skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com
Thursday, 08 February
Widely Loathed? Or Widely Disregarded? A Quiz
Monday, 29 January
It's Always Time For Poetry!
A morning's disturbing dreams
I awoke in a tangle of confusion
I had no words.
The dreams we have
They are boring and irritating.
Once, as a boy, golden-haired,
"What if--what if (I was in my bed
What if Frankenstein walked in?"
Because Frankenstein is scary
But I screamed anyway
I hope that if the day ever comes
Maybe I can scream for an
Be there for me
Be honest with me
She will just tell you about when I got scared of
But even she does not
Know about the time I--
Of having sex with a loud, abrasive baby
Nobody must ever know,
Tuesday, 05 September
About A Boy
Some old friends of ours who now live in Baltimore are about to have their second kid, and they have asked their friends to give advice on naming the thing, their second boy. We are all glad to help, we think. We also tend to think that there is ample evidence of their creeping insanity. For one thing, they live in Baltimore; for another thing, they're having their second kid. But most damning of all, they're asking us for help naming the future li'l gummer.
(I won't reveal the first kid's name, but I will offer that the parents abbreviate it to the term for a pack dog.)
Not all of the names they've come up with are completely deranged:
Well, whatever. I can get behind some of these, though "Griffin" invariably reminds me of Griffin Dunne, most notably of After Hours fame, but then I cannot help but remember that he did another movie called Me & Him, about a guy whose penis talks to him. And "Vincents" have a troubling way of morphing into "Vinces," which if they're extremely lucky end up dating Jennifer Aniston, but more often than not are found shivved to death amidst their hubcap collections. "Sebastian" has that unfortunate playground-bait "ASS" syllable right in the middle of it, but no name is incorruptiible, so it might be all right. "Arthur's" main peril is that the child will someday grow into an "Art," or worse, "Artie." The former tend to become irrelevant political satirists; the latter tend to become people who really enjoy reading irrelevant political satirists.
Other name choices they offer are far more troubling (parentheses suggest the shortened versions of the proper names that the parents would presumably opt for):
"JAZZ! FINISH YOUR GREEN BEANS!" "Jazz still isn't sleeping through the night." These are a couple of sentences that the world doesn't need to ever hear, you know? And--this is horrible--I just now came up with another one. "Jazz is failing to thrive." Please no. The rest mostly are unspeakable for themselves: Viggo? Fuck that, why not Aragorn? Similarly, Axel. Why not Foley? Or Triple Lutz? Or Jumper Cabel?
Anyone who lived through the seventies should not be countenancing "Leif." Anyone who lived through "Seinfeld" should not be countenancing "Cosmo." M*A*S*H should put the kibosh on "Reidar," and The Incredibles should do the same for D*A*S*H, to say nothing of potentially damaging premature ejaculation issues later in life. "Honey, want to fuck?" "Oh, sure, let's dash one off."
Look, my name is Skot (yes, it's really spelled Scott, but it just looks weird to me any more--long, boring story), and my middle name is Allen. WOO WOO! That's about as thrilling as lettuce. But combine those with my last initial--K--and you get the unlovely three-letter monogram "SAK." So I know a little something about parents who kind of fucked the dog when it came to considering the ramifications of, say, entering SAK onto video game high scores. So I'm going to offer some alternatives.
My leading candidate is Antoine Lavoisier. Yes, it's a bit of a mouthful, but nothing is going to shut up a schoolyard bully when that kid is picking up his teeth and shrieking through a bloody mouth like the phrase, "My namesake disproved the concept of the phlogiston, you fucking beef experiment!" This will leave bullies reeling, especially when the tyke uncorks the devastating followup, "I WAS BEHEADED!"
But if that seems too daring, they can always go for the more succinct and more contemporary Mike Post, an homage to the Emmy- and Grammy-winning composer of TV theme songs. Little Mike can regale his fellow kindergarteners with jauntily whistled renditions of things like the themes to "The Rockford FIles," "Hardcastle & McCormick," "Baa Baa Black Sheep," and, most awesomely, "Law & Order." He'll be the most popular kid in school, particularly when he secretly whispers to his first girlfriend, while clumsily fingering her under the bleachers, "Unlike the first Mike Post, may his Casio live forever, I was not originally named Leland Michael Postil." Hot!
Now my friends obviously have some Baroque tastes, judging by some of their initial picks. I'm not unsympathetic. So how about Gossamer the Beltless? It kind of rolls off the tongue, is memorable, and can be shortened to "Goss" if they really want to. Also, think of how much they'll save on belts! (This may be offset by the attendant increased therapy bills.) But really, I'm totally charmed by the idea of a teacher taking attendance and shouting, "Gossamer? Gossamer? The Beltless?"
Maybe too far. For pure pop culture, you can't do worse than Joe Camel. Beloved by children and adults alike--well, the smokers, anyway, and the ones without cancer, and there's a lot of us! Mostly children--the only downside I can think of is, again, the cruelty of kids who willfully mishear Joe Camel as "Joseph Campbell," which could lead to traumatizing taunts, e.g., "You totally don't have a thousand faces! You have one stupid face!" or, perhaps in the lavatory, "Follow your piss!" accompanied by painful tugging on the child's penis as the screaming unfortunate is led around the bathroom, urinating in frantic spurts from his tortured member.
A minimalist option is to go for the flashy and memorable. The TV series "Batman" taught us the power of all-caps exclamatories, so my friends might want to go with something short and punchy, like "ZAP!" or "POW!" or "GIRL!" or "PUD!" These sorts of names also might spur the child's development and knowledge aquisition, thanks to his state of constant readiness and gasping fear.
And finally, there is always the name that I cannot figure out why nobody has ever picked before. It cuts across all kinds of cultural and ethnic lines. I am speaking of course of the world's most perfect name: MC Batman Carl Yastrzemski Pussyhammer. Find me a young man in this country who wouldn't be proud to carry that moniker.
I know whereof I speak. I only hope I've been of some help.
Signing off for now,
Wednesday, 22 February
It happens to even our favorite shows. But don't worry! The networks have some great replacements lined up for some of our beloved TV shows. To make things interesting, the producers have made sure that all the new shows are anagrams of the old ones. What could go wrong?
BONES, with Emily "Sauce" Deschanel has been underperforming as far as I know, and so will be replaced with one of those gritty, handheld-camera-ific programs that we can't get enough of: SNOBE. Dr. Bailey Snobe (Tom Skerritt) is a street podiatrist who isn't afraid to break the rules. So far all that's been leaked has been a snippet from the soundtrack and a couple of brief scenes.
Who's the white podiatrist
INTERIOR: Morgue. Coroner and Snobe stand over a corpse. The lighting is dim and atmospheric.
Coroner: C.O.D. is . . . corns. I've never seen feet like this before.
Snobe: I have. (He grimaces.) Bosnia. Doc . . . I'm gonna need to take his feet.
Coroner: Again? Dammit, Snobe. You can't keep taking their damn feet. The commissioner--
Snobe: Damn the commissioner! I can't do this job without those feet! Give me those tin snips! These tendons look pretty gristly.
Coroner: (Falling to his knees) DAMN YOU, SNOOOOOOBE!
Fans of the nauseating horror that is GHOST WHISPERER will surely be mollified to learn of its imminent replacement, SHEER PIG'S WORTH! Hollywood execs have done their research, and sure enough, the audience members who simply love to see Jennifer Love Hewitt's dewy, heaving cleavage are the same demographic group who also enjoy watching Hog Negligee Auctions. Every Friday night, anxious viewers can phone in and vote on which naughty sow deserves to become America's next Sex Pig. Victoria's Porcine Secret is already on board as a sponsor.
In the unlikely event that Sheer Pig's Worth fails, the network has a fill-in idea in WHEE! GRIP SHORTS! which takes reality programming to a new level by showing secret camera footage of people surreptitiously masturbating on the subway.
AMERICAN IDOL shows no indication that it's going away, but should it start to tank, FOX is ready with the newest hot sitcom MACARONI DELI, a show set in Dayton, Ohio. All-white best friends Doss, Bandler, Spoey, Cinabonnica, Machel and Greebie explore life, love and lunacy in their favorite downtown pasta bar.
Also reportedly in the works is ICELAND MAORI, a fish-out-of-water story about a New Zealander who has grieviously lost his way; and DOCILE AIRMAN, a show featuring Billy Zane as a fighter pilot with a troubling addiction to painkillers. In the gripping first episode, Zane is called on for a dangerous mission over Grugchaka, which severely tests his ability to get out of bed.
SEX AND THE CITY, of course, ended its run some time ago. But that doesn't mean that network execs are letting it die quietly! Coming soon is its replacement, somewhat predictably titled SNATCHY EXITED. Acerbically narrated by Mort Sahl, if alive, Snatchy Exited tells the stories of luckless-in-love barfly slut Lena Brace (Mare Winningham) and her seemingly endless series of hopelessly depressing and depraved one-night stands. At the conclusion of each episode is the tagline, spoken by Sahl as she hobbles out yet another gruesome man's door: "Exit Snatchy." Hilarious!
With THE SOPRANOS coming to a long-awaited conclusion, David Chase isn't just farting into his ottoman. He's already scripted season one of THOSE APRONS!, slated to begin filming in 2011. Those Aprons! will be an Antiques Roadshow-cum-That's Incredible! type of show, featuring some seriously mind-blowing kitchenware. Already in the can is footage of one Nebraskan displaying his winkingly clever BURN THE FAGS barbecue-wear, as well as Maine native Arthur Dibley's astonishing collection of Holocaust Denial oven mitts.
THE AMAZING RACE seems to keep putting along, despite widespread viewer horror over last season's "Family" Amazing Race, which had families rather unamazingly driving RVs around middle America. To spice things up, the producers are unveiling THRACE MAGAZINE. Thrace Magazine promises to be a fun, frilly romp through all things Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish and whatever, hosted by the ebulliantly blond John Tesh. Planned features already include interviews with the skeletonized corpses of Democritus and the likely mythological Orpheus. ("So . . . you sent your wife back into hell.") Bumper music will also be handled by host Tesh.
In the unlikely event that Thrace Magazine fails to catch on, have no fear. Spike TV is ready and willing to pick up the Joe Rogan-hosted show NAZI MEAT CHARGE. Only limited information was available at press time. But this reporter smells Emmy.
(Postscript: This might well be the dumbest idea I could not shake. I should have submitted it to McSweeney's.)
Thursday, 22 September
Nothing Is Illuminated
I hear the cries. I hear the cries of nobody. Skot! you don't shout. You forgot to tell us what happened over the weekend! I am haunted by these nonexistent shrieks. And to quiet these voices that don't ring in my ears or my comments, I will answer. I will tell you. For a lot happened this last weekend.
By which I mean nothing happened this last weekend. For one thing--one of the reasons nothing happened--was that the wife charitably passed along a gift to me on Saturday: the gift of a sinus infection. Oh how this sinus infection contributed to the nothing! We were, for example, supposed to go to a friend's housewarming party that evening. "Do you feel up to going?" asked the wife. "Doh," I replied. "You should doh." And she dhid. What did I end up doing? Nothing. I was becoming a connoisseur of nothing--though I didn't really know that yet. What did I know? Yeah. Nothing.
When she returned, we decided to find a movie on cable or pay-per-view. What was on? Nothing. Or, to be honest, worse than nothing: we, unbelievably, decided to pay actually money to see the Bruce Willis vehicle (and by "vehicle" I mean "go-kart made of Legos and taffy") Hostage. I think Kevin Pollak was in the movie too, somewhere, but he was also rendered unable to do anything more than nothing.
I'm pretty sure the movie had something to do with hostages. Bruce Willis' nothing family was captured, I remember, and there was something else about Kevin Pollak's family being held hostage . . . I'm pretty sure there were hostages, is what I'm saying. We certainly felt held hostage. "We're being held hostage!" I remember screaming. "Please, let's not say 'hostage' any more!" I howled. Then there was some stuff about hostages, and my dilapidated lymph nodes did a clumsy folk dance in my neck and armpits as the ghastly movie continued its onslaught of Nothing. And hostages. HOSTAGES! Whatever. That word no longer has any meaning to me. It is Nothing. Although it does rhyme with SAUSAGES! Though this too is nothing.
What rhymes with "nothing" anyway? Nothing. This is starting to freak me out. I may be coming apart. I should do something. But what? I ask myself.
And I answer myself. Nothing.
This is getting too elliptical to even deal with. And I have this sinus infection. The good news is, the wife and I are getting the fuck out of town this weekend, taking some time off to go tool around the Oregon coast. It's been a rough couple weeks, work-wise, particularly so for my gal, so something had to be done. It'll be good to get the fuck out of Dodge for even a couple days. I'm looking forward to the trip.
I'm really looking forward to just doing . . . nothing.
Monday, 14 March
I have done it again.
A sort of caulking miracle, my tub.
I have suffered the atrocity of toilets.
Now I churn up soapstuffs that fly about the tub.
I do it so it does not smell.
Does not my sponge astound you. And my rag.
I think I am cleaning up,
Am a pure ammonia
By hisses, by effluvium,
There were stains on your white parts
Thursday, 13 May
E Espy N
Transom was struck from the race. Its jockey was found drinking Red Stripes and cursing sepulchre under his breath.
Certitude eked out a win over icing after a controversial call by the refs, citing icing for icing. Feldspar was credited with nine saves. Blandishments was ejected in the second period.
Tatterdemalion fouled out early, but not after rejecting five shots by throttle, who ended up scoring only six. Palimpsest and fugue had between them ten steals, utterly destroying the efforts of point guard baroness.
Swim was held to a miserable 26 running yards thanks to the ferocious tackling of exemplar, who also had an interception against feckless. Wide receiver plotz scored two touchdowns despite blanket coverage by the tenacious glib.
Troika had its number retired today with much fanfare. The ceremony was attended by luminaries such as dotard, bailiwick and simian.
Penchant scored a TKO against derelict in the fifth round, retaining its title. Former champ whelk was seen in attendance for the match, but declined comment at the urging of former manager spelt.
And finally, former Grandmaster gentian was reportedly spotted lurking around a Pittsburgh rest stop by various sources. We are unable to confirm those reports at this time, and authorities are also refusing comment. Onetime archnemesis facile refused to speculate on this development.
Thank you for watching. We leave you now with footage of the incomparable vertiginous. They don't make them like that any more.
Wednesday, 17 December
Arby's Oven Mitt: Welcome, everyone. Thanks for coming. My first question is . . . what are you eating?
Hair: Vitamin E. It keeps me lustrous.
Joe Theismann: Broccoli makes my ankles stronger. HA! No, seriously, what makes your ankles stronger? I'm scared to cross the street.
Jude Law: I eat mostly hummus.
Arby's Oven Mitt: Not roast beef sandwiches?
Jude Law: No. That would give me gas, and you don't want that in a scene with Natalie Portman. She hates farting. She's kind of a scag.
Free Jazz: (Interrupting) SKRONK! BLAT! BLEEEEEEN!
Jude Law: I have to agree with Free Jazz. Natalie Portman sounds exactly like that.
The Corpse of Joe McCarthy: Let's try and keep things decent here. This is America. Muhhhhh. I hate being a corpse.
FARK: Boobies! Duke sucks.
Joe Theismann: You can't write off Duke so soon.
Laurie Anderson: The Duke. The Thin White Duke. Ducats for Duke. The politics of puke. The tiny black buttons on the barroom juke.
Arby's Oven Mitt: We have salads with cuke!
Jude Law: (Unzipping pants) Did somebody say cuke?
The Corpse of Joe McCarthy: Urrrrrr.
Hair: I grow luxuriantly. Not like those creeps down at fingernails. Those guys are freaks.
Joe Theismann: You have to see my shinbones. They look like they were crafted by autistics.
Free Jazz: HONKA HONKA! AAZZZOOOOOOOOOOZZZOOOO! PAD!
Arby's Oven Mitt: We have all kinds of cheese.
Laurie Anderson: I'll put it on a frieze.
The Corpse of Joe McCarthy: I'll denounce it as sleaze.
Hair: I'm dying for a tease.
Jude Law: Rescue my career! Jeez!
Joe Theismann: My ruined knees!
Free Jazz: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZE!
Izzle Pfaff Readers: Oh, God. Please.
Wednesday, 15 October
When the wife and I finished rehearsing tonight, we drove home in the hairless murk of the evening. Everything looked beautiful, like filtered vinaigrette. I relaxed in my seat. At one point, coming down on Aloha Street, I spied a woman out for a walk, wearing a Dick Dale song, probably "Miserlou." I softly cursed Quentin Tarantino, and vowed never to forgive him for making that itchy sweater popular.
It was a fat, indolent plumber night, and my pants felt like small dogs. I lit a cigarette and inhaled the J.M.W. Turner smoke, savoring its corduroy tang.
It's been a gunmetal day, and I'm pretty tired; I've settled in with a flannel whisky, and I'm thinking about tomorrow. In a little bit, I might put on the headphones and listen to some clean laundry palimpsest, or maybe a chianti bafflement.
I don't know. I guess I'm just a little red hurricane lamp in a Cale-force limned. I should probably call it a Wight. So to you I say, wheat deems, and don't let the hedge rugs delight.
Wednesday, 24 September
Seattle Super Sonnet
My cubicle walls are nothing like much fun;
And so, by heaven, I think my job is lame;
Monday, 22 September
Eat This Fried Egg Off Of My Steaming Skull!
Hey, you know that audition I was bitching about a while back? (For those who don't: I was bitching about an audition a while back. Yes, I could go find the permalink and then shove it in here, but frankly, fuck it.) Well, I got the part. Woo woo! And this is the same theater I worked with earlier this year: the one that coughs up weekly paychecks. Aaaand, as an extra bonus, the wife has also been cast in it (she actually has the much bigger part; she is in effect the lead). We've only ever been in one show before; we played brother and sister. In this show, however, just to mix things up, we play . . . brother and sister. We have been of course bombarded with Freud jokes, and I have so far been able to resist asking anyone, "Hey, have you actually read Freud? I want to fuck my mother, not my wife." Some people.
We start rehearsing in a couple of weeks, so I'm hard pressed to pack my rapidly dwindling slack into as much free time as possible between now and then. I'm considering entering some sort of induced coma to ensure that I do as little as humanly possible in the meantime, like chores, or breathing under my own power.
I also just really need to shut down my brain for a while, for it has begun doing alarming things. At work in particular, which has been spectacularly awful the past couple weeks, and with a massive weekend of presentations coming up in October, the awful killing pressure on my brainpan is not likely to dissipate. Here's today's terrible example of incipient madness:
I had occasion to write the words "cries" and "pines" in written conversation earlier (and I was making a joke, not composing odes to my Goth lifestyle, thank you), and I noticed their assonance, and certain similarites, and then sort of portmanteaued the two into the neologism "crines," which is pretty dreadful enough. I cooed the word a few times, testing it out: "criiiiiines!" but it sounded crappy no matter what I did with it, so I let it die. I went back to the original two words and did a kind of Lowest Common Denominator thing on its letters, determining the basic building blocks of the words: CRIEPNS.
Then, (and, sadly enough I do shit like this all the time) I started trying to make new words out of the letters mentally. PINCERS was easy. I don't think CRISPEN is a word, but it ought to be ("Crispen up these fries! Use the pincers!"). Then I saw the "duh" word: PRINCES.
And that's when the horrible thing happened, which I'm going to share with you, and you're going to hate me. Sorry!
I immediately got earfucked by the Spin Doctors song "Two Princes." And it's been with me ever since.
It's somehow even worse when you can't remember the fucking words. I don't know why, but it is. But if you get stuck with this song, take comfort in the fact that "Ben Franklin" backwards is "Nilk Narf Neb." Don't you feel better?
Maybe a little. NILK NARF NEB! That's got a nice mouthfeel.
I'm going to get through this.
Friday, 19 September
Prepare To Be Boreded
Arrrr! So 'tis Talk Like A Pirate day, herrrm? Avast! I talk like a pirate while at me miserable work! Arrr! I go to three-hour meetings! Ye can hear me talk about database queries and scurvy fucking primary keys! Arr! I don't know what I'm doing!
Me blasted co-workers plague me like thrice-accursed harpies pecking at me fucking neck! Me voice mail overfill with bilge water of complaints! Truly, 'tis terrible to be a pirate today at work!
I cannot go on any longer! Arrr! I shall walk me own plank! Avast! See for yourself my 20th-story window! I run at it mightily, and me terrified parrot bounces on me shoulder nervously! I scream at me co-workers, "YOU HAVE BROKEN ME MIGHTY PIRATE HEART, YE DIRTY COXSWAINS!" just because it sounds dirty, and then I plunge through yon window! Crash!
AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrr. . . !
(Distantly) Arrr! Now I am a zombie pirate! Avast! Now I can do a summer movie with Johnny Depp!
Thursday, 03 July
The Heartbreaking And Sordid Decline Of Penny
PENNY DYED; APACHE PINED.
APACHE DID END, PENNY. YEP.
PENNY EYED HANDICAPPED.
CHIP, DEADPAN, EYED PENNY.
CHIP: PAYDAY! EDEN PENNED.
PENNY CANED HAPPY EDDIE.
EDDIE ACHED. NAPPY PENNY!
CHIP ADDED, "NAY, PEE, PENNY!"
PENNY NEEDED HAPPY ACID.
PENNY PACED; NEEDY APHID.
CHIP DENY PENNY: "DEAD APE!"
EDDIE PAY CHAP. END PENNY.
PENNY. NYC PIPEHEAD. DEAD.
Thursday, 10 April
I Have Neurolinguistic Maladies
Is there a word for the sensation of suddenly feeling surprised about not previously feeling surprised about something? The Germans probably have one.
Anyway, as I left work today, I walked out the door and noticed that one of the buildings across the street was a store with a gigantic sign that advertised CORNED BEEF. I mean, I'd noticed it before, I wasn't uncognizant of its existence, and of course I'd read the giant sign before, too, but this time I stopped and really noticed it, and actually digested the fact that this place sold CORNED BEEF. And that's when I got surprised that I hadn't been surprised by this before.
I mean, I guess there's weirder things to sell than corned beef, but it's kind of a funny, single-minded thing to stake your business on. And, it's not like I work in a retail core or a street traffic-heavy area; the place is surrounded by a few office buildings, a hotel, and a nightclub. "THIS MUSIC IS REALLY GREAT!" "IT SURE IS!" "YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD MAKE THIS EVEN BETTER?" "WHAT?" "CORNED BEEF!" "YEAH! LET'S GO GET SOME RIGHT NOW!" I don't think so.
So it's just this odd place, but it's been there, like, forever, so I suppose that it has a decent steady supply of corned beef customers who make a point of traveling there regularly to stock up. And that surprises me too; and I start to imagine a small but quietly dedicated Seattle underground of culinary mavericks who steadily produce unlauded masterpieces based on the Holy Food, corned beef. And then I unfortunately find myself genuinely upset that I don't know who those people are, because that sounds pretty cool--I mean, nobody's thought of that before, and by now I'm actually torturing myself with angst over not being able to pierce the shroud of secrecy that cloaks this ultra-cool group of people who I just fucking made up in the first place.
And of course that can't be the end of the weird, echolalic behavior, no. Not this guy, because now I'm kind of obsessed with the phrase itself, and already I'm investing it with all kinds of incantatory subtleties, this fabulous phrase CORNED BEEF. I'm whispering it to myself as I walk home, because it's kind of making me chuckle, but also partly because it makes me feel sort of like a superhero, like Captain Marvel's transformatory "SHAZAM!" only instead, I imagine that when I call out "CORNED BEEF!" I will transform into a corned beef-powered superhero, and then those snooty fuckers in the corned beef cabal would have to take notice of me, by God.
There's going to be all kinds of problems, because I've become obsessed with little phrases before, and it takes me weeks to get rid of them. I am not lying to you when I say that once I spent two weeks utterly fascinated by the phrase "hot beans," and I would frequently yell it out in mid-conversation, because it amused me (and nobody else) to do so. The meaningless phrase "Ak mak" (I found out later it is a kind of cracker) lasted for months, long enough for my friends to get infected; "ak mak" became sort of shorthand for "whatever." So this might be trouble all over again. I can just see it.
Fiancee: Do you want to watch a movie?
Skot: CORNED BEEF!
S: Heh heh. Nothing. Sure.
F: What sounds good?
S: CORNED BEEF!
F (she's seen this before): Oh, god.
S: Hee hee hee!
F: I'm so not marrying you.
Friday, 04 April
Guest Host: e e cummings