Howl-Oh!-Scream Horror-ble Pun-tastic Spectac-ghoul-lar Redux

Guest band name column by former children's (sic) Halloween album producer and retired Atlantic Journal substitute humor editor Al Hunt (nee Hyram Weisman), aged 73. Actual band names selected with the help of grandson, "Little Jeffy", aged 28 (Note: this is now the subject of some debate. See below):

Mark Writes: Old Al Hunt is not doing too well these days. He's a bitter, bitter man. Also, you should see Little Jeffy's hairline. I think he lies about his age. It has to be tough in the business world with a name like "Little Jeffy".



Why am I hated by Queued?

Hey, remember Tony and the Guitar of Excellence? He wrote me quite a while ago with a mp3 that he had produced on THE guitar. Been meaning to get it posted here. Great sounding track, Tony. Sorry about the delay.

Give me until the end of the week and I'll finish the JavaScript to play the song here in Blogger without giving your browser a seizure. Like the Weird Al lyric goes, "I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon."

Your Band Names for Today are:

To get you in the Halloween mood, check out this month's free "Patch of the Month". Although I realize you have absolutely no use for software for a mid-80's digital wave synthesizer, the patch this month is very Halloween-y, so go to the site and listen to it in the player.

*Check out Change Ringing. Math and music go together.



Lifetime(TM) Television for Bandnames

Those who know me know of my quixotic desire to sell a Lifetime(TM) Movie for Women script. Okay, maybe those who know me don't exactly know about this particular aspiration.

It's not really a lifetime ambition (pun is unavoidable), but more the kind of industry cross-pollinization that occurs when you try to wear the John Carpenter hat. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

"Call from an Angry Wife" is such a project, and it has plumb roles for at least two former female cast members of 90210. Give me a little time and I could even add a disease-of-the-week in there.

Call me. We'll do lunch. For Women (TM).



The Involuntary Urinary Shiver

*Another good girl group name. They could perform in little white wedding dresses. Would be a funny wedding band.

**Name of the wood finish provided on the Gibson 1957 Les Paul Custom 2 Pickup Guitar

With all apologies to my mom, "Piss Quivers" fits nicely into the ultimate band name category. I will not argue about the civility of the term. It was a perfectly acceptable Anglo Saxon word before the Victorian era bowdlerized the human experience. The word appears in Shakespeare (speaking of Bowdler!) and twice in the King James Bible in verbal forms (you can win bets with *that* little fact!). Besides, my grandpa said it all the time.

As a band name, "Piss Quivers" has the additional virtue of describing a phenomenon that is otherwise undocumented: the involuntary urinary shiver. I will ask my urologist if there is a more acceptable clinical term for this experience.

“Gargalesis” describes another physiological phenomenon that occurs when someone tickles you. I am the current Guinness record holder for “most ticklish”.



This Is A Test Of The Emergency Broadcast Chicken



Two Chicks and a Hose

* Because there is an empty slot in the vending machine where the Combos(TM) would be.

** Karen and Mellina's name for an all girl car wash. It would make a bundle.



Girl Bands



A bad movie is better than a movie you hate

I don’t see a lot of movies I dislike. Which isn’t to say I don’t see a lot of bad movies. But I shy away from the Hollywood product. And not the "official bad" Hollywood product, either. Just the "officially blessed" Hollywood product.

You see, a bad movie you love is better than a good movie you hate.

My case-in-point?

Martin Scorsese’s recent and well-reviewed crime movie "The Departed" cost 90 million dollars.


Okay, the flick is W-A-Y top heavy with “Big Name Stars” (BNS’s). More on this later-but--just for the sake of argument--Say you pay all the BNS’s (and the director) five million each. Let us estimate there are ten Big Name Salaries to pay (I'm not going to look it up to count—I think that kid from “Goodburger” was in it. I hope he got his five million.). That is still 40 million extra. 40 Million extra to make a pretty straightforward crime flick.

What costs so much in a crime movie? "The Departed" is hardly a formalist picture. You aim the camera and shoot. Zero car chases (thankfully). No kung fu (as they say). Maybe one wire gag, but it looked like a dummy. Well, it was Martin Sheen, so yeah, a dummy, but still. 90 million?

I thought--at first--that the film was a period piece, shot as though it took place in the late 80’s, but then the characters were suddenly using contemporary cell phones. So not a period piece. All of this after what turns out to be a superfluous prolog about racial tensions of the 60's. Come in late and it doesn't matter, like a joke about a Boston that starts out about Chicago. The only possible purpose the prolog serves is to allow Nicholson to use the N word in a film that otherwise has no place for it.

All of the Boston locations were of the point-and-shoot style, meaning the locations which were obviously sets, such as the state police HQ, might as well have been shot on *real* locations by a low budget 16mm crew. I am not praising the sets for their realism, rather, I am telling you that they did not get their construction money's worth--well, this *is* Boston, after all.

Editing was done in little TV commercial breaths. The lighting, however, was very good lighting. Indeed the cinematography was the best thing about this film. The Sound Design knob was twisted over to the special "extra-annoy" setting. An audio bleed is used in almost every transition. In fact, audio bleeds were sometimes used between different shots of the same scene (esp. whenever the camera was pointed in the vicinity of Jack™.

And what's the deal with Jack™ anyway? Instead of an actor, Nicholson has become more of a franchise product that you slather on your movie like cilantro or WD40.

But getting back to my point. 90 million dollars?

Gimme like 500k and I’ll get you “Sorority Slammer Girls” (Yes! I wrote a treatment for a movie called “Sorority Slammer Girls”)! Give me one million and I'll make “Nukes on the Moon” (working title). 10 Million and you get "God and Man in America". 20 million: “Sorority Slammer Girls 2000”.

BTW, “The Departed” contains the highest ratio of actors-I-do-not-care-for per movie, which is 100%. “The Departed” automatically becomes a sort of de facto benchmark. I’m not saying these actors have never appeared in quality films. To the contrary. I just don't care for them in particular. The following table is the absolute subjective truth. I’m not trying to be snarky in these evaluations:

Films for which I liked an actor in "The Departed"

Schema: Actor, role for which they are famous,
role in which I liked them best

Leonardo DeCaprio, Famous for : “Titanic”
Liked him in : “Critters 3“

Jack Nicholson, famous for (being Jack Nicholson).
Liked him in : “The Terror” and somewhat less in “The Raven” (Dick Miller would have been a better choice).

Alec Baldwin, Famous for (keeping his word and moving to Alec Baldwinia after the election)
Liked him in : “Hunt For Red October”

Mark Walburg, Famous for plastic shlong
Liked him in : No Funky Bunch jokes here. I've never cared for him at all. What a lucky actor.

Matt Damon, Famous for (I'm not certain)
Liked him in : Not certain. Was he in “Wonder Boys”? Didn’t care for it. Literary fiction doesn't cross over to motion pictures. See (don't see) any Paul Theroux adaption

I really have nothing against Matt Damon. He is just not very distinct. I'm not sure if he was the guy who was marrying J-lo for a while. Many of these guys are quite similar (Oh, now that's a deep concept! MUST have been be good screenwriting all along! The unintentional deep concept is the 2nd crutch of the bad writer {the first being nested parenthesis}).

Indeed “The Departed” suffers from the fact that Walburg, DeCaprio and Damon all look alike. I think the film relies on your familiarity with "BNS’s" as big screen ciphers instead of characters. There's the one that smokes. The one that plays by the rules. The pushy loudmouth. If these were chicks this film would be accused of being antifeminist satire.

Speaking of--if you have seen a J-lo movie (besides “Anaconda”), or “read” “People” “Magazine”, odds are you will be able to keep these guys separate due to your crucial celebrity knowledge. Your mother must be so proud.

I didn't care for “The Departed” at all. It does not take 3 hours to tell this kind of a crime story. If I ask you to imagine a crime story directed by Scorsese featuring Big Name Stars, the movie you create in your mind is better than "The Departed". When the critics give thumbs-up to “The Departed", they are giving thumbs-up to the movie in their own heads, not the movie on the screen. Their outlines were written before the first sprocket hole unspooled.

Certain filmmakers (Scorsese, Altman, and to a lesser degree Coppala) get free rides from critics as long as their films re-plow familiar territory. A filmmaker like DePalma or Spielberg will less frequently get a free ride, as they take more chances with material. Not conventional wisdom, I'm aware, but you know it is true.

Spielberg can make a crackerjack crime movie but imagine a credible fantasy-gimmick movie from Scorsese.

Even so, Spielberg also gets free rides for familiar material. The leaden “star power” that drags down his road-movie "War of the Worlds" rates the film an undeservedly high 72 on the Tomatometer. In that movie we are constantly goaded into rooting for the Martians simply because the focal characters make themselves so disagreeable (don't write me that they were not Martians). But disliking characters is something "The Departed" ratchets up by an order of magnitude.

And there are no Martians to root for.

Here is a tip for budding screenwriters: Cops. Doctors. Lawyers. Crime Lords.
Don't write about them. No Mafia. No gangs. Not one more shootout in an abandoned construction site.

Don't write about them for twelve more years.

It's been done to death.

Your cop-doctor-lawyer-criminals are no better and no different than anyone

Your take on a guy getting shot through a car windshield is not special, and not anything that anyone cares to see again in their lifetime. Or yours.

Maybe in a dozen years there will be something new to add.

What do you think?



I Rebut Your Aunt's Email Glurge

Face it, your aunt (or other aged relative) thinks that email is a pretty neat newfangled gizmo. She doesn't write much herself, but she often sends you reams of emails that look like this:
>>>>> a minister was
>>>>> visiting an elderly patient. . .

She also sends you scores of “funny” but “heartwarming” “stories”. She sends you every outdated virus alert and maudlin plea to pray for a deaf child with spinal meningitis who saw the image of Jesus in spaghetti the night his parents died in a horrible grease fire.

Well I say enough! It’s called “glurge” and I’m here to rebut it. You know…"Rebut”. Refute. Disprove. Deny. Show to be false. Invalidate.

–And you thought all I did was make up band names.

Mark Rebuts your Aunt: Phase 1
The list of “Facts”

Any list of “true facts” your aunt sends you will be filled with lies, half truths and outright prevarications. See the wikipedia entry for Sturgeon’s Law. It certainly applies here. (and then march down to the library and check out as many Theodore Sturgeon books as they’ll let you. You’ll thank me.)

Look at the misinformation in this short email from my “aunt”

Know Everything???
(This article was e-mailed to me)

Amazon*The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20% the world's oxygensupply.

Antarctica*Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by anycountry.

Brazil* Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.

Canada* Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.*

Canada is an Indian word meaning "Big Village."

Chicago* Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in theworld.

Detroit* Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan carries the designation M - 1,named so because it was the first paved road anywhere.

Los Angeles* Los Angeles's full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina delos Angeles de Porciuncula. *

* There is a city called Rome on every continent.

* The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the SovereignMilitary Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of Rome,Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has apopulation of 80, 20 less people than the Vatican. It is a sovereignentity under international law, just as the Vatican is.

Spain* Spain (Espana) literally means 'the land of rabbits.'

St. Paul Minnesota* St. Paul, Minnesota was originally called Pigs Eye after a man namedPierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant who set up the first businessthere.

Texas* The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas. It is as deep as20 empire state buildings but only 3 inches wide.

United States* The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one-mile in every fivemust be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips intimes of war or other emergencies.

* The water of Angel Falls (the World's highest) in Venezuela drops3,212 feet (979 meters). They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.

I call baloney sauce on this list:

First of all, who claims to "Know everything"? It's like the anti-Socratic method or something.

>> * The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen
>> supply.

Where was this author educated? Public school?

Once and for all. ALL the trees and plants IN THE WORLD produce a FRACTION of our oxygen.

The big producer IS and ALWAYS WAS blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and other bacterium. That's right. Domain Eukaryota is defeated as oxygen source once and for all. Print this out on a tree carcass to celebrate. The winnah and still champeen: Domain Eubacteria!

Yet for some reason you don't see Hollywood starlets moving into colony of streptococcus to protest anti-bacterial soap. Go figure.

Television will not tell you this. Public school seems unable to teach this. Get it straight for yourself.


* Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country.

Unlike France, which is owned by whoever decides to waltz across the border and set a fire---HAIYOOOO!!!

>>* Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largest Polish population in the world.

And yet they have only one light bulb between them.

Detroit* Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan carries the designation M - 1,named so because it was the first paved road anywhere.

Even so, its enough to rattle the bell-housing off any UAW-built car built on a Friday. (Also, I'm sure the Romans would be quite amused by this anachronistic little "fact". There's a reason for so many cities named Rome...and it has to do with pavement.)

>>* Los Angeles's full name is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula

See? This is what happens when you allow Catholics to baptize your city.

>> * There is a city called Rome on every continent.

Ironically, Rome, Antarctica belongs to France.

>> * The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world is the Sovereign
>> Military Order of Malta (S.M.O.M.). It is located in the city of
>> Rome, Italy, has an area of two tennis courts, and as of 2001 has a
>> population of 80, 20 less people than the Vatican. It is a sovereign
>> entity under international law, just as the Vatican is.

And yet it still has more black guys than all of North Dakota.

>> * Spain literally means 'the land of rabbits.'

And Germany really means "Get out of our way every 40 years or so."

Canada* Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined.

And “Canada” is an Indian word meaning Parlez-Vous Français?

>>* St. Paul, Minnesota was originally called Pigs Eye after a man named Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant who set up the first business there.

Yet somehow Nostradamus failed to predicted this.

* The water of Angel Falls (the World's highest) in Venezuela drops3,212 feet (979 meters). They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.

SO PLEASE stick to the rivers and lakes that you're used to (I know that you're going to have it your way or nothing at all). I hear Canada has a lot of lakes, or “cours d'eau” as they call them.

Brazil* Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.

As fate would have it, this is the identical situation with Dick Van Dyke.

>>* The deepest hole ever made in the world is in Texas. It is as deep
>>as 20 empire state buildings but only 3 inches wide.

Well, it’s really how you use it that counts.

>> * The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one-mile in every
>> five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as
>> airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

It also requires road crews to have a 2/3rd ratio of guys standing around to guys leaning on something.

Now that we’ve got that unpleasant business out of the way, here are you band names:

The Coast Guard really has a device called the loud hailer. Makes me giggle to think about a routine exchange: "Captain, they are refusing to acknowledge our hail. Permission to use the loud hailer?"

"Denied! Give it five more minutes on the whisper-quiet hailer, mister!"



Geek Speak of the Week: Subwolf

Today's Band Names

New, Semi-irregular feature!
Geek Speak of the Week

Today's item: Conjugating "subwoofer" as a verb.

What a great language! I'm proud to be able to speak English when I realize the raw geek power that allows me to transform the geeky noun subwoofer (itself a verbal form) into the uber-geeky verb subwolf.


"Hey, Steve! Check this out! My valve-force tube array subwoofs down to 35 Hertz!"

Pretty neat, huh? Although the correct word for a single term adopting the form of a verb is “inflection", not “conjugation.” Conjugation applies to an entire lexeme of inflections.

--Bad English teachers! Be more precise!*

Thank you for allowing me to inflict my perspective of inflections upon you. As you genuflect, you’ll find reflecting on inflections infective, instructive and interconnectedly correct.

--With all Respect

*I know what you’re thinking: “But Mark, a lexeme is merely an abstract unit of morphological analysis. We learned metonymous conjugation, not synecdochic inflection in elementary school.”

Hehe, you are suffering from an ontological schism from several decades ago, my provincianal friend.

For many years, English speakers have agreed that a lexeme roughly corresponds to a set of words that are different forms of ‘the same word’. For example, stink, stank, stunk, for you Dr. Seuss fans.

The argument is analogous to contemporary statisticians arguing over “New Math” instead of arguing over decimal-place precision. All this "lexeme" argle-bargle is similarly a didactic debate several decades past its prime. Best leave it to socialists like Noam Chomsky who are more interested in divesting language of comparison and meaning.

You and I do not have the time or money to afford a serious debate transformational grammar, my friend. Indeed, can a deconstructivist concept--by definition—be “seriously” debated?



No Grey in "Integrity..."

Remember, there is no grey in integrity...

Except anagramatically.

Today's Band Names:



Barely Fiction

The Spectrum of Plectrums is about to increase!Score4Sale is coming soon!



I am the atomic-powered robot. Please give my best wishes to everybody

Hello. "I am the atomic-powered ro-but. Please give my best wishes to ev'very body."

I still have my tonsils, which (I am told) grant me a form of "humoral immunity".
I take this to mean that I cannot be prosecuted for bad jokes.



Curtain Up, Lights Down. Band Names With Mark Wynkoop

Here are your band names for today:

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