By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
One hot Friday afternoon in the year 2000, residents of lower-west Burbank were treated to an almost certainly uninvited Budweiser blimp (“Bud One Airship”) hanging in the lower-right corner of the sky (today’s sky is brought to you by Budweiser, made with the freshest all-natural ingredients for brewery-fresh taste; Budweiser: Official Beer of the Sky), thus conjuring irrepressible images of crisp, cold, refreshing, frosty mugs of horse piss raining down from the heavens‘ silver inflatable phallus: a streaming comes across the sky . . .
Exactly 1,000 afternoons later, President George W. Bush made the announcement.
II. Captain Bringdown
Long ago in a majestic laboratory high above Washington Place, Carlos Rodriguez created a nonprofit drawing of Captain Bringdown, superhero. Perhaps subconsciously inspired by Cream’s “What a Bringdown” (1969) or National Lampoon magazine‘s “The Life & Times of Captain Bringdown” (March 1971), or more likely by the uncopyrighted subcultural euphemism for anyone talented in the art of partipoopery, Rodriguez’s Captain Bringdown was a robust, Marvel-style superhero whose superpowers lay in his uncanny ability to locate reasonably cheerful people and incapacitate them with customized suicidal ideations. So, for instance, you might find yourself taking the time for a slow walk with an old friend on a sunny afternoon, feeling inexplicably hopeful about the state of the world, feeling a sense of forgiveness toward those committing atrocities against humanity for financial gain, feeling as if the world is ultimately a wonderful place where everything will somehow work out for the best, then Captain Bringdown swoops down armed with photographs of the soul mate you‘ll never meet, plus the master’s degree from the graduate school where, if only you‘d applied, you’d have been accepted and there met said soul mate with whom you would have shared simultaneous orgasms almost every time, in between which you‘d have cured AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetes, conquered fascism once and for all and removed the name of Ronald Reagan from the 118 freeway and public libraries that contain books without pictures. For dessert, the good captain has even brought the roughly $14 million in royalty checks from the best-selling book you’d have written in your 70s about your fascinating, drastically fulfilling life.
And, as suddenly as he arrived, Captain Bringdown disappears in a great skyward swoop, bound for lower-west Burbank.
III. Capture the Flag
On the hottest Friday of 2003, President George W. Bush makes the announcement. Rather than go to the expense of modifying existing industrial methods to cut down on carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide and methane emissions and thus save the world from certain obvious catastrophes, the Bush administration has set in motion plans to cover the sky above the nation‘s most polluted areas -- including the Los Angeles basin -- with a semipermanent matrix of mile-wide, transparent Mylar panels. The administration’s newly formed Federal Department of Sky will oversee the development, construction and maintenance of what is to be called Skymall USA, a network of hundreds of solar-powered blimps to which the Mylar panels will be attached. It‘s estimated that, at a cost of $28 billion annually, Skymall USA will filter out 48 percent of the sun’s damaging ultraviolet light while at the same time preventing an estimated 65 percent of our greenhouse gases from rising to the stratosphere. The project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2005.
To cover the cost, each panel will feature mile-wide corporate-logo watermarks from such familiar companies as Standard Oil, Shell Oil, Budweiser, Goodyear, General Motors, General Electric, The Good Guys, Circuit City, the United States Supreme Court, McDonald‘s, MSAOLBCTime-WarnerBPExxon, Rush Limbaugh’s Bovine Church of Discount Sofas and FoxTaco Bell, as well as nonstop, full-motion videoholographic ads from local and regional companies, rotating daily, weekly and monthly.
As incidence of lung cancer is expected to rise as dramatically as incidence of skin cancer is expected to fall, President Bush is advising his shareholders to transfer their investments accordingly. “The American people must be free to profit from the sky, just as we‘ve done with the land and the airwaves,” Bush said in a press conference that was largely ignored by the media due to the XFL Summer Exhibition Playoffs. “The place up in the sky, way up where only the scientists can measure how much gases are there,” Bush said, extending his arm skyward, “that’s way up there. This way, two-thirds of our emissions don‘t get up there high enough to be measured. They just stay right down here with us, and then at night they go away.”
Bush insisted that freeing up the sky to deregulation opens up America’s future to a new era in economic prosperity. “Although hard-working Americans have worked hard,” Bush read, pausing frequently, “together for many years to defend our precious freedoms to prosper through common-sense logo placement, there still remain some areas such as the sea and the sky where we have not made our marks. After the Department of Sky‘s Skymall USA is in place, a new America will be in a position to meet the challenges of leading the way into building better opportunities in the sky, opportunities to create moral courage and prosperity for our children in the 21st century for us to live in together right here, in peace. Together, we’ll build our new sky into an enduring patchwork of the American spirit, an invincible national logo that can never be desecrated -- an American flag in the sky, if you will.”
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