The four kennels of the legendary Dogwarts School are:

Founded by the powerful dog Muffin Wigglebutt, Wigglebutt Kennel prides itself on nurturing pups with the traits of howlery, digger, powerful noses, and tail-chasing.

The work of famous 15th-century dog Brutus Snufflepup, Snufflepups kennels nurtures the virtues of hard bark, coming when called, being a good dog, loyalty, and playing with balls.

Famous dog Mitzi Ravenpaw made her name by hunting birds, and her kennel therefore prizes obedience, knowledge, sitting, and of course birding.

Smoochums Shitindoor is known among dogs for his controversial insistance that dogs knew better than their masters where, when, and how to poop. His kennel is therefore dedicated to tha art of defecation, making messes, running, and sneaky eating of kleenexes stolen from the trash.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are pleased to inform you that your skills and pedantry in spelling, grammar, usage, and diction have led to your selection as a student in Roget’s School of Wordcraft and Spelling. You will find a list of neccessary books and equipment below.

Period begins on September 1st. Please indicate your acceptance no later than July 31, in writing.

Yours sincerely,
J. Interrobang Guillemet IV
Order of Mirriam-Webster, First Class
Grand Scriblerian
Solidus, Oxford Association of Punctuation
Head, American Vowel Association

One (1) set, period attire.
Five (5) boxes, 12ga. No. 2 commas.
One (1) box, Obelus’s Signature Punctuation Mix.
One (1) box, Fleuron Brand General Typography Symbols.
McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer (1st ed.) by William Holmes McGuffey.
American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 ed.) by Noah Webster.
Roget’s Thesaurus (1st ed.) by Peter Mark Roget.
The Elements of Style (Harcourt ed., 1920) by William Strunk, Jr.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1928 ed.) edited by James Murray, Henry Bradley, et al.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

“We’ve retitled your course this semester, Reginald,” said the dean. “Take a look.”

Reginald took a copy of the catalog and blanched. “This is too much, Fred,” he said. “It really is. Do we really want to reduce British literature to something so glib?”

“You’ve mentioned it in class before,” said the dean, bristling. “I’ve read the evaluations.”

“Only to keep the kids from sleeping,” Reginald continued. “Only as a low-rent, bargain-basement entry in the the greater world of literature. They have been producing fine literary works in Britain since the reign of Claudius, Fred. That canon has Beowulf and Chaucer and Spenser and Milton.”

“Well, who’s to say this won’t be in the canon?” the dean asked.

“It’s a bit early for that, wouldn’t you say?” snapped Reginald. “There were books considered absolutely essential a hundred years ago that no one reads now. I’m sure a deacon at Oxford would have thought teaching The Water-Babies was a good idea in 1914, but who remembers that soggy moralizing tripe now, popular as it was?”

“Well, when people forget about this, we can change the name of the course back,” the dean said icily. “Until then, in this climate of cuts for arts and humanities, hitching your carriage to something popular is the only way to keep teaching this course. Unless you’d like to take 5 sections of English 101, of course.”

“Welcome to ENGL 433: Harry Potter and Friends,” Richardson grumbled to his class six weeks later. “In this course we will look at British literature through the lends of boy wizards, and read texts that J. K. Rowling may have been influenced by, referred to, owned, or seen on a bookstore shelf at one time or another.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

In 2006, the average amount of time between the last entry in a film series and its next remake or reboot was 9 years, as exemplified by the 9-year gap between “Batman and Robin” and “Batman Begins.” By 2012 that gap had shrunk to 5 years, as we can see from the refraction period between “Spider-Man 3” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.” With studios gearing up to reboot Batman for inclusion in the Man of Steel sequel (said Man being a reboot itself) in 2016, only 4 years after his last screen appearance in “The Dark Knight Rises,” we can now see a definite trend.

With this in mind, here is a mathematical predictive model of when the following movies will be rebooted, based on how long it took a movie to get regurgitated in the year of its release:

Avatar – 2017
20th Century Fox will be pleased to announce a gritty new take on the tale called The Avatar. Since audiences are too savvy for something as escapist and unrealistic as humans soldiers in alien bodies, this fresh and hip new imagining will feature burned-out inner city cops in gorilla bodies, with gorilla warfare to follow.

Toy Story – 2016
Disney/Pixar, proudly bereft of artistic integrity ever since making Cars 2 in exchange for $500 million in toy merchandising rights, is already in scripting stages for a gritty new direction for this beloved franchise. Filmed in live-action, since modern audiences see through the artifice of unbelievable computer graphics, the new film will be a post-apocalyptic tale of redemption from the point of view of charred, inanimate objects. Look for TOY in summer 2016!

Harry Potter – 2015
With The Incredible Harry Potter, coming next year from Warner Bros., filmmakers go back to the basics, to the dark, gritty feel of the original books. Moviegoers these days will see right through any attempt to convey “magic;” this fresh new take sees Harry enrolled in a school for assassins and martial artists who kill from the shadows to maintain the balance of world power. The studio has strong franchise hopes for the film, and has begun casting for the part of ruthless military dictator Lord Voldemort, who Harry will assassinate in the second film of a projected nine-picture deal.

The Avengers – 2014
Coming this year to theaters, Marvel’s Avengers reboot, titled Avengers (not the lack of the “the”), will be a gritty tale of a younger, hungrier band of superheroes before they rose to prominence less than two years ago. Making concessions to today’s theatergoers, who are too intelligent to buy into ridiculous concepts like armored attack suits or thunder gods, Avengers will focus instead on the relationship between tank pilot Stark, electrician Thor, mental patient and former WWE wrestler Hulk, alongside dark and realistic young versions of all your favorites. Sources confirm that such grit and realism don’t come cheap, and the pic is budgeted at $100,000,000,000.

The Hunger Games – 2013
In a bold decision, Lionsgate bowed to the inevitable and rebooted the critical and popular darling The Hunger Games before the series had even finished its projected four-film run. In stark contrast to the lighthearted and campy tone from the original series, something increasingly rejected by the savvy moviewatching public, last year’s reboot Hunger Begins was dark and gritty, a bleak vision of the future. A sequel to the reboot is currently scheduled for release in 2012; Lionsgate is apparently not concerned that this will somehow draw viewers away from the original Hunger Games, also released in 2012.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

“You’re a Javamancer, Henry. Come to Earl Grey’s School of Brewing and Baristery to join the struggle against the Bean Eaters, masters of the dark roast. And then obsess over the school’s Competitive Brewing team to the exclusion of world-shattering threats and let your friends or luck do most of the heavy lifting.”

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!

[a man in a white lab coat strides toward the camera]

EMUS: Hi, I’m Dr. Ray Emus. Wikipedia defines a “Mary Sue” as “a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader,” and they are rightly spurned and despised by all. But what happens to them when the fanfic ends and they save the Enterprise?

[the camera follows EMUS into what looks like a hospital ward, filled with people getting intravenous fluids as well as varysing stages of physical therapy]

EMUS: That’s why I started the Ray Emus Home for Mary Sues. We act as a hospital, detox, and halfway house to help these miserable, paper-thin literary creatures find respect for themselves and a purpose in life.

[EMUS gestures to a nearby young woman in a frayed sweater vest]

EMUS: Mary here started life as a thinly written Gryffindor in a wretched Harry Potter fanfic.

MARY: I was created solely so a 14-year-old girl could vicariously kiss Draco Malfoy, even though he’s a freaking toolbox!

EMUS: But thanks to our therapy and outpatient treatment sessions, Mary now works as an extra in Harlequin romances.

MARY: I still have no characteristics, but at least people take me seriously as a barista or bus driver in the background! I can finally sleep at night.

[EMUS moves outside, where largely indistinguishable young people in hospital gowns are sitting on benches amid topiary sculptures or playing pickup basketball]

EMUS: But we can’t do it alone. Hundreds of new Mary Sues are generated every month, especially in the crucial prom season. We need donations from people like you to keep helping thinly-written narrative stand-ins for insecure authors. People like Harry here.

[a young man with a disturbingly familiar look approaches the camera]

HARRY: A lot of people said that coming from a past like mine, in an unauthorized erotic Doctor Who novella, I didn’t have a future. But thanks to Dr. Emus and 100 hours of weekly therapy sessions, I’m beginning to develop actual personality flaws and rough edges. Also the night terrors have ceased!

EMUS: Don’t wait. There are so many in need, and every donation matters. For less than cost of a cup of coffee each day, you can allow the Home to help a single unwitting Cylon find inner peace and minimum wage work as a skeptical investigator in a James Patterson novel.

[music swells and the Home’s logo appears on the screen]

EMUS: The Ray Emus Home for Mary Sues. The prose may be unbearable but their lives don’t have to be.