Ethan Vansciver - Your Time Is Now Mine #10: Password

Your Time Is Now Mine #6: My Journal

Your esteemed author. Click for full laffs.

I could gripe and complain about Valentine's Day this past weekend, the single worst charade of a holiday ever devised by the torturers at Hallmark, but I won't. I've got it covered. I'm uniquely brilliant in the way I convey my love and appreciation, not only to my wife and family, but to you, whose need for it is just as great. And you are all uniquely brilliant too, because you're here with me every week, whether I turn up or not. It's a circle of love. We all waste each other's time, and NEWSARAMA.com pays for it. Amen.

This is the landmark Your Time Is Now Mine #10, the column I was prompted to write sometime last November by the staff and founders of Newsarama, no doubt hoping to put the final nail in the coffin of their competition. Think of how disappointed they must be now. Maybe they should consider this nice round number an excuse to give me the boot and find out what Steve McNiven has to say each week. Steve McNiven: Your Time is Now His #1. Get a Canadian's point of view. Dave Finch: Can You Spare Ten Minutes? #1. Anything would be better than what I've already written or what I'm about to write. Wait till you read it. There's a reason most artists are only permitted to draw pictures.

On we go, to this week's important ITEMS. This is the stuff that everyone will be whispering about until next week's column, if there is one, so take careful notes.

ITEM: Everyone be on the look out in the media for "devastated" people. Everyone has been or is currently in a state of "devastation." It's the word du jour for victims and ne'er-do-wells.

"How did you feel when your neighbor sued you to have your favorite tree cut down because it shaded his property?"

"I was devastated."

And yet, here you stand to take questions from the media! I guess I thought that devastation was something slightly more ouchy. Let us not forget that it took SIX Constructicons (Bonecrusher, Scavenger, Scrapper, Hook, Long Haul, and Mixmaster) to combine and form "Devastator", a very large and pissed off green robot! Any one of those robots individually could kick your cat, spoil your relationship or hack down your tree, but it takes SIX of them to "devastate." You haven't been "devastated" until you've been fired from 12 jobs, ostracized from your family and community, lost 3 out of 4 limbs and have to pee through a catheter.

Please buy Flash: Rebirth or I'll be devastated.

ITEM: The date of John Lennon's assassination was predicted during his Bed-In-For-Peace! Oh, it's true. Don't bother wiping your eyes and reading that a second time, because the words I've typed will still have the same meaning no matter how many times you review them, I promise you! How do I know this? Or how did I discover it? Let me indulge in a labored explanation.

I bought a great dvd set last week. The Best of Password. Oh, and it's terrific. Betty White's husband, Allen Ludden, presides over two celebrity contestant teams trying to guess specific words by offering one-word clues. It ran on CBS from 1962-1967, and that's my favorite period of American history, because it includes the utter unraveling of society after the Kennedy assassination. But let's not mix assassinations. The point is, I got very excited when I noticed that Audrey Meadows, who I have a very sad crush on, was going to be one of the guest panelists on a specific episode. You remember Audrey Meadows, yes? She was Alice Kramden on The Honeymooners. At least, on the original Honeymooners. For some reason, when The Honeymooners was re-imagined as a late 60's color variety show, Audrey was replaced by a very bland woman whose name escapes me. I'd deluded myself for years that this might be because Audrey was either unwilling to work, or she'd lost her looks. But this dvd set, The Best of Password, puts the lie to both of those theories and adds even more ethical questions for the late Jackie Gleason. Here was Audrey Meadows in 1967, looking as beautiful as ever, and working on an episode of a game show! The Great One should be ashamed. She was an important part of a dynamite ensemble cast, and shouldn't have been tossed aside so carelessly. Are you all as outraged as I am? Excellent.

Anyhow, it gets better. There was a theme to this Audrey Meadows episode of Password. Comic artists! Audrey, and some other schmoe, teamed up with the most popular comic strip artists of the day. I wasn't included, because I wasn't born yet, so no one's feelings should be hurt, here. Anyhow, one of the cartoonists was Al Capp, creator of Lil Abner. Sharis logically wondered why Al Capp wasn't the creator of Andy Capp, but I reassured her that this was a mere coincidence, and that "Andy Capp" was a play on the word "handicap" bearing no relation to the name of the cartoonist who drew him. Why a strip about a drunk who abuses his spouse should be named after a play on the word "handicap" is another playground for imaginative thought. Sharis ate a banana nut muffin inquisitively. I further described Lil Abner to her, and told her that our Al Capp was one of the loudest conservative voices of his day, like a Barry Goldwater with ink.

She seemed skeptical, or maybe it was bored, at which time I remembered John Lennon: Imagine, the documentary, which contained a fantastic scene in which Al Capp was invited to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed In For Peace! I'm not sure what the point of having Al there was, except perhaps to have a noisy confrontation for the cameras to capture, which they did, but I do remember it being very funny. Yoko yelled at Capp, at which time he quipped to John, "No wonder you're after peace. You can't have much at home!" It was dynamite. Sharis wanted proof. Or maybe she didn't, but I withdrew The Best of Password dvd and inserted my John Lennon: Imagine disc for her just to be sure.

After scanning through a lot of scenes of John and Yoko walking through foggy woodlands together dressed all in black, I finally found the Al Capp scene. And sure enough, there's a nice clear shot of the door to the hotel room in which the Bed In took place.

And it's room number 1208. December 8th. Oooo....spooky. Aren't you glad I made you read all of that just to get to that one stupid coincidence? This column isn't called YOUR TIME IS NOW MINE for nothin'!

ITEM: I want to be murdered while listening to the Subway Five Dollar Foot Long commercial jingle. I think the sensation of being stabbed to death would be enhanced by that eerie vocal group singing, "Five. Five Dollah. Five Dollah foot loooOOOONG". Next time that commercial comes on, imagine that it's never going to end, and you're about to die. You'll taste copper and begin to lose consciousness. I'm not sure that's what the advertising firm that Subway hired intended me to experience when I watched their video, but that's hardly an excuse.

ITEM: I wish to register a complaint about people dressed like cartoon characters in theme parks and at the Ice Capades. Nobody finds it weird that the cartoon characters that you pictured as being kind of animal-sized are now huge, stiff and proportioned like human beings? They have over-sized heads with ghoulishly fixed smiles, and yet they don't speak! I always hated that as a kid. I went to Sesame Place, which is a Sesame Street theme park somewhere in Pennsylvania, on a class field trip. It was small and filthy, which as we've discussed before, represents the television show rather accurately. But anyhow, I was a fan of the show, and even at age 8, I was a lightning quick study at size ratios. I know, for example, that Oscar the Grouch is probably around 3 feet tall, because I've seen him talking to Gordon and Maria. They, presumably average sized human beings, are roughly twice his size. The same goes for Ernie and Bert. Mr Hooper was actually in their house during the Christmas special I watched last year, and Mr. Hooper loomed over them as though they were children. Which seems fair enough to me.

But then you visit the theme park, and every idea you've developed about the world of the Children's Television Workshop is thrown way out of whack. What the hell...if Ernie towers over me in real life to the point where other children are hugging his leg, then how big is Gordon really? He must be the size of a truck!! Worse, some of these bastards are obviously puppets on the show. How big is the puppeteer who wears this enormous Kermit The Frog on his hand? It's all very puzzling and distracting.

I have worse problems at Disney World, with the gigantic Mickey and Minnie Mouse monsters running around, grinning from ear to ear, miming giggles, but making no actual noise. And they aren't very talkative either, which made me, as a child, think that Goofy was way too important to talk to me. I'd ask questions and get no reply, but that grin...that plastic, unchanging grin. It eroded my self-esteem.

The effect is the most nauseating when they all ice skate together. These bloated, mono-expressive corpses of my favorite cartoon characters, larger than they should be, gliding across a rink together in a dark arena with pre-recorded music and dialog...it isn't funny or amusing, it's cynical and hurtful. I'm praying Global Warming will put an end to it once and for all.

Well, that's another column finished and now it's off to a long, hot bath during which I cry and mutter some of the things I wish I'd said to the people who were mean to me over the last few weeks. And then it's the Nancy Grace show and her Tot Mom Outrage Bombshells and off to bed. It's this routine I've developed that's going to help make me a monthly comic book artist.

Comments and recommends, please! Thank you!

Nobody gonna break my stride,

Ethan Van Sciver

Make sure you time is fully lost:

Your Time is Now Mine, 9

Your Time is Now Mine, 8

Your Time is Now Mine, 7

Your Time is Now Mine, 6

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