I recently watched "The Princess Bride" for the first time in maybe almost a decade - the night before its thirtieth anniversary, as it happened - and finally noticed how useless Buttercup is. If I got mauled by a Rodent of Unusual Size and all my "true love" could think to do was watch from a considerable distance away, I would let Humperdinck marry her. They would deserve each other.
Buttercup: Will you promise not to hurt him!?
Wesley: Huh? Suddenly you're concerned about me getting hurt? That's funny, you didn't seem to mind a couple minutes ago when I was GETTING CHEWED ON BY A MONSTER! "Buttercup"? More like "Buttface"!
At work on Wednesday, I was pondering the lack of justice in the world, as evidenced by (among other things) Hugh Hefner still being alive at a ripe old age. I got home to find that he is now dead at a ripe old age, and the world is now just a little bit better for it. Of course, the immeasurable damage he's done to American and probably global society and especially the women in it will last forever. But at least he's gone, away from us, somewhere else where in all likelihood his millions of ill-gotten dollars are suddenly of little or no use to him. RIP Hugh Hefner, who was a feminist in the same way that Colonel Sanders is a vegan. And by "RIP" I actually mean something entirely different that is not suitable for this blog. By the way, if you were outraged at Drumpf's misogynistic remarks but thought Hugh Hefner was a swell guy, you're a hypocrite of epic proportions.
Now on to more comic scripts. You know, sometimes people ask what my series is about and I don't know how to sum it up so I say, "A family." Which makes it sound dull and unoriginal. "And they have a pet Komodo dragon." That about covers it.
For better or for worse (which is a different comic series altogether), Alvin is often reduced to a puppet for disseminating my views. Sometimes I'm able to weave this into an actual joke, and sometimes not so much. The hope is that with further revisions they will all be funny someday. Here are a few examples from the dozens that I have.
Cashier: Whoops! Got stuck on “daddy duty”, eh?
Alvin: No, ma'am.
Alvin: For your information, spending time with my own child is not a duty, but a privilege.
Tyler: Too bad I can't say the same about “daughter duty”.
Less Subtle Preaching
Rachel: My land. I took Tyler to the petting zoo today and they kicked me out for breastfeeding in public. Threatened legal action, even.
Alvin: What? That's absurd!
Alvin: I can't believe there's so much ignorance in this country about something so natural and innocent. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that.
Alvin: Don't let them get to you. All that matters is that Tyler appreciates it.
Rachel: The baby llamas actually, but yeah they did.
Blunt and Not Particularly Funny (Insert Your Own Quip About None of them Being Particularly Funny Here) Preaching
Alvin: Oh no. The CIA will face global backlash and decreased influence if the Senate releases a report on their illegal, unconstitutional and immoral torture techniques.
Alvin: Poor CIA. This must be so hard for them. What have they ever done to deserve this unjust and disproportionate suffering?
Rachel: You're not making any sense, Alvin.
A New One that I Cranked Out for this Special Occasion
Alvin: I'm glad to see they gave Hugh Hefner a proper cremation.
Alvin: It's just a shame they waited until he was dead.
Rachel: Ha! Alvin, you're so funny!
Creation Vacation (2007)
Pastor Hartgraves: Alvin, I realize that you've had difficulties reconciling science and religion, and I'd like to offer my help.
Pastor Hartgraves: When you have a greater understanding of science, the apparent contradictions will fade away.
Alvin: I hope so too. You're a science expert then?
Pastor Hartgraves: No, but a friend of mine is. You know the Creation Museum that just opened in Kentucky?
Alvin: So Pastor Hartgaves' close personal friend Ken Ham gave him a bunch of tickets to the “museum”, and he wants us to go.
Rachel: We do need a vacation, Alvin.
Alvin: That's true... and I suppose I should see it for myself and give it a fair hearing before I criticize.
Rachel: That's the spirit!
Alvin: I may need some alcohol to get me through it, though.
Rachel: Think of your impressionable young child, Alvin.
Alvin: You immediately get a general idea of what this “museum” is teaching from the displays – very pretty displays, I'll admit.
Rachel: How do those people stand so still?
Alvin: Humans and dinosaurs co-existed. And all dinosaurs were vegetarians before the Fall. You can't assume they ate meat just because they had teeth and claws designed for piercing and tearing flesh.
Alvin: My sentiments exactly, Tyler.
Ken Ham doesn't seem to be aware that plants are also living things, so even if all dinosaurs were vegetarians, they were still killing stuff before the Fall.
Alvin (reading): “Many 'living fossils', such as crocodiles, once shared the same world as dinosaurs.”
Alvin (reading): “Since humans continue to live with crocodiles today, it is reasonable to believe that humans also shared the same world with dinosaurs.” Yes, that seems logical.
Alvin: Grandpa Ivan once shared the same world as Winston Churchill. Since Grandpa Ivan is still alive today, it is reasonable to assume that I also shared the same world with Winston Churchill.
Rachel: You did? Can you get me his autograph??
Originally was FDR, but then I thought Hitler was funnier, but then that violated Godwin's Law and also it was awkward for Rachel to want Hitler's autograph.
Alvin (reading): “Can you tell how old this fossil is? Fossils don't come with tags on them that tell us how old they are.” No kidding.
Rachel: The ones I saw at another museum did.
Alvin (reading): “So we have to use the Bible as a starting point and use circular logic to determine that the evidence matches what we already believe.” Okay, that's a slight paraphrase.
Rachel: I can read, Alvin.
Alvin: That's the difference between real science and creation “science” in a nutshell.
Rachel: How can there be atheists with evidence like this??
The scathing subtlety of Rachel's line is that it's the opposite of the way things are. There are atheists, in part, because of "evidence" like this.
Alvin (reading): “When the Flood destroyed the world's forests, it must have left billions of trees floating for centuries on the ocean. These log mats served as ready-made rafts for animals to cross oceans.”
Alvin: I can only assume these trees were made of plastic? And they could somehow support the weight of hippos and rhinos and elephants?
Rachel: Yeah, it says that in Leviticus somewhere.
Alvin: And all the marsupials just happened to go to Australia and nowhere else?
Rachel: Silly marsupials, didn't they know about the poisonous spiders?
Space prevented me from getting into this, but Answers in Genesis actually teaches that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark, therefore surviving the Flood and dying for some unknown reason later. So these "log mats" would also have had to support the weight of Apatasauruses (Apatasauri?). Yeah, no. And this is still only scratching the surface of why this hypothesis doesn't work. I can only fit so much in a three-panel comic.
Rachel: Shush, shush. Your diaper's clean...you've got your binkie... are you hungry? No?
Rachel: I can't calm her down, Alvin.
Alvin: She's disturbing the other visitors, Rachel.
Alvin: Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to cut our visit short.
Rachel: Then why are you smiling?
Ken Ham: Hi, I'm Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis. Did you folks enjoy your visit to the Creation Museum today?
Rachel: Yeah, we had fun.
Alvin: It was interesting, I'll give you that.
Ken Ham: Good, good. Well, I see you're in a hurry, but I hope you'll return when your child is old enough to understand it, and we have some great children's books in the gift shop.
Alvin: Yeah, Tyler could use a good laugh.
Ken Ham: Beg pardon?
Alvin: I said thanks, Mr. Ham.
Another involuntary celebrity guest star! With his soft-spoken Australian accent and love of Dr. Who, Ken Ham is impossible for me to hate, so I had no desire to portray him in a negative light.
(in the car)
Rachel: My land. I learned so many things at the museum that I never knew before.
Alvin: Most of it was nonsense, Rachel.
Rachel: Don't you believe in God, Alvin?
Alvin: Of course I do! I even believe in most of the Bible. But science is pretty conclusive on a lot of things. We need to fit them into our paradigm, not throw them away out of fear and ignorance.
Alvin: I don't know where or if Adam and Eve fit into the picture, but they did not live with dinosaurs.
Rachel: Wait, are you saying “The Flintstones” isn't historically accurate?
This was meant to be another evolution storyline, but there are so many other things wrong with young-earth creationism that I didn't even get around to mentioning it by name. Everything that Alvin reads from the signs, except for his slight paraphrase, is taken verbatim from the real-life Creation Museum. Scary, isn't it? Look, I don't care what you believe about the Earth or life on it, but don't pretend your views have any scientific plausibility if they blatantly don't.
Rachel Explains Politics (2012)
Rachel, in case you haven't noticed, is a gender-swapped version of the overused idiot husband trope (and therefore, in a perverse way, a feminist icon) taken to a ridiculous extreme a la Brewster Rockitt. (I feel now is as good a time as any to explain to a certain person named Rachel who may be reading this that yes, she is half named after you and half named after a coworker I barely knew who stared at me all the time, though her name was spelled Rachael, but the character herself, as a person, is not based on you at all and should not be construed as my opinion of your intelligence or your anything else. Okay? Okay.) But I like to have her subvert expectations sometimes, either by doing something that raises the question of whether she's really as stupid as she seems, or by accurately explaining something that normal people take for granted and thereby exposing how stupid it truly is. Here she does it with politics. Elsewhere she also does it with dating, but that may be too controversial to share.
Tyler: How do politics work, mom?
Rachel: Well, you can choose whether to be liberal or conservative, which determines whether you vote Democrat or Republican.
Tyler: That's it? You only get two options?
Rachel: You only need two options! Those two options are the entire spectrum of American political thought!
Tyler: Well, that explains a lot.
Rachel: Oh, and you're not allowed to be friends with anyone on the other side, so choose wisely.
Whoopi Goldberg is pro-choice and a member of the NRA. Doesn't she know she can't do that?
Tyler: Okay, suppose I pick one, let's say conservative/Republican.
Rachel: Ooh, good choice, if you hate poor people.
Tyler: Er, liberal/Democrat then.
Rachel: So you hate freedom? All right then.
Rachel: The states take turns holding primary elections, where the Democrats and Republicans each choose who they want to be the next president.
Rachel: Of course, if your state has one of the later primaries, most of the options are already gone and its choice doesn't make any difference. This is perfectly fair because... um... because...
Rachel: Because that's just how democracy works!
Tyler: It's like you designed the system.
Yeah, living in Utah, this really pisses me off. And I do realize the United States is actually a republic, because the Founding Fathers were afraid of pure democracy, because people are morons, but you don't expect these comic scripts to be that educational, do you?
Rachel: So you end up with two options for president – well, more than two, but don't waste your time voting for another one because voting for another one is a waste of time.
Tyler: That doesn't at all sound like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rachel: So you pick whichever of the two options you hate less, and vote for him or her, but actually just him.
Tyler: And whichever gets the most votes, wins?
Rachel: Not exactly. There's this thing called the “electoral college”. I don't understand it because I went to a different college.
Tyler: Thank God I don't have to vote for twelve more years.
I actually agree with the electoral college - it got us a terrible president instead of a different terrible president, after all - but it does complicate things.
Rachel: Voting for president is a very important civic duty. You should be grateful and proud to do it.
Tyler: What's the chance of my vote affecting the outcome?
Alvin: About 1 in 60 million. Almost 343 times smaller than the chance of you getting struck by lightning within the same four years.
Rachel: She didn't ask you!
Alvin: In fairness, you can have more of an impact voting for other people. Have you told her about those, Rachel?
Rachel: Why would I? Nobody cares about those.
Alvin: That's exactly the problem. See, Tyler, besides the President, there are also national and local Congress members and a governor and a mayor and town and school board members to choose.
Alvin: Do either of you even know who our mayor is?
Rachel: We got a horse? Why didn't you tell me?
Preachy as this one is, I'm chastening myself as much as anyone else. I do know who my mayor is but couldn't tell you one thing about his policies. I'ma go fix that right now as far as you know.
You may remember that last year I shared one script where Dr. Robert T. Bakker, real life originator of the Dinosaur Renaissance (but with a fictional personality just for fun), visited Tyler's and David's Biology class taught by Dr. James Pitts (named after a real professor of mine) and his assistant Mary Hollenbaugh (named after a real ridiculously gorgeous friend of mine). But that was just the beginning...
Dr. Pitts: As promised, today we get to hear from Dr. Robert T. Bakker, who's largely responsible for the way we look at dinosaurs today.
Dr. Bakker: Yep! “The dinosaur heresies”, I called them. Not so heretical anymore, are they?
Dr. Pitts: Dr. Bakker has –
Dr. Bakker: Everyone was so blinded by their confirmation bias and prejudice against reptiles that they scoffed at my radical new theories. Well, who's scoffing now, huh?
Dr. Pitts: Yes, that's –
Dr. Bakker: Suck it, orthodoxy! SUCK IT!
Dr. Bakker: See, scientists are human like everyone else, and we aren't always objective and we make mistakes. But science is a self-correcting process, and the truth comes forward eventually.
Dr. Bakker: There's a certain methodology that everyone has to follow. I couldn't just say “You're wrong!” to the orthodoxy. I had to demonstrate my case with logic and evidence.
Student: Like Michael Behe?
Other Student: Or Andrew Wakefield?
Dr. Bakker: Let me start over.
I wanted to take two potshots in one comic, but I realize it isn't entirely fair of me to put Michael Behe and Andrew Wakefield in the same category. Both of them are wrong, but only one of them is a lying pos with blood on his hands. (Hint: It's Andrew Wakefield.)
Student: Mr. Bakker, you are an evolutionist, aren't you?
Dr. Bakker: Sure am! If God didn't use evolution, he must have gone out of his way to make us think he did.
Student: Wha? You believe in God too?
Dr. Bakker: Sure do! In fact, I'm an Ecumenical Christian minister. I believe that faith and reason are fully compatible.
Student: Well, that explains it. The ecumenical movement is of the devil.
Dr. Pitts: Dr. Bakker, I'm terribly sorry, but the state board of education forbids the f-word in this classroom.
Dr. Bakker: Yeah? They can suck it too.
Bakker's line "If God didn't use evolution..." is a verbatim or almost verbatim quote from The Dinosaur Heresies. It really made an impact on me. I hope it's obvious that the f-word here is "faith". Not to be confused with the really, really bad f-word that rhymes with "end zone".
Tyler: Dr. Bakker! You're still here!
Dr. Bakker: Yeah, Dr. Pitts and I have something do discuss with you and David.
Dr. Bakker: See, I wasn't just here to speak to your class today. How interested are you two in dinosaurs?
Tyler: More interested than I am in boys, at least.
David: That's not saying much.
Rachel: Judas Priest, spring break is coming up. I don't know if I can stand having Tyler at home for an entire week.
Tyler: Hi, mom. Dr. Pitts wants me and David to come on an expedition to an island off the coast of Costa Rica over spring break. I have the permission slip right here.
Tyler: You didn't even read it.
Rachel: If I just sold you into slavery, I apologize.
(aboard the boat)
Tyler: Wow. Going to an island off the coast of Costa Rica to study dinosaurs! Just like Jurassic Park!
Dr. Bakker: Did you know the book was heavily based on my research, and I was the scientific adviser on the movie?
David: You've mentioned that a few times, yeah.
Tyler: Too bad these ones will just be fossils.
Dr. Pitts: Er – there's something we should probably explain.
Tyler: They're actually alive? Yeah, I read your lab notes.
T. Rex (through binoculars): Rooooooooar!
Tyler (holding binoculars): I just wet myself. But in a good way.
David: Give me those!
Tyler's quote was originally used by Jane Padgett in my unpublished manuscript "Space Girls" after she goes back in time and hears a T. Rex roar. I plagiarized myself because the line is just that good.
Tyler: How did you guys do this? I know the mosquito thing in Jurassic Park was BS.
Dr. Pitts: Actually, I don't even understand it. Mary did most of the calculations.
Mary: It was childishly simple, but I'm keeping it to myself for now. There are all kinds of ethical concerns with this technology, and there are lots of people out there who would abuse it.
Tyler: Someone would make a real Jurassic Park, and it would be a disaster.
Mary: Right. Mesozoic Park will be nothing like that.
More lampshade hanging.
Mary: ...so then I thought, if we made this more like a national park, and didn't put the dinosaurs in cages, they won't feel a need to escape! They hopefully won't be restless and aggressive!
Mary: The tourists will be in heavily armored vehicles, and once we learn more about the dinosaurs' psychology we'll hopefully be able to design ones that they won't attack.
Tyler: What do we have so far?
Mary: My dad's Jeep. We're low on funding.
The national park thing is also an idea from "Space Girls". It could work, right? Cloned dinosaurs, mammoths, and passenger pigeons are all things in the year 2153, though they're not the focus of the story and mentioned only as worldbuilding details.
David: Guys! Hey, guys –
Mary: Not now, David, we're discussing important scientific matters.
David: But it's –
Mary: Just hold your horses and I'll be with you in a minute, okay?
(The boat is drifting away)
Tyler: Well? Did you tell them?
David: I always turn to jelly when Mary speaks to me...
Tyler: Welp, at least one of us is going to get eaten. That's just how these things go.
Tyler: David and I are just kids. Mary is an attractive woman. Dr. Bakker is too famous and awesome.
Tyler: Sorry, Dr. Pitts.
Dr. Pitts: Hey!
This is what I mean about the characters recognizing tropes and almost breaking the fourth wall. "Jurassic World" did blaze new territory by killing an attractive woman, in a ridiculous and thoroughly undeserved manner no less, but she wasn't a protagonist.
Dr. Bakker: You know that paleontologist in the second Jurassic Park movie, Robert Burke, who gets eaten by a T. Rex? He was an affectionate caricature of me.
David: Fascinating. Can we discuss this later?
Dr. Bakker: I was glad to see him get eaten. I'd been arguing with Jack Horner about whether T. Rex was a hunter or a scavenger. Guess we saw who was right.
(scene zooms out to show them driving a Jeep as a T. Rex chases them)
David: That was just a movie!
Dr. Bakker: Sure, but this isn't. Suck it, Horner!
A recent analysis suggested that T. Rex couldn't actually run at all without breaking its bones. If that's accurate, my excuse is the same as why Jurassic Park dinosaurs don't have feathers: they're cloned and they got messed up.
Alvin: I hope Tyler is having as much fun without us as we are without her.
Rachel: Of course she is. She's doing dinosaur stuff.
Alvin: Heh, but I wonder if she's getting disillusioned with it. Lying in the hot sun brushing rocks hour after hour? Sounds soul-crushingly dull if you ask me.
(Back on the island)
Dr. Bakker: There's a cliff up ahead.
Tyler: Of course there is.
Tyler the Troper at it again.
(Jeep drives off the cliff)
T. Rex: Roooooooar!
David: I love you, Mary! I always have!
(Jeep lands on another plateau a few feet below the first one)
Mary: Sorry, what?
Dr. Bakker: Smooth.
Dr. Pitts: Velociraptors! As you can see, they look nothing like their movie counterparts.
Dr. Bakker: I told Spielberg, but did he listen? Nooo!
David: They look like big skinny chickens!
Tyler: Hmm... I wonder if they taste like chicken too?
(Tyler is sitting by a campfire with a homemade spear nearby and meat in her hands)
Tyler: Nah. More like fish, actually.
The so-called Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are actually Deinonychuses (Deinonychi?) but like Norma Jeane Mortenson, they had to change their name for Hollywood appeal.
Mary: Dr. Bakker, Dr. Pitts, bad news. I calculate that these creatures could produce enough methane to submerge their own island within thirty years.
Dr. Pitts: Oh dear.
Dr. Bakker: Crap.
Mary: The methane will contribute to the greenhouse effect which will heat up the Earth and accelerate the melting of the polar ice caps, raising the level of the ocean until it covers the island.
David: But what do you mean, 'produce methane'?
Mary: Never mind.
Yes, I realize climate change isn't real. Yes, that was sarcasm.
Tyler: So what are you going to do about this methane problem?
Mary: I don't know... I can't destroy the creatures I created, but I can't be responsible for hastening the planet's doom either...
Tyler: You could be a true American and just ignore the problem until it becomes a crisis.
Mary: And ask for more funding in the meantime? Brilliant!
Originally Tyler said "You could be like a politician" but it isn't fair to always pretend they're the only ones.
Panel 1 (and only)
Dr. Pitts: The Jeep is almost out of gas. Our supplies won't last forever...
David: Well, this is it then. We're going to get killed on this desolate rock.
Tyler: Yeah, probably. But what a way to go!
Dr. Bakker: I like your spunk, kid. Die with dignity.
Mary: I just built an airship from a Triceratops carcass. Let's get out of here.
This storyline went unfinished for a long time until I thought of how to get them off the island. It doesn't have to make sense. It's a comic. Or will be if I ever draw it.
Dr. Pitts: Now remember, kids, as far as your parents know you've just been digging up fossils.
Dr. Bakker (giving them wads of cash): To protect the dinosaurs until Mesozoic Park is opened, we need to keep it that way.
David: I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with this...
Dr. Bakker: Remember, it's for science.
Tyler (admiring cash): Silly Dr. Bakker. I lie to my parents for free.
Rachel: My land, spring break went by so fast without you! Did you have a good time?
Tyler: Yeah, it was very educational.
Rachel: That's good. Your dad and I were worried you might get bored.
Tyler: Not at all. Oh, before I forget...
Tyler: I brought you this, uh, fossilized Velociraptor egg.
Rachel: Aw, you shouldn't have! Ooh, it's so warm!
And now I'm not sure what to do about the Velociraptor egg. I don't want to just pretend it never happened, because I'm trying to be realistic, dang it.
Charmer - Mesozoic Mind
While we're on the subject of dinosaurs and 1987 films starring Fred Savage, here's this. It's from "Dinosaurs! A Fun-Filled Trip Back in Time!", which my uncle owned on a VHS tape (now an extinct format) and which, many years ago, I watched at my grandmother's house until it wore out. It's actually a Claymation film from 1980 with later footage of Fred Savage, and this stunningly animated music video, seamlessly(ish) tacked onto the beginning of it. I was being sarcastic about the stunning animation but this song was and is still the best part. Watch the whole film next time you have a half hour to spare.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
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"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.