Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween from Medium Large!

Very Last-Minute Halloween Costume Ideas

1. Paulie, The Forgotten Smurf: You know Papa and Brainy and Handy and Grouchy, Vanity and Smurfette and Hefty and Jokey. But do you recall the most famous smurf of all to take both a bullet and controlling interest in his town’s sanitation and highway maintenance sectors? Perhaps the most colorful resident of Smurf Village (and certainly the only one to sport an olive complexion), Paulie always had one hand on a stogie, the other on his crotch and a third buried somewhere in his backyard, the result of a business transaction gone horribly awry. Quick with a joke, a sizeable loan or a threat so cold and calculated it could drain the blood from Azrael’s face, Paulie was blessed with many associates but few friends on the NBC network staff. His low-brow, high-body-count antics often put him at odds with television censors, family advocacy groups, anti-defamation leagues and, none too surprisingly, both the Yakuza and Russian mobs. In the end his image and voice track were excised from every surviving episode of “Smurfs,” preventing future generations from not only enjoying his routinely profitable hijinks but also from hearing his once-famous catchphrase, “Hey, Gargamel! I don’t go down to where you work and slap the dick out of your mouth, do I?!”
Costume includes green body paint, double-breasted suit and an assortment of steaks and chops “for tips.”

2. High School Drama Department Barbie (AKA “Spooky Girl”): Remember the girl who always wore a boa, even during swim class? The one who when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up replied, “Nora, from ‘A Doll’s House’.” The one who liked to sit alone in the front of the bus and gyrate rhythmically to the music of the Cocteau Twins, even though she wasn’t wearing any headphones and the driver’s radio was tuned to the sports station? Well now you, too, can recapture the look of that one classmate who spent her lunch hours developing provocative back stories for each one of her french fries. Brash yet bereft of social skills, High School Drama Department Barbie likes to imagine the whole world is her audience, not realizing that most people don’t even like attending the theater for free. So when it comes to your costume the operative word is “commanding.” Best to dress up in an assortment clashing patterns and color combinations that would shock a Missoni boutique owner. Don’t simply walk but stride into the party as if the foyer to Fiddler’s Green Pub was a catwalk and the drunks by the “Golden Tee” video game machine were paparazzi from Vogue Italia. And, most important of all, when talking to guests don’t look so much at them as through them, as you imagine what they must be imagining you’re currently thinking. Then, to cap it off, come prepared with a long, feathery pink boa, if only so you have something to dramatically toss around your neck when you suddenly bolt upright and exclaim, “Renaldo awaits!”

3. Lucky Charms’ Less Fortunate Cereal Mascot Brother, “Screwed”: With two girlfriends knocked-up, a job that fails to provide medical coverage not to mention a fixed office address and a rash that actually seems to spread upon contact with Bactine, Screwed would like to think he’s seen better days but, frankly, this constitutes an upswing. As the spokescharacter for the only children’s cereal to be recalled in Mexico and to sport the tagline “I swear, I’m good for the money,” Screwed requires nothing more for a Halloween costume then an open can of Natural Light and an expression that would make a hyena cry. Possessing neither his brother’s unique sartorial flair nor undying passion for emerald green, Screwed instead prefers white tank tops, unbuttoned flannel shirts and—should the mood strike—pants. So if you’re looking for an inexpensive outfit this season—and have recently lost your job, your significant other or maybe just a toe in a bet—surely Screwed is the costume for you.

4. President William Henry Harrison: Granted, he may lack the familiarity of Washington, the gravitas of Jefferson or even the serene idiocy of Reagan, but what do you expect from a man who died less than a month in office, not from a sniper bullet but from “the sniffles”? But his loss is now your gain! Since almost no one can be expected to have a clear recollection of what a President who barely had time to unpack—much less have an official portrait painted—looked like, you’re free to interpret his image any way you damn well please! While prudent costume designers would strongly suggest you avoid Ben Sherman high-tops and a Puma track jacket, who’s to say the ninth leader of the free world didn’t like his morning jog? And who’s to say what kind of sunglasses he wore, Oakley or Tag Heuer? And can anyone here present documented proof that President Harrison didn’t just like to “chill” in an old pair of Diesel jeans and a CBGB shirt from Urban Outfitters, cell phone at the ready? Well, probably no one at the party you’re attending, so be creative! The only limit is your imagination and your guests’ collective knowledge of 1840’s American society.

Happy Halloween from The Forths!

Aggressive Alternatives to “Trick or Treat!”

“Food or Fist.”

“I notice you only have ‘Mike and Ike’ and ‘Chiclets.’ That doesn’t bode well for you. Not well at all…”

“One container holds confetti, the other kerosene…”

“There’s the easy way to handle this and then there’s the unpleasant way. Frankly, I’m comfortable with both.”

“I’m calling from your kitchen. Where are the Gobbstoppers?”


Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Party Rules, Reminders and Regrets

• Although the 80’s undoubtedly provide a wellspring of crowd-pleasing costume ideas, that still doesn’t make the concept of a grown man dressed as Punky Brewster any less creepy.

• As clever as you might believe it to be, never dress as the ghost of a recently shot celebrity.

• If you are a white male and have decided to go as either Mr. Miyagi from “The Karate Kid” or Bookman from “Good Times,” you deserve every punch to the face you get.

• Any costume that requires an assistant or colostomy bag for regular bladder relief is far too complicated of an outfit.

• Nothing combines tragedy and comedy like the sight of someone floating dead in the host’s swimming pool dressed as Spongebob Squarepants.

• Should two people dressed up as Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots get into a vicious bar brawl, realize this is why cellphones now come with cameras.

• When opting for a homemade costume, know that there is a fine line between expressing one’s immense creativity and revealing one’s abject poverty.

• Should you and your significant other go to the party as a pimp and his whore, please understand that conclusions will be drawn.

• If you find yourself repeatedly exclaiming, “Jesus, doesn’t anyone know the works of John Cassavetes!” you’ve clearly dressed up as far too obscure of a movie character.

• Don’t drink to the point that you begin to mistake your costume for your uniform.

• Going as a victim of Tourette’s Syndrome not only eliminates the need for a particular wardrobe but also allows you to express yourself in ways you never imagined permissible in polite society or an office party.

• You and your friends can only remain dressed as a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for so long before tensions start to rise.

• Any Halloween costume that requires a concealed weapon is perhaps one best left on the drawing board.

• If you attend a Halloween party dressed as an alcoholic—and you are in fact an alcoholic—appreciate the awkward situation that you have just created for your host.

• Going as a Rubik’s Cube will only frustrate fellow guests and leave you exceptionally sore.

• No matter what the costume, don’t wear a dog collar unless a good 80% of the partygoers are sporting leather and zipper masks.

• Forget Jason, Michael Myers or Freddy Kruger. There is no more frightening of a costume than a clown carrying a bloody knife and dragging a full, leaking Hefty bag.

• Should more than five people look at your costume and utter, “I don’t get it,” you might have overestimated the general public’s grasp of 17th century social satire.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places...

Email published with permission of author:

hey francesco...

my name is stephan pastis...i do a strip called "pearls before swine"....i'm real sorry to be a bother, but is there any chance i could get a right-facing full body pose of Ted from you?....i've looked through the strips online and can't seem to find one...

i'm doing a series where my main character, Rat, is a concierge at a hotel, and i'd love to have Ted approach him trying to hire a prostitute for the night...he needs a break from Sally....



Okay, I've read this message three times and I'm still laughing.

I don't do the artwork but I can get you said sketch (actually, I can do it for you. I've done enough joke strips of the characters that I can draw them pretty accurately). However, there are a few conditions:

1. If this is indeed not a joke--and you are indeed Stephan--can I have the original artwork?
2. For the love of God, please make it a typical prostitute, not a tranny or some 14-year-old Haitian boy. My syndicate will be weeping enough as is.
3. Can I have the original artwork?
4. Ted is still unemployed, so cost will be an issue. With few dollars to his name we may be talking more a quick yank behind the dumpster than anything else.
5. Can I post your email request on my site? I know that may ruin the surprise of the gag but trust me, the fact Ted's cruising for a woman is going to be enough of a shock to bring in the readers.
6. Can I have the original artwork?


UPDATE: Apparently a lot of people on the Net think this is either a hoax or I've been punk'd, both of which I can completely understand. However, Stephan and I had a great, long conversation over the phone this morning and everything has been planned out for a mid-February run...complete with an added twist.

Zombies Attack New York, Eat Ice Cream

Lesson: Always carry a camera...and a broadsword to decapitate the undead.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monday, October 1, 2007

Ted Forth: The Man, The Myth...The Wikipedia Entry?

I'm...I'm just thinking out loud...just pitching an idea into the electronic ether...just...just bringing up possibilities for those so inclined to perhaps, oh, I don't know...create such things...such "Wikipedia" things...things like an entry devoted to a know...character...

UPDATE: There is indeed now a Ted Forth Wikipedia entry, courtesy of renowned Tedologist Yellojkt, author of Ted Forth, My Hero and Sally's Hero: Ted Forth, Part Deaux. Many, many thanks, Yellojkt!