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Heroes Blogs | Moose Humor

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Dagobah Digs Resort & Hotel


I hastily closed the blinds to my seaside casement window. The last thing I wanted to see were the native rat-people singing on the beach. Every day was another of their pagan “holidays,” and the tourists flocked to their dances and bought seashells and whatever crafts those rodents pulled out of the swamps.

I’d like nothing better than to run every last one of them back to the pit they crawled out of.

The thing of it is, Dagobahn beaches are considered public property. Owning and operating the Dagobah Digs Resort & Hotel doesn’t give us the right to fence off the beach; we have to maintain it, however.

There have been a few… altercations… between the natives and my cleaning crews. They stopped coming by at night.

“Shall we see what kind of walking wallets Starlite Express dropped in our lap?” I asked rhetorically. My loyal Toady (one of the natives) bowed in lieu of the unintelligible squeaks so common to his (?) kind. That coarse, ear-piercing chatter was banned here.

Toady slid the door (paper thin with white canvas in the wooden frame) to my office and I stepped into the main foyer.

Fans rotated slowly overhead and the faint sound and smell of crashing waves blew in through the open veranda. The furniture had the texture of bamboo with Hawaiian-style patterns on the material; faux-Asian paintings hung from the walls. Some of the more well-rested guests were sitting peacefully on the sofas reading books or magazines.

One of the new faces stood right out at me. “Angus McGriddle,” I waved, making my way to the concierge desk. “How is San Serriffe?”

“Much colder and snowier than here,” he opined, taking in the ocean spray. “I’m surprised to find an actual beach. I thought Dagobah was all swamps, despite your flashy television adverts.”

“A common misconception! The swamps are much farther inland. If you’re interested in the marshes, we have an attraction called The Wolverine Experience that might interest you…”

“No, no, I’m quite alright.” He handed his luggage to a uniformed attendant, stretched, and bade me good day as he headed off to soak in the rays of Dagobah’s furious orange sun.

“Welcome to Dagobah Digs!” I shouted unnervingly at the remaining guests. Despite just blowing my nose, I shook each of their hands. “Welcome.”

“I’m Rachel Graye,” said a woman in her early thirties with short auburn hair and the most striking green and orange eyes. “I teach sign language at a community college in Pennsylvania.”

“My name is Kieth Powers. I’m an archaeologist-man interested in studying native cultural artifacts.”

I studied Kieth intently. What an ugly plaid vest. Why would they even sell those? What company would even make something so tasteless? My very expensive spider sense was tingling. “Do you regularly use a bullwhip for grabbing objects?”

He sighed. “Only about one in thirty archaeologists has an Indiana Jones-type adventure during their careers.”

“Sad to hear it. Toady! Attend the newcomers! It’s alright, really. Just settle in. The staff is trained to respond immediately. Yes, your rooms are prepared. I believe you have the keys.” Taking them on the boilerplate tour of the ground floor, I pointed out the major sectors: “Kitchen, dining room, library, rec room. Guest suites are on the second, third and fourth floors.”

“Are there any books in the library on Timu’s Love?”

For a split-second, the ears of every nearby staff member shivered; but they continued their duties as usual. The question was innocuous, but something about that Kieth still needled at me. He blinked too often, that must have been it. He did look like he had the galloping pink-eye.

“There are some legends… but they’re just primitive oral traditions among the locals. It’s not fully known—”

Kieth puffed his chest pompously. “That’s because the ancient manuscripts were burned.” An awkward pall hung over us. The Dagobahns did their best to remain unseen, but the cat was out of the bag now.

“Sir, this resort is not responsible for any ‘cultural’ —” I smirked, “—contamination that happened long ago.”

He fumed. “Resorts like this condone the theft of Dagobahn culture.”

“Sir, we brought the Dagobahns culture,” I hissed, barely audible. Those miscreants may have the IQ of children, but they have the eardrums of dogs. “When the earthmen arrived, Dagobahns were living in caves and eating slime. We brought them jobs. Medicine. We gave them a future.”

Rachel fidgeted uncomfortably. It wasn’t her fault; there was one of these humanitarian-types in every bunch. They seem to forget than humanitarianism ends with humans.

The self-righteous lack-wit finally turned in consternation, held his valise proudly, and, nose upturned, stomped up the stairs.

“Your advertising campaign was amazing,” Rachel started, breaking the awkwardness, “can you really find ‘immortality’ here?”

“Yeah, the commemorative plates with your photo are $35 each. Guaranteed never to break or fade.”
I had the nightmare again.

Those beasts, armed with machetes and guns, smashing down the front door. Tearing up the place. Butchering the guests. My loyal staff, helping them. Joining them. And then they descend on my office, shredding the door like paper. I’m at my desk… I never saw it coming. Surprise. Shock.

As they come for me, for a brief moment I can see the resort from the outside; it’s burning. I suddenly wake up, covered in sweat and baby powder. Is it any wonder the doors here all have deadbolts, and the windows, bars?

“They’ve gotten worse since Kieth showed up,” I remarked, peering through the blinds. He was there on the beach, talking to one of the rat people.

He’d been going to their village, in the swamps. Asking questions. Learning their forked tongue. I don’t like interfering with what my guests do…

He seemed to be getting on well with Rachel this last week. The two of them had had many discussions out along the beach. Maybe it was my imagination, but they seemed to know one another.

Maybe I need a vacation.

Rubbing my weary eyes, I walked over to my hand-painted portrait of Leona Grubber, the first human born on Dagobah. She was riding Dusty the moon-calf, her favorite multiped. The Grubbers still held sway in parliament. But they were on the wane.

I pulled on the corner of the portrait, revealing a hidden wall-safe. I never opened it anymore. No need to. For the last decade, this safe housed the “lost” manuscript of the Dagobahns: the tome of heretical folklore known as Timu’s Love.

I’d read it once. The story was this:

Long ago, many spirits fought for godhood over Dagobah. There was a Great War, with great weapons. The fires were so many and so huge that their embers reached the heavens, and scorched the sky; that’s where stars come from.

The strongest of these was Timu. A being of pure love, he banished the evil and greedy spirits to the sky, to spend the rest of time cleaning the scorch-marks they caused. For many years He ruled over the Dagobahns in a shining, golden age.
Pax Dagobah.

For reasons unspecified (those pages really were lost), Timu left. The book said that one day, a Prophet would return to Dagobah to reconnect Timu with his people. And of course, Timu Himself wrote this book so His Prophet would be recognized and his temple rejuvenated. Because he loved the Dagobahns that much.


“It’s high time I removed this thorn,” I mumbled, remembering the combination. It was getting too dangerous to keep it here; Kieth and Rachel might be plotting, the staff could — would — probably tell them about the safe. And Angus vanished the day he got here.

Oh, God, what had they done with Angus?!

The tumblers creaked from disuse and age, and for a second I thought about just putting the painting back and re-collating expense reports yet again. The door clicked open.

The next thing I knew, I was face-down on the ground, registering the throbbing pain in the back of my head as I lost consciousness. I could already feel the flames, see the flashing machetes. Sensational…
“Praise Timu!”

The haze faded. I looked around… just barely. I was tied up with the chains used on snow tires, apparently. The rocky roof was rolling with dripping stalactites, and the smell of swamp gas wafted through the cavernous hall from a large hole in a (formerly) bricked-in staircase. Lining the walls were metal cages that resembled turbines, with arm-thick wires that raced to the raised area.

Dozens of Dagobahns lay prostrate before the raised platform. Two ancient stone bins on each end held the balls of flame keeping the cave heated and illuminated. A lone figure stood between them, his back to me; he seemed so familiar.

“You’ve gone mad with power, Powers!” I sputtered, struggling to wiggle my toes. “Let me go!”

The archaeologist spun around, saliva pouring from his distended jaw. The rumpled pages were clutched in his hands. “Still haven’t figured it out yet?”

He pulled a pink ball out of that god-awful plaid vest with his free hand, and tossed it on the ground. A pillar of yellow smoke rose in an unnaturally constrained column, then enveloped him. As soon as it tightened around him, the smoke dissipated, taking with it his facade.

“Karl Überdale,” I spat, “come to ruin my resort?”

“The Dagobahns have been looking for this place since the colonists sealed the entrance,” he said with a sick half-smile.

He gestured behind him, stepping aside to unveil a statue twice the size of a normal Dagobahn. It had a pained expression of timeless loss stained across its visage. But was really drew me in were the hands. They were a different hue than the rest of the statue, and seemed a little too perfectly manicured.

“The Hands of Artemis.”

“The very same,” he replied. “How they came here is a mystery. But my quest is now over.”

“It won’t work, you madman! Only the head could talk. The foot, the one Brad Pitt had — it couldn’t have helped you rebuild the head, you must know that.”

“You don’t need a mouth to talk,” a voice echoed beyond the staircase. A very sly Rachel Graye slunk into the chamber. She put on a strange display with her hands. “Sign language.”

“Sweet Barracuda of Bermuda!”

“Rachel here is an expert on ancient Greek sign language. One of the best in the world,” Karl beamed. “She’s going to help me talk to the hand. And then the other hand.”

I sat there helplessly as the erratic enchanter connected the final cable to Timu’s spine. The energy cost of reanimating a pair of hands to the point of consciousness was far greater than you’d need for a mere head. Ho ho! At least the head had a brain in it!

With a chirping sound, the Dagobahns ran to their exercise wheels. “Faster!” Karl shouted as sparks flew past the ceremonial pyres. Chasing after the parts of Artemis had left him a broken shell of his buoyant self.

What happened to the Karl I went to high school with?

“FASTER, mongrels! I am the Prophet of Timu!” he bellowed maniacally, “I am his Messenger! His Oracle! FASTER, and he will speak to you! Timu demands you run! PRAISE TIMU!”

I fell into despair. Karl had won. Power too cheap to meter flowed into the idol; the fingers! They twitched!


My fevered mind must have been playing cruel tricks on me.


There was something in the walls!

I pressed my ear up against the primitive masonry. Nothing. And then…


The room shook as a gigantic clenched fist broke through the wall with a deafening roar. Stalactites poured over us like acid rain.

“NO!” Karl cried, as a hail of the piercing dripstones slashed through Timu, cleaving the hands and startling the Dagobahns. As another rocky spear ripped through his cheek, Karl pointed at me accusingly and burst into yellow smoke.

“Traitor!” Rachel hissed, limping toward the staircase. Blood spurted from her leg.

“It’s Timu!” I shouted at the Dagobahns. Another hand shot through the wall. “The false idol has angered him and now he’s here to banish the nonbelievers to the sky!”

I don’t know how well those simpletons understand human speech, but it was as if a herd instinct took hold. Almost in unison, they stampeded the stairs, trampling poor Rachel into an auburn smear. A true tragedy — neither her nor Karl had payed their bills.

A burly, mud-covered monster crawled out from the hole, reached down, and snapped my chains right off! “Angus?”

“Don’t… think I ever had this much fun on San Serriffe!” the old inventor laughed, wiping the mud and seaweed from his face. “I… I was sunbathing, right? Then a tidal wave sweeps me out to sea. I’m dead, right? Nope, a whirlpool sucks me in. I spent a week wandering around these caves, eating mushrooms and drinking the nectar of the gods!” He held out a hand full of dotted fungi.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m itchy and I can’t stop dancing because it hurts when I stop,” he said, pointing at his bunions.

“Yes, well, it’s a good thing I finally found you. We can call off the dogs, then.”

“You were looking for me?!” Angus asked incredulously.

“Oh, yes,” I lied, “’Spare no expense!’ I told the staff. ‘Not while Angus is in danger!’”

He started crying. “What would I have done without you?!”

“You would have died in this godforsaken pit.” I walked over to the idol and pocketed the damaged manuscript.

He hopped tranquilly on one leg. “Take me home, mommy!”
“You signed a contract,” I said very calmly into the telephone. Poor Angus was becoming more and more acquainted with Dagobah’s labyrinthine legal codes.

“I don’t have that kind of influence!”

I leaned back in my genuine leather office chair, facing the window. The pale, rust-colored moonlight rippled on the Dagobahn waves.

“You agreed,” I reminded him, “to arrange for all McGriddle sandwiches to be wrapped in a Dagobah Digs brochure starting in Q1 of fiscal year 2010. I can sue you.”

“I can’t just waltz in—”

“You were waltzing when you agreed to our deal.”

“I was hallucinating!”

“Well, you still need to wrap those sandwiches with my brochures. I can sue you in Dagobah. And in San Serriffe,” I remembered, “I know judges there, too.”

“Well, you can go ahead and do that.”

“Hey, if you don’t do it, I’ll have my judge friends, you know, I’ll have them take away your driver’s license and give you a boating license. I’ll do it.”

“Well, that’s good, because I own a boat.”

“Then I’ll have them give you a dog license. For your wife,” I added rudely.

“My wife is dead and I don’t own a dog.”

“I’LL MAKE YOU OWN A DOG!” I shouted, and hung up the phone.

A slight chill pulsed through my veins. I looked down at the wastebin; the fire was dying. I tore another page out of the manuscript and let it float into the bin. For a minute I sat and heard only the crackle of the fire. Then I reached backward under the desk.

“I know how Karl got into my office,” I said, my hand resting on the laser cannon not even Toady knew about. I had been much more careless with the safe.

There was no sound, then. Even the fire waited with bated breath. There was the sudden clanging of objects hitting my hardwood floor, then the patter of little feet and the slam of my office door.

Swiveling around, I sneered over my desk: a machete, a gun and an ID badge lay in disarray before me. I tossed the remainder of the manuscript into the bin and walked over to the Grubber portrait. Timu’s melting, curling-up face had the same timeless pain etched into the idol.

“Ignorant savage,” I said, admiring the portrait. Exquisite. “You just can’t bring sunlight to the blind.”

A band of ruby moonlight shimmered over the painting. Then another…

“That’s no moon…”

My various expense reports were burning like twigs! The fire had leapt from the bin — my desk and curtains were aflame!

“Where’s the extinguisher?!” I screamed, searching frantically. Every room was supposed to have one!

I slammed the office door to try and contain the fire and ran to each room; none of them had an extinguisher. Having finished my office, the flames now shot under the door frame. Within seconds, the support beams in the wall gave way and the door imploded.

The flames must’ve hit a fuel line, because right then a firestorm streamed out into the main hall. “No! Noooooo!”

All I could do was stand awestruck as my livelihood immolated around me. The protective barred windows were now a white-hot deathtrap. Not even the asbestos in the walls and furniture could halt the onslaught.

“Help me!” I cried, sprinting to the front door, “For the love of God, somebody help me!”

I pulled the handle crazily, and when it wouldn’t open I pounded on the treated wood and enamel as hard as I possibly could. Even as the smoke overtook me, I fought, I yelled with burning lungs, I lashed out at that door.

The deadbolts remained safely secured.

Xavier, the Travel Agent

“Dagobah Adventure and Excitement, how can I help you?” I said as brightly as I could muster into the phone.

“Yes,” came a slow evil hiss from the other end of the line. “I understand you offer, eh, ‘special’ vacation packages for the, er, discerning hunter?”

“That’s right, what did you have in mind?” I asked.

“Well . . I’ve always been partial to hunting . . Quayle. Dan Quayle, that is. ”

“I believe we can accommodate you . . Mr. Cheney, is it? We’ll have the shuttle pick you up at 5pm, provided our fee has been delivered in full.”

“I’m doing the transfer now. Whaa, hah, hah!”

Spooky. I dispatched a team of X-Men to pick up the former Dan Quayle and bring him bagged to the shuttle for the ‘hunt’.

No sooner was that done then the phone rang again. I rolled my eyes. It had been ringing all day, mostly from big game hunters looking for the "unusual prey" Jon had been advertising. I have four doctorates for Heaven’s sake. I cannot be playing secretary. “Jubilee!” I yelled. “You’re turn at the phones!”

“Suck it, old man!” The young mutant yelled as she gave me the finger and turned up her IPod. Teenagers.

I placed the image of a giant Noah Bennet in her head. Jubilee shrieked, jumped off the couch and ran to answer the phone. “That was just mean,” she said sulkily.

“Hey, Professor!” Cyclops shouted, a little too enthusiastically. “He’s here! He’s really here!”

A shape appeared in the doorway behind Scott, pausing in a dramatic silhouette.

“Jones is the name,” came the manly voice. “I understand you need my help on a dangerous mission?”

“That’s right,” I answered. “Thank you for coming on such short notice.”

“No problem. I am always willing to help those in need. All part of being a selfless hero. Do you have my fee?”

“Of course.” I mentally summoned Nightcrawler to bring Indiana Jones his fee – a complete set of Transformer Happy Meal toys. The man is such a collector. Then I had Jones pose for some publicity pictures before we headed off to Dagobah.

“So there’s a big party at this place?” he asked as the shuttle was landing on the alien swamp planet.

“A party?” I asked. “Um, sure, we can have a party.”

“Didn’t you say this was a Swab?” he asked as he started walking down the ramp.

“Swab?” I lamely repeated.

“Right, Swab. Ancient Mayan for orgy. I brought a ton of extra jelly butter.”

“Er . .” before I could explain that he had probably misheard "swamp", Indiana Jones slipped off the ramp and flopped down deep into the muck that is the surface of all of Dagobah. When he re-emerged, several long, thick snakes were draped over his muddy body.

“Snakes!” he screamed in a high-pitched girly voice. “I hate snakes!!”

With that, he ran hysterically deep into the swamp. I didn’t see him for several more hours, until he was carried back to the resort hotel we had built for the tourists. Indy was slung over the shoulder of a very tall walking carpet.

The carpet came up to me and let out some kind of strange bellow. I looked into his mind and saw him saying that he had married Indiana using the ancient Wookie ceremony of fluid exchange, and he wanted to rent the honeymoon suite. I let him have it with my compliments. I also had the whole, sordid night video-taped and made into a commercial to be run on adult entertainment outlets with the tag line – “Dagobah, For Those Who Thought They Had Experienced Everything.” For the sleazier outlets, I had the video run with the line, “Dagobah, When A Donkey Just Isn’t Enough.”

As I was heading to the shuttle to take me back to Earth, a naked, screaming Carrot Top came running past, flailing his arms madly over his head. Jon Stewart dressed in camouflage hunting gear hurried behind him, carrying a large bazooka launcher on his shoulder. "You're toast, Red," he muttered as he aimed the weapon.

Ah, Dagobah.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Wolverine expirence.

So come up with an idea for advertisin' a mud planet eh? Koma's idea works just fine foe sissies. but ya need to be a little more diverse. My first idea was Super hero babes vs Super villain babes mud wrestlin' contests. We only had one bout before Superman showed up, and whined how it was exploitin', and should stop right now. Oh and the fact that Squirrel Girl was eaten by a giant snake and everyone actually listened to the flamin' boy scout... now all I got left fer that is Granny Goodness in a bikini...

And whatever this is.

No one wants to see that...well maybe the Discovery Channel.

So up came up with another idea advertsin' to rednecks. that went pretty well, Yea lot O' them became stuck in the swamps when they tried to go mud truckin' but that ain't my concern, they were warned, another odd thing I've never gotten is rednecks like to shoot zombies I don't get it but hey they're payin' their money.

At first I had a Witch Doctor create zombies for them to shoot, but well there was a dispute about money and he somehow ended up savagely clawed to death.

That was okay but I wanted more so when another member of the team created a mud based amusement park I pitched the Wolverine Experience.

Pretty much while the kiddies, are enjoyin' the park, and the ladies are soakin' in mud I take out the warriors, and the wimps who fancy themselves warriors out into the jungle. What they don't know is I film them, and sale the footage ( givin' a cut to Yoda.) As a type O' survival game show.

After I let them out into the swamps I unleash wild animals, alien warriors, and rabid Twilight fangirls onto the unsuspectin' tour goers. On the first tour, Someone yelled out ' Where's the exotic women? Twilight fangirls don't count!"

Well I left a bit out they are exotic, and women but they're also crazy red alien amazon warriors that can crush boulders between their fingers here's me first meeting one.

Only two didn't get crushed. or run away screamin' to their mommies. Bobba Fett who was annoyin' the me with his constant " Yeah Bobba blasts the synthiods How can Bobba escape the fangirls? He can't have plasma grenades on him? Oh yeah Bobba has plasma grenades!"

And this guy who reminds me O' someone.

Hmmm I know someone who keeps babbling' about yellow text boxes.... Deadpoool! Ya gotta be kiddin' me him again?

He glares at me " Okay bunky you're gonna pay for dropping a safe on me in the last challenge!" He shoots me a couple o times in the chest " I'm going to bag me a Canadian clawed wolverine Crikey!"

" Crocidile Hunter jokes Wilson? Really He's been dead how long now?" I growl popping my claws but Pool was grabbed up by the red warrior women. " We love You Ryan Reynolds!" They scream and drag him off to where ever they go when they ain't crushin' people.

" I'm not Ryan Reynolds this is just a disguise....aaaah! My ribs you crushed my ribs no don't kiss me aah! My face!"

I snicker as Bobba Fett walks up to me Bobba is awesome! he lived through he's the greatest warrior ever what did Bobba win?" At that moment he was attacked, and eaten by a giant snake. I hear he has a problem with being eaten by giant animals. Oh well I'd better get ready for the next tour.

Starlite Express Travel Agency

I can't believe Koma's in charge...but Bennett said everybody needed a turn.

He assigns me the task up setting up the travel agency and then takes off to set up some sort of amusement park, all the while muttering about synthoids. The man is cracked I tell you. He didn't even tell me what our slogan was to be!

Setting up shop at a busy space station, where there is lots of traffic. I set to luring as many people to Daogobah as possible. Of course, I hire a gaggle to answer the phones:

And I even hire a couple of guys to go out on the street to lead people to us:

"Bill," I say, "I don't care what you have to do, kidnap people in a van if you have!"

Happy to have work, he stutters and then takes off.


"I'll just tell them that it's the will of the Force!" he said almost cheerfully. He disappeared from sight. Man, death sure has changed that guy.

While the girls are giggling, waiting for the phones to start ringing, I post the poster I made:

It's not the best, but it's simple and straightforward. Maybe if Koma had had a few moments to spare for me- no doubt he wants to ruin me...either that or my challenge to mud wrestle him scared him. Sometimes I come on too strong!

So we wait...and wait...Soon enough Bill pulls up in a van and drops off a bunch of people.

They have no problem taking vacations, but they don't want to go to Dagobah. "Too dark and slimy," they said.

"Slimy?! Yoda's home it is!!" I replied.

The first two groups didn't budge, they all wanted to go to Yavin or Endor. I've never seen what's so great about little Wookiees anyway. They are going to be pissed when they discover that the Starlite Shuttles I sent them on land on Dagobah...and even more pissed when they learn that the refund fee costs more than the actual ticket.

Finally a bedraggled family wanders in.

The father walks up to me and introduces himself. "Hi, I'm Clark Griswold. That's my family over there. We're on our family vacation, but the theme park we wanted to go to was closed. There's this creepy ghost out there that said you could help."

"Of course I can! Here at Starlite Express we charter cheap flights to some of the most exotic locales this galaxy can offer. This week's special is a trip to Dagobah."

"Dagobah? I've never heard of it."

"Wonderful!" I exclaim. "What an opportunity to discover one of the galaxy's diamonds! There's something for everyone. There's Koma's theme park for the kids, there's a lovely health spa for the missus, and for yourself sir - you have the choice of exploring the deep woods filled with adventure in the iscover The Wolverine Experience...or..." I lowered my voice just a little. "If you look hard enough, I'm sure you can find some mud wrestling."

"Well sign us up!" he says exuberantly.

He didn't even wait for the bit about Gyro's gryos or the hotdogs!

I send the happy family off.

No doubt he's thinking:

To bad he's gonna find:

And so...with a smile, I move on to the next group of people driven in...

Who's the Boss?

"That's right I'm the Boss now." I declared to the remnant of Victorious Secret.
"Yeah! Right on! All the way with Captain K!" I screamed hoping that the congratulations would spur the others the join in.

They didn't.

"So how are we doing this Koma and what can we advertise with Dagobah?" complained the red haired harridan Ciera.

"With one simple word." I replied "Mud."

Then I showed them the genius of my plan to turn Dagobah into THE health spa planet.

"Essential oils, mud baths, massage. Beauty therapies all over. They yuppies and the gays will love it." I smile confidently. "Of course we can't forget the local population they need to be included so here's our spokes person."

"C'mon this is going to be great. Now grab the concept and run with it guys. Soar on wings of eagles with this re-badging of Dagobah for the ages." I command standing defiantly on the table. Ciera and Gyrobo are gone all that's left is Logan who's snoring, reclining in his executive chair.
"Snort! Huh! You finished Koma?" he asks being awoken by the silence.
"You didn't hear any of that did you?" I ask rhetorically.
"Nup!" replies the hairy diminutive Canadian.
"So what are you going to do?" I ask him.
"I'll think of something..." says Logan getting comfortable in the chair. He takes a sip of whatever is in the bottle he's been holding and goes back to sleep.

Oh well I hope the others take my vision and run with it. Hang on did they even hang around to hear it?

Oh well never mind.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tourism in the Outer Rim

El Jefe.

It was a position for which I was destined. I'm also the only member of the team that hasn't yet been E.J. But at least I'm sober, which is one up from Jon's condition when he was in charge.

"So Dagobah it is." I said. "That place is a hell hole." I commented shaking my head, throwing the file on the table.

"Yoda must be off his rocker," Jon commented.

"Well, we always knew that though," Xavier added.

I picked up the file once again. Thumbing through it, I started mumbling: "Let's see, what line items we must accomplish on this challenge:

  • Come up with a catchy slogan;

  • Come up with advertising campaign materials;

  • While running our own travel agency, convince travelers to visit Dagobah; and

  • If possible, initiate other methods of driving more tourism to the planet."

I stood for a moment, just thinking a bit.

"I wonder if scheduling it for demolition and inviting the rest of the galaxy to watch would work?" I said outloud. "We could sell tickets -- that might bring in enough money to satisfy Yoda and rid that sector of a planetary eye sore."

"Working on the 'two birds with one stone' principle, are we?" Xavier asked. "However, you definitely could not have a repeat performance."

Kill joy, I thought at him then sighed heavily.

"Jon," I began, "I'm putting you in charge of the advertising materials. You have a talent for coming up with reasons to do the unreasonable.

"Xavier, you've got the travel agency. You're good at convincing people to do whatever it is you put your mind to."

"Personally, I think this is a rather easy challenge," I commented.

"How do you figure?" Jon asked, skeptically raising an eye brow.

"Look at your planet, Jon," I began. "Someone has convinced people to enjoy taking vacations to places like Mexico and Louisiana! It's not going to be that far a stretch to convince those same people to travel to Dagobah.

"It's definitely a wild place," Xavier said.

"No," I contradicted, "It's unspoiled."

"So what would you call a place where you have to carry a blaster to fend off the local fauna?" Jon asked.

"That," I suggested, "is an adventure."

"I think I know where you're taking this," Jon sat forward in his chair. "We definitely need to make it sound so much more exciting..." he trailed off in thought.

"Oh, that's it Jon!" I exclaimed:

Experience Adventure. Experience Excitement.
Experience Dagobah.

They both nodded.

"Now, if we could only work into some sort of hunting safari, it would be perfect," I commented. "But, honestly: how does one mount a 30-foot swamp monster?"

"Who cares," Xavier said. "I've met some of those big game hunter types who would give up their eye teeth just to have the bragging rights."

"Perhaps you could come up with a few packages based upon that theme?" I said to Xavier. "Just use your imagination."

"We could probably recruit some of those adventurers to get more press for Dagobah," Jon added. "I'm pretty sure I can wrangle some celebrity endorsements as well."

"Perfect," I said. Pacing round the room, I thought some more. "Maybe we could even arrange some sort of celebrity hunt to get rid of those useless celebrities on your planet that people love to hate. You know, someone like Paris Hilton, or...who is that couple with all the kids that are on TV?"

"Heidi and Spencer?" Jon guessed.

"Yes, that's them," I said. "We could release people like those three into the swamp and people with guns can go hunt them. No experience required -- it would be open to everyone, not just those with hunting skills!"

"Ahem," Xavier started, "The authorities might take issue with that."

"What authorities?" I responded. "This is Dagobah we're talking about. Once they are smuggled off your planet, there won't be any problem at all."

"Right," Xavier said. "I'll have to see just how well that type of, er, vacation package would be received. I'll also look into frequent fly miles available for any type of travel to Dagobah."

"Good idea," I answered. "Who knows, they might be able to accumulate enough to get a free dinner at Jack in the Box or something."

"One last thing...maybe we could get a YouTube video channel and create a few viral videos. Even Vader knew the value of such things:

"Nice," Jon retorted.

"Oh, I haven't even gotten started," I said as we walked down the hall, "You know, we can even import indigents who will practice slash and burn in the rain forests, and then development companies can come in after the land is no longer good for farming and set up casinos ... they'll create a 'Las Vegas of the Outer Rim'...."

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator: Mad Men and Women of Team One

“Good afternoon, Yoda,” Nepharia greeted the Jedi Master. “I am Dar*ahem* Nepharia, the El Jefe for Team One and this afternoon we would like to show you our multipart plan to bring more tourism to Dagobah. Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator has been working on the advertising campaign and I believe that he has a presentation to share with you at this time.”

“Good afternoon, Mr. Yoda,” I stretched out my hand towards him.

“Remember you I do,” the diminutive wizard spoke. “Sing to me that lame song you have and crash into my backyard in your spaceship you did.”

“Heh heh, yes of course,” I chuckled. “Now that the introductions are out of the way, I would like to show you a little presentation on the campaign that we’ve been working on. Before we begin, would you like some refreshments? We have some delicious sandwiches made with toasted pumpernickel.”

“Those sandwiches I cannot eat,” he replied. “Dark toast intolerant I am.”

“Of course of course,” I replied. “Then how about some lizard skin wontons?”

“Not good for me all that cholesterol is,” he shook his head.

“Then perhaps some fruit,” I offered. “I believe we have some mixed fruit right here.”

Yoda waved his hand “Too much fresh fruit, I cannot take.”

“Then perhaps I should just get on with the presentation.”

“Nice that would be.”

“Here it is, four words, one which is used three times: Experience Adventure, Experience Excitement, Experience Dagobah.”

Yoda was silent for a moment. Then a moment more.

“Adventure? Excitement? A vacationer craves these things?” Yoda asked after a third moment.

“Yes they do!” my eyes lit up. “We’re talking about extreme vacations, surrounded by thousands of acres of untamed natural wild lands. Bush piloting through the swamps, hunting ravenous creatures, fishing for giant water beasts, giant swamp beasts, giant bog beasts, you name it.”

“An interesting idea this is,” Yoda conceded.

“Now as for your restaurant,” I continued. “We’re going in a slightly different direction with that, we want these vacationers to dine there, but we don’t necessarily want to make it part of the ‘extreme’ experience.”

“I see,” Yoda said. “Er, see I.”

“Right, so we’re using a few different methods to get the word out for that,” I explained. “We’ll have fortune cookies.”

“Fortune cookies I like,” Yoda nodded.

“And we’re not scared to try a little viral marketing as well,” I added.

Yoda nodded.

“Er, you’ll have to forgive us on that one,” I smiled weakly. “These are high school kids, you know.”

“Perhaps lose Dooku to the Dark Side I would not,” Yoda sighed. “If drop out of high school he did not.”

“We’ve got our troops excited over the idea of going to Dagobah. Ooops, and uh never mind about this next slide. I don’t know how it got in there.”

“Hmmm,” Yoda scratched his chin.

“And of course, no trip to Dagobah would be complete without souvenir bumper stickers,” I said. “It will be like the Wall Drug of a galaxy far, far away.”

“Nice this is,” Yoda smiled. “Many good ideas you show me, but complete your campaign is not.”

“Of course not,” I assured him. “We’re lining up celebrity endorsements even as we speak.”

“Speak we even as?” Yoda repeated.

“Yes,” I nodded excitedly. “Dave’s in, G.I.Joe jungle expert Recondo is in, Kraven the Hunter is dying to come to Dagobah, well not literally. I admit they’re not the biggest names in--”

“Size matters not.”

“You’re right, Master Yoda. In addition, we have Taarna, last of the Taarakians signed on.” I pointed to her picture in the presentation.

“A fetching creature she is,” Yoda smiled. “If a hundred years younger were I and a hundred years older was she…”

“And that’s not all. We still have a few more ideas up our sleeve.” I tugged on the cuffs of my shirt as a visual cue to what I was saying, like a magic act. All the good magicians do that, like that guy who does birthday parties. What’s his name? The great Flukini or something?

“Meditate on your campaign I must.” Yoda scooted off the chair and worked his way towards the door. “But looking forward to your next part I am.”

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fired, You Are

Hmm, so, Darth Horn-Rimmed, those who would become your apprentice in the dark art of paper sales, these people are, hmm? With the job market so poor, less goofy-looking candidates you could find, I would think. Hmm, yes.

Anyway, asked to provide a task for you people I have been. At first, overjoyed at this prospect I was. But, then informed I was that just use you to paint my house and mow my lawn, I can not! So lame that is. In my opinion, a fine test of your business skills, washing and detailing my air speeder would be. But able to think outside of the box, this Primatech seems not to be. So, a more business-oriented task I have for you.

Appointed as head of the Dagobah Tourism Council, I have been. Want this job, I did not. That I was signing up for Tuesday night line dancing at the Senior Center, I thought. But the other sheet on the bulletin board that was. So stuck with the job now, I am. At least until trick another doofus into taking the job, I can.

Easy, I thought this job would be. But out it turns that to Dagobah, almost no tourists come! Puzzled by this I am. Want to spend their spring break at a planet that is 100% swamp land and is completely crawling with snakes, who would not? Sure, many ways a person can die on Dagobah, there are. But keep tourists from flocking to Planet Florida, that does not. Such a mystery. Hmm, yes.

Another reason, that more tourists, Dagobah needs. You see, trying to run a business out of my house, I have been:

But, few customers I have had. Yes, a nice retirement community on Dagobah, there is. But very tight with their money, old people are. If more tourists we have, more suckers potential customers I will have.

So, your task this is: design an effective advertising campaign to draw tourists to Dagobah. A few different parts this task has.

1. Come up with a catchy slogan. Better than our existing slogan, it must be - "Dagobah - more than half of the snakes aren't even poisonous!" [Required]

2. Design advertising materials such as brochures, bumper stickers, billboards, radio spots, or tv commercials. Again, better than our current efforts, this must be:

[Required this part of the task is, but what kinds of materials you design are optional.]

3. Run its own travel agency, each team will. Able to trick persuade several tourists to visit Dagobah on their next vacation, you must be. [Required]

4. Come up with and execute other ways to drum up tourism to Dagobah. Completely original with this part of the task you can be. [Optional]

Only one rule there is. For legal reasons, lie in our advertising, the Dagobah Tourism Council can not. However, a law against telling the truth creatively, there is not! For instance, at the following examples look:
Not acceptable - "We guarantee your ship won't get permanently stuck in one of our bogs!"
Acceptable - "Once you come, you may never leave!"

Hee hee! See what I did there, do you? So clever, I am. Hee hee! So, anyway, clever like that you must be. Besides, to the Dark Side, lying leads. But only to the Beige Side, tricking people leads. Live with that, you can, I am sure.

Judging Criteria:
Judged on your creativity, humor, and effectiveness in manipulating unsuspecting tourists, your efforts will be. Maybe judge you based on your relative body odor, I will, too. On how many beers I have had when the time comes, that depends.

You're Fired: Number Three

Gyrobo screamed something about Henchman's yellowness and cited it as a reason for giving him the axe. It sounded reasonable, by Gyrobo standards.

"You know, Henchy, he's right," I said. "You do wear a lot of yellow."

"He does," agreed The Haitian.

Koma nodded.

"What can I say? I like looking good," Henchman explained.

"And Koma, you wear a lot of purple," I observed keenly.

"Fire Ciera!" Koma replied.

I knocked the hard wood of the boardroom table with my knuckles and exclaimed, "I've made my decision." I looked over the three losers. "Your performance has been lacking in creativity and excitement. You have all the unexpected plot twists of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, but without the Governator. I don't know if you really want this job or not. Maybe you're comfortable with what you've got going on right now, I don't know. Let's hope, though, because, Henchman432, you're fired."

Gyrobo and Koma saw him out the doors, then got up to go out behind him.

"Not so fast," I said. I hit the intercom button on my speaker phone and said to my assistant, "Gather the rest of the contestants."

"Whaaa???" Gyrobo spouted.

"What crazy scheme do you have up your sleeve this time, Bennet?" Koma wondered.

The rest of the candidates soon arrived and I made my announcement. "Your new task starts now! We have a special, very important, very influential and powerful guest judge to give you this week's task. This is somebody I personally have a lot of respect for."

Ciera yawned, "You woke us up for this?"

I pulled out my cell phone and dialed up our guest judge's stupid intern. "They're ready," I said, then coolly flipped the phone shut.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Third Boardroom

"Send them in," I commanded through the intercom.

Gyrobo entered first, followed by his two picks for the boardroom: Captain Koma and Henchman432. The three took their seats.

"Well, guys," I began, "why did you lose?"

"Ciera," said Koma.

Henchman grunted, "Koma."

"Überdale!" shouted Gyrobo.

"Like," Claire interjected, "I thought Brad Pitt was so totally hot, but he wasn't a good choice, like, at all."

"Yes," I agreed. "You picked a lame kidnapee, and the ransom demand was only mildly more creative than Team One's. You could have kidnapped Joan Rivers and ransomed her back to her doctors for the secret of immortality. But Brad Pitt?"

"Don't look at me," Koma spoke up. "I was all about Michael Jackson."

"Now, I did like the teamwork this time around. The organization was good. It was structured. There was intrigue and even an overall plot. Thanks mostly to Gyrobo. But the elements making up that plot were where your team was weak. Koma and Henchy, you two both dropped the ball there."

"Hey," Henchman replied, "I got the guy, right?"

"You did," I answered, "but all you did was show up, pistol-whip the guy and throw him in a van."

"Well, what else did ya want? Should I have bought him some ice cream?" asked Henchman.

"Wolverine fought ninja brats," The Haitian added.

"Looking back at past performances, though, things have been similar. Your no nonsense, straightforward approach is fine, if this were a Taco Bell. Take my order and hand over the burrito. But we're looking for people who can think outside the bun, who are quick on their feet, who can deal with any situation, who do more than simple pistol-whipping and keggar-killing."

I moved on to Koma. "And then there's you," I said. "In the past, you've been the exact opposite of Henchman. Perhaps even taking too much risk without the payoff. This week, though, you joined him in serving up a platter of bland penguinless food. The picture of Brad Pitt was a good touch, though. Henchman missed an opportunity there, but you didn't."

"Don't forget the neural destabilizer," Koma tossed in.

"Oh, I'm not," I assured him. "Gyrobo, you handled being lost in time well. I always hate dying in alternate timelines, so I'm glad you ultimately remedied that. If I do ever die, it should be a bullet through the glasses, not crushed by nondescript waste. Not only did you manage to deal with a trickster genie, but you also managed to continue your Body Parts of Artemis side quest. You've done consistently well, and I'd like to know who you think I should fire? Koma? Henchy? Or maybe you since you were The Boss and your team lost? If you were me, who would you fire?"

We all waited eagerly for his response. This was indeed a close one, and it will probably be up to what's said here in the boardroom.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Task Three: Winners

"This was by far the best week yet," I said to the assembled teams in front of me. "But I have to pick a winning team, and that means someone will be fired."

"But, like, you all did really good," Claire added with a smile.

"Victorious Secret," I started the judgment. "You worked well together as a team, with Gyrobo effectively pulling it all together at the end. For once, Koma, you didn't completely screw up. You netted your team ten million and even got some painted rocks through a side deal of your own."

Koma looked at me distrustingly.

I continued, "Wolverine, a ransom note taped to a safe on top of a Deadpool is a great way to deliver your message. However, you could have ripped apart the Ninja Brats easily, and that would have sent an even stronger message. When you listen to that female voice in your head, nothing good comes from it. I've been married for over 15 years. I know these things."

Wolverine growled something under his breath.

Moving on, I said, "Ciera, maybe you're not thinking enough with your head and instead thinking with...well, whatever it is you females have. Brad Pitt was a terrible choice of target. Other than him being a celebrity, and your attraction to him, there was no reason for it, was there?"

"Uh," Ciera said, "Umm...he's hot, though."

"Henchman," I gazed over at the man in the biohazard outfit. "Pistol-whipping Brad Pitt...that almost gives a reason for picking him in the first place. Otherwise, it was bland, generic, like an everyday henchman. If you want to make it in this business, you have to be World's Toughest Henchman. You got your guy, though, and that's what counts."

"Does that mean we won?" Henchman asked.

Ignoring him, I looked over at Team One. "Now, there's the issue of you people, who chose to kidnap me."

Jon looked nervous. Now that he was sober, it seemed he was thinking more clearly and possibly regretted his actions.

"Jon, I'm concerned about your drinking. Or I was, until it made you man up and pull an impressive stunt like this."

He smiled nervously.

"Kidnapping me was an interesting choice, which is why I let it happen. Obviously, Nepharia, your womanly wiles would never work on me. I'm a nerd. Notice the glasses?" I pointed to the horn-rimmed frames. "But I decided to go along with it to see where this would lead. That, and I wanted to lure out Abrams. At any moment I could have killed your entire team."

Claire balked, "Ugh! You could have, like, told me you were faking. I was, like, so worried! Me and Mr. Muggles even formed a search party."

"Relax, Claire Bear. I'm very well-trained in the art of selling paper," I explained. "I was in no danger whatsoever. But that brings me to the issue of the ransom. In my line of work, if you're captured, nobody knows who you are. Primatech would never, ever pay a ransom. They only went along with it because denying any knowledge of me wouldn't make for good television. You didn't really think that through, it seems, and for the ransom, the best you could come up with was a 'big bag o' cash'. This is Primatech. You could have demanded an unlimited supply of paper and paper products, or vials of mutant-making serum, or The Haitian."

Jon replied, "With a big o' bag of cash, we could get our own Haitian."

I nodded and turned toward the Professor. "A very action-oriented scene for a crippled. Holding your own against The Haitian, impressive work, Charles."

"Thank you," he replied lifting a glass of cognac.

"Now, let's get to the winning team," I said, changing tones. "The kidnapping. Jon and Nepharia's infiltration of Primatech and teleportation of me was far more engaging and exciting than Victorious Secret's simple, pistol-whipping Brad-snatching. One point for Team One."

Nepharia grinned evilly.

"Next up, the exchange. Professor Xavier's epic three-way with Primatech agents and Trekkies was excellent. Kicking Brad Pitt out of a van in a parking lot can't come close. Team One, two points."

Koma began looking at me suspiciously again.

"Ransom creativity. We had a big bag o' cash versus ten million and remembering something about egg machines. It turns out the big bag was stuffed full of singles, and Gyrobo's confusing demand tips the scale in his favor. One point for Victorious Secret, two points Team One.

Jon looked inside his big bag o' cash, then let out a, "Good grief!"

"Target creativity. I suppose you could argue kidnapping me was an obvious choice," I began, "but then so too is kidnapping a celebrity. I think Jon's team showed some real initiative by coming for me, and doing so first. Another point for Team One. Three points Team One, One point Victorious Secret."

Ciera frowned, "I'm not a mathematician, but this isn't looking good."

"Last point," I said, "teamwork. Both teams worked very well together this round. Gyrobo, even though he was in some other place and time during most of the task, was able to pull his team together and orchestrate a mediocre kidnapping. Jon, despite being drunk, was able to execute a grand kidnapping with each teammate playing a vitally important role, and doing so superbly. The truth is, I don't know who should get this point. Either Victorious Secret by a nose, or both teams get a point. It doesn't really matter, since either way Victorious Secret loses."

"Aww, shucks," Gyrobo buzzes.

"Gyrobo. You were The Boss on this task. Pick two people to join you back in the boardroom. One of you will be fired."