A while ago a friend of mine emailed yet another amusing list, this time the winners of a contest run in the Washington Post (apparently they do this kind of thing regularly) to send in "merged book plots", with a title and a short description. The winners (in case you are curious) can be seen at epoch.cs.berkeley.edu/~mct/funny/mergebooks.txt; first place was "Farenheit 451 of the Vanities". I won't include it here; you all know how I feel about cut-and-paste.

After reading the list, I was struck with an uncontrollable urge to participate, partly because I thought some of the winners were kind of lame. So I hit "Reply to All", wrote a few of my own and sent them off. The result was a storm of emailing among a few of us that amounted to several days of wasted time ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h creative productivity.

We extended the rules to allow movies, because it was more fun. Below is an edited list of my contributions--I hesitate to include the others without permission from their authors (at least one is a regular on E2). Enjoy.

And...I'm sorry.

The Sixth Sense and Sensibility: A Victorian psychologist finds a small boy who is in contact with the dead, who tell him who will end up married to whom. The entire community is disrupted, but it all sorts itself out and they all end up married.

A Brief History of Thyme: Chef Emeril Lagasse explains how the fabric of space-time can be disrupted in the kitchen, under the right conditions and with the proper seasoning. Bam!

The Talented Mr. Ridley Scott: In the future, a picturesque Italian town discovers that the charming expatriate from Princeton is actually an android impersonator. It gets dark and starts to rain, but they fire up the cyclone lights, fashion some crude weapons and try to hunt him down in the sewers.

Midnight in the Garden of Beyond Good and Evil: A tale of deceit, murder and betrayal in the Deep South. An antiques dealer whose innate superiority allows him to transcend the boundaries of conventional ]morality] stands trial for murdering his male partner, who was just an ordinary guy.

The Wrath of Kant: A German philosopher seeks revenge after being stranded in a desert of idealism for years by Kirkeley...who never bothered to check on his progress. Kant fashions his revenge by stealing a device, the thing-in-itself, and using it as a critique of pure reason. His belief in his superior intellect, however, leads to his downfall.

Acropolis Now: Homer's lost manuscript, detailing a mystical military voyage across the Cyclades to lay siege to Athens, which is defended by the great Kurtzes

Of Hume and Bondage: A clubfooted doctoral student of philosophy falls for a lower-class London waitress. He is skeptical that she will be any good in bed, but little does he know that waiting on tables is just her day job...

Schindler's Liszt: A German manufacturing mogul living in Warsaw disapproves of the excesses of the Nazi regime, and takes pity on the oppressed Jews. He saves them from almost certain extermination by training as many as he can as concert pianists.

Lord of the X-Files: An alien conspiracy causes a group of young boys to become stranded on a desert island. They discover a strange black oil which causes them to revert to primitive, tribal, warlike clans. The leader of the tribe is the holder of the Pack of Cigarettes. One sort of geeky boy, "Spooky", is determined to unravel it all, but doesn't get very far without his friend Dana, who didn't come on the trip. It's just as well, because he never did have enough nerve to try to score with her.

Reservoir Doge: A Venetian Prince, Antonio, goes undercover as a thief to try to bust a Jewish crime ring, run by a man named Shylock. In the end it all goes wrong, he changes swords with his combatant, and he is mortally wounded in the belly.

Titanicus Andronicus: Titus, the great Roman general, returns home from a great battle and decides to take a sea cruise to Gaul. He gets the hots for the Queen of the Goths, but she is betrothed to the corrupt Emperor. Just when they are about to get busy with a whole mess of revenge and human sacrifice, the ship hits a coral reef and sinks, drowning almost everyone on board.

The Kanterbury tales: The story of a long journey where medieval pilgrims discover that actions have moral worth only when they are done for duty's sake. The Wife of Bath tells a tale about how freedom is not achieved by acting on one's desires.

Horton Hears The Who: A loveable elephant discovers a clover that is home to a bunch of tiny, aging rock musicians, who refuse to retire. He tries to convince the other people in the jungle that his small geriatric friends are real, but they won't get fooled again.

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