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On the Mark, Episode 17: Raiders of the Lost Episodes

July 28, 2009

Hi Everybody,

Every other television show and entertainment venue seems to go on Summer hiatus, leaving us with a lot of repeats. Then you have the summer filler shows, like the one with people jumping over moats and getting hammered in their crown jewels with punching arms coming out the side of a wall.

Yes, the real artsy stuff.

It dawned on me that "On The Mark" has gone 16 entire episodes without a repeat, or an interruption of scheduled programming for a special presentation or presidential press conference. And there has to be some union or industry bylaw which is being broken by forcing me to work under these sweat shop conditions.

But I'm told that it's not in my contract. So while I get this all straightened out with my agent, I found a loophole to create a new episode while not having to work hard at it:

The "clip" episode.

This is a way for worn-out or lazy writers to get a break from having to think up something new, while still getting paid (oh wait, never mind).

You know the drill. You have Ritchie, Potsie, Ralph Malph and The Fonz stuck in a cabin and the snow is up to the roofline and they are all going to die. So they sit there and think about jumping over sharks (on water skis and in a leather jacket), dressing up in drag, and having moments at Inspiration Point going completely awry.

You know, the stuff that all of us have done in our lives, and will be reminiscing about while waiting to either die or be rescued.

So for the next few weeks, I'm going to sluff off and come up with a couple of contrived situations to get out of writing new material.

This week I'm on special assignment in Communist China (trying to get some tips on how capitalism works), and I have been taken captive by a bunch of excited Tibetans (I'm just on the border between China and Tibet). They are mistakenly believing that I'm Tom Cruise.


I guess all Americans look alike.

So anyway, I'm trying to explain to them that I'm NOT Tom Cruise and I don't believe that flying saucers are the answer to salvation . . . and instead I share with them some things from previous episodes of my blog. Hopefully they will realize that I'm not Tom Cruise, and allow me to leave.

So this is what I share with them, for what it's worth:

Episode 1: The Introduction:

(On why I started writing this ongoing email saga)

. . . Now most people would publish a blog, or do a twitter (or tweeter or a tooter, or whatever they call it), but I'm kind of old fashioned. So I'll use that ancient communication tool called e-mail.

. . . Everyone at heart is self indulgent, and so am I. Shoot, most of my friends are, and I just smile and let them, because that's the cool thing about friendship. Because along the way, I might learn something about them, which in turn means I might learn something about something else . . . or even learn something about myself . . .

(Then I tell the Tibetans about ABBA, and these ugly brutes smile and start singing "Dancing queen, feel the beat of the tambourine, oh yeah . . .")

Episode 2: How Great is "How Great Thou Art?":

(On modern church music)

. . . Then I remember someone complaining one time about the modern music at my old church, proclaiming, "The only music that God wants in his church is the electric organ. That's the only real church music."

To which I had the image in my head of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, lugging their electric organ to the New World. Hoping that someday electricity would be invented so they could plug it in and sing at church . . .

(To which one Tibetan pulls out a Kings James version of the Bible and says it's the only Bible that God actually wrote. At this point, I'm not going to argue with him.)

Episode 3: Dogs Plot To Overthrow Humans:

(Regarding dogs taking over the planet)

. . . I can just imagine someone in the future walking the shores of an ocean and stumbling upon the wreckage of the Statue of Liberty. Then, dogs on horseback come trotting up to him. They both were on their way to a St. Bernard's house, where they were planning to spend all night playing poker and smoking cigars.

The dog on the left shudders in disgust upon discovering this human, and turns to his friend, looking for the right words.

To which his friend on the right responds (in an English accent, of course):

"I say . . . . I wish they'd keep their smelly ole MAN out of our yard . . ."

(They aren't getting this one. They mutter something about dogs tasting like chicken. Whatever that's supposed to mean.)

Episode 4: Major Interstellar Event To Shake Up Universe:

(Regarding Star Trek's very own William Shatner)

. . . But William Shatner has other claims to fame. One is that people make fun of him because he probably wears a toupee or wig. Which I found out, when you make fun of people about being bald, the next day you start losing your own hair. It's one of the constants of the Universe. I know. Wish someone would have told me that ahead of time.

His other claim to fame is his particular manner of delivery when he is acting.

You. Must. Pause. Between. Every. Word. For. Dramatic. EFFECT!

Then. YOU. Say TWO. Words. Here. And There. To. Mix. It UP!

You. Must also. Always. End. The Sentence. With. An Exclamation. POINT!

. . .

Uh oh. The Tibetans holding me captive didn't like my William Shatner impersonation very much at all. (Note to self: When held captive by Tibetans, don't make fun of The Shatenator. They've seen all 78 episodes of the original Star Trek series, and it's now part of their religious beliefs).

They are talking angrily to each other and have just summoned someone from outside.

He's that creepy little bad-guy dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark. With the black trench coat and the bad hair decade. He just heated up a metal stick that happened to be laying there (how convenient).

They still think I'm Tom Cruise. He's asking me to recite lines of dialog from Mission Impossible II, and unfortunately I don't know any. Oh boy.

I have a very bad feeling about this.

And then the creepy bad-guy dude takes the hot metal stick and . . . .

To be continued . . .

Roll end credits.



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