July 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dear Interfakers: Southern-Fried Kitchen Belle Paula Deen has been busy doing emotional interviews to prove that she loves all of God’s critters, including  cockroaches and Polacks, so I was honored that she had a few minutes to spare for InterFake. (Caught her as she was walking out of a Racial Sensitivity Seminar.)

HANS: Paula! Paula! I have to say I’m a fan of your 10,000 Calories-a-Day Savannah Diet! Oh, and that “Veal Loin Stuffed with Roasted Bell Peppers, Goat Cheese, and Basil” recipe?  Minor heart attack was totally worth it! AND I also have to say that it’s absurd how people will attack someone over a stupid slur that we should have denied of its power years ago, instead of turning it into some mystical inapproachable taboo! The N-WORD! THE WORD THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED! There to sit alongside THE F-WORD!!! And the C-WORD!!! Words we all already know, otherwise there would not even be an issue! It’s hypocritical. So I thought we would rap a little about all that. I want people to remember your good side!

PAULA: Ha! You said “Rap”! Like the music the ni…hmmm… neat-looking black people listen to! See? I LOVE PEOPLE OF COLOR! They can drink from my water fountain anytime they like! And since my lawyers are really recommending that I don’t talk about the Food Network situation, I won’t talk about FOOD at all! I want everyone to know that I actually have all sorts of cotton-pickin’ LOVE for the differently-skinned. Matter of fact, I’m a fan of Negro-American cinema, and to prove it, here are



(See how happy they were in the plantations? Everybody always knew how to whip up a good time! And they danced right alongside Shirley Temple! Now that is a cutie-patootie!)


(Who wouldn’t love a mammy like that taking care of them all day long! Sweeping our floors, tightening our corsets, whitening our sheets… Did I say ‘whitening’? My lawyers recommended I avoid the word ‘whitening.’)


(Those lovable Jim Crows sure do know how to jive in an entertaining manner! Just as long as they don’t steal the silver! You know how crows like shiny things! And I hate thieves and liars! Although I love all of God’s critters equally!)


(A pinnacle of cinema where a big mandingo goes around sucking blood off crackers! Oooh! Did I say “cracker”? Lordy me, fire me right away! Racism goes both ways! The ni- hmmm, I mean, the Negro-Africans can say “cracker” and “redneck” and no one gets offended! “Rednecks” call themselves “Rednecks” all the time proudly, and no one thinks that’s weird!)


(I love Spike Lee! He’s my favorite film director of all time! Well, maybe after D.W. Griffith. He’s such a cute little sambo! I just wanna hug him and squeeze him whenever I catch him in the watermelon patch!)

PAULA DEEN : See? I’m not a racist! Didn’t you see my PR statement? My interview with Matt Lauer? My mama taught me to treat everyone equally regardless of their skin tone or  the Christian Church they go to pray to. Even Catholics! And I have no problem with queerosexuals, just as long as we’re covering all the bases!

HANS : You just really aren’t helping herself.

PAULA DEEN : I don’t understand! I don’t understand! How come Hip-rappers like Kanye West get to use that blasted word and I can’t!

HANS : I think I can explain it to you. It’s a question of CONTEXT. Of what you SAY vs. what you MEAN. Which does not always coincide. First of all: Kanye West does NOT use the N-Word. He uses the word “Nigga.” With an A. To soften the racial slur. To reclaim it. FOR HIMSELF. Second: He’s not attacking himself, he’s not insulting himself, he’s not belittling himself, and he’s not discriminating against himself. When he uses the words, he means something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT than when YOU use the word. Third: imagine if he WAS insulting himself? I can call MYSELF an ‘idiot’ and laugh about it, but if you come to me and scream at me and call me an “idiot,” I will be very hurt. There are things that I can do to myself that I don’t necessarily allow YOU to do to me. I may like to have sex with myself, that doesn’t mean you can come and RAPE ME. That said, I think you are probably a nice person who grew up with some backwards ideas and I couldn’t possibly blame you for that. If anything what’s rubbing people wrong is that you’re pretending you’re a miracle of equal love for all mankind, and it’s a PR move. If you hadd said: “Yup, everybody’s a little racist every now and then, and it’s a stupid trait that we need to get over,” we would have believed you way more! Are you beginning to get it?

PAULA DEEN : Yes, I do. Hans. I am so sorry. Thanks for being so understanding. I’m gonna give you a parting gift! My “Butter-Fried Pickaninny” Recipe! Ooooh, I love making “Butter-fried Pickaninny”! It’s always a fun lynch-a-ding! First you catch some uppity pickaninny, you stab it, make a cut in the gut so its organs fall out. When you’re sure it’s dead because it has stopped trashing around, then you skin it, and you hang it from a poplar tree until aaaaall the blood drains out nicely. Then you take what’s left and you throw it into a vat of BOILING BUTTAHHHHHHH!!! Delicious!!!


PAULA DEEN : A “pickanninny” is what we called little brown bunnies in my childhood, y’all!



May 27, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is the story of an InterFake interview seven years in the making, and the blogger who labored harder than an octo-mom to gather together the entire cast of “Arrested Development” in celebration of their unlikely, Netflix-sponsored Fourth Season.

Calls were made to the Bluth clan (clockwise from center): Michael Bluth, George Michael, Lindsay, George Sr., Maeby, Tobias, Lucille, Buster, and Gob.

Just in case, calls were also made to Lucille Austero. Barry Zuckerkorn. Bob Loblaw. Kitty Sanchez. John Beard. Lupe the maid. Stan Sitwell.


Ron Howard was busy on one of his baseball-caps-buying frenzies.

Only Annyong Bluth picked up.

ANNYONG : Annyong?

HANS : Annyong!

ANNYONG : Annyong!

HANS : Yes, Annyong!

ANNYONG : Annyong?

HANS : Whatever. Real mature, Annyong! (hangs up.)

(Only later did I learn that Annyong is Korean for “Abbott and Costello Routine.”)

I decided that gathering the entire cast into the InterFake offices would probably pose a fire hazard anyway. (As it is, there’s barely room here for me, my blogging machine, and my Syrian hamster, PopPop.)  So- after a needlessly complicated, farcical scheme in which I pretended to be a Developer of Frozen Banana Stand Technology- I managed to secure the presence of Tobias Funke, who is a licensed analyst AND therapist. A theralyst, if you will.


Here he comes!

TOBIAS FUNKE : Why, hello, Hans. You don’t mind that I used the back entrance, do you? I like to be discreet. By the way, it was hard to maneuver there at first! Luckily I had some lubricant at the ready, and then just slid right in.

HANS : Oh, thanks, Tobias, the back door hinges get really rusty. Anyway, welcome! I’m going to start by apologizing for not putting the umlaut in your last name. I can’t find the umlaut button on my blogging machine. In addition, I lied about the Frozen Banana Stand Technology. There’s no such thing. It was a ruse to lure one of you guys in for an interview. I just figured it would be Michael or George Michael.

TOBIAS FUNKE : So… You’re saying you DON’T have a Banana-Fudging Gun?

HANS : Right. No Banana-Fudging Gun. It’s not a real thing.

TOBIAS FUNKE : That’s a pity, I really wanted to handle one, if only because it reminded me of my moniker at Performance Art camp! “The Banana Fudger”! Probably a reference to my messy eating habits. I recall one time I banana fudged myself in front of everyone. (sings) “Misty-watered colored memories… of the way we were…”

HANS : Well, there’s no Banana-Fudging Gun. There’s no Banana-Bruise Removing Lotion. And there’s definitely no Fast-Jerking-Motion Banana-Peeler.

TOBIAS FUNKE : Ah, you’re dashing this boy’s dreams. What DO you have?

HANS : I don’t have ANYTHING in here. Well, I do have the blogging machine. And I have PopPop in a cage.

TOBIAS FUNKE : I used to have PopPop in a cage too! Aaaah, to be back in San Francisco in the ’80s! “La Cage Aux Folles,” I believe, was the name of the social club I attended. Quite the wild scene for a bossoming young thespian.

HANS : “Blossoming.” The word you’re looking for is “blossoming.”

TOBIAS FUNKE : Quite right, Hans! It’s like you put the Dic- in my -Tionary.

HANS : Can I impart some wisdom here?

TOBIAS FUNKE : Bring on the wisdom! Wis away! Wis all over me!

HANS : Before you speak, you really have to think about the things you say… and then try to phrase them very, very differently. On to my InterFake question. Netflix has released all 15 episodes of “Arrested Development” Season 4 at once, and there’s been some grumbling by old-guard critics who feel the need to snark at the fact that the “once-a-week” network paradigm is being threatened. Somehow they feel that Netflix is forcing us to stare bleary eyed for 7 hours in a row, or however long. But it seems to me that people have been taking control of their own programming for several years now, first with TV on DVD and BluRay, and then with Netflix or Hulu or HBO Go or Amazon or On Demand or season sets or what have you. What Netflix is doing is legitimizing that flexibility. We’ve always been told WHEN and HOW to watch by networks and advertisers. Is that really an ideal to cling to? It should be up to the viewer: all in one day, two a day for a week, one episode a month for the next year, or never. Whatever we choose.

TOBIAS FUNKE : You said  a mouthful, sir. I am trying to wrap my mouth around all that, and I just can’t.

HANS : All I mean is that being restricted by network scheduling was exactly what murdered “Arrested Development” on its initial run. The week-to-week format didn’t necessarily help a comedy this complex, this intricate.  It was hard for the casual viewer to recall recurring gags when weeks or even months passed between them.

TOBIAS FUNKE : That’s curious, I’ve never had trouble recalling any of my gags.

HANS : It just felt like Fox kept yanking the show around from time slot to time slot. The finale aired against the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Olympics, if memory serves.

TOBIAS FUNKE : I’ll admit I did feel vigorously yanked.

HANS : So I was curious about your opinion: How does one tackle the new episodes, ideally?

TOBIAS FUNKE : I definitely don’t think you should take them in all at once. I mean, there’s 15 of them, popping right at your face! Ouch! No, no, what you have to do is relax and let them slowly sink in. Three at a time, that’s my preference. Anything more than that, and I’m stretching myself.

HANS : Thank you, Tobias, for the indelible images.

TOBIAS FUNKE : You’re welcome, Hans. I feel a hug coming on!


(Season 4 of “Arrested Development” is now on Netflix ™. Netflix is the purveyor of fine original programming like Season 4 of “Arrested Development,” “Kevin Spacey’s Just-Like-HBO Slow Show” and “Eli Roth’s Vampires / Werewolves / Whatever Crap Kids Probably Like.” Netflix is also proud home to thousands of films culled from exclusive bargain bins at Walmarts all over the world. Most of these films are directed by Tyler Perry.)

In the next episode of InterFake: the rest of the cast of “Arrested Development” shows up unexpectedly while I’m out buying caffeine pellets for PopPop. And later, a special performance by a mariachi band that specializes in covers of the rock group Eels.

They’re called, of course, Los Eels.


May 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

Dear InterFakers : It does not get more exclusive than this! President Barack Obama has agreed to helicopter on down for a few minutes to discuss certain recent developments.

Oooh, I hear the heli blades outside!

(The InterFake offices are turned upside down by Secret Service Agents looking for explosives, cameras, microphones, or furniture. They find none of those things, unless you count as furniture the hamster wheel where I keep my pet, PopPop. PopPop gets a full orifice search. Pellets spill out of his nose. The Secret Service Agents seem content, make a few noises into their earpieces, and “Hail to the Chief” plays as Barack Obama confidently strides in.)

HANS : OMG, Mister President, this is such an honor. I won’t waste your time: what was your role in the IRS and NSA Scandals?

BARACK OBAMA : My fellow Hans. Let me answer that question in as straightforward a manner as it was asked by saying without circumlocution of any kind that this Presidency does not intend to obfuscate the issue by using the sort of evasive, dishonest rhetoric of the kind politicians usually resort to. Furthermore, I want to tell you with as much transparency as is appropriate that it is my personal assurance that this Government will not de-accelerate in its rapid and efficient progression even for the span of a single press conference until somebody or something claims to take responsibility for whatever may have happened if indeed any happenings did occur, and in addition I make a solemn promise to each and every American citizen that I share your concern and Shonda Rhimes and her magnificent TV show “Scandal” will indeed stay on the air well into 2017 to delight audiences with its break-neck plot twists and intense drama. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my time is up. My Press Secretary will elucidate anything at all that I might have accidentally left without clarification.

(Confidently strides away. “Hail to the Chief” fades out. Secret Service Agents storm out. Heli blades go bye bye. PopPop is still shivering inside his cage.) 

(Out of nowhere, Press Secretary Jay Carney sidles up to me.)

JAY CARNEY : Seriously, what a great show “Scandal” is. I’m like “DAMN, DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!?” at least once per episode!

HANS : It’s pretty cool, right? But that doesn’t answer ANYTHING!

JAY CARNEY : This helpful instructional leaflet will answer all your questions.

(And so he hands me a list of the TOP 43 PRESIDENTIAL SCANDALS OF ALL TIME in reverse chronological order:)

43- The George W. Bush “Weapons of Ass Destruction” Sex Toy Embarrassment

42- The Bill Clinton “Tobacco Smuggling” Trials

41- The George H. W. Bush “I Have Too Many Middle Initials” Controversy

40- The Ronald Reagan “Chimpanzee Molestation” Riots

39- The Jimmy Carter “CarterGate” Garage Gate Crisis

38- The Gerald Ford “Chevrolet Buick Cadillac” Confusion

37- The Richard Nixon… Actually, Nixon is the one unblemished President in the history of the United States.

36- The Lyndon B. Johnson “LBJ’s BJs” Porn Tape Scandal

35- The John F. Kennedy “Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday Song Copyright Infringement” Cover-up II

34- The Dwight D. Eisenhower “I Like Dikes” Dam Construction Disaster II

33- The Harry S. Truman “Truman Show” DVD Bootlegging Troubles

32- The Franklin D. Roosevelt “Wheelchair Drive By” Murders

31- The Herbert Hoover “Hoover Dam” Dam Construction Disaster I

30- The Calvin Coolidge “Great Gatsby” Gaff

29- The Warren G. Harding “Tea, Pot, Cocaine, LSD” Dome Scandal

28- The Woodrow Wilson KKK Katastrophe

27- The William Howard Taft “My Name is an Anagram for Fatt” Tantrum

26- The Theodore Roosevelt “Stylish Mustache” Misunderstanding

25- The William McKinley “Marijuana McGuffin” Fiasco

24- The Grover Cleveland “Cleveland Clone” Clusterfuck

23- The Benjamin Harrison “I Am William Henry Harrison’s Grandson” Howdy-doo

22- The Grover Cleveland “Original Version, Totally Not a Clone” Clusterfuck

21- The Chester A. Arthur “Bea Arthur Naked Pictures” Art Forgery

20- The James A. Garfield “I Hate Mondays” Massacre

19- The Rutherford B. Hayes “Hazy Hayes” Ether Abuse

18- The Ulysses S. Grant “Long-Winded Civil War Story” Grumbles

17- The Andrew Johnson “I’m Not Andrew Jackson” Mix-Up

16- The Abraham Lincoln “Top Hat” Bamboozlement

15- The James Buchanan “The Buch Stops Here” Deer Butchering

14- The Franklin Pierce “Nipple Piercing” Orgies

13- The Millard Fillmore “Federal Follies”

12- The Zachary Taylor “I’m Not James Polk” Mix-Up

11- The James Polk “I’m Not Zachary Taylor” Mix-Up

10- The John Tyler “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” Bad-Tipping Impoliteness II

9- The William Henry Harrison “Tippecanoe” Bad-Tipping Impoliteness I

8- The Martin Van Buren “Van Damme” Brouhaha

7- The Andrew Jackson “Michael Jackson Impersonation” Imbroglio

6- The John Quincy Adams “Adams’ Apple” Transgender Tryst

5- The James Monroe ““Marilyn Monroe Happy Birthday Song Copyright Infringement” Cover-up II

4- The James Madison “5,000 Dollar Bill” Counterfeiting Nonsense

3- The Thomas Jefferson “Jungle Fever” Jiffies

2- The John Adams “I’m Not John Quincy Adams” Mix-Up

Aaaaaaand…1-  The George Washington “Wooden Teeth” Dental Care Embezzlement


May 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Who gives a f**k about  about Spotify not carrying Vampire Weekend’s “Modern Vampires of the City” until May 27th?

I do.

I doo-hoo-hoo.

(Because it feels so unnatural! Peter Gabriel too.)

When I found out about this inadmissible delay, I quickly called all around nice guy Ezra Koenig, lead vocalist for what’s one of my favorite bands in the world right now. And I yelled at him.

HANS: Did you know that Spotify won’t let me listen to your album for free until May 27th? What is this?!? Apartheid?!?

EZRA: Oh? No, I didn’t know. I’m sorry, what seems to be the problem?

HANS: I want the album now!!! I WANT IT IN MY EARS!!! I want to be transported to Graceland!!! TODAY!!!

EZRA: The album came out May 14, you can purchase it at a wide variety of-

HANS: PURCHASE? You ELITIST little clubby martini Louis Vuitton  Mister PooPooPoof! “Look at me, I went to Columbia University!” “I drink horchatas!” “I can afford to PURCHASE music!” No way, Ezra. I am not gonna BUY the music I like, and I’m not gonna support your rowing team’s crack addiction!

EZRA: Ok. First of all, sure, I went to Columbia, I was on a scholarship. Look,  we’re just normal guys, this caricature of us as privileged preppy WASPs is beyond absurd. I’m Jewish, my family background is Hungarian immigrants…Rostam’s parents are Iranian!

HANS: Whatever. I am cancelling my Spotify account. I can NOT believe I have to wait a whole TEN FRICKIN’ DAYS before I have access to a sweet sweet song like “Diane Young”.

EZRA: You’re being insanely petulant. Do you realize how amazing Spotify is? This is what you dreamed of when you were a little kid, being offered millions of songs, thousands of LPs, the back catalogues of hundreds of your favorite artists. How spoiled have you become that you go into a temper tantrum because you can’t wait a few days for something to happen? Instant gratification makes everything worthless. Patience, struggle, working for a reward: these are the things that lead to satisfaction and happiness. And really, a fan would just support the band and buy the album. We have this amazing technology, it should bring us to our knees in ecstatic appreciation… You know, people used to enjoy WAITING. Music needs time, too. It has a way of growing on people over weeks and months and years and-

HANS: What? You’re still talking? OMG. WHY isn’t it May 26th already? The new season of “Arrested Development” needs to start RIGHT NOW!!! THIS IS SOOOOOOOO UNFAIR!!! Why do I have to wait for things to happen??? I want it all, now, perfect, free, no effort WAHWAHWAH!!!

EZRA: I’m gonna hang up now.

HANS: You’re a fascist!!!


April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’m still on that Cuban beach.

18:00 hours.

This is my rendezvous point with 007.

Bond. James Bond.

On my right hand I’m holding my palm-print-activated Walther PPK sidearm. On my left hand I’m holding a box of Montecristo Habanos (the real illegal deal, not the Dominican knock-off.) John-Barry-via-Daft-Punk plays in the background.

I call this interview “SilverWing.” Or “Yesterday Sometimes Kills.” “From Cuba with Cigars.” Something like that.

A Lockheed C-130 Hercules appears in the sky, as treacherous and sudden as Communism in Southern Asia. It circles overhead with a deafening boom, dive bombs onto the beach, explodes… Out of the ensuing inferno emerges an Astor Martin DB5. The immaculate automobile seems to have been cleansed by the fire. It charges over the dunes toward me, drifts, brakes to a stylish halt right before me, spraying sand on my chancletas. The passenger door opens, and a gruff voice says:

“Get in!”

I promptly jump on the shotgun seat. There he is. The man with the license to kill. Bond’s face is made of tense granite, his collar is open, his bow tie hangs at a slant. He angrily jerks at the gear shift while screaming in my general direction.

BOND: M was bloody wrong! Lobsterius was working for the Cubans all along! Now we’ve got to get to the base in Sangre de Mar before the launch sequence gets initiated!

HANS: Huh? What? What’s going on?

BOND: Pokerface knew about the Al-Qaeda connection! That means the person who stole the microfilm from MI6’s archives was Juana Half-Six!

HANS: (giggles) Dude, that TOTALLY sounds like “Wanna Have Sex”!

BOND: It’s Juana Half-Six! But it doesn’t matter now. (He narrows his eyes.) She is… A memory.  I had to shoot her. Twice. Once for love, once for revenge. HOLD ON!

He jams the car’s emergency brake. We’ve halted.  A hulking Cuban tank appears on our path, like a giant iron turtle that has seen better days but still likes to snap when threatened by changes in its environment.

BOND: (searching under the dashboard desperately) Damnit, Q! Where did you put that eject button?


We shoot out of the car right as the tank smashes it. The ejected seats fly us in a crazy curve right into a neighboring banana field. A Union Jack parachute opens at the appropriate moment. Softly, we swing us to the ground in safety.

BOND: (freeing me from my seatbelt.) You ok? No time! The cockfight is starting in five minutes! We have to contact Colonel Muchamuerte, and I must seduce his daughter, Bonita. See, one of her roosters was implanted with the chip that contains the code that will trigger the chemical reaction that will spread the shingles virus all over Guantanamo Bay!

HANS: (still dazed) What’s happening?

BOND: Don’t you see? It’s all a smoke screen! The virus is meant to silence Apu Muha-Madman! If we don’t get on that submarine in time, Monaco will crumble like a house of cards during that San Francisco earthquake that was triggered by SPECTRE!

HANS: What are you talking about! I don’t understand the plot!

BOND: (lifts me by the lapels, shakes me) But you knew that already, didn’t you, Hans? That’s why you brought the cigars with cyanide on the bands. That’s why you met the man with the plastic mustache. You couldn’t wait to betray Her Majesty, could you? It sickens me. We could have been friends, you know? We could have had a nice interview! But now you’re as worthless to me as a woman who has heard of feminism.

HANS: All I wanted to do was get a quick quote on how to make the perfect drink!

BOND: Oh. Well. Just throw some vodka and martini together, I guess. Maybe add some ice?

HANS: That’s it? But… “Shaken, not stirred!” Right?

BOND: Does it look like I care?

HANS: You don’t care if it’s shaken or stirred?!?

BOND: Why should I? Does that affect the flavor?

HANS: I don’t even know who you are anymore!


April 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

As everybody knows, I have three pleasures in this life:

1)      Visiting oppressive military dictatorships

2)     Name-checking Bob Dylan

3)     Picturing Beyonce naked (sorry, Tenth Commandment!)

You can see I have much in common with my good friend, bowling-league associate, and “Open Letter” lyricist Shawn Corey-Haim-Feldman-Hart Carter Jay-Z Esq. III.

So it’s no wonder he recently called to invite me along for a Cuban vacation.

JAY-Z: I say, old chum, why not join me and the ball-and-chain for an anniversary weekend in Castro-land?  Oh, do say you will, I hear the weather is exceptionally clement this time of year, terrif beaches and what-not! Obama and Kanye refuse to join us, bit of wet-blanketry from them. Right ho, I’ll send my man over to pick you up. Toodle-o!

Faster than one can sing “L’Internationale” there was a jet-plane neatly occupying my street from one end to the other. Jay-Z and Beyonce awaited me inside; they were getting a head start on the Mojitos, to calm those pre-illegal-flight jitters. Jay-Z impishly shoved a gallon of the stuff into my hands, I took a timid sip, and things went soft-focus from there on out.

I woke up three days later  in Varadero Beach, Cuba, swinging on a hammock, guarded by the bemused Carters, and shaded (ineffectually) by palm trees.

HANS: Owwww. Pain. In brain. … Why is there so much sun? God-have-mercy, turn off the sun!!!

JAY-Z: Bit of a lost weekend you had there, chappy! No worries, all that nasty jinetera business in the Malecon has been hushed up. Lost a tenner on it but you’ll pay me back once we head back to the old homestead. Now, guess you’ll want an interview for your troubles?

HANS: I want water. Water. WATER!

JAY-Z: Ah, yes, sorry about that. The service here is ghastly, but I suppose that’s the prize one pays for social equality.  (claps) Agua, garcon! (A waiter emerges from a cabana nearby.) Did I say garcon? Beg your pardon, I suppose I should go for the “comrade” business here? Agua, tovarich! (He flicks a quarter. It flops in the exquisitely glistening sand. The waiter lunges for it in naked desperation, and returns shortly thereafter with a lemon-wedged glass of water, which will later appear in the hotel tab as $5 dollars, or 5 trillion pesos.)

BEYONCE: (glistening twice as exquisitely as the sand.) Say, Hans, aren’t you a Cuban refugee of sorts?

HANS: Ah… Yeah. Yup. (finding it hard to concentrate.)

JAY-Z: You’re down with the Miami Mafia, I wager? Oh, but politics are such a dreadful bore, they always get in the way of a smashing good rum-and-coke! By the by, my good fellow, I’m about tapped dry, inspiration-wise: what rhymes with embargo? I’ve got “My pants are cargo”/ “My mansion’s in Key Largo”/ and “Let’s put capitalism in the wood chipper like they do to that guy in ‘Fargo.’”

HANS: You know, I’m actually AGAINST the embargo. It’s a pointless policy, all it does is provide fodder for the regime’s rhetoric. Without it, Communism would have buckled its knees way back in the 90s when the Soviet teat stopped giving milk. That said, blaming the embargo for Cuba’s poverty is absurd. If communism needs capitalist commerce to survive, it has failed by definition. You can’t say: “Fuck off, I don’t need you- but come back because I need your money.”

JAY-Z: You can’t say that? I wish you would communicate as much to my first wife, what-ho!  Seriously, what a gold-grabbing ho! (High-fives me.)

At this, Beyonce winces.

JAY-Z: Oh, darling, it was just in jest! I didn’t mean to bring HER up! You know I had Swizz Beats kill her off just for your sake! Oh, tulip, do not make such a nasty face, it might get stuck that way!

BEYONCE: (ignores him, turns to me) I for one find Cuba to be SUCH an inspiration. The classic cars! The peeling posters! The quaintly crumbling buildings! It’s like Cubans have transcended the need for possessions! (She’s so visibly moved she even has to take off her blood-diamond-encrusted Louis Vuitton sunglasses to wipe away the tears.)  And that famous HEALTH-CARE! It must do wonders, because I haven’t seen an ounce of fat in anyone! They’re all so healthy and Holocaust-skinny! Truly, there’s so much inspiration here I practically feel another alter-ego coming on! From now on, I’ll carry a gun, wear a green-olive bikini, and call myself Buena Vista Social Club! That’s a pretty name, isn’t it, Shawny?

JAY-Z: (chuckles in embarrassment) Ah, some queer notions do pass through that beautiful noggin of hers! She makes some mucking good points, though. I’m somewhat of a revolutionary myself, entre-nous. Blast selfish entrepreneurship!

(He stomps down on the sand angrily with his Roc-a-Fella sneakers.)

Blast the capitalist obsession with symbols of wealth and power!

(He’s so passionate that even the gigantic gold chains hanging from his neck start to shake.)

Blast all that bothersome freedom of speech!

(He accidentally lets his latest CD, “Dead Bitches Don’t Cause Itches,” fall to the ground. )

Blast the absurdly-Ayn-Randian worship of individuals!

(He calms down as he brushes some sand off the shoulders of his Che Guevara shirt.)

We have gotten too soft with decadent capitalist comforts, my boy, and the answer was here in Cuba all along, right under our very noses, as it were. (He takes a final nibble off his baby-veal sandwich, and a final sip from his tinkling glass of Havana Club Rum.) Anyway, it’s about time we head back to the old hotel. There’s a brand new “Game of Thrones” programme tonight, and I hear there are some devilishly delicious developments!

The re-appearing cabana waiter dry-coughs at this.

WAITER: Perdon, senor, pero there is no HBO in hotel. Es censored for all the counter-revolutionary propaganda in “True Blood.” Besides there is un apagon. Blackout. But in radio there is beautiful five-hour-speech by Juanito Fernandez, commander in charge of the ministry of potato distribution.

The Carters exchange panicked glances.

JAY-Z: (visibly distraught) No HBO?!? That’s… That’s… Why, it is dashed inconvenient, I daresay! Dashed inconvenient! It was supposed to be a Tyrion-heavy episode, too!

BEYONCE: I can’t! I just can’t! Shawny, what are we going to do?

JAY-Z: The only thing we CAN do, tulip. (He suddenly runs for it, screaming) Back to the jet, old chum! To the jet! We may yet escape this God-forsaken hellhole!!! Pip-pip!!!


April 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

The frantic call came in late at night, sent me lunging out of a nightmare for my phone. “Dude! DUDE! DUUUUDE!” I recognized the voice even through the hysterics: my good friend Mordecai the bluejay, from “The Regular Show.” He was freaking out, the flapping of feathers coming clear over the line: “DUUUUDE! KIM JONG-UN! He’s gonna ruin EVERYTHING! You gotta help us out!”

He spit out the news: The latest, shocking intelligence revealed that North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un had missiles strategically aimed at several major production studios in South Korea (including the ones that animate “The Regular Show.”)

MORDECAI: Hans, I triple-dog-beg of you, you gotta go to North Korea and talk that dude down from his ego trip!

HANS: Oh, geez, I’m sorry, bird-man, but who am I to intervene in international affairs? We’ve got plenty of trouble right here in the States.

MORDECAI: But… but…“The Simpsons”! They’re also animated in South Korea! Don’t you love “The Simpsons”?

HANS: Oh, I DO, but they had a good run. Anyway, I better get back to snoozing. Good luck with all that, though. I mean it.

MORDECAI: (whispers) “My Pretty Coffee-Shop Ghost.”

HANS: What did you just say?

MORDECAI: “My. Pretty. Coffee-Shop. Ghost.”

HANS: (leaping out of bed) I’M ON MY WAY!

Armed solely with a note pad and a sawed-off number 2 pencil, I set out for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It’s quite the trip, and my adventures involve an American plane, a German train, a malfunctioning Russian automobile (freaking Ladas!), a Mongolian yak, and a Chinese sampan.

It’s all worth it. 24 hours later, I am sitting in the lobby of Yanggakdo International Hotel; paging through the propaganda in “The Pyongyang Times”; and waiting for the Supreme Leader, who has agreed to be interviewed on the condition that I procure him a pair of Dennis Rodman’s gym socks.

I have them. They smell remarkably like the Mongolian Yak.

The Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea like undisputed divinities for generations. Kim Il-Sung. Kim Jong-Il. Kim Kar-Dashian.  And now here’s Kim Jong-Un, the world’s youngest despot. His Napoleonic frame is marching towards me. Maybe he’s fresh from ordering the assassination of his barber. (To be fair, the barber had it coming.) He’s flanked by a chorus of worshipful, weeping children:

萘辫沥篮, 家斥窜 措雀 曼籍


Oh glorious comrade

You make the sun rise

You feed our tummies

Unless we have had individual thoughts

For which we are sorry

You help us find our bicycles when we forget where we parked them

May your “Angry Birds” score grow higher and higher

Do it Pyongyang-Style!

HANS: What was that last bit?

KIM JONG-UN: It is original dance craze, you Western ghost! (He snatches Dennis Rodman’s socks off my hands and sniffs them amorously.)

HANS: No, I meant about the “Angry Birds.” Were they singing about the little video game?

Instantly, two soldiers materialize; two Makarov pistols are pointed at my head.

KIM JONG-UN: (magnanimously calling off the soldiers) You call “Angry Birds” “little video game”? Would you call sun “little light in sky”? Would you call Kim Jong-Un “little guy mad with power”? Let me show you something.

The soldiers drag me out of the hotel and shove me unceremoniously into a heavily camouflaged jeep as we set out for an undisclosed location. For about two hours I tumble in the back seat while Kim Jong-Un interrogates me:

KIM JONG-UN: It is said Westerners now have access to “Angry Birds Seasons” and “Space”! Can such wonders be true?

HANS: Sure, but that’s not the issue. I’m here to stop you from blowing up “The Regular Show”! “The Simpsons”! “My Pretty Coffee-Shop Ghost”! I’m here to talk about the human rights violations, the rampant malnutrition, the two million ethnic North Koreans now living in China. I mean, they’re escaping from Communist oppression by fleeing to CHINA, doesn’t that tell you something? Don’t even get me started on the prison camps! The horrors of Yodok!

More Makarovs on my face, AK-47s on my ribs.

KIM JONG-UN: Easy, easy. (He smiles beatifically.)  There are no prison camps here. You are referring to famous “Enclosed Entertainment Areas for Politically-Divergent Individuals.” But that’s whole ‘nother ball of rice! This is worker’s paradise, free from oppression, hunger, and green pigs. (He pauses.) Although maybe if we CAPTURED green pigs instead of making them EXPLODE, we would be even FREER from hunger!

I’m a little thrown off by his train of thought, but then the jeep skids to a halt and I’m led out to what’s unmistakably a launching pad for long range weapons.

I see the giant slingshot glistening in the sun. Then there they are, ranged in rows, waiting. The fat red missile.  The blue one, intended to section off in three parts. The yellow one, built for acceleration. The black one, meant to detonate mid-air. The white one, ready to deliver an egg-like payload.

I shiver. I now understand it all.

The angry birds.

KIM JONG-UN: (cackles) I told you it was no “little video game”! First Seoul will squeal like green capitalist pig! Then Japan! U.S.! All world’s eggs will be mine!

I grab him by the lapel of his uniform.

HANS: NO! You are mad! You do not understand! If you attack South Korea… (I am on the verge of tears) They will stop production of “My Pretty Coffee-Shop Ghost”! You can’t do that! Now now! They’re in the middle of a cliff-hanger!

KIM JONG-UN: What is this you speak of?

HANS: Oh, it’s AWESOME! It’s this K-Drama, see, about this guy, Choi Pak-Jin, who’s kind of a scatterbrain but then he inherits a coffee shop from his Aunt Yoo. The coffee shop is haunted by the ghost of Pak-Jin’s ex-girlfriend, Min, who was mysteriously murdered. Anyway, Min’s ghost is still in love with Pak-Jin, but she doesn’t want to freak him out, so she just helps around the coffee-shop in her ghost form when he’s not looking. But then Pak-Jin hires an assistant, Jung-An, who’s super cute. What Pak-Jin doesn’t know is that Jung-An was the assassin who KILLED Min, and she’s there to silence Pak-Jin and kill him too because the coffee-shop is standing in the way of an evil coffee-shop conglomerate… But, of course, Jung-An falls in love with Pak-Jin and they start dating! Poor Min gets jealous and breaks all the coffee-pots in the coffee-shop, so Pak-Jin hires an exorcist, and the exorcist is planning to banish Min on the same day that Pak-Jin and Jung-An are getting married, but wait: the coffee conglomerate made Jung-An promise she would kill Pak-Jin right after the wedding! Because they’ve kidnapped her little sister, Yeon! See, that’s how they blackmail her into doing all the assassinations. Luckily, Min found out what the coffee conglomerate was up to, so she decided to rescue Yeon. Here’s the dilemma: if Min rescues Yeon, Jung-An will have no reason to end Pak-Jin’s life, but on the other hand, Pak-Jin and Jung-An will be happy together and Min will be devastated. And that’s episode ONE. But THEN things get really complicated because-”


HANS: I’ll shut up if you promise not to blow up the cast of “My Pretty Coffee-Shop Ghost.”

KIM JONG-UN: Deal! I promise! Anything you want!

HANS: Can I trust you?

KIM JONG-UN: If you can’t trust righteous leader, who can you possibly trust?

I concede, relieved and triumphant. My mission impossible has been possibilitated.

But as I walk back to the West, I hear an ominous sound, something like: “Woohoohahahoohahooha!” I look up to see a colored streak cross the sky.

Heaven help us all.

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