Monday, June 21, 2010

Return to Casablanca --- But Not for the Waters

"Yes, Ilsa, we'll always have Paris. And there'll be rude waiters for us wherever we go."

Directed by Perry Block 
This highly “watered-down” version of Casablanca was taken from the original tweeted version of Casablanca I experimented with several months ago on my Twitter site. Y’know, the experiment which has since been come to be known as my own personal Gigli.

Here I have “de-tweeted” the tweets and turned Return to Casablanca --- But Not for the Waters into cinematic form. I’ve also added some extra dialogue and stage directions here and there, ostensibly to bridge originally disjointed tweets. So if you see some phrases or brief sequences clearly not from the actual movie or a bit out of order, please don’t get all hot and bothered that I’m not a Casablanca “purist!”

Hey, I live vicariously through this movie; you have a real life! So who’s the bigger Casablanca fan?! Huh?! Huh?!

Please be advised that this post is pretty long. You may want to bring your lunch and/or be prepared for a rest stop somewhere between Scene VI and Scene VIII.

So now, settle back, forget about all the constructive things you should be doing, and Return to Casablanca --- But Not for the Waters!

Cast of Characters:

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) --- What can I say? Every guy on the planet wants to be either Bogey, Superman, or Bugs Bunny. In my case, all three!

Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) --- What can I say? I’ve seen the lady.

Inspector Louis Renault (Claude Rains) --- The quintessential oily opportunist who becomes a hero, as portrayed by one of the greatest character actors of all time!

Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid) --- No, not Hans Conreid, Boomers. Paul Henreid!

Ugarte (Peter Lorre) --- Always so cool, off-beat, and one-of-a-kind. Here in his young, thin, and out of the picture too quickly days.

Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet) --- Corpulent, inscrutable, and also out of the picture too quickly. Want to have fun? Catch him in Three Strangers, also with Peter Lorre.

Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) --- Further proof that aging sucks. Twenty -three years earlier he’s the young sleepwalking murderer in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Here he’s already Nouveau Old!

Sam (Dooley Wilson): Probably the only sensible one in the bunch!

Land of mystery .... intrigue .... romance.   I never been there, have you?

Scene I

Upstairs at Rick’s Café Américain. Richard Blaine, owner of Rick’s and American ex-patriot, and Inspector Louis Renault, corrupt but cute as all get out, are conversing.  

Louie: Rick, I've often speculated why you don't return to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Run off with a senator’s wife? I like to think you killed a man, it’s the romantic in me.

Rick: Actually, Louie, it had more to do with ripping a label off the bottom of a mattress!

Louie: Why did you come to Casablanca?

Rick:  I came to Casablanca for the waters.

Louie: What waters, we’re in the desert?

Rick: I was misinformed. That and I heard there was a great sale on Deer Park!

Louie: Last night, two German couriers were killed. They were carrying two Letters of Transit that were stolen. I tell you this because you should know that Victor Lazlo is in Casablanca.

Rick: Victor Lazlo?!

Louie: Rick, you seem impressed!

Rick: Victor Lazlo’s succeeded in impressing half of the world. Too bad it’s the same half that thinks Bob Saget is funny. But why would you think I would help Lazlo?

Louie: Because, Ricky, I suspect at heart you’re a rank sentimentalist! I’m familiar with your record. In 1935, you ran guns to Ethiopia. In 1936, you fought in Spain, on the Loyalist side.

Rick: I got well paid for it on both occasions.

Louie: The winning side would have paid you much better.

Rick: Now you tell me!

Louie: Rick, there are many exit visas sold in Rick’s Café Américain, but we know that you've never sold one. That is the reason we permit you to remain open.

Rick: Oh? I thought it was because I let you win at roulette.

Louie: You let me win? Uh-oh! I just mortgaged my house to get in on Ferrari’s Wide World of Roulette Sweepstakes!

Rick: So what are your political sentiments, Louie?

Louie: I have no convictions.  I  blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy.  Should the wind shift and start coming from Philadelphia, I’ll root for the Phillies. After all, they have Ryan Howard!

Rick: I see. So you think I might sell a Letter of Transit to Lazlo?

Louie: He’ll need two exit visas. He is traveling with a lady. 

Rick: He'll take one.

Louie: I think not. I have seen the lady. Actually he’ll need …. three! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Rick: Louie, your sense of humor …. Well, you’re no Claude Rains!

Scene II

Rick’s Café Américain later that evening. Stench of smoke and bourbon in the air, intrigue 'round every corner. (Actually I’m feeling kind of nauseous myself.) Rick is talking to Ugarte, who - like Inspector Renault - is kind of adorable in a sleazy, oily, disgusting way.

Ugarte: You despise me, don’t you, Rick? 

Rick: If I paid you any mind, I probably would.  Know what?  I actually  manage to despise you even without paying you any mind!

Ugarte: Rick, I hope you're more impressed with me now! 

Rick: You're right, Ugarte. I am more impressed now that I know you played Center for Duke on the 2001 NCAA winning team!

Ugarte: No, no, Rick! I’m talking about the dead German couriers, these two Letters of Transit.

Rick: Yeah, well, it’s Casablanca, life’s cheap. Tell me, what’s Mike Krzyzewski really like?

Ugarte: I know many people in Casablanca, but somehow because you despise me, you are the only one I trust!  Here, please hold these two Letters of Transit for me.

Rick: Yeah, swell, wonderful. Hey, ever meet Alan Iverson???

Police enter, looking for Ugarte.

Ugarte: Hide me, Rick, hide me!

Rick: Don’t be a fool, Ugarte! It’s my turn to hide and your turn to seek!

Ugarte is taken away and we hear a shot.

Concerned By-Stander: I hope when they come for me, Rick, you’ll be of more help!

Rick: I stick my neck out for nobody. Except Oprah!

Scene III

Rick's, even later that same evening.  Stench of smoke and bourbon still fill the air, intrigue still 'round every corner.  (And I'm still feeling nauseous ... as if you even care!) Inspector Renault is introducing Rick to Major Strasser of the Third Reich.

Major Strasser: Ah, Mr. Richard Blaine. Cannot return to his home country.

Rick: Yes, Major Strasser,  I have one lousy sense of direction.  I'm so bad, I make MapQuest look reliable!

Major Strasser: Are you one of those people who cannot imagine the Germans in their beloved Paris?

Rick:  It's not particularly my beloved Paris.  I 'belove' Vegas, baby!  What happens there stays there!

Major Strasser:  Can you imagine us in New York?

Rick:  Well, there are certain sections of New York I wouldn't advise you to try to  invade.  Those Yankees fans will eat you alive!

Rick leaves (a wee-wee?) and Victor Lazlo and Ilsa Lund enter.

Louie: (greeting them) Welcome to Casablanca, Mr. Lazlo! By the way, do you find Bob Saget funny?

Victor:  That is a nice welcome, thank you, Inspector Renault!  I have not seen this Bob Saget, but I have it on good authority from my friends in the Underground that he sucks.

Louie:  And you, Miss Lund, I was informed that you were the most beautiful woman ever to visit Casablanca.  That was a gross understatement!  As opposed to my girlfriend, who's more of a gross statement!

Ilsa:  You're very kind, Inspector Renault. Although the second part of your statement was very unkind.  However, if that's your girlfriend at your table, it was also very accurate!

Ilsa spots Sam and approaches him. 

Ilsa:  Hello, Sam.  It's been a long time.

Sam:   Hello, Miss Ilsa.  (to himself) Oh, crap!   Not only is the Boss about to go psycho on us,  it's gonna be that damn song again!

Ilsa:  Play it, Sam.  For old time's sake.

Sam:  I can't remember it, Miss Ilsa.  Yes, that's it.  I can't remember it. 

Ilsa:  Play 'As Time Goes By.'  I'll hum it for you.

SamNo, No!  I mean, no, Miss Ilsa, that's okay.

Ilsa Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-doo-da-dum .... diggle-dai-del-deedle-daidel-dumm!

Sam: Oh my God!   Stop it, Miss Ilsa, your singing is bad enough, now you’re mixing in 'If I were a Rich Man!'  Okay, I'll play it, I'LL PLAY IT!

Sam begins tentatively playing and singing  'As Time Goes By.'

Sam: "You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is still a sigh ...."    Oh, Miss Ilsa, please!  Compared to this, ABBA  is like the Beatles!

Rick enters,  incensed.

Rick:   I thought I told you never to play it again, Sam!   That putt is a gimmee.  Pick it up Sam.  You don't need to play it again! 

Rick spots Ilsa and does a double-take.  Actually it's more of a triple-take. Even if there isn't such a thing, if anybody could do it, it'd be Bogart!

Ilsa: Rick, I wasn't sure you were the same.  Let's see, the last time we met ....

Rick:  .... was La Belle Aurore!  Sort of a cross between Olive Garden and Applebee's , only without the great food!

Ilsa:  How nice, you remembered!  But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris. 

Rick:  I remember that day in every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.  I wore a little pink thing with ribbons --- I was very uspet about the Germans!

Victor Lazlo enters and Ilsa introduces him to Rick.

Rick:  Mr. Lazlo, I congratulate you on your work.

Victor:  Thank you.  I try.

Rick:  All of us try, you succeed!  What is it --- the Cliff's Notes?

Victor:  Yes, Monsieur Blaine, I always use Cliff's Notes.

Shortly, Victor and Ilsa leave Rick's.

Victor: Ilsa, I think this time the Nazis really mean to stop me!

Ilsa: What did you think they were trying to do before, Victor? Give you a five minute time out?

Scene IV

Hours later in Rick's, now closed and darkened.  Only Rick and Sam remain. (Me, I'm still nauseous.  In fact, I think I'm gonna be sick ....)

Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!  Play it, Sam!

SamOh, no, not again!   Tell you what, Boss:  I'll pay you 'Feelings' as sung by Mr. Glenn Campbell.  "Feelings, nothing more than feelings ...."

Rick:  No, no, Sam!  Haven't I suffered enough?

Sam begins playing 'As Time Goes By' again.

Rick:  Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.  And she's a contractor too!  Sam, let's get a quote to paint the place! 

Sam has a long flashback about the happy days in which he fell in love with Ilsa in Paris.  You and I should only have such flashbacks  instead of the ones in which we're being yelled at by the ninth grade gym teacher for not being able to touch our toes!

Ilsa furtively enters Rick's. (Hope you know what furtive means.  I have no clue.)

Ilsa: Rick, I have to talk to you!

Rick:  Ilsa!  Well, Sam, you can go! 

Sam:  If Miss Ilsa's going to sing again, Boss, you better believe I'm going!

Rick: Why did you have to come to Casablanca?  There are other places.  Havertown PA, for example.  It has two --- count 'em --- two Wawa Convenience Stores!

Ilsa: Can I tell you a story, Rick?

Rick:  I know a story too, one with a wild finish.  A guy standing on a station platform in the rain whose insides had been kicked out!  Even worse, after my insides were kicked out, they went wide of the goal posts and we lost by two points.

Ilsa: I know.  I bet on your team too.  But Rick, please let me tell you this story!

Rick:  Okay. But first I want to jump in my jammies and grab Rupert Bear.  Can you get me a drink of water?  Deer Park?

Ilsa:  It's about a girl who at the house of some friends met a man about whom she’d heard her whole life. A very great and courageous man. He opened up for her a whole beautiful world full of knowledge and thoughts and ideals. Everything she knew or ever became was because of him. And she looked up to him and worshiped him… with a feeling she supposed was love.

Rick: And then?

Ilsa: And then he got her drunk on Ripple, and the rest is history!

Rick: Tell me, who was it you left me for?  Was it Lazlo, or were there others in between?  Or aren't you the kind that tells?

Ilsa:  Oh, I'm the kind, Rick.  Others in between.  Ever hear of the Philadelphia Eagles?

Scene V

Rick's, the next evening.  Rick, sitting alone, is approached by an attractive young woman (Annina).  Rick is about to show his benevolent side.  Even if I had a benevolent side, I'm sure it would  photograph just as badly as all my other sides!

Annina:  Monsieur Rick, what kind of man is Inspector Renault?

Rick:  Oh, he's just like any other man, only more so.

Annina: More so?!!!  W-e-e-l-l-l, maybe this won't be so bad after all!

Rick:  I beg your pardon, young lady?

Annina:  Oh, no, no, no, I was ... um ... kidding!  What I meant to say is oh, Monsieur Rick, you are a man.  If someone loved you so much your happiness was everything to her, but she did a bad thing, could you forgive her?

Rick:  Nobody ever loved me that much! Well, there was that tattooed skank who's now boffing Jesse James.

Annina: My husband is trying to make money for our exit visas by playing Scissors, Paper, Stone.  Of course, he's losing.  He's got a mean Paper, but he has trouble moving effectively to his left with Scissors.

Rick:  You want my advice?

Annina:  Oh yes, please.

Rick: Go back to Bulgaria!

Annina:  We came from Detroit, Monsieur Rick.

Rick:  I know. Bulgaria's nicer!  Well, everybody in Casablanca has problems,  yours may work out.

Annina:  (a bit crestfallen)   Thank you, Monsieur Rick.

Rick gets up and walks over to the Scissors, Paper, Stone table to where  Annina's husband  is sitting.

Rick:  Buddy, have you tried Stone today?

Croupier:  And the House puts out Scissors, the Monsieur wins with Stone!

Rick: Now put it all on Paper.

Croupier:  And the House puts out Stone. The Monsieur wins again!

Rick:  Cash those winnings and don't come back!  On second thought, you can come back for our special 'Thursday All-You-Can-Eat Wings Night!"

Annina runs over to Rick.

Annina:  Oh, Monsieur Rick, I don't know how to thank ....

Rick:  Ahh, he's just a lucky guy!  But he's GOT to work on moving effectively to his left with Scissors!

Inspector Renault saunters over to Rick with a "naughty-naughty" look.

Louie:  Just as I thought!   A rank sentimentalist!    I'll forgive you this time but I'll be in tomorrow night with a breathtaking blonde, and it'll make me very happy if she loses!  So tomorrow night please:

Scene VI

Upstairs at Rick’s. Rick and Victor Lazlo are chewing the fat about, oh, any old thing.

Rick:  Do you sometimes wonder if it's worth all this?  I mean what you're fighting for.

Victor: Know how you sound, Monsieur Blaine? Like a man who's trying to convince himself of something he doesn't believe in his heart.

Rick: Well, if not in my
heart -- which is my second favorite organ -- my first favorite organ believes it!

Victor: You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we'll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.

Rick: Well, sounds like I’ll soon be sitting shiva with the world’s mishpocha then! Got the address?  Should I pick up some cold cuts from Murray's for everyone?

Germanic music begins playing from the café, and Victor storms downstairs and addresses the band.

Victor: Play the 'La Marseilleise!'  Play it!!! Oh, you don’t know it!  Okay, 'Frere Jacques' will do! 

Rick nods the OK and the band begins to play. Following the song, the entire café erupts in patriotic fervor! Ilsa looks fondly at Victor,  just as you are probably looking not so fondly at me  wondering when this damn parody will end!

Major Strasser: You see, Inspector Renault? If Lazlo’s presence here can cause such a disruption, can you imagine the damage from ‘Victor Lazlo, the Home Game?’ I order you to close Rick’s!

Louie: But I have no excuse to close it. My mommy forgot to write me one  before I came to school.

Major Strasser:  Find one!

Louie:  (announcing to all) This restaurant is now closed!  Thank you very much and don't forget to tip your bartenders and servers!

Rick: How can you close me up, Louie? On what grounds?

Louie: I'm shocked .... shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! Although not as shocked as I was to find gambling going on in a place like Chester PA, but still pretty shocked!

Croupier: Your winnings, sir.

Louie: Oh, thank you very much!

Nobody can ever improve on that classic exchange. I won’t even try!

Scene VII

Later that night at Rick’s apartment.  As Rick enters the apartment, he finds Ilsa also there.  She has previously entered  furtively. (What! You haven’t looked up “furtive” yet?)

Rick: Your unexpected visit isn't connected by any chance with the Letters of Transit.   It seems as long as I have those letters, I'll never be lonely.

Ilsa: No, I'm here for Phillies tickets.  Of course, it's the Letters of Transit!

 Rick: Sorry, Ilsa, it's no deal!  Or is it "Deal or No Deal?" Say, Howie Mandel might be perfect for a show with a name something like that!

Ilsa: I know how you feel about me, but I'm asking you to put your feelings aide for a cause far more important. It was once your cause too.

Rick: I'm the only Cause I'm interested in!  By the way, care to make a donation to my Cause? Or co-host my telethon?  Y'know, I just fired Jerry Lewis.

At the end of her rope, Ilsa pulls a gun on Rick.

Ilsa: All right, I tried to reason with you. I tried everything. Now I want those letters!

Rick:  Go ahead and shoot.  You'll be doing me a favor!

Ilsa:  Really?  Well, if you put it that way ....

RickWait! Wait!  Can't you take a little joke, Ilsa?

Ilsa drops the gun.

Ilsa: Rick, I can't fight it anymore!  I tried to stay away.  You see,  Rick, Victor is my husband and was even when you knew me in Paris!

Ilsa throws herself passionately into Rick's arms.
Rick:  Well, okay.   If you put in that way....

Ilsa: I ran away from you once.  I can't do it again.  Oh, I don't know what's right any longer! You have to think for the four of us! I mean the three of us, counting Victor.  Or is it the two of us? Yes, in addition to not knowing what's right any longer, I have no math skills either!

Rick: All right, I will.

Rick:  (turning to audience) You see, folks, it’s 1942, and it’s SOP to have women in the movies - even Ingrid Bergman - act like they’re dependent morons. The only flaw in this otherwise great movie!

Rick tenderly kisses Ilsa, and then ....

Thank God Casablanca wasn’t made in 2010, because as much as I love Bogart, we'd have seen a lot more of him next than even I ever wanted to!  Ingrid Bergman --- well, that would have been an offsetting factor. But I will follow the discretionary tastes of the 40's and show you nada!

Rick: Here’s lookin’ at you, kid! Yes, you’re right, Ilsa: I am one of the men who stare at goats! 

Scene VIII

At the Blue Parrot, another Casablanca nightclub, Rick and Senor Ferrari, the proprietor, are having a pow-wow. How’s that for a totally inappropriate expression under the circumstances?

Ferrari: As leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca, I am an influential and respected man.  Just think, if I were 375 pounds lighter, watch out, Brad Pitt!

Rick:  Well, 'Brad,' let's conclude our business then.  I wouldn't want you to keep 'Angelina' waiting!

Ferrari:  I assume a handshake is satisfactory for our deal on Rick's?

Rick:  It certainly is not!   But given the time we've got,  let's just make it a pinkie shake! 

Ferrari: Oh, yes, I like a good pinkie shake!

Rick:   Now,  Sam, Sasha, and Karl stay with the place or I don't sell!

Ferrari:  Of course they do, it wouldn't be Rick's without them.  What do you think, I'm buying your dump for the veal cordon bleu?

Rick:  And Sam gets  25% of the profits.

Ferrari:  I happen to know he gets 10%, but he's worth 25%.  And for the iconic star of a classic movie, Rick, you are one hell of a cheapskate!

Scene IX

Having discussed with Inspector Renault his supposed plan to entrap Victor into arrest for attempting to purchase the Letters of Transit and take off with Ilsa for America, Rick and Inspector Renault lay in wait for Victor and Ilsa in the closed, darkened Rick's.

Louie: Still not sure why you’re doing this, Ricky. Miss Lund is very beautiful, but you were never interested in any woman.

Rick: You’re forgetting that tattooed skank who’s boffing Jesse James.

Louie: Ricky, I'm going to miss you. Apparently you're the only one in Casablanca with less scruples than I.

Rick: Yes, Louie, but today they had a deal on scruples at Staples. I’ve stocked up! Hmm, "stocked up on Scruples at Staples!" Say that fast five times!

As Victor and Ilsa enter and receive the Letters of Transit from Rick, Inspector Renault attempts to arrest Victor, but Rick pulls a gun on him instead.

Boy is this getting good!

Louie: Rick, have you lost your mind? 

Rick: I have.  Sit down.

Louie:  Put that gun down!

Rick: I wouldn't like to shoot you, Louie, but I will if you take one more step! And certainly if you take several steps and do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around!
Louie:  Under the circumstances, I will sit down.  And I'm  sure as hell not going to do the hokey-pokey, even if it's ladies choice!

Rick: Louie, remember this gun is pointed right at your heart.

Louie: That is my least vulnerable spot.

Rick: Well, then I’ll just re-direct it due south!

Off to the Airport for the denouement (finally!)  At the airport, Rick tells Inspector Renault to put Victor and Ilsa’s names on the Letters of Transit, ensuring their safe departure.

Ilsa: Richard, no! I want to go with you! You’re a much bigger star than Hans Conreid.

Louie: (interjecting) Ingrid, that’s Paul Henreid!

Rick: Ah, shut up, Louie! Only Boomers will get that joke anyway!

Ilsa:  But Richard, please ....

Rick: Look, Ilsa, you’re getting on that plane! Someone has to sit next to Kevin Smith!

Ilsa: But I love you, Rick! More even than the Philadelphia Eagles!

Rick: If you’re not on that plane, someday you’ll regret it, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life - definitely no later than Hump Day! Look, Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble. But the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. (Actually maybe they do, considering the stink beans produce!) Someday you’ll understand that.

Rick: (turning to audience) Yes, folks, it’s still 1942 and it’s still SOP to talk to women – even Ingrid Bergman – like they’re dependent morons!

Rick: (to Ilsa) We’ll always have Paris. And there’ll be rude waiters for us wherever we go.

Ilsa: And I said I would never leave you.  Well, okay, I’ll leave you.  Here’s the number where I’ll be, make sure the sitter gets it!

Rick: Here’s lookin’ at you, kid! I’m saying it again because the stupid goat movie sort of tanked and I’m using up any excess dialogue!

Victor approaches to squire Ilsa onto the plane.

Rick: (to Victor) There's something you should know.  Ilsa was at my place last night.  She did everything she could to try to get the letters of transit. She even pretended to still be in love with me.   For my sake, I let her pretend.

Victor:  I understand. Since no one is to blame I ask for no explanations.

Rick:  Geez, are you easy!  If I'd have known that, we would have done a hell of a lot more pretending, including the one where I pretend to be the Orthodox Rabbi and she's the humongous pig roast!  

Victor: Welcome back to the fight! This time I know our side will win --- or at least finish in the money!

Victor and Ilsa board the plane as Rick and Inspector Renauld look on.

Louie: I suppose you realize this isn't going to be very pretty for either of us. Especially you.

Rick:  Yeah, but I do plan to do my bunk at the concentration camp in a light mauve with pinkish overtones.

Louie:  You know I'll have to arrest you.

Rick:  As soon as the plane leaves, Louie.  Maybe also wait until the boring in-flight movie with Nicholas Cage starts.

As the plane taxis down the runway, Major Strasser arrives and tries to stop it. He reaches for a nearby phone to order it halted.

Rick:  Step away from that phone!  You know it's too expensive to call Information.  Look up the number instead!

Major Strasser persists.

Rick:  I said stop!  I was willing to shoot Inspector Renault and I'm willing to shoot you.  I kind of want to see if when I hit you it makes a clanging noise and you turn about and start immediately going in the opposite direction.

Major Strasser pulls a gun and  BANG! BANG! BANG! (I am so juvenile!)  Rick shoots Major Strasser and he falls dead to the ground. Louie's deputies drive up in a jeep.

Louie: Major Strasser’s been shot!

There follows a pregnant pause as Rick and Inspector Renault cautiously regard each other.   No, they're not literally pregnant, you idiot!

Louie: (to his men) Round up the usual suspects!

Rick, quite relieved, half smiles knowingly at Inspector Renauld.

Louie:  What?!!   Who took Rick's name off the “Usual Suspects List?"   Ha-ha-ha, just a little joke, Ricky!

Rick: You’re still no Claude Rains, Louie.

Louie: You know, Rick, you’re not only a sentimentalist, you've become a great patriot!

Rick: Seemed like a good time to start.

Louie: I think perhaps you’re right.

Inspector Renault drops a bottle of Vichy water into a trash can and kicks it. And it goes through the uprights for a winning three point conversion, unlike Rick’s guts earlier in the movie!

Rick and Louie walk off together into the dense airport fog.

Rick: You know, Louie, this looks like the start of a beautiful friendship!

Louie: You're right, Rick! You follow me on Twitter, and I follow you back.

Rick: And you’d better ….. or I’ll unfollow your ass!


Return to Casablanca --- But Not For the Waters

 With that, our classic tale of heroism, intrigue, and romance concludes! I hope you enjoyed it. I personally am sick to death of it!

Let’s return now to our own crappy little lives, OK folks?


Thursday, June 3, 2010

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Once upon a time in a lovely green valley by a lake --- where the price for buildable lots was so high you could never hope to afford one --- there stood a charming cottage in which Blog, a young bunny,  and Mother and Father Bunny lived. 

Blog was generally a happy little bunny except for one thing --- he was ashamed of his ugly sounding name.

“Why do I have a horrible name like Blog?” he asked Mother and Father Bunny.

“It was supposed to be Bob,” explained Mother Bunny, “but Dad burped when he said the name to the Register of Bunny Names and unfortunately the clerk wrote down “Blog.”

Now there was a law in the land where Blog and Mother and Father Bunny lived that forbade bunnies from changing their names.

It was called the “Jennifer and Jason Act,” passed by a group of bunnies born in the 70’s who were afraid their really cool names might be yanked away and they’d be saddled with annoying 90’s names like Max, Zachery, and Carlotta.

Despite sadness over his horrible name, Blog was always happy when Mother Bunny read to him at bedtime. He especially loved two books: “The Little Engine that Gave Up and went for a Beer” and “Twitter Sticks it to Margaret Wise Brown.”

Mother Bunny read these two books to him over and over. She would have read them to him under and under, as well as in between and in between, if only those two idiotic statements made any sense.

Of the two, Blog especially adored “Twitter Sticks it to Margaret Wise Brown.”

It taught a wonderful lesson about bitterness, acrimony, and revenge, and had pop-up pictures too! It told the tale of Twitter, a beautiful young bunny with a lovely smile and pretty blue eyes, who was cast as the ingénue in an upcoming warm-hearted children’s book “The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown.

Twitter was brutally fired by Margaret Wise Brown, who thereupon replaced her with some no-talent male bunny she was rumored to be sleeping with. The meanest children’s author this side of Eric Carle, Ms. Brown was known on the set of an earlier book, “Goodnight Moon,” to make the Bowl of Mush cry.

Twitter was undaunted. She began networking on LinkedIn and made history by becoming the first person ever to make successful use of LinkedIn’s moronic Endorsements feature.

Before long, she attracted the attention of a children’s book author named Perry Block.

Their collaboration led to “Twitter Sticks it to Margaret Wise Brown,” which quickly went viral after being selected for Oprah’s Book Club. It vastly outsold “The Runaway Bunny,” the first edition of which included an ill-advised chapter showing a scantily-clad Margaret Wise Brown and the no-talent Bunny vacationing in Majorca.

How Blog admired Twitter! 

“And what a beautiful name!” Blog thought. “How could anybody ever say that you could waste time with Twitter?” 


In a few years, little Blog grew tall and came of age.

One day he announced to Mother and Father Bunny that he was going out into the world to seek his fortune.

“I would like to meet Twitter before I begin,” said Blog. “I googled her and I know where I may find her.”

“By the way even ‘Google’ would have been a better name for me.”

The next day, Blog bid Mother and Father Bunny farewell and set off on his journey, making his way out of the lovely green valley by a lake --- where the price for buildable lots was so high you could never hope to afford one --- and where there stood the charming cottage in which he, Blog, a young bunny, and Mother and Father Bunny lived.

In a few days Blog arrived at the address he had googled for Twitter.

“But what is this?” exclaimed Blog!

The sign in front of the address said:

Hoppity’s House of Hotties!

Blog entered.

Red flocked wallpaper. A fat pig with a cigar playing an upright piano. Steve Buscemi!

Blog realized he wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

“Where … where can I find Ms. Twitter?” Blog stammered to a large animate rubber ball standing just inside the door, who was in fact ‘the Bouncer.’

“She’s in the back, Mac!” said the Bouncer.   He was also a poet.

Blog made his way to the back of the building. Through a half open door he saw a wan, pale, painfully thin young bunny he recognized as Twitter, his hero.

“Ms. Twitter,” Blog called hoarsely, “Ms. Twitter...”

Twitter turned and gave a half-smile. “Yes, do I know you?” she said.

“Ms. Twitter, I’ve been a huge fan of “Twitter Sticks it to Margaret Wise Brown” ever since I was a small bunny. You are my role model!”

Oh, sure!" sighed Twitter. "I’m a role model like Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott in the movie ‘Role Models,’ also starring Jane Lynch. I’m sorry to disappoint you. Hope you haven’t traveled far.”

 “May I ask what happened?”

“My life was once wonderful, just as in my book. I was hanging with Oprah and Gayle, signed to do big budget book with Curious George, Rowling’s people were at the doorstep! Then it happened.”

What happened?”

“The older man who wrote the book, Perry Block, turned on me! He stole all the money, saw to it that I got nothing, and began spreading vicious lies that I … that I was doing it like a bunny!”

Twitter broke off in loud sobs!

(Author’s Note: The above allegations are the subject of litigation and are unproven. And I am NOT an older man!)

"Imagine," sobbed Twitter, "me, doing it like a bunny!  I don't even get poked on Facebook."

“So you had no options,” Blog said quietly.

"I had to eat,” said Twitter, “but I couldn’t even get a walk-on in a Captain Underpants book!”

Just then, a loud voice bellowed from outside the dressing room
 “Twitter doll, time to give the customers some yum-yum!”

 Blog saw the look of terror in Twitter’s still beautiful blue eyes.

“I’m sorry,” she mumbled. “I have to go on now …”
“Twitter,” said Blog, “this might seem crazy, but I have an idea. I’m going out into the world to seek my fortune. Why don’t you come with me?”
Twitter looked as if she’d been struck by an anvil from a Warner Brothers cartoon! In fact, since this is a children's story, she was struck by an anvil from a Warner Brothers cartoon.
 “Why … why would you do that for me?”
“I know you don’t really know me, but I've known you all my life.”
“I think I trust you, but …”
“Twitter, I would never!” said Blog. “I don’t even have HBO.”
“If you’re sure I won’t be a burden.”
Blog couldn’t believe his ears!
Yes, they were long, furry, and stood straight up from the top of his head, but he should have been used to that by now!
Twitter got ready to go, and she and Blog were soon outside and on the road. Where they were headed, neither of them yet knew.
 But somehow it didn’t matter.

“You know,” said Twitter, “I don’t even know your name.”

Oh no! What if Twitter thought his name was stupid?
What if she thought his name sounded like “Bob” if you burped when you said it?
What if she no longer wanted to go?

“My name’s Blog,” he muttered nervously.

Blog,” said Twitter.
Twitter repeated it again.Blog,” she said slowly and thoughtfully.
“I think that’s a very nice name.”
“You think that?!” sputtered Blog, amazed. “Why?”
“Because it’s the name of someone who cares.”

For the first time in his life, Blog was no longer ashamed of his name.

Actually, he was kind of proud of it!

And in that very moment, Blog felt like a million bucks --- which would have been many times over what you’d need to buy a buildable lot in that lovely green valley, by a lake, where there stood the charming cottage in which he, Blog, a young bunny, had once lived. 

The End 


With apologies to Eric Carle and to the memory of Margaret Wise Brown, both of both I’m sure were and are very nice. 

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And very gracious thanks to Mooshe Nickerson for her terrific original illustrations that accompany this story.