Soup or Science.

And now it’s time for America’s favorite game show, SOUP OR SCIENCE! And now here’s your host, Ian Matthews!

IAN: Hello and welcome to Soup or Science! With me is today’s contestant Steve! Steve, how are you?

STEVE: All right.

IAN: Are you ready to play Soup or Science?

STEVE: Yeah.

IAN: The rules are simple. I’m going to read you from a list of words and you just tell me if each word is either a scientific term or just a bowl of soup. Easy, huh?

STEVE: Yeah.

IAN: Okay, let’s play Soup or Science! Round One. Alphabet. Soup or Science?

STEVE: Alphabet, let’s see, alphabet… SOUP! Alphabet soup!

IAN: CORRECT! Round Two. Chicken. Soup or Science?

STEVE: Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken…SOUP! Chicken soup!

IAN: YOU GOT IT! Now for Round Three. Fagioli. Soup or Science?

STEVE: Hmmm, wow, that’s a tough one. That really doesn’t sound like a soup, so I’m going to say Science.

IAN: Really. What do you think a fagioli is?

STEVE: I think it’s a species of donkey in France.

IAN: Interesting. But is he right?


IAN: I’m sorry, that’s incorrect. Fagioli is actually a soup.

STEVE: Say what?

IAN: Have you ever eaten at an Italian restaurant? They serve pasta fagioli, which is a type of soup. I’m sorry Steve, but you lose the game. Thanks for playing and be careful, don’t get kicked in the head by a fagioli! (Exaggerated laughter as STEVE leaves the stage) Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next time on Soup or Science!

The demise of Captain Kangaroo.

(Enter Captain Kangaroo. Moose is wearing armor.)

CAPTAIN KANGAROO: Hey, Moose, why are you wearing armor?

MOOSE: Why not?

CAPTAIN KANGAROO: Well, it’s a nice day outside, so you don’t need a coat or anything like that.

MOOSE: So what?

CAPTAIN KANGAROO: So if you wear something heavy then you’ll be hot. And being hot isn’t nice.

MOOSE: Well, I just wanted to try it on.


MOOSE: Oh, I don’t know. Say, would you like to read a poem for me?

CAPTAIN KANGAROO: Sure, I love to read poems.

MOOSE: Just read this. (produces paper)


“Hold down those cheers
Because those spheres
Have grown teeth
To make things neat!”

That doesn’t make sense.

MOOSE: It what?

CAPTAIN KANGAROO: I said, it doesn’t make sense.

MOOSE: Okay, guys.

(Ping pong balls with daggers fall on the Captain)

CAPTAIN KANGAROO: Well, I guess it makes sense in one way or another, but the message itself is perfectly clear. (Collapses. Moose laughs.)


Apologies to Captain Kangaroo

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood And The Motorcycle Gang.

What if there was an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood in which a vicious motorcycle gang decides to drop by for a visit?

(Camera shows mini-diorama of street, littered and buildings spray-painted. Cut to Mr. Rogers’ house, untouched. Move camera to entrance. Enter Mr. Rogers, spray-painted and soaked by egg yolks. He sings his usual song, and then…)

MR. ROGERS: Hi, neighbor. I got attacked by some mean men. They wore black, and they drove noisy motorcycles. And then, one of them knocked over a garbage can and scattered the garbage all over the street. I hated them. And then, one of them came up to me and he said, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” I said yes, and then, that wimp picked up a trash can and socked me across the cheek. And then some other guys spray-painted me, and as I ran away, they threw eggs at me. I’m all right, kids, but this is something you should never do. (rock sails through window) Oh no, I’m surrounded. Let’s see what this note says: “Won’t you be my neighbor?” I sure will. Always be a good neighbor and never do stuff that is as bad as this. (Mr. McFeely flies through window) Mr. McFeely! Are you okay?

MR. MCFEELY: Yes, Mr. Rogers. My wife got away and is staying with Chef Brockett. Our house has been destroyed! I am very scared of those guys. I was making a speedy delivery to the puppet house, when those guys came to me. They pushed me around, and they even punched a hole in my hat!

MR. ROGERS: There’s only one thing left to do. Take the trolley!

MR. MCFEELY: But it’s too small!

MR. ROGERS: I can hang on to the back of the trolley and you can hang on to my feet.

MR. MCFEELY: But it’s not strong enough!

MR. ROGERS: Stop being pessimistic! Let’s make believe that we are safe in the Neighborhood of Make Believe! Let’s go, trolley!

(Trolley moves, screeching its wheels, dragging Mr. Rogers and Mr. McFeely through tunnel. In the Neighborhood of Make Believe, King Friday overlooks arrival of Mr. Rogers. Bridge collapses under Mr. Roger’s weight.)

KING FRIDAY: Are you all right?

MR. ROGERS: Yes. We are very safe here.

MR. MCFEELY: Mr. Rogers! I’m stuck!

QUEEN SARA TUESDAY: Somebody help Mr. McFeely!

(Mr. McFeely is stuck in tunnel. Mr. Rogers walks over to tunnel and tries to pull him free. Suddenly Mr. McFeely shoots out from the tunnel and gang members’ faces can be seen.)

MR. MCFEELY: They pushed me out! Get rid of them!

(Suddenly, King Friday is yanked down and whapped around and thrown aside. Queen Sara Tuesday screams and is yanked and thrown aside. Castle is torn down as gang members appear. Mr. Rogers screams.)

GANG MEMBER: Oh, scream, Mr. Wogers! We are the rulers here. Everyone is hostage.

(One member with axe chops down tree with Henrietta Pussycat and X the Owl’s houses on it, while another member destroy Lady Elaine Fairechilde’s Museum-Go-Round and attacks her. Gang member pulls her head off and throws it aside.)

MR. MCFEELY: Oh, no! I don’t like what they’re doing to us. They’re giving us a bad name.

MR. ROGERS: (hysterically) Let’s get out of here! Move on quickly! Let’s not waste any time! Go! HALLP!

HONCHO: Hey, man, what’s the rush? Say, won’t you be my neighbor?

MR. ROGERS: Sure! (Honcho punches Mr. Rogers) It’s a pleasure to have you as a neighbor. You’re destroying my shows, and we’re supposed to keep things neat and organized.

HONCHO: SHUT UP! (picks up Mr. Rogers and throws him through the wall)

(CUT to Mr. Roger’s room, now a disaster)

MR. ROGERS: Well, normally, you can take the trolley to the Neighborhood of Make Believe, but, I guess there are other ways to get there, too. Well, it’s such a good feeling to know you’re alive… (sledgehammer flies through wall behind Mr. Rogers and knocks him down)


Apologies to Fred Rogers

Thomas Jefferson and the Software Pirates.

I just finished reading Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History, a thrilling true story about a forgotten war between the United States and the Barbary states during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. It is a triumph of diplomacy and military might that needs to be appreciated. I couldn’t help wonder how President Jefferson would handle a similar situation involving software pirates. Here’s my take.

The memo from the spy ring arrived at President Jefferson’s desk. Upon review his suspicions were confirmed. The software pirates were indeed in operation off the shores of Boston. By all accounts they appeared to be a flotilla of fishing boats complete with hundreds of fishing rods propped along the decks but the complete absence of fishing lines was the giveaway. The software pirates had finally been found.

Jefferson then dispatched the USS Diplomat in an attempt to negotiate with the software pirates. He promised them immunity from prosecution and steady jobs in exchange for cessation of their illegal operations. The pirates sent the Diplomat back to Washington with the single word reply, “LOL”.

Enraged, Jefferson dispatched the mighty warship USS FFFFUUUUUU to engage in combat with the software pirates. All it took was a single shot of the cannon to blow apart the pirate ship to tiny splinters and send the crew plunging into the sea to be transformed into shark poop.

Undeterred by the attack, the software pirates set up a hideout on a remote island they would call Pirate Bay for continuing their operations. Again it was detected by the Jefferson spy ring and the FFFFUUUUUU was sent to intervene. But this time the pirates were ready and had wrapped the island with giant rubber bands to deflect any flying cannon balls. To add insult to injury, they also sent a messenger to deliver the one-word taunt, “Problem?”

By now Jefferson could take no more. Assembling his staff of advisers and strategists, he utilized the last resort and proposed a raid of Pirate Bay. The soldiers came ashore disguised as palm trees and coconuts and took the pirates completely by surprise. Forced to surrender, the pirates were taken into custody and forced to operate the steam engine powered servers in use at the White House during Jefferson’s presidency, thus ending the early days of software piracy.

This early triumph of American military might was later immortalized in the famed Battle Hymn:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the troops going ashore
Dressed as palm trees and coconuts to fight a bloodless war
The pirates were surprised and couldn’t take it anymore
Our soldiers kicked their butts

Magic secrets revealed.

I was once employed by a world famous magician whom I will not identify here. After years of decent compensation, I was suddenly given a raw deal. Instead of getting mad, I choose to get even by revealing the secrets to some of  magic’s most mind boggling illusions, for I was the one who made them happen behind the scenes. While I did all the work, the magician got all the credit. This is an outrage, and all that changes right now.

  • The floating woman. There’s a reason she always wears a long dress. It’s to conceal the prongs of my forklift parked behind the curtain. All I do is pull a lever and up she goes. Simple.
  • Cutting a woman in half. As she climbs in the box, her legs rest on the prongs of my forklift parked behind the curtain. I just need to push the lever to move her legs out of the way of the saw. Too easy.
  • Pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The box containing the rabbit is placed on the prongs of my forklift parked behind the curtain. After the magician places the empty hat on the podium, I pull a lever to lift the box under the podium so the magician can reach inside and pull out the rabbit.
  • Escapes. These are all done the same way, no matter how dangerous the escape may look. The key to unlock the chains is placed on the prongs of my forklift parked behind the curtain. After the magician is locked up and hidden from view, I just pull a lever for the magician to grab the key and perform the escape.
  • Card tricks. These too are all done the same way. The chosen card is placed on the prongs of my forklift parked behind the curtain. All I do is pull the lever and the magician is able to retrieve the card to do whatever card trick is being performed.

And there you have it, magic’s biggest secrets finally revealed. Not so magic now, is it?


The toy collectors.

SCENE. IAN’S bedroom. IAN and STEVE enter, each carrying a small bag. They sit on IAN’S bed.

IAN: Well, here’s hoping our purchases today will complete our collections. (looks at a small shelf on the wall on which rest 4 superhero figurines clad in colorful costumes) So far I have the WehWeh, the WiiWii, the WohWoh and the WuWu, but I don’t have the WahWah.

STEVE: Well, I have the WahWah but I don’t have the WiiWii.

IAN: Let’s see what we bought, shall we? I’ll go first. (reaches in bag and pulls out a plain, sealed foil bag. He begins to open the foil bag.) Please let this be the WahWah, please let this be the WahWah, please let this be the WahWah. (pulls out figurine and then sighs) Aahhh, I got the WiiWii.

STEVE: (surprised) Y-you got the WiiWii.

IAN: But I already have a WiiWii, I want the WahWah.

STEVE: You wanna trade?

IAN: No trade until you open yours.

STEVE: Okay, here we go. (begins opening his foil bag) Please let this be the WiiWii, please let this be the WiiWii, please let this be the WiiWii. (pulls out figurine and then sighs) Aahhh, I got the WahWah.

IAN: (surprised) You got the WahWah?

STEVE: Trade you the WahWah for the WiiWii?

IAN: Done.