Miscellaneous improvements

28Feb11

Two and a Half Men
With his wildly popular TV show yanked off the air in response to his public blasting of Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre, Charlie Sheen appears to be finally settling the question of whether he could force his own firing before suffering a fatal mid-orgy heart attack, asphyxiating on his own vomit, or both simultaneously. But don’t believe it. Sheen’s air of personal and professional indestructibility is so convincingly cocksure that his career likely won’t end until he gets so coked up that he decides to prove he’s literally bulletproof by ordering a hooker to shoot him in the chest. And maybe not even then. But just in case, here’s how to lose Charlie Sheen the actor without writing out Charlie Harper the character: Simply switch to a point-of-view style of shooting, as on the British sitcom The Peep Show. Picture this: A dismayed Jon Cryer asks the camera, “Charlie, you didn’t order another hooker, did you?” The camera nods up and down enthusiastically. A busty woman bounds into the shot and aims her copious cleavage into the camera, which then moves back and forth in a “motorboating” fashion. There: All of the debauchery associated with the character, and none of the headaches associated with the actor.

Hostage-taking situations
It’s perhaps the most tragically pointless death imaginable: being suddenly executed by a hostage-taker as a random display of power. (But is it random? What movies like Die Hard don’t show you is that really shitty look that that guy gave Hans Gruber before getting gunned down.) Here’s some advice to aspiring terrorists and other criminals: When randomly shooting a hostage in the head to demonstrate how serious you are, try to pick a guy wearing a Bluetooth earpiece or one of those coloured shirts with white cuffs and collar (preferably both). You’ll find your mostly-terrified-somewhat-grateful hostages just a little bit more coöperative after that.

Saving space
Yes, that was an umlaut you just read up there in the word “coöperative”. (Actually, no it technically wasn’t; it was a diaeresis, but they look the same.) As in French and Spanish, The New Yorker uses it to indicate that two vowels next to each other are to be pronounced separately. Therefore, it’s super-classy. But more importantly, it’s also one character shorter than using a hyphen for this job, an important consideration in the age of Twitter. Your Tweets not only will seem smarter but also will actually be utilizing your 140-character limit more intelligently. Once you’re comfortable with this, go ahead and revive the Old English letters thorn (Þ, þ) and eth (Ð, ð) to represent those space-wasting th sounds as well. Your readers will þank you.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
Unless Bono is the next to be maimed or killed, it’s getting harder to care about the fatiguing stream of news reports of injury and ineptitude on the set of the Spider-Man musical. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something about this. The poor, innocent actors playing Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy, for example, have got to be scared out of their minds. Why don’t we take a page out of The Running Man and sentence convicted criminals to appear in the production? If 1,400 smooth Filipino criminals can pull off a perfect rendition of the zombie dance from “Thriller” in their prison’s exercise yard, surely we can export this concept to Broadway. Go get ’em, tiger.

Old Detroit
Though the will of the people seems to have prevailed, Detroit mayor Dave Bing was at first resistant to the campaign among Detroit citizens to erect a statue of RoboCop. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t want to raise the public profile of a potential rival. Think about it: RoboCop’s first directive—to serve the public trust—actually sort of encourages a future in politics. He’s tough on crime, his cold cyborg body is immune to sex scandal, and, having been owned as property of Omni Consumer Products, he can plausibly claim to be the first white politician since Bill Clinton (dubbed “the first black president” by novelist Toni Morrison) to have a full appreciation of the African-American experience. If Bing were smart, he’d get him on side by appointing him police commissioner, but the fact is, Detroit could really use a Mayor RoboCop right now.



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