Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Hobbbbbbit

In a hole in a ground there is Professor Jonathan Ronald Reuel Tolkein. 'Tis a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell: it is a grave-hole, and that means comfort is of little concern.

In the dawn of the third millenium of the Second Age of Only Men, many wizened scholars decried the differences between the movie adaptation of "The Hobbit" and Tolkein's original vision. Amidst other extensions, some sages noted that the role of the Necromancer seems expanded well beyond the original tomes. Indeed, a letter in Tolkein's own hand explained that the Necromancer was "hardly more than to provide a reason for Gandalf going away and leaving Bilbo and the dwarves to fend for themselves, which was necessary for the tale" (source: J.R.R. Tolkien. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Edited by Christopher Tolkien and Humphrey Carpenter. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1981, pg. 346).

Why have no Men seen fit to simply ask Professor Tolkein what he intended, or his views of the movie adaptations? Well, I'm a Professor and a professional researcher, just like he was. And, just like his kid, Chris Tolkein, I devoted my life to studying my father's writings. Since Dad was the Necromancer, I dug up some of his musty old books, learned a few basic necromancer spells, and got ol' Johnny Ronnie talking again. In this interview, he fleshed out his decaying vision with great rigour.

"Professor, what did you think of the films based on your work?"
Edith? Edith, is that you? How I miss you, my love-

"No, this is Morgul Winyamo, son of Morgul Tinuviel, son of Bob."

"So you remember my dad?"
Regrettably. Terribly pompous man, an amateur writer lacking discretion, taste, or audience. He was most petulant in his insistence that his skill was comparable to mine, much like CS Lewis. 

"Was it true that you intended the Necromancer to play quite a minor role?"
Indeed not. My original vision actually featured an entire trilogy with him and Radagast, with more rabbit sleighs and bird droppings. You see, the Hobbit was intended as a tale for my children, and hence adaptations alluring to that age group are most fitting. Thorin's rejection of Bilbo, leading to the subsequent reconciliation and hug, was deemed trite and highly uncharacteristic of dwarf and hobbit alike, but only by viewers over twelve. 

"This leads to another common criticism. How did you feel about the use of CGI in The Hobbit?"
Most regrettably, my access to IMAX theaters is decidedly limited down here. Indeed, might you be so kind as to help me find my way out of here?

"If you answer more questions."
Very well. I must say the CGI is splendid, very close to what I had hoped. When I wrote my books, my primary concern was that the pixellation technology at the time would render any adaptation rather weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable. 

"Ah, you're quoting the great bard!"
No, that was Hamlet. Bard was a grim and ineloquent man. Anyway, I particularly enjoyed the CGI in the end of the second Hobbit film. Most prescient of Peter Jackson to recognize that, although the half-hour of special effects was not quite so thoroughly detailed in my book, it is indeed what I hoped would ensue. 

"And the adaptation of the party meeting Beorn?"
Well, the original scene in my book, like so many others that were modified, was meant largely to develop characters and background. As mentioned, I always considered these ends far less important than visual effects, extended action scenes, and dialogue that children would consider original. And hence I shall again praise this adaptation. Say, my good man, would you at least send down some pipe-weed?

"Sorry, but since you're breathing again, you only have so much oxygen."
Then, mayhaps, you could ask the eagles to rescue me? They provided a fine escape in my books.

"They're endangered now."
Might you contact the cemetery owner, then? I should have ample funds after the films.

"You didn't get any money from them."
Bloody hell. Those greedy chaps are worse than the Sackville-Bagginses. Might we enter into a literary collaboration? A new Tolkein book might fill both our coffers.

"That would be plagiarism. You don't control your own work any more." 
Perhaps I might ghostwrite, if you'd pardon the pun? I could finish my unfinished tales and extend the Silllllllmarillllllllllion with more CGI. Were Disney to purchase my new works, we would most surely have wondrously profitable films, blending my genre with Star Wars. Imagine the visual effects of a lightsaber battle between Luke and Azog, or Smaug vs. X-Wings. Might you speculate as to whether George Lucas would be willing to claim that added CGI constitutes a meaningful retelling of his original vision?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ring in the New Year

Recent years have seen a dramatic rise in sales of "promise rings," also called "pre-engagement rings". These rings, based loosely on the Irish Claddagh ring, reflect a couple's commitment to become engaged at some point. Engagement still means that the couple intends to get married.

Backtracking, how would couples convey their interest in a possible future promise ring? Hence, Zales has recently introduced the "pre-promise ring". This ring reflects that couples are considering committing to a promise ring, but are not yet ready for the big step of saying that they commit to later commit to later get married.

Extensive research has indicated various romantic stages that may build up to the pre-promise ring. Howard Jewelers and Hallmark have introduced the "Hoo-woo-oo-oo" ring, based on Eddie Murphy's observation that a critical relationship development is eliciting that sound from your woman.

Kay Jewelers, capitalizing on their "Every Kiss begins with Kay" slogan, has introduced the "First Kiss" ring. This ring shall be expected by any respectable lady before she first kisses any gentleman. This provides a preliminary indicator of his value and willingness to sacrifice for her. As usual, the two months' salary guide is recommended when pondering the ring's value.

Jared Diamond has countered with their new slogan, "Every Job begins with J". This conveys a successful hand or blow job. This ring would presumably occur after the K ring, at least in dignified couples. Particularly hopeful gentlemen may wish to consider bringing a K ring and J ring on the first date; however, the J ring should be kept hidden at first.

Tiffany has introduced the "Tiff ring". This ring conveys that the burgeoning couple has survived their first tiff. The timing of this ring, relative to the three preceding rings, says everything.

What of the well-established "Purity ring", reflecting that a woman commits to remain pure until marriage? This is still required, and should be placed on a baby at birth. New rings must be purchased as needed as the child grows. All such rings include a thin membrane that is designed to be savagely punctured by the Hoo-woo-oo-oo ring.

New genetic engineering research has inspired titllating adumbrations of the "F-ring". Contrary to vulgar assumptions, this refers to the "Finger ring". Contrary to vulgar assumptions, this has nothing to do with the verb form of "finger", but reflects a man's commitment to pay for his wife to get additional fingers to host more rings.

Sales have been poor for the "Divorce promise ring". This ring is meant to convey that the couple commits to get divorced sometime. The poor Zales have been blamed on legal ramifications, and the husband's unwillingness to spend two months' salary on such a ring.

Sales have been even worse for the Mosaica Masturbation ring. This ring, often confused with the Purity ring, conveys the owner's decision to remain solo for an unspecified time. Market analysts have concluded that, like the Divorce promise ring, a critical concern is buyers' low motivation. Emerging efforts have focused on encouraging people to buy these rings for themselves, reflecting eagerness to get an alternate ring, with sales much higher among women.

An unfortunate number of people continue to rely on the notorious "I-ring", or Invisible Ring. This ring generates no revenue and reflects that a couple is sufficiently comfortable with their communication and commitment that extensive rings or other baubles are unnecessary. Strong efforts to vilify such ringbearers by the diamond and card industries have been largely successful, but have not caught on with certain demographics, such as amputees, low-maintenance women, prisoners, the homeless, and the hopeless. Further market research will hopefully identify opportunities to eliminate such subversive elements and their possible threat to capitalist society.