Bummed

PRESS RELEASE, Trenzalore (14th August) — The Parker Institute for Time Travel Studies (The PITTS) has annouced that it will delay publication of the next issue of its popular Fish and TARDIS Sauce (FATS) newsletter until the staff’s mass lethargy has worn off.  The sadness, first reported in the month following Matt Smith’s retirement from the BBC’s Doctor Who, seems to have become a deep-seated melancholy that has caused FATS employees to seek solace by playing music of Karen Carpenter while sharing Grumpy Cat photos on Facebook.  The PITTS seeks to reassure all employees of its sister organization, and let them know the company’s health care plan will provide counseling, doctor recommendations, and whiskey as needed for self-medication.

Placid Savage, spokeswoman for The PITTS, said the current sadness is not unlike the anguish, grief, and heartache that can be seen on any sensible synonym search for words like sadness.  Savage, in a moment of unusual candor, rebuffed a reporter’s suggestion that running her operation from a graveyard at the end of time might be contributing to low employee morale.  She shrugged. “I don’t know.  Who give a shit?”

This prompted Herb Wells, Chief Technology Officer for Steampunk Technology, to later tweet:

  • The fucking 70s were happier than this! #disco #MoralEquivalentofWar

Wells has been suspended without pay pending a formal review of his communication skills.  He was last seen in College Station, Texas.

Meanwhile, The PITTS cancelled its 2014 plans to test the grandfather paradox and Shrödinger’s Cat experiment until the Institute has had time to consult with Peter Capaldi and Stephen Moffat.

At the time they went to press The PITTS’ calls to Kurt Cobain had gone unanswered.  The PITTS also reached out to Joplain and Morrison, but results have been a real letdown.

Until next time … if there is a next time … peace from Eeyore Keith

Copyright © 2013 Keith Parker.

Confessions

Red TARDISAs a redheaded, red-bearded man in Huntsville I’d be remiss if I didn’t post my own confessions list so Shea Allen doesn’t feel lonely in her pursuit of freedom of expression.

Now, you might rightly ask yourself what any of this has to do with Doctor Who.  And if you were to ask this question you’d be in fine company, because I seem to asking myself the same thing.  But, sometimes stories just write themselves, with a little help from my brain and fingers.

So, without further ado, here are the Top 10 things I have never told any of you before, except, of course, for that crazy guy who stands under the Parkway Bridge screaming, “The end is nigh!  The end is nigh!”

  1. I have gone braless and no one was ever the wiser because, well, I’m a guy …
  2. My best sources are Netflix streaming and Netflix DVDs.  I once spoke to one of their customer-service representatives; I do not know whether she has a crush on me.
  3. I am at my best when collecting a paycheck.
  4. I’ve mastered the ability to sit in a recliner.
  5. I hate the right side of the BBCAmerica/Doctor-Who website. The margin is too narrow.
  6. I hope to be old one day.
  7. Sad, grating, thunderstorm stories about bad things make me depressed.
  8. I have taken naps in my recliner (see # 4).
  9. If you ramble and I deem you unnecessary to furthering my writing career I will seriously question my personal value system, and even if the feeling were genuine I’d never admit it because sometimes honesty is  a thinly-veiled disguise for cruelty and arrogant self-indulgence.
  10. I have never stood under a Parkway Bridge screaming, “The end is nigh!  The end is nigh!”, but if Shea Allen gets rich I may start.

Until next time, keep confessing, keep time-traveling, and don’t panic.  42.

Years truly,

Keith

Copyright © 2013 Keith Parker

Job Opening: Mad Scientist

Job Opening: Mad Scientist

Need Date: Immediate

Salary: Back-adjusted to late 1940s deflation

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Location: Roswell, NM

mad scientist 3The Parker Inverted Time Travel  Syndicate (The PITTS) has an immediate and insatiable need for a senior-level scientist with advanced attention deficit disorder and limited team building skills (hereafter: “Mad Scientist”) to serve as the Chief Chronology Officer (CCO) for development of new time travel technology.  The ideal candidate will have disheveled white hair, a doctorate from a Prussian university, familiarity with the Roswell Army Air Field (frequent travel to 1947 required), and the inability to read key social cues.  He or she must be proficient with the following devices:

  • Rotary telephones
  • Teletype machines
  • Telegraph transmitters
  • Vacuum-tube radios and television sets
  • Slide rules
  • French Curves
  • Jacob’s ladders
  • Test tubes
  • 78 rpm record players
  • Typewriters
  • Reel-to-reel tape recorders
  • Manual homemade ice cream makers (it’s hot in Roswell)
  • Pocket protectors
  • Wellsian time machines

The Mad Scientist’s bona fides must include contributions to one (or more) of the following patented inventions, copyrighted material, or commercial products:

  • Stone-hewn labyrinths
  • Telepathic hair dryers
  • Anti-tornado sprays
  • Cures for nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, and/or acute coryza
  • Viagra
  • Self-loading dishwashers
  • Toxic boxing gloves
  • Eloi stew
  • Remote control golf balls
  • Corn cob flatteners
  • Butter softeners
  • Stool softeners
  • Cat constipation pills
  • Tin can telephone switchboards
  • Telescoping taco shells
  • Icicle daggers
  • The Time Machine

Mad Scientists will be expected to keep thorough journals (written in mirror-image English), possess numerous housecats, have had one life-threatening experience with explosives, and understand how to pronounce “giga.”  Candidates will supply their own decoder ring, lab coat, FBI case file, ray gun, violin, pipe, tobacco, tin foil hat, and cadaver.  The ideal candidate will also have a granddaughter who’s recently won a statewide or nationally-competitive beauty pageant (Note: Granddaughter may not be the cadaver).

Large, bulging eyes caused by a thyroid disorder are desirable but not required due to 2012 American HiPPA regulations.  The PITTS will work with the candidate to improve eye-bulging techniques as a means to maintain certain levels of morale.  A shaggy dog is desired but not required.

Note: The Mad Scientist should not be able to understand any post-1950s’ technology, meaning that all electronic applications will be rejected forthwith and nevermore.

The PITTS is an equal opportunity employer registered with the American Scientific Society for Hazardous Advanced Time Travel (ASS-HATT).

If interested, please apply via United States Postal Service at this address: _________.

Please note our other current openings.  Full descriptions are available for persons sending a self-addressed stamped envelop, six Kellogg’s Corn Flakes’ box tops and a fifth of whiskey to the address shown above.

  • Laundry Sock Investigator
  • Eyeglasses Windshield Wiper Technician
  • Invisible Man
  • Icicle Dagger Quality Control

Thank you for your interest in The PITTS.

Text copyright © 2012 Alan Keith Parker, All Rights Reserved

Clipart used royalty free Copyright © 2012 Vecto.rs, All Rights Reserved

Dystopian Dysfunction

Yesterday I quit watching the episode “Bad Wolf” from Season 1 of the 2005 re-boot of Doctor Who.  There are a number of critical reasons – including setting, dialog, pacing, character development, and enough deus ex machina events to depopulate Mount Olympus for decades – but the real reason is that it sucked.  And that’s a shame.  It’s the penultimate (I wanted to use that word today) episode of the season and supposedly has a cliffhanger to die for.

If you’re curious, the story is about The Doctor, Rose Tyler, and Captain Jack suddenly finding themselves contestants in sinister game shows of the future.  Did it work?  No.  In fact, the show was so campy it made me long for the carrot-people of Lost in Space.  Yeah, it was that bad.

Bad_Wolf_BWI’m sure I’ll struggle through the damn thing this evening.  After all, it’s just a TV show, and it is part of the larger Doctor Who and Torchwood story arcs.  How do I know this?  By using Google?  Reading episode guides?  No.  I know it’s part of the grander scheme because I’ve been watching the show backwards.  After all, it’s about time travel, so the order shouldn’t matter.  (Actually, it’d be more accurate to say I’m watching the series sideways, which is pronounced “utra-guh-a-guh” for you Three Stooges fans out there.)

What was it that was so unappealing?   As I stared dumbly at the ol’ idiot box, wondering whether the damn thing would ever end, I kept thinking about The Hunger Games.  Why?  Well, like The Hunger Games, this episode was long, tedious, and weird, with dumbass haircuts, glitter, plastic boobs, and computer-generated voices.  That’s when it dawned on me: This is just one more example of dystopian dysfunction that’s gripped entertainment in recent years.

What is the deal with the apocalypse these days?  It can’t be the fact that mankind is living through tough times.  Hell, we’ve been doing that ever since God told Abraham to carve up his son like a Thanksgiving turkey.  I mean, holy bat, cow man, how much of this end times crap do we have to put up with, anyway?

I want normal settings.  I want period pieces.  And I want something speculative, like an alien, a time machine, or an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

So what led Russell T. Davies – the writer of this episode – to script one of the lowest-rated Doctor Who episodes ever?   My guess is that it was a disastrous attempt at humor.   That’s where it diverges from The Hunger Games.  The latter is a serious attempt at warning young adult readers about the dangers of totalitarianism.  I think Davies was trying to write satire.  And I fear he failed.  Less is more when it comes to yucking it up, and Davies tried to push “more is more” down our throats.

As I told someone on G+ not too long ago, the best humor involves puns, subtlety, and resisting the urge to repeat the punch line ad nauseum.   Consider a handful of one-liners that’ve been known to make people laugh:

“I love being a writer.  What I can’t stand is the paper work.”

“A Southern man will stagger to the polls to vote dry.”

“You can skydive without a paracute.  You just can’t do it twice.”

If Davies were trying to make a satire out of “Bad Wolf” I feel he failed badly.  If he were trying to create yet another dysfunctional dystopian soap opera, then he succeeded beyond imagination, unfortunately.

Until next time,

Peace, from Keith

.

Text of this blog is Copyright © 2012, Alan Keith Parker.  All Rights Reserved.  The graphic embedded in this blog entry is a copyrighted screenshot that has been changed to a black-and-white image because no free alternative is known to exist.