blog banner
Rangoon Riffs: Build Your Vocabulary

Rangoon Riffs: Build Your Vocabulary


Oh, hey Starch! I’ve been reading up on our YouTube metrics, and I’ve learned a lot! What, daresay, *did* you learn? That I can’t make jack-diddley-Shadaloo out of the metrics reporting. Yeah, no offense, but I’d be shocked if you or anyone else could. None Tekken. But despite, this setback, I am still dedicated to getting our metrics and yet-ceteras up. You mean like putting out new content on a regular basis? (both laughing) Oh, that’s funny. (laughing) Whoa, sorry, I got the sillies there. So, what are you considering? Not mere consideration! I’ve been protractive and acted on my impulses! What we need is… …wacky side characters! Jim, we’re *swimming* in wacky side characters! Our last riff had more of *them* than us in it! Yeah, they don’t count. This is the kind of hot mess I’m talkin’ about! Say hello to our newest wacky side character… … Dr. Jimsano! (evil bray) NO. …no? No. …okay. Sorry, Dr. Jimsano. Curse you Starchibald T. Rangoooon! Safe home to you, too! We can’t just add heaps of predictable one-note side characters to bury our shortcomings, Jim. We’re not “Disenchanted.” I thought I was adding value and stalling off a sequel. Like Street Fighter 2. I’ve had to fumigate for Cousins Oliver once already, and it was not pleasant. At any rate, we both know what’s gonna help us most is top-quality video production. (both laughing) You said the funny thing again! (both laughing) You’re on fire today. But it’s a fair point well made. And along that vector, I think I got somethin’ that’ll help. Let’s see, uhhh… *bwip!* Ehhh? Ehhhhhhh? Hmmmm… I like it. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s got… why do I want to say… “mouthfeel”? Awww yeah.
And speaking of things to do with your mouth…! (theme song) STARCH: Coronet. We’re gonna teach you pinheads *something*, damn it! JIM: What part of the house is the vocabulary? Should I get green-treated lumber? How deep a foundation do I dig? STARCH: Ohhhhhhh. John de *Bore*. Good. Not prophetic at all. However, your committee will continue to investigate and hopes to present- JIM: -articles of impeachment… …next month’s meeting of the Civic Association. CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Hanson.
STARCH: And tell your kids “MmmBop” for me. MR. WILLIS: I want to talk about uhh…
JIM: Sex, baby. I think we need a playground here on the west side. STARCH: Oh, this is the prequel to “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Because we need a place for our boys and girls to play. JIM: (as Mr. Willis) You know, chilling out, maxing and relaxing all cool. VOICE: …but he lacks the vocabulary to express it. VOICE: Finding the exact words to fit your ideas is one of the first steps in building your vocabulary.
JIM: Buh? VOICE: People *can* be interested in new ideas when those ideas are expressed in well-selected words. STARCH: Or with well-placed explosives. VOICE: This use of exact words to communicate your ideas applies to written words as much as to spoken words. JIM: And if this is news to you, you prob’ly don’t read too good anyhows. PETE: Hi dad, would you be interested in-
STARCH: (as Pete) I know, I know… large decanter, no glass. Something go wrong with the meeting? MR. WILLIS: Yes…
JIM: (as Willis) The stains… MR. WILLIS: I sort of… made a…
JIM: (as Willis) puddle… MR. WILLIS: What’s on your mind, son?
STARCH: (as Pete) Did you have me when you were forty? PETE: …before I hand it in tomorrow.
MR. WILLIS: Why yes, of course. “Our Public Parks: Monuments or Playgrounds?” MR. WILLIS: Huh?
JIM: Stop scanning my brain!!! “Much of the juvenile delinquency in our community can be traced to our lack of public playgrounds…” STARCH: Yeah, teenagers are *real* big on swingsets. “We are not without our public parks…” STARCH: (as Pete) Y-yeah, I wrote it, Dad, you don’t… you, you can read silently, uh… *can* you read silently? Good god… “…into character-building channels.” Why Pete! MR. WILLIS: You express your ideas very well!
JIM: (as Willis) But could you add more stammering and confusion? PETE: Well, that depends. But you see, this is a term paper, and… well, as I understand it, when you’re talking or writing, you use words that fit the occasion. STARCH: (as Pete) Like using very *small* words when talking to *you.* MR. WILLIS: They sound good, and uh… …they seem to be the right words to say what you mean! JIM: A concept so crazy it *just might work!* Well, you see, I keep a vocabulary notebook! STARCH: (as Pete) I keep it near me at all times in case of vocabumergencies! JIM: (chuckling) Whenever I come across a new word, reading or listening to someone, I write it down. JIM: (as Willis) You know, some kids have *friends,* son. PETE: I write down the pronunciation and the definitions of each word. And then some synonyms. But then of course I try using the word. STARCH: Then a gate opens and something slithers out to feed. PETE: …fixes it in your vocabulary. And a good working vocabulary helps you to be more explicit. Well, you certainly surprised me with your vocabulary! JIM: (as Willis) I never knew there were so many words for my dinkie! Be more *explicit*! STARCH: Prelude to a restraining order. VOICE: So, Mr. Willis began a vocabulary notebook in a businesslike way. JIM: Man, Netflix changed a *lot* in their adaptation of “Death Note.” MR. WILLIS: Now, where did I hear that? From Mary. STARCH: When we met, I was sure out to lunch. Dear? I think we ought to put a valance over the window. It would make it more dramatic. JIM: Especially if it was on fire. MR. WILLIS: Hmmm. “Valance” must be some kind of decoration. STARCH: (as Willis) If I’d asked her, she’d have taken it as weakness and raked at my soft underbelly. JIM: (busts out laughing) MR. WILLIS: I certainly want to have a say in how the house is decorated. JIM: (as Willis) But Mary said in no uncertain terms that s*** won’t fly. MR. WILLIS: Hmm. A valance *would* look good up there. JIM: He’s gonna drop “valance” into every conversation for weeks. STARCH: Sherrif’s gonna find him hanging from one. No witnesses. VOICE: “Valance” had only a single meaning. Other words, like “vacillate,” have many meanings. STARCH: Luckily, nobody ever uses that word for *any* of them, so it can be safely ignored. MR. WILLIS: Synonyms… fluctuate, waver, oscillate, undu- wait a minute! JIM: (as Willis) I could be in the bathroom with my Playboys now! MR.WILLIS: …mean nearly the same thing, but still they’re different! MR. WILLIS: Nobody can learn all those words! I’m going to bed! STARCH: Ah, a student of the Donald Trump School of Projective Ignorance. VOICE: But next morning, Mr. Willis found he couldn’t escape unfamiliar words, JIM: What with being a bone-deep dullard.
STARCH: (snickers) MR. WILLIS: Yes, dear?
MARY: Will you stop at the library and get me that anthology of plays? Alright, dear. STARCH: Must… protect… underbelly… MR. WILLIS: Why does everybody in this family use these fancy words? STARCH: Yikes!
JIM: Mayor demands larger fonts or people die! VOICE: Yet when he studied them, their meanings weren’t explicit. JIM: He hasn’t understood his wife for years. The sex had better be *amazing*. VOICE: …to be aware that he used words that he could not define precisely. MR. WILLIS: “It is not feasible to allocate necessary production facilities…” MR. WILLIS: (angrily) Feasible! Allocate! STARCH: We sure he’s not a homunculus granted life three weeks ago? SECRETARY: Excuse me. Mr. Willis.
STARCH: (as secretary) Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout? …from the ABC Printing Company, he wants to discuss their new electro-typing process with variable type… fonts… um… I’ll tell him you’re… busy, to come back… later… JIM: She hops in her car and gets out of town, thus saving her life.
STARCH: (distant car peeling out noises) VOICES: Allocate! Valance! Feasible! Ultimatum! STARCH: Three days later, he’s gunned down by the Gotham Mint security, a word gun gripped in his meaty fingers. PETE’S VOICE: (softly) Explicit! PETE’S VOICE: (softly) You know, Dad. Explicit! JIM: Okay, who slipped in the gay porno audio track? PETE’S VOICE: (softly) …helps you to be more explicit! MR. WILLIS: Well, I guess I need this. MR. WILLIS: “Anthology.” STARCH: (angry) That was *hours* ago, you improbably-moronic hamhock! JIM: (chuckles) MR. WILLIS: Oh-ho! So *that’s* what an anthology is! A collection! JIM: (as Willis) No wonder the fish died when I put them in one! VOICE: Each of us has certain interests which we need to share with others. STARCH: This is why DeviantArt exists. VOICE: …we will understand what people are talking about…
JIM: Whah? VOICE: …and other people will understand us!
JIM: (confused noise) VOICE: This book will help Mr. Willis have a say in the decoration of his home.
JIM: “The Cuckold’s Guide to Pleading.” VOICE: This book on the fundamentals of printing will help him in the conduct of his business. STARCH: (irked) This lukewarm pot roast was an office manager, STARCH: … while *now* you need six bachelor’s degrees to work a night stock at the Dollar Tree for minimum wage! VOICE: …we need to talk the language of others! MR. WILLIS: And that’s not the only language I’m going to talk! STARCH: (as Willis) Soon I will commune telepathically with the Zargons of Gamma Five and ascend into the undying light, pure and eternal! JIM: (chuckling) (gavel raps) CHAIRMAN: The chair recognizes Mr. Willis.
JIM: (as Chair) Strap in folks, this is gonna get stupid. MR. WILLIS: Ladies and gentlemen.
STARCH: You are all my hostages! For many years now, our City Council has wavered, between a policy of no parks, …and beautiful but useless parks. JIM: I propose a park where we clone dinosaurs! MR. WILLIS: …to present the council with an ultimatum, JIM: (as Chair, quietly) My god, look at that man’s ass! JIM: (as Chair, quietly) If only I had known what sweet treasures he had hidden from me all these years! JIM: (as Chair, quietly) Oh, he will be mine one day. STARCH: (giggling) VOICE: Increased knowledge of words has enabled Mr. Willis to think through his ideas more logically, VOICE: …and to present them more effectively to an appreciative audience. STARCH: Unfortunately, he still has the problem with that *smell.*
JIM: (choking cough) …that the city budget is nothing more or less than a plan for spending *our* money. A plan which can and must be adapted to meet our needs! JIM: Frankenstein John Mulaney is intrigued! VOICE: …choose for the audience and the occasion, help us gain support for our ideas. VOICE: And not only in speaking! VOICE: Effective use of words helps us think and write more forcefully. STARCH: So when the police release your manifesto, all will truly understand why you *needed* to create that human centipede. VOICE: Command of words helps us contribute to debates and discussions. JIM: Unless you’re on Twitter, then it’s animated GIFs all the way down. VOICE: Being skilled in the use of words aids us in selling ourselves when we look for jobs. STARCH: Failing that, have a rich white dad. VOICE: A good vocabulary helps us say what we mean, and understand what others mean. VOICE: Pete has developed his skill in communication through words. JIM: But deep in his caged soul, he longs to express his ideas through *daaance!* VOICE: By using words that say exactly what you mean. STARCH: So instead of “economic anxiety,” say “racism.” …to see that program carried out. Then! We can achieve our goal by going before the Council… and making our demands *explicit*! (applause)
STARCH: The resulting confrontation led to a declaration of war on the Galactic Republic. JIM: (space battle noises) JIM: Coronet Instructional Films! We’re praying no one’s actually as stupid as we think you are! …then we discover Soapy’s illegal dogfighting ring, and at the season finale we reveal that the Mr. Willis we’ve been following …is in fact his son Pete, broken and remade into his father’s image by the march of time. You lost me at the whole Chevrolet Empire thing. The Oldsmobile Wizard betrayed them before joining Willis’s team of problem solvers. I get that, but uh… betwixt and be-KitKat the two of us? We got a disturbing number of nostalgic hobbies. Why choose the educational shorts as the foundation of this thought exercise? Because all the *good* things to base playfully-cynical nostalgia deconstructions on have already been taken! 60s to 70s Hanna-Barbara, “Back to the Future,” Duran Duran album covers, all taken! What about 80s fantasy cartoons? “Son of Zorn.” You know, I *had* successfully forgotten that exists. Sorry. 60’s spies? “Archer.” Huh, never got around to watching that. Trucker movies! Also “Archer.” Detective noir? Still “Archer.” Uh… “Legends of the Gold Monkey” starring Jeff McKay! How are you getting these in season order?! (gasps) Brain flash! Playfully cynical nostalgia deconstruction… of playfully cynical nostalgia deconstructions! That’s so crazy it just might work! (accordion notes) Really should have seen that coming. Yeah, considering you can usually see Williams Street jokes coming a mile away. Well, at least our own schtick is waiting for us now that we’re back. Indeed, but for now, I think I’m going to catch up on a little TV. “Archer” you say? ARCHER: Dammit Pam, we’ve got no views, RiffTrax is hogging all the good shorts, … and you spilled cocaine all over my extremely difficult-to-clean pelt of yellow fur! (music) MR. WILLIS: Nobody can learn all those words. I’m going to bed! I cannot do with any more education, Jeeves! I was full up years ago! Hey pipples! Did you like that bit of nonsense? Well, then why don’t you click Like, and Subscribe, and press that Bell, or whatever YouTube wants you to do? You can also do as a big solid by joining our Patreon, where you’ll get to join us for livestreams, get early access to the newest videos, and other such things! Oh, hey Starch! I’ve been reading up on our Mew- on our MewTubes? MewTube is a very different thing. STARCH: Gaah, this one is… again, just *baffling*. Like a crowbar. We got a disturbing number of mostalgic… mustalgic? They are very musty. We got a disturbing number of nostalgic holbies… holbie *yuuuuuugh* Can’t just dump two scoops of predictable one-note side characters in to bury our shortcomings. We’re not disadvantaged. Disadvantaged? Well, yeah we… we are *quite* disadvantaged. JIM: Frankenstein John Mulaney is impre- nyep dyiip *pppppppbbbbbbbttt* Brain flash! Playfully cynical histology destruction of playfully cynical nostalgia dickens- *ugh* Destruction? *nyuh-uh* STARCH: So when the police release your manifesto all will fon- truly understand what you need… we’re doin’ *great* today. JIM: Oh yeah. At any rate, we both know what’s gonna help us most-st is is top qua-byehhhhhhhh. Top quality video production, huh? (accusingly) Yeah. That starts at home. And along that vector? I think I got somethin’ that’ll help. Okay… doot-doot-doo… (clatter) *Owwwwww.* (weakly) *Tooooooe.*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *