Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Billy and the eBay Caper: Conclusion

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Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

The next morning, Billy's life has appreciated to about twelve hundred dollars. Wonderful, but not unprecedented. He must be worth more than a goddamn bear, has to be. But by noon, there is almost no change, no more bidding. The price has peaked at $1245.95. No change, nothing since nine o’clock.

Two o’clock, nothing.

And four, and nothing.

Billy’s fifteen minutes are nearly expired, and the auction ends overnight. Fretfully, I drink my whiskey, wondering where I've gone wrong, retracing my path, looking for my misstep. I put my ear to the earth but hear no buffalo. My Tonto sense has abandoned me. My intuition has vanished. And The Price is Right has no answers. I retreat to the computer to pore over my work.

The clock ticks to five, and I can’t figure it out.

But at last, finally, I see my mistake. It is incredible. Wonderful! A glorious moment, really - knowing that you've made the biggest error of your life, but realizing you still have time to fix the problem. A warm spread of relief begins in my belly, prickling my skin and ending in my fingertips. I know I’ve got it this time.


Shortly, Billy comes home. Early - a good driver can finish his route off before the mandated shift turnover at six. And Billy, he's a good driver. It requires a lot of concentration to move that truck around. A lot of concentration, and no imagination. Imagination is bad, because trucks crash when the mind wanders. Billy is such an obtuse lackwit, I'd place bets on him being the best truck driver in the world. I'm ready for him with the camera again.

"More pictures?" Billy says. "Isn't the auction doing pretty good?"

"No, we have to do one more update before it closes. Keep it fresh. You know. Get in the chair again. Let's go."

Billy is still wearing his overalls from the truck, and he yanks them off in cranky gestures. "What a pain in the ass," he mutters. He has his usual Sally-Ann wardrobe on beneath, which will only improve the look of the shot. I tape the aquarium hose to his arm and cuff his hands to the chair. Tight.

"If we have to keep it fresh, why are we taking more pictures of me in the chair?" Billy says.

"Because, Billy. We're going to do something a little different this time." I slap a piece of duct tape over his mouth, and he huffs laughter through his nose. It's just like playing pirates.

I put down the camera, and then I pull the chef knife out of my back pocket. Billy snorts some more until he sees the look on my face. I'm trying, trying very hard not to laugh at his expression, because I'm going to need every amp of my available powers to concentrate on my next task. I step closer, glad that the floor in this room is cheap hardwood instead of carpet. Billy begins to squeal behind the tape, but I had given it a good hard press to keep it in place.

Earlier, when I was looking at my auction page, I noticed someone had placed an email comment beneath the pictures:

What a joke that pic looks fake man, no way is he going to kill himself. Im not going to bid anything you jackass -- FredinDallas

I almost slapped my own forehead. Of course - how could I be so foolish? The bidders, they need the proof. And it only makes sense. In the grocery store, you sample the grapes before you buy them. You try on a shirt before you charge it. You want to buy a car, well, you take it through its paces before you sign on the dotted line, don’t you? Good god, man. The buyer, they need to take their measure of what's for sale with their eyes, and all they've seen so far is a picture of Billy in a chair.

They require evidence of the intent. A contract. Before they put their money down, they have to know, really know, that Billy is serious about ending his life, or else the bidding will stall, finishing lower than the value of a used Chevette. Don't worry, Billy, this is my very best idea yet. You'll see. I begin to hum a little tune, the theme song from M.A.S.H., which I had seen earlier.

“Because, Billy,” I say. With the handcuffs and the solid oak chair, Billy can't squirm around very much, and the duct tape is muffling his hopeless mewling quite nicely. I squint my eyes away from him, like when I’m spooning my morning grapefruit in front of the Saturday cartoons. They squirt.

“You have to understand. Suicide is only painless in the song.”

The knife is sharp, and his fingers drop into my hand like baby carrots.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Billy and the eBay Caper: Part Four

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Part One, Part Two, Part Three

With the new pictures put up on the auction page, there have finally been more people looking at it. But we're now only three days away from the closing date, with only a single bid. An anonymous comedian has bid ninety-nine cents for Billy's life. It’s a price I reckon to be reasonable, but nothing close to what I'm hoping for.

If the life of a bear cub is worth thousands to liberal, bleeding-heart eBay buyers, so must be the life of a lonely, ugly man. Shouldn’t it?

Ninety-nine cents. We have a long way to go.

The amended pictures aren’t good enough. We’ve come too far now to have the plan fail.

The Plan

To reap unprecedented riches through a fraudulent eBay auction. The world will believe Billy will commit suicide unless he is paid enough money:

1.) Pictures will be taken, and posted onto eBay.
2.) Bidding will ensue, with total success as a result.
3.) Billy will never learn of the true outcome of the auction, i.e., he gets twenty dollars.
4.) Billy will be fired as a roommate, and I will buy a lifetime supply of alcohol.

But I realize now, with only one measly bid and a paltry hundred or some-odd page views, that the problem is exposure. I need more of it, much more than I started with. My original group email distribution list is thus a shriveled embarrassment. I curse my arrogance at not spreading the information farther. Cripes, almighty! Why didn't I make more contacts? Christ in a sidecar! I suppose I thought an idea this grand would take on a life of its own, without my influence. I batter myself mercilessly all day for my failure, and set about to rectify the error. It can be fixed.

There is always enough time.

In a frenzy, I re-send group emails to my evidently useless network of friends and acquaintances, including all contacts I find written on the backs of forgotten business cards and restaurant receipts. I email dozens of newspapers and television stations. Blisters bloom across my fingertips. I rant to disc jockeys. I post the auction link on internet bulletin boards, every last one I can imagine. Chat rooms. Blogs. My elbows sweat. Who knew how difficult it would be to earn easy money.

Manfully, I refute the need for food.

But the whiskey is always standing nearby, filled with warm, easy calories. It cannot be ignored. Alcohol, the fuel of F-1 racing cars, also contains many carbohydrates, the fuel of our own bodies. I'm drinking racing fuel. We share many similarities, I and the car. I’m hard as steel. We're engineered for a purpose. I shift myself up another gear. I'm a machine, expelling methane from my high-performance engine as I speed toward the winner's circle.

This tactic going to work this time. I know it in my bones.

The next morning, I get an email message from an acquaintance named Steve. All stupid guys I know are named Steve:

HEy Dude, your eBay auction is posted on! Your a fucking crackpot man take her easy or anyway you can


God, the moron. But Fark, the internet mecca of bizarre newspaper headlines! If a story is posted there, it's guaranteed to have millions of readers. The Big Time. Hollywood! I’ve made it - the story has broken worldwide now, and the Fox network will be banging down my door any moment. I put on my best t-shirt, just in case. Does my robe smell bad? I decide it doesn’t. Finally, the bids will pour in like turds rolling downhill from an outhouse. And they do. By the end of the work day, Billy's life is priced at five hundred dollars.

By the end of Fear Factor that night, he breaks a thousand.


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Billy and the eBay Caper: Part Three

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Part One, Part Two

We're at the eBay website, typing up the particulars for the auction.

Luckily, I've already sold a few things here before, so I don't need to run the gauntlet of filling out all the online forms again. Posting the photos of Billy, that's no difficulty either. But the problem is, I'm having trouble filling out the sale description reliably. What I'm typing - it's too hammy, doesn't sound right. Something. It's just not legit. I realize I need the mind of a lesser talent.

"Billy," I say. "Do your thing." This is what he manages:



"Excellent," I say, tenting my fingers.

But two days go by, with no bids offered to save Billy's life. Oh, plenty have stopped at the webpage to see what was for sale, but with millions of users on eBay at any given time, there's bound to be a few random tire kickers clicking on the auction to see what the hell might be for sale. 58 page views and no bids are not going to put me on easy street. I appraise Billy's pictures with my director's eye; I understand that he must be responsible somehow. The photos of his arms in particular are pitiful; the cuts he made appear to be mere cat scratches. Contempt soaks my soul. Billy, you fool. The masses need more than this. I begin to empathize with their disinterest; what an amateurish attempt this must seem like. Time is flying on the auction; I feel the urgent need to change the formula. I order Billy downstairs again.

"This time, you're going to be handcuffed in a chair, with a homemade 'suicide device' in the picture, standing beside you, got it? It's a jar with floor cleaner in it," I say.

"Floor cleaner? Handcuffs? What the fuck is that for? Why can't I just pose with my knife?"

"Because, it has to look like the process can't be stopped, that you can't cop out of it somehow. Nobody takes cutters seriously, it's the route taken by teenage girls who want attention. You're just laughed at Billy, you're worth no money. We'll put a clock here beside you, like a countdown.

"People love deadlines, Bill. You should know this, goddammit.

"We're going to tape a length of aquarium hose to your arm like an I.V., with a big red button beside your finger to 'activate the I.V. drip', just like the Jack Kevorkian machine. We're going to say on the auction that poison will enter your bloodstream once you hit that button. It's more pitiful and eye-catching than a knife in your hand," I say. "It's more eventual and gradual, yet inevitable. Tubes, tape, the staring eyes -- there's something about prolonging the process that tugs on the old heartstrings. Think about that Schiavo woman, the press she got. This is the method for success, I'm certain."


"Never mind. Get in the chair."

I take the photos. I feel a hand on the back of my head, like someone is touching me, but I shoo it away. Not now, dammit. I need to concentrate. Focus. The payoff will be worth it, I can feel it.

"Stop giggling, Billy. Suicide is supposed to make you feel bad," I say.

Part Four

Friday, April 22, 2005

Billy and the eBay Caper: Part Two

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Part One

It's simple, really. Complete with lunatic dialogue and fearful photographs, I'm going to threaten to kill myself in front of millions of people, right on eBay - unless I get paid enough money to stop me, of course. With the appropriate preparation and media seeding, I'm going to hold myself hostage, and the world will pay me off. A person would have to be a madman, some kind of unhinged maniac to want to participate in a plan like this.

"But I want to be the guy killing himself!" Billy yelled. "It's my camera!"

In Canada, there is no fine, no law, no jail sentence preventing anyone from committing suicide if they so desire. It stands to reason that there is no penalty for one to threaten suicide, either. It makes sense, when one thinks about it academically for a moment. What can the authorities do - press charges against a dead body? If a man wants to off himself, by god, he's going to do it no matter what it says on a sheepskin.

"If a guy attempts suicide and he lives, he should be charged with the death penalty!" Billy hollered.

Billy is fortunate to have a job; he drives a truck for a living. He has a physical appearance so deranged, he was once kicked out of an ice-cream parlour because the jockey behind the counter thought he might be a child-molesting retard who was featured on the evening news. Or that he was merely mentally unstable, and therefore a threat to the customers. Or both, it doesn't really matter; people instinctively recognize Billy as That Weird Guy Over There, and they avoid him accordingly. The impression he leaves is like the vague rubber-diaper smell of the Special Ed wing of a public school, an air about him that says Look Anywhere But in My Eyes.

"For fuck sakes, I wanna do it!" Billy pouts.

So I have no problem at all with him wanting to be posted online as the "suicidal" eBay deviant who wants money to not kill himself. I don't want my face on the internet, after all - that had been a sort of final option idea from the outset. And using Billy instead of me is dandy because I believe his sagging, simian features are ideal for this kind of treatment. As I've already talked about, he has a look to him more believable as a man on the edge than I would be. More legitimate. It will be good theatre to use him, is what I'm driving at. Besides, his camera work is bound to stink, and I want the photography as convincing as possible.

Billy is it. I congratulate myself on the selection. This is going to work, goddammit. Has to. The hounds of creditors are on my trail, and no amount of whiskey is cleansing the desperate scent of long-outstanding debt from my body. They're getting closer, and I need a wade through a swamp to throw them off for a bit. Back off! For a while, at least. I need to regroup. Time to get my head together, is all.

We arrange things in the living room, against the wall with the water stain. It looks more pitiful that way, I reason. Billy can't wait for his star treatment. Billy has trouble remembering long sentences, so I begin to rap orders at him, machine-gunning the phrases in quick sound bites for easy comprehension:

"Okay, the auction can be modified later on as it gets closer to the closing date. We'll put updated pictures on it as time goes by. Mess your hair up. Like you've been drinking. Good. Take off that Homer Simpson sweatshirt. We don't want them laughing. You have to be depressed. Pitiful. Put on something dirty, cheap," I bark.

Billy takes off his sweatshirt, revealing an audaciously tacky Hooters t-shirt. In all of existence, the only men who wear Hooters shirts are those who never get to touch actual hooters. He's coat-rack skinny, and this is excellent. Looking him over, I don't want to jinx myself by counting the potential dollars the auction will earn; he looks that terrible. I arrange our lampshade to focus a dim light down at him, to accentuate the misery of his features.

"Maybe you could take a few shots of my wrists?" Billy says. "I was a cutter in high school."

My god - he was a cutter! A natural talent! I grimace inwardly for never having noticed his arms -- details! Everything has to be perfect! -- but thinking it over, I forgive myself because I remember that barely even look at his face. And yes, there they are: the clean white lines, laddering down his forearm where he'd no doubt attempted to garner attention from some valueless gothic tramp. But I frown; the scars look too old to be credible...

"I can freshen them up a bit," Billy offers.

Perfect. Use the chef knife.

Part Three

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Billy and the eBay Caper: Part One

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It may be a few months since I last worked.

I struggle to remember exactly; the days since the termination of my employment to the present have smeared together, a result of interminable daily routine and unbranded whiskey from the mom & pop. All I'm aware of now is that the weather outside is finally warm enough to justify walks through the local park, but I lack interest. I need money, and I've heard it doesn't grow on the trees over there. It doesn't arrive in the mail anymore either, so I don't look in the little box attached to the house. In fact, in the spirit of independence, I removed it from the brick entirely and dropped it in my shrubs. To my relief, this ended the daily arrival of pizza coupons. I reasoned that I saved a tree. I celebrated with a whiskey.

I spend my days watching television and surfing the internet. My roommate Billy, though an ineffectual nincompoop, actually has a job, so I can change channels free from dispute during the day. But when he returns from his shift, we are forced into the uneasy kind of co-operation familiar to jail-cell occupants:

Billy: Change the channel! My show is on!

Me: Nonsense, it's not even 7 o'clock yet. I think a boob will be on soon.

Billy: Change it! The show might be on already!

Me: Silence, you ass. Your show is on at 7:30 anyway.

Billy: No it isn't. (pause) Okay, there was no boob, can you change it now?

Me: Wait.

Billy: Hurry up, goddammit!

Me: All right, I'm done. (channel flip)

Billy: We missed the beginning!

The entertainment of the argument is worth it, frankly. Boobs, in prime time? They come on after eleven, the silly bastard. I just like to watch him squirm about in his seat.

But to my amazement, it turned out that Billy actually does have a use. Last night, we were hammering out a verbal contract to keep the television tuned to the channel "Fear Factor" would appear on, something I didn't feel like watching, when we saw a snippet of news:

"...and the man has taken a picture of a grizzly bear in his backyard, which he posted on an eBay auction page. In his description, he claims that he will execute the bear with his high-powered rifle should the bids not approach his desired price. The current bid for its life is $3,000, with no reserve price set..."

"Brilliant!" I exclaimed. I had been scheming for weeks to summon a way of earning easy dollars from an eBay sale; to my dismay, none of the potato chips I purchased resembled the face of Jesus. Nor did any slice of toast I carefully browned in my toaster. No, I had to think of an original idea, and finally I had one. It took some barefoot yahoo in America threatening to kill a stray grizzly unless somebody paid his ransom to set the wheels in motion for me.

"Hey, we could do something like that," said Billy. "We could threaten to blow away Spark unless we get enough money. He's pretty old anyways."

Spark, Billy's old blue-tick hunting hound. I was grateful for the sacrifice, but I suspected the scam was working for the chum with the grizzly because for some reason it's not animal cruelty if it's a wild animal. Some kind of loophole like that, had to be. Batter a cow into submission with a sledgehammer, bleed it, quarter it, and you get roasts for your family reunion. Woo! More meat? Pass the ‘slaw! Do that to your cat, and you get a mug shot and a jail sentence.

Out in the backyard, Spark snored the evening away, unaware that the shadow of death had passed over him a moment ago.

No, entertaining though it might be, I didn't want to hold the gun to Spark's head. Animals, it's been done. And besides, who knows what John Law might do to me if I threaten the life of an old hunting dog. The beauty of the plan I cooked up was, it's completely legal. All I needed for it to succeed was a little media exposure and some human stupidity, of which there is an abundant and inexhaustible supply. I finished my drink, slamming the highball glass on my end table.

"Billy, I've decided to kill myself," I announced. "Get me your digital camera. I'm going to need lots of photographs."

Part Two

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Bea Arthur: Nude?

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Bea Arthur. She'll beat your ass.

Well, my experiment in posting links to racy photographs of Kirsten Dunst met with some decent success. Blog traffic increased a smidge, and I got the intrinsic joy of having the face of Dunst gracing my blog, if only for a while.

But someone left a comment (aughra) suggesting that I might attract even MORE viewers if I were to post the photographs of another elusive celebrity. I thought it over, and decided she was right. Aughra, I made it my mission to find scantily-clad images of your favourite leather-lunged Golden Girl, Bea Arthur!

[As an aside, I'm certain by now that she's a Highlander in disguise. Immortal, can't be killed. She's on my celebrity death list, but unless someone decapitates her...well, she's still going to be "Old Bea Arthur" long after I'm feeding worms. Just a hunch. There can be only one...]

A quick Google search proved fruitless, ("Bea Arthur nude naked") because the period when she might have desired naked photographs of herself occured prior to the invention of the camera. I do however have extensive Hollywood contacts, so I called in a favour. A man by the name of Ludwig Highhat owed me large, so I rang him up:

Highhat: All right, I got what you asked for. Man, you are crazy, seriously.

Me: Never mind that. I've got the money. Where do you want to meet?

Highhat: Christ, don't talk like this on the phone. Let's get a coffee at Starbuck's.

Me: You're going to bring it though, right?

Highhat: Goddammit, what did I just say? I didn't hear anything you just said. See you there at one o'clock.

Me: Great! I'll bring the cash for the handoff.


Anyway, Highhat didn't disappoint. At the coffee place, I nearly lost my lunch when he brought out what I asked for. Luckily, I remembered I left it under my chair.

"I never like to buy the food here, it's way overpriced," I said, digging into my baloney sandwich.

"Whatever, man. You got what you asked for, so now we're even. See you around," he said.

I could hardly contain my glee at what I now owned. Probably the only risqué picture of Bea Arthur in the entire world, and it was all mine.

So here, I have a world exclusive, and I'm giving Fast and Dumb readers the first opportunity to take in Bea in all her glory, a quick look at a celebrity so secretive, it's rumoured she lives on Marlon Brando's island. It's a chance that nobody else on earth has had - before now.

Enjoy, everybody.

Click here to see Bea Arthur!!

Monday, April 18, 2005

A Dirty Poem

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This morning, the kitchen smells like potatoes.

Mouldering earth in a Cavendish grave.
I do not open the cupboard;
Light makes the monsters real.

Unseen, inside the damp sack, blind, white eyes reach with tenticular stamina; silent, and raw.

Pickles taste like vinegar.
Old wine is vinegar.
Rotting movie reels turn to vinegar;

The crotch of a bitter whore is vinegar.

I wince, reach into the bag, and pull out six wrinkled grandmothers.
I slice off their sightless eyes, fry them, and sprinkle the acid on my Cupboard Monsters.
They are defenseless, on my plate. I soak them with the blood of tomatoes.


The vinegar on them, I taste 1940's Technicolour movie reels. It's good.

But whores will always taste bad.

Friday, April 15, 2005

See Kirsten Dunst Naked : An Experiment

I read a blog entry on some guy's site that discussed how his web traffic blew up once he inserted a few words/photos into a post - words that included things like, "naked" in addition to the names numerous popular female celebrities.

So, inspired by his success, as an experiment, I thought I'd see what would happen to my blog traffic if I include a post that invites you to see "Kirtsen Dunst naked". Although, she isn't really naked, she's more like "Kirsten Dunst topless". And it's not even topless, it's more like "sort of topless." In fact, the pictures aren't even that good. But if you want to see the pictures I saw (I wouldn't look at these at work), click the links:

Kirsten Dunst topless 1

Kirsten Dunst topless 2

Kirsten Dunst topless 3 <-- although, this one isn't really topless


[Edit: It's amazing how well this worked. I'll add a few more catch phrases, then - if I ever find the nudies for it, I'll post links.

Lindsay Lohan topless
Lindsay Lohan topless
Lindsay Lohan topless
Lindsay Lohan naked
Lindsay Lohan naked
Lindsay Lohan naked
Lindsay Lohan nude
Lindsay Lohan nude
Lindsay Lohan nude
Paris Hilton video
Paris Hilton video
Paris Hilton video
Paris Hilton naked
Paris Hilton naked
Paris Hilton naked
Paris Hilton topless
Paris Hilton topless
Paris Hilton topless
Paris Hilton nude
Paris Hilton nude
Paris Hilton nude
Angelina Jolie naked
Angelina Jolie naked
Angelina Jolie naked
Angelina Jolie topless
Angelina Jolie topless
Angelina Jolie topless
Angelina Jolie nude
Angelina Jolie nude
Angelina Jolie nude
Jessica Alba naked
Jessica Alba naked
Jessica Alba naked
Jessica Alba topless
Jessica Alba topless
Jessica Alba topless
Jessica Alba nude
Jessica Alba nude
Jessica Alba nude
Brittany Spears naked
Brittany Spears naked
Brittany Spears naked
Brittany Spears topless
Brittany Spears topless
Brittany Spears topless
Brittany Spears nude
Brittany Spears nude
Brittany Spears nude

Monday, April 11, 2005


I found out today, to my surprise, that the filtering software of various network servers are now blocking my blog. Including the software of my company.

It would seem that the content I produce is considered, "tasteless."

I'll accept it as a compliment, because I suppose it means I've been noticed by tech weenies someplace, enough so that it's reasoned sensitive minds need to be protected from potential corruption by me.

On the other hand, it means that any reader trying to access the blog through the same firewall will get the same error message.

I have no choice but to accept it, and to think that maybe it's better to be shunned than to be ignored.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Listerine Man Goes for a Ride

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“Hey, look!” Ed yelled. “It’s Listerine Man! They’re taking him away!”

I looked up the street, and sure enough, there he was. No, Listerine Man isn’t that guy in the stupid costume you see in the commercials. Listerine Man is just a bum. He usually sits on the sidewalk outside our building, drinking Listerine every day. Except today he was spread-eagled on the cement, with an empty bottle of mouthwash still clutched in his hand. Nobody would care, except that he had inconveniently passed out right where everybody wanted to walk. There was a cruiser parked at the curb, and two cops were trying to figure out what to do with him. I saw the first housefly of the season land on Listerine Man’s cheek and begin to wash itself in the spring sunshine – there was carrion to find, and eggs to lay.

“Man, he must have really tied one on! He’s passed right out!” Ed said. A small crowd was gathering around. Listerine Man moaned piteously.

“Get the plastic,” one of the cops said.

“Roger that,” said the other. He popped the trunk, and took out this big honking roll of plastic, which he began to spread around in the back seat of the cruiser. Everybody began to laugh and trade jokes:

“Is that a body-bag for the homeless? Or do you use a giant Zip-Loc for that?”

“Look! Cop cars come equipped with Drunk-Wrap! ”

“At least his breath won’t smell too bad!”

“Are you guys taking him to Listerine-Drinkers Anonymous?”

After a lot of grunting and straining, the cops managed to dump Listerine Man in the back of their car, at which point the crowd applauded and hooted. “Nothing to see! Nothing to see here!” another guy whooped. We all departed for our lunches, clucking about the gutter depravity of a man willing to drink a bottle of Listerine to get a cheap buzz.

It’s unfortunate that Listerine Man went too far today with his little hobby, doing something that a lot of people probably regard as hitting rock bottom, right down there with sniffing gas or shaving cream aerosols. But maybe he’s brighter than he looks – later on, after his carcass was hauled away, I went and looked up the ingredients of Listerine on the internet:

Menthol, thymol, methyl salicylate, eucalyptol, and…alcohol. In fact, Listerine has twenty-seven percent alcohol – the exact same consumable variety that we enjoy each night in our bourbons or vodkas, a fact I bet a lot of people don’t know about. Hell, I didn't. If I thought about it at all, I assumed it was "some other kind." And all those other ingredients are non-toxic flavoured oils, some of which are used in breath mints and other similar sorts of candies.

And when you think about it, why would Listerine contain anything dangerous or toxic? People swish it around in their mouths, for crying out loud – why would the makers put some kind of poison in it?

The answer is, of course they don’t. So for only a couple of bucks a day, Listerine Man can get as drunk as he pleases, probably have the world’s freshest breath, and battle gingivitis in the bargain. What’s so bad about that? It’s better than drinking antifreeze.

“What an idiot that guy must be,” Ed sneered later on, playing with his belly. He likes to pat it after he eats, and we had all-you-can-eat pasta for lunch today.

Oh, is he Ed? Is he?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Christopher Walken is Awesome

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My favourite actor is Christopher Walken. In my opinion, he’s the coolest motherfucker in motion pictures.

Picking a favourite movie actor can be a divisive subjective exercise. For instance, there are always people willing to anoint DeNiro or Pacino as their personal favourite actor, relying on classic films from 20 years ago as the basis for their choice. I roll my eyes when I hear those names, because those two guys have been mailing it in for 15 years. Others will pick Johnny Depp, because of the arcane variety of the movie roles he’s chosen, from offbeat B-grade movies to Disney blockbusters. Still others will choose an icon like Schwartzeneggar. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise...these guys are all good in their own way, but none of those pampered pretty boys have the appeal for me that Chris Walken does.

[You’ll notice that I didn’t include any women in my little breakdown here – without trying to sound masochistic, I know that no women are ever included in any basement “best actor” debates. The only time they are mentioned at all is if they are particularly good looking, and that’s a fleeting trait. And that’s just the way it is, I’ll make no apologies for it. Men rule the movies, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.]

But back to my pick, Walken has been something special for me ever since I saw him in The Shining when I was a little kid. Nobody else has the Christopher Walken face. You know the face I mean. That creepy, fishbelly face that stares at you like a backroom mannequin. Those dead eyes bug out at you and you wonder what the hell is going on inside that mind of his.

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It's all in the eyes.

“When Chris enters a room, he makes babies cry,” an actor said of him once. What an awesome quote, and I totally believe it. Just look at the guy. The few times he smiles, I understand right away why he doesn’t do it – because it makes your skin crawl. When he smiles, I bet a puppy dies someplace. But why is all this a good thing? Because it means he’s a believable actor. His image, what he brings to a movie, is instinctively understood and immediately recognizable. There is a certain credibility in having Walken appear in a movie. All he has to do is show up, and everybody expects something uniquely "Walken" to happen.

And it doesn’t matter to me that some of his movies have gone down in history as some of the cheesiest of all-time. “McBain” comes to mind for me on that one. Or that the vast majority of his appearances have been bit parts and supporting character roles. Some of those supporting roles are some of the best-quoted pieces of pop culture. It’s in the way he says things. Nobody can deliver lines the way he does. Think about Pulp Fiction, when Walken appeared in a scene entitled, “The Gold Watch.” His only part in the movie was explaining to Butch how he stuffed a watch into his colon for four years so he could deliver it to him. I’ve met people who know that speech off by heart. “He'd be damned if any of the slopes were gonna get their greasy yellow hands on his boy's birthright.” That’s right, baby. Anytime he’s in a movie, I sit on the edge of the seat, waiting for him to speak, because I’m expecting a howler of a line I’ll imitate for weeks.

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He put it the only place he could - up his ass.

Which brings me to another testament to Walken’s worthiness as "favourite actor": everybody who loves movies has a Christopher Walken imitation they haul out at parties or use with buddies. It means a lot for an actor’s appeal if he is lampooned everywhere from Saturday Night Live sketches to people’s living rooms. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Don’t forget the Walken Hair. The guy’s hairdo has looked the same – screaming up from the sides of his head like he just woke up – for the past 25 years. It’s absurd and iconic enough that Conan O’Brien wanted to talk about it one night on his show. Nobody else has hair that strange. But it's so strange it's cool. Know what I mean?

And to my surprise, I've read that a lot of women find the guy attractive and sexually appealing. With all the great qualities I listed above, he's a chick magnet as well? And it gets even better - he can dance like Fred Astaire.

If he was in politics, I’d probably vote for him. And that’s even considering the fact that he’s cast as a creepy bad guy 99% of the time. And in spite of that, a hilariously funny guy. He’s hosted Saturday Night Live a half-dozen times, each time with his signature style.

Yeah, it's a no-doubter.

Favourite. Actor. Ever.