DRIVE vs BABY DRIVER

BABY DRIVER MOVIE
Which inspired which, which is better, what is the genre, and which is based on a book? What is the as-yet unfilmed sequel to that book, and who wrote it?

Once upon a time a family of wandering gypsies arrived in America by way of steamer from Istanbul, and later, by banana boat from Costa Rica.  The clan was headed by Haggar Deplorable of the Hungarian Deplorables, a stout, red faced man with big hands and a devious heart.  His wife Rubellah loved those big hands, and placed her trust in them because they never failed her.  Haggar’s hands were big enough to hide wallet leather, strong enough to force any hinge, and yet delicate enough to carry crystal or fine gold necklaces back across any threshold.  Although the knuckles of the right hand were callused from striking the bony jaws of many an interloper, no one could help but admire the stealth and consummate skill with which those hands moved.  Legends are born of less.
—Rubellah was just as impressive herself, but with her it was her eyes.  Dark, penetrating, almost hypnotic in their effect, Rubellah’s eyes could hold the gaze of any others just long enough.  Then, with a swish of long black braids, bound by golden bands, she would be on her way again, a little richer for the encounter. Besides man and matriarch, there were sons and daughters numbering four each.  Stone Deplorable was the bald one since birth, but he made up for his unusual genetic condition by growing hair almost everywhere else.  His thick, coarse chest hair had, on first sight, an animal attraction to women, and his marital engagements and subsequent disappearances averaged ten a year.  Stone was bold, unlike his brother Jacob.  Jacob was the one trained to fit through tight openings, late at night.  He had to be coaxed early, and later used a penlight.  Jacob would not participate in any daylight escapades, such as those perpetrated by Igor and his brother Ahab, who were the identical twins and bungling comics of the clan, and who would often approach a seated mark from either side as Stone moved in from behind with the ether-drenched handkerchief.
—Of the daughters, Ruth was the only homely one.  She kept the books, invested the family earnings, and dabbled in the market.  Her sister Salome, however, looked like she’d stepped out of a Botticelli painting.  Voluptuous, volcanic, verbose, she exuded despicable passions from every pore, and went through men like a diva goes through chocolates.  Meanwhile, Beulah was merely flirtatious, beguiling by comparison; she posed and accessed while Salome pounced.  Finally, Caprice also liked to flirt, but she did not possess Beulah’s detachment, and so often needed to be extricated from amorous situations by Stone’s intervention and wrestling technique.  All four sisters were blessed with their mother’s long dark hair and hypnotic eyes.
—Several years before its demolition the family moved into the projects in Brooklyn just long enough to establish residency, U.S. citizenship, and to play the welfare roles.  Jacob obtained SSI disability payments for his timidity and frail looks, and all the “children” got allowances for food stamps which were later sold on the street at the usual discounts.  As it turned out, they did not need to lie very much, and Haggar even went for worker’s compensation by claiming a fictitious slump in “intrapersonal lifestyle analysis.”  Soon after, they set up a mail drop, scored one final fake drug bust on the building’s pushers, and moved uptown into Trump Tower, which had excellent Hispanic room service.
—“This was a real adjustment for us,” Igor later confided to a cab driver.  “Since poppa was getting older, and found it harder to work with his hands, we hired tutors to teach us proper grammar and etiquette.  Hotel employees who’d complained when they heard Hungarian folk music and Liszt Rhapsodies echoing through the cooling ducts decided they could tolerate us when we stopped singing and dancing, and started tipping.  Guests were not so sure.  Once I was on the elevator during a psychologists convention and got asked if I thought what we were doing was wrong.  After pressing the hold button I explained to a curious shrink what poppa had always taught us, which is that God created us the way we are, so He must rejoice when we do what we do.  Then I asked what he knew, and demanded payment for my session, refusing to release the hold button until I was given a Ulysses S. Grant, although I settled for a Jackson and a Lincoln, which was all the bum had.  After that I started dressing differently too, and began to resemble a politician or a game show host.  It never occurred to me to question our family philosophy or moral judgment, whatever that means.  Like Popeye or The Donald, I yam what I yam.”
—The Deplorables all began to wear different hats from that point.  Beulah and Jacob ascended into high society, attending arts openings and benefits in order to case the patrons’ jewelry.  Salome, finally achieving a modicum of self restraint, was able to play the witty rich divorcee just long enough to lure her gentlemen victims to secluded bedrooms where they were seduced and left exhausted and semi-conscious without their dignity, their Rolexes, or their credit cards.  Confiding in Stone, Salome scoffed at marriage.  “American millionaires,” she laughed.  “No wonder women divorce them.  Besides, the only reason to get married in America is to have kids, and I’m sorry, but I haven’t got eighteen years to spare.  What if I have quintuplets, or Siamese twins when all I really wanted was a Siamese cat?  And what will my baby’s first words be?  ‘Wii Wii?’  Get real.  Babies don’t come from heaven anymore, anyway.  Heaven has been out of babies for quite some time.  Then when the kid starts asking Why, what would I tell it?  I don’t know Why.  To top it off, what if my baby is switched at birth, and I don’t find out until nine years later when someone named Galifianakis shows up, and with a basket?”
—Stone responded in kind.  “With me, I find I’m often forced to leave Xerox copies of one dollar bills as tips on dinner dates.  Afterward I send the women flowers with dead insects in them.  If they don’t get the message, I describe my idea of an exciting evening as curling up on the sofa with a book by Kafka while listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations and eating Fruit Loops straight from the box.  If they manage to find me, I disguise our empty refrigerator with plastic roasts purchased from appliance salesmen down on their commissions, and I allow them to discover this while I’m watching Dancing with the Stars and sipping Ovaltine from an elephant-shaped mug.”
—Speaking of politics, Igor and Ahab had some misadventures of their own.  Identical twins on each side of the game, they raised funds which they also skimmed from both Democrats and Republicans.  Their education on the matter was obtained by attending phony real estate seminars run by former televangelists, and taking copious notes on technique.
—Ahab:  “I told them what they wanted to hear.  I defined class envy as something which occurs in people who don’t have any class, liberals as near-sighted people prescribing rose-colored glasses, and high school grads as young punks who can whistle all the top forty tunes but still can’t read their own diplomas.  Was I tough on crime?  Well, for rape I suggested the perp do a stint as playmate for amorous eight hundred pound gorilla.  For DUI the stint would be as a bumper in a bumper car concession run by crazed 8 year olds.  For slapping, yelling at, or otherwise preventing a child from learning to speak English and to vote Republican the perp got incarceration for twenty four hours with an abusive life insurance agent suspected of murdering his mother.  And just for allowing your kid to watch TMZ on TV as much as he wanted required you to be bound, gagged, and forced to watch House of Cards reruns for two days straight, your eyes stuck open with Crazy Glue.”
—Igor:  “With the Democrats, I tried to cover myself by taking the rich versus poor debate one giant step forward.  I proposed an actual class war by claiming to have inside information that the other side was already mobilizing.  For K rations my lower class battalion would have grits, toast, and powdered milk for breakfast, Spam, Coke, and a slice of government cheese for lunch, and tuna casserole, tea, and a dollop of rocky road ice milk for dinner.  Of course for the rich it was, I admitted, German Sausage Coquettes, fresh squeezed orange juice, and Belgian waffles for breakfast, Tuscan Veal with pine nuts, Amaretto Custard Cake, and cappuccino with chocolate garnish for lunch, and for dinner it was Roast Rack of Lamb Tiffany, Medallions de Trois Viandes aux Trois Poivron, Fresh Mango Sherbet with coulis of raspberries, and Mouton Rothschild 1938.  Unfortunately, I was heckled as any bad stand up comic might be.  This wasn’t the kind of reaction I wanted, so I slipped out the back way with as much slush fund money as I could carry.”
—There were other failures for the twins.  For instance, they later infiltrated the gangs, and attempted to convince various gang leaders of certain credentials, much like a national fraternity official might when visiting a local chapter.  They even set up a school, or rather skool, to teach homies the history of gangs which they’d failed to learn.  To qualify for GEDs {Gang Education Diplomas} kids were told that it wasn’t enough just to know how to blow smoke rings, or how to walk around with their belts unbuckled and shirt tails out without dropping their baggy pants, or even the proper way to flash “get stuffed” to other gangs in order to provoke a shooting spree.  They needed to learn how to fail at everything else in life in order to get into ANGER U, of which the twins were admissions coordinators.
—“Unfortunately, we had a high dropout rate,” Igor soon complained.  “Many were fascinated at first when we told them CRIPS stood for Class Rebels Immortalizing Paint Spray, but when we said that BLOODS stood for Bitter Lads Objectifying Oppressive Dysfunctional Society no one knew what ‘objectifying’ and ‘dysfunctional’ meant, and then it was too late to change it to Boys Learning Of Oppression, Drugs, and Suicide.  So I blurted out something about two splinter groups of the Bloods that went to war–the B Positives and the B Negatives, and who did they think won?  Then Ahab, thinking it a good joke, tried to up me by invoking the LORDS, and asking which faction did they think came out on top, the Legion Of Raging Demented Sociopaths or the Lovers Of Really Delicious Shortcake?  Alas, our humorless would-be subjects suspected we were dissing them then, and we barely made it out of klass by remembering that we needed to attend the funeral of Bloods impressionist graffiti artist Chico Rameriz, who was killed for having a ‘blue’ period.”
—Although the twins did manage to start a gang of their own in Chinatown, that didn’t pan out either.  The short lived Kung Yu Gang followed no particular martial arts code, although they had plenty of black belts, purple belts, and quite a few gold chains.  To the twins fiscal disappointment, the gang’s rumbles became mainly intermural food fights, pitting the Japanese VS. the Vietnamese, or the Chinese Szechuans VS. the Taiwan Mutant Ninja Tenderloins.  For fun the upstart youngsters even vandalized price and options tags at American car dealerships.
—Meanwhile Ruth continued to buy Krugerrands, gold stocks, and commodities futures in preparation for the coming economic collapse, which “any fool could see” was inevitable once one of the two candidates set up in the Oval Office.  Such became her acumen in international currency exchange that she had three additional phone lines installed into the Trump casino suite where Rubellah had once sung songs of the old country and cooked goulash for Haggar.
—“They tried to audit me once,” Ruth confessed to a hotel maid, “but I put the kibosh on that and diverted the audit by slipping an herb concoction into the auditor’s tea which had an aphrodisiac effect.  Then I seducing him with what really turned him on–-new ideas for torturing an auditee (or candidate unwilling to release their tax returns for public dissection.)  One suggestion I made was that he strap the evasive taxpayer to a Delco battery and jolt the truth out of him for two hours while his property was sold at auction to a bunch of yard sale junkies.  The auditor was so excited by my concepts that he had to go back to his office to relieve himself with some day trading.”
—For Rubellah’s part, she worked part time as a self employed psychic hotline operator, so she could be near her children.  When the kids were out she told fortunes with her crystal ball in the Marriott ballroom.  Rubellah relished her job, and often repeated a favorite fortune for people she disliked, which was that their ambulance driver would favor the scenic route.  But secretly she also longed for the old days, when her family danced and sang with Bollywood stars.
—As for Haggar, he found employment by becoming a reincarnation of The Prophet.  Simply by growing a long gray beard and calling himself Ahred Dustafo he was able to make a video tape dispensing Gibranesque wisdom, and was soon asked to speak at prestigious area colleges.  This, after trying other unsuccessful boasts, like claiming his grandfather was King of Liechtenstein.
—Haggar:  “Before I found this particular niche, I was bragging to everybody I met that granny played gin rummy with Queen Victoria, that our family psychiatrist was Freud himself, and that before I was ten I’d been on eighteen boxes of cereal, including Muselix.  But then I met a shoe salesman who told me his family was so rich once that even their butler drove a 1936 Auburn Speedster and had a winery in the Napa Valley he’d never seen.  I grew tired of my con job after that.  And then one day when a hot dog vendor asked me the meaning of life, for some reason I told him I couldn’t tell him or he’d go mad, shave his head, and attack the Pope.  Other people asked me even sillier questions, like why I wore a long white robe-–which was better to hide things under–-or why the city of Toledo is considered holy.  This was the last straw.  It was time to get back to the old ways, to get on the move again, and to find happiness.  So Rubellah bought me some Ben Gay for my hands, and we gathered our children together and hit the road.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to laugh and sing again as we danced our way across America, doing what we do best in the land of freebies and the home of the Atlanta Braves.”
—So confessed Haggar Deplorable in a letter to the Trump Tower doorman, explaining why they’d left, and how much they enjoyed trashing the room and insulting everyone.  And to this day it seems that everyone is looking for the clan, because we all need someone to blame.  This may also be why politicians on both sides of the debate are suspicious of each other, and why they continue to talk about the despicable Deplorables. —Ryback Solomon

CNN
Democrats or Republicans? Tea or Coffee? Choose or die.

James Comey Gives Graduation Speech

spying

When I graduated from college, I was a very confused nut. They told me that since I was educated in the Humanities now, I had the broad picture of life. The theory was that, amid all those practical, near-sighted automatons who’d opted to attend technical school, I alone possessed sufficient vision to define the true parameters of man’s social, moral, and ecological condition. And I can still recall vividly the commencement ceremonies when the dean waxed eloquent on the great challenges which faced us as we went out into the world with our parchments and our purple cardboard hats. It was the same night they found Eddie Fishbein, a credit-laden senior, curled up in his dorm closet with one thumb in his mouth and a sweat drenched security blanket wrapped tightly around his neck.
    Understandably even more distressed by the prospect of the competitive unknown, I soon became sullen, morose, and saddened to learn that my Alma Mater had betrayed me by not telling us about the injustice which allowed someone who could recite Shakespeare, Byron, and Yeats to lose out to some YUTZ who happened to know his way around certain bathroom plumbing fixtures. Here was I, able to grasp the really significant essentials of postmodern film, the art of Phyllis Diller, and the reign of Genghis Khan, reduced to trudging the city in search of beer cans, while investing my hard-earned assets in a diversified portfolio of lottery tickets and bingo cards. Would I make it? I wondered anxiously. Would I be forced to take up residence in a dumpster and start eating re-refried beans? Would the student loan officers from my Alma Mater attend my funeral and hold a pocket mirror to my nose? In the throes of my disillusionment, it all seemed highly probable.
    Luckily, that was when I got lost while searching for a restroom at the US Tennis Open. Evoking some bizarre set of circumstances, then, I was immediately mistaken for a tennis player due to my resemblance to an NBA cross-dresser. Evidently the man hadn’t shown and was presumed withdrawn. The official I addressed in the hallway as “Bud–hey Bud!” responded before I could complete my question by laughing and wringing my hand. The upshot is that he ushered me into this room where the pros were sitting around sipping grape Koolaids and discussing the cons of their investments. Now, not only did I have a job, but a few friends as well.
    I wouldn’t say it was sheer LUCK which enabled me to reach the second round. Even though my opponent made more unforced errors than McDonalds has commercials, I WAS pretty high on adrenaline. For instance, we were already three games into the match before I realized the warmups were over. And then some of my service returns had this knack for hitting the tape and rolling over on his side like a prophetic yo-yo too. Toward the end there’d be sparks spurting up all over the forecourt as he tried to scoop the dead balls back. The topper, though, was when I miss-hit match point into a lob which caught the back of the baseline and placed my luckless opponent within slapping radius of our resigning chair umpire.
    Back in the locker room afterward, I was accosted by several autograph seekers of the racket manufacturing ilk. They wanted to know why I’d changed playing hands in mid-career, and if this meant I’d be changing rackets too. Muttering something under my breath about a new go-for-broke strategy, I managed to con several commentators into spouting one-liners about my revolutionary style eventually “doing to Laver what McEnroe’s serve-and-volley later did to Borg.” This was particularly satisfying in that before then I wouldn’t have been able to get a passing shot past a ball machine.
    Here was poetic justice at last, I reasoned. Too bad the outcome of my second round established the record as being the only love match in history when I was ousted by the 98th seed–a defrocked ex-priest who nonetheless kneeled in supplication before serving four consecutive aces. I think it was at the 6–0, 5–0 point that I also began to suspect that my opponent had the psychological edge, much like Freud had over Skinner. When the linesmen and ballgirls began heckling me, I was sure of it. Regretfully, there’d been little time for me to brush up on the paperback I’d found in my locker room, INTERMEDIATE TENNIS: RELIEF FOR THE FRUSTRATED BEGINNER. Now I’d either have to fill out an application as night shift relief at the nearest Di-Quickie Mart, or try entering the Papua New Guinea Open, hoping I’d get into the finals because no one else knew how to get there. Since I had no money for plane fare, I decided on the former.
    It wasn’t long before I began to realize that although being a jack-of-all-trades has its perks (one can always brag about being a ‘master-of-none’), I was somehow missing out on obtaining fulfilling employment and its subsequent burnout, and that if only I’d majored in Banking or Computers, I wouldn’t be sitting around evenings contemplating the BIG QUESTIONS with Pan Pizza on my breath, but I’d be talking private condos in Big Sur, and maybe going on monthly junkets to the Cayman Islands to launder my petty cash.
    To make this protracted story shorter, I eventually began attending spy school, and before long I was feeling much better about my future. That is, until several dishwashers told me about another course at the school titled Poetic Devices And Their Application In Government And Industry. The course instructor was Dr. Percy Snodgrass, former curriculum director at my Alma Mater.

spying on Americans
Future Shock

Dear Ms. Lonlihearts

prisons

Dear Ms. Lonlihearts,
     My wife Kim is hard to understand.  Now I have to figure out what to do before she leaves me.  I need your advice.
     What’s happened in the past year or so is very unnerving.  First Kim complains that I’m just laying around the house on weekends, and that if I don’t want to take her dancing I should at least get myself a hobby.  ‘Okay, okay,’ I agreed.  Since I was already a tool-and-die man, I thought I’d set up a little metalworking shop in the garage.  You know, putter around and maybe build some lawn furniture?  But then we had this big argument over China dealing with North Korea.  Me, I was flabbergasted to hear Kim take the wimpy Democratic side, and so soon after yelling her lungs out over me laying in our hammock while the grass grew half an inch higher than Ed’s next door!  Pointing out this flaw in her logic, I even started calling around to various aerospace contractors and computer stores.  Believe me, it was just a gag to watch Kim wig out.  But then this guy over at the junkyard takes me serious and tries selling me sixty sheets of surplus titanium he just bought from the CIA, along with six cases of vodka.  Before long I’m dipping into our vacation fund so I can buy an old Minuteman booster engine that’s been collecting rust in a warehouse in Huntsville, and enough Simms chips to upgrade my Dell to fifty gigs.  After that I’m assembling a fuselage in the back yard–and boy, did that really shut Kim up!  Trouble is, she stopped talking to me completely.  Especially when she found out I’d also taken a second mortgage on the house.
     Kim did like the publicity for a while, I must admit.  The first time I gave my missile a four-second test burn for the benefit of the police SWAT team who’d surrounded us, she actually stood up for me.  You shoulda heard her argue about how I was saving the American taxpayer millions by helping them update our “depleted military reserves” as a private citizen.  She praised my fiscal accountability too, letting them know that I don’t pay eighty bucks for a screwdriver like the wasteful Pentagon boys do.  I was so grateful and proud of her at that point that I only interrupted to admit that although my contribution wasn’t much, if EVERY neighborhood handyman and ex UPS driver upgraded their computer and built an ICBM beside his bird bath, the world would be so much safer as a result.  Then, I said, all the terrorists out there would know we can be as insane as they are, and we’d have the world’s respect at last!
     Luckily, we managed to calm everyone down by serving fried chicken.  And by the time I started talking about how I was helping the government concentrate on big issues like health care and out-of-control-celebrities some of them had even lowered their M-16s.  Soon after the question and answer period of my lecture, I did confess that my missile didn’t really house a warhead—just a canister of some spent nuclear fuel rods I’d picked up along the interstate.  Not only were they calmed by this point, they promised to take up a collection to see if they could help me buy a decent second-hand Cold War nuke.
     I think Kim was most proud, though, when Trump visited to congratulate me for invoking the spirit of “private enterprise.”  The Donald, as I recall, said over and over how this might put him on the History Channel as a hero, too.  His fondest hope, he said, was that my spirit of cooperation would spread.  Not only did Kim smile for the photographers as the prez rattled on, she took great pleasure in showing them my launch facility, which consists of my now sentient Dell (nicknamed “Dr. Strangelove”) linked to a shortwave radio in my greenhouse.  What’s more, I even overheard her discussing how my efforts might make Putin take a powder once the Ruskies confirmed what was going on.  At this point the VP interrupted to reward me with a canister of nerve gas, circa 1958, to enhance my arsenal.  The only stipulation was that I had to get a Doberman to protect it.  Naturally my neighbor Ed was so jealous by then that he swiped my Congressional Medal of Honor off the barbecue grill.
     Yet it was Kim’s ejection from the Garden Club that subtly renewed our rift.  It was all right while Bill Clinton was consoling her, but when everyone left in Avis Rental cars she had to deal with the ladies of our community, who hadn’t slept for days, and insisted that our beaches were being targeted by Cuban cruise ships for a toxic waste strike. . . “Castro oil,” they call it.
    Unfortunately for my defense, my missile would probably prove ineffective in a retaliatory strike because I’d estimated it would take three hours to launch it.  My problems were compounded when during the night Chuckles–my three month old Doberman–suffered a mysterious malady which left him paralyzed from the muzzle down.  I remember I called the White House that morning on the suspicion that my nerve gas was leaking and one of the aides there informed me Mad Dog Mattis was visiting Floyd Cramer, a plumber in Baton Rouge who’d successfully assembled a makeshift Cruise Missile out of galvanized pipe.  To make a long story short, I quickly dialed Scuba World and ordered a wet suit and air tank.  By nightfall I’d buried my leaky canister in a landfill outside of town, on top a’ which they didn’t plan to build a tenth Starbucks until January of 2018.  Soon breathing easier, I replaced the missing canister with a tank of laughing gas so no one would suspect.
     Ever since this incident Kim has been sleeping in the guest room.  Women have always been a mystery to me, and she’s no exception, Ms. Lonlihearts.  She won’t listen to me when I explain to her that I’m only doing this because Washington needs all the diversion it can get.  I’ve even tried to make her proud of me–my launch time is down to twenty-two minutes and my missile range is up to as far as Kanye West.  Nothing seems to work.  Do you have any suggestions for me?
                         Yours hopefully,
                         ‘At Wit’s End’        
        
  Dear “End,”
     I have no suggestions for you, but for our readers I suggest calling for our latest book, HOW TO TURN YOUR SWIMMING POOL INTO A BOMB SHELTER.  Operators are on duty . . . this may be your last call.    
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