Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Another essay for Everything Explained Through flowcharts. Again, I can't include the chart, for fear of Swiss thieves.

– – –

Finishing moves are not all equally awesome, but all awesome wrestlers must have a finishing move. Without a finishing move, a wrestler is just the jobber in the blue trunks that gets smacked around by the Honky Tonk Man while Honky waits around for the Ultimate Warrior to take the Intercontinental Belt from him in an embarrassingly short match (32 seconds). The best finishing moves embody a defining characteristic of the wrestler who invented them, and are thereby indelibly linked to them: The DDT’s stunning speed mirrored Jake the Snake’s viper like quickness and cunning; the Perfect-Plex showcased Mr. Perfect’s technical prowess; and Junkyard Dog’s DogButt—where he would crawl on all fours, repeatedly headbutt his opponent, and then pantomime urinating on them—vividly illustrated his belief that he was a dog(1).

This chart isn’t a comprehensive list of every WWF finishing move. I limited its scope to important or influential wrestlers who were active between Wrestlemania I and XIII, a golden age of wrestling bookended by the wrestling boom of the 1980’s and the Attitude Era of the late 90’s. The Attitude Era officially began at the 1996 King of the Ring, when America embraced redneck heel “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s victory over Jake “the Snake” Roberts, a willful act of stupidity with strong parallels to the 2000 presidential election(2).

You may notice that Crush’s Heart Punch is missing from the chart, as is the British Bulldog’s Running Power Slam, Dusty Rhode’s bionic elbow, and Doink’s the Clown’s Whoopie Cushion. If you did notice any of these omissions, congratulations! You’re a bigger wrestling nerd than I am. Also, the Heart Punch is a lame finishing move, Doink is literally a clown, the Running Power Slam is just a standard power slam with a running start, and while I liked Dusty Rhodes, he had big yellow polka dots on his singlet, and a doughy physique like one of those Hollywood character actors that always plays a hot dog vendor. So, although I tried to make this chart as comprehensive as space allows, it’s also skewed towards my personal preferences. (See Figure 2: Why Isn’t my Favorite Wrestler on This Chart?).

You might have noticed that this essay is more serious than the other essays in this book(3). That’s because there is nothing funny about professional wrestling—unless you think muscle-men playing dress up, smacking each other, and rolling around on the ground together is funny.

– – –


(1) Incidentally, my favorite WWF entrance music is Junkyard Dog’s song, Grab Them Cakes.

(2) This is one of two instances in the book where I compare Al Gore to Jake “the Snake” Roberts. See if you can find the other one!

(3) You might have also noticed that none of the essays have a clear thesis statement, that the charts are riddled with curse words, and that this is the worst silver-anniversary present you could have possibly received.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Future

Another essay for Everything Explained Through Flowcharts. This essay precedes a chart of predictions about the future, which I unfortunately can't post here, because if I do some Swiss advertising company will probably steal it.

– – –

“Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown . . . the mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here.”
—The Great Criswell

This quote is an excerpt from the monologue at the beginning of Ed Wood’s seminal film Plan 9 From Outer Space; the Great Criswell, a prophet sent to warn humanity about its apocalyptic future, stares into the camera and speaks directly to the audience. I’d like to direct your attention to the second sentence: “We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.” This sentence is true, and it also looks nice when engraved in a chiseled serif font on a radium plaque, which makes it the best kind of truth—the kind that can easily be viewed on the dark side of the moon, where the remnants of the human race will mount their rebellion against the machines in the year 2025.

You are interested in the unknown, that is why you are here. (See Figure 1: What You Want to Know About the Future). Unfortunately, we won’t have time machines for another twenty years (some scientists say twenty-three), and by then the future will already be here. However, I have something even better than a time machine: educated guesses. And when I say “educated,” what I mean is “four years of art school,” and when I say “guesses” what I mean is “absolute certainties.”

Before you accuse me of sorcery, let me assure you that none of the predictions on the Future chart were attained through the use of occult methods(1). They are predictions, not prophecies, and as such most of them were realized through relatively pedestrian methods (See Figure 2: How Were These Predictions Made?) It doesn’t take a Nostradamus to figure out that lasers will replace flyswatters, cheese graters, and reasoned debate, or that herds of teacup pigs will replace dogs as household pets. ­­­

­­­I can tell by the pink hue of your mood ring that you’re still skeptical about the validity of these predictions. Well it doesn’t matter, because by the time any of these predictions could possibly be disproved, this book will be long out of print and my writing legacy overshadowed by my career as a holovision product endorsement spokesperson for my line of home-cooking conveniences (See Figure 3: Inventions in the Horner Line of Home Cooking Convenience Products).

However, if my predictions do turn out to be true (they will), and twenty years from now you discover yourself searching for some small way to thank me, here is what you can do: Visit the Ed Wood Memorial on the dark side of the moon and—when Orion’s belt aligns with Mars—whisper my name into the windless, eternal night. Then please break me out of whatever robot-controlled radon mine I’m toiling in, assuming the machines haven’t already wiped my mind or turned me into a living battery. In which case just kill me.

– – –


(1) Although I didn’t use sorcery to make my predictions about the future, I probably could’ve, because my girlfriend is a witch, and I bet she’d help me see into the future if I asked her to—but that would open up a whole can of worms, because then she’d ask me to design a logo for her coven, or chart positive witch role models in popular culture, or something like that. Sometimes I think she’s not really a witch, she just likes to wear black. But after I think that I get really bad acne for a week, or I’ll flick on the lights in the bathroom first thing in the morning to find a spider sitting on my toothbrush, just staring at me. So she’s probably a witch.

Figure 1: What You Want to Know About the Future

1. Will Papa’s Mustache place in the third race?
2. When can I replace my girlfriend with a Robo-Gal?*
3. Is this as good as it gets?
4. Should I buy an alpaca farm?
5. When will the Rastafari overthrow Babylon and reach Zion?
6. Is this an awkward phase that I’ll eventually grow out of?

*Don’t bother. With the constant malfunctions, they’re just as much trouble as the old-fashioned kind


A. Common Sense
B. Uncommon Sense
C. Read about it in a Philip K. Dick novel
D. Calculus
E. Hairdresser told me
F. Magic 8-Ball
G. Using the Farmer’s Almanac
H. With a graphing calculator
I. Found beneath a loose flagstone in an ivy-covered corner of the garden.
J. Sunspot activity
K. Gut feeling
L. Not using sorcery, I can tell you that
M. Tip from a guy whose cousin is a bookie
N. 12 hours of meditation in a Hopi sweat lodge

The Horner Tub-Style Mechanical Chicken Plucker
The Horner EZPZ Swine Sizzler
In the Shell Egg Yolk Teleporter
The Horner Lazer Flavr HD Tongue Dazzler
The Horner-ator Flavor Replicator
Sea of Tranquility Salt 12-Part Application System
The Horner Hand-Held Peppercorn Incinerator
The Horner Digital Wireless Mini Computer Spoon
Smokeless Sandwich Crust Disintegrator
The Dial-A-Genetically-Modified-Crime-Against-God-Frankenfood