No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.
We were invited to drop 500 words on a website tied to a major player in the auto industry, about our experience at CES 2013.
My Editor: I understand you’re pretty funny as a writer, and…
Legal Department (butting in): … well, comedy is
something we usually squasha kind of hobby of ours. Well– Well, actually, it’s a little more than just a hobby. Reader’s Digest is considering publishing two of our jokes.
Legal Department: Yeah. And perhaps some night we could maybe get together and swap humorous stories for-for fun.
Me: Oh, why not? Maybe play a couple of Adele records. That’d be a hoot.
Yay! Free publicity! Backlinks! Money raining from the sky! Hookers and blow!
Legal Department: That’s a joke right?
Legal Department: We get it.
However, writing for one’s corporate overlords is not like writing on your own site that no one will ever read. They have rules. They have a team of lawyers vetting every syllable.
Legal Department: “Good morning, Detroit.” What the heck is that supposed to mean?
My Editor: I don’t know, Legal Department, I guess it means good morning, Detroit.
Legal Department: And who gave him permission to link YouTubes?
So, to continue the story (as pitched)…
I strolled by an outdoor display featuring a 2013 Shelby GT500 and a sultry Russian spokesmodel explaining the internet radio integration. Helpless to resist my charm and smooth lines, I seduced her right out of…
Legal Department: What do you think you’re doing? You know you’re forbidden to write anything not checked by this office.
Me: What was there to check? I was there.
Legal Department: You know the rules. If this is a legitimate news story, it must go through proper channels.
Legal Department: And you– You are not funny, but you are a maniac… and you’d better start changing your life.
Me: Sirs? Thank you for that constructive criticism. It’s– It’s a privilege to take comedy notes from a department of your stature.
Legal Department: Fine. Just don’t let it happen again.
Lies Story about the Shelby: Killed. NSFW footage of drifting down Las Vegas Boulevard to the cabaret with the model: Killed. Repeatedly. Punchline about Pandora’s box unlocking the Strip: DOA.
Legal Department: What the Hell was that? “unlocking the Strip?” “boxes?”
Me: Comedy, sir.
Legal Department: “Comedy?” No, no, this is not comedy. Comedy is funny, hysterical-type things.
Me: “Hysterical-type things?” We’re requesting you elaborate, sirs.
Legal Department: Antics, dammit! Comedy of error, like the Keystone cops falling down. General wackiness like that.
Me: Falling down? That’s a sight gag. How would anyone see you fall down on a blog post, sir?
Fine. On to the
golf carts Hybrids and EVs. You can steer the Ford C-MAX Energi with one pinky. (Legal Department: No you can’t. Two hands on the wheel at all times. Professional driver on closed course. Do not attempt.) It has an observed top speed of Warp 9. We made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.
Legal Department: [reads the story] This is not official news, you loon. As far as I’m concerned, it didn’t happen.
Me: It did happen.
Legal Department: You shut your mouth!
Legal Department: How can you have the gall to compare our electric vehicles with golf carts… and rear-end “collisions”?
Me: Well, I was– It just comes up. I was trying to be funny.
Legal Department: Funny is good. Funny is good.
Legal Department: But then do it by using comedy and humour… not “hooking into the rough” and “rear end” remarks. Furthermore, you are to stick to linking normal modes of YouTubes… not wild stuff.
Epilogue: After an actual attempt to pass corporate muster on the first pass, and several edits later, our work is scheduled to be posted on the internet, on a legitimate site, and without the usual tears and extortion that usually serve our publicity department so well.
Me: Sir, in my heart, I know I’m funny.
My Editor (after shopping the draft around): We got one email from a man who thought that your “comedy” was “visionary and interesting.” The other eleven hundred emails and texts say that you can’t do comedy to save your dick!… That’s a direct quote, dude.
Post Script. Of course, we’re kidding! The whole experience was great, and we’re grateful for it. Even for getting fact checked like we’re Mitt Romney.
the way it looks to us today, you’d say incredible…
Or, You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby. Or, Why yes, they’re real.
This is the 2013 Ford C-Max Energi ”MAV (multi-activity vehicle).” This is the plug in hybrid version – there is a “conventional” hybrid as well. The engines are the same; battery output is not. Not to piddle on a couple billion dollars of R&D, engineering and marketing (words like MAV and “Energi” don’t coin themselves, you know), but basically, the car comes in Prius (regular) and Volt flavors. Except better. Here’s why:
Another feature of the C-MAX Energi is called EV mode. This is a button that lets you switch the vehicle between EV Now, Auto EV and EV Later. So you can choose which mode to drive in – electric only, gasoline only, or a combination of gas and electric.
I put a couple miles on this fish, in and around the LV Convention Center.
- plug in, rather than cordless. At least you don’t have to rewire your house. You can just plug it in overnight, just like a smartphone. But, you’re never stranded. Unlike a Volt, it’s designed to use the engine like an engine when you want or it needs to.
- “is it on?” Hit the start button and nothing mechanical happens.
- When Car and Driver tested the electric Rolls, they heard “an occasional hint of dynamo hum, but for the most part, the drivetrain dialogue was overwhelmed by the hiss of tires on pavement and the whoosh of air flowing past the side windows.” Ditto.
- At city speeds, the tire hum over the hard concrete of Vegas was a noticeable sound, if only because it had no audio competition. The engine never fired up.
- We were not allowed to test its maximum dynamic capabilities in a high school parking lot. it was solid over bumps and softer riding than a Scion xB on 16s.
- Roomy. The cowl is low, so the front is airy. The back seat was comfortable and roomy for our camera guy, a big man with a massive video camera.
- Yes, I called it a fish. That metal middle grill and the big headlights seal it.
- Yes, I would buy one.
In four words: Better Than Any Prius. (Or, “Best Escort Wagon Ever.”)
Las Vegas is like a reef. Predators in the shadows and crevices, luring you in and kicking your broke ass carcass out once the $ stops flowing. Scavengers looking for any lost treasures (hopefully beer or money). Schools of oblivious tourists cruising back and forth, assuming someone else will lose out – not them, not today.
And then there are the sea anemones.
Sea anemones are a group of water-dwelling, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria; they are named after the anemone, a terrestrial flower… The mouth, also the anus of the sea anemone, is in the middle of the oral disc surrounded by tentacles armed with many cnidocytes, which are cells that function as a defense and as a means to capture prey.
In this case, Scientologists:
(Ed.: Yes, there’s a kid in the stroller while Dad gets trolled by Xenu. That’s not Nemo.)
Free Stress test? What could be wrong with that, sir? Just answer some questions while grabbing onto our
tentacles cnidocytes anal probes E-Meter electrodes while we do some “guided neurotoxin-aided hypnagogic fantasizing.” In other words, the closer you are to passing out while living the waking dream of hitting it big with money, cocaine and hookers), the better. Hence, the Tom Cruise experience in Vegas.
Go large, go spendy. Today: How Las Vegas wakes up Hangover copycats, passed out on a rooftop.
unless they were already murdered by Crystal Meth Tweakers.
or, what it’s like to have a car service waiting for you in Vegas
TSA Bouncer, checking IDs: Three stands. Pick one besides mine. Four scanner lines. Pick one.
Being the next sheep in line, we just waited to get carded. The more important question was at hand – porn/cancer screening device or basic metal detector. There were about 10 possible lines, but only 4 were open.
R: porn and cancer machine only.
Middle: 2 luggage lines. One metal detector, but it’s switched off. Everybody gets deathrayed. (Exactly the opposite of our outbound flight.)
L: just the metal detector. No TSA security theater.
(also a frequent flier/first class/paid extra line). Have some extra radiation while we look at your junk.
The choice was obvious. Left, left, left. No drama except for setting the machine off by running into it. The line closed 3 people after us.
Whew! One hurdle down. One pat down groping avoided.
The flight is over. just waiting now on the luggage.
Some bags from a different flight come and go.
Some bags from this flight come and go.
The window seat guy from the flight is there, bitching about his missing luggage. On the flight up, TSA sodomized his baggage, and all his vodka samples. All 10 flavors. A suitcase taped shut was his first clue.
Anyway, he’s all buggy, and demanding answers. The airline eventually says there has been a “spill.”
Me: So TSA broke into the guy’s vodka and DUIed the luggage cart into a 747?
Airline lady: Some fluid spilled from one bag onto 6 others. The bags have not even left the plane.
Vodka guy: *whispers* they think it’s blood.
Me: Aunt Bethany put the cat in her checked bag and it went “boom”?
Airline lady: Nothing happens until HazMat gets here. Hope your keys were in your carryon luggage.
Airline lady: Yeah, it was Vodka guy’s liquorbottles leaking. Sorry about blowing up your suitcase, but we saved the dirty laundry you were carting back, after TSA sniffed it thoroughly.
Me: I’m glad I ate all those beans the other night then.
now include tweakers like the mousy little girl in plaid.
yeah, she was fiending. She liked my camera. She thought i was “working” because of it.
Is this the S-D-X (over-enunciated) bus stop? I’m just dressed poor. I’m not. I’m just a little short and so I need the free bus unless you could help me out.
What really sealed the deal for her as the sergeant at meth position in the MP fan club? Nonchalantly tracking me (sometimes following, sometimes walking ahead and then pretending to be interested in something) from the Mirage to the mall across from the Wynn, waiting for her chance, deciding
- which pocket has the wallet?
- Does the camera bag have better swag than the camera itself?
- Oh shit, a cop!
into the wild blue yonder. And then into the Heart of Darkness, Sin City. Me and Lurlene.
We got a call from
our new insect overlords our newest bestest buddy and big toe some nice marketing reps on behalf of a big shot in the car biz. The pitch:
- you applied, you won, come to Vegas.
- Your own private jet.
- Car service (Whale level).
- Presidential suite at the MGM.
- $20 dollars to throw around on your choice of the “pop card” entertainers.
- Tickets to CES.
- Dinner with the big shots.
The fine print:
- you gotta work – write some stuff about the CES.
- We’ll tell you when you get here what we want.
- “Pants are NOT OPTIONAL!!!!!”
- Reports from the Clark County jail are not acceptable substitutes for actual blog/tweeters/tmblr dice/instamaticgram postings. Not even OJ’s secret hidden confession.
Sounds great, right? I have only two concerns:
- this is an elaborate sting. I knew that free Ferrari for sticking some powdered sugar in my luggage offer was too good to be true. Or,
- Willy Wonka is going to meet us at the departure terminal with a few choice words: