The Lost Swayze Movie: “Road Dawn”



From a suggestion by Stone: “The E-Team,” an RPG campaign set in the Dungeons and Dragons world of Eberron.

This is also a fitting post in that last week’s Family Guy focused on Peter’s obsession with the A-Team, right down to a shot-for-shot cartoon remake of the show’s opening.

At the end of the Last War, a crack military unit was convicted of a crime they did not commit. They escaped and disappeared. Today, still wanted by the Five Nations, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, and no one else can help, if you can find them, maybe you can hire…the E-team.

The great thing is all the A-Team members have names or nicknames that fit fairly seamlessly into a fantasy mileau.

Oddly enough, I watched most of the first season of The A-Team through Netflix recently. Not really sure why I did that, but I did.

Anyway, here’s how I’d cast the game:

Hannibal – a changeling rogue and the leader of the group. Why a changeling? On the television show, Hannibal was a master of disguise.

Face – an elf bard. He’s the pretty-boy, so he’s got to be an elf, and his job is fast-talking everyone, so he’s got to be a master of performance and diplomacy. He’s also got a couple spells, because sometimes Face just works his magic to get the job done. Yeah, that’ll work.

Murdock – a human ranger. This one was the hardest, because Murdock’s specialty is vehicles; I extrapolated this to mean “transportation” and thus “travel,” and thus, a ranger.

Baracus – a warforged fighter (with one level of artificer). Surly and tough, with a bunch of shiny docents (power-enchancing trinkets) on his chest. There’s also that whole formerly-enslaved race thing, but I wasn’t thinking that (really). I was just thinking that Mr. T is helluva tough, and the toughest race in Eberron are the warforged. Baracus gets a level of artificer because he was a mechanic on the show.

You’d have to start the game with all four characters being at least level five–otherwise I’m not sure you’d really be able to do have true A-Team style action. Plus Baracus needs at least two or three levels of fighter on top of that one level of artificer.


As we celebrate the release of perhaps the best–or certainly most artistically ambitious (and potentially pretentious) Batman film–I’d like to take the opportunity to remind people of the character’s most ignominious moment: the Batusi.

The Batusi is that silly little mod dance, made famous in the 1960s Batman television show and made famous again by John Travolta and Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.

I wish I could find a video file of it somewhere–just reading the description of the website linked above is enough to make me laugh, but I want, no, I need the full Batusi experience…

The Batusi. Take that, Dark Knight!

Mr. Owl is a Lying A-Hole

Mr Owl

See that punk? That’s Mr. Owl. You may remember him from a commercial that ran for nearly twenty years, from 1970 to the mid-to-late ’80s. The commercial was for Tootsie Roll-Pops. As a kid the ad amused me, but as an adult I now realize the truth: Mr. Owl is a lying a-hole.

In the spot, a lily-white naked kid wonders aloud how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie-Roll center of a Tootsie-Roll Pop. A valid question, if a somewhat rhetorical one, for with 6 billion different tongues and saliva levels in this world, how can an objective number possibly be reached? At best, one must either concede to a near-infinite multitude of possible lick-counts, or simply dismiss the question as unanswerable. However, our young Aristotlean hero refuses to submit to this non-empirical solution and decides that asking an animal is the best course of action.

As such, he seeks out Mr. Turtle, who is clearly a descendant (ancestor?) of Morla, for he is wise beyond all knowing. Rather than suggest an absolute answer, like a true agnostic he accepts the unknowable, and like a true politician he passes the buck. Acknowledging that he “never made it without biting,” the suggestively toothless Mr. Turtle points our intrepid, nude hero to Mr. Owl, who will, with luck, bring an end to this tortured quest.

At first, Mr. Owl seems to respond positively to the young lad’s query. Admitting that he, too, does not know the answer to the question, he proposes an experiment to “find out,” and accordingly confiscates (steals?) the trusting boy’s Tootsie-Roll Pop. He begins to count the licks: One (so far, so good…); Two-HOO (wait…why this flamboyant second syllable in the word “two”? Why end on a higher pitch, as if some sort of conclusion were about to be reached…?); and finally, Three, with a curiously rolled “R” (this embellishment, we shall see, is just one of the ways Mr. Owl attempts to falsify his academic credentials). After the “three” Mr. Owl blatantly and with contempt for his innocent pupil bites the Tootsie Roll-Pop, thus prematurely ending the experiment and, as the closing voice-over suggests, increasing the possibility that the world “may never know” just how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie-Roll center of a Tootsie-Roll Pop.

So, not only does Mr. Owl both steal and consume this innocent boy’s Tootsie-Roll Pop, but he does so under the false pretense of science. Never, no, not even with the creation of the atomic bomb, has the noble discipline of science been so contemptuously and viciously hijacked! By employing a pseudo-intellectual accent and throwing on a pair of glasses, this “Mr.” Owl (note: not “Dr. Owl,” or “Prof. Owl”) thinks he can go around stealing naked kids’ lollipops under the pretense of scientific research! For shame, Mr. Owl! For shame!

I, for one, refuse to forgive this rodent-eating poseur for the injustice he has wrought on thousands of Gen-Xers who have been raised to think that it takes three licks to get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll Pop. If it weren’t for the kindly wisdom of the Mr. Turtles of the world, we might never make any progress at all.

Journal of the Alien from “Signs”

NOTE: Major spoilers from the film Signs below. You’ve been warned!

The Journal of Gorgem, Invader First Class, as recorded in real-time by telepathic input device:

  • Day 1: Have been assigned to scouting mission for upcoming raid on the third planet from star #1463. Mission will be to locate suitable landing sites and mark them. Ship will leave promptly. Am pleased with this honor.

    On somewhat more sour note, have been assigned Q’Z’Xzltp as partner. He smells, and has unpronounceable name.

  • Day 2: Take-off. Once we have exited homeworld’s orbit, we will enter coldsleep until arrival on 3/#1463.
  • Day 1,045: Have arrived on third planet from star #1463. Set scout vessel down in what seems to be some sort of large mossy growth. This fungi will be ideal medium with which to draw landing marker.

    Q’Z’Xzltp has taken to eating the yellow pods on mossy outgrowth. Yellow pods do not break down in fecal matter; waste receptacle keeps getting clogged. Must remember to slay Q’Z’Xzltp before leaving 3/#1463.

  • Day 2: Decided to start journal over from landing date. Drew landing marker in mossy outgrowth this morning. Am now beginning investigation of surrounding area. There seems to be a 1463an domicile nearby.

    Update: Fooled around on top of domicile’s roof. Lumpy pink 1463ans responded by running in circles and yelping. Clearly nothing to be concerned about. Am more worried about the 1643ans with fur and sharp teeth. Will try to win their trust with special gourmet food from homeworld.

  • Day 3: Gourmet food made furry 1463ans more aggressive. Oh well, not my problem.

    Homeworld contacted us today. Will be arriving within the week. Talked to Brice as well; says Fufu is fine. On side note, am suspicious our conversation was being picked up on 1463an airwaves.

  • Day 4: Humiliation! Invasion begins tonight, but I will not be a part. Went out this morning to investigate another nearby domicile. Found place deserted, entered with caution. Searched around, discovered room filled with flattened plant matter bearing images of unclothed female pink 1463ans, as well as some writing. Examined these further – for writing, of course.

    Then – oh, shame! Domicile owner returned and, seeing me, grabbed the nearest object – an open container of clear acid! As I stumbled back, the 1463an somehow closed portal to the room. This insidious device has defied all my attempts at escape. At one point, heard the sound of another pink 1463an. Tried to grab its arm beneath the portal and the blasted thing cut my fingers off! Yet, after this success it still ran off screaming. Have vowed vengeance.

  • Day 5: Finally discovered secret to 1463an’s portal, have escaped.

    Invasion is over. Turns out the 1463ans have acid for blood! Returned to original domicile, found Q’Z’Xzltp had left without me! In rage, am going to enter the 1463ans’ domicile and slay all within.

    Update: Am now officially melting. Apparently plant matter is used for a number of objects here, including bludgeons. Between that and acid, attempt at vengeance has been woefully unsuccessful. Will miss Brice…

Economics Study Claims “Free Parking Prize” Destabilizes Monopoly

Geneva, SWITZERLAND—A group of international economic researchers released the findings of a three-year study on Tuesday, claiming that the traditional – but illegal – use of the “Free Parking prize” in Parker Brothers’ “Monopoly” board game hopelessly destabilizes the game, allowing players to win by chance rather than skill.

“‘Monopoly’ already contains a built-in factor of chance, in the form of the ‘Chance’ cards,” said Dr. Chakra Satyanaryana, the lead researcher at the International Institute of Economics. “Receiving hundreds, even thousands of dollars simply for landing on the ‘Free Parking’ space is tantamount to winning the lottery. It must be noted that in the time Monopoly is meant to represent – 1930s America – there were no state-sponsored lotteries. Aside from that, what are the odds that one of, at most, eight people are going to hit it big in the lottery? The odds are astronomical.”

The “Free Parking prize” doesn’t merely rob “Monopoly” of its verisimilitude to Depression-era real estate brokerage, according to the study. It can also mean the difference between defeat and victory in a game intended to be won through the careful management of hotels and rent collection. “I once played a game where the jackpot got as high as $3,000,” said Dr. George Mazzilli, another researcher who worked on the study. “My opponent had just landed on Broadway a few turns ago and was about to take his final trip down what I like to call ‘Mazzilli Lane,’ which is when I own all the red and yellow squares, complete with hotels. But then what happens? He lands on ‘Free Parking’ and suddenly he’s richer than me. How is that fair? When was the last time someone gave you thousands of dollars for parking in an empty spot?”

The tradition began in the mid-1950s when the apparent worthlessness of the “Free Parking” space finally took its toll on players. Frustrated by such a glaring flaw in an otherwise well-made game, players began putting money collected from fines (such as the “Luxury Tax”) into the middle of the board, and awarding the money when a player landed on the ‘Free Parking’ space.

Even using the money from taxes and fines can cause problems. “How many times have you looked over and found the bank completely empty?” Mazzilli pointed out. “It’s all in the middle of the board.” As to the origins of the tradition, Mazzilli has his own theory. “I think it was started by bad Monopoly players, plain and simple.”

Over the years, Parker Brothers (now owned by the Hasbro toy company) has tried to dissuade players from using the illegal rule. In the game manual under the “Free Parking” space, it reads, “A player landing on this space doers not receive any money, property or reward of any kind. This is just a ‘free’ resting space.” But despite this strong wording, the use of the ‘Free Parking prize’ persists in games across the world.

Dr. Satyanarayana worries that the unofficial rule may have far-reaching consequences. “In this time of worldwide economic crisis, the ‘Free Parking prize’ can only serve to create bitterness by giving players unrealistic expectations of their life,” Satyanaryana said. “Some poor jerk parks in a free parking spot and doesn’t get a thousand bucks. Next thing you know, he’s up in a belltower with a Winchester .30-30.”

The study included a recommendation that the “Free Parking prize” be immediately banned. When it was pointed out that the rule was illegal in the first place, the researchers quickly reconvened, then announced that the rule should be banned unofficially as well. The United Nations swiftly moved to send peacekeeping forces to Monopoly games throughout the world.