Friday, October 30, 2009

Quips and Quotations (Halloween Edition)

It grossed something like 12 million dollars and started a whole slew of boy-meet-ghoul films.

--Boris Karloff, talking about Frankenstein.

Pat Boone!

--Vincent Price, when asked by Peter Marshall on Hollywood Squares as to who was the most evil man in the world.

I have a perfect cure for a sore throat. Cut it.

--Alfred Hitchcock

The love bite. It is the beginning. You will be irresistible.

--Bela Lugosi

Do you think we should drive a stake in his heart just to make sure?

--Peter Lorre, to Vincent Price at Bela Lugosi's funeral.

I think I'm insulted!

--Peter Lorre, playing himself on Route 66. Lon Chaney Jr., also playing himself, and made up like the Wolf Man, was chasing this young woman around a motel lobby. She ran around a corner, and came face to face with Lorre, who was in his regular street clothes. She fainted at the sight if him.

A clown may be funny in a circus ring, but what would be your reaction to opening your door and finding that same clown on your front step at midnight?

--Lon Chaney

They had to starve me to take this name!

--Lon Chaney Jr, born Creighton Chaney.

He was my baby!

--Lon Chaney Jr, referring to his most famous character, the Wolf Man

There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.

--Rod Serling

We annihilated the world before your very ears, and utterly destroyed the Columbia Broadcasting System.

--Orson Welles, at the end of his radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.

As you know, there's a real scary holiday coming up. Election Day.

--Paul Lynde

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Following Update

Started out the week with five followers, lost one (Hill deactivated her follower thingie; fortunately, she still reads SOAD, as indicated by her appearance in a recent comments section), was down to four (duh), and then, just a couple of minutes ago, gained another follower, so I'm back up to five (duh again.)

According to his blog, Cosmic Navel Lint hails from the land of the Fab Four, Peter Sellers, and Monty Python. Welcome aboard, Cosmic (which reminds me, it's also the land of Red Dwarf.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Improv Theater

How exactly do they decide what is or isn't a "reality show"? Obviously, it can't be something fictional like Lost or The Simpsons. But why isn't, say, Charlie Rose considered a reality show? Charlie is real, as are Henry Kissinger, Paul Volcker, Warren Buffett, Gore Vidal, and his various other guests. If Charlie Rose is too highbrow for you, how about Larry King Live? Larry's real. All too real, perhaps. And so are all of his guests. Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher, Gloria Allred, Jack Hanna, and Joan Rivers. Joan probably slightly less real since all the plastic surgery. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is considered a reality show, so why not Jeopardy? Both shows involve real people answering real questions (or, in the case of Jeopardy , questioning real answers) and getting real money if they answer those questions (or question those answers) right. Yet Jeopardy is still referred to as a "game show". I guess because the term "reality show" entered the vernacular around the year 2000, where as Jeopardy, in one form or other, has been around since the early 1960s. Remember Art Fleming? If you do you need bifocals. Then there's American Idol, America's Got Talent, and So You Think You Can Dance. Back in the day those were called "talent shows". On the elementary school level, they're still called that. Anyway, talent is real. Come to think of it, the talent on those shows is sometimes not so real. But unless you're Simon Cowell, you hate to have to tell someone that.

Why am I going on and on about reality shows? I guess it's because of that little boy who was, then wasn't, in that runaway balloon. His mother, who along with his father was once on a reality show called Wife Swap , has admitted the whole thing was a hoax. She and her husband hoped the publicity would get them another reality show. And it did. It's called the news. On some cable channels this reality show runs 24 hours a day. As they were putting on an act, the little boy's mother and father can't properly be called the stars of this show. The real stars were the rescue workers who worked desperately to bring that little boy safely back to Earth. If only there had been a real little boy in danger. This show's not through with reality stars. Expect a judge, DA, and defense attorney. And expect to see a lot more of Gloria Allred on Larry King Live.

The documentary type of reality show seems to be divided between two types. Those with famous people, and those without famous people. As I can always view the latter by simply looking in the mirror, I prefer the former. Lessee, over the last ten years there's been The Osbournes, The Surreal Life, The Simple Life, Hogan Knows Best, Breaking Bonaduce, Being Bobby Brown, My Life on the D List, Celebrity Fit Club, and my all-time favorite, The Anna Nicole Show (the late Anna Nicole will be the subject of a future post.) I always feel we get get beyond the carefully crafted public image and see what these celebrities are really like. For instance, on Bonaduce's show, we learned of his struggle with drugs and alcohol. Wait a second. That already was his carefully crafted image, wasn't it? OK, then, how about that one guy from Taxi ? No, not Danny DeVito. The blond guy. You know, he also played John Travolta's friend in Grease. Jeff Conway, that's it. On Celebrity Fit Club, he seemed kind of stoned much of the time. Proving he's not afraid of typecasting, his next gig was Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew. I don't know if Conway ever solved his problems, but he's at least now as well-known as Bonaduce. Of course, these reality shows don't all focus on celebrity bad behavior. The Osbournes took a celebrity whose carefully crafted image was that of bat-chomping lunatic, and revealed him to be just a family man, dispensing wise advice to children Jack and Kelly in a Ward Cleaver/Mike Brady/Cliff Huxtable fashion. Unlike Ward's, Mike's, and Cliff's children, Jack and Kelly never acted on that wise advice, probably because it was impossible to know what the hell their father was saying half the time. Jack and Kelly had an older sister, Aimee, who didn't want to be on TV, and moved out of the house shortly before the show began. I don't recall her ever being mentioned on the show, which seemed a little unrealistic. Not even Kelly asking if she could now have Aimee's bedroom. At the height of the show's success, Ozzy and wife Sharon appeared on Greta Van Susteren and was asked about that missing daughter. Ozzy compared her to Marilyn Munster. I think he meant it as a compliment, but I'm not sure. Whatever, mentioning her on the show would have brought a little reality to the reality.

As for reality shows featuring unknown real people, The Real World , now in it's 23rd season, provides the basic template. A group of real people trapped in a not so real house getting on each others real nerves. There are also interviews, or "confessionals", where each real person gets to complain about the others getting on their real nerves. But they're always the victim, never the perpetrator. Later shows such as Big Brother and Survivor (where they're trapped on an island rather than a house) turned the whole thing into a contest, and the real people got even more on each other's nerves. That ol' competitive spirit, I guess. One common criticism of these shows is that people won't act natural if they know they're on camera, that they'll always be on they're best behavior if they think people are watching. I disagree. On these real shows you see real pettiness, vanity, envy, selfishness, covetousness, betrayal, hostility, rudeness, boorishness, obnoxiousness and general stupidity. If this is their best behavior, off-camera they must eat their young.

The one aspect of these shows that I do find unrealistic is the physical appearance of the participants, which is frequently one of complete perfection. Even the midget on The Amazing Race was kind of hot. All the imperfections we associate with real people--you and me--are increasingly absent on these shows. There are no double chins, beady eyes, acne, receding hairlines, big ears, big noses, or weak chins. Nobody even cuts themselves shaving. As the participants, whether they're on an island or in a communal bedroom, are often in various states of undress, you can see they're also perfect from the neck down. Tanned, toned, buffed, and sculpted. No beer guts, no knobby knees, no flat chests, no sunken chests, no love handles, no big asses, no Olive Oyls, and no 90-pound weaklings. No fat, flab, or cellulite. Nothing hangs, sags, or droops. They don't look like real people. They look like stars.

And that, of course, is the whole idea. Once their stints on these shows ends, the participants hope to stay on TV. But the other kind of TV. The old-fashioned TV, where the words that come out of your mouth are written by somebody else. And it doesn't have to stop at the small screen. In fact, a couple of years ago there was even a movie based on The Real World.

From real to reel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quips and Quotations

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

--Kurt Vonnegut

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quips and Quotations (Hannibal, MO Edition)


PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

--BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, Per G.G., Chief of Ordnance.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Warhead of State

President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize made me think of my eighth-grade field trip to Washington DC. I had never been out of Ohio before. In fact, I sometimes wondered if Ohio was it . Oh, sure, I was taught there were other states, and other states were often mentioned in books, movies, and TV shows, and I knew other kids who who had been to or were from other states, but it could have been all part of a giant conspiracy designed to lull me into a false sense of security as our bus drove off the edge of Ohio and into the abyss. Fortunately, it drove into Pennsylvania instead. We spent an hour in Gettysburg, proving that place actually exists, even if Abraham Lincoln was still in question. Finally, toward the end of the day, we reached DC. Or a motel on the outskirts of DC, as it was late and we were all tired. For the next couple days, however, all those places I had only seen in books, film strips, the evening news, and in special two- or three-part episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies and Gomer Pyle, were suddenly there in front of us in 3-D. You didn't even need cardboard glasses! The Washington Monument. The Lincoln Memorial. The Capitol. We had to drive through what looked like slums to get to some of these places. I never saw the Clampetts do that. But no matter. That bit of reality meant it was just that, real. As did the crowds. Whenever sitcom characters visit Washington, the place always looks relatively empty. Oh, there are extras in background playing tourists, but they keep a respectable distance so as the regular cast members have a lot of room to make fools of themselves. In real life, you have to be careful making a fool of yourself, so as to not bump into someone with a Nikon. Washington DC was like an amusement park--lines everywhere.

The longest line was the one that snaked around the White House, the place I was the most excited about seeing. I'll get to why I was so excited in a second. But as I waited in line with my fellow eighth-graders and tourists from around the world, two things caught my attention. First, some guy was mowing the White House lawn. Over the years I've thought quite a bit about this guy. He was black, looked to be about 19, and wore a blue T-shirt with Superman's "S" on the front, blue jeans, and a pair of sneakers. He seemed neither happy nor sad about the work he was doing. Just an average guy mowing the lawn. I wondered then, and I wonder now, how did he get such a job? Did the White House advertise in the classifieds? Or did you have to "know somebody"? What was the pay like? Did he get paid more than the guy who cut the grass in front of the Capitol? Maybe he mowed both. I wonder if he ever got to meet the President. In 1976, that would have been Jerry Ford. It would have been something had Ford come out his house, walked up to the guy, slapped him on the back and said, "Son, you're doing a fine job!" and then, as he turned to go back inside, tripped over a lawn ornament (those of you either alive at the time, or who have seen an old repeat of Saturday Night Live with Chevy Chase, will get that joke.)

The other thing I noticed was that just inside the wrought iron fence that surrounds the White House, somebody had thrown a used candy bar wrapper. It was close enough that, had I wanted, I could have reached through the fence and removed it. But I didn't. It wasn't my responsibility, and, besides, there might be a Secret Service agent hiding behind a tree ready to shoot my hand off. Besides, I assumed the guy mowing would eventually make his way to that part of the lawn, and pick up the wrapper. Or, he could do it the lazy way and mow right over it, watching it shoot out the side as little paper crumbs. Suppose President Ford had come out and seen that wrapper. Would he have yelled at the guy for not picking it up immediately? Maybe he would have just walked over and picked up the wrapper himself, in the process tripping and landing face first onto the wrought iron fence (I've been waiting for over 30 years to make up my own Jerry Ford-tripping-and-falling-down jokes. Such humor played a formative part of my early adolescence.)

A bird landed on the candy wrapper and started pecking at it. The Secret Service agent I was sure was hiding behind that tree left it alone. The bird was no threat to the President. The bird didn't even know it was on the White House lawn. If it had flown over and pooped on the President's head, well, then the agent might have taken a shot at it.

The line moved along, and soon we'd be in the White House itself. I was so excited, and I'll now tell you why. It wasn't because the President signed legislation into law, or that he sometimes vetoed such legislation. I couldn't have cared less. The President's role as commander-in-chief? Close. Let's just narrow it down a bit.

The President had his finger on The Button. If he pushed that Button, it would cause a nuclear war that would destroy the world. I thought that was so cool.

Hey, I was 14 years old, OK? I also thought Fonzie, Sasquatch, the car that Starsky and Hutch drove, and slapstick passing for political satire were cool.

Besides, I didn't want the President to destroy the world. I just thought it was cool that he could destroy the world.

I fully expected that once inside the White House, the tour guide would usher us eighth-graders right into the Oval Office where the President would shake all our hands, then pull The Button out of a drawer, and place it on his desk where we all could get a good look. Not too close, as one of us eighth-graders could fall on it (though, as Ford was President, that fear was rather misplaced.)

Of course, he could decide to press The Button even while we were still outside waiting. What would happen then? Would he come out and yell to the guy mowing the lawn to get his ass into the bomb shelter? And then turn around and fall into a rose bush? Actually, he'd probably have to walk up and whisper it in the guy's ear. If he said it too loud, all us eight-graders and tourists would start panicking and climbing over the wrought iron fence to safety. There maybe wasn't enough room for all of us in that bomb shelter. The President would have no choice but to order the Secret Service and Marines to start shooting. It would have been a bloody massacre. It would have certainly ruined the field trip.

Fortunately, none of that happened. Less fortunately, once inside the White House, we saw neither The Button nor the Oval Office. We quickly passed through six or seven rooms of roped-off fancy furniture, and that was that. We might as well have been at Ethan Allen.

I later learned there's no actual Button. It's a metaphor. A short-hand way of saying that if the President wants to start a nuclear war, he can. There's actually a guy with a suitcase that follows the Commander-in-Chief wherever he goes. When the President so desires, a set of codes comes out of the suitcase. The President than gets on the phone to NORAD or wherever, the codes get punched into a computer, and the missiles emerge from their silos. Something like that. Of course, for the world to properly end, the other side has to fire back. As they no doubt would.

Given all the stupid, cruel things people do to each other, it's a bit surprising that we've never had a nuclear war. Maybe the Nobel Peace Prize should have gone to every president since Harry S. Truman, just for suppressing that inner eighth-grader and not pushing that button. And to every leader of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Even India and Pakistan have shown remarkable restraint.

I no longer find the proximity to power, to nuclear power, to be all that cool. If a President ever decides to push that metaphorical button, I might as well be at a rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike watching some guy mow the grass divider while a bird pecks at a candy bar wrapper in the parking lot.

The bird wouldn't know what the hell was going on, anyway.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blog Verite: At Cross Purposes

Overheard at the Bagley Rd McDonald's in Middleburg Heights:

"So, my niece was going to have her Confirmation, where she becomes a full Christian or something, and we were all supposed to meet at the church, and then the party after, and my sister and her husband wanted me to go in the car with them, but, you know, I'm not into going into the same car thing because I like to be able to leave whenever I want to, but I got into the same car anyway and that was the worst car to get into because it was their daughter getting confirmed so they were going to stay at the church the longest, and I thought about just walking home so I could change and everything because it really wasn't that far from where I live, but it was cold out and I didn't want to walk outside wearing this nice dress, so I just stood there and because I stood there so long waiting for my sister and her husband to finally go that I started noticing things about the other people there, like the one woman had bad teeth, and the one guy's suit didn't fit him right, and the one woman didn't look like she had even combed her hair, and then I thought, wow, this is not what this thing is supposed to be all about and this is not what I'm supposed to even be thinking and I wouldn't be thinking it if I had just gone in my own car!"

Friday, October 9, 2009

Yearning Potential

Some time ago, I found out that a local writer was going to appear at a "Meet the Authors" event at a suburban community center. As I had taken an interest in this person's writing, I decided to attend. There would be other writers there, too, and maybe I could pick up a few helpful tips. I could use some. They were published writers that got paid for their work, whereas I flushed my stuff down the Internet free of charge. (Please don't take offense at that last remark, Loyal Reader. It's just that I filled out a White Castle job application this morning, and had to come up with three reasons--three reasons!-- why I wanted to work there. The experience has left me a tad grumpy.)

At the community center, the writers all sat behind little tables with paper nameplates that ringed the fairly spacious room. About half the names I recognized as writers for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the rest worked for various alternative weeklies in the area. One fellow worked for an Akron paper, and he just so happened to be seated next to, and chatting with, the writer I came to see. I walked up to my writer, thus interrupting the chat, and introduced myself. We exchanged pleasantries, she told me about an upcoming project she was working on, and that was that. Except it wasn't. You see, whenever I meet a famous person--her name was regularly in print; that was famous enough for me--I don't want it to end. So I just stood there, desperately trying to come up with something to say. The fellow from Akron took this as an opportunity to resume his conversation. This guy was a sports writer, and had just written a book about LeBron James. Impressive, huh? Apparently not.

"I want to write about the things you write about," The guy from Akron said to my writer. "I'm tired of writing about sports all the time. There's a whole world out there!"

I was astonished to hear him say this. Though I'm not one of them, I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who would give their right arms to be sports writers. Well, maybe their left arms, as most need their right ones to type.

Brent Larkin, a longtime writer for The Plain Dealer, and, before that, the now defunct Cleveland Press, retired a couple of months ago. An article announcing that retirement mentioned how he always wanted to be a sports writer, in fact a sports editor. It never happened. Instead, for the past two decades, he had to settle for being the editor of the Plain Dealer editorial page, a position that allowed him regular contact with mayors, congressmen, governors, senators, even presidents.

"I'm in a rut," said the sports writer who had just written a book about LeBron James.

Such is life. A shining city on the hill for one is a ghetto to be escaped from for another.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pet Tricks

Big controversy brewing over David Letterman. He's admitted to sleeping with a couple of his female staffers. Some wonder if it was sexual harassment, that he forced himself onto his subordinates.

Well, sexual harassment is not unheard of in the workplace.

But then neither is sucking up to the boss.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quips and Quotations

Satire is what closes on Saturday night.

--George S. Kaufman

(Sometimes earlier--KJ)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Flesh is Weak, but the Spirits are Willing

I was reading somewhere that alcoholism is genetic. If so, it's a pair of genes I should fit into, but, fortunately, don't. As of this writing, I am not an alcoholic, and, despite myriad concerns and pressures, am not about to become an alcoholic. That's not to say I'm a teetotaler (whenever I see that word I think of a seesaw), and have never been drunk. There have been times in the distant past when I got falling down drunk on a regular basis. But never because I had a compulsive need to drink. It was either peer pressure--I was hanging around alcoholics--or, at other times when I was under no pressure whatsoever, I drank to excess because I thought it made me look cool.

OK, I can hear the bluenoses clucking now. Kirk, they're saying, don't you know that alcohol can never make you cool? Well, cluck you, bluenoses, it can make you cool and I'll prove it!

Say you're at a party, and a total boor, but a boor who's totally sober, walks up to you and starts talking:

"The attack on Pearl Harbor of December 7, 1941 was certainly a major shock to the American public, transforming a largely isolationist country into an angry nation gripped by war fever. What exactly happened on that day that brought about such a transformation? At 7:48AM, Hawaiian time, two waves of Japanese warplanes, numbering 353, and including the famous Zeroes, reached the island of Oahu, where Pearl Harbor was located. The American defenders were unprepared, as guns were unmanned, ammunition lockers locked, and airplanes parked wingtip to wingtip right out in the open. Ninety minutes later 2386 Americans were dead, eighteen ships, including five battleships were sunk, and 188 airplanes were destroyed. About half the casualties were on the USS Arizona, which blew up and sunk to the bottom of the harbour. But what's interesting is what the Japanese missed, the three US aircraft carriers that were out on sorties that morning. Although not immediately apparent in 1941, battleships were rapidly becoming obsolete. The three aircraft carriers the Japanese missed were decisive at the Battle of Midway six months later, turning the tide of the war in the Pacific. Thereafter, the Japanese were on the run."

At that point, you'd be on the run from that boor. But suppose, just suppose, you gave that very same boor a couple of screwdrivers. Now he's talking like this:

"Man, can you imagine bein' on vacation in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor attacked the Japanese? I know I'd be on th' phone to my fuckin' travel agent, what the fuck kind of vacation did ya book for me?! You got zeroes all over the sky like its' a goddamn bowl of Cheerios! And they bombed Arizona, so don't you go booking me to th' Gran Canyon either! It sunk to the bottom. I don't know, maybe the Colorado River overflowed. But all them isholationish's gonna be pissed, 'cause I think they booked vacations, too. I see them runnin' around the hotel lobby and comin' down with war fever. Jush book me another vacation midway from here, where th' Japs aren't runnin' things!"

There! He's much better company now, wouldn't you say?

The thing that's really kept me from becoming an alcoholic is that I've never really liked the taste of the stuff. I don't condone heroin addiction, but there's something to be said for injecting a mind-altering substance directly into your veins, thus bypassing the tongue. I remembering telling somebody once that I only drink to calm my nerves. They haughtily replied that's the wrong reason to drink. Well, what's the right reason to drink? The sheer pleasure of having what feels like a thumb tack shot down my esophagus? When I drink it's usually beer, because you can kind of monitor your buzz. Whiskey or Vodka can fool you into thinking you're not drunk, until you try to get off the bar stool and realize that somebody amputated your legs when you weren't looking. But, like I said, I've never really acquired that liking for the taste of beer that so many others seem to have. I have a friend who's in AA, been on the wagon for ten years, yet whenever he goes out he orders O'Doul's, a non-alcoholic beer. He obviously likes the taste, even if that's not what attracted him to beer in the first place (I wonder if former cocaine addicts ever snort salt, sugar, that stuff you put on cue sticks, just because they're used to having white powder up their nose.)

I went to a picnic a while back. Feeling a bit nervous, as I do sometimes in public, I had a few beers. That calmed the nerves. But I didn't like having the aftertaste of Bud or whatever it was in my mouth, so I switched to Pepsi. That got rid of the aftertaste, but all that caffeine and sugar soon made me nervous again, so I switched back to beer. I guess you could say I was having mixed drinks.

The worse thing about being drunk, other than committing vehicular homicide, is throwing up. Especially if you do it in your sleep. Actually, you don't stay asleep as it tends to wake you up. But not completely. Your eyelids may remain asleep, as do your arms and legs. In fact, every muscle in your body that could get you into that bathroom stays asleep. Only your mind is awake, as you realize with growing horror that you now know what a gushing oil well feels like.

If you're awake when you feel like you're about to vomit, there's absolutely no excuse for not getting yourself in the bathroom. Unless your legs have been amputated when you weren't looking. To be fair, even if your legs are functioning you might not make it. I was at a party once when this petite young woman got up out of her chair, and started to calmly make her way across the room. About half way there--BLURBLRB! Unfazed, she daintily stepped over the brown puddle, and walked into the bathroom. Why she still needed a bathroom at that point, I don't know. Maybe she still had a drop of bile lodged in her throat.

If you feel like throwing up, and can make it to the bathroom in time, there's absolutely no reason not to deposit the residue into the toilet bowl. Unless you see two toilet bowls, and aim for the one on the left, instead of the actual one on the right.

Then there's the desire to drink somebody under the table. This can take the form of drinking games. Mexicans. Quarters. There are others. I know longer remember how exactly you play those games, but it's always had something to do with rolling the wrong dice or picking up the wrong card, the penalty being that you have to take a drink. That's the penalty even if getting drunk is the reason everybody got together in the first place. I remember I was at a bachelor party once, and before going to a strip bar we all played a rather complicated drinking game where you made up rules as you go along. I think we took turns making rules. Anyway, this one guy came up with a rule that if you roll the wrong dice or pick the wrong card (I no longer remember) you have to drink a whole bottle of beer right then and there. Not a sip. Not a chug. The whole beer. The rest of us protested this, but as it was his turn to make up a rule, we eventually acquiesced. Guess who kept rolling the wrong dice or picking the wrong card? That's right, the guy who made up the rule! When it came time to go to the strip club, we pulled him out from under the table, threw him in the back seat, and drove downtown. We figured he'd wake up by the time we got there. No. He was still asleep. And we didn't much feel like waking him, as he was now covered with vomit. So we went inside and enjoyed the show, while he slept it off in the back seat. Too bad about that mugger.

But that's all right, because that guy, and everyone else I've mentioned in this piece, got to go to work or school on Monday morning and, when asked how their weekend went, got to puff their chest up with pride, and say, "I got shitfaced drunk!" It's living life to the fullest. Too bad you can't remember that fullness the next morning.

I guess no matter how often we throw up, say something we don't mean, get into stupid fights, destroy our family, wrap the car around a tree, need a liver transplant, wake up on a wet spot the exact size and diameter of the wet spot on our pants and underwear, and find out that during those two missing hours last Saturday night we were out murdering somebody in cold blood, drinking will always seem a much cooler way to spend our free time than, say, going to a Star Trek convention.

Either way, you could end up talking to a pointy-eared alien.