain. After receiving information from an Internet, a user…that’s what they called them back then…would have to interface with it in some way.
Kirk: How long would that take?
Spock: Based on my analysis of the accumulation of dust in this room, I would say he has been in this condition for approximately two hundred and twenty-seven Earth years.
Scott: But didn’t that energy burst just happen? It hasn’t been more than two centuries!
Spock: Correct, Engineer. Logically, he is not processing the most recent emanation.
LOL: That’s right. They could keep getting information even though they haven’t finished the last one. It could even be an automatic update.
Kirk: Update to what?
LOL: I would say that device on the table.
Kirk: Scotty?
Scott: Aye. It’s some kind of a receiving console.
Kirk: Can you get it going?
Scott: That I can, Cap’n. She’s set up for universal voltage…I’ll have her going in a jiffy.

SCOTTY WORKS ON THE UNIT. THE FACE OF EMILY DICKINSON APPEARS ON THE SCREEN.

Roja: Captain, look out!

ROJA FIRES HIS PHASER, WHICH BOUNCES OFF THE SCREEN AND HITS HIM IN THE CHEST. HE SCREAMS AND SLUMPS TO THE FLOOR. MCCOY RUNS TO HIS SIDE.

McCoy: He’s dead, Jim.
Kirk: I knew his second cousin twice removed.
McCoy: Knew her, or knew knew her?
Kirk: Now is not the time, Bones. Dammit, that thing just killed my crewman!
Spock: I would say not. It appears to have passively reflected the phaser blast.
Scotty: It has a shield? That wee thing?
Spock: Not a shield as we know them, engineer. It does, though, have some kind of screen protector.

LOL IS CRYING HYSTERICALLY

Kirk: Pull yourself together, Historian! I need answers!
LOL: Sorry, Captain. Yes, Mr. Spock is right. They often had some kind of film over the screen. But that was to protect it from scratches! This…this is horrible!
Kirk (hugging LOL): Thank you, Lieutenant. That’s what I needed to know. Thanks to you, we won’t be using our phasers again.
LOL: Thank you, Captain.
Kirk: Jim.
LOL: Jim.

Spock: If Mr. Scott would assist me, I believe we can induce it to reveal its contents.
Scott: Aye. If we reverse the polarity, and cross circuit to B…
Spock: I believe this switch may accomplish that same task.
McCoy: It looks like a list of book titles.
Kirk: Pick one, Bones.
McCoy: I’m a doctor, not a librarian!
Spock: It may be unwise to open them on the device. While I am sure Mr. Scott has done his typically commendable job, the device may not be able to take reactivation after this long a period in stasis.
Scott: Aye, Cap’n. I canna hold her together much longer.
Kirk: Then we’ll take it with us. Enterprise, six to beam up.

INTERIOR: THE ENTERPRISE BRIDGE. SPOCK AND SCOTTY ARE WORKING AT A COMPUTER STATION. THE DEVICE FROM THE PLANET IS CONNECTED VIA A CABLE. KIRK STANDS NEARBY.

Kirk: Gentlemen?
SCOTTY SHRUGS AND LOOKS AT SPOCK
Spock: We have failed to open any of the books.
Kirk: what’s wrong?
Spock: My analysis indicates that the books are keyed only to be used on that device. Despite Mr. Scott’s best efforts, we have been unable to supply sufficient power to it. We are in a quandary: we can neither power the device for which they are intended, nor open them on another device. Logically, there are no other alternatives.

Scotty: Reading Klingon is one thing. Hacking DRM…that’s hard.

Kirk: Thank you for your efforts, gentlemen. I guess we’ll just have to “close the book” on this one.

EVERYONE LAUGHS. END CREDITS

Note: I originally published this parody in the Amazon Kindle forum.  It is available in my Kindle store title, ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition) , along with other Kindle humor. 

The Star Trek characters are used under the Fair Use provision of United States copyright law, as reported in The 1961 Report of the Register of Copyrights on the General Revision of the U.S. Copyright Law, and cited by the Copright Office here:
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

use in a parody of some of the content of the work parodied

is listed as one of the “…examples of activities that courts have regarded as fair use”.

I recommend the original Star Trek series to you, and support the rightsholders ongoing production of (and control over) non-parody commercial works, like this summer’s new movie.  While poking a little fun at the series in this piece, I’ve done my best to capture the flavor of the series and the characters that I respect and that I’ve enjoyed. 

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


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