Thursday, December 20, 2007
Don't believe me? GC brought in $2500 per screen. While it stomped the facile Fred Claus ($808 per screen) and beat Enchanted ($1800 per screen), it only just barely beat the re-release of the most boring SF movie ever, Blade Runner ($2400 per screen). When you're not killing a movie that's 25 years old, there is a problem.
Of course, all of these movies lost out to Santa versus the Snowmen, with a robust $2950 per screen. I presume it's some sort of sequel to Santa conquers the Martians.
Remember that GC cost 180 million. At the rate it's going, it should be profitable on its 25th anniversary release. Of course, it'll lose out to the sixteen-hour super-secret Producer's Cut of Blade Runner coming out for its 50th anniversary, with holodisk commentary by Harrison Ford's nephew's barber, complete with free caffeine pills to keep you awake through the monotonous skyscraper shots and inscrutably dark background scenery.
Personally, I think releasing a movie with a thinly-disguised story about killing God right next to Christmas is maybe not the best business strategy. Just because it takes place at the North Pole doesn't mean that it's a Christmas movie, guys.
This latest version has G.I. JOE, which stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, as an international force of operatives set in Brussels.
I guess the biggest problem they'll be tackling is that COBRA has stolen their testicles.
I mean, honestly: Brussels? Geez, you could conquer Brussels with one of the lamer Joes, like Breaker or Shipwreck. I bet Snake-Eyes alone could conquer most of Europe. What are they doing in Brussels, trolling for discount marijuana? Signing the EU charter? Helping form a government?
I've got an idea: in an era with million-dollar anti-war flops, why not go totally contrarian and make a super-patriotic, totally serious, US Agents kick terrorist ass film? You might make enough money that you could afford to make ten Redacteds and blow off the 500-million dollar loss!
What's next, an eco-terrorist Captain America?
Think he'll be able to get a top-notch coach and GM to work under him with that colorful background? I doubt it.
Miami fans must have violated all ten Football Commandments to have earned such enmity from the Football Gods.
I wish I lived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where the dog is so I could sell authentic World Series Baseball Doggie Doodie on e-bay. That crap's gotta be worth millions.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
“Back off, I’m friends with the Swiftboat Veterans!”
“Calgon, take me away!”
“Spare me a nickel, bro?”
“Ms. Clinton? I can’t read the card your staffer handed me. Can you get me another one?”
“Stop them before they waterboard me!”
“This is just like what happened to Mumia.”
“Would you like fries with that?”
“I said I'm not with Fox News!”
Monday, December 17, 2007
All-Purpose Carbon Righteousness Scale
The following lifestyles are rated from 0 (Earth Murderer) to 100 (Eco-Saint). Simply find which case most closely matches your own, and you will know the degree of carbon righteousness which you possess. In order to improve your righteousness, all you have to do is make some small lifestyle adjustments.
0) Divorced living separately with college-aged children, all have cars, both parents working, all members enjoy hot showers
10) Married living together with children of any age
20) Divorced, but now living with new paramours, never had any children
30) Married living together without children and with no plans to have children, preferably sterilized
31) Anybody who has ever had children can't be higher than 31 because they're killing the planet slowly by spreading their seed
40) Recycle everything from bottles to used condoms, never eat GM food, use public transportation no more than twice a week (otherwise foot-power), work for a socially responsible corporation, does not have indoor plumbing
50) Group love-fest with no commitments, freaky sexual exploration, and Planned Parenthood on speed-dial
60) Actor, director, or politician who risks being ostracized by taking the dangerous stance that "we've got to wake up and do something about climate change", regardless of actual personal behavior or comportment
70) Humorless natural-fabric wearing scold who eats locally grown food from a co-op and takes only cold showers every other month
80) Local co-op grower who adopts orphans, raises them not to reproduce, drives a bio-diesel car, pocket mulches, and chains himself naked to something every other month in order to keep the military/industrial complex from destroying the planet
85) The Chinese get to be here automatically because they're still keeping the communist dream alive
90) Should-be president touring world speaking out against climate change via private jet maintaining several palatial mansions
100) Unwashed sterilized lesbian vegan commune living in a cave
Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I don't follow Mets fans, so I can't speak to the assertion. I'll accept it as true, but it annoys me that Pearlman doesn't source any of his quotes. That's not just sloppy; in this era it looks wrong. You should always link your source quote.
Was it the condescending tone of it? Well, it is Pearlman, so condescention is typically the order of the day. That's not it, although it rubs me the wrong way. I know what "El Equipo de Latinos" means; you don't have to translate it for me.
What irks me, I think, is this: it's numerically sloppy.
Geez, Mr. Pearlman, grab a calculator and crunch some freaking numbers. You'll find an interesting story (I certainly think so, anyways):
Using the most recent rosters on Yahoo! sports, by birthplace the Mets are 49% Latin.
Compare this to the Yankees (35%), Red Sox (26%), Braves (24%), White Sox (21%), and Dodgers (16%): that number is high. Very high. Statistically significantly high, I would venture to guess.
Is that odd? Or is it explicable? Isn't this germane to the overall narrative of small-minded Mets fans versus great baseball GM Omar Minaya? Or is it just useless statistical noise?
I don't know. I'm just a dumbass blogger. You should know, Mr. Pearlman. You're a sportswriter. Instead of giving us sociological claptrap, why not try to explain sports or something? Is that too much to ask?
1 - Polling Denial
In this stage, the campaign simple refuses to believe the latest impartial polling results. They can’t accept that they’ve lost 20% in Iowa, or they’re neck-and-neck in New Hampshire. They say things like “Our internal polling shows there’s nothing to worry about”, meaning that they have no idea what’s going on.
2 - Negative Rage
Here a campaign goes negative as it slowly comes to the realization that the polls are correct and there’s a problem. This can take many forms, from the exceedingly nasty (re:Willie Horton) to the sublimely incompetent (Obama’s kindergarten essays). Often this leads to massive self-inflicted damage, like when some geeky kid insists that he’s a stud because he’s got a nympho girlfriend in Canada.
3 - Changing Strategies
Some campaigns change managers, some campaigns change direction, and some do both. But it doesn’t change anything, because campaigns never change candidates, and that’s typically what the problem is. If you run a glacial ice queen viewed as riding her husband’s coattails, then bringing the husband in to run things doesn’t particularly change this image.
4 - Pandering
Who wants a tax break? Government funded health care? Required union coverage for employers with more than ten employees? Talking monkeys? A campaign in this stage is willing to promise anything for your vote. The stink of desperation is strongest at this stage, just like when the geek shows a photoshopped picture of Tera Patrick wearing a Maple Leaves cap on standing next to him along with a postcard that he signed left-handed that says “To my footlong hoagie lover-boy.”
5 - Lashing Out
“Those stupid Iowa hicks just don’t appreciate how wonderful I am.”
“Those hard-headed New Hampshire yahoos just don’t appreciate how wonderful I am.”
“Those South Carolina racist rednecks just don’t appreciate how wonderful I am.”
This stage can also take the form of a prolonged howl of anguish, like Inigo Montoya’s Call of Ultimate Suffering.
6 - Wild Allegations
Here paranoia reigns supreme as a candidate alleges all sorts of dirty tricks: plants from the other campaigns, vast right-wing conspiracies, voters being dissatisfied for unrelated reasons, and other terrible innuendos to explain their plummeting numbers. Yeah, sure, and the girlfriend in Canada swallows.
7 - Reduced Expectations
Finally the candidate laughs off their failed attempt at office by restating their primary goal: they only wanted to draw attention to some critical issue, they just wanted to energize voters, or they were just practicing for the “real” election in 2012. Or, it was their plan to lose the first three primaries all along, and then sweep to victory in the coastal states.
Yeah, sure, and this nympho girlfriend in Canada is a supermodel who can’t find a better boyfriend than you.
Not to be outdone by Mike Huckabee’s new campaign slogan, Energy Free by 2017, the other presidential candidates have launched their own new campaign slogans in what is quickly becoming a motto arms race. Here they are:
Rudy Giuliani: More conservative than the other RINOs in the race
Duncan Hunter: Can you believe I'm still here?
John McCain: Get the hell off my lawn, you goddamn kids!
Ron Paul: The truth is out there
Mitt Romney: All objective observers agree: far and away the best candidate
Tom Tancredo: Somewhere an illegal immigrant is planning to seduce your wife and murder you
Fred Thompson: I’m awake!
Joe Biden: Still ‘Biden’ my time
Hillary Clinton: Bill free by 2013
Chris Dodd: Don’t you forget about me
John Edwards: Only his stylist knows for sure
Barack Obama: Not unraveling like a cheap sweater
Bill Richardson: Still the only competent Democratic nominee
The conference got off to a very good start, with members recognizing China for its part in increasing public awareness of Giant Monster Attack.
“We’ve been very happy about the increasing amount of attention that China has paid to the threat of GMA,” said the EU delegate Jacques de Conard. “Although their public works projects have led to several giant monster attacks, particularly the regrettable Biollante incident in early June, they’ve shown that they want to discuss GMA in a realistic way.”
New Australian delegate Nancy Spineless said that the Rudd government is serious about halting GMA risks. “We know that the primary GMA activities, mining, grave-digging, and teenage partying, must be minimized or eliminated altogether. Our government received a mandate from the people to reverse course on this, and we’ve committed to aggressive targets that will bring us in line by 2040.”
However, the mood of the conference became hostile as soon as the American delegation protested an ambitious program sponsored by the UN which would use funds levied from developed countries to fund giant robot mothras in less-developed regions of the world.
The American negotiator, a black-hearted knave named John Boltonioni, said “It’s not realistic to think that the Americans will subsidize a forty-foot titanium moth for China, while they continue to antagonize every single giant monster they can find. It’s only a matter of time before we have to mobilize our navy to stop a giant dragon that they dug up and let go.”
The Chinese delegation refuted criticisms of its policy, saying that more developed countries should help impoverished peoples of the world. “In China we worry about food and shelter. It is not our fault that the best oil and gemstones lay in ancient dragon burial grounds. The US must buy us Robo-Mothra to protect our lead-export toy business.”
“Just because the US is the biggest, most successful country in the world doesn’t mean that they’re typically right. They’re just being stubborn,” said de Conard. “We want to protect the world from giant monsters, and they’re whining about how it will cost them economically. This is about saving humanity, not a few dollars.”
One of the keynote speakers, ESPY winner and former US Vice President John K. Mondale, said he was disappointed in the attitude of the US delegation. “It’s time for Americans to stand up and be counted, and take actions against this stark threat to the future of our planet. If we don’t get serious on GMA right now, we’ll all be dead before next Christmas.”
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
So tonight, after the little ones were snug in their bed, we put together the top of the desk. Now, while this may sound like a simple job easily accomplished by anyone with a modicum of basic handyman skills, for me this is right on the edge of “Herculean.”
In the middle of this task, right after thirty minutes of swearing because I thought that the piece was backwards, it called for nailing the back plate onto the piece. It included twenty tiny little nails, each about half an inch long, with their heads sharp enough to puncture an armored car.
Of course, I proceeded to beat the hell out of my thumb. Since it’s what separates us from the other animals, I figure it deserved it. There’s blood all over the desk now; turns out white was a bad choice.
Right in the middle of smashing my thumb to mush, my daughter called me downstairs because she had a nightmare that the house burned down. I snarled something to her (like ‘I hope so!’) and stormed back upstairs.
Then I swore at my wife, and she swore at me and called her divorce attorney. Then finally we got the desk together and all was well.
But since I have to sleep on the couch I’m guessing that make-up sex is right out.
Dating can be tough, especially around the holidays. Since a lot of guys end up getting mixed signals, here are ten signs that she’s just not that into you.
10) She puts piranhas in your bathtub
9) She puts wood chips in your pants and sets a beaver on you
8) She gives you a hand job with Ben Gay (if you don't know why that's painful, try it and find out)
7) For dinner you get rat a la poison
6) She pours liquid nitrogen down your pants and cracks your buttocks with a hammer
5) She dares you to pet foaming animals
4) She pours fire ants down your pants
3) She gets lice on purpose, then…well, you get the idea
2) She fills your underwear with powdered lime
1) She says “it’s not you, it’s me” and then shoves a weed whacker in your pants
Monday, December 10, 2007
Hearken ye to the tale of misfortune which attendeth his passing:
Though Saban wrought a commendable 9-2 record while at Toledo and a stunning share of the Mid-American Conference title in 1990, he departed after one sole season as is his capricious nature. Success sitteth not well upon this proud man’s shoulders. The season after him they fell to 5-5-1, only the first of his victims.
After three largely fruitless seasons, this spawn of Saban managed to achieve a stunning upset victory of #1 ranked Ohio State. Thus he found himself accorded new opportunities to wreak havoc upon the world of football (hough that season, too, ended in mediocrity). Finally Saban caught the luck which all vile creatures yearn for and went 9-2. He then abandoned his charges just before their bowl game to coach LSU, much like a rat paddles towards shore as the boat doth sink. The next season the Spartans fell to 5-6, another victim of his loathsome touch.
It is only here that the vile poison of Saban has not drowned those who drunk of it. For though Saban had much success here, then departed for his dream of coaching in the NFL, the Tigers did not fall into disrepute. Perhaps this is due to the awesome skill of Les Miles, or perhaps it is some sort of karmic compensation for the residents of Louisiana enduring a terrible hurricane. Either way, LSU has continued its success, in spite of Nick Saban’s best efforts. Thou may’st be sure it is not because of them!
Ye faint of heart, regard not what the beast Saban hath wrought here! What vile things have the people of Miami done to deserve such managerial incompetence from Saban, such sabotagery of their hopes and dreams, such desecration of their once-vaunted football legacy? In addition to coaching them to futility, Saban truly destroyed two years’ worth of drafts, utterly gutted their fan base, and laid the foundation for the most abhorrent football season of all time: the potentially 0-16 2007 Miami Dolphins. Egads! At the same time that another team in their division may erase Miami’s sole claim to a perfect season? Such tragedy even Shakespeare would have hesitated to pen.
Mediocrity, thy name is Tide. Somewhere Bear Bryant weeps to see what has become of his much-beloved team. Fans of the Crimson Elephant, I urge you: robe yourselves in sackcloth and ashes, tear your garments, and pray that you will soon be delivered from this Plague of Saban. For he shall guide you to 6-win seasons until his one great stroke of luck, such as known by the golfer not struck dead by lightning. Then he shall abandon ye for another job, because he knoweth no loyalty beyond the dollar, and your nightmare will have just begun.
Droopy Goes to Gitmo
A live-action re-imagining of everyone’s favorite depressed pooch. Droopy is arrested in New York City by the Federal Department of Homeland Security on “Suspicion to Spread Rabies” and deported to a secret Animal Control compound on Easter Island, where he is vigorously interrogated by officials using questionable methods, including the infamous collarboarding technique. An intrepid journalist and a married couple of Scientologist missionaries try to get him freed, but are ultimately thwarted by a sinister conspiracy led by the Vice President himself. In the final scene, Droopy is led into a gas chamber and put to death by the grey-clad, jackbooted thugs that run the hellish prison, and his limp body is dumped beneath one of the many heads that dot the island.
Directed by Michael Moore
Original Screenplay by Brian DePalma
Starring Dustin Hoffman as Droopy
With Jane Fonda as reporter Judy Truthseeker,
Tom Cruise as Mr. Goodman,
And Katie Holmes as Mrs. Anita Beard-Goodman
Rip Torn as Warden Adolf H. Gutspiller
Paul Reubens as Vice President Chimpy McHitlerburten
Sean Penn as the cool assassin Nick Bullett
Barbara Streisand as Tress Pureheart, who is searching for her dog
Special Guest Appearance by
George Clooney as Top Cat, who unsuccessfully tries to help Droopy escape
Friday, December 7, 2007
"When Iraq was bad, I could always say that at least the economy seemed to be going pretty good. Now that Iraq has improved, I felt that I needed to screw up the economy a little bit. It's important to get some competence offsets and keep my overall performance neutral."
Observers said that this was normal for a President entering the end of his term. "This is when a lot of presidents start thinking about their legacy, like when Bill Clinton started ripping through interns at an alarming pace, and when Nixon started burning evidence. Bush just wants to make sure that when people remember him, they don't really have any idea what the hell he was thinking."
"Think about it," Press Secretary Dana Perino said in a press conference. "Harriet Meyers versus John Roberts. Fumbling around in Iraq versus the Surge. Firing Rumsfeld and losing both houses of congress versus outmaneuvering the Democrats on every major issue this year. And now, sticking his nose where it doesn't belong to tank the economy in an ill-advised move after allowing the economy to grow and create jobs, like he's totally ignorant of the way that economics works. This is all part of the President's strategy to be as frustrating and confusing as possible."
Asked if he had any future plans, Bush said "We've got another year to really screw some stuff up if things get too good, so watch out!"
Germany is heading towards banning Scientology, and on the whole that’s probably a good thing. I figure that the inner circle of Scientology is just like Eyes Wide Shut: lots of naked women, orgies everywhere, murder is rampant, drug use and sexual immorality ascendant, everybody wears those fancy Italian masks, and ultimately you’re so damn bored that you fall asleep.
Also, they should consider changing their name: there’s very little science in Scientology, unless you consider bringing out latent race memories of Xenu, which most people don’t. There’s a lot of hokum, though. Perhaps they could change the name to Hokumtology.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Why do so many cartoon writers hate children? It’s not like an 8-year-old can’t tell that a talking baby unicorn is a dumbass sidekick. Did anybody actually like Orko? Listen, kids who like that BS are watching Teletubbies, not He-Man. Don’t cater to the wrong demographic.
Is it really that hard to find a non-dumbass to hang around with you, maybe run for help from time to time, and not betray you because his feelings got hurt when you didn’t have time to stroke his ego while saving the universe? Look at Ookla the Mok: great sidekick, not wussy, and popular with the ladies. That's a role model for all you other sidekicks out there.
So here, I present to you the worst sidekicks ever:
12. Nibbles (Tom and Jerry)
I hate Nibbles. I always hated Nibbles. The gag of the tiny little mouse that could eat 50 pounds of food just wasn’t funny. Every time Tom got hold of him, I would shout “CHEW, YOU STUPID BASTARD!” at the television in hopes that this would finally be Nibbles’ last cartoon. As a result, I spent a lot of time grounded for swearing. Stupid damn mouse.
11. Orko (He-Man)
There’s a fine line between “incompetent sidekick who frustrates hero’s goal” and “sidekick who actively works against hero and is far more trouble than he’s worth.” Orko is so far past that line it’s not even funny. If I were He-Man, I wouldn’t care what’s under the shadow of that hat: I’m chopping it off and burning the pieces. Besides, when you're ripping off Alvin for fashion tips, you've got no business hanging out in Castle Greyskull.
10. Godzilla’s Kid (Godzilla)
The formula for Godzilla movies is pretty simple: monster appears, trashes some stuff, and then Godzilla appears, shoots some atomic death breath, they fight, and then Godzilla conquers. There is no room in this formula for a smoke-blowing giant booger that confuses us about Godzilla’s sex and possible marital status.
9. Uni the Unicorn (Dungeons and Dragons)
You have to be extra-pathetic to stick out in this group, and Uni was certainly up to the task. Gifted with only one terrifically lame power, Uni managed to never deploy it in a useful way. Even better, Uni also had the power of incoherent speech that is mandatory for a truly crappy sidekick. I can’t remember if there was a dorky catch phrase, because I’ve spent thousands of dollars in therapy forgetting this affront to human dignity.
8. Kato (The Green Hornet)
I can hear your protests: Kato was a karate master, he routinely saved Green Hornet’s butt, he was a good driver, etcetera. But what was wrong with Kato that he worked for the Green Hornet? The Green Hornet should have been his sidekick, not the other way around. So all we can guess is that GH had pictures of Kato with a goat, or Kato was a secret opium addict, or something like that. There’s got to be a reason here.
7. Great Gazoo (Flintstones)
You know what a cartoon about a prehistoric family really needed? A magic alien from an advanced civilization that only the main characters can see that has been exiled to Earth to learn how to help other people. Oh, wait: no, it didn’t, and whoever thought of that should have had their fingers broken and their tongue torn out so they could never poison someone else’s mind with their terrible ideas again.
6. Grimace (McDonald’s)
I’m not saying that because Grimace looks like a giant purple penis he’s some kind of reference to Ronald McDonald’s frustrated NAMBLA aspirations. I’m just saying that ever since those big purple handprints were found on Mayor McCheese’s throat, the quality of Ronald’s main sidekick has been piss-poor.
5. Screetch and Jessie (Saved by the Bell)
It’s no coincidence that the lamest two characters on this show also both ended up doing porno movies. Screetch was supposed to be a nerdy/obsessive type, but he was in actuality totally worthless. It’s no wonder he ended up being Mr. Beldin’s piece of tail in the lamentable Saved by the Bell: the College Years. And Jessie; well, let’s just say that when you’ve got Kelly and Lisa as the main female leads, the need for a less-attractive socially conscious latter-day hippy is pretty much zero. And somehow, Jessie failed to live up to even that minimal expectation.
4. Snarf (Thundercats)
Imagine a cross between the Smurfs and Gollum, and you’ve got Snarf. He was supposedly Lion-O’s advisor, but he was dumber than a box of rocks. Cowardly and stupid and worthless, his only contribution to any episode was to say inane things like “Snarf, Lion-O, let’s get the snarf out of here!” Lion-O’s response should have been “Go snarf yourself, you stupid piece of shit.”
3. Andy Dick (News Radio, lots of other stuff)
You know what Andy Dick is? A manic, less-humorous version of David Spade, and Spade hasn't been funny in 12 years. Perhaps I’m missing some hidden comedic genius in the man, but I kind of doubt it. Add in the seedy story that he is involved in the sad tale that killed Phil Hartman and I wonder how anyone can be seen in public with him.
2. Wonderdog (Super Friends)
How lame was Wonderdog? He was Marvin and Wendy’s sidekick, for heaven’s sakes, and their only power was making Robin look tough! I always guessed that Wonderdog’s power was that he could eat his own poop and beat up Aquaman. Neither of those is all that impressive, although eating your own poop is at least something that most people don’t do.
1. Scrappy Doo (Scooby Doo)
The worst sidekick of all time, I can’t even think about Scrappy without rage clouding my vision and bile choking my throat. Scooby Doo already had four successful sidekicks: brainy, brawny, busty, and chicken. There was no room for this should-have-been-gassed “Puppy Power!” piece of shit. The fact that they got rid of the two hot chicks and Fred to make room for him is even worse. A picture of Scrappy Doo should be on the wall of every cartoon writing department, with the warning: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
Sure, you can blame bad casting (Marlon Wayans) or bad ideas (Uni the Unicorn), but that alone just doesn’t explain the level of reeking suckness that infests every attempted D&D-based spinoff.
There’s some darker, far more sinister source at work here, one that would laugh at Lolth and make a Modron give up neutrality to run away screaming in terror.
And if you got those last two references, then that dissatisfies you just as much as it does me.
The collector was designed to focus moonbeams, long suspected of holding the hidden power of reflected light, into a small area, presumably amplifying their negligible effect. Hippies who have used the system feelings from swimming to being in a breeze to just gently feeling better, much like random users of marijuana but without the paranoia or the munchies. Thus far there have been no reported naked protests, but authorities expect one at any time.
Dr. John Boshman said "Previously we've only seen hippie attraction at this level during the early Burning Man festivals, before all the posers started coming and bottled water cost five bucks. I took a few readings at the site, and the hippie-meter went crazy. It's like the original Woodstock all over again."
Local entrepreneurs were already gearing up to take advantage of the well-known spending habits of hippies. Shop owner Penelope Prudence had set up a sign that said "We're Hip to Hippies!" and said she'd radically changed the inventory of her bait shop.
"I've gotten rid of all the deodorant and toothbrushes to make space for shiny objects, hemp underwear, and armpit hair curlers. Although it's good for business, I am going to have to convert to an outdoor stall to help control the funkiness quotient inside during the summer."
Some scientists were concerned about the long-term affect of exposure to moonlight. "We've known for some time about the damages of excess exposure to moonlight," said Dr. Stephanie Kimball. "They might as well build a giant microscope and burn people to cinders like you did when you were a kid."
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Like reporting things that didn't happen.
Or praising Hitler and suggest a "final solution" for bloggers.
Or plagiarize and then sabotage his internet rivals.
I welcome our newspaper overlords, and as a trusted member of the blogging community I could be useful rounding up workers for their underground ink mines.
For any television executives who happen to stumble across this blog hoping to hire non-union scabs to fill the gap in programming (my e-mail can be found in the sidebar), I highly recommend the following Christmas movies:
Best Overall: It’s a Wonderful Life
There’s a reason nobody’s remade this classic: they’re terrified of screwing it up. It doesn’t even get re-imagined (like A Christmas Carol), because few have the courage to measure themselves against the original. And it’s one of the few Christmas movies to be explicitly anti-suicide, which is important because the holidays are the prime choice for people to kill themselves.
Best Pre-1900 Story: A Christmas Carol
The great-grandaddy of Christmas stories, Dickens’ classic is still going strong after almost 150 years. I prefer the Patrick Stewart version myself, but this is far from doctrinal. Whether you like the George C. Scott version, the Bill Murray version, or the Hallmark Television version (with a female Scrooge!) you know this story, you love this story, and you’ll watch this story every year.
Best Black and White Entry: Miracle on 34th Street
So, is he Santa or just some crazy mental patient? You know what amazes me about this film from the 40’s? How modern it is. It’s got a subtle assault on would-be “experts” who play god with the psyche of young adults (the store psychiatrist), a divorced working woman as one of the main characters, and the eternal questions of whether Santa Claus sleeps with his whiskers in or out. A funny, engaging film. Skip the many dreadful remakes and go straight to the classic original.
Best New Entry: A Very Barry Christmas
You might have missed this newcomer to the Christmas oeuvre, but I heartily recommend it. It’s the hilarious tale of an unsuccessful Australian entrepreneur who ends up having to replace Santa after a mixup down under during a training flight. I particularly love the press conferences at the North Pole, including the question “How do you respond to allegations that your list wrongly labels mischievous children as naughty?”
Bloodiest: Die Hard
You might quibble that this isn’t a Christmas movie, but he is in fact going to the office Christmas party when terrorists take his wife hostage and he has to kill them all in bare feet. This is a rare action movie that has style, violence, and some never-before-seen plot twists. I love this movie. Yippee-ki-yay indeed, Mr. McClain.
Claymation Award of Excellence: Nightmare Before Christmas
Funny, sweet, and now 3D thanks to the bloodsucking Disney money machine that squeezes every last penny out of every single property they own. I know some people would suggest that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is better, but they’re wrong. Rudolph had about ten minutes of plot, padded with that whole dentist/snowman/misfit toy BS to fill it out, and is a paean to racism and sexism to boot. It’s a miracle that the PC crowd hasn’t driven Rudolph off the airwaves yet.
Funniest Christmas Film: A Christmas Story
If you have a friend or family member who thinks this isn’t a hilarious film, it’s time to seriously consider severing the relationship. This is the funniest Christmas film ever. I watch it every year, and when it comes on a “24 Hours of Christmas Story” the TV is always tuned to it. Did you ever wonder how the dad knew Ralphie wanted a gun for Christmas? He was never actually in the presence of Ralphie when the subject came up. Yet Dad came through. I want to be like that.
Best Animated: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I will never forgive Jim Carrey for making a live-action version of this movie, which was cinematic perfection in its animated incarnation. This is far and away the best 25-minute Christmas film you will ever see. The pairing of Chuck Jones to the Seuss story was sheer genius, like Laurel and Hardy or bacon and eggs.
Breastiest: Trading Places
Again, not a classic Christmas film, but one I like nonetheless. Including Eddie Murphy at the top of his game, Dan Ackroyd dressed as Santa, and a young Jamie Lee Curtis going topless, I think you’ll admit that this has to be one of the greatest Christmas-related frontal-nudity-bearing films of all time. And the $1 ending is sheer genius. I highly encourage you to see the non-cable original version, which has a lot more swearing and nudity than you remember.
One of the top-ranked Democrats today admitted that the much-ballyhooed ‘surge’ strategy, begun in early 2007, has failed to produce the results or meet benchmarks that were set by Democratic leadership, and openly questioned whether or not the party could reasonably sustain their mission past 2008.
“It’s an utter failure,” said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House. “We greatly increased our presence in both the upper and lower parts of Congress, but other than a symbolic minimum-wage increase we’ve been unable to really accomplish anything of note. Well, other than a corrupt ethical reform, but I think people knew that we weren’t going to deliver on that.”
She also admitted that being outmaneuvered by a lame-duck president time and again has damaged their credibility. “I think our voters expect us to have certain savoir-faire, and we just haven’t had that yet. It’s galling to our supporters to have a man so widely derided as a cretin to outflank, out-think, and outrun us time and again, on a variety of issues. If you call the opposition an idiot enough times, and still can’t come out on top, then what does that say about you?”
Observers said that the Democrats might consider a radical leadership change. “Just as a new general brought surprising results to Iraq, one has to wonder if a new leader for the Democrats might bring better results. For example, replacing Harry Reid with a Tickle-Me Elmo Doll. At least Elmo’s not got a track record of defeatism, obstructionism, and shady land deals.”
One Democratic Party Official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the problem was reality. “Listen, we call ourselves the reality-based party, and the reality is that we were wrong about a great many things. That, and the fact that our leaders are idiots, might really cripple us when it comes election time next year.”
That’s why it’s so strange to me that some of the presumptive frontrunners have started making gigantic unforced errors. It’s akin to Caesar going to the senate on “Bring your knife to work day.” Don’t they have enough trouble already?
The example that made me think of this? Mitt Romney and his illegal immigrant landscapers. Yes, I know, it’s actually a second party that is hiring landscapers, and Romney just employs them. I actually don’t think any worse of Romney because it turns out that a third party had illegal immigrants working for them.
What bothers me is that this is the second time that Romney’s been burned by this company at this house. It bespeaks of a lack of institutional control on the part of Team Romney.
There could be lots of reasons Romney kept using Saenz’ service to do his lawn: because they are friends from church, or because Romney’s a really nice guy who wanted to give Saenz a second chance, or that Romney is an idiot. But because one of the answers could be “Romney is an idiot”, it makes me a little leery of voting Romney for president.
He knows that the Globe is watching him like a hawk. He knows this company is a risk. Why in the world did he take this chance?
Until and unless I’m reassured that it’s not the idiot theory, I’m going to be open to other candidates.
But I ask you: is it morally required that the hosts do this? Is it even advisable?
One the one hand, the host makes the most money on the show and is ostensibly the boss. So I can understand where he would feel an ethical prerogative to pay his staff while they cannot work through no fault of their own.
On the other hand, it’s not the host’s fault that the writers went on strike either. It’s the writers who are forcing the rest of the crew to be unable to work; is the writers’ union contributing anything to these people? I doubt it.
And I would guess that most of those now laid off are union workers themselves. What is their union contributing from the strike funds to these people in a show of solidarity for the writers? Likely nothing, since unions like to collect dues but rarely part with them.
You could argue that the talk-show hosts would be better off letting their employees suffer, and using it as leverage to force the writers back. They could say “Listen, it’s not me refusing to work, it’s the writers. I’d be happy to film the show without a monologue, but the writers say that’s morally wrong. So you get laid off because the writers won’t work and won’t let me do partial work to keep you compensated and the company won’t pay you just to sit around. If the writers agree, we can work without scripts and still turn out a show, but they want you to be out of work.”
That kind of robs the writers of their ethical high horse, doesn’t it?
Of course, it would never get covered like that. The tone of the coverage is that any host who doesn’t pay the salaries of his employees, from his own pocket, is some kind of scrooge or an ogre who is tossing his loyal employees to the curb at Holiday-time. I think that’s kind of unfair, personally, and reflects the entrenched union mentality of the newspaper business (which bleeds over into online coverage of the strike).
I can’t see how the host is any more obligated to support these people than the writers are. And I would be willing to listen to arguments that he has no moral obligation to support them at all.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Jasper explains the basics of Islamic Shari’a law:
Drawin’ a picture of Mohammed?
That’s a paddlin’.
Talkin’ to a boy you’re not married to?
That’s a paddlin’.
Laughin’ at Mohammed’s beard?
That’s a paddlin’.
That’s a paddlin’.
Namin’ a teddy bear Mohammed?
Oh, you better believe that’s a paddlin’.
The Obama campaign was responding to earlier allegations from team Clinton that he had been planning to run for president since age 5. The memo from Obama said:
“Hillary Clinton wants you to believe that she is for health care reform, but the reality is that in preschool she was well-known for picking and eating her own boogers. Can we really trust someone who eats boogers to tell us what’s healthy? Do you want a booger-eating war monger with her finger on the button? Vote for Barack: he knows where not to put his fingers.”
From the stump in Iowa Clinton issued a furious response: “It is true that at four years old I picked a booger, as some people have said, but I did not eat it. That, to me, just shows the deplorable state of election politics today.”
Clinton paused for a moment and reiterated “Let me be clear: I. Did. Not. Eat. That. Booger.”
“It’s irresponsible and foolish to build a giant sex toy for frustrated monsters here in Sweden,” said Lars Bootemlud. “I could imagine the US doing something like this, but we Swedes should know better.”
Critics say that the moose’s incredibly detailed hind end will prove irresistible for monsters as they navigate the North Sea, a popular route for giant monsters traveling between the irradiated Siberian Plains of Russia and the Atlantic Ocean, where they prey on commercial fishing boats.
“You can’t expect them not to stop by and expect to get a little action,” said GMA expert Sven Jungersund. “It’s like those porno billboards around puritan counties: it just draws every pervert for miles around in. And when they find out the moose is fake, there’s going to be some really irate monsters prowling around Sweden. Well, except Megalon; he’s grateful for any kind of action.”
“I don’t even know what a Pasiphaean Folly would be,” said project head Gorbem Moosterbooten. “The fact is everybody likes moose, so we’re going to build a giant one as a tourist attraction in the middle of nowhere. You can’t stop progress.”
Authorities recommended avoiding Sweden in the near future as a tourist destination, and advised those living their to consider moving away before the project is completed in 2009.
(H/T my hero Ed Driscoll)
While the Council President acknowledged that some students might be confused by the YCC’s decision, she said that they were won over by the petitioner’s arguments. “Ultimately, to be inclusive and welcoming to all people we have to embrace those who are exclusionary. Any other spirit is betraying our mandate of inclusiveness. We look forward to the spirit of exclusiveness becoming part of diverse the tapestry that is Yale.”
The petitioner, Lirpa Loof ‘10, said that to deny the forces of similarity and separation were “anathema to the diversity aims of Yale. Without good examples of the homophobe, the racist, the bigot, and the religiously intolerant, how are students to feel smugly superior to others?”
Loof also presented evidence that at the last “Similarity Seminar” over 1500 students attended, although some attributed this to the “Free Beer Here!” posters scattered all over campus. Still, Loof was encouraged by the results.
“We’re for homogeneity and sameness, not for all this diversity crap. And there are a lot of other people who think that way. It’s a very diverse group of exclusionary people.”
One student at the meeting said that although initially skeptical, he was won over by Loof’s persuasive arguments. “It’s a really powerful argument: to be truly inclusive, you have to include exclusiveness. If you exclude exclusiveness, you’re being exclusive and failing in your mission. So I look forward to embracing my exclusive brothers, and maybe even joining them as a show of support for their exclusive ideals.”
Have a wonderful day.
Monday, December 3, 2007
Let me note that I haven’t seen every cartoon, so it’s possible that there are execrable cartoons left off this list. And we’re talking about cartoon series here, not one-shot terrible cartoons or cartoons that were only on for a short time, then cancelled.
Secondly, if your favorite cartoon appears on this list, it means that your favorite cartoon sucks. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you may have poor cartoon taste.
Thirdly, I’m giving Scooby Doo a pass, despite the catastrophically bad seasons with Scrappy and guest stars (remember Don Knotts?), because of all the great Scooby cartoons that came before and after that regrettable period. But I’ve got my eye on you, Scooby, and the minute you start having the flavor of the month on again (“Today Scooby meets Britney Spears!”) you’re right in the list at #2.
I’ll leave open comments so you can flame me or make suggestions, as you want.
Imagine if you took some of the suckiest characters from Hannah Barbera cartoons, then put them in a ridiculous spoof of the Olympics where one team always cheats but never wins (and the governing body, like MLB watching Bonds’ head inflate like a balloon, does nothing). Now watch this show, and you’ll imagine what children in hell must watch every single morning.
15. Dungeons and Dragons
Of all the rich stories one could mine out of D&D, with fantasy and monsters and elves and dwarves, this piece of shit was the best they could do? Why not just do a cartoon version of Mazes and Monsters next time, assholes? Some dorks get sucked into the D&D world, nobody gets killed, and the retard 5-year-old gets the magic club. Don’t even get me started on the abuse they heaped on the cavalier for being a coward despite the fact he saved their butts every single episode. Hey, Ranger-boy: aim for its head already! The dungeon master can kiss my ass: I’d have killed him off, allied with Tiamat, and lived like a king for the rest of my days.
14. Flintstones Kids
Part of the lamentable late-80’s idea exhaustion that brought us the “let’s remake show X as kids!” fad, this was easily the worst of the lot. First of all, it completely destroyed Flintstones continuity (they met as adults, not as weenie kids). Secondly, it turns out that when you take the subtle undercurrent of spousal abuse out of the Flintstones, you lose a lot of the comedic zing.
I’ll summarize every single episode for you:
One of 3 incompetent adults: “Oh no, the Godzilla button doesn’t work!”
Little kid: “Quick, Godzookie, call Godzilla!”
Godzilla: “Raurgh!” (this is the actual sound effect)
Any of the three bisexual swingers: “We’re saved!”
Child watching TV: “What a bunch of fucking morons.”
One day some TV executive asked: what if we took Batman and gave him a sidekick that was a cross between Scooby Dumb and Inspector Gadget? Dynomutt was born. I hope that TV executive rotted in development hell for the rest of his career.
10. Bullwinkle and Rocky
One of the reasons I hate the baby boomers is that they shoved this piece of crap down our throats when we were young. Listen, the repetitive “pull a giant lion out of the hat” gag wasn’t funny. Nor were Boris and Natasha, particularly. And don’t even start giving me Dudly Doo-Rite and George of the Jungle as a defense of this subversive piece of garbage. They sucked, too.
9. Family Guy
I know a lot of people love this show. A lot of people are morons. If I want to watch random flashback-based episodes about a fat naked guy, I’ll sniff glue until my short-term memory is gone and Google “Ernest Borgnine Naked.”
You’d think that a cartoon featuring flying cars and robot maids would be cool. You’d be wrong. Apparently George’s testicles got ripped off in a Food-O-Tron accident, because he spent every episode cringing at threats from Jane, Mr. Spacely, and Elroy. I kept hoping the future didn’t have OSHA and he’d die in a workplace accident.
7. Speed Racer
Another baby boomer nostalgia that I hated. Every episode is the same: long soliloquy about how Racer X is really his brother, followed by a race where the monkey and the boy save the day by engaging in bestiality and/or disabling the other race cars. What’s the draw here, again?
6. Super Friends
Everything I could ever say about this show has already been said better on the hilariously NSFW SeanBaby Superfriends site. I’ll just close with this thought: maybe the Super Friends wasn’t the best venue to push international cooperation and racial harmony. I spent more time mocking Heap Big Indian Guy and Samurai Suckass than I spent admiring their native cultures.
By the same team that brought you He-Man and Thundercats, this indicated that they were essentially bankrupt for new ideas and assumed children were too stupid to figure that out. The villains included a giant frog with a tuning fork. That’s supposed to scare me? These guys were ultimate space pussies for not being able to take out what was essentially a biker gang.
Imagine if you took Charmed, mixed it with Beverly Hills 90210 and Totally Spies, then made all the characters Troll dolls for no apparent reason. You’d have this show, only not as shallow and vapid. I have banned my daughter from watching this piece of tripe for fear that it was giving her brain damage.
3. Ed, Edd, and Eddy
I had a coworker who used to watch this show and talk about how great it was. Then he got fired for gross incompetence. This is not a coincidence.
If you do it once, it might be funny. If you make an entire series of cartoons about a bat with wings of steel and his racially insensitive oriental sidekick named Karate, it’s not so funny. If you show the same 25 cartoons over and over for years on Saturday morning, it should be considered torture under international law.
1. Captain Planet
Ever wondered what a cartoon would look like if it was made by Ted Turner and Greenpeace? Wonder no more! In Captain Planet’s skewed world, there are only 5 continents, a Russian is an excellent representative of Europe, and people pollute because they want to destroy the planet (so much for nuance). The stories were so pathetic that they were an insult to the intelligence of an 8-year-old. And what the hell did that ‘heart’ ring do, anyways, other than make the South American kid get kidnapped every other episode? And I’m not even going to go into Gaea and the giant mysterious unknown supercomputer that monitored everything that happened on Earth. On a super-hero scale these guys land somewhere between Marvin and Wendy.
The summit is being held at the controversial Abandoned Monster Nest Resort in the South Pacific, a modern luxury hotel constructed in 2001 that came under intense criticism at the time from anti-GMA groups for a perception that it provoked potential monsters in the GMA active area known as the Rim of Fiery Monsters.
“To hold this summit in this place is just inconceivable,” frequent IPGM critic Charles D. Ward said in an interview. “This hotel violated every rule of how to avoid provoking a monster attack. It’s located in an abandoned monster nest, it destroyed an ancient temple dedicated to appeasing the spirits of giant monsters to make room for a tennis court, the concierge building is built on an ancient native burial ground, they deported a number of mystical shamans with only pennies in their pockets as compensation for taking their tribal lands, and they broke open three twenty-foot eggs to make a Guinness-Book record omelet.”
The IPGM defended their actions by saying that “it’s necessary to get away from civilization to a plush resort so we can focus our minds on saving the world. Plus, the breakfast bar is awesome and none of us can afford the 1500-dollar-a-night rooms on our own salaries: we need governments to pay for it. As for the eggs; well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and as the Romans said, Carpe Guinness.”
In addition to the choice of venue, at least one of the scheduled activities has raised a few eyebrows. On Wednesday night a local mystic will read aloud from the “Book of Giant Monster Summoning and Release”, discovered under the Sphinx’ paw earlier this year in Egypt. Some have raised concerns that the ritual, which will include the sacrifice of a number of animals, might actually provoke a giant monster attack.
“That’s patently absurd,” said head of the IPGM Sir Reginald P. McCutcheon-Scottsborough. “We’re government officials and scientists. We know exactly what we’re doing. Those who speak ill of us are simply standing athwart progress, sinful fools who are betraying the common good. They should be stoned, stabbed, drowned, or shot, whichever is the most expedient way to hasten their demise.”
Former vice president John K. Mondale will be a keynote speaker at the event. He told reporters at the Peabody Awards, where he accepted the award for ‘Best Radio Broadcast’ for the rebroadcast of his acceptance speech at the Grammies for the book-on-tape version of his film An Uninvited Guest, that “I’m excited to be a speaker at such a prestigious gathering, and I look forward to being able to address this very pressing concern that threatens to overwhelm us all in days, or perhaps minutes. The scientific consensus is clear: we’re all doomed unless a massive bureaucracy is formed to fight against this existential threat to our species.”
Actor/director/activist Leonardo DiCaprio will also be there, although delegates admit that he’s just going to be “eye candy” since he’s mind-numbingly stupid.
Why is that? I’ll tell you why: because The Simpsons sucks now. Really, really sucks. It’s just not funny. Before you argue, I submit three pieces of evidence that the Simpsons sucks:
1) Celebrities voice themselves
It’s one thing to use a guest voice because you like its sound (Dustin Hoffman as Lisa’s substitute), or because it fits into the story (Michael Jackson as the voice for a fat mental patient who thinks he’s Michael Jackson ). It’s quite another to use a celebrity voice because you want to use a celebrity (The Who, Michelle Pfeiffer, Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, et al).
Now it’s like a revolving door of getting famous ‘names’ and having them appear on the Simpsons as themselves, meaning that they have to come up with ever-more-elaborate reasons to have Homer and the gang meet a celebrity. And of course, the celebrities want to plunk for their favorite cause, so we have to suffer through interminable “message” shows. The Simpsons of the early 90’s would never have stooped so low; of the late aughts they can’t get enough of this tired premise.
When did the Flintstones start to suck? When they stuck “-rock” after every celebrities’ name and paraded them through Bedrock. When did The Beverly Hillbillies start to suck? When they started to parade celebrity after celebrity through the mansion.
It’s an old sign of the suckness disease, and the Simpsons have got a rash of it all over.
2) Ceaseless repetition of uninteresting characters
In early Simpsons, we had the main characters, and then a group of people around Springfiled who either showed up a lot (Lionel Hutz, Moe the Bartender, etc) or very rarely when their particular niche was called for (the sea captain, the judge, Fat Tony, etc). Their use was always funny, and rarely did the story absolutely hinge on them.
Now they’re shoving second-tier characters down our throats constantly as a makeup for the lack of clever gags and social commentary. And they’re terrible, one-shot, pathetic characters, like the stupid Krusty look-alike boy from the wharf, or loser Gil (funny once; after that a lot less funny), or Frank Grimes and his son Frank Grimes Jr, neither of whom should ever have appeared in a show of The Simpsons’ caliber.
Lionel Hutz wasn’t used because they needed to fill time, he was used because they needed a lawyer and he was their caricature of a lawyer. Gil is used because they need to fill thirty seconds at the car dealership, so they stick in a “loser” gag. And it’s not funny.
And please don’t get me started on Disco Stu, who should have been limited to his singular appearance at Homer’s yard sale (okay, two with Disco Stu’s disco record sales franchise).
3) Whole shows built around one gag
Lately it seems that at writer’s meetings (if the Simpsons still has writers), they sit around and when they think they have a good joke, they cobble an entire episode around it just to get to the gag. The joke is typically not funny, but they can’t tell anymore.
Best example? The incredibly poor “The Blunder Years” episode, where the entire poorly-carried-off and unfunny episode (a sort of parody of Stand By Me, only less funny than the original) is structured for the following joke:
Mr. Burns: I’m sorry I told you your father was killed by Amazon women. I hope it didn’t scar you for life.
Smithers: I’m sure it didn’t.
A-ha-ha. Nothing like a tortured joke about Smithers’ questionable sexuality to validate an otherwise poor episode!
But I find this Yahoo story strange. Basically, it says that there are about 800 ‘Superdelegates’ to the Democratic convention made up of insiders, sitting congressmen, and other highly-ranked party members. According to the story:
They will attend the convention next summer with about 3,200 other delegates who have been pledged to various presidential candidates based on the outcomes of primaries and party caucuses in their states.So 20% of the total delegates will be these ‘insiders’? Does this evoke the image of a smoke-filled room to anybody else?
Lest you dismiss this concern, consider this: in order for the insiders’ opinion not to matter at all, a candidate would have to have 65% of the state delegates, and then they’d only win by 160 votes (2080-1920). So a candidate, if they sewed up about 80% of the superdelegates, could win the nomination with just 43% of the state electors. And you could imagine that a candidate who was massively corrupt could easily sew up 80% of the independent voters. In fact, it’s probably a better campaign strategy than trying to win Iowa.
Isn’t this the party that had a royal conniption in 2000 over the disputed election? Aren’t they essentially ensuring that at some point in their own primary, they’ll have exactly the same problem, only worse, with rumors of bribery and corruption?
The Republicans have it much better off, but not perfect: 100 out of 2516 are Superdelegates, meaning that they’ve only got 4% of the delegates free to do what they want. So you’d have to win 48% of the state delegates to skate by on these guys.
I know in practice, the convention is really just a rubber-stamp of the popular vote. But the very existence of Superdelegates threatens the entire point of the exercise. We can debate about whether 20% or 4% is better or worse, but for me the answer is very simple.
The correct number of ‘Superdelegates’ is zero.