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There used to be a town called Angry River nestled in the hills a hundred miles north of here. It was a sleepy village in the winter and with the falls frozen over the drone of the water was gone. The locals called winter, “Quiet River.” It wasn’t official, but it was true: the locals were real assholes.

One particular asshole, on one particular evening, died one particular death in Sleeping River. This is his story in three easy to read acts:


“What’s Jesse gonna say?”
“Jesse don’t have to know, Clumpy.”
“I don’t know, the falls seem pretty dangerous this time of year.”


“Now toss me that tabernacle and I’ll clamp it to my tampons.”
“Your what?
“Just throw the line!”
“It’s too far. You have to climb over!”
“That’s impossible!”
“We’re gonna die up on these falls!”


“This hot coco sure is good, Mrs. Drakesbury.”
“I’m glad you like it. Say, where’s Clumpy?”
“After we safely and easily got down from the falls I double crossed him and slit his throat. He’s in the trunk.”
“Oh no! My quilt’s in there!”

Date Written: March 14, 2004
Author: $
Average Vote: 3.4

03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: Sorry, Moneybags, I hate your short. The voice is annoying; phrases like "it wasn't official, but it was true" and "one particular asshole, one particular evening, died one particular death" get my goat -- I feel I'm in the presence of a garrulous dinner party guest, trying desperately to be funny and clever. I'm REALLY not aiming to court controversy and am not in the mood for an Acme Thunderdome dispute about aesthetics, but for me, such phrases (along with "I’ll clamp it to my tampons") are the ur-examples of the kind of cheap, tin-eared "off-beat" humor that I think is overvalued on acme. Just one guy's opinion. Saved from single star ignominy by funny punchline. By the way, $, you either don't know what a tabernacle is, or you've made a really stupid "funny word" joke (shades of the ol' comptroller).
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis (2):
03/18/2004 qualcomm (5): snow, why are you writing under this $ pseudonym?
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: I was asking myself that same question, The Lerpa. Anyway, allow me to preempt $/Snow's rebuttal, so we can just call it a day and not bore everyone with the usual fight: Blah, blah, blah, Rover; blah, blah, cunt, douche bag, stupid idiot, everyone gets it but you, no sense of humor. Feel free to leave anytime, Rover. Frankenlennylewis. Etc.
03/18/2004 scoop (5): Yeah, Snow. I finished the first two sentence and knew I was in your soft, soothing hands. Great structure. It's funny.
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: Thanks for the help, Craig, but I'd rather bore everyone. Tampons are misspoken crampons. Tabernacle also can mean, I believe, a simple machine with leverage, sometimes used in various engineering tasks, such as stepping the mast of a boat or hoisting up various other poles or supports, or something similar. Further, I couldn't be happier that you hate my short, as you are mediocrity incarnate, cliché anthropomorphized. And yes, please leave.
03/18/2004 scoop: CUE MUSIC!
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: And by the way, since you brought it up, I take back what I said about not defending the hilarity of the comptroller joke. That line is fucking funny. “'Yes fucking sir!' said the young hot-headed comptroller." Please explain how the author must not know what a comptroller is again. Please show us how your comment “What the hell is a "comptroller" doing in this combat role? What's he going to do: go sick and start spraying the giant dog with budget appropriations? Crunch some numbers on his ass?” is not an example of you missing the point of a simple joke. You comments continued with "Surely a crisis like this -- "pentultimate" [sic] or not -- calls for the steady hand of a seasoned comptroller, like Alan Hevesi." It's nice when you both explain a joke and miss the fact that it is one at the same time. It's efficient.
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: Point taken on the crampons. The nautical tabernacle to which you refer would have no use in this mountaineering context. But it doesn't matter because it's a hilarious word in the first place. I know that I'm cliché anthropomorphized -- and that you are a paradigm-shattering artistic original -- but I really think you should engage some of my shorts, cast a vote, let your voice be heard. Your theory about my mediocrity would carry more weight if backed up with specific references to the texts themselves.
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: Oh, do you write tedious shorts as well? I'm more familiar with your tedious comments. I never said I'm an artistic original, or even particularly good in any way. I've written a number of bad shorts and made plenty of bad jokes and don’t pretend otherwise. I’ve never claimed superiority to anybody on this site, except for you. And that superiority to you is not just mine by any means, it’s shared by all vertebrates. As I've said before, your very conventional sense of humor would not be the greatest crime, if it weren’t for your smugness. You’re simply unable to admit when you’re wrong, or that you don't get something. I gave several specific examples in that last post of you not getting a specific joke. Do you have a response? Please explain why Benny didn't know what a comptroller was. Please tell us why the short wasn’t funny, why it didn’t “tickle your funny bone.” You're very eager to criticize, no matter if you know what you're talking about or not. But when your comments have been shown to be foolish, you change the subject. This is a fundamental failure of your character, rendering you beneath contempt. So, no, I don't intend to "engage" your shorts. Thanks, though.
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: I'm going to answer your comptroller query because, for once, you're engaging me on a substantive matter. And I'm going to try answer it seriously, hopefully cogently, and with no irony or bitchiness. Here goes. Look, we just disagree about the intrinsic funniness of the "young hot-headed comptroller." It may be, as you say, a "simple joke"; I don't think it's a funny one. In fact, my larger point is rather simple, too: I simply think that there is a bit too much value given, by many acme writer-readers, to just this kind of "random" humor, to the inherent "off-beat" comedy-value of inserting words, phrases, dopey jargon into shorts irrespective of meaning. Sometimes, this stuff is very funny indeed, as in the case of Jeffords's entry into "the invisible vacuplex." For me, the humor here derives, yes, from the sheer absurdity of the word/concept itself, but also from the surrounding context, the ridiculous Philip K. Dick dystopiascape so ably sketched by The Lerpa. But often, the recourse of shorts-writers to invented terminologies, absurdist lingo, comptrollers bellowing like Special Forces operatives, etc., strikes me as a cheap effect -- a weak substitute for truly witty writing or a fully realized joke-concept. You may well disagree with me, I may well be dead wrong about this and have a terrible sense of humor, but I am consistent; my line of argument has the integrity of a being an authentically-held aesthetic stance, and not some fly-by-night bullshit posture adopted for the purposes of besting an enemy in a flamewar. What's more, my voting on the site reflects taste for wide range of different kinds of shorts, including many of yours (most recently, the vagina box thing, which, as Slocum pointed out, I called "nearly perfect"). I guess your position is this: in those cases where I praise a short you deem worthy, I do it for idiotic reasons; when you and I disagree, it's because I'm a moron. Is this it?
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: P.S. Benny clearly knows what a comptroller is: an official of pentultimate responsibility within the fiscal bureaucracy.
03/18/2004 anonymous: What about invertebrates?
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: “fully realized joke-concept” Is that the same as a joke? “authentically-held aesthetic stance” Is that similar to an opinion? Does the fact that an aesthetic stance is authentically-held excuse the fact that it’s unimaginative, unoriginal, bland? If so, does it also excuse misunderstanding the very object of the aesthetic stance? Funny, or not, you didn’t understand that it was an intentional joke. This wasn’t a question of you saying, as you say now, that the deliberate insertion of a comptroller in a combat role is somehow too obvious a joke for you. Quite the contrary, you claimed that Benny didn’t know what he was doing, that he didn’t know what a comptroller was, proving that you were too obvious for the joke. Once you were shown that you were wrong, you changed your argument. The joke isn’t very funny anyway, right? I think it is funny, so I think your “authentically-held aesthetic stance” is garbage, as I do on most matters. More importantly, I find your inability to admit that you don’t get something and your ever drifting arguments to defend you correctness disgusting. Why can’t you just admit that you didn’t know what the fuck you were talking about? The answer is because you’re too smug, which is why I generally don’t bother to arguing with you and feel it’s more appropriate to simply insult you. You might disagree with this position, but it’s an authentically-held aesthetic stance.
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: Douche bag.
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: Ok, "I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about." Happy? Are we done now?
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: I didn't see that last comment of yours. Do you have something against Benny? The guy made a mistake (typo, ignorance, or whatever), and you just can't stop harping on it. Now that you realize you didn't understand the comptroller joke, you're taking it out on him? Nice one.
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: You're unbelievable. As soon as you're proven wrong, you pretend like the whole thing is too boring for you. You'll argue endlessly until you lose, then you don't have any more time for it, right? And no, we're not done, Rover, until you roll over and play dead like the dog that you are.
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: Dude, you're too thick to realize that you've proven me wrong about nothing. The idea that I "didn't understand the comptroller joke" is ridiculous. Has it entered you mind that I might not have been entirely serious when I spoke about spraying the dog with budget appropriations and crunching numbers on his ass? That these comments were tongue-in-cheek -- that I was critiquing a joke I found wanting? The reason I want to end this conversation is that it is boring, for everyone. I don't care if you think I'm conceding. At first, I rather enjoyed these arguments, but I really find them tiresome now. They're obviously far more important to you, since you spend so much time on this site baiting me with dog jokes and other bon mots. "Rover, roll over and play dead"! The droll spirit of Wodehouse lives, in Ewan Snow! Finally, since you're accusing me of changing the subject, I direct your attention to this message board posting by Matza, who, uniquely among the people who know you're making a total ass of yourself, had the guts to call you out; your response was to cut and run and act like the whole thing was gosh golly one great big joke (although you got off a few super one-liners about freedom of speech -- political humor). I'm done now.
03/18/2004 Mr. Pony: You know, I'm sort of hurt that you guys didn't take this to ACME THUNDERDOME!! Next time, okay?
03/18/2004 qualcomm: like i said, pony, the thunderdome's fatal error is that when a genuine bad-blood argument, like this one, erupts, the combatants aren't going to want to take it to the thunderdome, because that would de-seriousitize their fight. it's like asking two dudes in an angry street fight to don giant, novelty boxing gloves.
03/18/2004 Mr. Pony: That, The Lerpa, is the point of ACME THUNDERDOME!!
03/18/2004 Ferucio P. Chhretan: How great would it be if they actually did that? I mean, if magic enormous boxing gloves appeared on really, really angry people. Is this short basically a play on syntaxes? Or am I missing the point. I'm new to these parts after all.
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: Ferucio: are you related to Jean Crétien?
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: In case you are claiming that I started picking on you for no reason, maybe we should look back at the history. I avoided confrontation with you when you first started writing on this site. In fact, I don’t believe I traded an angry word with you until less than a month ago. It wasn’t until 2/19/04, when you deducted points from Brad’s short because he hadn’t given proper respect to the fine young cannibals. Even then I didn’t say much until you launched into an endless tour through all the obscure 80’s bands you had important opinions about. So I made fun of you (and Dylan) for being a fan-boy. It was sarcastic, but an entirely on topic and specific criticism, considering how much you had to say about so little and how interesting you assumed everyone found your knowledge to be. But you had no answer to the accusation, so you responded like an ass, calling me “fascist jazz poseur.” You brought up the years old Dostyevsky argument. You smugly explained how you like “GOOD” music. You even took the opportunity to dump on Dylan for no apparent reason. You condescendingly explained how Feldspar and I “don't know the first fucking thing about music!” You were going to “come on all [our] tits.” Funny thing is, I never said much of anything about your taste in music, I was merely making fun of you for going on endlessly about obscure 80’s bands to no point. The smug condescension of that post is unsurpassed. Nonetheless, I didn’t respond. But you continued with “My larger point is that both you and Ewan, I strongly suspect, have EXTREMELY NARROW taste. Those of us who have open minds, and aren't so entrenched in some kooky idea of what's cool, have rather broader taste.” Again, attacking my taste with great condescension and smugness, though I had not brought up taste in music at all, and saying that I’m entrenched in some kooky idea of what’s cool, though it was clear that that was precisely what you had been doing on your 80’s tour. Who was changing the subject here? Who was not arguing fairly? Who was attacking rather than responding to specific criticism? That’s when I told you to go hang yourself. Have you done it yet?

To answer your questions, it was obvious that you were making a joke with the number crunching bit. The joke you were making was that the line made no sense and that it was clearly a mistake. After I pointed out that you were incorrect, you half-conceded, “Snow: the author may well have known what a comptroller is, but there's no evidence in the short that this is the case, so I doubt it.” Please explain that away. Be sure to shift your argument again. As for Matza's comment and my response, the fact is that I insult you because you have demonstrated that you deserve no better. As I said before, I find you beneath contempt. I see no point in pretending to be fair in my arguments. I didn’t want to get into a fight with Matza, or force him to defend you, so I diffused the issue by making a joke. While I don’t understand Matza’s respect for you, I respect him. And are we to start going into what other people think of us as well now? All the “people who know [I’m] making a total ass of [myself].” I've so far avoided bringing up all of the people (virtually everyone we both know who didn't grow up with you) who have always found you to be an ass (and said so on countless occasions over the years), all the people who have asked why your friends like you, not to mention the various other criticisms of your extreme cheapness, absurd vanity, trendiness, etc. that have been leveled against you by third parties. I figured that avoiding what others said behind your back was one bit of fairness you certainly deserved. Was I wrong? Is that where you'd like to take this? Because while I don’t doubt there are people who think I’ve been crazy or obnoxious recently for attacking you endlessly (and I can understand why), I know for a fact that there are just as many or more people who have always thought you were a jerk.
03/18/2004 Mr. Pony: Seriously, Ewan. ACME THUNDERDOME!! $ obviously put a lot of effort into this short.
03/18/2004 Craig Lewis: I didn't mean to hurt your feelings in the music argument. Sorry if I did. (Really.) The smug condescension about which you are forever going on really is par for the course in an argument like this; I don't for the life of me understand how you measure degrees of smugness, or how you can possibly construe my tone as any more smug or consdescending then yours -- you're the guy who's always going on about how dumb I am, fella. Regarding all those people -- "virtually everyone we both know who didn't grow up with [me] who have always found [me] to be an ass" -- whoever these people are, I can't have spent anymore time in their company than I have in yours, which is to say a handful of hours in my entire life. Let me get this straight: I'm reviled by people who don't know me, but liked by those who do. Am I supposed to feel bad about this? Let me make another point, please: the fact that I wear trucker hats and am currently sporting a spiky half-mowhawk DOESN'T MAKE ME "TRENDY"; I was doing both at least a year before they became de rigeur. Finally, I am not now, nor have I ever been, cheap. (Pony, I'm posting this in the Thunderdome too.)
03/18/2004 Ewan Snow: Thanks for the apology, but I wouldn't worry about it, buddy. My feelings weren't hurt a bit. It just confirmed my suspicions about you, so I’ve treated you accordingly ever since. Really, it’s been my pleasure. As for the smugness quotient, you’re right: you’re no more smug or condescending than I have been to you. The only thing is I’ve gone to great lengths to achieve my smugness and condescension toward you (and specifically you) in order to annoy you. But for you it seems to come quite naturally and apply to everyone. And it’s a funny coincidence that so many people got precisely the same wrong impression about you. I guess they just don’t know the real you. And you’re not cheap, huh? Okay, I certainly could be wrong on that one. I've never witnessed it myself, so I'll take your word for it. Cheapness is the hallmark of a small mind, so it’s good to learn that it’s not true. It must just be a nasty rumor.
03/18/2004 annebot (4): you had me until act II. I'm not a fan of deus ex tamponia...
03/19/2004 Jon Matza: I see myself as having the Ron Wood role in this argument.
03/19/2004 Dylan Danko: I think the lesson I draw from this is that Pony's Acme Thunderdome idea just isn't catching on and might need to be revised. Pony, do something?
03/19/2004 Mr. Pony: See, that's where you're wrong, Dylan. Thunderdome works fine. The only way to insure that THUNDERDOME!! gets used would be to make THUNDERDOME!! mandatory, and that would suck. People choose exactly the kind of society they deserve. Someday, when the citizens of Acme decide that the health of their community is a more noble pursuit that looking smart or feeling right, ACME THUNDERDOME!! will be filled to capacity. On that day, we will all have struck a blow for civilization.
03/19/2004 scoop: Hey Pony wouldn't it be funny if the first full blown argument to take place within the ACME THUNDERDOME!!, was in fact an argument about the very nature and purpose of ACME THUNDERDOME!!?
05/25/2004 TheBuyer (1):