It seemed like only a matter of time before the soap-opera biz turned its weepy eyes to Branson. After all, who purchases more Metamucil, Centrum Silver, Flomax and sundry other products from sponsors of daytime dramas than the geriatric masses who make pilgrimages to "The Live Music Show Capital of the World"?
And so it was that last week CBS announced plans to shoot three episodes of As the World Turns in Branson this summer. Studio execs are keeping the stories under tight wraps, but Unreal recently obtained a leaked copy and it promises cameos galore from Branson's biggest stars!
Here's a peek: · Young lovers Gwen and Will Munson and their friend Maddie Coleman travel to Branson to advance Gwen's musical career. But the trio soon discovers that Branson strongman Andy Williams takes the term getting ahead all too literally. Torn between acquiescing to the silver-maned crooner or risking the derailment of her career, Gwen seeks solace at the grave of Branson folk hero Boxcar Willie.
· While at the cemetery, Gwen runs into Yakov Smirnoff, who admits getting bigger laughs these days from the dead. Gwen reminds the Cold War comic that, in America, anything is possible. Buoyed with new optimism, the two launch a "hysterical plan" (Smirnoff's words) to poison Williams with castor beans. They end their conspiring by making passionate love by soft candlelight.
· Back on the Branson strip, Maddie and Will meet Tony Orlando at a Ponderosa salad bar. On the spot, Orlando hires Maddie as a moustache technician on the condition that she keep mum on his secret blend of Just For Men. Will, meanwhile, leaves to audition as a pommel horse for Acrobats of China.
· Alone with Maddie, Gwen confesses her love for Smirnoff and their plan to kill Williams. Eavesdropping in the rafters is Dolly Parton, who runs off to inform Williams of the plot.
Stay tuned ...
Love Games People Play
Two years ago, Melanie Allums was flying home from her honeymoon in Mexico when an idea roused her from her slumber: Why not share with other couples all the great dating and relationship tools that she has collected over the years? Fast-forward to today, and voilà! The 43-year-old Colorado wife and mother is president of Couples4life.com, a Web site that offers wholesome, Christian-based dating games to couples looking to fan the flames of love.
Allums' site is already creating sparks in Missouri with games such as Simply Romantic Nights, a role-playing adventure in which couples strip down for some "Monday Night Touch Football." A St. Louis reviewer of the game who gives her name only as Sandy (could that last name be "Bottom"?) comments on Couples4life.com: "My husband and I have enjoyed a renewed relationship. We are looking forward to our continued romantic nights with great anticipation."
Who among us couldn't use some Christian romance pointers? (Those missionaries knew a thing or two, after all!) So we phoned Allums at her Rocky Mountain love nest.
Unreal: Is there a point in your board games when players are instructed to just go at it?
Allums: I wanted to offer games that were not just about sex. My games encourage communication between couples. They can be as intimate as you make them. The manufacturers of some of our games guarantee it will build sizzle in your relationship or your money back.
What's your personal favorite game?
Probably Enchanted Evening. My husband, Tim, and I just took it with us for a weekend getaway. It starts with a few icebreakers, but by the third deck of cards, the questions and the instructions get pretty intimate. Tim and I got so turned on, we had to move the game pieces ahead!
Yeah, yeah ... then what happened?
Let's just say that at the end of the game, you'll feel connected. For example, some of the instructions require you to kiss your partner where they least expect it, or dab some of your drink on their body and lick it off.
Sounds fun, but how do you win?
That's the beauty of all my games! Everyone wins.
Wave the word wild in Unreal's face, and we get all het up Turkeys! Girls! which explains the whinnying that spewed from our cube when we read a press release about a wild-horse-adoption event last weekend in Ewing, Illinois.
That's right: wild horses looking for happy homes. And burros! Bill Davenport, spokesman for the Virginia-based Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, gave us the 411.
Unreal: This is so cool! I'm from up East; we don't have wild horses there.
Bill Davenport: But you know what? Better than 204,000 have been adopted across the U.S. since our program started, and there are currently about 31,000 that run on Western public lands. If you were to draw a line down the Rocky Mountains, the ten states to the west is where wild horses are, the majority of them being in Nevada 15,000 to 17,000 in Nevada.
Wow. Do you know if they're any good at Texas Hold 'Em?
They might be. One never knows.
What good would a burro do me?
Well, by golly, number one, your neighbors would love you because they'd never be late for work. They'd always get up on time. But if you had a small holding or hobby farm, burros make great we call them guard dogs. They have a natural aversion to small four-legged animals like dogs and coyotes and will drive them off. They also make great pets. They can pull small carts.
Sweet! So he could scare away a pit bull?
If he catches him, that pit bull will not be an issue anymore.
I'm picturing my burro already. He's wearing a spiky, black-leather dog collar.
There's a picture for you!
Do you know of any Missouri politicians who have adopted a wild burro for campaigning?
[Laughs] I do not. But there's certainly a logical tie there.
We had an alderman in St. Louis who rode a donkey at election time.
I see you can adopt one of these little buggers via the Internet. Is that like in The Sims or Second Life games, where you can have your cyber alter ego play out your wild-horse fantasies without physically having to crack a whip?
No, this is the real deal. It's like eBay.
I heard recently of a champion wild-turkey caller who's from Ewing. Do you know of any connection among Wild Turkey Bourbon, wild turkeys and wild horses?
No, I don't think there's any connection at all. Or, if there was, you and I would not be discussing it.
You're Getting Very Sleepy
Nate McVicker hypnotizes people for a living. At his shows, volunteers eat lemons, peel and all, believing they are eating a delicious fruit, and grown men act like female exotic dancers. "They really believe they are a dancer named Mercedes or Sapphire!" McVicker exclaims. "They run down into the audience and give other men lap dances."
Hypnosis gives Unreal the heebie jeebies there are parts of our subconscious we'd rather not dredge up, much less allow someone else to dredge up. So it was with some trepidation that we gave McVicker a call.
Unreal: If a policeman pulled you over, could you use hypnosis to get out of a ticket?
Nate McVicker: I don't know if you could hypnotize a cop. I've worked at parties where there were cops, and they never want to give up their guard.
Is it hard to get people to volunteer?
Usually, once I explain hypnosis, people come up. Often the people most eager to volunteer have done it before. Mentally and physically, ten minutes of hypnosis is equivalent to eight hours of sleep.
Do you sleep yourself, or do you just use hypnosis?
I don't really use hypnosis on myself. But if I have a headache, I might close my eyes and relax like everyone else.
Can you do hypnosis over the phone?
I've never done it before, but a friend of mine had to once. He had hypnotized this accountant and told her she wouldn't be able to say or remember the number three. The problem was, he forgot to take her out of it. My friend had to call her, put her back in hypnosis and give her the number back.
Could you be hypnotizing me right now?
I don't think so. But I have hypnotized people for radio stations. We'll bring the intern in, hypnotize them and have them do goofy things. It's more of a visual thing, though. I'll tell someone the chair they're sitting in is their sex partner and they're having the wildest sex of their life. We do that quite a bit, actually. But I try not to embarrass anyone. Under hypnosis, people don't do anything they wouldn't do in a normal state of mind. If I said, "Here's a gun. Go rob a bank," reality would set in.
What if you said that to someone who robs banks in real life?
In all my shows, I've never run across a bank robber.
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