All financial markets are Ponzi schemes set up to take money from the unwitting and give it to insiders. All numbers concerning stocks are manipulated to give rich people more money; they’re lies. So, you’ve heard “Invest in the stock market! Retire in style while you’re still young!” your whole life and you look up those numbers, not knowing they’re lies, and you send in your paycheck to the rich people. What you don’t know is that the whole thing is a three-card Monte game. Except by accident, you’ll never get that money back. They need you to lose money so they can have more.

It’s rigged. It’s bull. Authorities open the doors for work-boot people to send money to millionaires. In exchange, the millionaires set up funds to get the authorities elected. And round and round. It’s a little leapfrog circle in the park, and your only acceptable contribution is to bring them lemonade and slink quietly back. If the millionaires ever lose money, the authorities just print more and give it to them. You don’t get any of that, though.

If one day while you’re walking along in the crowds of other people walking to work, and you stop and turn your head to look into the bank, past the mirrored glass, past the fiberboard desks of middle managers, past the locked doors, you’d see the dishonesty, you’d see the clockwork mechanics devised to take your money, and you’d say, “Hey! That’s a load! I don’t want to do it anymore!” Before you can alert anyone else with your recent enlightenment, the bastards with the money hand you a loaf of bread and tickets to the circus.

Right now there are no fewer than five headlines on the front page of the Times dealing with the stimulus bill, unemployment, states’ economic futures, factory closures, and so on. CEOs of worthless companies paid themselves billions in bonuses. On the TV, though, Pittsburgh just narrowly beat out the Cardinals to win the 43rd Super Bowl. My neighbors are celebrating on our street, having a beer and reliving the final touchdown with exaggerated gestures and shouts. And they’re happy. They don’t have any money. They don’t have great prospects of making any. But right now they’re happy.

I hope tomorrow, while they’re walking to work, one of them stops and looks into the big shiny windows of the bank.


Thursday, February 5
Montel Williams
KUSI 2:00 p.m.

The stench of desperation coming off Montel Williams is as strong as a bowl of gasoline on hot pavement. He stops just shy of donning a poodle costume and leaping through rings of fire to get people’s attention. I’m sure everyone involved with the show sobs and chugs airplane bottles of vodka in the shower just to scrub away the pain. (So, it’s kind of like the eighth grade. What? Nobody else did that?)

Burn Notice
USA 10:00 p.m.

USA needs to hang up its spurs. Sure, 20 years ago it was a mediocre gunslinger, rolling drunks like QVC and the Weather Channel in the muddy streets of a border town called So-So Vanilla Junction. But now it shares a teepee with a chicken and a taxidermied fox. One of which is its wife. Opium makes you do funny things.

Friday, February 6
Patte Awards
CASD4 8:00 p.m.

Local airtime must go pretty cheap. If I can buy an hour for whatever’s in my pocket — say, a beer-can pop top and a depression hotline number scribbled on a nudie-bookstore receipt — then we’re in business, folks. I’m going to have my own show. Get comfortable with shoulder hair peeking out from bra straps, my friends. Oh, get comfortable with it.

Saturday, February 7
CBS 9:00 p.m.

An elite team of cops diffuses a tense situation involving a bomb, hostages, blah blah blah. The better show features an elite team of animal trainers called in to diffuse a monkey-crap fight at the zoo. “GARCIA’S BEEN HIT! I REPEAT, GARCIA’S BEEN HIT! Ew. It’s in her ear and nose. HA HA! Oh, that’s awful.”

Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story
TNT 10:00 p.m.

Nobody else thinks this sounds creepy? I’m the only one? Fine. I’m the only one who thinks “gifted hands” sounds like the story of Tonya Harding’s sneaky older cousin. Actually, I’d watch that. But by the end there’d be a wad of nicotine patches and a pyramid of empty Zimas on my cinder-block coffee table. It is Saturday night, after all. I’m lonely.

Sunday, February 8
NBC 9:00 p.m.

An amnesiac assassinates the first female president then can’t remember the event and has to put together his defense. If you like the sound of that you may also want to check out: every crime story ever told ever about amnesia, including the Bourne series, Doctor Who, Lost, 24, Firefly, and My Own Worst Enemy. Also, children write better show premises in crayon on the paper placemats of finer eating establishments such as Arby’s and King Tut’s Chicken Liquidators. Morons.

Monday, February 9
Worst Week
CBS 9:30 p.m.

Ego prompts me to tell you that nobody’s week is worse than mine, but my g-string tailor would hold a different opinion.

Tuesday, February 10
Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
ABC 8:00 p.m.

Everybody realizes that Charlie Brown is 80-something years old, but we never see how he turned out as an adult. Well, Charlie became a gynecologist and Lucy was his biggest client. You don’t want to see your childhood companions operate cartoon syringes filled with penicillin, my friends. (Yeah, I just made a Charlie Brown VD joke. I’m not proud of it either.)

Wednesday, February 11
Looking for Lincoln
PBS 11:00 p.m.

Abraham Lincoln is alive. His name is Truman McIfreedtheslaves, and he lives in Waukegan, Illinois. He enjoys walking his three dachshunds, drinking lattes, and listening to Norwegian heavy-metal music. He’s America’s first cyborg Secret Service agent. (Bang-o! I just wrote the best show ever. Bang-o!)

Thursday, February 12
The 40th NAACP Image Awards
Fox 8:00 p.m.

If Al Gore comes out and punches Tyler Perry in the throat, he’ll cinch up my vote as long as we both shall live. Come on, Al! You are our only hope to stop this menace! Al Gore 2012! I’ll even buy an electric car!

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Ollie Feb. 4, 2009 @ 2:52 p.m.

Ironically, this down economy prompted The Reader to let me go. This is the last Remote Control King.



WildGorillaMan Feb. 4, 2009 @ 3:11 p.m.

Woe! Ollie is like the bastard love child of Hemingway, Hunter S Thompson and some other guys who's pretty outrageous! I await his return!


Sad_Saderson Feb. 4, 2009 @ 3:19 p.m.

what the hell!!??? Now my deep, dark depression will finally take full control without the innocent laughter of Ollie's words.


Aimee Feb. 4, 2009 @ 3:49 p.m.

Seriously- that's it- I'm done with The Reader. Ollie was the ONE thing I could count on being funny EVERY week... He actually made me laugh during cancer treatments! I'm all done using The Reader for advertising as well- this paper officially has "jumped the shark."


Ollie Feb. 4, 2009 @ 3:56 p.m.

Thank you everybody! I had a great run!


Ollie Feb. 4, 2009 @ 3:58 p.m.

Aimee, check out the Club Crawler. I think it's the best thing The Reader has going and it's definitely current. And of course, check in on my good friend, Barb.

Also, I'm still writing cover stories and I'll be on NBC next week to promote my latest.



steveb Feb. 4, 2009 @ 4:31 p.m.

Dude, say it ain't so!!

I've been reading your column forever, it speaks to me. I actually registered after all this time just to say goodbye.

Hope the SD figures out that they made a mistake quick and drag you back.

At least the SD helped you learn how to survive living out of a dumpster. Is that their version of a retirement plan?


towelheadedcameljockey Feb. 4, 2009 @ 4:31 p.m.

There is no way this column will not be in next weeks issue. No, no, no, no, no (said in Christian Bale tantrum tone).


revgj Feb. 4, 2009 @ 4:42 p.m.

We can't lose the failed submariner, dumpster diving oddball to downsizing.

His stuff almost makes sense sometines. Betcha didn't toss the diversity editor over the side.

Man can write, a rare skill at the reader.


louburr Feb. 4, 2009 @ 5:35 p.m.

I am disappointed to hear that this column will no longer be a regular feature of the SDReader. It was by far my favorite column and the reason I stopped by the site. Ollie do you have your own blog where this column can live on?


pluto_782 Feb. 4, 2009 @ 5:48 p.m.

I only set up a registration to write and say how it saddens me to no longer have the genius that is Remote Control King. From 9 hours away I awaited this weekly masterpiece. I shared it with my friends, then they with theirs. I will miss this terribly and will not read another reader article until Ollie writes another cover story. I will greatly miss the weekly laugh!!!!


Ponzi Feb. 4, 2009 @ 6:30 p.m.

My name sure pops up a lot these days! :-)

Anyway, I would think the reader is making mad money because they have so many ads.


jimburnetto Feb. 4, 2009 @ 6:46 p.m.

Great work Ollie. I hope you're not really being reduced in force. OH WHAT TIMES ARE THESE WHEN WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO PAY THE JESTERS?!?!


ps. If I were a woman, Ollie, I would want you to have my baby.


IronMike Feb. 4, 2009 @ 7:26 p.m.

I cant believe of all the crap in this paper this is the article they cut.

Its the only damn thing thats actually worth reading in this paper.


Spiller Feb. 4, 2009 @ 7:44 p.m.

This is a great column. It would be a shame to lose it. It's the only thing that gets me to click on this website.


Pigirondan Feb. 4, 2009 @ 8:01 p.m.

Most bogus. Ollie's commentary is what seperated the Reader from the fish wrap. How proud you must all be.


tonylaq Feb. 4, 2009 @ 8:21 p.m.

C'mon! Ollie was the main reason I followed the Reader...his take on the usual crap on TV was a breath of fresh air. You guys have REALLY lowered the level of the Reader with the sad departure of this wonderful young man..

Ollie, sir, I shall follow your writings to wherever you may end up.


jakem Feb. 4, 2009 @ 8:39 p.m.

Don't downsize Ollie. You're making a big mistake. When he becomes famous he's going to buy your magazine/website/whatever this is and fire all of you in a blinding fury of retribution!


bugmenot Feb. 4, 2009 @ 10:37 p.m.

Well this is certainly a bummer. You know times are tough when weekly newspapers start laying off writers who have a regular following.

I don't think it was a wise decision. I'm sure money could have been saved in other areas, rather than cutting the appeal of the content.


snglfin Feb. 5, 2009 @ 8:32 a.m.

ollie, i'd think they'd recognize real talent when it coined phrases like "a cavalcade of dog-lipstick" (that one stuck with me for years), and then i remember it's the reader. thanks for sharing your brand of genious with us... any chance you'd go into syndication?


Ollie Feb. 5, 2009 @ 9:25 a.m.

To the inquiring: I don't have a blog, but I'm not above starting one.

I'm also not above syndicating, but really, The Reader was the only pub that would put up with my BS, I think.

Thanks again, folks.



dr_zayaz Feb. 5, 2009 @ 10:45 a.m.

I know this column is not the place to say "In all seriousness" but really..."IN ALL FREAKING SERIOUSNESS" you're cutting THIS column!!? This gem of malcontent coming from a world class curmudgeon we all love that San Diego has been proud to call it's own? A cult following is not something to screw with. Reader, if not for would be dead to me.


riotboo Feb. 5, 2009 @ 12:02 p.m.

Boo Hiss, SD Reader !! I've enjoyed your writing, Ollie, and will miss your weekly column!


smart_alec Feb. 5, 2009 @ 3:26 p.m.

Ollie's gone. Yet another sign the Reader's goin' downhill. Soon it'll be nothing but ads for phone-sex and boob jobs. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


renee Feb. 6, 2009 @ 6:30 a.m.

I'm disappointed, but not surprised. Never thought I'd say this, but Ollie, you're too classy for this joint. Although if the Reader knew better, they'd try to raise the bar to your level instead of axing you.

Absurdish humor is an acquired taste, but once you have it you can never go back. The Reader is dead to me now.


jen Feb. 6, 2009 @ 8:23 a.m.

We fall on tough times and you take away our humor?! Oh say it ain't so...


MsGrant Feb. 7, 2009 @ 12:32 p.m.

WHAT!?!? I LOVED your column! Always hilarious. Thomas Larson, that intelligent, lofty, serious fellow writer for the Reader once told me he didn't get your writing. It was at that moment I realized your genius. I am sickened. Sickened. You are far too smart for them, anyway. Go get a job with a real publication. The Reader isn't good enough for my cat's litter box now. If the Diva goes, the Reader will be dead.


Jane Belanger Feb. 10, 2009 @ 9:59 a.m.

So bummed that RCK won't be part of my weekly reading anymore. Here's a link to my favorite installment of all time (it's been posted on my fridge since 2006):


Barbarella Fokos Feb. 10, 2009 @ 10:06 a.m.

God, that IS a great one, Janeb. Ollie's writing in this column has repeatedly invoked the word "brilliant."


junglejohn Feb. 14, 2009 @ 5:27 p.m.

Greetings from the island paradise of BORNEO!

I will really miss your brilliant sourness - keeps me grounded whiling away the boredom in this little village in the jungle.


Fred Williams March 13, 2009 @ 9:55 a.m.

I liked Ollies remote control sometimes...the short format seemed to suit him.

But I did not like Ollie's cover story a bit. There's a lot to write about mass transit, and the attempted "gonzo" style flopped completely. It was irritating rather than humorous.

Ollie has talent, but he's more of a sprinter than a long distance runner it seems. Keep should keep to the short stuff. It was sometimes funny.


pluto_782 June 19, 2009 @ 8:12 a.m.

Still hoping they bring back RCK. My week is not the same without those hilarious articles to lighten my mood. :[ What is wrong with the editor who would cancel this and not some boring article that we would rather use for toilet paper than read?


PistolPete Aug. 9, 2009 @ 2:23 a.m.

Isn't the owner of the Reader the same guy who keeps trying to get a law passed that pregnant underage girls can't get abortions and it keeps failing but he keeps trying?


rollermonkey Feb. 26, 2016 @ 5:46 a.m.

Ollie writing about Ben Carson back in 2009. Prescient... We need him back now!


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