Archive for December, 2010

20
Dec
10

The Fall: (We Wish You) A Protein Christmas

What’s that sound?  It’s Mark E. Claus, trapped in your chimney, complaining bitterly about the soot.  The least you can do is get him a pint.

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11
Dec
10

One For Yes, Two For No

EXT. LONDON STREET, NIGHT
December 2010.  Student protests over tuition fees have gripped London. A black Bentley limousine snakes through the city's streets. As it proceeds, a gradually greater number of student protesters lines the sidewalk.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE LEFT BACK SEAT, NIGHT
Seated in the limo is PRINCE CHARLES.  He is bathed in the light of a small television upon which GRAHAM NORTON interviews BETTE MIDLER.  CHARLES holds a cocktail in one hand and an iPhone in the other.  He speaks into the iPhone:
CHARLES
(irritatedly)
Look here, Wigglesbottom, we've been through this before. As I've told you, the email thingy is different from the Facebook thingy.  (Pause.  Rolls eyes.) Because it doesn't have a face.  Email isn't blue.
CUT TO:
CU CHAUFFER
We see a look of rising concern cross the CHAUFFEUR'S face as he drives.  He sees protesters beginning to swarm the street and block his path.
CHAUFFEUR
(quietly)
Your highness?
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE LEFT BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CHARLES is oblivious.
CHARLES
(into phone, preoccupied by the television)
Oh dear.  Wiggly, this won't do. You'll need to pay closer attention, I'm afraid. 
CHAUFFEUR
(O.S., louder)
Your highness?
CUT TO:
EXT. LONDON STREET, NIGHT
As the Bentley approaches, a crowd closes in, carrying sticks and torches.  An angry roar arises.
PROTESTER #1
Toffs!
PROTESTER  #2
Get 'em!  Off with their heads!
A PROTESTER raises a hand holding a stone as if to throw. A wave of anger sweeps through the crowd.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE LEF BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CHARLES
(into phone, exasperated)
No, that's how it's supposed to work.  You're not supposed to see the password.  
CHAUFFEUR
(O.S., rising panic as he slows to a stop)
Yourrr maaajesty!
CHARLES
(finally looking up)
What in -- my god!
CHARLES looks out the window and notices the mob for the first time. 
CHARLES
(to CHAUFFER)
Don't stop, man! 
The CAUFFEUR gestures helplessly.  A mighty BANG! is heard as the rock strikes the limo.
CHARLES turns to his right to face his companion, CAMILLA PARKER-BOWLES.
CHARLES
It's too late!  Camilla!
INT. LIMOUSINE RIGHT BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CAMILLA, a pale horse seated in the limousine bucks and whinnies desperately.
CAMILLA
Whiiiiinggh!  Whiiiiinnngh!
Her thrashing sends CHARLES's cocktail flying.
CHARLES
(fumbling for her reins)
Gah! Steady, girl!  Steady.  Whoa.
The struggle in the back is dire, but CHARLES grasps her reins.  The struggle pauses.  He pats her mane.
CHARLES
Now, now. 
CHARLES reaches into a compartment, produces a carrot and offers it to CAMILLA.  The whites of her eyes flash crazily.
CHARLES
There.  There, yes.  Do you want to go home?  Do you?
CUT TO:
INT. Floor of limousine
CAMILLA's hoof clops onto the floor once.
CAMILLA
Pththtttht!
CUT TO:
EXT. LONDON STREET, NIGHT
Another projectile is thrown by the crowd as it closes in to the limousine.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE BACK SEAT, NIGHT
A BANG! followed by another BANG!  At the noise, CAMILLA resumes bucking and whinnying.  The carrot goes flying.
CAMILLA
Whiiiiighh!  Niiighghhhh!
CHARLES
Damn! Camilla!  Agh!
The despertaely spooked horse spills onto her side, pinning the Prince onto the limousine seat..
CUT TO:
EXT. LIMOUSINE WINDOW, NIGHT
With a SMASH! of glass, a hoof pokes out of the limousine window. 
NEW ANGLE:
The advancing mob stops in their tracks at the sight of the horse's hoof.  They lower their sticks and stones.  A beat passes. 
PROTESTER  #1
What a magnificent creature.
PROTESTER  #2
Yes.  Let no harm come to it.
CUT TO:
INT. LIMOUSINE BACK SEAT, NIGHT
CHARLES
(pinned under the horse)
Quite right.  A capital idea. 
CAMILLA
Wiiiiiiinnngghhgghhh!
CHARLES
(wincingly)
Driver...it's bes-uhng..best we be going.
NEW ANGLE:
The crowd parts and the limousine proceeds away from us.
CHARLES
(V.O.)
Do you think you might move off of me, darling?
CAMILLA
Thhhthpph.
SFX: Horse hoof upon the floor: Clop! Clop!
THE END

(With thanks to Gerard Boissy.)

08
Dec
10

Gapminder, Or How To Make The Last 200 Years Appear Delicious

Facts do the darndest things when employed for choreography. The above clip is courtesy of Sweden’s Dr. Hans Rosling, head of Gapminder, an awesome project in statistical data visualization.  When I conceived of Data Candy as a category here, it was stuff like this that I had in mind.




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December 2010
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