Category Archives: Parody and Satire

I’m making fun of something.

What if your fancy liberal arts college had a preschool extension school?

What if your fancy liberal arts college had a preschool extension school?

College Preschool Extension School Course Catalog

    Haveli College Preschool Extension School (HC PES) classes commence this spring. Here we have compiled a sampling of course descriptions.



    In this proseminar, we will examine the sand castle and its predecessor, sand. We will take a survey approach to the history and technique, and end with a focused study of the drip castle, the moat, and found object placement (along with Freud's modification to this technique: found object displacement). Special attention will be given to the practical applications of the sand castle. There will be a $50 lab fee, for sand. Prerequisite: Public Accounting. Class will meet once a week for a hundred and twenty minutes, and students must attend the weekly sea-lab. Enrollment is limited to 15 students. Thursday 1:20-3:20



    In this course, we will examine complex notions of 'play' as it relates to the first-grader in terms of socioeconomic background. We will look at studies on working-class first-graders and first-graders of color at the 'play'ground which show a recent trend for an increasing sense of upward mobility, especially when near the ladder to the slide. Readings will rely heavily (but not too heavily) on Scooter B.'s Derridian reading of Morrison's 'Heterosexism and the Seasaw'. Also, we will look at the queer subtext of Foucault's 'Critics of the Tire Swing: What Matters Who's Swinging', in which Foucault shifts the mode of questioning from 'why are we dizzy?' to 'who is getting dizzy?' and 'on whom are the Dizzy hurling?' Finally, we will examine the 19th century colonization of the swingset by second-graders, and look at its' effect on playground structure (a post-structuralism of sorts). Prerequisite: at least one course on Topics in Aesthetics. Enrollment open. Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 to 2:50



    This couse will take a critical look at napping conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Central America. Our focus will fall on the 1976 nap revolt in Chiapas (a. k. a. 'The Gweat Wevolution' or 'El Napo Grando Stoppo') during which thousands of four-year-olds attempted a coup on Naptime. The dubious coup crumbled around 3 pm when several of itUs foremost leaders fell asleep. What was the deeper significance of El Napo Grando Stoppo's failure? Is there a common thread between this and other unsuccessful attempts? Texts include Naps are for SapsGoodnight Moon, and Dr. Seuss's The Sleep Book. There will be positively no sleeping in class. Enrollment is open. Tuesday and Thursday 12:50 to 2:20



    This course is cross-listed and will be team taught in order to combine a theoretic background on social programming of archetypal make-believe narrative and a course in creative writing. After examining various texts on make-believe, imaginary and fantasy play of the post-toddler, students will be guided through a process of hypnosis and drunken free-writing sessions, uncovering hitherto hidden truths about our own childhood. Especially important in this course will be the concept of 'false memory'; I think it's a crock. In the beginning, we will rely heavily on some of the lesser-known (read: stupid) writings of Carl Jung ('Let's Pretend!') and Sigmund Freud ('I Like Little Boys' and 'The Natural Tendency Toward Incest'); each day we will try to use Frued less and less until we no longer need him at all. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Psychoanalysis. Limit 25 students. Tuesday and Thurdsday noon to 5:00 

Just Call Me Mario

Just Call Me Mario

So I wrote this story back in 2005, and recently remembered how much I love it.  Added a few details and re-posted it here.  It's all true.


I get a desperate call from my acting teacher in LA about an acting job.  Truth be told, it's my first gig ever.  I don't know what the job is yet–all I know is that I don't have to audition.  So it either has to be an adult gig or a wearing-a-giant-animal-suit-to-sell-something gig.  Fine.  As long as it's not both.

The next day I???m sitting in a secret back room in the Metreon, a giant new mecca of capitalistic bliss, full of movie theaters and food courts and stores where they sell cologne for young men at the beach.  The place smells like popcorn, expensive electronics, and Drakkar Noir.  I've been asked to put on a foam suit with a 65?? waist, strap-on boots five times the size of my feet, giant white gloves I have to hold on to by clenching the inside fabric in my fists, and a very large fiberglass head attached to a football helmet, out of which I have about 10% of my normal vision.  My "handler" tucks in the character's "neck skin" inside my foam suit. 

I am a method actor.  That morning, when I learned my assignment, I???d decided to explore my character.  Just who is video game character Super Mario? (Strange guy with mustache?)  What is he passionate about?  (Killing turtles?)  What motivates him? (Saving the princess?) WHAT MAKE HIM TICK? (Gold coins?) I am getting in touch with my inner brooklyn Italian plumber (except that I???m on the inside and he???s on the outside???maybe it's more like Mario getting in touch with the Inner Alicia…). But so what does a middle-aged video game plumber say and do and think?  On the way in my car I???m trying him out, ???I???m a mario! I love-a da princess! Princepessa I???m-a comin! I fix-a you toilet!  Just gotta kick a deese turtles and eat-a some magic mushrooms!" (Maybe we have more in common than I thought?) But I???m not allowed to speak, so I figure I???ll channel this character information directly into my body movement.

The event is a ceremony called the Walk of Game.  Video game inventors and their characters are receiving lifetime achievement awards.  I run into a technology commentator Adam Sessler, who I used to work with at TechTV. Turns out he???s hosting the whole event.  "What do you think I am supposed to do, as Mario?" I ask.  Sessler bounces his head and says, "Bounce, wave, shrug your shoulders."  Ok, that's easy.

Not easy.  Once I zip up the 40 pound suit, I can???t reach my feet to put the shoes on.  My ???handler???, a PR guy from Nintendo who is late and dressed in a brown leather jacket, ties my shoes for me.  I am getting paid handsomely for this is a last-minute gig. I have never done anything remotely like this before. Handler dude tells me I need to be very animated and wave a lot. Presumably, because I seem to be quiet and he looks worried. But so we get out in the open and one of the ???game girls???, a cute Asian girl in a short, white skirt, is guiding me, holding my ???arm???, keeping me from tripping over small children. We line up to receive awards. As we approach the stage, someone shouts, ???MARIO???S NOT REAL.??? and I throw up my arms in response (I???m contractually obligated not to speak) and get a big pre-show laugh.

A live pianist begins playing the Super Mario theme song. ???Dana-nana-nana?? dana-nana-nana????? They cue me, and I walk out on stage with my Game Girl.  She makes me feel more like Mario.  I bounce, wave, and shrug to the music, and the crowd loves me hamming it up.  About a hundred cameras (it???s only press people in the audience) are flashing their bulbs. No kidding.  Turns out Mario is one of only five people and/or characters being honored in the First Annual Walk of Game ceremony. Mario gets a star on the Metreon Walk of Game.

This suit is hot and heavy inside (does that make me live ???action???? ha ha). We walk over to uncover the stars and take photos. People are jumping in, one after another, next to me to take photos. We pose. I put a foot out for style.  I shake hands.  Just standing in this thing is a chore.  We didn???t use the ice packs they recommend.  It's getting hotter and hotter inside here.  Today we???re serving BAKED ACTOR from the Mario Oven. My sweat.  The sweat of previous Marios.  The heat from the lights. I???m way above my target heart rate. But the worst part, the velcro from the boots (which are constantly slipping off my feet) is rubbing against my shins, grating my skin, and the raw skin is mixing with the sweat to create a pain of moving I can only be thankful for because it???s distracting me from the weight of the costume.

Despite the impediments, I am actually having a blast. I???which is to say, Mario???am famous.  For about an hour. It???s nothing to do with me, but still, I???m making it all happen. I???m dancing, doing all these great moves which I know must be hilarious for people to see Mario do.  Moves from SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, Eminem videos, my circus show?? It???s all fair game. Cameras keep flashing, so I keep posing. I develop a whole repertoire: bounce, disco bounce, hands on head, pat tummy to the beat, raise roof, shake hands, left foot out, arms in circle a la Mr. Sandman backup singers, knee down fist up power chord rock stance, etc?? What does Nintendo think of my interpretation of Mario? Will public the conception of disco Mario seep back into the minds of the developers, creating a dialectic whereby the next Mario game has just a little hustle in his bounce?

Sometimes I start giggling to myself about how heavy this costume is and I'm just trying to hold it all together, and I can make out the sea of cameras.  It would be so funny if Mario tripped and fell onto Sessler, or started humping the leg of Sonic the Hedgehog or the inventor of Halo, or touched the tit of a Game Girl, or if he hit on Gavin Newsom (our San Francisco Mayor). So at the party afterward gavin takes a picture with mario, and he whispers to me, ???you know you and I have spent a lot of time together?? indirectly.???  Whoa, Gavin. What is it about puppets that make people confess things?

My handler dude sees me start to wobble, and realizes I???m about to pass out after three hours in the MO (Mario Oven).  He says I did a great job and he???ll pay me for an extra half hour.  I take off my head.  The heat wafts up from inside the suit.  You could unseal envelopes with the steam floating past my chin. I leave in plain (sweat-soaked) clothes, my face beet-red, walking past the hordes of people who moments before were yelling ???my??? name. I feel like a superhero after a change in the phone booth. Inside I have this exciting yet totally inconsequential secret, and there's nothing to do with it.  People walk past me like I'm just another human.  I want to yell, ???I WAS THAT GUY YOU LOVED! I was Mario!??? But instead, I walk peacefully back to my car.  I go home, put some ointment on my shins. And keep my secret (for a little while).

I wonder, once in a while, who else is wandering the street, freshly emancipated from their own Mario.

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, now that’s comedy

Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, now that’s comedy

I just saw the brilliant video of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin from Saturday Night Life.  First of all, Tina Fey was way hotter than Palin, and way funnier.  Secondly, Tina would make a way-better about-to-be-president than Sarah.  I read recently in an article from Naomi Wolf that several reputable dermatologists have said McCain currently has a virulent and life-threatening form of skin cancer.  They say he’s really only got two to four years to live.  And if it’s two years, that makes Sarah (Makes Me) Pale a very likely default US President.  This is a woman who thinks baby Jesus cries when you wear a condom.  A woman who tried to have books banned from a local library.  A woman who’s attended a church since she was 12, whose preacher even thinks George W. Bush is going to hell.  (W. is too liberal for Palin???)  A woman who is the next figurehead for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney’s reign of terror.  A woman who cut Alaska’s funding for teen moms (and is anti-choice, and thinks abstinence should be the only sex education we give kids in schools.)  What does she expect all these teen moms to go?  Perhaps she could invite them to stay at her house, and have a slumber party with Bristol and her baby?  And they could watch Saturday Night Live–oh, wait, maybe not such a good idea with Tina Fey in the picture. 

Please register to vote.  You can do it at Rock the Vote.

Paris Hilton for President? Now, that’s comedy!

Paris Hilton for President? Now, that’s comedy!

So here’s what happened: John McCain launched an internet attack ad against Barack Obama suggesting Obama is not a suitable presidential candidate because he’s as empty a celebrity as Paris Hilton.  So, Adam McKay thought it would be funny if Paris Hilton ran for president, with the comedy logic that an intellectually capable Paris would nullilfy and make ridiculous McCain’s attack. (Pardon me for explaining the joke.)

So, Adam wrote a presidential candidacy announcement, got Paris on board and they shot it this week.  It’s the first time Paris really speaks publicly with any substance whatsoever, and she pulls it off pretty well.  But really, Adam McKay?  Your ghostwriting has Paris suggest an energy policy that’s a “combination of McCain’s and Obama’s” in which we do drill for offshore oil (McCain’s idea) “safely” (McKay’s idea) which will sustain us until we sufficiently develop alternative energy sources (Obama’s idea.)

First off, the idea of safe offshore drilling is dubious at best; no oil drilling is free of leaks, accidents, etc, and many of those problems are never made public.  Secondly, any offshore drilling started now won’t yield oil for another twenty to forty years–how does that sustain us or reduce gas prices now?  Thirdly, we’ve already got a host of alternative energies that are ready for development; this is the time to change.  LA Times journalist Carol Williams reported Schwarzenegger as saying, “Anyone who tells you [offshore drilling] would bring down gas prices any time soon is blowing smoke.”

If we don’t shift our energy use to alternative fuels in twenty to forty years, we’ll be much more likely to be gearing up to fight China for the oil left in the Middle East.  Our offshore oil should really be saved for the the next hudred generations of people, or sadly, saved in the case that we end up, say, waring with China for a hundred years, which would undoubtedly be directly or indirectly caused by fear and scarcity over resources.

So, thanks, Adam, for the good intentions, but it’d be funnier if Paris slammed down a hardcore energy policy instead of a hollywood one.

Handy-Dandy Energy Facts that Suggest Alternative Fuel Development is a Better Idea than Offshore Drilling:  US Vehicle turnover rate: 15 years
US Average age of vehicles: 9 years
Soonest possible time we’ll get any US offshore oil: 7 years
Number of oil spills for offshore drilling off the Texas coast: 187 spills of MORE THAN 2100 gallons between 1981 – 2005. That’s AT LEAST 392,000 gallons of crude oil, or roughly 16,000 gallons spilled every year.

With the US average vehicle age of 9.2 years, and average turnover rate of 15 years, in the time it takes to see any benefit from offshore drilling, we could be halfway to a green energy car fleet — which would drop the demand for oil and have the same price benefit for those still driving gasoline cars as increasing the supply of gasoline! (If that doesn’t make any sense to you, folks, please, PLEASE, go take an Economics 101 class at your local community college, or read Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan or Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner.)

Alleppey and Cochi

Alleppey and Cochi

The setting of the sun in Alleppey and Cochi brings a beautiful, diffuse pink light every evening that I’ve only seen very occassionally where I live. I went to two parties in Allephuzah with Jay and Bones, the young dudes of Nani Residnce where I was staying. They were funny–constant tricksters and jokers–very different from the multitudes of serious Indians I’ve been meeting. Watching Indian guys dance with each other to “Om Shanti Om!” (a dance-pop hit here) was wonderful and hilarious, and I successfully avoided actually dancing with them… the young drunk Indian man is, if you can believe it, even more persistant than the sober one.

Took the train up to Cochin and stayed just inland of the giant fishing nets. Got a palm reading from an old man by the shore who said I’d have five kids. Ha!? Took a cooking class with a sweet retired couple and learned how to make an exquisite south Indian meal of coconut thoran, vegetable rice, and tomato fry. The next day I had a perfect cheese and tomato omlette and a warm death-by-chocolate cake at an adorable cafe called Teapot.

Afterward, I walked across the peninsula to Jew Town where I took a couple of illegal pics of the synagogue. Jews came from Israel somewhere between 1000 BC and 1400 AD (they’re still not sure) and inhabited a few parts of India. In 1568, they built the synagogue I visited. There were about 2000 Jews left here, and all but 12 are not in Israel. And guess what?! I met one of the last surviving Cochin Jews! Her name is Sara Cohen, and she’s 70 or 80. A total sweetheart. Met a family of South African Jews a the shul as well and we walked around Cochi for the evening. That night, we ate at an Italian place called Upstairs (which was.. upstairs). I ordered a panacotta for desert, hoping to eat it with my second piece of death-by-chocolate cake, and sadly the panacotta melted in its hot chocolate sauce on the way home. I ate it anyway. It’s only a week since I was doing yoga four hours a day. What happened? Rickshaw drivers are constantly wanting to bring you here and there, and they’re stunned when you want to walk somewhere.